For someone who’s supposed to be self employed, and also someone who’s created some products, I don’t talk about them all that often. I rarely do it on my business blog, which is geared towards those particular products, and I rarely do it here, even though this is my more popular blog. Time to change that up a bit; please stick with me.
This article will contain a couple of affiliate links for product called IDrive.
By now, those of you are regular readers of this blog know that I had a couple of computer crashes. The last one wiped out my operating system, and subsequently my hard drive crashed as I was trying to retrieve files from it and I lost everything.
When I decided to reload my operating system, I went with Windows 7 instead of Windows 10 because right now I don’t trust Windows 10. I tried to use the Windows 7 backup system for my files, but it was problematic from the start. That wasn’t going to get it done, so I had to come up with another option. Continue reading IDrive Cloud Backup System→
For the second time this year I gave up the Monday spot for my I’m Just Sharing blog to my business blog, this time because yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and I had something to say. Y’all know how I can be.
My mother is a genius. She doesn’t know it but she is. That’s because in my life there have been two recommendations she made to me that I kind of dismissed that she thought were really important… and she turned out to be totally correct. The first one was a computer, which she and my dad bought for me on my 27th birthday; the second was the Fitbit Flex tracker, which she bought on my 55th birthday.
You see that picture to the right? That’s the wristband I wear that contains this little dongle that I’ll share in a different picture. The little dongle (that’s what they call it lol) is the actual contraption that tracks my steps and, when I remember to set it, tracks my sleep. It’s the steps part that’s been paramount towards my health over the last year or so.
I can’t comment on any other trackers that are out there, so I’m sticking with the one I know. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever gotten. Mom bought me the first one; since that time I’ve purchased two others for myself and one for my wife.
You’re probably asking why I had to buy more than one; it’s not because it broke or went bad. I lost two of them; one in Memphis somewhere, the second on my final flight back from Memphis, where I knew I had it in Philadelphia but when I landed in Syracuse it wasn’t on my arm anymore; sigh… So, both totally on me.
As with everything, there’s the good and the bad and the questionable. Let’s start with the good.
When I first got it, I wasn’t totally sure of how accurate it was. Now I feel pretty good about its accuracy because I’ve run a lot of tests with it. In central New York, when it gets cold and snowy it’s not the smartest move in the world to be walking around outside. I hated going to the gym, so I created my own course in the house. I tested the steps thing and it’s right on the mark.
To track everything you need to download the Fitbit app onto your smartphone. Actually, that’s the smart way to go, because you can hook the charger to your computer, download software and go that route if you don’t have a phone. It’s just so much easier the other way.
It tracks steps, miles, calories burned and active minutes. The first one is the main goal but the one that’s most important are the active minutes. That’s the one that tells you whether the steps you took during the day were conscious steps, as in walking with a purpose, or just casual steps, like getting up from your desk to walk into another room. The more active minutes, the more calories you burn. If you tie it in with a food tracking app like Myfitnesspal it adds calories to your daily intake. That sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? Well, I’m going to come back to that.
You can also make adjustments based on your stride, which you determine based on your height. So, for me, it takes 10,575 steps to hit 5 miles, but my friend Steve (he’s 6’5″) can get it done in fewer steps. Anyway, that’s my daily goal, and I pretty much smash it every day, as I average between 17,000 and 20,000 steps a day. But there are times when I’m engaged in other work or travel and I know I’m not going to hit those numbers, but I always make sure to hit my 5 miles.
Oh yeah, I mentioned sleep earlier. If you double click on it the tracking mode changes over to track sleep. We all need good sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t sleep well, and this thing confirms it. I average about 2 1/2 hours of sleep a night; no, that’s not good. Most of my “sleeping hours” show me as being restless, which means I move a lot, wake, doze, wake, etc. So, in the morning it’ll show me how many total hours I was in bad, how much real sleep I got and when I got it. Hey, at least I know right?
The overall thing is that having something like Fitbit on you all the time encourages you to move; at least it does for me. I don’t have to count steps, it’s better than the old style pedometer, and if you’re willing you can add other people to your list and compete or just help to encourage each other to walk more. Frankly, anything that encourages us to move more is a good thing.
What it’s done for me is helped me lose inches. If no one’s ever told you that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight, I’m telling you that not. lol You lose weight by controlling what you eat. However, exercise helps you lose inches and get toned, and if you can also control how you eat, the combination works wonders. I’ve lost 4 inches off my waist to the point where I don’t have to undo any of my pants to pull them off; wow! Sometimes I don’t have to undo the belt either; what?!?!? :-O
Can you tell how much I love it? Good; now for the bad.
The wristbands aren’t close to being able to last overly long. My wife burns through her bands every 6 months; I go through one every 9 months or so. The thing is it’s made with some type of rubber that’s pliable enough, but you have to take the dongle out of it every few days to recharge, and over time that takes a toll on that area that stretches open all the time.
That and you can wear the band in the shower and in hot conditions because the dongle is protected, but all the weather changes will affect it also. The replacements aren’t all that expensive, and there are lots of varieties, but having to replace it that often puts some folks off.
I did mention the charging part also. Actually, last year when I was in Orlando for a meeting and then flew to San Diego I had lost my charger. My Fitbit worked for 6 days before it totally wussed out on me. That’s not so bad, but I like to try to charge it every 3 days if I can. I charge it around midnight, and the good thing is it charges fairly quickly if you don’t run it all the way down.
