It’s time for my next New Year’s Resolution post. As you may recall, my resolution is to complain more often. And just as I haven’t exactly been consistent in my resolution, the same could be said for most people and their personal resolutions, can I get a witness?
I sit here, typing away on a keyboard without a fitness tracker on my wrist because it is charging, as it has been for about 48 hours now. Not because it takes that long, but because it’s presently “out of sight, out of mind” and yes, that is a lame excuse. Why should I go for a walk now if I can’t get credit for it? Yes, that’s another lame excuse. I still slept last night, even though my tracker didn’t monitor the quality of my sleep.
But that’s not even the focus of my rant. Oh no! The problem I have with fitness trackers is the same problem I have with Instant Messaging programs. They’re all proprietary, and they’re actually pretty stupid. And I’ll address each complaint directly.
Proprietary components and programs are the result of anti-consumer, pro-greed sentiments. The only reason the masses haven’t marched on Washington to protest them is because the biggest offender is Apple. And based on the number of iPhones you see in the vertical videos of protests on YouTube, protesters love their Apple products and are immersed in proprietary chargers, headphones, messaging apps, and more. They don’t try other products, claiming these products don’t meet their needs. And what are their needs? They need to work with their iProducts that they are already so heavily invested in.
And the same is true, to a lesser degree, in fitness trackers. One has the better app. One has the cooler wristband. One syncs with a few other apps that you already use or would like to. All of them do a few things great. None of them do everything the consumer wants them to do. And they won’t open up their API’s so you can use the better tracker with the preferred software. Why? Because then you would be managing your healthy patterns using components that they can’t control and leverage for their benefit.
Now to address the stupidity of the fitness trackers. This has nothing to do with my belief that your sleep data can only be estimated based on your nighttime movements or that if you walk like Fred Flintstone with your arms motionless at your sides your steps will be miscounted. This ties into the proprietary nature of fitness apps again.
I want a smartwatch. I want a nice one that looks like a nice watch and also has the features of a smartwatch. A smartwatch will do the same things as an exercise tracker, but I would take it off before I go swimming or jogging. Stop laughing. It could happen. I’d also take it off while sleeping.
I want a smartwatch that would be put on and taken off regularly. But I also want to wear a fitness tracker on a more semi-permanent basis. Is it too much to ask for software on my phone that is intelligent enough to recognize when two reporting devices are reporting the same activity? I do, but I don’t want double credit for when I exercise.
Why isn’t this already a thing? Why couldn’t the there be a universal phone app that takes all of the data collected about my activity, and credits me for the steps that the devices collects, divided by the number of devices? Or the most reliable device is counted and the others are discounted?
So there you have it. My rant about proprietary devices, with most of my wrath directed toward fitness trackers. Now I take a deep cleansing breath, let it all out, and go for a walk. Which isn’t being counted. Because my tracker is still at home. On the charger.