Fitbit One

Fitbit One

In December I got a Fitbit One activity tracker, and I have been using it with my Surface every day since.

So far, I have been really enjoying reviewing the extra information I have been collecting. While I am certainly not the most athletic, like most people I want to keep fit and knowing how I’m doing certainly helps.

By either keeping the Fitbit in my pocket or attached to my belt, I’m able to keep track of the following statistics:

  • Steps
  • Calories Burned
  • Distance
  • Very Active Minutes
  • Floors

The device itself is small and nice in the hand, but people have noted to me how easy it would be to lose. At the time of writing, I have only forgotten to clip it to my jeans once – and I quickly remembered to get it before I went too far.

With iOS and Android the Fitbit One can talk directly to the phone via Bluetooth. On Windows, the device synchronises with the Fitbit service through a USB dongle and some software, though this may be improving through the Windows 8 app. Currently, there’s no Windows Phone software but the rumours are that it will be coming soon.

Fitbit Software

At this time of year it’s quite difficult to do extra exercise, so I’ve actually reduced the default goals which means that with an extra walk every day I’m meeting the goals. With the original 10,000 steps, I’d have to walk around my village twice. While that goal seems reasonable for the future, I figured I’d start off slow.

I spent a lot of time looking around at the various options before deciding to go with Fitbit. There biggest factor was the fact that it synchronises with Microsoft HealthVault – a service that I already use to keep track of my weight and diet intake.

I decided to go for the clip-on style tracker for now, because I would rather wait and see what else could be put on my wrist before giving up my G-Shock. Though I believe that ultimately, using the wrist would be more useful than a clip-on – especially when used sleep tracking.

Hopefully Microsoft will produce a watch based device that will work with activity tracking as will as more general things – half way between a Galaxy Gear and a Fitbit Force. I’ve always been super interested in wearable form factors, and as a Windows user I look forward to seeing what Microsoft bring. Currently, I wouldn’t be willing to use my wrist for something as simple as health tracking.

Update

A couple of weeks after posting this I managed to lose my Fitbit One while on a walk, and I was unable to find it even after spending a few hours retracing my steps.

Immediately I realised how important tracking my activity had become and decided to purchase a replacement. I have learned a lesson to ensure that I have secured the Fitbit One in my pocket rather than my belt when doing any real strenuous activities.

But this also goes to show that the Fitbit One is so useful, I’m willing to spend the £70 on a replacement right away.

My Multi-Tools

There is something I really like about multi-tools. Especially ones that fold up into neat packages. Here are all the multi-tools that I own, and each one has its own purpose:

Victorinox Cyber Tool

Victorinox Cyber Tool

My Victorinox Cyber Tool was the first real Swiss army knife I got, and I was lucky enough to win it through a radio show. This version of the Cyber Tool is the most complete version that Victorinox made, and has 41 tools by their count. While I must admit I don’t use all of them, a great deal have been extremely useful over the years. The most unique features of this particular knife, is that it has a socket driver, which has been used to open and repair computers and other electronics. It has now been discontinued.

Wenger Ranger

Wenger Ranger

My Wenger Ranger 55 knife has gone camping with me many times, and has been used for a very large amount of tasks, including cutting cardboard, rope, opening tins and sawing fire wood. I decided to get the version that included a bottle opener – rather than a screw driver – because it seemed more likely that I would need that tool when camping, however I think all of the wine I have enjoyed while camping was either a screw top, or in a box. I originally ordered a black version of this knife, but received a version with camouflage themed scales. I decided to keep it.

Sigg Cutlery

Sigg Cutlery

Also for camping, my Sigg cutlery set has been very handy. Personally, I would have preferred it if they hadn’t included the bottle opener on the fork – as it seems that almost every other multi-tool has a bottle opener already. But, despite the strange shape of the fork and the sharpness of the knife, it has served me well. It turns out that the spoon gets most of the eating action in this set – and the knife and fork are more often used while actually cooking.

