Posts tagged: Fitbit Flex

A (Temporarily) Unexamined Life

By , September 15, 2015

A couple years ago I wrote about using a Fitbit Flex®, which struck me then, as it still does, as ironic (see Fitbit® Foolishness). The irony increased recently when my Fitbit died.

I confess, I felt relief for a moment. While I do enjoy being able to monitor my activity level, which really does fluctuate wildly, my heart lept a little at finding an excuse to free myself of the petty tyranny of the movement tracker. Then, my frugal nature reasserted itself.

These little gizmos run around $100 each. If I accepted its loss and tossed it, I’d have to rationalize that the cost of the unit amortized in two years of use. But, I learned that if I contacted the company to report the tracker’s failure, that same cost could be spread over considerably more time in the future.

I won’t describe the process, but I researched my problem and took steps to correct it, with the company’s help. Eventually, we both admitted that this unit really had died, and they sent a free replacement. That’s when the fun began.

A friend once shared a hilarious article on Fitbit use, a satirical set of rules users adhere to that came very close to the truth. They essentially boiled down to one edict: “if my Fitbit won’t give me credit for it, I’m not doing it.”

With a cross country shipment, a holiday weekend, and some really bad flying weather, my replacement took more than a week to arrive. In that time, I did some of the most intensive firewood hauling of the season!

Conditions coalesced to make this happen. We had a couple of sunny, breezy days, perfect for drying firewood. I finished bucking and stacking the trees I’d cut in the “Blow Down” at the far end of our property. Some of what I’d stacked there had dried in place to the point that it could be added directly to the growing wood pile in our shed. I wanted to push the winter wood gathering along, as the wood burning season begins. I had to forget about all the steps I’d accrue in the process that would never get recorded by the Fitbit, and just get going on it.

I did my job well. I made about four hauls each day. While I’ve never measured the distance from point to point, I estimate that each round trip covered 3/4 of a mile. Along with that, the motion of stacking the wood, chopping some of it, spreading tarps and all would have added considerably more to my daily movement. All undocumented, all nonexistent as far as the tracker is concerned.

In other words, life went on, I just didn’t have any data to show for it.

Now, I could go on line and enter the data by hand, recreating each day’s activity, but I can’t justify that, because I have a life. The only thing sillier than worrying about untracked data would be to sit down and key it in myself.

Finally, the Fitbit arrived, along with the tail of a tropical weather system from the South Pacific. The day I got it charged up and strapped back on my wrist, we got a lot of rain. I spent the day inside, doing very little, and my new Fitbit recorded every disgracefully slothful movement. I look like a slacker!

Since then, I’m beginning to redeem myself. A decent day of homestead chores usually shows up pretty well on the tracker graphs.

Today, the Tier II Subsistence Moose Hunt begins. Between now and October 7th, I’m sure to log a lot of miles as I tramp around searching for moose with just the right antler configuration. I think I’ll make up for any lapses in exercise, documented or otherwise.

Fitbit® Foolishness

By , April 14, 2014

I tipped my hand somewhat in my last post, A Walk Too Far, in mentioning that we have been using Fitbits® since Christmas. I’ve been meaning to write about them, so I’d better get to it.

Basically, Fitbits® represent the next generation of pedometer, worn as a bracelet. It uses the same motion sensing technology used in the Wii system to track and interpret movement. It also tracks sleep patterns, which we found most interesting—we’d been curious to see just how often our cat, Spice, disturbs our sleep (the results are rather appalling).

Goals may be set in calorie consumption, “active minutes,” distance covered, and steps taken. We have the Fitbit Flex®, which displays progress toward the steps goal with lights in 20% increments.

There’s a grand irony to trying to monitor our lifestyle with this device. It is not a particularly off-the-grid friendly system.

Mark's Fitbit Flex (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Mark’s Fitbit Flex (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Continue reading 'Fitbit® Foolishness'»

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