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Posts tagged ‘fitness tracker’

My Diabetes App Wishlist.

After a long day of diabetes rule-following and making an attempt to log all of my actions [insert laugh track here], I started drumming up another diabetes application wishlist.  Because I’m beyond tired of having five different devices that speak entirely different languages/require different charging cords/can’t work on the operating system I use/hate the idea of integration.

I’m in wicked curmudgeon mode today.  But stay on my lawn for a few more minutes, because I have a list, a la Veruca Salt.

I want a diabetes application:

    • … that auto-magically siphons the results from my glucose meter and logs them in a lovely, color-coded graph and logbook on my phone and on my computer.
    • Yes, I want my data on my phone and my computer, because while my phone is with me constantly and is good for everyday spot-checking, I like having the bulk of my data stored on my computer so I can see a week at a glance, a month at a glance, and a clue as to what my A1C might be at a glance.
    • I want to be able to email all of this data as a PDF (because Excel and I have a less than harmonious relationship) to my healthcare professional and whoever else I choose.  Or I can print it and put it into a blood sugar binder that I do not currently have but would have if my logbooks were this easy to compile.
    • And then, the data from my pump should just as easily be pulled off and graphed neatly alongside the data of my glucose meter.  Insulin doses plotted alongside blood sugar checks, with the option to add a smiley face when I fucking well feel like it because some days deserve a big, fat smiley face.
    • (Frowny faces and other emoticons would be a nice bonus, to add in accordance with my whims, as emoticons are sometimes the only recourse I have against a day that’s been truly and mind-bogglingly ridiculous in those ways only diabetes can be.)
    • It should go without saying, but I’ll say it:  the data from my Dexcom should follow the same sharing and integration platform, living in logbook and pie chart harmony with my glucose meter and insulin pump.  And all of that data should be visible on all operating systems EVEN A MAC HOW ‘BOUT THAT?!
    • I want to be able to look at this data in several different ways: at-a-glance, where I can see how my day is going (similar to the One Touch Reveal app); how a week looks, where I can see data broken into high-level pie charts, detailed logbooks, and a bunch of in-between options; and what I’d call an A1C level-glance, which would give me data (detailed and high-level) about how all of my numbers have tracked over the course of three months.
    • All of this data should move from my devices to the application without needing to cobble together proprietary cables.  Bluetooth is fine.  Cloud is fine.  Bluetooth cloud with a side of hazelnut iced coffee would be ideal.
    • Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if the application also synced up with my FitBit (or Shine or whatever other fitness tracker is the thing in use these days) so that I could see how exercise plots against blood sugar checks or insulin doses?  Yes, yes it would.
    • Another excellent detail would be if the application, upon access the diabetes devices, would confirm that each device is synced up with the right time zone.  So when I travel and the clock on my phone is updated, so are my devices.
    • And lastly, NO DONGLES.  I can’t handle that word. It’s too silly.

I know this kind of application isn’t flashy enough, and doesn’t benefit each respective company enough to actually work together and create something cohesive and workable, with an easy data flow and an even easier user interface, but whatever.  A girl can dream, right?

Shine On, You Crazy Pedometer.

I’ve spent a few weeks playing with the Shine fitness tracker from Misfit Wearables.  (Hence the title, which I’ve been itching to use since receiving the device.)

As with any pedometer/fitness tracker/new thing, I’m paying attention to this device and becoming immersed in the data.  I use it as intended; I wear it all day long and sync it to my iPhone when required.  And it’s not hard to integrate, as I’m still in the wicked techno-joy portion of using this fitness tracker.

Doesn’t hurt that it’s slick, design-wise.

Shine vs. a quarter

The Shine is about the size of a quarter, and looks like a spaceship.  Only more Batteries Not Included than Wall-E, which I’m fine with.  Already suited up with an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor, I’m grateful for the small, discreet design of this fitness tracker.  Especially since I view exercise as necessary in my diabetes playbook as insulin.

