Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oops! The lift is out of service

Whilst it may feel safe from the flood waters swamping the North of UK at the moment, floor 12 in the Hilton Leeds may not seem so great when the lifts are out of service!

Armed with the Fitbit Ultra though I thought it would make good research whilst I'm still checking the numbers and statistics.  I hit the start button at the ground floor and headed up.  Here's the results - clever how it knows the number of floors. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

New Fit Bit One

A month into using the Fit Bit Ultra, a new product is coming out, the Fit Bit One.

My pre order is done, so review to follow but essentially it adds a sync via bluetooth (no dock) directly with your iphone type device. Additioanlly some kind of alarm for waking you up at the best time.  This follows the popularity of some of the iPhone sleep apps in the iTunes store.

More to follow.  In the meantime, read below my progress with how I am getting on with the Fit Bit Ultra.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fitbit Ultra vs Nike+ vs Garmin 610 vs WalkJogRun

Its all about the data? These three devices should tell us how far, how fast and all claim to tell us how many calories were burned during that exercise.

All are something you wear/carry on a run.  Dock when you get back and each has a fancy website to analyse the results.

Out of interest I went out wearing my Garmin 610, Fit Bit Ultra and carried my Ipod Nano - with Nike+.

Garmin 610 5.21 miles, 8.32 miles per minute, 601 calories
Nike+ 5.1  miles, 8.4  miles per minute, 570 calories
Fitbit 4.01 miles, 11.13 miles per minute, 442 calories
WalkJogRun (Manual) 5.1miles, 8.39 miles per minute, 576 calories

After some more research found a "Running Stride" length setting for the fitbit.
I calculated this from the run above, using the formula (63360 x Miles / Steps = Stride in inches ) on the website.

New Run Results:
Garmin 610 9.84 miles 8.24 miles per minute, 1143 calories
Fitbit 9.49 miles 8.45 miles per minute, 1016 calories

Each devices summary is shown below.  Both the Nike+ and Fitbit are using similar technology to "count" your distance, whilst the Garmin is using Acutal GPS tracking; and the map showing the route is exactly correct so I have the most belief in the Garmin result.  Theres alot of talk around the calorie calculations used generally but the Garmin doesnt compare because its more accurate distance measurement at 5.21 miles used.  To validate the calories, I used My FitnessPal to compare which computes 578 calories.

EDIT: To verify the Garmin accuracy I used WalkJobRun website to compare, manually plotting the same route.  The numbers are fairly close to the Garmin, so I believe the is proven to be the most accurate.

The bottom line is the expense I guess, each gives you a ball park set of data, which is all relative for you.  Using Amazon for prices we can see accuracy costs;
Garmin 610 £240, Nike+ (Ipod Nano) £125   Fitbit Ultra £72

To summarise, Garmin gives you the most accuracy in terms of distance but is the most expensive.  The Nike+ gives you an iPod to play with, radio and music on your run too,  and the Fitbit gives you the most "overall" health tracking - the Fitbit website allows the tracking of food, sleep, weight etc.  I'm enjoying the Fitbit ultra tracking, the statistics and comparisons to peer groups is really interesting - and will have its own post here soon.  For me a combination of Fitbit Ultra and  Nike+ option makes a good combination for recreational/fitness running.

Basically if you want accurate distance tracking for race events, Garmin is the device you need, and you'll need to pay that bit more.    For general fitness the Fitbit solution is superb.  Garmin just wont work for this, its battery will only last a few hours.  Fitbit works for days (5 days without charge for me), 24 hours a day. The Fitbit website is one of the best sites I've used and allows you to integrate exercise with food, sleep and lots of other data. 

Fitbit Banner - Affiliate Program

Fit Bit

Garmin 610

Fitbit Ultra

I've been testing the Fitbit Ultra recently; it combines data/statistic collection with a geat web interface, an iPhone app and running/general fitness which got my interest.

This past week I've been collecting the statistics to compare Fitbit vs Garmin vs Nike Fuelband vs Nike+.  I will be completing a run this week to complete the review and will post up soon.  Im also hoping to compare the results in a couple of weeks time head to head at the Nottingham Half Marathon.  Not sure any of them will help with my PB though?!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Loosing that Bluetooth Mouse

For a year or so I've tried various different mice;  currently using a Logictech.  However randomly it would loose connection and the only way to get it back was to remove bluetooth device and add again.  I've updated firmware, drivers, etc but it still persisted.  Finally found the fix via by turning off power off setting in the control panel.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

British Gas Remote Control Heating

I hadn't heard of this but its been trialled for a while by British Gas; last week it was soft launched within their service division and this weekend they have started the advertising.  Basically we get to control the temperature of the central heating over the Internet, from a browser or iPhone app.  And it works. 

It looks like the start of something that could be much bigger in terms of home automation too.  Will be interesting to watch it develop.

Ours was installed in about 90 minutes, very efficiently by a British Gas home service engineer.  He took time to explain how it all worked and tested things and connections.   Over the next few weeks the system will gather times and temperatures and we will learn what works best.  In advanced mode we can set temperatures for different times on different days - and hopefully - save some energy bills too.  You can do all the setup online at and then do monitoring and controls online or with the app.

So - Week 1 tips -  The dashboard will show the outside temperature - but only if in Your Account details section you have the postcode - and there is no space in it, e.g. RG122BX not RG12 2BX.  Also, use Internet Explorer for full functionality.  Firefox 12+ seems to have some bugs here and there, IE seems to have the most compatibility.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Portable Dropbox and Multiple Accounts

Here's a great portable app that lets you run Dropbox locally, and also lets you run more than one instance, so for example you could have a project based Dropbox and a personal based one.  I know you can use selective sync or sharing but you're never quite sure whats being shared and synced so this could be a good way to keep things segregated.  Each account comes with 2Gb free too of course. Get the software here, get a free account here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Router - Better than SuperHub and Apple Time Capsule

Having used a Apple Time Capsule for backups, I configured it to act as a main wireless router to replace the router capabilities of the Virgin Media Super Hub, which for my wireless wasn't so super.  It suffered poor coverage and frequent drop outs.

I set the super hub into Modem only mode (instructions) and let the Apple Time Capsule run the wireless network.  Recently this started dropping connections and the hard drive started getting errors on the mac backups so I looked at what I should replace it with.

I bought a TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Ultimate Wireless N Gigabit Router from Amazon and flashed it with DD-WRT open firmware (follow this link and lookup 1043)  and am now seeing 20-30Mb wireless connections, which is about 2x the speed I was getting from anything else. 

One tip is to use PPTP VPN pass through on this modem you need to add some start up lines following this article.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best ever marketing tag line?

Marriott quote on key cards for rooms.  "Walk in like you own the place".
Best ever line I've seen.