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New geek toy – Casio GB-X6900B (2013 model) G-Shock

Posted by Madbot on Sep 22, 2013 in Japan, Madbot Madness, Techno

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Madbot says:

With all the talk about wearable tech and smart watch from Samsung, Sony, and Apple, there was already a number of smart watches on the market. One is by non other than my childhood favorite,Casio.

Casio released their bluetooth enabled watch in 2012 under the G-Shock line. Instead of the pitiful battery life of other smart watches where they barely last a single day, the Casio units boast battery life of up to 2 years. Impressive, right? The key difference is the Casio units do not have a full graphical screen like the others. Casio therefore avoids the “smart watch” tag and calls these simply “bluetooth enabled” watches.

The pre-ordered unit GB-X6900B arrived this morning and setup, while far from being intuitive, was completed without too much pain. The watch pairs with either Android or iPhone via bluetooth and the G-Shock app.

This 2013 version offer some extras over the original 2012 model. Functions include:
– Notifications (as in watch beep and vibration) when the phone receives a call, email, or social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc) notifications,
– Music control. Forward, back, play/pause via 3 of the 4 watch buttons. Can also map volume up/down if you prefer. Each button can be remapped to different function via the app.
– Phone finder. Misplaced your phone but the watch is still connected? Trigger the phone finder on the watch and your phone will make itself known by screaming blue murder.
– Link alert. Watch notifies you if phone becomes out of range, eg., if you’re about to accidentally leave your phone (or watch) behind.

Android phones get the additional ability of SMS notifications. iPhone does not appear to allowed this. Email notification is “dicky” as it’s not done by the phone mail client. Instead, you configure email accounts in the G-Shock app and the app logs into the mail account periodically to check if you have a new mail. Hope Apple stop being a dick and loosen up the restriction soon. My iPhone 5 would really appreciate this. Thanks!

While out and about on the bike this afternoon, the bluetooth enabled watch became useful quite a few times. It reminded the wife of her nail appointment was coming up while we were at lunch via our shared calendar. Notified me of a couple of Facebook notifications that were mildly amusing – although I turned it off after the 3rd time. The most useful part of all, it vibrated away when the wife rang. The phone was in my pocket or in the bike pouch – without the watch vibrating (I turned off the beeping) I would not have heard the phone ring and then end up in tons of trouble with the good wife.

This function will be most useful at work (on the few occasions when I wear it in to the conservative setting..) where the phone stays in silent mode most of the time. Wife is already suggesting I wear it even at home.

Oh, and the watch looks fantastic..! The usual G-Shock look that is chunky, techie and the big G symbol remind me of Gatchaman (aka. Battle of planets or science ninja team). Wearing it secretly satisfies my childhood fantasy.. ;-). The wife doesn’t share my enthusiasm but she tolerated it and was glad I don’t plan on talking into the watch, Dick Tracey style.

Pre-Ordered via Amazon Japan for around US$150. The other model GB-6900B is a smaller and cheaper version with the same functions. Each model comes in 3 color variations different for each model.

Update: The phone finder can play a song on the phone or a number of sound effects regardless of silent mode setting. While it’s going off, you can double tap the watch face to stop the sound. Unfortunately the tapping aspect is not working for me. Need to press a button to stop phone finder. Could this be a bad unit..?

Update 2: Received a replacement unit from Amazon JP and still the same problem – no tapping. This got me thinking more.. And the result is: the manual is wrong. The manual says you tap the screen, but if you follow it, nothing actually happens. Instead, tap on the face frame and magically, it works! The tapping needs more force than you would expect, say compared to an iPhone with touch screen. It’s ok to be tough – this is a G-Shock after all. I am guessing the tapping triggers the same movement detector used to put the watch in power saving mode – since the watch face is not a touch screen.

Now to return the replacement.

Update 3: Updated to iOS 7.02 this morning and the watch no longer connects with the iPhone. The app shows “searching” for the watch. But when the app tries to “connect” to the watch, the bluetooth symbol flashes as if it’s connecting, and then drops out. It then does this in a loop while the watch gives up and shuts off its bluetooth. Tried deleting the partnership in the app, restart the phone, etc and nothing worked. In the end, here is how I got it to work:

1. In G-Shock app, delete partnership.
2. On iPhone, go into Settings/bluetooth. Delete any watch partnerships. There should be one.
3. Restart iphone.
4. After iPhone starts up, go back into G-Shock app to connect the watch. iPhone will ask you for confirmation, say yes. That should be it!

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CNN typos

Posted by Madbot on Jul 13, 2012 in Japan

Madbot says:

Sitting in staff cafeteria during lunch, we watched in amazement as lines of CNN typos scrolled the TV screen.

Does CNN still check what they put on screen..?

