Fitbit, why are you doing this to me?

I recently got myself a Fitbit Charge HR fitness tracker.
This was highly recommended to be one of the best trackers on the market, providing awesome statistics, caller id integration, etc.
This sounded like a perfect gadget to get …

However, even after the first couple of days, it became obvious, that Fitbit isn’t living up to my expectations. Below my list of shortcomings that, unfortunately, lead me to not recommending this fitness tracker to anyone else.

Edit spring 2016: I’ve sold my Fitbit Charge HR after approx 9 months – it simply does not fit my needs and Fitbit does not care enough to properly fix it’s issues.

Complaints Rant list

  1. Online Account:
    Operating your fitness tracker requires a Fitbit online account – no Account and you have a beautiful *cough* black wristband.
    Privacy sensitive users will give Fitbit a pass alone for this fact.
  2. Data export and sync:
    There is no support for simply exporting the data on my phone,
    there is no possibility to (directly) sync with popular third party or Open Source apps and syncing to the Fitbit app seems to require your phone to be online
  3. Notifications:
    Caller id notifications are extremely delayed and there is no SMS or other notification support available as of now
    (though Fitbit is saying they are working on this – let’s see).
  4. Android integration:
    Besides that there is no Android integration at all, i.e. my alarms are not synced to the tracker but instead, I would need to set this via the app.
    Other features I am missing include notification/vibration in case I am leaving my phone behind and going out of reach, and properly working smart unlock.
    Smart unlock only seems to work if you have synced your tracker within the last couple of minutes and/or just received a call.
  5. Activity tracking:
    My Fitbit Charge HR does not properly recognize all the things I do during the day, i.e. stairs climbed seems to be out of sync most of the time.
    On top of that, riding a scooter for approx 15 minutes will add around 1000 steps and a couple of stairs climbed.
    I then thought I will just start an activity by long pressing the button on my tracker, but then there is no possibility to simply exclude activities from being taken into consideration.
  6. Updates:
    Good thing is: Fitbit tries to push regular updates to improve the user experience and even offers the possibility to opt-in for beta testing.
    However, there are no detailed change logs available and thus nobody really knows, what they are actually up to.
  7. Other things:
    Other things that increase disappointment include a short battery life, no decent water resistance and no “multi-paring” (think: receiving caller id information from both your private and business mobile).
    Of course, nothing of that is promised, but still, the Fitbit Charge HR is lacking those features …

Final words

I recently saw that Fitbit is trying to address at least the notification delays in their beta app, so I still hope that we will see improvements of the functionality and more openness – you know, hope dies last…

Visiting Damla and Oliver in Switzerland (1)

Nearly one year ago, Damla and Oliver moved to Zurich. After cutting a deal visiting them after Damla has completed her Ph.d., i finally had no choice 😉

After a tough night working until 5.00 am, I missed my 07.14 am train by 10 minutes. Believe it or not, this is the first time I actually missed an important train and I’ve never missed a flight *g*! Well, I had to learn it the hard way one day, hadn’t I 😉

Continue reading Visiting Damla and Oliver in Switzerland (1)

Being Everyone by Anonymous

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMT tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup.” I said.

“I… I died?”

Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies.” I said.
Continue reading Being Everyone by Anonymous