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“Background” vibes on Pebble smartwatch

By , 05/21/2015 4:17 PM

Matt Thompson from Pebble G+ community asked a question that got me curious: Is there a way to buzz Pebble vibe at regular intervals in the background, while a regular watchface is displayed in foreground?

Besides running a normal app, Pebble has 2 ways to run code in the background: background worker and Wakeup API.

Background worker can truly run in the background, but has no access to UI (and vibes are considered UI) as well as other limitations. Besides you can have only one background worker, so for example if you’re running MisFit app and want to run another background app – you’re out of luck.

WakeUp API has the ability to act as a timer in the background and launch your app when timer countdown finished. Interesting thing is – if your app doesn’t have any UI (windows) – it exits right away, so from the user’s point of view – it didn’t even ran – then point in the watch interface remains the same (if you’re looking at a watchface, or at settings etc. – you remain at the same spot).

We can use this to wake the app, buzz the vibe, reschedule wakeup time and exit. User will just hear a buzz with no visual indication that something was launched. Here’s a basic code to achieve this:

static uint32_t const segments[] = {1000, 500, 1000, 500, 1000};  

static void init(void) {

  wakeup_service_subscribe(NULL);
  wakeup_schedule(time(NULL) + 60, 0, false);
  
  vibes_cancel();
  
  VibePattern pat = {
    .durations = segments,
    .num_segments = ARRAY_LENGTH(segments),
  };
  vibes_enqueue_custom_pattern(pat);
  
}

int main(void) {
  init();
  app_event_loop();
}

This is pretty straightforward. Line 01 declares an array for custom vibe pattern (3 one-second buzzes separated by half-a-second silence) Line 05 subscribes to WakeUp event. Ordinary you need to specify a callback function as a parameter, but our entire code runs in the Init, so we don’t use it here. Line 06 schedules app wake-up in 60 seconds. Line 08 cancels any current vibes in case any are still running. Lines 10-13 prepare structure for custom vibe sequence and Line 14 runs the vibes.

That’s it. When you launch the app – it schedules its own wakeup, buzzes the vibe and exits immediately. You’re free to do what you want – set a watchface, run another app etc. When time comes – the app wakes up, buzzes the vibe, schedules next wakeup and exits without interfering with whatever user is doing. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Just remember that the only way to stop it is delete the app from the watch and wait for the current buzz sequence to finish.

Useful Links

Colorful watchfaces for Pebble Time

By , 05/13/2015 7:50 PM

Pebble Time is latest and greatest smartwatch from Pebble corp. And one of the advantages it has over classic model is new epaper screen capable of supporting 64 colors. To test its capabilities I developed several color watchfaces. Some of them are the converted ones that originally were made for classic Pebble, some of them new. Click on the image to get redirected to Pebble appstore.

Long Shadow “Long Shadow” – inspired by stock LG G watchface, features large time and long colorful shadows. Config page allows customization of every color as well as shadow direction
TV Time “TV Time” – old-style TV displays time in cartoon format. Grid on the panel shows battery level
Simpe Striped “Simple Striped – Large time in color-striped font. Thin line at the bottom shows battery level both in length and coior
RusticSlider “Rustic Slider” – Though not in full color, uses Pebble Time gray shades to create realistic blocks with customizable sliding animation
Poochie “Poochie” – spoof of Gucci luxury digital watch
MeyerObjects “Meyer Objects” – Hour. minute and second hands are represented by wireframe design. Shake to display normal digital time. Configurable options
3D Wedge “3D Wedge” – Time displayed in diagonal skewed form along with date, time and battery percentage

Give them a try once you get your PT! Or, you can load them on your classic Pebble as B&W versions 🙂

Pushing pins to Pebble Time timeline from .NET code

By , 05/12/2015 1:27 PM

Timeline on Pebble Time Pebble Time timeline is a very cool user interface allowing you to see future and past events and act upon them right on your watch. Right out of the box Pebble Time supports calendar pins that shows your future and past appointments in the timeline as well as weather alerts. But the real power comes from 3rd party apps using timeline – they can add anything from sports scores to latest news to TV showtimes – limit is just your imagination.
Pebble has always had open SDK – this is one of its major strengths, and Timeline is not an exception. Timeline API is a very straightforward way to push your own pins to users of your app. There’re various examples and libraries including PHP and node.js on how to deal with the timeline, but I, being mostly a Microsoft developer by trade, decided to bring Timeline into .NET. This particular example is in ASP.NET – pin is pushed from Webpage when user clicks a button, but it’s just one of the possible scenarios.

In order to push timeline pins successfully you will need 2 pieces:

  1. A watchapp that runs on Pebble. In fact after first run, that subscribes user to timeline, the app doesn’t have to be running on the watch anymore. It doesn’t even have to be on the watch. As long as it simple remains in your locker on the phone – you will continue to receive its pins
  2. Your own server that sends calls to Pebble public Timeline API to control pins

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