Siri on the Original Apple Watch (Series 0)

A few days ago I wrote about how I was gradually growing less satisfied with the responsiveness of my Apple Watch with the added bloat of newer systems, especially to the Hey Siri command, which besides actually looking at the watch has been my most commonly used interaction with it. Today I stumbled upon a setting that made a huge difference in Siri responsiveness: For some reason I held my phone in my hand as I summoned Siri to trigger a timer for me, and I realized that the phone rather than the watch responded to the command. I had activated Hey Siri on the phone a while ago from curiosity and never turned it off.

This time I did turn off Hey Siri functionality on the phone, and sure enough, response time to the command on the watch dropped to become almost instantaneous. It still takes a while for the command uttered to be processed by the watch, but it now has restored my trust in it happening in most cases, which has returned my Apple Watch to its status of “significantly more useful than a regular watch”.

As to what caused the issue, my current hypothesis is that the faster CPU in the iPhone 6S realized “Hey Siri” had been said first, then the watch chimed in and tried to claim the action for what had been said since it was the active device at the time, and this whole negotiation process was what made Siri on the Watch unbearably slow to use.

VMware Storage Providers and Certificate issues

While trying to test out vVols in our vSphere 6.5 environment, presented via IBM Spectrum Control Base 3.2 from a StoreWize V9000 SAN, I ran into a small issue that took me a while to figure out:

I installed Spectrum Control Base 3.2 and presented its web services via a FQDN.
To avoid the nagging of modern browsers, I used a regular wildcard certificate valid for the domain I chose to use.
After the initial setup, when I tried to add SCB as a storage provider in VMware, I got the following error message: “A problem was encountered while provisioning a VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) signed certificate for the provider.
A web search showed me that this was a pretty common problem with several VASA providers, but none of the suggested solutions applied to our environment. After half an hour of skimming forums and documentation I found the following quote in an ancient support document from VMware:
Note: VMware does not support the use of wildcard certificates.

So: I generated a self-signed certificate in the Spectrum Control Base server webUI, and the problem disappeared.

Lesson of today: We don’t use wildcard certificates in a VMware service context.

Musings on the Apple Watch ’Series 0’ in 2018

I bought my Apple Watch pretty much exactly two years ago, after getting a good deal on someone’s returned Christmas gift; a Space Grey 42 mm Aluminum watch.

The ”killer feature” for me was the ability to see and even receive phone calls without having the phone directly on hand. The iPhone 5 I had at the time never supported more than 3G networks in Sweden, and 3G coverage is bad where I live. This means that I had a small number of spots with guaranteed coverage at home, but at the same time I was on call duty at work every few weeks. With the Apple Watch, I could leave my phone in a spot with known good reception, and walk around the house without fear of accidentally missing a call.

So how does it fare two years and three operating system updates later?
Functionally, I haven’t a lot to complain about. I think I’m noticing some degradation in battery life, but it’s not concrete enough for me to judge whether it’s an issue with the new OS or actual battery wear.
What has begun bothering me, though, is the noticeably lower responsiveness of the watch with the latest operating system. Asking Siri, the virtual assistant, something has become a frustrating exercise of attempting to wake her by voice, and then giving up and invoking the function using the side button, and then waiting forever for confirmation.

I’ve grown too fond of having this little computer on my wrist not to upgrade in the future, but given that watchOS seems to suffer from a very similar yearly increase in non-optional bloat as iOS, a new watch will likely not have a usable lifetime of more than 3-4 years, which is a shame, really. I’ve been lusting for a Space Black stainless steel Apple Watch, but realistically I won’t spend chronograph money on a disposable doohickey that will likely have lost a significant part of its usefulness in 36 months.