The Fitbit Aria Scale tracks weight, body fat and BMI. It’s also pretty cool how it smiles at you too. As a gadget head, there’s really no way I could go through life without one of these. If you use a One, Ultra or Flex, this data gets synchronized to the same Fitbit account you use for other things as well. The scale can also be used by multiple people in a household, with each persons weight getting synchronized to their own account at Fitbit. The Aria comes with batteries. But don’t put them in before installing the app. To set the device up, first install the Fitbit Wi-Fi Scale Setup application, located at the getting started page for the Aria: http://www.fitbit.com/setup/aria. Once downloaded, open the app. At the “Ready to connect your scale?” screen, click Get Started. Sign up for a free account screen, click Log in to your account if you already have an account; otherwise provide details so a new account can be created for you and then click Sign up. At the Personal Info screen, enter your height, weight, birthday and a time zone and click on the Next button. At the Question screen, select Yes if the wireless network is listed properly; otherwise click No and select the correct network. Next, place the batteries in the Aria and it will turn on automatically. Click Connect when the scale comes up and it will get joined to the wireless network. Now, this is a little tricky sometimes as the scale might go ahead and join the network and the app is likely never to notice. So at this point, once the scale restarts, stand on it and see if it can upload to your account. If it does, you’re done. If it doesn’t, try the wizard again (force quit, re-run). Once installed, log into your Fitbit dashboard and locate the Weight tile. This will show the historical rating for weight, Lean vs Fat and BMI over time. Good for number nerding, working towards goals, etc.
I’ve done a few articles over the years on customizing the team server in OS X Server. This is one of those places where Lion really changes things. Once upon a time you could just swap out the graphics and have a fairly custom-looking wiki or implementation. In Lion, Apple has really simplified and stripped down the Lion elements in the interface for the server. There is less Apple branding and more functionality than ever. Gone is the time Apple spent building templates, but in the place of all those templates is a much more integrated and functional collaboration server. Added are features dedicated to navigation (e.g. the ribbon was borrowed from MobileMe) document management and writing personal wiki articles. Added is a more seamless integration with podcasts and better ways to find content that is pertinent to you. Also added is a sidebar that allows you to insert blocks, similar to widgets in WordPress, but far less useable (for now). You can still customize the graphics. They are now stored in /usr/share/collabd/coreclient/public/stylesheets/cc/img. You can also add your own banner or edit the look and feel in the css files stored in the /usr/share/collabd/coreclient/public/stylesheets/cc. For example, editing the core.css file to change the color (not background-color) setting in the body section will change the color of the text (use my color chart to pick a new color if you’d like). Also in the core.css file is the background color for the unused space, located in the background-color setting of the main section. The blue title bar for wikis can also be customized to include a background image or just change the color. For example, use the banner.css file to add the background-color field into the banner section with #FFFFFF to set that to white. As usual, be careful when customizing Apple’s services. Personally, I find that whenever I customize their settings, I end up making them look worse. Apple is known for design. If you’re looking at my web site, you’ve likely noticed that I am not. If you decide to walk down this path though, I have a good tip. Use a browser plugin for Firefox to help you. You can make changes on the fly, see what works and what doesn’t and gradually change settings until you find a look and feel you can live with. I like Edit CSS, but as with many of these kinds of things, it’s just preference – search for CSS in the Firefox add-ons for one that you find that you like better.
Microsoft released Service Pack 2 to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac earlier this week. Once you have installed Service Pack 2 you may notice the new Open from Document Connection File menu item for office applications, or you may notice the new application called Microsoft Document Connection located in your /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008 folder. These are all part of Microsoft’s overall Software+Services strategy: provide a cloud type of environment that is able to sustain the software that you purchase from them. In this case it could be a private document storage “cloud” running on a SharePoint server or it could be a more public environment running in the Office Live environment. We’ll cover SharePoint integration some other time, but for now, let’s look at the Live environment. Before you setup your computer, first login to your Microsoft Live account at home.live.com. Once you are signed in, click on the More menu and click on Office Live. If you see a button for Get Started for Free, click it; otherwise you should be looking at a screen with an icon in the left column for New Workspace. Click it and then type something that indicates a project or a group of documents you might upload. For example, I’ll just type Mac OS X Security 2nd Edition. Now that you have a workspace, open up the Microsoft Document Connection application in your Office directory. From here, click on Add Location… and then click on Sign In to an Office Live Workspace… At the dialog box, enter the name and password you use to log into Microsoft Live, clicking Save when you’re done. Now you should see the name of your live account in the Document Connection screen, along with any workspaces you’ve created. You can drag documents into this screen, double-click them to open or control-click them to edit (and you can edit from non-Microsoft applications). At this point you have something similar to Jungle Disk or another application you use to access a cloud service from a Mac. But Document Connection isn’t just about one user accessing documents. It supports sharing documents between users, commenting on documents and even document check-in and check-out. The portal is where you setup most of the Sharing: use the share button, type the address of who you want to share to, they can then access via the portal or using Document Connection with their own account. Commenting is also available in the portal, much as with a solution like Final Cut Server. Document check-in and check-out seems to require SharePoint and not be a feature of Office Live, but I’ll let you know if I can find a way to do it. Overall, this is a great addition. Some other products are more mature, but as usual, Microsoft has taken the best from a number of competitors and made an extremely simple to use and intuitive sandbox. The uploads and downloads fail at times. The portal relies on constant communication from Silverlight so sometimes it throws an error. But those are minor issues. This is a great new product that I look forward to integrating into a number of environments. I’ll get to the SharePoint side in the next few days and do a write-up on it as well!