Monday, July 03, 2017

All-Business - An info first watch face (including my wife's current mood)

A couple of weeks back I heaped major praise on WatchMaker for being a sweet development tool for Android Wear watches. My first attempt at building a watch face for my Zenwatch 3 showed that I could write modular and interesting code that ran effortlessly on my watch. What it didn't do is provide me with much of a usable watch face.

With a bit more work, I was able to correct that. I give you my very first usable watch face: All Business. Let's walk through it (clockwise, of course):

690 - The current number of steps I've taken according to my phone's pedometer. The Zenwatch 3 has a pedometer built in, and WatchMaker allows easy access to this value, but the numbers seem absolutely random. I'd walk 50 steps and the watch wouldn't recognize any movement, or I'd be sitting at the dinner table and notice that I'd taken 6 steps. The algorithm the Zenwatch uses may ultimately be OK. Perhaps over a day, it's reasonably accurate. But my LG G6's pedometer is scary accurate. Walk 10 steps, register 10 steps. To power this number on the watch, I use Taser. Effectively, every 10 steps taken on the phone, I push the value to the watch.

Pressing the number of steps clears it. This allows me to use the step count for individual activities, and effectively makes the watch face interactive.

2017 - The current year.

11:22 - The current time in UTC. Useful for dealing with other programmers I work with overseas. My initial instinct was to add an AM/PM designation to the time, but as a Pebble watch face taught me earlier, I don't really need it. I don't tend to wake up in windowless rooms without any idea of what time it is.

20:37 - The time the sun will set this evening. Pressing this value triggers a Tasker Action which sends Shira my current location. Useful if I get abducted by aliens, or if I'm running late.

99% - My phone's current battery level.

Sun Icon - The current weather graphic as provided by WatchMaker. Pressing this icon explicitly refreshes the weather data on the watch.

99% - My watch's current battery level.

85°F - The current temperature in my location.

7:22 - The current time. Again, there's no AM/PM designation to save space.

Mon Jul 3 - The current date. Pressing this value launches OK Google on the watch. I'm still figuring out the fastest way to get answers from the watch, and this may very well be it.

While not especially sexy, I've found that the above cover most, if not all, my watch informational needs. But wait, there's more!.

While I was describing my new watch face to Shira, she suggested I build something in where she could send me an emjoi to feature in the background of the watch. I couldn't think of an easy way to do that, so I went a different route. I've setup a web page that uses AutoRemote and Tasker to allow Shira to set the background color of the watch at any time. In other words, she can express her current mood on my watch face, whether she's next to me or 2,000 miles away.

My original plan was to pickup the color via an SMS message. However, Google's SMS replacement (RCS) is apparently not compatible with Tasker's SMS handling. The result is that when Shira would send me a text message, it would be invisible to Tasker. Ultimately, I think using AutoRemote is a better solution anyway.

So there you go, a fully functional watch face with a few extras.

I still think WatchMaker is a sweet tool, and I'm really impressed with how effortlessly it integrates with Tasker. If you can imagine it, Tasker and WatchMaker can turn it into watch face.


  1. Do you need the year or month? Seems like the am/pm logic would apply there too and get you some more space.

  2. > Do you need the year or month?

    For me--personally--yes, I like to have it.

    Inevitably, when I go to fill in a date on an important form part of my brain will immediately panic and announce that it has no idea what the day, month, year or century is. After a moment or two, it usually remembers that it knows all this. But for forms (and checks especially), having that info on my wrist is nice.