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My Fitbit and I Are Headed for a Split January 7, 2015

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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My motivation for physical activity over the last half-year has been largely driven by the acquisition of a Fitbit, the simple yet effective activity tracker that is almost always fastened to my belt except when I’m taking a shower.

At 5AM this morning, it was cold (5 degrees F). There was snow on the neighborhood streets. I wore my usual hoodie and sweats, with ear muffs and gloves, and ran 5K. When I returned, I discovered that my Fitbit had inexplicably reset itself and didn’t record any of the excursion. Perhaps it was the cold, but this had never happened before (it appears that there may have been a software update overnight).

Now that raises an interesting question. If I ran the 5K and there was no record, did I actually do it? I almost made an instant decision to go back out and do it again.

The question is, of course, more than philosophical (yes, I did run it). The Fitbit has been my primary motivator in activity. I feed off of the numbers, striving to maintain or even improve upon them on a daily basis. Without those numbers, will I be able to continue to compete with myself?

So I need a greater level of reliability in my life. Once failed, I don’t think I can trust the Fitbit again.

Adding to this whole conundrum was an unpleasant experience I had with Fitbit customer support, in which an order for an additional charger cord somehow got lost in their system. It didn’t ship until I called to inquire about it, even though the website said it had shipped. I question whether Fitbit understands the concept of e-commerce, even as that is where most of its business is generated.

So I am ready to break up with my Fitbit. I’m looking at the Microsoft Band. It has a lot of features, including beyond simple activity tracking, but it’s pricey. Thoughts, anyone?

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