Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fitbit: Customer Service Review.

So, It's no secret that I am in love with my Charge HR. Sadly he died last night, probably because I never took him off, except to charge him, WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO according to fitbit.

So, I prepared for the inevitability that I was about to have to buy a new one. I had no proof of purchase, and after all, I showered in it WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO. The water isn't really the issue, it's more about allowing your skin to breathe.

In a last ditch effort, I decided to do a live chat with warranty support for fitbit. This is what happened.
Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:01:46 PM): Hi Ronnie, my name is Ariel. How can I help you?

Me (9/14/2016, 10:02:14 PM): Hello! I am having a problem with my fitbit unfortunately.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:02:54 PM): I'm sorry to hear you're having issue with your Charge HR.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:03:01 PM): I'll be happy to help you Ronnie.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:03:21 PM): Can you please provide me with with as many details of the issue you are experiencing as possible?

Me (9/14/2016, 10:04:03 PM): Firstly I noticed the rubber band separating from the watch face....that happened about 2 weeks ago.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:04:11 PM): Now it's just completely dead

Me (9/14/2016, 10:05:05 PM): Here is the thing I worry about. I bought the device at Walmart last fall, and i dont have proof of purchase, so i might just be out of luck

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:05:37 PM): Don't worry Ronnie, I'll do my best to help you.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:05:59 PM): To see what option I can give to you, can you please provide the email address associated with your Fitbit account?

Me (9/14/2016, 10:06:10 PM): (redacted)

Me (9/14/2016, 10:06:30 PM): I made that account on the day i bought my fitbit

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:06:40 PM): Thanks.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:06:58 PM): I'll just need to take a quick look at your account to see what I can find. Please allow me a moment.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:09:18 PM): Thank you for waiting Ronnie.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:09:40 PM): May I just know your country of residence?

Me (9/14/2016, 10:09:45 PM): US

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:10:43 PM): Since I have confirmed that your tracker is still in warranty, I'll be happy to get you back on track and provide you with a complimentary replacement.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:11:01 PM): wow, really? That's amazing

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:11:16 PM): I've checked your account and your tracker was paired February 27, 2016.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:11:20 PM): Yes Ronnie.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:11:32 PM): To start, please provide your full name, shipping address and phone number.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:11:39 PM): Lastly your tracker's color and size.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:12:21 PM): (redacted)

Me (9/14/2016, 10:12:29 PM): (redacted)

Me (9/14/2016, 10:12:48 PM): (redacted)

Me (9/14/2016, 10:13:00 PM): Large, Black Fitbit Charge HR

Me (9/14/2016, 10:13:20 PM): but you can send me blue if you want

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:13:27 PM): Sure!

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:13:35 PM): Let me just check if it's in stock.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:14:58 PM): I've checked our inventory and It's in stock. :)

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:15:05 PM): Please give me a moment to process your replacement.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:15:08 PM): SUCCESS

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:19:34 PM): I'm almost done.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:19:56 PM): It's fine. Take your time

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:21:25 PM): Thank you for patiently waiting.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:21:48 PM): I'm happy to tell you that your Charge HR (Blue) - Large replacement is now being processed and your confirmation number is (redacted).

Me (9/14/2016, 10:21:59 PM): Awesome!

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:22:03 PM): You’ll receive an email from Fitbit.com with a link to your order status. Your order should arrive within 5 to 7 business days from the date of shipment and please take note that business days excludes weekends.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:22:10 PM): When your replacement arrives, visit http://fitbit.link/1HTrH4i for instructions on replacing your defective tracker on your Fitbit account.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:22:18 PM): In the meantime, hang on to the charging cable and any other accessories that came with your original tracker, since replacement packages usually include the tracker only.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:22:26 PM): We suggest to recycle your defective unit through a local electronics recycling program after your replacement arrives.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:24:17 PM): Is there anything else that I can help you with?

Me (9/14/2016, 10:24:26 PM): no maam you have been great

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:24:38 PM): You're welcome and if you need help, please don't hesitate to get back to us.

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:24:44 PM): Have a great night Ronnie!

