Friday, March 21, 2014

PebbleBucks Streamlines My Habit

Originally written for eImagine Technology Group and posted at

The holidays were good to me; I had the chance to hang out with friends, spend a lot of time with loved ones, and even got some presents, too. One of the coolest presents that I received: my Pebble watch that has barely left my arm since it was unwrapped. I'm not alone either. Friends and coworkers have being raving about how awesome their Pebbles have been and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

With the jump to v2 of the SDK and firmware, the Pebble now has an official app store that allows you to discover apps and watch faces that you can freely download and install on your smart watch. This very system is what allowed me to discover PebbleBucks.

What is PebbleBucks?
PebbleBucks is an app for the Pebble that takes the base functionality of the Starbucks smart phone application and distills it into a single-screen portal of coffee-acquiring goodness. With it you can duplicate the scannable bar code that represents your card, retrieve the number of "stars" you have earned, see your current card balance, and note any rewards you may have available for use.

PebbleBucks, as it is found in the app store, is really a fork of an existing project (same name) found on GitHub. The original/master fork, headed up by Neal, was really geared towards the Pebble developer and had developers downloading the source, modifying it with hard-coded information (your bar code, user name, password, etc) to deliver a tailored app to your Pebble. This fork, by Alexsander Akers, dispenses with the need for building your own version. Utilizing the setup system on your smart phone for sending the necessary details to the Pebble smart watch application, your bar code and Starbucks information can be shown any time without digging out a card from your wallet or firing up the Starbucks smart phone app.

The Payoff
Fast forward to a cold morning in February when I rolled to the window at my favorite local Starbucks and was greeted and given my total. I cautiously extended my left arm out the window and up to the Starbucks window of the drive-thru saying, "OK, let's try this." Puzzled she looked at my Pebble and laughed, shaking her head. I urged her on, however: "Just give it a quick scan. If it doesn't work..." and was cut off by the accepting "beep" of the POS scanner.

Ahhh, my coffee habit streamlined. Genius.

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