The Grinch (the watch, not Mark)
Apparently Mark's ongoing saga with this "SmartWatch" is just that: ongoing. I remember when he walked into my office earlier this year and showed me his nice, new, shiny watch and the fact that with the press of a button (or two), he could figure out when/where his next meeting was. This single feature made me an instant fan. Forget the news, the weather, my horoscope?, and whatever useless pieces of information they think is interesting on a 1-inch display. All I wanted to know was the time and location of my next meeting.
Initally, I balked at the price of the watch in combination with subscription requirement. Then Mark's watch went out. After the first watch self-destructed, I was still torn whether to get it or not. After the second watch died, I became suspicious...very suspicious. In fact, I remember the moment the smartwatch fell out of favor:
While we were at TechEd 2003, a few of us decided to go out to dinner. After a long meal, somebody asked Mark what time it was and he replied, "five past twelve". Amazed at how much time we had spent just at dinner, we decided to walk back to the hotel. On the way back, a random person on the street asked what time it was. This time Mark replied, "quarter past twelve". As we walked away, the person started to shout that we must have had the wrong time. We laughed it off, after all, who was the one with the watch? Once we got back to the lobby, we noticed that there were still quite a few people milling around. Seemed a bit strange for midnight. We decided to have a drink before we went to sleep and on our way to the bar, somebody noticed that it was, in reality, just after ten o'clock. Mark looked at his watch again. The watch claimed it was 12:20...January 1st. Apparently it reset just as we were finishing dinner. Who had the watch, indeed.
That did it, no watch for me. Man began keeping track of time approximately 5,000 years ago and we continue to make progress today. I'm sure that over five millenia, there have been many badly designed timekeeping devices. This is pretty high on the list in my opinion.
A little known fact is I used to be a developer on the Smartphone team way back when (circa 2000). Once they were released state-side, I always planned on getting one. Initially, I had to wait for the contract on my phone ran out. Once that happened, the only model that seemed interesting was the Motorola MPx200 which was lacking two features which I wanted: bluetooth & camera. Acutally, I never thought I'd want the camera, but who gets a phone thesedays without it? So I figured I'd wait it out until the MPx220 was released. So I waited...and waited...and waited.
Then I went to XML 2004. On the flight to Washington, DC, Dare took out his new toy: A new, shiny...Audiovox 5600. After playing with it for five minutes, I was sold. So I took the plunge and when I got back to my house a week later, there was a package from FedEx waiting at my front door. Within ten minutes, no joke, it ported my old number and I was synching with the Exchange server. I was especially proud of that second part since I had worked on the synchronization framework and written the first version of ActiveSync on the smartphone OS. (Although Andy likes to think that they threw all my code away once I joined the Dark Side aka became a Program Manager)
One month later, I can say that I'm thrilled with the Smartphone..and I'm not the only one. The smartphone, and the Audiovox in particular, is spreading like wildfire inside the company. The viral effect is beyond anything else I've seen, even puts the iPod effect to shame. As for the smartwatch, I can only hope that Mark has better luck in the new year. BTW, I'm sure that he's an EXTREMELY exceptional case. I know other people with smartwatches and they've never had a problem with it.