Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fitbit update - I gave up

No, I didn't give up on the Fitbit itself, just on trying to get the !@#$%^! dongle to work with my PC. It never happened, and Fitbit "help" was no help at all - not the online info and not their email replies, which were just copy/pastes of the online info.

But hey, a little bit of Googling revealed that there's a Kindle app for Fitbit. Easy to access and install and voila!  Within moments I could upload the Fitbit's data to the Fitbit dashboard and I was ready to roll. Or walk, actually.

I have no complaints with the Fitbit itself. I like that it's tiny. It lives in my pocket during the day and in its silicone clip at night when I've got my jammies on.

Because oh, yes, I have fallen for making sure every single footstep is recorded. I don't wear it in bed - the model I have, the Zip, is not like the more upscale models that tell you about your sleep patterns (I don't need a device to tell me how poorly I sleep!). The Fitbit in its clip sits on the bed table where I can grab it and walk with it pressed against the top of my leg when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. So every single step is recorded.

Isn't that terrible?

No, it is not. I have already increased my footsteps from a few thousand on the first days - just doing my regular ranch chores gets me that - to a whopping 10.2K yesterday!  Isn't that what the Fitbit and other devices like it are for?  To encourage getting exercise?

Well it does exactly that, so I say in spite of the installation fail, the Fitbit is a winner for me.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fitbit report #3 The Force Awakens

I think I did it - get my Fitbit installed and working properly. I think so. Of course, anything is possible, because I realized last night that we are in a Mercury retrograde January 5 – 25.

Mercury retrograde: the astrological time when your computer, your phone, your Kindle, your FITBIT all hate you (more than usual).

You know the login issue I had last night? Seems that you can’t simply log in using a Facebook or Google account when you register – even though that option is provided. You have to create a Fitbit account on its own and then later you can sync the Facebook or Google account. Note: now that I finally got my Fitbit device registered (I think… I hope…) I’m not about to mess things up by attempting to sync accounts.

Here’s what my astrologer friend Trish says about Merc retrograde:
Mercury "rules" communication of all types, the devices we use to communicate with, our thinking process, also has influence over daily routines and schedules. When Mercury turns retrograde ... literally moving backwards in apparent motion in the sky ... Mercury ruled things do not behave in straightforward manner either. Messages get garbled, we're misunderstood, we lose things (Mercury "rules" the cubbies we keep small objects in like drawers and pockets), we don't think in straightforward ways ... it's better to "think through" old matters, redo writing (edit, etc), cover old ground. People we haven't talked to in awhile tend to show up with more frequency during Merc retrograde. Items we've lost previous do tend to reappear (it's said that if we lose something at a Mercury retrograde it will likely reappear at the next Merc retro ... this has happened to me more than once!).

Electronics are more glitchy as Mercury has influence over electronics, so not the best time to buy new electronics if we can help it. (If we can't help it, do it and don't worry about it .... the planet won't stop spinning, I promise!)
The primary influence of Merc retro is that it shreds schedules, so if we're used to keeping a tight schedule we're gonna be stressed out ... leave a lot of leeway in our appointments and schedules when Merc is retro, we'll probably need it. This is where the famed "don't travel on Merc retro" comes from ... it's not that Merc retro is bad to travel on ... it's actually great, as long as we're not tightly committed ... but you know, those trains and planes just will not run on time, or will do so less frequently so a longer layover better than a tight one at this time. 
~ Trish Marie Astrology (Facebook)
~ Never Give Your Birthdate to an Astrologer (Trish's blog) 
So not only can I blame Fitbit, I can blame Mercury, too - right? Anything but taking the blame on myself [sarcasm alert].

But seriously. There’s an art to writing instructions and it seems that that art has faded away. Getting back to blaming Fitbit, I’ve got to ask what is so awful about labeling the steps

Numbering: It’s been around a long time.

Does it matter with the Fitbit what order you do things? Apparently yes. So then, I have to ask why not say “this is the first step”. Or even “STEP 1”. And then go on to a second step, or STEP 2.  And not just abandon you in the Setup part, but actually add a STEP 3. And then when there are links, make sure they're also in the necessary order so that the poor customer who's trying to get her Fitbit up and running doesn't go haring off to a more advanced step. (Shouldn't there have been instructions somewhere along the way saying to put the battery in the Fitbit?)

Step-by-step instructions. Radical idea? Too radical for Fitbit?

Oh – and about the actual footsteps.

I live in a 700 square foot cabin. I’m not going to get many steps recorded when I’m inside even if I pry myself away from the computer, that’s for sure. So my steps are going to accumulate when I do outside chores and of course, when I hike.