Right out of the box … well, I have to admit:  I had trouble getting this thing out of the box.  Literally.  The package design is streamlined and reminiscent of all-things Apple, and admittedly took me ten minutes to figure out how to pop the Shine out of the packaging.  (I had a photo of the box, etc. but it ended up lost down an elevator shaft along with my OCP [original cell phone] two weeks ago.  Don’t ask.)  But once the Shine was released from its factory packaging, all I needed to do was download the Shine application, put the battery in the fitness tracker, and sync that sucker up with my phone.

Pros?  Once I had the battery in, it took me about two minutes to set up my profile and assign fitness goals.  The Shine goal system is based on points, and I opted for 1000 points to start, which worked out to about 1.5 hours of brisk walking, according to the app.  It was encouraging, and informative, to see the patterns of my day.  Having worn the Shine for the better part of the last three weeks, I’ve seen that I’m lazy as eff in the morning, but by 1 pm, I’m already logging points and usually have my goal met by early evening.

I like seeing the progress build throughout the day, either through syncing-and-reviewing on the app, or tapping the device and watching it light up, clockwise, signalling how close you are to completing your goal.  That ‘around the world’ light show is very satisfying, once you’ve hit your goal for the day.

The detailed reports for each day are seen from the application, and while they aren’t as detailed as I’d like (I use RunKeeper to track miles, pace, etc, so I’m accustomed to that level of exercise detail, and I prefer it), it’s useful.  If I hit goal for a few days in a row, I get the “on fire” icon, showing that I’m on a good streak.  The device also tracks sleep patterns (see photo below).

And lastly, it can go through the washing machine.  Or you can sweat all over it.  Or wash your hands without fear of water-logging it.  Nice feature, considering what circumstances fitness trackers are put through (running, swimming, bathing toddlers, etc.)

Cons?  The biggest con is that the night I put the device on, I lost it about an hour later.  I used the magnet clip, at first, and it somehow came loose while I was giving my daughter a bath.  That sucked.  It’s so small and so slick that it hid from me, underneath the bathroom cabinet, for a long time before I found it.  I wish it had some kind of tracker built into it so that I could use my phone as a honing device.

I mentioned that the level of detail leaves much to be desired, for me, and I’m hoping the interface upgrades will eventually reach the RunKeeper level.  Also, there’s no way to track weight training, and no open data field to add notes, which would be really useful.  I’d love to be able to add notes about blood sugars, etc. to help make this useful in tandem with uploading my meter, etc.

Another issue is cost.  While this device was sent to me for review, at no cost to me, it’s not cheap.  (Which is why, when I lost it for a few days, I was spazzing, feeling like I lost $120.)  It’s a durable little sucker, but isn’t easily kept-track-of without accessories like the magnetic clip or the sport band.  You can splurge even further and go for the necklace option, or durable leather band, but you’re dipping into the $80 range there.  Overall, the design and functionality seems worth the cost, but it’s not a purchase I’d make without thinking through.

And the sleep tracker function?  I’m iffy on these sorts of things.  How does it know I only had two hours of deep sleep?  And why didn’t it notice I woke up to use the bathroom?  I have yet to find a sleep tracker app or device that seems to work for me, especially on days when they claim that I should feel rested when I feel more like I’ve been hit by a truck.  Tricky tracking there.

Overall, I think the design of this device is excellent, and integration is easy (that is, providing I don’t lose it again).  With time, I hope the interface evolves to customize more details.  So far, it’s been fun to use.  What I really want to do is stick this pedometer – or any pedometer, for that matter – to my three year old and confirm that she logs over 20,000 steps per day.  I’m sure she’d kick the crap out of the goal system.

[Disclosure:  Misfit Wearables sent the device to me to keep and review.  I was not asked to blog about it, and my opinions are all mine. ALL MIIIIIIIINE.]

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