So a while ago I had a REALLY BAD review on one of my apps. I used up an entire weekend (and a bunch of honey-do credits) debugging scenarios I had to guess at and getting it to work *just right*. I published to the store and YES(!) — the author of that bad review came back and gave it a glowing rebuttal! Only to see my number of crashes for that app continue to climb.
I just figured out why that’s happening: It’s because my daily driver (and therefore test device) is running the latest version of the OS, while the app version that’s failing is for the previous version of the OS. As soon as I fired up that version of the app it became very clear what the problem was. Unfortunately.
So that means this weekend I’ll be rewriting the app to cover whatever it is that changed in that previous version of the OS.
The take away? Always remember to re-test your app on every version of the OS your support, even if nothing has changed in that version of the app. Doing so would have saved me a lot of hair-pulling and headaches.
On 2014.11.05 a member of one of the .NET User communities I’m a part of asked how [paraphrasing] “those of us who were able to pick up the Band are liking it.” This is the response to that email.
I’m loving it. Prior to this I haven’t worn a watch in years so I don’t have a basis for saying “It doesn’t feel like a regular watch”. It doesn’t annoy me and the benefits far outweigh any minor inconvenience I might experience. For example it’s forcing me to use proper wrist posture on the keyboard to make sure I don’t bounce the Band on the desk. That’s actually helping me, and I would be doing the same thing if I were wearing an expensive wrist watch.
However I cannot stress enough how convenient it is to know exactly…
1. How many steps I’ve taken at any point of the day.
2. What email just made my phone vibrate (and from who).
3. Who is texting me and what they said.
4. Who is calling me.
All without taking my phone out of my pocket. Invaluable during meetings (business and personal).
5. Did I mention the range on this thing is great? That I can check email from entirely across the room?
6. For the most part you don’t get the usual Bluetooth drop outs with this because it’s not transmitting audio data.
7. Having that “dumb” alarms, stop watch and timer functions on my wrist is awesome.
8. I still have access to all the “smart” functions (in #7 above) via the phone as well.
9. ANY app that throws toast notifications automatically* notifies the Band.
* You have to have the Notification Center app enabled on the Band.
Now for the”bad”; I *don’t* like…
1. How display apparently is not Gorilla Glass.
2. How the unit scratches so easily.
3. The band material likes to attract dirt and lint.
4. There’s no app to control music; I have to use Cortana.
5. It doesn’t work directly with indie apps unless they are Cortana enabled.
6. When using Cortana for queries through the Band… unless Cortana has a specialized interface for the query response you’ll have to take out the phone to see the results.
7. I can’t do “everything” via Cortana that I can on the on the phone… I get lots of “sorry, I don’t support that yet” messages. This one will only affect MAYBE 3% of users though. 😉
Seems like a lot of gripes but in all actuality I LOVE THIS THING.
So I was reading through coverage of the Band on Ars Technica and of course I was pumped when I saw an opportunity to compare the Band with the vaunted Garmin Forerunner 610. I’m very satisfied with Band in every area… except for accurate HR readings while exercising.
Let me be clear; the Band did provide good heart readings and they were consistent for whatever they were measuring; I just have no idea what that was. Eventually I’ll do some research and probably discover that it’s monitoring a subset vs. the entire array that the 610 measures. While the differences are significant the representative curves, once they are averaged and smoothed out, are similar enough to satisfy me. See for yourself.
I wish I could have taken some pics of the Band and the 610 while I was out for my brisk walk… but it was dark out and I would have been “that guy”. 😉
So, the final verdict is that the Band is perfect (for me) for just about everything except knowing my *exact* heart rate while exercising. In fact, it’s great for anyone who is into any level of fitness and doesn’t need highly granular data tracking. If you need highly accurate HR readings to compare against exact elevation or pace markers then you’re going to want to stick with your existing solution.
For everyone else? This thing is great. It syncs *immediately* with your phone over BT4.0, so no need for a computers and pesky dongles.