Victorinox Classic

Victorinox Classic

The tool I use the most by far is my tiny Victorinox Classic pen knife. This little knife usually lives inside a bag which also contains various medications and nail clippers. I’m guessing this is also the most used pair of scissors I own – outside of my kitchen.

Leatherman Wave

Leatherman Wave

Around the flat I tend to use my Leatherman Wave for a number of tasks, the pliers have helped out when fixing handles on doors, and the large blade has been very handy for cutting cardboard. I have a number of bits which can be used with the screwdriver which are great. This is also the sharpest blade I have.

Leatherman Squirt

Leatherman Squirt

When I am out doing astronomy (or hanging around our observatory) I always take my Astronomy Every Day Carry tools with me. Included in the kit is my little Leatherman Squirt PS4. The pliers, knife, screwdrivers and scissors all get plenty of action with this tool, and I’m always pleased to have it when I need it.

Swiss-Tech Utili-Key

Swiss-Tech Utili-Key

The Swiss-Tech Utili-Key 6-In-1 is the smallest of all my multi-tools, and the one that goes with me literally everywhere. There’s no chance I’d go for anything larger, as keeping my keys small is the top priority… but thanks to the small size of the Swiss-Tech Utili-Key, it is no worse than carrying one extra key. I mostly use the blade on this tool, but the tiny screwdrivers have saved me on a number of occasions.

Knomo Kilkenny bag for Microsoft Surface

Knomo Kilkenny

I spent a lot of time looking around for a bag that will suit my current computing habits – I found myself taking my Surface with me when I went to see friends and family quite often. I used a bag I already owned which was not really designed to hold a computer – and I worried about it. I knew I needed something that would keep my computer safe.

First I thought about what I wanted to be able to carry and came up with a list of must-haves and optional extras that would all need to be able to fit – though not at the same time.

  • Surface Pro (10.6 inch screen)
  • Surface Mini (when they make one!)
  • Arc Touch Mouse (Surface Edition)
  • Mechanical Pencil and Surface Pen
  • USB sticks & USB cables
  • Moleskine Notebook
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Nintendo 3DS XL
  • Surface Charger

I decided I wanted it to go one of two ways:

  • Backpack
  • Cross-Body Messenger Bag

Eventually, after whittling it down to two* very different options, I decided to go for the Knomo Kilkenny cross body messenger bag, designed for laptops and tablets with screens up to around 11 inches. While it is not designed to be used with the Surface as such, it fits really well without being so tight that I wouldn’t be able to switch the computer out to something of a similar in the future. It’s also leather, which means it will hopefully last even longer than the technology it will hold.

Here’s how I’m using it…

The padded back compartment is specifically designed to hold a laptop or tablet, there’s no extra pockets in here and my Surface Pro 2 fits really nicely. This will be the only purpose for this back section to ensure I never accidentally scratch or damage the computer.

Knomo Kilkenny

The middle compartment is probably going to be the most changeable, and there is plenty of room for a second Surface tablet, Amazon Kindle, or Nintendo 3DS XL. There are two pockets a nice amount of padding as well as a zipped compartment providing a number of options for storing cables, devices or chargers depending on what I need.

Knomo Kilkenny

The front compartment is protected by a zip, and has a couple of small pockets as well as two loops for pens. I must admit the space for the pens is a little shorter than my other backpack, making both my Surface Pen and my Koru Toga fit tightly – but they do fit.

There’s also a back pocket and while I wouldn’t use it normally, it is ideal for picking up mail or storing documents for quick access. Very pleased to have it.

Knomo Kilkenny

I’m really happy with this bag. The quality is high, and it contains just the right mixture of storage verses size that I wanted. Especially when compared to the bag I was using, I’m sure that the Knomo Kilkenny will protect my most important electronic devices.

* the alternative was the Grid-It backpack. It is super cool, but a little big for what I needed.