Posts Tagged ‘fitbit’

Dear Fitbit, I lost my tracker…

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

I lost my Fitbit today. It fell off my trousers when I was out for a long walk while the kids rode their bikes, and I didn’t notice. Boo. 🙁

But I found it. Yay! 🙂

A few thoughts for Fitbit about this:

Belt clips

I don’t like the Fitbit One‘s belt clip as much as the Ultra‘s belt holster. It’s stronger, and less likely to snap (which is what happened to my Ultra and why I ended up having to get the One). But it’s not as effective. It’s hard to attach it to many of my clothes, which was never the case with the Ultra. And it falls off. This isn’t the first time it’s fallen off, although it’s the first time it’s happened without me noticing.

Design-wise, I think it needs reconsidering.

Knowing when I lost it

We’d been out for hours. I had no idea when it had gone missing.

But the Fitbit app on my Nexus 4 background syncs with my Fitbit. I checked my phone.

Last synced: 40 minutes ago.

That was a big clue. I knew where we’d been and could retrace my steps. Knowing how fast we’d been going and that my phone had last seen the Fitbit 40 minutes before gave me a rough idea of where it might be.

But Fitbit, if your app stored a location with each sync, and could show me a map, that would’ve been so much better! I guess you need to think about the battery implications for my phone, but even a rough large-radius location estimate would’ve been appreciated.

Using my phone as a fitbit-detector

When I tried to manually get the app to sync with the Fitbit, it threw a “Tracker not found” error.

I retraced my steps, repeatedly hitting the sync button. My idea was that once I was within Bluetooth range (What is Bluetooth’s range outside? A dozen metres?) my phone would sync, and I’d know I was close.


fitbit – a source of personal data

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

A month ago I got a Fitbit Ultra. It’s a small gadget that you carry around with you all the time to monitor your activity. How many steps you take, how many flights of stairs you go up, how far you walk, how much sleep you get and how restful it is, and much more. It also comes with apps and tools for monitoring stuff like diet and weight. And it makes all of this information available to you, both through a website and through an API.

This isn’t really a review – there are plenty of those about already if you’re interested (Of all the reviews I’ve read, The Verge’s review is the closest to what I would write if I was gonna write one). Instead, I want to talk about the fitbit from the perspective of a data-geek.

Before I start, it’s worth putting this in context. I am loving the fitbit, but I don’t pretend that it’s necessarily something you have to get. Put it this way – I used CurrentCosts to monitor my home energy usage on the web and on my mobile, I wrote code to find out which keyboard keys I press most often, I made a whole website to visualise patterns in what I watch on TV, I wrote code to make map visualisations of where I go with my mobile, I wrote code to use a webcam and face recognition software to measure how my mood changes as I watch different TV programmes or play different console games… I could go on (no, really), but you probably get the point.

I find this sort of personal data stuff fascinating. I’m not the only geek in the world like this – Stephen Wolfram wrote a great blog post last month about some of the stuff that he collects that really puts me to shame.

But when I say that I think the fitbit is awesome, just bear in mind where I’m coming from, okay? 🙂

In this post, I want to give examples of the data that it makes available, and what sort of things you can do with it.