Fitbit, disconnected: A short(ish) tale of woe

August 23, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 23, 2019

As mentioned in my previous post, I removed the wristbands from my latest secondhand Fitbit before reattaching one wristband. I normally kept the device, a Charge 2, in my pocket to count my steps throughout the course of the day.

My typical sleep outfit has no pockets; however, I sometimes still move around when I’m dressed for bed. In order to capture my steps during these evening (and occasionally morning) periods, I stuck the wristband in my waistband.

It was initially quite difficult to take off the Charge’s wristbands. Afterward, however, they slid on and off all too easily. The device itself frequently separated from the wristband in my pocket. That was only a minor problem.

A bigger problem was that the Fitbit would sometimes disconnect in other situations. Such as when it was the wristband was tucked into, say, the elastic band of my undershorts.

One night, not very long ago, I was in the bathroom. As I turned from the towel rack to the door, the Fitbit flew off its wristband and landed in the toilet bowl.

I reached toward the toilet with both hands. One approached the fallen device. The other instinctively honed in on the handle.

Reader, I flushed the toilet.

Whoosh! The device zoomed out of sight.

I don’t know if I smacked myself in the forehead, but it certainly would have been an appropriate reaction.

I briefly thought about ignoring this issue until the following morning. Then I changed my mind and looked up instructions about how to fish something out of a toilet.

There are two methods, according to these instructions on a how-to website. The first method, titled “Snaking it out,” consists of two steps: “Obtain a plumbers snake” and then “Push [it] into the bowl and if possible, grab onto the object and try to pull it up and out.”

I had a snake. I pushed it into the bowl. Alas, I had no idea how to detect the object I was seeking, let alone how to snag it and pull it out. (It seems to me that plumbers snakes are much better suited to hooking on to, say, a ring than a small rectangular object.)

After a relatively short time, I declared myself finished with the first method.

The second method, titled “Removing the toilet,” was a lot more involved. I toyed with the concept of doing this out but ultimately decided that it was far too much work for a gadget that had personally cost me exactly zero dollars and zero cents.

Shortly after coming to this decision, I opened up the Fitbit app on my phone and decided to remove the Charge 2. The app gave me a warning that I didn’t fully read before tapping the area of the screen that finalized the removal.

This action wiped out, or at least made inaccessible, the app’s records of steps taken, flights of stairs climbed and miles traveled. That was annoying, but having done it, and not knowing how to reverse it, I have resolved to ignore the issue.

I’ve mostly succeeded in doing so. Mostly. For the most part.

It’s now a lot harder to monitor my steps and distance over the course of a day. I’ve gone back to using the app’s exercise-tracking feature, as described in yesterday’s post, but it’s just not as convenient as having the gadget. (Incidentally, the app can’t detect flights of stairs climbed.)

Oh well. If this were the worst problem anyone had to deal with, the world would be a much happier place.

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