Tech Review: FIt Bit

Last week, I receive my Fitbit Flex in the mail. What’s a Fitbit? It’s a fitness tracker that helps you log your steps taken, miles walked, calories burned and consumed and weight lost in conjunction with the free app. The Fitbit comes in several models. The One can be clipped on your pocket. The Flex is a plastic bracelet that you wear on your wrist. The brand new Force is a model that also includes an altimeter for accurately tracking steps taken up stairs, as well as a digital clock.

Like I mentioned, I ultimately went with the Flex. I ordered it in the Slate Blue over the Black, only to find out the next day that a limited edition pink version was available. I was able to switch my order to the pink (available solely from Fitbit.com or Apple stores) since it’s my favorite color.

Setup of the Flex was super easy. It comes with 4 pieces—a small bracelet for tiny wrists, a large bracelet for chubbier wrists, a charging cable and the Fitbit device itself. First, I popped the Fitbit into the charger and charged it up. When it was done (indicated by flashing lights) I removed it from the charger and popped it into the bracelet itself. I was worried that perhaps the larger band might not fit, but it did, with plenty of room. The small one is quite tiny.

Once I secured the Flex onto my arm, I was ready to put it to use. I set up the Fit bit with the iPhone app. The app lead me through the setup process over bluetooth. It was simple and straightforward, and let me choose my desired fitness goals including weight loss and exercise. I did opt to set the app to sync only when I go into the app. Each day, I can track steps taken, distance walked, calories eaten, hours slept, calories eaten and calories burned. It’s very forgiving too. If it fails to log your workout, you can add it. You can set up your favorite meals to quickly add them to your calories eaten each day. Forget to put it in sleep mode? You can easily add your sleep hours in the app. It even has a vibrating wake up alarm that works really well.

The Flex tracks your movement throughout the day. To check in on your progress, double-tap the wristband and it will flash one or more lights to indicate how close you are to your goal. I also love the sleep feature. Tap the band repeatedly until it buzzes to put it into and out of sleep mode. The Flex will track how long you slept, how many awake and restless episodes you had and how many minutes they lasted.

Each day, I add my meals quickly and add my exercise sessions in as well. I can also log weight and track it all on graphics. I really love the simplicity of the app. I don’t want info overload… just a few key measures that are easy and not time-consuming. That said, the Fitbit will sync with a number of other apps and sites, so if you already track on a favorite platform, it may just be compatible.

Overall, I love the Flex. It would be nice if it had a clock like the Force, but for the price, it’s a great value. I’m very happy with it and logging forward to achieving my fitness goals, with my Flex by my side!

 

REVIEW: Just My Type by Simon Garfield

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I recently picked up the book Just My Type by Simon Garfield in the new and noteworthy section at my local library. The simple cover grabbed my attention and a closer look drew me into the topic. Just My Type is a fun look at typography over the years. It discusses everything from the origins of the printing process to the creation of some of our favorite typefaces to the move to computerized fonts. There are so many interesting facts about those who created the typefaces we’ve come to know and love. One of my favorites stories in the book is about a typeface that was destroyed by it’s creator, ending it’s legacy. So many of the fonts we love today have their roots in century-old hand-carved letters by master typographers. It was truly a fascinating book peppered with history, fun stories and bits of humor. I enjoyed how the author wove the history of typography around chapters about individual fonts and their creations.

If you hate Comic Sans, appreciate Helvetica, or adore Gill Sans, pick up this book. I highly recommend the print edition which actually shows a variety of the fonts displayed when they are discussed. I’m not sure the Kindle edition would be able to show that. This book is a keeper and one I definitely want to add to my bookshelf!

Unboxing: Macbook Pro

I recently got a new 15″ Macbook Pro with solid state drive and retina display. It’s sleek and fast and oh, so pretty. I thought I’d unbox it and share it with you. I’ll be back with a full review soon. Enjoy!

TECH REVIEW: Seagate Slim

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When I upgraded my Macbook Pro to the latest and greatest retina model a few months ago, I sacrificed hard drive space for solid state drive. It was a choice I debated heavily, and ultimately decided that speed (and price) was more important than the built-in hard drive space.

So, I went in search of a highly portable external hard drive that I could store my digital scrapbooking supplies on. After touring Amazon and Best Buy, I ended up with the Seagate Slim 500GB USB 3.0 drive.

Seagate Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for Mac (STCF500102)

 It came pre-formatted for MAC, which I appreciated. It comes in a PC Version as well. There’s nothing bad to say about this little drive so far. It’s slim… very slim! It came with a USB cable to hook up to my laptop. It’s USB 3.0, so it’s quite fast too. I used the drive to transfer files back and forth between my old mac and my new one while I was getting it set up. When I was done, I wiped it clean and put some of my favorite and newer supplies on it for scrapping with. I store it in a great little pink case (sadly now only available in black), and pop it into my laptop bag for carrying around. The case has a pocket for storing the cable and a stretchy band for securing the drive. It’s got more than enough room in there, and I can plug it in without having to remove it from the case, which I love.

It’s survived at least one drop on the floor, and continues to work quietly and quickly. If there is any drawback, it would be that the cable it came with is a little short. I can set the drive on the arm of the chair or side of my lapdesk while working, but if I move at all, I have to remember to pick up the drive and move it with the computer.

For the price and portability, I’m very happy with the Seagate Slim. As an aside, it also came with some backup software which gets pretty decent reviews on Amazon. I’m happy with Time Machine and Crash Plan for backup, though, so I removed the software from the drive to free up some additional space.

NOTE: Links in this post are affiliate links, but the review is entirely my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Crashplan Saves The Day… Again!

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A few years ago, I made the investment into online backup. I had tried Mozy first, but found that it could never keep up with my external hard drives. Every time I’d unplug my laptop, it would “forget” those files and have to reassociate them. Between my 2TB and 1TB drives, Mozy could never get past the reassociation to get to the back up. Then they changed their pricing model, so I made the switch to Crashplan and never looked back. I bought the 4-year plan which was very reasonable for unlimited backup. I did not pay for a seed drive, but it certainly would have made the process quicker. With a seed drive, they mail you an external drive for you to copy all your files to. You mail it back and once they associate it with your account, it just needs to sync up to your computer, and then back up anything new. I opted for the cheaper route and set my computer to back up every night from midnight until 9am. It took months to get all those terabytes backed up, but eventually I got there. My laptop, digi supplies, photos and layouts and graphic design work are all backed up.

Last year, I lost one of my hard drives… the one with all my photos on it. I did not have to stress, though, because I knew that Crashplan had me covered. It took a few hours to download all my photos back to my replacement drive. Easy and secure.

Today, I had another failure. This one was a human one. I was working on a video and accidentally deleted the clip I needed, AND saved over the file. My recording was completely gone. My heart sank for a moment before I remembered…. Crashplan has already backed that up! I popped on to Crashplan, selected my computer, navigated to the file I needed, waited a few minutes for processing and a few more for downloading and I now have my file back. I could have lost hours of work, but instead Crashplan came to the rescue and I’m back to work.

Do you have an online backup? If not, check out Crashplan. (Not an affiliate, just a happy customer.)

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