Weight weight don’t tell me

In the overall scheme of things, a week is a very short time, and yet, in my life anyway, a lot has changed.

Last week I was ranting how technology was pissing me off (right now autocorrect is pissing me off because it keeps changing pissing to passing), specifically the tomtom Runner Cardio watch I had just purchased, tried, was disappointed with, and returned.

Misfit Shine 2

I picked up a Misfit Shine 2 fitness tracker in its place and I have to say, life is good again. The Misfit Shine 2 is everything I thought it would be (so no disappointments) and it is surprisingly something I didn’t expect it to be.

Sidebar: If an appointment is a planned meeting at a certain time, shouldn’t a disappointment be when you cancel said meeting?

First, it looks sharp. Dare I say, sexy? Compared to the bulky and ugly tomtom. It’s also so light and comfortable, I don’t even notice it’s there.

It’s a watch! What time is it?

Second, it does what it says it should do: tracks steps and monitors sleep, both of which are accessed via the phone app, which though it isn’t an amazing app, it suffices. One interesting thing about the app is, unlike the Garmin or Fitbit, which continuously track your steps all day long (the Misfit also keeps a running total) the Misfit breaks up your activity into segments (based on intensity?) and you can pick what that activity was, like walking, running, cycling, swimming, or yoga, to name just a few options. 
For example, throughout my day it breaks up my activity into my morning walk, my midmorning walk, my lunch walk, my midday walk, and my walk back to my car. 

My midmorning and lunch walks

My only complaint with the app is, unlike Garmin or Fitbit, it doesn’t connect with MyFitnessPal nor to S Health, Samsung’s own fitness app (which is really nice by the way). It does, however, sync up with Lose It! although not as nicely as the interface between say, the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. So for the moment I’m using Lose It! (but only the free version. I don’t think you should have to pay a monthly subscription to any app).
Third, um, where was I? Oh! The surprise! Remember, the reason I got the tomtom was because it specifically said it could track your treadmill run. That is important to me because I’m a treadmill running fool. Street running is still rather uncomfortable for me at my present weight. 

The Misfit app, I noticed, has this feature called Activity Tagging. You can scroll through icons for running, basketball, cycling, soccer, swimming, or tennis (I’ll let you know how the tennis works later this month when I start practicing with my son for his high school team). You scroll to the activity icon, tap your Misfit three times, and say, “There’s no place like home.”

Activity Tagging

The Misfit then tracks that activity. Supposedly. In theory. I wasn’t sure what to expect since this is pretty much just a basic, if nice looking, step tracker. Well, let me tell you (because that’s what blogs are for), I was totally surprised when I finished my treadmill run using this feature (and you have to tell the app you’re finished by hitting Sync, by the way, or maybe tapping the device again). Not only did it give me my total steps and calories burned, like it does the rest of the time, but it told me how many miles I ran! And it was accurate to the treadmill’s readout to within 0.1 mile! Why did I waste time and money on the tomtom when this does the same thing? Oh, OK, the tomtom had GPS, but the Misfit has sex appeal. 
Yunmai Color Smart Scale

Guess what I just got? Oh, you peeked at the title! Yes, a smart scale!

Yunmai Color Smart Scale

I did a little research, not a lot, just enough to be dangerous and think I knew what I was going. I just wanted a digital scale to replace the old who-knows-how-reliable mechanical spring scale we had. I hadn’t planned on getting a smart scale (I didn’t know it was even a thing), but as I searched on Amazon and checked out reviews, I realized that for around the same price as a digital I could move up to a smart scale.

In the end I chose the Yunmai Color because it was attractive (the blue almost matches our bathroom), but mostly because of the price. It is 3 to 4 times less than the higher end smart scales by Fitbit, Withings, or Under Armour, but it’s price is right in the middle of the rest of the smart scale pack.

And it’s simple enough to use. You download the Yunmai Color app, register (We had a minor problem here. I registered a new account using my email while my wife signed in using Facebook then jumped on the scale first. For some reason her information appeared in my app under my name and it wouldn’t see me as a different user. So I uninstalled the app, reinstalled it, and this time signed in using my Facebook account and this time is gave me my results) and step on the scale, making sure your feet touch the two metal strips. The scale and app connect via Bluetooth. Easy peasy.

The scale, through the app, tracks your weight, as well as your BMI (and autocorrect thinks that should be BMW. I wish) and your percentage of body fat. The very first thing I noticed was on the Yunmai I weighed 5 pounds less than on the mechanical scale. 

I hugged it.

Since before Christmas I’ve been stuck at 210 pounds, give or take a pound due to a shaking needle pointing to barely visible measuring lines that I could never truly see while standing on it. Thus the reason for a digital scale in the first place.

