The return rate on these kinds of emails must be pretty splendoriffic given the language used. I used to wonder how much more they’d earn if they’d hire themselves a good copywriter … but I’m also glad they don’t.
So Fitbit is rolling out both a premium service and Smart Wake this fall; a recent hardware review confirmed that it is finally coming back:
I genuinely would’ve loved to try Fitbit’s upcoming Smart Wake alarm, which will purportedly wake you when you’re in a lighter phase of sleep so you feel more refreshed. However, that’s not rolling out until later this fall.https://gizmodo.com/the-fitbit-versa-2-is-a-solid-update-that-just-makes-me-1836705570
But I’ve been stuck with a dumb alarm for a few years now. If it’s “free”, I’ll take it … but I’m not sure it’s worth $120 a year. Thanks, Fitbit … sort of …
Note: I currently hold Fitbit stock.
The world may never know.
It’s been making the rounds, the handy GE “UPDATED: How to: Reset C by GE Light Bulbs (864,376 views 6/28/19 7:37pm ET)” video. I heard about it in one of my tech writer Slack channels, and just had to see it for myself.
The spectacle of specificity that guides users down the Happy Path of resetting the bulb is something, indeed, to behold.
Once I saw the problem, and GE’s solution, my brain immediately traveled back in time to the early 1990s and a gadget that was as important to my life then as my smart phone is to me now. An omni-gadget that with a few adjustments could solve this bulb’s and other smart device reset issues … just like my little gadget saved my bacon back in the days of plaid flannel and military surplus boots.
In honor of World Haiku Day ….
Third level is where we solve all of the rest of your problems. First level asks if you turned it off and turned it back on again, Second level helps you reinstall … but Third level gets deep in the code where sometimes things have just gone funky.Continue reading
So we’re a mixed household. Some Apple, some Windows, and a few Androids tucked away here and there.
Our digital data is similarly patched together: Some Amazon items, Google Play titles, and a lot of Apple TV content.
A recent announcement out of Cupertino really has me wondering if Apple is reading my mind.
When we see an interesting movie, we’re faced with a dilemma: rent it or buy it? Sometimes the prices are close enough that it’s a tough choice. Will we want to watch over and over again? Will we regret buying it? Will we pay almost double to rent it and then buy it?
Take, for example, the movie Beatriz at Dinner. Currently, it’s $5.99 to rent, and $9.99 to buy.
We could rent it, love it, then buy it for a total of $15.98.
We could buy it, love it, and spend $9.99.
We could buy it, hate it, and have “rented it” for $9.99 instead of $5.99.
Yeah, I know, #firstworldproblems .
But here’s where they’re starting to read my mind. I’ve always wanted Apple to let you treat the rental price as a “try it before you buy it” option. Continue reading
My teenagers are going to be driving soon, so I’ll need to equip the car with my parents’ “driving school” hack: an aluminum can with a few pebbles inside. We don’t remember exactly who thought it up, but we all remember using it well.
Deployment was simple, “rulings” not subject to appeal. Just throw it in the back seat or pickup bed. If it rattles when you maneuver, you were going too fast. Simple. Objective. Argument-proof.
At home with our own brood these days, we employ similar absurd measures to prevent unwanted actions.
- iPad too feeble to entertain OS updates? Put a passcode on it. Then you can never accidentally deploy an update.
- Keep pocket launching an otherwise mostly useless garage door app and popping the door open? Bury the app under three layers of folders.
Defeating the Pocket Launches
Sure, I could, you know, LOCK my phone, but then life would be boring. How else would I scare the crap out of myself investigating middle-of-the-night noises if I didn’t pocket launch Audible at full sound? THIS IS AUDIBLE! (It was only the wind, skritching a tree branch on a window screen.)
But the mostly useless garage door app recently became more Lorena-and-pockets-and-toddlers-proof. You can now require a Touch ID fingerprint to open the garage door. Yay!
