I suffer from phantom smartwatch syndrome -- an ailment that hopefully will disappear over time. Nearly four weeks ago, I put aside Apple Watch 2 stainless steel and replaced it with the simple but appealing ManchesterWatchWorks Iconik 3. Problem: Almost any shifting movement of the timepiece causes me to reflexively flip my wrist and look down; there is false perception of haptic sensation. Apple has trained me well, and I'm tired of being its dog doing tricks. Woof. Woof. Growl.
I feel free! Gone are the nagging alerts -- and I had them barreled down to a minimum of approved services: Some for breaking news; emails from a half-dozen people; and text messages. Among this still seeming torrent, the Activity app annoyed with congratulatory badges and prompts that one of the four main exercise goals (Calories, Exercise Time, Stands, and Steps) -- Apple's athletic lifestyle version of the four food groups -- would soon be achieved. The badges are about as infantile as gold stars that teachers give kindergarteners and with similar purpose: To make the recipient feel good, whether or not deserved. The achievement badge for Earth Day flipped my goat. Seriously? I ordered the Iconik 3 that evening.
These nags are disruptive, distracting, and I can't help but wonder what nutcases turn them on for Facebook, Instagram, and other ridiculous temples of narcissistic worship. If the alerts don't drive you looney, you got to be a mental hospital patient candidate to allow so many of them. Is not a smartphone -- hehe, criticizing parent or partner -- nuisance enough? My neighbor's dog, who has bladder problems and wees way too often, demands less attention than Apple's divine device blessed as companion to the Jesus phone released during the second coming of Steve Jobs. Praise be. Blessed be the fruit. (Okay, someone has been watching too much "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu.)
My Apple Watch turnabout progressed slowly over many months. I have worn both versions of the timepiece and found many of the features -- from phone calls to exercise assistance -- to be beneficial. But in early 2017, I reached a daily activity plateau: 2 miles distance stepped; 12 Stands (how stupid a concept is that); 30 minutes exercise; 440 active calories burned. I consistently exceeded them all every day, often bountifully, but found myself -- me to blame, not Apple -- waiting until Midnight before taking another spin on the indoor bicycle or doing before-bed pushups so the efforts would count for the new day. I also kept modest goals, even when beating them, to maintain an unbroken achievement record. Shameful behavior, I know.
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