Quick Tips

Quick Tip: Dry Erase Markers on Window Glass

One thing I miss about working in an office is the ubiquity of whiteboards for jotting a note or fleshing out an idea. If you’ve seen the algorithm scene from The Social Network, you’ll have a hunch that dry erase marker can be used on glass. Fortunately in this case, it actually does work as well as the movies.

Take field logistics to the next level
Total pound jottings for yield monitor calibration

Will this come off the glass?

Yes- in my experience, this comes off with no residue or ghosting of the glass. In the spring of 2020 I jotted some common headings for tillage and forgot to erase them until I got back in this tractor in the fall. I was surprised with how easily it still wiped off with a dry paper towel without leaving any residue.

This spent the summer of 2020 on this tractor glass and came off easily in the fall.
Quick Tips

Quick Tip: Using a Smartwatch to View a Remote Camera

There are a handful of reasons I enjoy farming with an Apple Watch: viewing notifications and taking phone calls with dirty hands, glancing at the weather forecast with the turn of a wrist, and quantifying my activity level on physically active days. Perhaps the most fun is using the camera remote app as a remotely viewable camera.

Camera Remote app, center

The camera remote app is designed for what it says- triggering the iPhone’s camera remotely, like you would for a self portrait. The interface displays a live view of the camera with a trigger button and timer controls. Because the live view fills the screen to a reasonable size and can be viewed within the watch’s operating range (up to 50′ line of sight in my tests) this is great way to add a camera at an important angle and watch it on your wrist.

Obvious use case: backup camera

I mostly use this as a backup camera when I’m alone without a feedback buddy. The first time I used this was actually while hooking up to a gooseneck trailer; my truck toolbox obscures a direct view of the ball socket, so while I could horizontally center from the cab, I found myself getting in and out of the truck to achieve the proper front/back alignment. The wheel well provided an ideal place to prop the phone at an angle and the signal strength was sufficient going through a toolbox and the back of the truck cab.

Rolling the digital crown on the Apple Watch will zoom the camera, and you’ll see a zoom indicator at the top of the screen. If you’re precise about your camera placement, this could allow for narrowing in on a specific detail.

Other uses

One of the most practical non-backup use cases I’ve encountered is in starting the irrigation system at the orchard where we have a gas powered pump near the pond intake and a pressure gauge at the stand pipe. Different types of drip line require different operating pressures and it can take a few minutes to push the air out of the system. Pointing the phone at the stand pipe pressure gauge and remaining stationed at the pump prevents any huge pressure fluctuations and saves a few feedback trips between the pond edge and stand pipe located up bank.


  • Sometimes it can be challenging to position your phone at the proper angle, especially in a place it won’t get damaged
  • This is a digital video stream, and thus is subject to lag and caching. It’s best to move a bit, then wait for the view on the watch to update to get a feel for the lag and make sure you’re not seeing an outdated view.
  • There is at least a ~20 second fixed cost to opening the app, making sure it connects, and placing the camera in the right location. Consider the needs of the job and how much time you save doing this vs walking back and forth.

Non-Apple Watches

I have no direct experience with other brands of smart watches. I’m sure this type of functionality is possible through third party apps and may even be available out of the box via a similar remote app. If anyone has experience with other watches, let us know in the comments below.