Review – Fitbit Charge 3

Dear Fitbit,

Look I know it’s an activity tracker, not a full on sport watch/GPS thingy, but I have a few concerns.

First up – I need a way to pause or turn off the tracking. I ride a motorcycle and this gets detected as a 35km “outside bike” in 30 mins (with no change to heart rate mind you!). This even happens when I’m not wearing it and have it in my pocket or in my backpack. Heck this would be a pretty awesome “exercise” to have stored, but it also adds floor counts and there is no way to “fix” all this data, skewing my stats for 5 days a week. Never mind the time I rode nearly 200km and this was counted too…. the Fitbit was in my bag the whole time!

Second concern – So I went for a run. It was about 10mins into the run and nothing visible on the device that it had started tracking (I later discovered it had tracked an exercise, but not the GPS). So I manually started it (and it tracked the GPS this time). And at some point it turned this off automatically. And then started to automatically attempt to track on and off a few times, I gave up. Very inconsistent.

On the plus size – it’s small, light and not too hard to read (when I have my glasses on, which isn’t when I’m running) and I like the sleep tracking (though with the earlier problems, I’m not sure it’s accurate anymore).

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone even half serious about exercise (I’m not sure that counts me in) and more for someone who needs to get up and do something and this would be a good device to track that.

It has been an interesting foray into smart devices and made me more keen on the Apple Watch I will likely replace this with soon.

Thanks

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Christchurch

Every time I see news on this or read comments I get a bit choked up about it. I am not really sure why this one has affected me more than any other tragedy.

I have to say I think it’s because it’s New Zealand. While NZ is my homeland, I’ve lived away from it longer than I ever lived there. I’ve got no connections to Christchurch either. No family or friends, I’ve only been there twice for a couple of brief overnights.

I think it’s just because it’s NZ and that this kind of thing just doesn’t happen at home. I can’t make sense of it. I think it helps somewhat that the shooter was a foreigner and not a Kiwi. That would be even more dissociative for me.

I’ve been really proud of the PM and the example she’s set the world. But also the others I’ve seen in the news, even people like the Mongrel Mob and others who would normally be thought to be “outside” the community.

Anyway. I’m not really sure what’s going on but thanks for reading.

2018 in Review

I haven’t written last years review yet, so here goes.

About Bikes

Well a good year for the bikes, finishing on a dramatic change. Most of the year was commuting to work, with the odd day ride squeezed in occasionally. I managed to get my little ones out for a ride and they both enjoyed it.

Of course, there was the big adventure to the MotoGP, only 11 years since the last time. I found some fun roads, I had some great weather, I enjoyed the challenge and the solitude. The Daytona performed excellently for a bike being asked to do something the designers NEVER intended. However well it went though, it wasn’t as easy as it would have been on the VFR so I finally made the decision that was 4 years in the making.

And seemingly fate gave me the chance to swap the bike for the Ninja which I did. Though by the by the end of 2018, I was very uncertain if I had done the right thing. The Daytona was gone and the Ninja sat unridden in the garage, looking dirty and tired.

About babes

The kids… well one finished primary and is off to high school this year! They had a great year, probably they would both count the Japan trip as the highlight, I would put it a tight second after the MotoGP trip. They both enjoyed their ride around the block on the bike too.

About bytes

Well the computers this year have been almost exclusively workhorses, with my study and my girls work as well. I did tuck in to BattleTech and love that. Oh, now that study is on hold….

Oh, I did get the new iMac didn’t I – it seems like so long ago. That was like changing to a new car without even realising. It just doesn’t break down all the time like the old one, but otherwise everything looks the same. And to be honest, I don’t really notice the faster start up etc, because everything is usually open.

The Playstation got retired (faulty wireless board, still works with USB), the Wii got passed to a relative and the kids picked up a Switch. Cool little device that.

About Study

I would love to be saying I’m done, but I have one prac unit left before I graduate. And no certainty of when I will get to do it. Hopefully when I write the 2019 review I will be able say done.

BUT the main thing is that I LOVE IT. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it had it been my thing straight out of Uni, but I think that time in between and the life and experience in that time will set me on a good path to this new career, whenever it is that I actually get started.

Car Drivers are …

I couldn’t think of the right adjective, maybe you can by the end of the story.

Yesterday I filtered to the front of a LONG line of traffic to find a guy trying to push his car across an intersection (this street was really busy, but everyone was turning left or right, straight ahead was quiet and a good place to option for the broken car). He was at the head of the queue, holding all these people up.

I thought I could help out, so pulled in behind him and hopped off the bike. A pedestrian crossing in front jumped in behind as well. As we did another filtering bike turned up and hopped off to help. with the 4 of us, this was an easy job. Actually on flat, pushing a car is pretty easy, its trying to steer/brake as well as pushing that becomes awkward.

So the lights turned green and we pushed off. About halfway we started to yell at the driver, who was pushing from the drivers door, to hop in the car so he could steer and brake. Caused a scary moment as he almost tripped getting in, but he was in and the car pushed across.

We headed back to our bikes just as the light went red, so it was perfectly timed. This meant we had the whole red cycle to get back on. In my case this meant taking off my gloves to fish in my pockets as I couldn’t remember which had my keys.

Not a single car driver moved, the whole time, to help this guy. I don’t know how long he had been there, but the queue behind him was pretty long. As riders, and the pedestrian who was crossing the street, this stuck car would never have held us up. Wasn’t in our way at all. But we all decided to help out. The car drivers, half of whom (there were two lanes turning right, the car was in one of these) were stuck behind him and basically couldn’t move until the broken car was moved….

