My Tiny Little Fit Bit

Back when i was looking in to getting the apple watch, i hmmed and hawed about getting a fitbit. I figured i wouldn’t as at the time, i wanted something that would tell me my pace and all, and not just my steps. However since i can use
Run keeper
for that kind of thing, which i had been using, i decided to revisit the idea of a fitbit. Plus i’ve heard the apple watch talking, and it’s very very crisp when it talks. So much so that it nearly sounds like words with Ss in them are whistled out instead of spoken lol. So that put me off the apple watch even more lol.

Over the past month or two, Fitbit have teamed up with Parkrun. They are running an
Offer
Spiciffically for parkrunners where you can get £15 off a fitbit tracker. You just need to enter your parkrun barcode to get the discount. I presume this was to celebrate parkruns partnership with Fitbit. This offer kind of reignighted the wwonderings about getting a fitbit. I wasn’t really bothered by the amount of steps that i would do every day, but i did want to see how far i would walk every day without using run keeper all the time as its’ battery lasts ages and Runkeeper is very hard on the iphone battery i find. Plus most of the features can be done through an app, so i wouldn’t have to worry about using the Fitbit if i got one.

I decided that i would just splurge and go for it. The hard part now was to pick what one i would want. I eventually decided to go for a Fitbit Flex. This is a wrist band that can monitor your sleep and such too. I’d read reviews that the sleep tracker wasn’t that accurate, but i don’t believe no sleep tracker is truely that accurate. I ordered it on Sunday and have been waiting for the postman ever since. Thankfully, it came today, so I was able to play with it and see how it worked.

What is a fitbit flex?

The Fitbit flex comes in a box very similar to a small reed defuser. This is a pot withsmelly oil and reeds which the smell goes up and makes a room smell really nice. I now know why when i was in Decathlan at the weekend, when i asked to see the Flex, they told me that if they opened the flex to let me see it, they’d have to sell it to me there and then because once it was opened, it couldn’t be closed again. I understand after seeing the box exactly what that means now lol.

The device itself is a tiny little thing. It’s about half the size of a usb pen drive. One part slopes down, and the other end is just a rounded end. This fits nicely in to a wrist band. On the wrist band, there are LED lights which light up for different goals you have set. The device will also vibrate when you reach certain goals, and there is also an alarm function on it. The more expensive devices have screens on them, but mine just has the lights.

What’s in the box?

In the box you get 2 different sized wrist bands, the flex which is in one of the wrist bands, a stand for a wristband, instructions, a usb charger that the flex fits in to, and a tiny usb dongle for the computer. This would be about half the size of your pad of your thumb. Maybe even smaller, but it’s tiny.

Setting up the Fitbit Flex

I thought you could just go and set up the flex from the app. The app let me do so much, but kept telling me i needed to make sure my log in details were correct. I thought i was registering to create an account with Fitbit, but there was no option for that. Whenever i tried to select my device, it eventually braught me to the sign in page and wouldn’t let me go any further. It then said i couldn’t have an account. I must admit, i was rather disheartened and disappointed. I went on to the Fitbit website, and looked in the help section. I discovered that to create an account, you have to do it on the computer. Good job i have a laptop which i hardly ever use! After my sister kindly put Jaws on for me, i got straight on to the computer. I first of all had to go to
The set up page
Where i had to download software called Fitbit connect. This would allow me to create my account and such. Unfortunately, i needed sighted assistance for this part as Jaws would not read the application at all which was a shame. I first of all had to plug in my tiny dongle, and then my sister set up my account and set up the flex then. You had to enter your height and weight, so unfortunately it was off to the scales for me. I hadn’t weighed myself in years so got a bit of a shock when i heard my weight lol. Especially with the amount of walking and that we do. Once my account was set up, i could start setting goals and things with the actual app so at least i was able to do this bit. You can set goals for how many steps you want to take each day, for how far you walk each day, and how many callories you want to burn. You can also log what you eat and drink throughout the day. I’d say this could be potentially dangerous as you could start obsessing over weight and food and such, but hopefully you’d be okay. You don’t have to fill in all of the fields though or set a goal for any of the fields which is good. There is also a sleep tracker which monitors your sleep and wakes you with a silent alarm if you set one.

The only bad thing is that you don’t know when it’s fully charged as it only flashes.

Testing the device

Last night i wore the flex to bed to see how the sleep tracker worked. For this, you have to go in to the app and where it says “how did you sleep?” on your dashboard, you should double tap this. You then get an alert that pops up which gives you the option to log sleep manually or “Begin sleep”. I think for the “Begin sleep” function, you need to set a silent alarm, which is in your dashboard when you see “Flex connected” you can go in to that. You then set the alarm and lock your phone and sleep. There are different sleep settings. I have it on the “normal” one, but you can put it on sensative to track more movements or something. I think the sensative setting is used for if you have a sleep disorder as that’s what it says it’s for anyway. It counts rolling over as being awake but you are not actually awake. When it wakes you in the morning, it does it very discreetly. It does 4 short vibrations, followed by a longer one and 4 shorter ones again. I think it can snooze for 10 minutes, but this morning i unlocked my phone so it didn’t do it again. You then hit the “i’m awake” button on the phone and it’ll show you how many times you were awake and how many you were asleep. It also shows you how many times you were restless.

