Stairway To Where?

What is going on here? If you look at these stairs there doesn’t seem to a whole lot going on. They are down the side of a bridge over the river Medway. You can’t see that to actually get to this point you have to climb over some armco from the path but that’s not my biggest issue with them.

Stairway To Failure
Stairway To Failure

If you look more closely you will see that there isn’t a route to the left at the bottom of the stairs. There is just a slope. No flat path for walking on. Just slope. I don’t understand what the intentions of the designer were. The fence implies there should be a wlakway. The reality is there isn’t one. Maybe I’m just not meant to be there.

Walk That Way

I had a nice day in London on Thursday past. I was attending a course which should give me decent information to help people at work. It was interesting and also quite difficult at the same time. It was good to be challenged and made to do new things. I had to walk down Marylebone High Street to get to the venue and it looked quite a nice place with small independent shops that were selling stuff way more expensive than I could afford.

I had a spare ninety minutes in the day before meeting Smith and so I went for a walk, mostly to help work off the flap jacks I had eaten. London is nice and calm, as long as you stay away from the main tourist routes. Don’t walk down Oxford Street use Wigmore Street instead.

This gives you an idea of my activity through the day. The red bars are when I was doing maths. The other bits show me walking around. I walked 20km that day compared to an average 12.4km.

This chart shows total steps per month over the last year. Quite clearly we can see that when the weather is warmer and daylight lasts longer I walk more. That’s not really a surprise.

Steps Challenge

My niece and I are currently in a week long “steps” battle. We both own Garmin fitness trackers and are in a challenge via the Garmin app. Whoever does most steps this week wins. I did well with a run yesterday but was worried today would let me down so I went for a walk to the local monetary. It’s a Carmelite monk place called Aylesford Priory or The Friars. It’s quite picturesque and even has its own relic of a saint.

Aylesford Priory Altar
Aylesford Priory Altar

It’s a pretty place within a lovely setting just next to the river Medway.

River Medway
River Medway

There are some nice gardens, although not a lot about at this time of year.

Aylesford Priory - A View
Aylesford Priory – A View

The weather was perfect for an atmospheric horror movie, but I didn’t see anything untoward.

Hello Vivo

It happened. Finally. My Up band died again. Out of warranty.

The Up band is a fitness and health tracker, a wearable technology device. Well, it doesn’t track fitness unless you do and it’s not a health tracker unless you do the work, but you know what I mean. You wear it, you look at the data and you either change your lifestyle or you don’t. The flaw in this is that just wearing one won’t improve your health or fitness, you still have to put the effort in. What these devices do is give you the information to help you decide what to do to change.

Up By JawboenIt’s stylish, a little different and worked well, when it worked. I first got one just after my trip to DC in 2013. I’ve written about it here a few times. According to the data I have the total number of steps I moved while wearing the Up band is:

2013 – 2,428,950
2014 – 2,276,268

Total – 4,705,218

I really liked the Up band. But there was a major problem. It stops working after a while. I first got the Up band on 2 April 2013. The first one I had stopped working properly on 8 June 2013. I got a replacement one on 19 June 2013. That new one then died on 10 August 2013. I ordered a replacement, gave that to my niece and bought a brand new one to try and break the cycle! I started tracking again on 30 August 2013. The “new” one decided that kaput was the standard state of working on the 3 February 2014. It was still within warranty and so I got another replacement on 8 March 2014. The 5 October 2014 was the final bell toll.

Over the summer I had investigated the step counting bands out there. I knew that the Up band was going to wander off this mortal realm at some point and although I like it and think it looks good I can’t justify buying another Up band when they don’t last. Much like my iPhone when it works properly it’s lovely, but when it fails it’s very frustrating. Mind you, I’ve never really had an issue with the iPhone, my biggest issue is with the awfulness turd that is iTunes.

These are the pedometers I investigated:

  • Up by Jawbone
  • Samsung Gear Fit
  • Razer Nabu
  • LG Lifeband Touch
  • Garmin Vivofit
  • Jaybird Reign
  • Fitbit Flex
  • Larklife
  • Nike Fuelband
  • MyBasis

A lot of these seem to be “notifiers” as well. They will let you know who or what is calling your phone along with displaying notifications. I don’t want this. If I want to know who or what is happening to my phone I will LOOK AT MY PHONE. I don’t need an extra display on my wrist telling me stuff I don’t want to know. Also, having this feature means that the Bluetooth connection is always on which MUST be a drain on all batteries. I don’t see the point. I don’t use Bluetooth often and when I’m not using it I turn it off. I don’t see the point of having stuff turned on when you don’t use it.

The Fitbit Flex and the Garmin Vivofit seemed to be the best options for what I want. It took a while to decide but I went with the Garmin device. The reasons were as follows:

  • Reputable company known for making portable devices
  • Battery life of 1 year
  • User replaceable batteries
  • Always on display
  • Syncs with MyFitnessPal
  • Heart rate monitor accessory
  • Looks pretty good

According to the reviews that I looked at there were issues with the strap clasp being easily caught on things and the device can fall off easily. There are ways around this and although it’s not ideal the benefits of this device outweighed this by a long way. Although Garmin are new to the “wearable tech” market they have been making “wearable tech” for a long time and are an established company using proven technology. They aren’t a start up or someone jumping on the bandwagon. They aren’t a “sexy” company but I’m not fussed about that.

This is the Vivofit device:
vivofit1 vivofit2

So far I have been impressed and am left happy with my choice (mind you I don’t have any comparative data in that case). I shall update you people in future about my experiences with the Vivofit and how I think it stacks up with my experience with the Up by Jawbone.


According to my Up by Jawbone band, I have completed 3,500,000 steps since I started wearing the device. This isn’t really the total amount I have walked because there have been periods of time where the band hasn’t worked properly and I’ve been waiting for a replacement and also I didn’t use it for about a year when I ran. So, ultimately, my real total of steps is far more.

Up Steps