Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

I’m not usually a very restless sleeper. Therefore, my Fitbit doesn’t pick up on much that happens with me throughout the night. However, I’ve managed to make it pick up on more by increasing the sleep sensitivity.

To do so, open the Fitbit web portal, click on the Cog Wheel icon and then click on the device you’d like to configure.

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Click on the device if it doesn’t automatically take you to that devices page and then scroll down until you see the Sleep Tracking option. Change that setting to Sensitive and then click  on another option to commit the setting change.

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While at this screen, you can also disable some of the display settings, such as the flower, distance, calories, floors, clock, the greeting, cute things it says, etc. But me, I like my Fitbit just as it came, so won’t be changing any of that.

August 11th, 2013

Posted In: Wearable Technology

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I loved my FitBit Flex. I thought it was the best thing ever. It tracked how much I walked, was a silent alarm to wake me up, tracked my sleep patterns, estimated the number of calories I burned and gave my daughter something to do while bored standing beside me (who doesn’t love to tap on things to make LEDs light up). Then one day, I got an alert on my phone that there was a firmware update for the Flex. I tapped to update, watched it start and then poof, the FitBit went into a Cylon state where the LEDs just flashed from side to side until the battery died. The Flex never recovered. That’s some crap firmware right there.


Feeling the need to restore my security blanket back to form, I ran out to the nearest electronics store (Best Buy Roseville) to replace my Flex. But, what do you, they were out. Apparently there’s a backlog of the things or something like that. Begrudgingly I bought a FitBit One, thinking because of the size and lack of a cute little bracelet thingy that it must be inferior. But I was wrong. Why?


Ten reasons the FitBit One is better than the Flex:

  1. Battery: The One lasts about twice as long for me. My Flex needed a charge every 2 to 3 days whereas the One needs a charge about once a week for me. The website for the Flex claims it needs charging every 5 days, but if you set silent alarms (the Flex can have up to five of them) it burns that much faster.
  2. Stairs: There’s no altimeter in the iPhone or the FitBit Flex. But there is in the FitBit One. What this means is that when I go up and down stairs that now shows up in the web portal.
  3. Time: The display can show you what time it is. The flex doesn’t do that. I have a phone with me at all times so I don’t use that feature, but some might…
  4. Status: The OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, which shows the number of steps, the distance, the calories burned, etc. I am very fond of it. I like seeing the exact number for each category rather than guessing based on one of five positions an LED light sits on with a single setting (steps) on the Flex.
  5. My name: The display does something else. It shows me what I configured it to show me. Of course, mine says Hello Krypted in the morning. Because personalized number nerding is way better than cylon lights.
  6. Flower Power: There’s a flower that grows and shrinks based on activity on the display of the One. Apparently there’s a whole psychology thing there. I never see it really, but my daughter likes it about as much as she liked the LEDs on my Flex.
  7. Flex comes with a wristband and a nerdy belt clip. No one can see it provided you don’t tuck your shirt in (something I rarely do) when using the belt clip, and you sleep with it in the wristband. This frees up the wrist for friendship bracelets from coworkers during the day!
  8. Bluetooth: I found the One syncs a little faster for me. I’m not sure why, but when I open the FitBit app on my iPhone it takes a little less time on the One.
  9. They’re easier to find. A call to the major chains in the Minneapolis area netted the fact that no one has the Flex in stock still!
  10. Finally, my One survived the first firmware update and my Flex, well, it sits on the desk and I wait for it to try and kill me (after all it is a Cylon now).



To be fair, there are things I liked more about my Flex. I liked the size, the fact that you can’t loose something you’re wearing on your wrist, the ease of use and I did use the sleep alarm, but ended up disabling it to conserve battery.

Overall, they’re both great devices. I like what they’re doing so much that I went ahead and got the FitBit Aria as well. It makes for a great combination of devices and insight into my own habits and their impact on my health. The only thing I’d honestly change is to add a heart rate monitor. I think that would help to make the calorie burning algorithm so much more accurate. Oh, and I guess I’d have it charge using the heat or movement from my body. Oh, and it would be able to turn into a Panther named Guenhwyvar who can help me smite my enemies (yes, I just crossed genres in an article which I try not to do, but I just couldn’t help myself). Anyway, if you’re on the fence about which one of these two devices to get, note that you get a little more (noted above) with the One and they’re the same price.

August 10th, 2013

Posted In: Wearable Technology

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The Fitbit Flex can act as an alarm. When acting as an alarm, the Flex will vibrate at the time you set it to do so. The Flex supports up to 8 concurrent alarms, although the more alarms you run the more the alarm function drains the battery of the Flex. To set an alarm, log into the Fitbit portal and go to Once there, click on the Add Alarm button.

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From the Set an alarm screen, enter a time and then whether the event should repeat (which brings up a menu of checkboxes for each day of the week). If repeating, check the appropriate box for each day.

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Click Save once the event is ready and then sync the Fitbit (e.g. through the app on your phone).

When the alarm time is reached (btw, alarm times are based on the time zone you defined in your web client) the Fitbit will vibrate. Alarms automatically recur after 9 minutes. Double-tap on the Fitbit when you see the LED lights flash to disable the alarm. One light in the middle LED means that the alarm was disabled.

July 4th, 2013

Posted In: iPhone, Wearable Technology

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