Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thoughts on the Fitbit Force voluntary recall

One blog post I’ve been meaning to write over the last few months is on using Fitbit over the past year. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about using the Nike+ FuelBand. A few months after I published that blog post, I was exposed to the awesomeness that is Fitbit and its service and gave up my Nike+ FuelBand and haven’t looked back. In the course of the last year, I’ve used the Fitbit One, the Fitbit Flex, purchased the Fitbit Aria scale, and now am using the Fitbit Force. As I’ve upgraded myself to the newest Fitbit tracker, I’ve given my old trackers to friends and family who are now all using Fitbit. Right now, my 57 year old dad is destroying me in steps and activity. Clearly, I have some work to do to beat him. But I really do like what Fitbit offers with their products and service. I plan to write more on using Fitbit soon.

fitbitforce

As a Fitbit Force user, some important news came today from Fitbit about the product. Fitbit’s CEO James Park wrote a letter to the community regarding reported skin irritation from a small portion of Fitbit Force customers. Despite affecting only a small amount of customers, Fitbit took the matter seriously and did an investigation. They found that some people are having an allergic reaction to the nickel in surgical grade stainless steel they are using on the Fitbit Force. And others might be having a reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to put the Fitbit Force together. Based on their investigation, Fitbit has decided to stop selling the Fitbit Force and is doing a voluntary recall where Fitbit Force customers can send in their Fitbit Force for a full refund, Fitbit’s CEO promises some news soon on their next-generation tracker, which I assume will be the replacement for the Fitbit Force.

I applaud what Fitbit is doing to take care of this issue and Fitbit Force customers and think its the right thing to do. The Fitbit Force was essentially their top-of-the-line tracker amongst their tracker products and to stop selling it altogether and to do a voluntary recall on such a high-profile product is one of those things no company wants to do. That’s not to say customers having skin irritation from using the product isn’t a big deal either. Despite this issue though, you will continue to find me recommending Fitbit to anyone who is looking for a activity tracker with an excellent service to help you be active, fit and healthy. I have no doubt that Fitbit will come out with something to replace the Fitbit Force that will be just as awesome, or more awesome. In the meantime, I highly recommend the Fitbit One or Fitbit Flex trackers as both are great.

I am still wearing my Fitbit Force. Fitbit is doing a voluntary recall so it’s up to me to send it in and get a refund. I love my Fitbit Force and wear it every single day. It hasn’t given me any of the symptoms of skin irritation some customers have reported. I don’t have any reason to send it in for a refund.

However, I am very interested in what Fitbit comes out with next to replace the Fitbit Force.

To Fitbit: It would be great that for customers like myself who don’t have any problems wearing the Fitbit Force today and don’t need to send it in now for a refund to be able to somehow trade it in eventually when you release your next-generation tracker and get some sort of credit.

New season of Nerd Trivia has begun!

On August 9th last week, a new season of Nerd Trivia kicked off from @NerdTrivia.

nerdtrivialogo

Nerd Trivia is an interactive trivia game that is played over Twitter. The questions specifically target nerd/geek content such as movies, TV shows, and games. Nerd Trivia is a side project by work colleague and friend Laura Massey (@lauralollipop). Throughout the day, trivia questions are asked via @NerdTrivia and followers have a certain amount of time to answer the question to earn points and achievements. You can find out more about Nerd Trivia at the Nerd Trivia website that recently launched with the current season. I think this is a really cool concept and I am helping Laura with supplying nerdy questions for people to answer which is exciting! I have endless amounts of Star Trek trivia and lot’s more of completely random nerdy movies and TV shows. Special thanks to Laura for letting me take part in this really cool project of hers.

So all you nerds and geeks out there – follow @NerdTrivia and start answering the trivia questions! Let’s see what you got!

Always keep a offline/offsite backup of your blog

Those of you visiting my blog here will find that it lacks a bunch of content that I’ve blogged about previously both here and from my very old blog called MSTechToday. Due to poor management practices on my part and switching from different host providers and blog services – much of that content is pretty much gone because I didn’t properly keep a good backup of my site offline.  I spent some time this week looking over years worth of backed up data and I’ve yet to find anything recoverable with regards to my old content.

Visiting my blog today you wouldn’t have guessed I’ve actually been blogging since late 2005. As I sit here thinking about it – a lot of hard work and hours of writing has gone down the drain. And it’s upsetting and of course my fault.

So here I am to provide some tips after learning my lesson here so that you don’t have to.

Always keep a offline backup of your blog (or website). Don’t rely on just your hosting provider to do backups. Do your own and keep it stored offline someplace safe (e.g. external hard drive, USB stick, etc.). For me, I keep a local backup of my blog on a second hard drive on my PC at home which is backed up every night to a Windows Home Server. So I have multiple places where my blog’s backup exists even if my PC or Windows Home Server decides to stop working.

If someone else is managing your blog (or website), double check with them if they are doing backups. I know quite a few bloggers out there who rely on someone else to manage their blog for them such as doing all the “behind-the-scenes” stuff. It is important to make sure they are doing backups of your blog. You should make sure they regularly provide you with a physical copy of the backups for your blog in some fashion. If you aren’t a technical person, it might be a good idea to get the backup and run it by someone else you know who might be technical. A second opinion is always good especially when dealing with your online content. The last thing you want is to be under the impression the person managing your site has been taking care of you only to lose everything you’ve posted.