This morning it took me just about 1000 steps to feed horses and chickens. The Fitbit stubbornly refuses to add anything on for chopping holes through the ice in the horse troughs, more’s the pity. Later on I’ll have to haul wood for the afternoon and evening, and of course tonight I’ll feed again and I’ll take my usual evening walk. I will rack up the steps then.

And hey, I’ve got nearly 1900 steps in so far today. See? The Fitbit, in spite of it all, is doing (in my opinion) what it’s supposed to do: Make me aware of how much I’m walking around so that I’ll be more inclined to increase my activity.

Here's an article about Fitbit and other fitness devices' accuracy. Looks like my model and the Fitbit One are the most accurate, but the article says: "We did find in general that most of these devices are accurate, but we found that smartphones, which most Americans carry with them every day, are just as accurate."

And by the way: The astrology

It would seem there is something to this Mercury retrograde. Look how this Fitbit thing is going.

But no - that's not all! I’ve been experiencing loss of connection to the internet every day for a few minutes at a time, this past week. And Windows keeps trying to install security updates automatically and then telling me the updates can’t be installed (of course, that’s pretty common now that Mr. Gates’ company has maliciously stopped supporting XP).

My computer’s clock started refusing to synch with internet time a couple days ago. For the past week it’s been 2 hours and 11 minutes off every time I start up in the a.m. Except this morning, it was just 11 minutes off. I can’t make the clock automatically sync, I have to manually set the time each morning now.

I’m not going to assume any of this is a permanent problem till after January 25, though. It's safer to just stick it out for another 10+ days till Mercury settles back down again.

Mercury being retrograde.  Nanner nanner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fitbit report #2

Well, it finally arrived today, "only" 11 days after ordering. As I said before, buyer beware. You want it fast? Pay for faster shipping or buy from some company that actually knows how to get a product shipped.

Setup: Hah. First of all, my desktop is ancient. I’m running XP. So yes, I get it that I can’t expect modern tech to work smoothly with my computer but excuse me, Fitbit, if you don’t want people who use ancient OS to try to set up an account, then don’t offer the download for said ancient OS.

I decided to set up the Fitbit account using my Google account info. Well, okay, that didn’t work. It says “Welcome back, Lif Strand” but then it asks for me to login and won’t accept the Google account info.

So I click on “Forgot your password?”, enter my email address for password recovery and guess what? “The email address you provided did not match a registered user account.”

Oh no, I’m not messing with this tonight. I already hate Fitbit and this is adding nails to the coffin. If I keep trying to deal with this stupid login issue tonight I’ll just have to throw the damn thing on the floor and smash it.

Wonder how many footsteps that counts for?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fitbit report

Midnight blue!
Yes, I know Fitbits are just fancy pedometers with extra doo-dad capabilities, but so what. Any gadget that gets a person moving and helps a person become more aware of how much physical activity she’s really getting is a good gadget.

Plus I’m curious. My friends have Fitbits. I don’t generally succumb to the desire to have as many toys as the next friend, but darn. I know in a normal day I must take many more steps than they do.

I have a pedometer around here somewhere, but where? Am I even going to look?

No, because I have gone ahead and ordered a Fitbit.

I chose the El Cheapo model, the Fitbit Zip, no doubt called that because it doesn’t do much more than a pedometer does other than connect to the web and record footsteps. That's fine for me. I don’t really care to know how many calories it thinks I ate or used or whatever, nor do I need a device to tell me how poorly I sleep.

Besides, if I ever want to know those things and more, I can upgrade.

So I ordered my Fitbit Zip (in a chic Midnight Blue) from Fitbit itself on Jan 2. I ordered it with free shipping. Ten days ago. BIG MISTAKE.

I admit I’m awfully spoiled by Amazon. I’m a Prime member and Amazon processes orders and ships stuff faster than fast, so that even the slowest way of coming to me is only ever a few days.

But no.  I did not order from Amazon.  I ordered from Fitbit.  And I think Fitbit worked hard to find the absolute slowest way to ship so as to punish me for not paying extra for shipping.

Here it is ten days later and no Fitbit. Using the tracking number provided I see that not only is it still on its way, but now (for the third time) there’s another message that it’ll be a few more days.

I mean, really – could they find any way to ship slower?

My idea was to get the least expensive Fitbit, try it out, report about it here on my blog, and if I had a favorable report, I'd get the next level up, try it out, report about it, etc.

So my first post is this: TERRIBLE SHIPPING and disappointment and I haven't even tried my Fitbit out yet. And I haven't walked any more, either, because you know - I don't have my Fitbit yet so why walk?

Summary: Buyer beware. Get your Fitbit with free shipping from someplace other than Fitbit directly. Or don't be a cheapskate like me - pay the damn shipping fee. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016