They just sat there.

Car drivers are….

So 2017… how did it go.

IMG_2269I thought I had written one of these last year, but I didn’t. It was 2015 as I left Canberra.

So.

About Bikes

IMG_1016The Daytona does stirling service in a task it’s not really designed for… my daily commute. It’s had a couple of problems that have been fixed and just ticked over 50,000km. I have decided to replace it, but not sure when or with what. The front runners are still VFR and Ninja 1000. I also look forward to the possibility of a Sydney-Phillip Is MotoGP trip in the coming year… will I still have the Daytona?

I did get out on the track, one less successfully and a second was very rewarding and I do intend to do some more. I got a couple of hours fun up the Old Pac as well. I’m still slow by comparison, but I enjoy it. Sadly its currently in the shop over my Christmas break as the shifter stopped working properly and of course the parts supplier had already shut for the holidays.

IMG_2302I also discovered after a morning with a Bonneville, that I basically love riding, no matter the bike. There are some bikes I’ve ridden that I’ve liked less than others, but I’ve still liked the actual riding.

About Bike (Bicycles)

Err, they’ve mostly stayed in garage and the suburb, nothing to see here, move along….

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About Bytes

This has mostly had two focus… the limping on of my iMac and several panics as it has almost died. But it lives on as a study device, if not really anything else.

Otherwise it has been a few reviews of random stuff like AirPods and Scala Rider gear.

I have also talked about how I study without paper (mostly).

About Study

Nearly the biggest thing in my life this year has been the switch to Masters and two Practical placements that have encouraged me to think I can actually be a competent Primary Teacher AND I enjoy it. I’m currently in the 4th Study Period of the first year. I am on track to finish the whole thing by about March 2019.

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Sad and confused

Yesterday we had a memorial at work. Over the weekend a colleague committed suicide. She was distraught over the recent death of her boyfriend. 

I didn’t know her too well, worked with her a few times and chatted in the gym a couple of times. But knew her enough that it was saddening both not enough so it was a surprise. Equally, and I feel somewhat guilty about this, I feel a kinda mad at her. 

I’m kinda mad because I want to tell her that things get better. People get through horrifying tragedies and terrible things happening to them. There’s always a light in that tunnel even when it’s pitch black. I’ve been in a couple of pretty black places and even once I did think about suicide. But from my perspective it doesn’t  seem like an answer to anything. But I can’t tell her because I can’t bump into her in the gym anymore. 

So I’m a bit mad. Now there are two grieving families instead of one (the boyfriend was killed in a accident while at work, not suicide) and lots of people hurting. 

And all of these people would have jumped in with both feet to help and support her. I don’t know if she asked anyone. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers and I know she was talking to the padre at work, maybe that helped some.  

So I’m mad, feeling guilty, feeling sad and definitely confused. RIP Aimee and Curtis. 

Tired of the weather

Though actually yesterday and today are really nice. Summer was mostly super hot and so far the weeks of Autumn have been wet mostly. The bike is always dirty and so is the car. I have not been able to ride my push bike to work either. 

And the grass is on some kind of super growth spurt everywhere too.

Rain forecast for next week. Can we just have some mild weather for a while, rain maybe a couple of days instead of every day.

Something Left Over?

After days and days of rain (autumn brought a real change after days of scorching heat in summer), Friday saw a break in the weather (that so far has lasted until Sunday morning).

So I rolled out the car and washed it, rolled out the bike and washed that. Then I rolled out the lawnmower and mowed the lawns. Now rolling out the mower means rolling out the race stand (for the bike), and the two kids bicycles.

After all that was done I rolled them all back into the jigsaw that my garage is, swept the driveway and generally cleaned up. As I did I found these two items on the ground.

 

IMG_2008

I found the washer first. It was a little worrying. But when i found the clip I was quite worried. I was pretty confident that it didn’t come from the car. But it could have come from the bike. Would my next ride see me have no brakes, or the chain fall off… I put the parts in my pocket and did some other chores, while I pondered where they might have come from.

After a look over the bike and some thought, I decided it wasn’t from the bike. So probably the mower. Next time I mowed the lawn, could I expect the blades to come flying out?

As I looked at the mower at the bottom of the pile of bicycles (told you it was a jigsaw)I realised where they came from. I didn’t have to worry about the mower, or the next time the kids went for a bicycle ride.

It was from the axle of my race stand (which I hadn’t used to clean my bike). So a clip back in, double check the other three (two on each side) and all was good.

Lucky to be here. 

No not a new crash. 

Now and then again I see something that drives it home again just how lucky I was 2 years ago in my bike crash. Today I watched some of a YouTube video where a bike ran a red light and hit a car. These guys were being complete wankers stunting on the street and rode through the lights at speed. I don’t have a problem with the stunting, its when these riders are blocking traffic, running lights or on the wrong side that they’re just being dickheads and giving riders a bad name. 

While the first bike made it cleanly the second collected a car and the rider and his pillion were thrown across the bonnet and down. The pillion’s foot is either completely torn off or hanging by a thread. I didn’t look too closely. If you’ve a stronger stomach than me go and check it out

I hit the road at a higher speed than these two and was lucky not to get thrown off more violently. I could have gotten tangled in the bike or the roo or slid heavily into the fence. I might have landed differently and torn part of myself apart as I slid 100m along the road. I might have been run over. 

I wore a mix of good and great gear. I had a kept a fair bit of space around me in the very light traffic. But when the roo was there – there was NOTHING I could have done to avoid it. 

But I was also lucky. Very lucky. 

And now and then there’s something that makes a cold chill run down my back and remind me.