Well, the Yunmai just helped me lose 5 pounds instantly ! It weighed me at 205.6 (all right, for the pedants, that’s 4.4 pounds to be precise). I admit that I know I didn’t lose that weight overnight and it is just showing me a more accurate measurement, and I know that means I’ve been stuck at 205 since before Christmas, not 210, but psychologically, seeing a 5 pound loss after being stagnant for so long, it might be enough to get over this weight plateau. 

So what did I do? Of course! I celebrated by having pizza for breakfast this morning.

Whoohoo! Technology is awesome!

Run. Weigh. Eat a pizza.

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Disclaimer: I do not get paid to endorse or write bad reviews on any product. 

tomtom gone gone

In Friday’s blog post, I wrote that I had just purchased a Tomtom Runner Cardio and I detailed my thoughts on it up to that point.

My prime concern at the time was the tomtom wasn’t syncing. I had wasted an evening and an entire next day trying to get it to sync. I tried everything, including unlinking the tomtom from my smartphone, turning off bluetooth, uninstalling the tomtom sport app, shutting down and restarting the smartphone and on and on and on. Nothing worked.

After I got back home that evening, I plugged it into the computer to see if I could get it to sync. I had plugged it into the computer when I first got it to charge it. This time I plugged it in and it started downloading an update, as well as a GPS map. I’m not sure why it didn’t install the update when I first plugged the watch in, but there you go.

After the updates were done installing, I went through the whole process of reinstalling the tomtom sport app, turning on bluetooth, and trying to get the phone and watch to sync.

This time, they synced. Yay!

Now I could play with it. So I went running on my treadmill. The tomtom Runner Cardio seemed to do a pretty good job figuring out my speed and tracked my treadmill run as well as the treadmill itself did. Yay! That was the main reason I bought the watch, because as I said, I do a lot of treadmill running, especially  in the winter.

Two issues down. Now to play with the app itself. Well, let me tell you, the app still sucks. It’s as minimalistic as they come. Maybe that’s because the watch itself is very simplistic, only designed to track running, outside or on a treadmill, so the app has very few features.

Sure it has some great feedback for the run. But it really doesn’t do much else.

Unlike the Garmin or Fitbit phone app, which have several useful features to help you monitor different activities, this pretty much just tracks your heartbeat and your runs.

And with regards to your heartbeat, that never seemed to show up on the app. Ever. It said something that if you wear the watch at least two hours a day, it’ll provide you with a resting heart rate. Or something. But it never did. The app never showed me anything about my heart rate.

It said it was syncing. It did upload my treadmill run info. But the heart? Nothing.

And also unlike the Garmin or Fitbit, syncing wasn’t automatic. You had to have both the app open and menu down on the watch to wake it up in order to sync. Way too much work.

So at this point, I’ve chalked the watch up as a Big Fail as a fitness watch. It doesn’t do step counting, it doesn’t monitor sleep, and the heart rate monitor is questionable at best. Sometimes it wouldn’t read anything when on my wrist, other times it was reading a heart rate of well over 100 when I was supposedly resting. So unless it realized I was stressed over the fact that the watch sucked, it just did not work very well. Additionally, the watch itself was bulky and uncomfortable. Not to mention, the app is a fail as well. Too minimal in feedback to even be useful.

So the bottom line? I’ve returned the tomtom Runner Cardio. I’m not sure I’d even recommend it to people who just want it for running. It was just too unreliable.

And I’ve picked up the Misfit Shine 2 in red. The fitness tracker I should have gotten the first place.

Maybe I’ll post a review. Maybe not. I already know the Misfit phone app is pretty awesome because my wife has the Misfit Ray. And the Misfit Shine 2 is similar in function to the Misfit Ray, it just has a different look to it. Both are very stylish. Both are comfortable and unobtrusive.

misfitspeedoshine2

Misfit Shine 2

I like red.

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2/28/2017 — I completely forgot to add one other point against the tomtom, and I believe it’s something in common with even their popular Spark model: the USB charger dock. 

TomTom Charger Dock

That bulky end piece on the left docks with the watch behind the menu button. I had some trouble getting it to fit, but then it finally clicked on.

No big deal until the watch was done downloading updates and had finished charging and it came time to disconnect.

I pulled and tugged and wiggled it, but nothing. I looked for a hidden tab or anything to indicate how it separated, but it seemed once joined it didn’t want to unjoin.

I was afraid if I used too much force, I’d damage something.

So I Googled how to disconnect the dock from the watch. It appears that is a common problem because there were tons of people asking the same thing.

The answer? Just yank hard.

Yes, well, I finally got it after several minutes of tugging, wiggling, and jerking. And the second time I attached it, removing wasn’t any easier.

So keep that in mind if you’re considering a tomtom Runner or Cardio.

