FitBit App for Windows Phone 8.1

It seems that great things always happens to the Windows Phone platform when I’m on holiday so I miss the early adopter crew which is perhaps a sign I need to take more holidays.

I’ve been using FitBit for nearly a year now and I’ve been happy but today I got happier. I today learnt that the official Windows Phone app for FitBit was released last week for Windows Phone 8.1 and when used on a Nokia Lumia device running the Lumia Cyan firmware update allows you to sync the FitBit Flex device. This is obviously not new as it’s something that Android and iOS users have been doing since the inception of FitBit but for us fellow Windows Phone users, we have been tied and limited to using the FitBit Connect service for Windows PC. It was only for the work of a fellow Windows Phone community user that we’ve had any application at all which has been great to have but it just sadly lacked the ability to sync with the phone.

FitBit App Dashboard  FitBit App Steps
FitBit App Friends  FitBit App Flex Settings

The new official FitBit app for Windows Phone has everything you need to use FitBit Flex or Force devices without being tied to a PC for the ability to access your data, sync or manage your device. The dashboard home screen as shown above includes all of your steps, distance travelled, active minutes and calories. We had this available to us previously in the community app but what is new is that we can now click the steps or distance bars and we get graphs to show the activity history.

I use FitBit Aria wireless scales to weigh myself so my weight is shown and tracked also on the dashboard but I’m not going to give you anything to laugh at by sharing that graph. Swipe right and the friends list shows you the steps ranking for you and your friends which we had before in the community app too. What is totally new for us is the management of the Flex or Force FitBit devices. As you can see in the last screenshot, I can configure my Flex Silent Alarms, my goals, which wrist I wear the Flex on and I can sync it too to get the new alarms and goals down to the device.

FitBit Flex Bluetooth Paired

When I first used the app, I noticed that it wasn’t pulling anything from my Flex. Reading the FAQs on the FitBit website, it says that you need to do nothing to manage the connection to the Flex other than having your Bluetooth turned on, on the device however it just wasn’t working. I decided to head into the Bluetooth Settings menu and pair the Flex anyway and it started working. Turns out for me that the reason for this was that my phone had seen my wife’s Flex first and paired with that, so I closed the app, deleted the pairing for her Flex and paired with my own then the app started to sync properly, happy days.

What I will be interested to see over the coming days and weeks is how the constant chatter between my phone and my FitBit Flex device will effect battery life for them both, whether I’m going to see the phone draining at a faster rate or whether the Bluetooth 4.0 LE connection really is as low energy as it claims to be.

My Windows Phone Start Screen

Earlier today, Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) tweeted a picture of his Windows Phone Start Screen (https://twitter.com/thurrott/statuses/349209094109921280). As I like to share, I thought I’d show off mine too.

My Windows Phone Start Screen Top

So here’s the top half of my screen. In the top left corner, we’ve got my tiles associated with calling: Phone and Lync. Our company isn’t yet using Lync externally but we should be sometime soon so I wanted to get the icon in early. On the right side, I’ve got the People hub. Strangely, as I took the screenshot, Paul managed to work his way into the picture.

Back over on the left, I’ve got Rowi. I paid for the full version of the app because frankly, it’s worth supporting the guys at Hidden Pineapple because the app is great. To the right of this, I’ve got my SMS/MMS message box and my Linked Mailbox tile for my personal domain account and my work account. I love linked mailboxes as it means I see all of my mail and manage all my unread and flagged items from one view. Rowi and People Hub earn themselves large tiles as they have notifications and animations which deserve the size.

On the row below this, I’ve got four of my most used apps on the phone. These only deserve small tiles as they don’t give anything useful in terms of tile feedback and notification. From left to right, we’ve got Facebook, eBay, YouTube and the Music Hub. The new YouTube app is brilliant and so much better than the mobile site redirect which is what the old version amounted to.

One of the first things that I think is striking about my screen is how the People Hub and Rowi tiles are offset. This was my way of stopping the screen looking too uniform; a little bit of structured chaos.

