Apple Watch 3 - underwhelming at best

I have worn an Apple Watch pretty consistently since the summer of 2015. I was always a watch wearer and the Apple Watch seemed relatively inexpensive and somewhat more useful than an analogue watch so the transition to it was simple. 

However, I never really liked it very much. It was just ok. It worked fine for fitness and occasionally  helped with notifications. It was fine - as long as you didn't try to interact with it. Every interaction - from 'raise to wake' to starting a workout was just unpleasant. The underlying problem may have been that Siri was even worse on the watch than on the phone.

So when series 3 came out - I thought it was time to upgrade. For no specific announced feature - just to check if I had missed out on anything. 

Now that I've been wearing series 3 Apple Watch for the last few months, I can confidently say that after two and a half years, the watch has barely made a dent in the forward direction for me. Yes, it has a GPS and Cellular but I don't know how many times using your watch without a phone is a legit use case to justify ten dollars a month. But far more importantly - my phone very rarely has cellular signal reliable enough to be much useful so not sure how it can be reliable on a watch. 

The internet sang praises of Siri on the new watch but I have tried it a few times and have had absolutely no success. It failed to take dictations for message responses in reasonable time so I canceled it. It wasn't able to set a timer. It wasn't able to set a reminder. It wasn't able to start a workout. 

The number one requirement I've had - show me the damn time all the time - is still unmet. I know the technical reasons but I don't care. You are a watch - you have one primary job - tell the time when I look at you. If you are blank when I look at you - even once in every 10 tries - you are useless. 

But I still wear it - for only one reason - I love those stupid rings reminding me how active my day was. 

I am sure Apple is working on ruining it. 

iMac Hellstew Part II - in limbo

I wrote a few weeks ago about my issues with the toxic mix of the iMac, Sierra, Time Machine, Lightroom, Photos for Mac and apparently Synology NAS and Thunderbay Mini DAS. 

The internet (thank you Casey and ATP Tipster) told me to disable Time Machine backup to Synology to stop lots of general issues and in particular the flakiness of time machine backups. Ok, so I did that and sure - time machine backup is now solid to a 6TB USB drive. However, this isn't really a solution to me because having a single time machine backup basically means I have no real reliable backup at all. Synology was great, in theory anyway, because it was running 4 disks in a raid-5 config supporting one disk failure. 

So Synology Time machine backup is gone. Even though I struggle to understand how a network drive just connected over ethernet can basically destroy Time Machine. There is no Synology software running on my iMac. Oh well. This will be my third external storage that will have to go back. I have already used and thrown away Drobo 5d (direct attached) and Drobo 5n (nas) because Apple software would not work well with it. I have tried lots of USB drives as well and that was a total nightmare.  

Guess its time for Synology to go as well. Though I do use it for other things - such as archival of old photos/videos (about 5 TB of data) - I might have to find a different solution for it. Network storage on the mac is also flaky at best. The shared drives go to sleep very often and then iTunes or iMovie would not find the file until you went into the finder and reconnect the network share. Very painful - specially if you were trying to stream something in a different room on the Apple TV that was on a network shares that iTunes could not find anymore. 

While not backing up to Synology fixed the Time Machine problem, Lightroom and Photos continue to crash every once in a few days. Better than the hourly crash earlier but still not great. And the Mac still does not restart. Though I can hard boot it without having to kill time machine midway. Simple pleasures. 

(oh, and what's with this new deal of always needing a restart the mac when Photos or Lightroom crashes in order to make them launch again?? This is probably the most Windows thing I have seen the mac do and this is definitely a very new thing - happening both with Adobe and Apple software - make me think it is some OS thing)

I store the Photos library (about 400GB) and the Lightroom catalog and last two years worth of photos and movies (about 2TB) on a Thunderbay mini running 4 1TB SSD disks in Raid 0 - mostly for high-performance. I run Softraid 5.5 to manage the Thunderbay. 

Seems like I should - at least as a trial - move my libraries back to the 3TB internal Fusion drive on the iMac. Now this scares me because Fusion Drive has been nothing but a pain and has broken down (where the SSD and the HD fusion broke apart) twice on me - rendering the computer useless - requiring trips to the Apple store and restore from time machine - which made me realize the importance of time machine - and hence made me think about storing it on a more reliable hardware... and hence the Synology. Oh well. So it goes. 

So the real problem is - Apple doesn't like external storage systems but doesn't put enough reliable storage in the Mac itself anymore. What am I to do?

In limbo still. 


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