“Chian” instead of “China”
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Police shoots “rubbers” bullets. Lol!
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Crazy low tunnel in Tokyo

Posted by Madbot on Jul 7, 2012 in Japan, Madbot Madness

Went on a bike ride to Odaiba via Rainbow Bridge – discovered this LOW CLEARANCE tunnel. Wonder how many heads have been smacked.

 
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High tech buddas

Posted by Madbot on Jul 2, 2012 in Japan, Madbot Madness, Techno

Madbot says:

There’s a reason why they never found copper wires in ancient China and Japan. They had wifi, it’s all wireless..!

Just check out these ancient buddhas with their gadgets.

Buddha texting

Buddha working on laptop.

Buddha talking on cellphone

Buddha listening to Walkman.. or is that an iPod?

All right, I kid, I kid. these are not ancient buddhas.. but just a few years old. But pretty cool right? 🙂

 
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Mid autumn

Posted by Madbot on Sep 11, 2011 in Japan, Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

The mid autumn festival is upon us. The moon looks amazing. The iPhone does not do it justice.

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Thundercats (2011) – we have a winner

Posted by Madbot on Aug 7, 2011 in Japan, Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

Filled with fear, I turned to watch the new Thundercats – No less than 10 minutes into it, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a winner. It was different but yet retained just the right amount of the original sauce to trigger something deep inside those of us who grew up watching the cats.

Amazed at my own enjoyment of the show, I soon found that the studio behind the new Thundercats is none other than the legendary Studio 4C. These are the peeps whose work produced Halo Legends (a must watch if you’re aware of some of the background story in Halo, an Xbox game. Even if you’re not, just watch it. It’s still good entertainment.):

and also Animatrix (animated stories based on the Matrix world):

I remember seeing a TV special a couple of years back introducing their office in Japan. Nothing special about the office – looked just like another other office in Tokyo – but I absolutely love their work and would dream of a chance to meet or work with them. Now knowing these guys are on the project, no wonder the new Thundercats is simply fantastic.

The old Thundercats was great and I still remember getting excited everytime just watching the intro. In fact, I stayed outside an electronics store on the way home from school just so I could watch an episode that I otherwise would’ve missed.

The style of Studio 4C is top notch and IMO pushed Thundercats up a level or 2 on the legendary scale. There had been so many disappointments with many of the re-make of old cartoons (like the many try-hard 3D variations of Voltron and the like). The fact they did this ‘properly’ almost brought a tear to my eyes. I love you guys.

Trailer of the new Thundercats:

Oh wait, did I mention that Cheetara also took on a slightly different look?

She was amazing before:

And now, she is simply amazing. Don’t tell the wife, but I think I am in love..

Thanks Studio 4C. Fantastic work.

 
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Frappuccino – Taste of heaven on a hot summer day

Posted by Madbot on Jul 17, 2011 in Japan, Madbot Madness

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Madbot says:

Had to run around to do Visa renewal at immigration office and update the alien registration card at the ku office.

It was some 33 degrees Celsius outside and it was much more sweaty than the number implied.

Took the new bike on this run. Took an hour of “people watching” at the immigration office to get my new 3 year visa – the place was packed. Enjoyed a quick lunch at the favourite Taiwanese restaurant and a rest at a park on the usual bike trail. All the kids were at school, most salary men were at office or their lunch place. Just me and some oyaji at the park hanging out.

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The water fountain was turned off I guess in an effort to save energy. The park was quiet and peaceful.

Then off to the ku office to update the alien registration card. 30 minutes ride later, I was drenched in sweat. The girl staff smiled friendly at me but I wisely kept my distance so she wouldn’t think all gaijins stink like the salary men on the train. Wouldn’t have mattered either way I guess.

Got outta the ku office in less than 15 minutes, grabbed a fresh bottle of water and back on the bike heading home.

Reached the Starbucks just before the big hill on the final stretch home. Looked at the tempting shades and gave in. Parked the bike and ordered myself a mocha frappuccino. Sat outside (in the shade) enjoying the breeze and sipping on the frappuccino. Life is good.

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Wicked building to have in a city with frequent earthquakes

Posted by Madbot on Apr 12, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

Madbot says:

The quakes and aftershocks are back! Saw this on TV when they’re showing the quake at this city in Ibraki, near Tokyo. This is not a building I want to be near during an earthquake..

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The tsunami wave that hit Fukushima nuclear reactors

Posted by Madbot on Apr 10, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan

That was one mighty high wave.

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After shock – explosion at Sendai substation and blackout

Posted by Madbot on Apr 10, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Funny videos, Japan

Madbot says:

Happened a few days ago (Apr 7). The shaking went on for some 20 seconds or longer. Reminded us of the big one but thankfully not as violent, and not as long. Interesting footage captured by the NHK TV camera at Sendai showing flashes of light in the distance and then the city lights fade out from an apparent power outage.

Boom!

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