The row below has my calendar exclusively. My calendar is heavily used with meetings for work and personal events such as kids lessons, appointments and birthdays, so I like to have this large as it means I get the subject and location of the meeting on the tile to save me having to crack into the full calendar app. It’s important for me to have the calendar here also as it means that I don’t have to scroll to see it; it’s there all the time on the first view of the start screen.

My Windows Phone Start Screen Bottom

Here we have the bottom half of my screen. I’m a simple to please person, with not too many apps installed on my phone and as such my start screen is pretty short – So much that you can see the top half of the screen on the bottom half.

At the top of the bottom (like that makes sense) we have the Internet Explorer tile on the left as a large tile. I use the mobile browser lots so I like to have the icon large to make it easy to just smash at anywhere on the screen. To the right of the IE tile, I’ve got four small tiles in a block. These are lesser used but still often enough to warrant a spot on the screen. In order, we’ve got the Unit Converter, OneNote, MediaHub and IMDB.

Unit Converter is simple yet effective. OneNote speaks for itself. I use SkyDrive to store all my notes so that they are available across all my devices. MediaHub is a great little app that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself and finally IMDB speaks for itself – I’m a bit of a film lover but I’m not very good at recognising actors and actresses so I like to be able to easily look them up to see what other films they’ve been in.

Photos is last on my screen and gets a full tile. I’ve got quite a lot of pictures of the kids on the phone so I like to see them from time to time.

Cisco SCCP IP Phones Displaying Incorrect Time

In our office in the little old place known as England, we use Cisco 7941 and will soon to begin using 7942 Cisco SCCP IP Phones . The company uses Cisco Call Manager 6 or CUCM for those in the know. In our local office we are using a Cisco technology called SRST or Survivable Remote Site Telephony.

This technology, SRST allows our IP handsets to fallback to operating with a locally situated CME or Call Manager Express device so that if our Internet connection to our corporate head office fails then we still have limited telephony functionality.

One issue that has always plagued us here is that our phones would show the US time and date from our West Coast, San Jose based CUCM. Although only a minor issue it meant that call logs didn’t show the time you would expect nor did the phone if you wanted to look at the time.

When speaking to our IT department they couldn’t put their finger on a fix, so after researching online initially I suggested to them that a Device Profile be created on the CUCM to force the handsets to use United Kingdom locale instead of the US one. The change was implemented but the phones still show the US time, so what gives?

Upon reading some more information online today, I discovered that the key is the SRST device: A Cisco 2801 Integrated Services Router in our case. When a phone is associated with an SRST device, the SRST registers itself as an additional CUCM on the phone. For me, this appears as a third Call Manger as we have an Active and a Standby Call Manager in a cluster in our US office. When using SRST, the phone knows that the SRST device will always be closer geographically to the phone than the CUCM, hence the whole point of having SRST and once this is established, the phone will always learn the date and time from it’s local device.

Using the following command on the router I was able to see the problem that when the router was configured by our US colleagues they left the time zone setting on the router to Pacific by default, which would seem normal for them:

uk-srst#show clock
05:01:44.254 PST Fri Aug 13 2010
uk-srst#

This means that the time zone on the SRST 2801 needs to be changed to GMT for our country, England, correctly. This is done using two commands – The first command sets the time zone to GMT. The second command enables summer time or daylight savings as some call it, and uses the BST or British Summer Time variant of daylight savings:

uk-srst#config t
uk-srst(config)#clock timezone GMT 0
uk-srst(config)#clock summer-time BST recurring
uk-srst(config)#end
uk-srst#
uk-srst#show clock
13:01:44.254 BST Fri Aug 13 2010
uk-srst#

As you can see from the IOS output above, after entering the two commands, the clock is now using BST for British Summer Time. Saving the running configuration and then rebooting all of the effected SCCP IP Phones will apply the new date and time zone settings accordingly.

Today’s the Day I Invest in HTC

Well not technically true because I’ve been using HTC devices for about the last three years, with my HTC Wizard first, my HTC Artemis now, but today my 18 month contract with O2 UK is eligible for upgrade, so I’m trotting down to Carphone Warehouse after work to order my HTC Touch HD.

They don’t keep them in stock in the stores but they deliver to home, so tomorrow when I finish work I shall be in possession of it.

Nicky got hers earlier this week and it’s gorgeous…I can’t wait.