This clock is the Internet in a box

I recently bought a LaMetric Time.

What is it?

LaMetric Time is an Internet connected clock with a difference. I like to think of it as a smart watch in clock form. A smart watch for your desktop. It has just three buttons (forwards, backwards and 'action') and a cheerful LED display. Although it is a clock, it differs from your current wall or desk clock with one phrase: 'App store'.

The LED technology in the LaMetric Time defeats all ut my best attempts at capturing a good image on my cameras. See the links for better images. The display scrolls like those you see in airports or shops, or whilst waiting for your doctor's appointment. I can't stress enough how the display actually looks much better than shown in the image captured on my cheap Samsung camera above.

Setting up

Getting going with LaMetric is painless. You simply pair it with your Android device and point it at your WiFi connection. As with such devices there is a usually a software update, which it performed fairly quickly although there was no indication of how long this would take. Ultimately, it it not take long. The device picks up the correct time from time servers on the Internet and you are good to go.

LaMetric Time is a clock...durr!

As you would expect, the date and time are displayed in big bold chunky 8-bit-style characters. There are also apps for stop-clocks, calendars, timers, alarm clocks and count-downs. You can set LaMetric so that it displays just the time, or a single app, or you can have it cycle through all the apps. You can even customize for how long the apps display on screen.

One really nice feature is the sunset and sunrise time. I like having this information on my desktop. It also shows the number of hours of sunshine (important as we move from our vitamin-D deficient UK winter into the ever-so slightly brighter months of summer). You can also choose to show the moon phase, which keeps me happy, and could help avoid any unpleasant entanglements with werewolves. Again.

LaMetric Time is a Radio

Initially I was disappointed with the 5 preset radio stations my LaMetric came with. That was until I found the 'plus' button which lets you add from over 3000 Internet radio stations including those you also might expect to also get on FM radio. There is an audio-out socket at the back and I have mine hooked up to my stereo pre-amp. The sound quality is really rather good.

Message Board

This app turns your device into one of those scrolling display tickers you see in shop windows. If you feel like you need one of these in your life, then maybe you are a shop window, or you own one. I haven't found a use for this yet. I am not sure why I would want to display a scrolling message to myself, however I guess this app is for people you want the LaMetric to be a public-facing device.

The LaMetric companion app interface running on my Samsung GT-N5110. Just press the plus button for more apps!

All the other apps...

Although not supported quite as well as other smart products on the market, there is an app store full of all-sorts of stuff for you to personalise your desk clock. One of my favourites is the hugely pointless 'Coffee Counter', which tracks how many coffees have been consumed by LaMetric users (actually it keeps track of how many times someone has pressed the action button whilst using the app, but close enough). Somehow this helps you feel closer to other coffee drinkers.

The Asteroid Today app shows you how close we as a planet came to a collective inhalation today. Phew. Most of them miss.

Scrolling through the apps in the app store I can see dozens of apps both for productivity and entertainment: News headlines, motivational quotes, Facebook fan counters, Chuck Norris jokes, London Underground status and Weather to name just a few.

Furthermore you can connect your LaMetric time to other Internet of Things such as the Amazon Echo or Hue lights. Or you may just wish to use it to stream music from your phone through the Bluetooth speakers.

The really cool part.

LaMetric gets really interesting when you connect it to your IFTTT account. If you didn't know, IFTTT lets you connect all your favourite online services (well, perhaps not all of them, but more are arriving all the time).

With IFTTT you can create 'applets' or 'recipes'. Litterally, if this happens, then that should happen. There are two ways this can play with your LaMetric. This first is so you can receive notifications on your LaMetric in the form of a notification sound, icon and short message, and the other is through the IFTTT indicator app. This leaves a permanent message appearing on your device (until the next message appears). You can also use your LaMetric device as an IFTTT 'do' button, should you so desire.

I have found it most useful to receive notifications whenever new YouTube videos have been uploaded onto my favourite channels. I wouldn't want to miss the next Lindybeige.

I have other applets set up to inform me of new tweets, mentions or followers on Twitter and other social media including Yo. I get a notification whenever the International Space station passes overhead along with news and weather from Mars. I even have a notification telling me when my bedtime is (it was twenty minutes ago).

In fact, there really is no end to what you can do with your LaMetric once you have IFTTT working with it. I suggest you head over and buy one now. They really are an awesome tech toys.

Don't believe me? Perhaps this video from Techmoan will be of interest to you.

Or, perhaps you would listen to the Elders of the Internet?

That's all from me for today. +1 geek experience point for LaMetric Time (even though the calendar app does get the date format wrong!)

PS. If you enjoyed this post, then you might like my RSS news ticker for Raspberry Pi.