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:24:46 PM): Take care.

Me (9/14/2016, 10:24:54 PM): You too, Ariel. Good Night!

Ariel (9/14/2016, 10:24:55 PM): To end this chat please go ahead and click "end chat".

I mean...Wow, not only did they fedex it, but they let me choose a new color! That is customer service, and they have earned a repeat customer.

Way to go! Special Thanks to Ariel.



Friday, March 11, 2016

FitBit Charge HR Review: The friend that reminds you how lazy you are.

So I recently sold my moto 360 2nd gen in lieu of a Fitbit Charge HR after putting on about 20 lbs, and getting tired of the ATROCIOUS battery life on my Moto.

I wasn't too anxious to jump on the fitness tracker bandwagon to begin with, but I have to admit, Lesle and a couple of my friends have one, and have mentioned how cool they are, so I figured I'd give it a shot. They look nice enough, and the tout "up to 5 days of battery life" (more on that later). I wanted to see just how healthy (or unhealthy) I was living. Turns out...not so well.

The cool thing about the FitBit Charge HR (well more the fitbit interface) is that it will connect and sync with your MyFitnessPal app/account. So anything you log on either app or website will sync over to the other. I have found that the syncing is impressively accurate. Sometimes I log my water intake into FitBit, and sometimes I will put it in MFP, either way the other app syncs up and I can rest assured that the data will be accurate. The widget is super nice and minimalistic too.



Using My Fitness Pal has made it easier than ever to log your food. They added a barcode scanner, so It takes moments to log my breakfast, especially when I have just a kickstart and a power bar (my typical breakfast).

I love the heart rate monitor as well. It seems to be pretty accurate when measured against other HR Trackers. They say that the Charge is splash proof, but I have read online that a lot of people take showers, and a couple even swim with it. I would not recommend that. As much as I would like to be able to swim or shower with it, I just don't have the balls to do it.

With that being said, the other morning, I accidentally forgot to take it off during a shower. It seemed to fair well, but it's not something I would ever intentionally do.

There is a really great new feature of fit bit where if you long press the button, it will start a stopwatch. It's not just a stopwatch though. It logs it as "exercise" and pumps a little extra juice to the HR monitor to make it more accurate. If you have the app open during an exercise session, it will show you a real time HR along with calories burned, and steps along with bevy of other metrics about your workout.





Quite possibly my favorite feature is the sleep tracker. I never realized how crappy my sleep was until I got this thing. It shows me my total time slept, number of times I was restless/awake, total time of restlessness, and total time slept. It uses some time of weird voodoo to know when I'm asleep. I mean, I assume it's to do with movement, but I feel like when I'm watching a movie, I'm still, but IT KNOWS. Its kinda creepy in a good way.

Here are some of my terrible stats.




Now, About the battery life. 5 days is stretching it. If you turn off all day sync, and turn off notifications, I could see you maybe getting 5 days. However, who wants to get a real time fitness tracker and manually have to sync it. Realistically, plan on getting about 3 days of battery life. I have had the battery die on me in the middle of the night a couple of times and it's frustrating because it doesn't track my sleep when it's dead (obviously). You can see that it happened on the chart above on Monday and Tuesday. This is because I didn't charge it fully, and it died on me two nights in a row.

My biggest gripe about the fitbit is the bluetooth capabilities. While you don't HAVE to pair it with bluetooth for syncing (it can actually use data) It's going to be better to get it paired with your phone. That's very simple to do when you first get the device. However, if you do a factory reset on your phone, you can't repair the fitbit until you reboot the fitbit. This doesn't sound like a big deal, until you realize you need the proprietary charger to be plugged into the device before you can reboot it.

You have to plug it up and hold the button for 10-12 seconds until it essentially "factory resets" and allows you to repair with your phone. They need to (at the very least) have a pin hole reset button on the device. It's ludicrous to expect to have a charger with you wherever you go just in case you need to reboot .

Some users have complained that the band causes a rash, but I haven't experienced any issues at all with that. I would assume as long as you use common sense and keep it clean and dry when possible, the chance of irritation will diminish substantially.

