I wish my Pebble Smartwatch Integrated With my Dexcom

the pebble smartwatchI’m a new Pebble Smartwatch user.

If you’re not familiar, the Pebble is a wristwatch that you wear that wirelessly communicates with your iPhone or Android phone and all of your phone’s alerts will pop-up on the watch.  The project started from a Kickstarter campaign and is slowly seeping it’s way into the techier corners of our world.

I know that Diabetes Wonderwoman Cherise has one too.

There are a dozen reasons I love this thing.  And I don’t want to bore you with all of them here (the short list includes being able to see my text messages without taking out my iPhone in sketchy neighborhoods or on the train; I can control the music that’s playing on my iPhone while it’s in my pocket; and I can pay attention to everything that is in front of me without getting distracted by incoming messages that aren’t worth my time).  There is one diabetes-related thing that I wish the Pebble would do, but it’s more of an iPhone/Dexcom integration issue.

Dexcom patent smartphone integrationDexcom, the maker of continuous glucose monitors, announced last week that they had filed a patent for a system that would integrate my smartphone and my Dexcom device.  This is good news for people that don’t love carrying around their CGM receivers.  My friend Donna can’t seem to take a taxi cab without leaving her receiver in it, so this technology will benefit these types of people immensely.

One of the images that was used in the patent application (to the left) also includes notifications that seem a bit smarter than the normal CGM.  Things like “you’re starting to go high” or “it looks like you are going to go low in 10 minutes.”

This is an exciting idea.  I do know, however, that the FDA “roadblocks to new technology” or “regulations to keep the public safe” depending on which camp you’re in, are big and really difficult to clear.  I wouldn’t guess that this technology is super close to market.  But it’s an exciting prospect nonetheless.

The additional benefit, in my opinion, is that as my phone is becoming an invisible technology that sits in my pocket and is checked up on using a secondary screen (in my case my Pebble Smartwatch), I will be able to also see the alerts coming from an integrated continuous glucose system.

Pebble smartwatch integrated with dexcom continuous glucose monitor

This is just a mock-up version of a Dexcom alert that could possible be part of an integrated system. Someday.

Right now I’m loving how the Pebble is allowing me to avoid looking at my iPhone.  When I’m biking, I can see what text messages come in.  When I’m sitting in meetings I hate being rude and pulling out my phone and the Pebble allows me to avoid that.  And I’m even seeing an improvement in my normal workflow…sitting at my desk I can (without ever taking my fingers off of my keyboard) see what emails come in and decide if it’s worth clicking over to my inbox to deal with them at the moment.

The benefits this new technology has brought me will be only magnified when (if?) Dexcom clears the FDA and can start bringing me my CGM alerts directly to my phone.

As people with diabetes, we frequently dream about technology that would make our lives better.  For different reasons (regulations, cost, disinterest from industry) we conclude that these dreams are just that…dreams.  With the Dexcom patent application, however, I feel like this one desire could be close.

Calloused Fingers Crossed!

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This is the one about the new Facebook phone.

A drawing of the new Facebook phone.

On Thursday morning, Facebook has a big announcement for us.  They are saying that on Thursday they will announce their “new home on Android.”  And the rumors have ranged from a simple new Android application for Facebook to an entire Facebook Phone that re-purposes the Android software in the same way that Amazon re-purposed with the Kindle Fire.

Over at TechCrunch, Josh Constine quotes “sources” as saying “it will be a modified version of the Andriod operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset.”

The problem with the Facebook phone concept is that it will not fill a need in the current market.  What will this phone offer that the current iPhone or the current Android phones do not?  This market is already very saturated.  A more integrated Facebook presence is hardly a reason to rush out and get a new phone.

I can certainly understand why Facebook would be interested in having users move to a phone that was either created by them or relied more heavily on the user’s Facebook data (contacts, calendar, photos).  But what does the user get out of such a move?

If this is the announcement that Zucky (that’s what all of his friends call Zuckerberg) is planning on making, I’d be surprised if it gets any traction.  Tell me I’m wrong…would you use it?

This is the one where I describe the “Instagramification Of Dinner.”

Cartoon of a restaurant people trying to order food that looks good on instagram.I’m an obsessive Instagram user (@mrmikelawson).  It’s sometimes embarrassing how I will drop everything that I’m doing to grab my iPhone and snap a photo.  And I sometimes get so obsessed with finding something to Instagram that I stop really appreciating all of my other senses…smell, sounds, danger intuition.

Caprese Sandwich

The Caprese Sandwich from SLOW in Berkeley, CA.

I talk with people (formally and informally) about my love for social media and how we’ve started communicating differently in the past five years.  Haters gonna hate, and many times skeptical people say something like, “why do I care what you ate for lunch.”  It’s a fairly common opinion that Instagram users just wasting their time by documenting the inane with photographs.  I’ve been told directly that social media services like Twitter and Instagram are making the world a worse place to live.

I would actually argue that the exact opposite is happening. People that take photographs of food and share them on the internet are saving the world.

Traditionally, “breaking bread” has brought people together.  I don’t think that I need to explain the value of sharing a meal with friends or family.  When I was growing up we had mandatory dinners and although it may have not been intentional, these meals grounded me and helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone.  “I” wasn’t eating dinner.  “We” were.

Kale salad

The Kale Salad with edamame beans from Trader Joe’s

In the past 30 years it’s become more normal to “grab something quick” instead of setting the table and planning ahead of time.  The valuable “let’s do lunch” has been replaced with emails pounded out between bites.  And many of the conversations that we absorb over meals are fictional ones between characters on the TV.  And this is undoubtedly unhealthy.  Quick and easy is rarely nutritious and wholesome.

Social media has created a shift in the way that we communicate.  It’s no longer necessary to have hour-long telephone calls with your friends across the country to catch up, because we now keep current with everything that is happening via their Facebook pages.  And it’s true that we are no longer sitting down and stuffing our faces with friends…or at least less frequently.  We are, however, re-creating the valuable conversations that revolved around food and our food choices with the Instagramification of dinner.

More than 60 photos per second are uploaded to Instagram.  Of course not all of them are food…there are a few cat pictures thrown in too.  There are, however, millions of food snapshots uploaded per day.  Food is social.  Eating doesn’t just keep us alive, but it also allows us to connect with others.  The ancient greek philosopher Epicurus said, “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”  We take pictures of our food (and shamelessly slap on a vintage filter to make them look hipster) and post them on Instagram and Twitter because we want to share.  We want to share our meals, even if we are eating alone.

Food is social, but as the world changes and the word “social” is getting a new look, so will the way that we share.

Don’t let the Instagram food-haters bring you down.  If the first thing you think after the waiter drops off your plate is, “what filter am I going to use?” – you’re doing it right.