One last thing is the dongle isn’t all that big, as you can tell from the picture. If you’re not paying attention you can lose that… and if that’s lost you have to buy a whole new set since the dongle is actually the Fitbit.
Okay, time for the questionable.
How private is it and what about all the data they collect. It’s as private as you want it to be. People can only find you if you tell them you’re on it, and you can only be added if you have a Facebook account or if you send them email and they decide to connect. If any of you are on Fitbit and want to connect with me, leave me a message mentioning it and I’ll send you an email from the email account I use there and you can add me. Course, remember how many steps I’m getting in; we’re not really competing but I think I might have chased a couple of people off who didn’t realize how serious I was taking my walking. Lol
The question about data… that’s interesting. They track and data to sell to those who can use it for health studies, or for the creation of other types of products that someone might be able to create and market later. You get to set the levels of privacy via the online account you create (that’s where you’re directed to so it can start tracking you), which not only limits what others see about you but what can be shared with these outside sources. The only thing you can’t block is the number of steps you’re taking. They don’t share your email address and you only have to put in your first name, so that’s fairly private.
Finally, prices. I own the Fitbit Flex, where the price goes for between $79 and $99. The range depends on which band you buy and where you buy it from. At the link I’m sharing here where you can look at some before you go to the website I’m sending people to (Buy.com) most of the prices are around $79. There are other brands such as the Charge, which tracks a lot more things than the Flex does, and the Surge (which not only tracks even more things than the Surge but also acts as a watch) that come in around $215 and $250 respectively, and the Zip, which comes in around $60 but only tracks steps. There’s also the Fitbit One which, like the Zip, you wear on your pocket like a traditional pedometer that also comes in around $99.
This is a product I’ll be pushing because I love it so much. There’s a link to the right listed under Product Pages along with books I recommend. If I mention it in any further posts I’ll link to it and you’ll know it’s the product page because you’ll see a blue line underneath it (any time I link to products or affiliate items from this page the blue line is there, unless I’m linked only through the picture; otherwise it’s to an article); you already saw my example above.
If you have any questions please ask. I’ll be doing a video also, which might be strange because I’ve mentioned it in a few other videos, but I’ve never talked about it exclusively. Hey, that’s what marketing’s about right?
Yeah, I know, some people say that bloggers shouldn’t write about personal stuff on their blogs. Sorry but this time not only must I, but it’s going to go beyond just being a personal complaint. Stick with me and heed my warning, if you will.
Just after Christmas I went out looking to find a relatively inexpensive 32″ flat screen TV for my office. I had gone to a few places and found myself at Best Buy. In the back around TVs of similar size I came across a Westinghouse 32″ flat screen TV for $189. That was amazing, as it was about $50 less than its closest competitor. I asked one of the Best Buy guys why this TV was so inexpensive, because the image I saw looked pretty good, and he said they were trying to grow in the market by keeping their prices low. Sounded good to me, the price was right, so I bought it.
Got it home, set it up, all looked good. Very clear picture, and I was finally able to take advantage of the digital hookup I have here in the office. I pulled out my Time Warner remote, set it up so it would handle turning the TV on and off, and off I went.
Or so I thought. It seemed that other than turning the TV off and on, anything else I did with the remote, at least every 2nd or 3rd thing, made the TV try to reset itself. Thus, I had to go to the remote that came with the TV and reset it. I thought this would be a one time issue, but no, it’s an issue that’s continued for the almost month I’ve owned the TV. I thought maybe it was the Time Warner remote because I’d programmed the TV to it so I tried the other 2 remotes I have in the house for Time Warner, those that weren’t set up with the TV; they also made the TV reset itself.
What the hey? So, within 4 days after buying the TV, I went online to their customer service page, wrote up my complaint, and submitted it. Almost immediately I got an email saying they would be contacting me within 2 business days. To make a long story short, after 15 phone calls and two more online customer complaints, I’ve heard nothing. Oh yeah, I’ve gotten to talk to people most of the time; that’s the 15. The times I’m not counting is when I went through the phone prompts and either got a busy signal or had the phone up and disconnect on me. I also tried to contact them 3 times through Twitter, as they have a handle there(@WestinghouseTV; try sending them a message telling them how bad you heard they are; they won’t respond).
The final straw was last night when I called at 6:20 their time (9:20 my time), said I was calling for the 15th time looking for service, was put on hold and they kept me there until 7PM their time, when their customer service office shuts down. What the hey? In other words, they never came back. Me being me, I stayed online (speaker phone) for another 10 minutes of stubbornness; nothing!
That’s when I decided it was time to call them out in a blog post. But y’all know me; I don’t just roll like that. I decided to look up complaints about their customer service issues, and man, what a load I found!
This site called Customer Services Scoreboard ranked them at #589 out of 593 for worst customer service; I don’t even want to know who could possibly be ranked worse.
On this page of Best Buy reviews, of all things, I found many people with the same complaint as mine. What’s shocking is that it ranks 3.6 out of 5 stars, and even those who ranked it high state they had the same issue as mine, but like the picture. Really, you don’t mind having to reset your TV every time you use it? Should I have fussed at @BestBuy for selling the TV in the first place?
I would add a bunch more but there’s no point. I remember when I was much, much younger Westinghouse used to be a company known for quality. Those days are obviously long gone; products, customer service, stinky! People, save your money, save your peace of mind, don’t buy anything from this company, no matter the price. If you don’t believe me, do a search on Google; mine showed 3,100,000 references to complaints against them. However, this will be in the top 10,000 blog posts about how lousy they are; now that’s a shame! 🙁