Of course, there many many other things they can change about the app to make me happy (I’ve been ruminating about it a while), but I’m delighted they’ve added this feature. Stay tuned for the pull apart on garage door apps.
Back in the day, when Netflix had their blue logo and distribution houses only in California, we gave it a try. Too long a turnaround and many broken discs later, we took a break.
The new and improved red-logoed Netflix had a significant impact on our decision to “cut the cord” … as a result we’ve been cable and/or satellite free for well over a decade. We’ll stay at a hotel with cable once in a while, and use the time to remind ourselves why we have stayed severed from real-time television. Noise, commercials, lack of selection and control. Our cord-cutting apps do just fine.
Enter Autoplay Previews …
But a few days ago, the Netflix app on our Apple TV (current generation) started behaving just as badly as cable/satellite TV. It started autoplaying previews. Very annoying. Very loud. So we scrolled through the app options, scrolled through the online options, but found no way to turn it off. Continue reading
According to the Consumerist blog, Jawbone is folding under its consumer wearables division. But Jawbone isn’t going away … they’re moving into more accurate medical-grade devices, possibly to improve data accuracy.
My guess is that these first and second generation trackers are equivalent to the small consumer cell phones and feature phones of the late 90s and early 00s. The medical-grade devices are set to burst onto the scene like the smartphones we all now carry around. Health plans will start paying for devices, and giving discounts for use (there are some pilot programs out there that pay into limited-use accounts) as an everyday thing everyone who can afford health insurance will use.
In the meantime, I’m still wearing two wearables. Partially to participate in challenges against my friends, partially as a check against each other, and partially because I really hate the alarm on the Fitbit more than the alarm on the Jawbone UP (which does wake me up now).
Fitbit, the market is yours to take back from the Apple Watch
(If you design for Apple, stop reading. I don’t want an Apple Watch!) I will ditch the Jawbone forever if you’d just fix your alarm settings from “static” to “smart”. Jawbone UP can be set to wake you at a “good time” in your sleep cycle, rather than at a specific time. Now that they’ve exited the market, find a comparable way to replicate it … without risking a lawsuit, please ….
Years and years ago, there was a really great Super Bowl ad for a job site called monster.com. The premise was kids dreaming aloud of grown up jobs, but speaking of their dreams in ridiculous terms. The one that resonated most with me at the time was a dead serious tween: “I want to file all day.” Nobody wants to file all day.
And this goes for gamers, too. The equivalent of filing in video games is organizing and maintaining your inventory. Chasing through ridiculous amounts of menus just sucks the enjoyment right out of the game. No gamer is thinking to themselves: “I want to click through menus all day.”
But that is exactly what you do in PokémonGO. Click through unnecessary menus all darn day. It hurts gameplay, and I bet it’s even suppressing recurring player counts.
I’ve been playing PokémonGO on and off since it’s public release. There have been some changes to the “capture” side of the gameplay that are fantastic. Improvements to the “battle” side of the gameplay experience are still lacking, however.
Capture Gameplay Improvements:
- Sliding Capture Menus
- Appraisal function on the secondary character screen
- Buddy System
I lost one in September 2010, one in November 2010, and a few more since then. The original “clip” design failed for me … it kept popping off my ample waistline, and didn’t do well clipped to my shirt or bra, either. The hardware’s inability to handle multiple wake ups overnight didn’t do me any good, either.
Fitbits were originally priced around $99, and have mostly gone up in price. And complexity (still no Smart Alarm). And when you add on a new, more comfortable band … the cost goes up even more.
Another one, an Alta this time, has wandered off. We have an idea of where it might be, but it depends on the honesty of everyone else there. More likely it’s on eBay or Craigslist.
My suggestion is this: how about a “lock out” button? You can report your cell phone stolen to your carrier, why not the same for a fitness band? Heck, it’d be a revenue stream to subscribe to a return service; you try to sync a “stolen” subscribed band and you get a reward for returning it. At the very least, a “lock out” of a stolen item will reduce the resale value of stolen goods ….