Microsoft Band–First Look

So I got a Microsoft Band as a late Christmas present and I’ve been using it for a few days and I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on the device.

First though, I’d like to point out that I’ve been looking for quite a few months for a device that would:

  1. Give me continuous heart rate monitoring
  2. Give me calorie counts as I’m working out
  3. Not be tied to a particular Operating System (yes Apple Watch I’m talking to you here 🙂 )
  4. Sync to my phone or PC
  5. But can use it without having to have my phone with me (Samsung, I’m talking to you…:) )
  6. And do all of the above without needing to wear a chest strap

I’ve tried a few different watches/devices and have returned them all as they didn’t do any of the above things. Even when I returned the Samsung watch to Best Buy, they kind of admitted that the watch sucked 🙂

So I picked up the my Microsoft Band a few days ago and here’s what I’ve found

  1. I have a Galaxy S4 phone and the Band synced up using Bluetooth easily. (In fact the Band won’t work without a smartphone sync).
  2. But the nicest part…….I can use the band when I run or workout and don’t have to have my phone next to me. This is something that is pretty important to me
  3. I get email, text and phone notifications. I can even pay for my Starbucks with my Band. 🙂
  4. When using the Band as a workout device, it continually displays my heart rate, calories burned, and exercise duration.
  5. It is moderately uncomfortable (although I haven’t worn a watch in 20 years…..).
  6. The reports generated by the Band give a lot of interesting information.. for example:

First Boot Camp info

You’ll notice the spikes in heart rate and the timing durations. Now lets look at a sample run

First Run

And the part I found the most interesting….Tracking my tennis match

Singles Tennis Match which I won 6-3, 6-2

As you can see, I work really hard at tennis

 

Although I plan to further discuss this when I’ve had the Band a few weeks, my initial reaction to the Band is that I think I’m really going to like this product 🙂

 

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2015: The year I got rid of my Ipad Part1

People who know me know that I have a hate/hate relationship with Apple 🙂 It’s not that I don’t like their products (I usually do), but my usual complaints with Apple stem around 3 specific things:

  1. Apple products are overpriced.
  2. Apple requires me to install Itunes on my PC. As any self-respecting computer geek will tell you :), Itunes is a buggy piece of software, it slows your computer down, and it is a PITA to deal with 🙂
  3. The lack of available storage space on any Apple product is ridiculous!

About 4 years ago, however, I purchased an Ipad 2. The biggest reason that I purchased an Ipad was to use the device as a Comic Book reader. I had tried to use my Nook Color e-book reader to read my comics, but the screen size was too small. Apple was the first company to come up with a tablet that was large enough to read digital comics without having to resort to using a magnifying glass 🙂

I bought an Ipad 2 (16GB) for $499 and started to use it. As I started to use the device, a couple of things became quite clear to me.

  1. I loved the idea of having a tablet to use for general web surfing, reading magazines, and reading comics books. As the years passed, I used the Ipad an awful lot.
  2. Apple makes really good products. I’ve used my Ipad multiple times daily for about 4 years and I’ve never had a problem with it.
  3. I REALLY HATE ITUNES
  4. 16GB is not nearly enough space for any device that you want to store a lot of digital media on.
  5. Why the heck didn’t Apple put a USB port on the damn thing?

Although I’ve used the Ipad for over 4 years, the limitations really started to annoy me.

  • The contortions necessary to import my comics to my Ipad were cumbersome at best. I had to hook the Ipad up to my PC, select in Itunes what comics I wanted to import, and then have Itunes copy my comics to the Ipad.
  • I teach at a local community college and we use Canvas to interact with the students. Canvas is also the method that the students use to turn in their papers. Although Canvas had an Ipad app, I could only use it to grade homework questions. I still had to use the PC versions of Canvas to take attendance, grade long papers, and other necessary things.
  • It’s still a Windows world. 🙂 If I wanted to demonstrate a network traffic sniffer to my class, I still had to use my laptop. If I needed to show my students how to use a PC based program I had to use my laptop. So as a result, I needed to bring my laptop AND my Ipad to class.
  • I was constantly running out of space on my Ipad. As I mentioned before, 16GB’s is not nearly enough storage space for an Ipad. I ended up deleting apps and content that I really didn’t want to delete because of the lack of space on my Ipad.

Although I certainly got my moneys worth out of my Ipad, it was time to look at something else. The next part of this will look at the choice I made to replace my Ipad