A backup of your blog doesn’t just include backing up all the files – backup the database too. Many blogs today such as WordPress write a lot of content to a database. You NEED backups of your database to restore your blog. A theme can be reconstructed through files you backup separately but if you lose your database, much of your content could be gone. WordPress specifically offers several good database backup plugins you can use that make backing up your database super easy.

Hopefully you don’t have to make the same mistake I did to learn a lesson on backing up your blog. If you have any other tips regarding keeping your blog or website backed up, leave a comment below.

Always carry a backup battery with you for your camera…

Today was a wonderful day in Washington State with lots of sunshine. So far this year, we’ve been lacking in sun so it was nice to get some today. To take advantage of the nice weather, I took off for a bit of a road trip toward the eastern side of the state. I’ve been doing a lot of road trips lately blasting music from my Zune and exploring new places and taking photos. I am finding it a nice way to unwind from a busy week.

Today, I decided to hit Highway 12 starting from just south of Napavine and headed east toward Yakima.

hwy12

Let me tell you, the Cowlitz River Valley is incredible. And when you get over through White Pass it continues to offer up amazing sights of the Cascades.

While the road trip was amazing, unfortunately the battery to my camera was completely dead. To quote American Dad’s Steve Smith: “I guess I just picked a whole bouquet of oopsie-daisies.”

In short – always carry a backup battery for your camera that’s fully charged!

I did however take this shot of Mt. Rainier from my Windows Phone:

WP_000015 (3)

Not too shabby.

I fully intend to take the drive again – this time with my camera full charged and ready to go!

Dusting things off

I spent the evening tonight dusting off my blog here. It’s gotten very little attention lately – something I am hoping to change!

I updated my theme a bit. The theme is a work-in-progress. I actually built it from scratch learning from code examples and other themes on how to construct a basic theme. Going forward, you can expect the theme to grow as I continue to learn to make it better. Although, it’s about the content not how the site looks, right? I am hoping to eventually do some things with HTML5. Keep in mind, I designed the site with IE9 in mind but I’ve tested it out with the latest Chrome release and have seen no issues there. I play to add pinning and Jump List support for my site with IE9 in the very near future.

Another thing I did this evening was I added Disqus to the site for managing comments. You can now sign-in with a variety of services to leave a comment. I see this as an interesting experiment although I know a lot of folks using Disqus are quite happy with the service.

More to come!

Considered Posterous, but sticking to WordPress

I updated my blog to WordPress 3.0 RTM over the weekend. Time to give this place a little more attention. I debated moving away from WordPress all together and going to someplace like Posterous which is a little more automated. However everyone I know who considers themselves a serious blogger continues to use WordPress for their blogs. Many do, however, have Posterous accounts they treat as “secondary” to their blogs where they post images and other social updates to. I have done the same here – you can go to here to check out my Posterous account which I have configured on a subdomain. It is curious to me to see so many people using a service like Posterous as a secondary service to their main blogs. I’ve yet to see a good integration of both into a single site. If you’ve seen a site that integrates the two, let me know as I would like to see what that looks like.

When I was investigating using Posterous for my blog, Posterous’s CEO Sachin Agarwal had tweeted about taking in bug feedback. I jokingly replied to him that I thought not supporting Windows Live Writer was a bug (although I was being serious in that they should support Writer). His response to me on what I considered some valid and honest feedback was that he considers using Windows “a bug”. That kind of put me off a bit. Granted, I’m a bit biased. I know Sachin worked at Apple, supports their products 100% (just like I do with Microsoft), and is “inspired” by Apple and has never owned a PC according to his Twitter profile. But seriously… what kind of response was that? So Posterous is going to ignore the huge customer base that uses Windows today (it looks like Posterous doesn’t support IE8 either)? On Windows – Windows Live Writer is simply the best blogging tool available. It would be a huge benefit to Posterous to support it in my opinion and create additional value to people looking to move to Posterous. Perhaps he misunderstood my initial reply as being a bit snarky and if that’s the case – I do apologize. But if Sachin considers using Windows a bug – I take that as a heavy sign Posterous will likely not be doing anything special like supporting Windows Live Writer for Posterous – at least officially. Scott Lovegrove has made a plugin for Windows Live Writer that enables using Writer to post to Posterous blogs. Scott’s plugin works well. But I was looking for official support. It looks like Posterous is also focused on competing with the likes of Twitpic anyway. I wish them luck.

So in short – I’m sticking to WordPress as the blog platform of choice for my personal blog.

Twitter Acquires Tweetie Twitter Client for iPhone

Twitter tonight announced they have come to a agreement to acquire Atebits and it’s iPhone Twitter app called Tweetie. In the next few weeks, Tweetie will be rebranded as Twitter for iPhone and be made as a free app in the App Store for iPhone users.

For me, I have a hard time not believing that this acquisition is only just the beginning for Twitter in terms of developing and or owning their own official Twitter clients on multiple platforms. I predict that in the coming months, we’ll hear more about Twitter doing official clients for the PC, Mac, Android, Windows Phone 7, etc. Twitter previously announced Twitter for Blackberry. Will Twitter look to acquire someone like TweetDeck next?

So what does this mean for third party developers and their apps?

Will Twitter use their official client apps to take advantage of exclusive features they develop that no third party app can utilize?

It will be interesting to see what happens in this space in the next few months.