One area of the fitbit that seems to go vastly unnoticed is that it has it's own mini Social network. You can add friends, and make challenges. You can track and compete against friends on the fitbit network and even send messages. There are plenty of threads dedicated to adding friends to your fitbit network. You can view the fitbit subreddit, fitbit.com, or myfitnesspal.com

There are lots of options when it comes to fitness trackers, and I am in no place to recommend any one tracker over another, but I did do my research, and this is the one I landed on. If it were water proof, I feel like this tracker would be the full package.

It is doing what it's suppose to. It's holding me accountable for my daily activities, and I have managed to drop 5 lbs in about 2 weeks, so I would say it's a good investment.

With that being said. The FitBit is:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

ROM Review: Dirty Unicorns v10.0 6.0.1

So, you have your favorite Android device. Maybe you are already running Marshmallow, maybe your device is "too old" to get an official M update.

Well, if you have a device that's rooted, or are interested in rooting, the devs over at Dirty Unicorns have you covered. They host a whole bevy of devices.

Here is a list of currently supported devices.

While you may see them on XDA from time to time, they prefer doing their troubleshooting and general conversations on their G+ community.

I have run DU on devices for years. Back before DU I ran AOKP. They have always made a very stable and solid ROM. However, since their dev team has grown, so has the robustness (is that a word?) of the ROM. Both in stability and features.

DU v10.0 is no exception. This is arguably the best ROM they have released (at least in my opinion).

Great new features have been added like Smart Bar, Fling, and Pulse. See videos below to see them in action!


As many of you know, I have the Nexus 6P. I did not root my phone until just about a month ago, when I knew DU was getting close to an official release. I thought my Nexus was fast BEFORE I flashed DU. Man, was I wrong. This thing blazes now. I am enjoying all day battery life, even with moderate usage. I LOVE pulse. Pulse is a very nice yet subtle touch that just makes the overall experience so much better. The ability to theme is also an added bonus.

Speaking of theming, DU introduced "DU Certified". An app that shows you themes that are guaranteed to work with the ROM. Some of these themes are free, some are a couple of bucks, but it's totally worth every penny to be able customize your DU experience.

You can even mix and match theme attributes with the theme engine to let you find the perfect balance between 2 or more of your favorite themes.

Under Settings you have "Dirty Tweaks" which gives you access to even more settings that would not be otherwise accessible to you on a Google build. Things like rearranging your navigation bar, changing what displays in the status bar, LCD Density, Multi-window, App Circle bar, and system animations, just to name a few. (see any "N" build features in there?)

All of these items congeal to make one of the most solid and readily supported,recognized, and trusted ROMs in the Android community.

So maybe you are one of the unlucky ones to have a device that is not officially supported by DU. No problem. DU is only possible because of Open Source. Therefore it's only fitting that they are also open source. Get in touch with one of your favorite devs, or learn to compile your own build of DU!

The official Tutorial is here. Keep in mind, that thread is for Lollipop. However, keep an eye on the Official DU Twitter here and you'll be on the cutting edge of DU News.

Whatever ROM you are currently running, I can almost guarantee that if you switch to DU, you will not look back.

The level of support and a dedicated community should be enough on it's own to sway you in the right direction. Just familiarize yourself with logcat. Because in the unlikely event that you experience an issue, the devs will ask for (insist) on a logcat before they even look at the issue. This is not because they are being mean. It's because these guys do this for free, in their free time, and they deserve better than to have to spend hours looking for a needle in a haystack when you could take 1 minute to upload a logcat for them.

The community is all business either. They have a great sense of humor and an off topic section built specifically to pick on your favorite dev. (or just to talk about normal, non-DU stuff). They actively share awesome wallpapers and icon packs, and are always adding updates. If you are the early adopter type, you can even see posts for weeklies, and unofficial builds.

Get your butt over to the community and GET DIRTY!

Here is my current set up.




Here are some handy links for you!

DU Google+ Community
DU Official Website
DU Official Twitter

Get the full potential from your device, and give DU a chance!

Lest I forget. It goes with saying that DU is: