Misfit Shine is the Stylish Fitness Tracker for Me

Posted Posted in Connected Home, Device Sync

 

I was one of the early adopters of Jawbone’s Up V1 fitness tracker. When it worked, it provided me with the feedback I needed to “get up and move” and get enough sleep, among other things. Key words here were “when it worked”. The folks at Jawbone supported me (when I reached out to them on Twitter) and I went through 4 V1 bands, and finally applied for the no questions asked refund (which expired 12/31/2012)/. I got my money back and also was sent a V2. I “only” went through two V2’s and (probably foolishly) purchased an UP24. When that UP24 showed signs of misbehaving that resets and firmware upgrades could not remediate, I cut my losses and went with a Fitbit Flex which offered most of the same functionality, plus a Windows app (which the Jawbone folks have yet to launch, assuming they even care about the Windows platform).

The Fitbit Flex met my needs, except I frequently ended up with a dead battery needing a recharge. Battery notifications from the app itself and a third party IFTTT app just didn’t seem to work. On the plus side, where UP could not be worn in the shower, while washing dishes, and of course swimming, the Fitbit Flex was much more “water resistant”. There are accessory bands for the fashion conscious and even some Tory Burch accessories to dress up the band. (I always thought the Jawbone UP was ugly, and considered the Fitbit Flex a fashion step up – pardon the pun.) When my Fitbit Flex stopped holding a charge and needed a reset before each recharge, I decided to see what else was out there.

The Microsoft Band had just been released. While it really is a computer for your wrist, the MS Band is an obvious piece that screams (unfashionable ugly) high tech that isn’t something I’d wear out to dinner. And when I tried one on, uncomfortable to boot. Clearly the Microsoft Band was made for a male audience. It does lots of things other fitness trackers don’t do, but I didn’t want (another) device to be a slave to, I just wanted to track steps, activity, sleep, etc. Then there’s the 48 hour battery life. I want to be free of wall chargers and remembering to plug a tracker in.

Enter the Misfit Shine.

I’d been following this product since the Indiegogo days off and on. What finally got me to pull the trigger on ordering one (besides reading all the reviews of the functionality) was the classically simple fashion conscious design AND the use of an old fashioned CR2032 four month battery.

Here’s a visual fashion comparison:

 

up24 flex
UP24 in basic black Fitbit Flex
ms band my shine
Microsoft Band Misfit Shine

 

In addition to the tracking functionality, the Misfit Shine also serves as a watch, and gets the time from the synced phone or device. Another big plus for me is that the Misfit Shine goes into sleep mode automatically which the other devices don’t do. It comes with an alternative clip so that you can attach it to a T-Shirt, etc. You can remove the device from the band/clip and just keep in your pocket, too.

I’m using my Misfit Shine and syncing to my iPhone 6, but Misfit has apps for Windows Phone, Windows 8.1 and Android devices. Misfit recommends syncing with only one device, but I did play around with syncing to my Surface Pro 3

win 8.1 app shine 

 

 

Comparing how well the Misift records my sleep patterns was interesting. After a particularly long day, I went to bed early and did some reading before dousing the lights. Fitbit (on the left below) recorded the time I went to bed because I had to tap to place it in sleep mode, but didn’t do a stellar job of recording restless/awake, etc. Misfit, on the other hand, entered sleep mode automatically and recorded the 45 minutes or so of reading as part of a sleep cycle, but did a better job of reporting on sleep quality.

 sleep compare

Here’s the same sleep data displayed in the Windows 8.1 app:

8.1 too

The major areas I care about are displayed when I check the app on my iPhone. The app on the iPhone allows multiple views so you can see how you’ve done to meet your goals by day, week, etc.

 

 misfit data

You can set up trackers for running and swimming, too.

There is a Misfit channel on IFTTT and integration on the iPhone with the Apple Health App.

 

I started this post with some comments about fashion. Swarovski has partnered with Misfit and two versions of Swarovski Shine were shown at CES. The first version (available for pre-order now) uses a clear Swarovski crystal married to the Misfit Shine technology (with user replaceable CR2032 battery) and can be inserted in a variety of Swarovski bracelets or pendants. The second version uses a blue-ish crystal that channels light in a specific way to enable a solar/light powered version that does not use batteries. These are intriguing. I’ll be looking at them closely. And if any Misfit/Swarovski folks are reading this, I’m a GREAT beta tester 😉

 

swarovski shine swarovski shine 2 
   

Solving the iCloud Outlook Sync Horror

Posted Posted in Apple, Device Sync, iPad, iPhone

I want to start this off by thanking the folks at CodeTwo for an absolutely elegant solution to the overly complex disaster area in the making for users of Apple’s iCloud solution to sync between iDevices and Microsoft Outlook. My tale of “Fear and Loathing in Sync City” follows.

I had been using MobileMe with Outlook 2010 for over a year. While Contacts synced between MobileMe and my PST file, MobileMe created its own Calendar, necessitating a kludgy manual process of copying items between thee Calendar in my PST file and the cloud based MobileMe calendar. While you can use MobileMe on its own as your Outlook Calendar, full functionality in Outlook (Outlook Today) other integration is missing. So I religiously copied calendar items back and forth. It was a real mess accepting appointments/meetings since after copying to MobileMe from Outlook, the originator received another confusing acceptance (which was non suppressible).

Apple had been sending gloom and doom reminders about the eminent demise of MobileMe and I was dreading the move from MobileMe to iCloud for a lot of reasons, but was particularly unhappy about the addition of another set of Contacts in a Cloud based folder and losing the ability to sync Contacts with my local PST file. I couldn’t accept another set of manual work arounds to keep things in sync so I procrastinated and ignored the invitations to move to iCloud.

I was even more apprehensive after checking fellow MVP Diane Poremsky’s assessment at http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/icloud-and-outlook-problems/ Diane further documents the issues at http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/icloud-outlook-problems-syncing-calendar/ and http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/icloud-outlook-problems-syncing-contacts/ – and on the bottom of the contacts sync problem page, there was a section of tools and a link to http://www.codetwo.com/sync-for-icloud/

Diane has a stellar reputation for only highlighting tools and procedures that work, so I didn’t feel the need to research the add-in or the company behind it, CodeTwo, aggressively. Upon visiting CodeTwo’s web site, it was obvious that they were a class act with a well designed site that included great documentation, videos, descriptions, and support links.

I really wondered if I was dreaming and if a simple elegant tool could solve the potential horror of Apple’s flawed implementation. Realizing that sooner or later I would have to move from MobileMe (the devil I knew) to iCloud (the devil I didn’t yet know), I decided sooner rather than later was the best approach (hopeful that I would beat the rush at the end of June when everyone left on MobileMe would apparently be forced to migrate).

I first made several backups of my PST files and stored them in various places. Then I exported my Calendar, Contacts, Notes, etc. to individual PST files and made copies of those in various places. That might have been overkill, but it made me feel better.

Surprisingly, the actual migration from MobileMe to iCloud was relatively painless. I did hold my breath while I watched Contacts disappear from my iPad (but they reappeared rapidly when the migration was completed). Migration was uneventful on my iPhone as well. I slowly exhaled as I started up Outlook. I saw the MobileMe calendar disappear and I saw the new iCloud calendar appear. And I verified I had my original Contacts and the new iCloud based contacts.

 

I then installed CodeTwo’s iCloud Sync. Configuration was as simple as documented and I set up two way sync. I ran a couple of tests from my iPad, iPhone and from Outlook and was (and still am) amazed at how seamless this sync up is. CodeTwo has a large number of screen shots and videos on their site, and I encourage readers to take a look. The between an entry in a local PST file and iCloud is in real time.

codetwo

I literally finished typing Meet Ellen for Breakfast in the local PST based Calendar when iCloud Sync copied it to the Outlook Calendar stored in iCloud. I immediately checked my iPad and iPhone and the new appointment appeared there as well. CodeTwo documents that sync between Outlook and iCloud on devices depends on connection speed, etc., but in my experience, these devices are syncing nearly in real time.

I’m impressed. And I’m happy. I’ve got two more Windows 7 OS based computers to add to the mix and I’ll wait a while longer before attacking that. For now, I’ve got my main Windows PC and iCloud sync under my control, thanks to CodeTwo’s iCloud Sync.

Bye Bye Blackberry (Hello iPhone)

Posted Posted in Apple, Device Sync, iPhone, Technology
Yesterday, I became a happy iPhone 4 user. The following tells it all, sung to the tune of “Bye Bye Blackbird”
Back up Outlook files and so
leaving RIM, here I go
Bye Bye Blackberry

Where a better phone waits for me
Syncs so fine with MobileMe
Bye Bye Blackberry
RIM gave no love to Outlook 2010, see
And to their beta they did not invite me
The iPhone 4 was slick and bright
The Apple staff was really nice
Bye Bye Blackberry
Signal is strong on AT&T
I”d tested my iPad with 3G
Bye Bye Blackberry
No one at RIM would engage me,
Or give out info that would help me,
(Oh oh oh oh)
Made my choice, quit that fight,
iPhone”s working great tonight,
Blackberry, BYE BYE
iphonephoto

iPad, ICS Meeting Invites, Outlook, Blackberry Sync Solution

Posted Posted in Device Sync, iPad, Software

I have been struggling trying to keep 3 copies of Outlook (non Exchange) Calendars and Contacts in sync for a long time. There are lots of manual kludgy ways to do this. But when I add my iPad and a need to be able to accept meeting invites (not to mention a Blackberry), I’ve been pretty frustrated.

My second problem: Apple for whatever (probably business) reason, can’t read Outlook ICS meeting requests files (and apparently won’t let any third party app to update the iPad Calendar).  And third, there is RIM, whose Blackberry Desktop Manager doesn’t even support Outlook 2010 yet.

I’m happy to report that I’ve solved problems one and two. And still using Outlook 2007.

Microsoft, I hope you are listening..

I’ve started a 60 day trial with MobileMe. After a couple of hours of doing some backups of my Contacts and Calendars and installing iTunes and the MobileMe Windows Control Panel, I’m happy to say that all three computers are marching to the same drummer and are in sync. I’ve added my iPad and yep, 4 devices all with the same data. I’m still using the Blackberry Desktop Manager via USB to sync that device to Outlook on one of my computers.

My  remaining issue was what to do with meeting invites while away from the computers. Enter a nifty app called RDP Lite from the iTunes store that I’d already been using for some time. This app will work with all versions of Windows that support being a RDP host. Since I’m using W7 Ultimate on everything, I’m covered. While it is a little kludgy, if I get a meeting invite via email on the iPad, I’ll just use RDP Lite to a computer at home (and BTW, RDP Lite supports port specification so if you have multiple computers on your network and change the RFDP port for other computers,you are covered).

I open Outlook (if not already running) and retrieve mail,click the ICS and add to the Calendar on that computer.MobileMe takes over from there and syncs with the other computers and the iPad. And if I schedule something on the iPad manually, MobileMe syncs with the three computers.

rdplite

Here is a screen shot of RDP Lite on my iPad. You can see the MobileMe icon in the system tray (clouds on a blue background). It’s really working!

I still have to jump through some hoops to sync Notes and Tasks, but I’ll figure something out for that.

Is MobileMe worth $99 a year? Well, 59 days left in my trial period before I get charged. I’ll post an update when I decide.