TomTom needs to work on that. What’s wrong with a universal Mini-USB  plug?

Tomtom fail fail so far so far

Technology is really pissing me off.

For example, my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge this morning had no signal. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch point shit. The signal strength meter was greyed out with a tiny “x” by it, plus the words “Emergency calls only” was displayed along the top.

WTF? I hate this phone. Or I hate Verizon. Or I hate my building. Maybe it’s all part of some dastardly plan by the Cheeto in Cheat to prevent me from responding to his ignorant tweets.

Whatever.

My latest technology related rant is my brand spanking new fitness watch. I only just got it last night and already I’m frustrated as Hell.

It’s a tomtom Runner Cardio  (according to Amazon it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer — yet tomtom’s website shows something amazingly similar for 3x the price I paid. Go figure.).

To be honest, I haven’t even had a chance to run it through its paces yet. I spent the entire evening and again this morning just trying to get the thing TO SYNC UP WITH THEIR GODDAMMED PHONE APP!

But aside from that, what else is giving you buyer’s remorse, I hear you ask. Allow me to count the ways.

1) It doesn’t track steps! Really? I thought that was just a given with any wearable fitness device: they track steps. Not this one. And maybe that’s my fault. I didn’t think to even look for that as a feature when I was reading about it because I assumed that was a standard on all fitness devices. It would be like buying a car and then finding out it doesn’t have a GAS PEDAL. “We find most of our customers are perfectly happy just idling wherever they go.”

2) It doesn’t track sleep. Again, and maybe I’m wrong, but I assumed sleep tracking was another basic for fitness trackers. My Garmin Vivofit monitored sleep. So did my Fitbit Charge HR. My wife’s brand new Misfit Ray also monitors sleep. The tomtom doesn’t. But then, this thing is so bulky, I doubt I could wear it comfortably while I slept. Which brings up reason #3.

3) This thing is “Yuge!” as Benedict Donald would say. It did not look this big in the box at Best Buy when I looked at it. Nor did it seem so massive in the various pictures I looked at, but believe me, it’s so large I can’t even wear it comfortably with a long sleeve shirt; not and be able to button the cuff. In fact, buttoning the cuff squeezes the navigation button on the band and makes the menus change willy-nilly. Also, you can’t simple move the cuff off the watch to look at it. It’s that tight. I mean, the watch part is 1-5/8 inches wide, as is the strap buckle, while the strap itself narrows to a still very wide 1-1/4 inches. I mean, it feels like a massive shackle on my wrist.

Tomtom Runner Cardio

At this point, based on its pure bulk alone, I wish I had gone with the Misfit Shine 2. They are very minimal, unobtrusive, and much more stylish considering they are just a round disc (available in several colors) with tiny lights around the perimeter to indicate your status. And they track steps as well as sleep.

Misfit Shine 2

4) I chose the tomtom specifically because it had a heart monitor, which was a feature I liked of the Fitbit this was replacing. But unlike the Fitbit, which constantly monitored your heart rate and instantly provided feedback with just a tap and a glance, this one seems to take the long way home, forcing you to menu over to the heart rate sensor. Maybe I’m wrong in that. Maybe it does constantly monitor your heart and syncs that info to the phone app except, oh, that’s right, IT ISN’T SYNCING!

And the syncing problem isn’t with the phone, it’s something to do with either the tomtom app, or even the watch itself (maybe it just has a crappy Bluetooth transceiver), because almost every review of the app in the Android Play Store is bitching about, what’s that? Oh, right, SYNCING PROBLEMS!

Are you listening tomtom? Your app is a Piece of Shit!

Nothing pisses me off faster than technology that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

At this point, your probably wondering, Ed, what made you choose this particular fitness watch?

Well, I’ll tell you since you asked so nicely. I chose the Runner Cardio because it is specifically designed to track RUNNING. It has GPS to track your run, provides info on pace and distance, and compares runs, meaning it’ll show you how you did compared to your last run and if you’re beating or losing to yourself. But what really sold me was this can track you on the treadmill.

I do a lot of treadmill running. This is Wisconsin, after all, and we have more bad days than good. A fitness watch that could track me while indoors on a treadmill had me at “Hello.”

But I haven’t run with it yet. I’m still trying to SYNC THE GODDAMMED THING! Maybe once I do run with it the watch will impress me so much I’ll be able to forgive it all its other faults.

Maybe. I mean, a step counter is nice, but I know I average 20,000 steps a day, so I don’t need one for motivation. And a sleep tracker is fun to look at and go, “See? This and this and this were when the effing dogs had to go outside. Bastards.” But again, it isn’t an absolute necessity.

But not syncing? That is a deal breaker and I’m pissed.

SYNC, DAMN YOU!

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