Logo of verkstedtIn case you are wondering about unanswered mails and a general lack of availability on my site, for the last few weeks I was pretty busy with preparing everything for my latest adventure: I’ve founded verkstedt. – A small team of dedicated software developers, with a focus on building and shipping great applications.

Of all the things, I’ve been doing over the years, “Writing Code & Leading Teams” is what stayed. It’s this combination of constantly learning new things while being able to create an environment that allows others to grow and have fun alongside with me, that excites me.

In the past I’ve never really been able to live by that idea. Wherever I was, I was always EITHER writing code OR leading teams.

At that time I felt that this made sense, because it allowed me to learn what I needed to know step by step. But now I feel like I’m ready to take things one step further and truly live by my claim for the first time ever.

I’ve invited some nice people (and great minds) to join me on that ride, rented a comfy room at The Space Shack in Schöneberg (Berlin) and now it feels as if we are ready for our first project (which actually already started).
Fortunately I didn’t have to do this all on my own. I had a lot of support by friends and colleagues who helped me by sharing thoughts and contacts (both of which is incredibly important). I hope, you know who you are, but there are two people, whom I like to thank in person: Yochen Gutman and Nadja Ritter  Yochen started designing my really cool logo, just because he liked what I’m doing and felt that he would like to support it and Nadja supports me organizing the grand opening party on october, 19th (yes, simply ping me, if you would like to come). – Thanks a lot, I really really appreciate your work!
So from now on, you’ll find me and the amazing verkstedt team in Akazienstr. 3a. We are open – and we have coffee. So just come by!
And of course we also have a home in the cyberspace (https://verkstedt.com) and on Twitter (@verkstedt).

Pebble apps are always written in plain C. That is what I always thought and why I never really looked into building them myself.

But sometimes things turn out to be much simpler, then I expected it. To be honest, in tech this does not happen very often, which is why I got pretty excited when I found out how trivial it actually is to build a custom dictation app for my watch.

All you have to do is to create a UI.Window object and bind the Voice.dictate functionality to the show event of the window.

The Pebble takes care of everything else (like recording the voice, transforming it to text and even asking the user if it result is correct).

After everything is done a callback is executed. Here I created an Ajax request towards an API that simply echoes what I send to it.

So here you go, a Pebble dictation app in just 33 lines of JavaScript:

By the way, I used the CloudPebble IDE to “build” this app and if you think about building something for the Pebble yourself, I’d highly recommend this. It’s a really well done browser app that not only offers a preview of the app, but also allows you to deploy it directly from the cloud on to my watch (which, of course, is awesome and creepy at the same time).

First thing I built with my new super powers was a Completely Useless Chat System (that’s why the initial screen in the video says CUCS), but I already found a much more useful project, which will not be any harder to implement: task tracking!

For me as a Freelancer it’s quite painful to track what I’ve done for my clients (and some of the bigger ones require me to do so). So instead of managing Excel sheets, telling my watch what I’m doing and letting it store into a Google Spreadsheet sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Apart from that, I’d be very interested to find out, if any of the other two people in the world, who develop for the Pebble platform are into this as well. Maybe together we can come up with some more (and less useless) ideas?