pen rainbow

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mini-Post Thursday—What Dogs Want

Spot on...

What Dogs Want by Lisa Hanawalt

Smilies by dsmp

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home: Fitbit!

Sleek & smart design
Get moving & get healthy with this cool little activity tracker by fitbit!

I've never been a fan of pedometers because they were cumbersome to wear and usually didn't give me a lot of information.  I'd end up with impresssive numbers, but it was up to me to figure out what it all meant.

Until fitbit!

2.125 inches long
.75 of an inch wide
.5625 of an inch thick
weighs .4 of an ounce (11.34 grams).

This cool little device is diminutive and durable enough to stay attached to your clothing all day long.  I've worn mine during several trips through airports and around Disney World for a week.  I wear mine all day.  It goes on first thing in the morning when I get dressed and stays on until I plug it into its recharger before I go to bed at night.

It is made of hard, black plastic and is worn as a clip on a pants pocket or waistband.  The interior of the clip comes in 2 colors, azure blue or fuscia pink (they call it "plum").  It has a simple, single-button control that cycles through 6 modes:

Floors climbed
Calories burned
Overall recent activity (this shows up as a flower that grows with your activity)
Timer / Clock
Just the right size - 2"L x .75"W x .5"D

The OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display is blue, and it will silently chatter encouraging words during the day.  You can also personalize your display and customize the chatter.  It's nice to get those supportive little messages!  And, when you hit certain achievement levels, will send a surprise e-badge to your account and to your email.  I love 'em!  Minute-to-minute data is stored for 7 days, and daily totals for calories, distance, and steps are stored for a month.  Battery life without a recharge is 3 days.  

Wireless Sync
The six features and memory storage, plus the convenient size and Mac/PC compatabilities, combine to make this a really great little tool.  But, what makes it uber-practical is that it syncs up to your free account either through the recharger base station which plugs into your computer's USB port or wirelessly whenever the tracker is within 15 feet of the base and relatively still.  So, what you get is an ongoing source of current data with 95 to 97 percent accuracy and the ability to check your progress.  You can track progress online, and there is also an iPhone app.    

I'm a big picture thinker, so I love the weekly progress reports that are sent to my email.  I get the weekly totals, and it tells me which days were my most and least active.

Sleepy Time
Along with daytime activity, fitbit also tracks sleep patterns.  It comes with a wristband that is worn while you sleep, then uploaded to in the morning (when placed onto the recharger or by wireless).  It tracks what time you went to bed, how long it took before you fell asleep, times awakened, time spent in bed, and time spent asleep.  The relationship between daily activity, weight, and a good night's sleep is well known.  Fitbit provides real time stats on how you sleep!  Pretty cool.

fitbit tracks sleep patterns

Browser Supported

Mac & PC Reqs
Windows XP / Vista / 7
Mac OS X 10.4.11+, 10.5+ and 10.6 (32- and 64-bit)
USB port
Internet access

$99.95 + free shipping for the newest version, the fitbit ultra, which has some updated features from the original.  Purchase it online from the fitbit website.

Con (and a half)
The only con that I've run into has to do with calibrating the length of my footsteps.  This came up when I was traipsing around Disney World for seven days with my hubby, and we were walking the same distance for the same amount of time each day.  Within the first hour of walking, he was outpacing me on footsteps, and by the end of the day, he was at least a half of a mile ahead of me.  We figured that this had something to do with the length of our strides.  There is a lot of information online about calibrating the fitbit, some easier to understand than others.  Our solution:  Don't compare fitbit notes with your spouse.

The half-con is that it is not waterproof.  It is designed for normal use (walking or running) and is moisture resistant, but you have to protect it if you're expecting to get wet.  I used to pour cups of water over my head when I was running, so I'd have to put it someplace waterproof.  I've yet to try my fitbit while running.

Happy 2012 & get moving!