I must have been very active in my sleep because it said i’d done 239 steps this morning lol! I think it counts raising your wrist though as steps and such. However it doesn’t start tracking active minutes until you’re outside which is good.

I still know i’m wearing the flex, but hoppefully, i’ll just forget i have it on. It’s not heavy on the wrist, but i can feel it on me. I’m very cautious with my right hand as i don’t want to get the flex wet or anything.

Overall though, i can’t wait to use it. I’m sure the novalty will wear off and i’ll just notice at the end of the day when i’m sinking it that i’ve done so many steps. Now though, i’m at the checking it all the time stage still.

I’d deffinetly recommend getting one if you’re interested in steps and such. The app is fully accessible as well as the website. Just remember that you have to set it up first with a computer and working eyes.

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“Reassembled Slightly Askew” By Shannon Yee

Today i went to see this as i had read about it on Shannons website. Let me backtrack a little though.

A few months ago on Twitter, I somehow stumbled across a website by a lady called Shannon Yee. Somebody that i follow must have tweeted about her or something. I went on to her website and liked the look of what I saw. It sounded like an interesting art form. Basically you are lying in a hospital bed to experience the purely audio piece which takes you on a journey of Shannons brain injury. I don’t know what attracted me, but it sounded interesting.

When i looked on Shannons
Website
I was disappointed to read that her tour dates were either sold out, or in far away places which wouldn’t be the easiest to get to. That was until a couple of weeks ago when i discovered she was coming to the “Bounce” arts festival which celebrates work from deaf and disabled artests across Northern Ireland. It is hosted by the Arts and Disability forum and funded by various funders.

Today I headed off to the Lyric Theatre, where most of Bounce is taking place this year. I was kindly met by someone from the ADF who walked me down from the bus stop to the Lyric. Since we were early, we headed up to the caffe to wait until the room was ready for us. Someone from the Lyric came up to make sure we were alright too, and assist me since the ADF person had to leave.

When we went downstairs again, we were met by Shannon herself. Apparently she doesn’t be there for all her shows, but she decided to come today. I felt quite privlidged to meet her. Before you go in, you have to fill in an “admission” sheet so that Shannon knows who attends each of her shows for the people who fund her piece. She can only have up to 4 people at each performance. We also had to sign a disclaimer which stated that we understood what the piece was about.

Shannon then led us in to the room where the beds were. There was only me and the lady from the Lyric in this performance. Shannon then explained what would happen and if we were uncomfortable at any time, we could take the headphones off. Shannon then told us to relax our shoulders. I said she sounded like a yoga teacher lol. We were then given eye masks and the headphones were slipped over our heads. I found the eye mask itchy though so i just took it off. Shannon was in the room the whole time should we need anything. When Shannon is not there, someone else would supervise the performance. The performance used Binoral technology to make it as real as possible. We were also given a medical bracelet that you would get in hospital which said what the performance was called.

I don’t even know how to describe the performance without giving too much away. The brain infection came on so quickly it really was quite shocking. The performance made you feel as if you were Shannon and you were getting stuck with needles and things even though you weren’t. Even though there were other people in the room, it felt as if it was just you in that hospital bed. It also touched on the strain it was for her partner and the emotions they both went through. I think they could have touched a little more on the support they both got, but it was only a 45 minute performance so they had a lot to squeeze in.

I’m still thinking about the performance now. It really was a powerful piece. I’d recommend people going to see it from now until Sunday as that’s when Bounce ends. Even doctors and that can go to it as it could be sued as a medical tool. It really is an experience and really makes you think. There are a few F bombs in it though, so that’s something to bare in mind if you’re not keen on that kind of language.

At the end of the performance, Shannon counted each person in and tapped them gently on the shoulder to let them know the performance had ended. She then gave you a few minutes to gather yourself before going over to a table to fill in the “Discharge” paperwork. These were questions from the “admission” sheet but you could change some of the answers if you needed to. It also gave audience members a chance to ask questions. I found myself worrying for Shannon, but now you wouldn’t know she had been so sick. She is a remarkable woman who has made a tremendous recovery.

To finish, we watched an optional “making of” the film. I don’t think this should have been optional as it explained how and why it was made.

I would like to thank Shannon for personally coming to todays showings of her performance and thank her for the time she took to explain everything not just to me, but to the other audience members too. Such a lovely lovely woman. I wish her all the best for the future.

Remember Bounce is on from the 3rd to the 6th September at the Lyric theatre, Belfast. For tickets, search online for the ADF.