For those of you who know me, the only hardware that typically interests me is that which can be found on shoes. Never one to fall for the latest gadget, I bought an iPhone 4 to upgrade from my Blackberry Curve (pouring one out for RIM). Only when that iPhone began to experience significant battery loss and random calling of contacts without my initiation (which coincided with the launch of the iPhone 5) did I trade up. Hardware is not my thing.
During the TechCrunch Hackathon I bought a Jawbone UP on a whim; an exhaustion-fueled whim and then promptly forgot about the purchase until it arrived several days later. Needless to say I didn’t track the shipment compulsively like I do a shoe purchase. Hardware is not my thing.
Part of my concern with wearing a plastic computing device on my wrist was that it simply isn’t chic. But I bought it anyway and lo and behold, who was writing about this newest hardware craze in its September issue? VOGUE of all publications! My favorite shopping website even Instagrammed a wrist sporting a Rolex, a Jawbone UP and a Cartier bangle. Truth be told, I layer my UP similarly, but not as extravagantly. (Although I wouldn’t mind a Rolex… but back to the review.)
At first the Jawbone UP felt a little constricting and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to maintain wearing it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Sleeping with it was a bit of a chore but after a few nights, it was old hat. My skin around the UP started to get irritated but the UP has since loosened, so it is no longer a problem. I’ve been wearing it as suggested for over two weeks now and only take it off to dry it after it gets wet.
Easy to charge, the UP battery lasts about 10 days. To juice it back up, simply uncap the end of the UP and plug it into a USB drive which charges through your computer.
The UP comes in a variety of colors and I chose mint green. Somehow the white or black seemed garish — and seeing as how I love colors, it suits me well. Because I’m a fashion girl at heart living in a technology world, I layer mine with a variety of bracelets and I have to say it doesn’t look bad. My girlfriends noticed it immediately as an addition to my wrist but thought it was simply a new accessory. They were shocked when I shared what this little trinket does.
Part of the “Quantified Self” movement, the UP tracks various aspects of my daily routine after learning a bit about me (height, weight, etc.) It automatically logs my steps from the moment I wake up and my sleep as soon as I drift off. The UP is signaled to start monitoring these activities by a button I press in various patterns to tell it what I’m up to.
What really blows me away about this technology is the Jawbone UP app. Available for free, it is where I upload all of the data my UP is collecting about my day. It tallies it and visualizes it in such a beautiful way that I want to constantly look at it.
The features I use the most are logging sleep, smart alarm, steps, other activities and idle alert.
- Sleep: I’ve been curious about my sleep for a while, knowing how sometimes I don’t feel well-rested even though I achieved 8-10 hours of shuteye. The UP helps me to better understand how deeply I’m sleeping, versus lighter sleep. I have also learned with the UP that even when I think I’m awake, I’m actually in light sleep. As someone who gets grumpy when I perceive I haven’t slept long enough, this helps chill me out. My boyfriend appreciates this, Jawbone, so thank you.
- Smart Alarm: Since I got the UP, I haven’t used a traditional alarm clock, instead using this feature on the UP. I set it for 6:30am Monday-Friday and based on my sleep cycle, it buzzes to wake me when I’m in light sleep within 10 minutes of 6:30, rather than an alarm which jolts me awake rudely. The only thing I wish it could do was snooze, but perhaps that will come later.
- Steps: I’m a high energy woman, but with my job I can get tethered to my desk pretty easily. During the day, I try to take breaks and walk around the block but I’m not always successful. The UP determined based on my height, weight and age that I should take 10,000 steps a day. That seems fishy to me because I thought that was just a given, but whatever. Because I compulsively upload the data after I’ve walked, I have learned that skipping the bus in favor of a 6 block walk in the morning and walking twice around the block mid-afternoon, coupled with all of my other city jaunts, gets me to 10,000. (I didn’t take that walk this AM as you can see in my screenshot.)
- Idle Alert: This feature is wonderful! Set to buzz me everyday from 8:30am-5:30pm, if I’m sitting for 30 minutes without moving I get a jolt. The main thing I’ve learned is that 30 minutes goes by really quickly! Also, that the UP doesn’t think that yoga counts as moving, which it TOTALLY DOES in vinyasa flow.
I do have some feedback for the UP team, specifically around various bugs I’ve uncovered. The most annoying one is that when I try to manually log a yoga class, it only lets me input one hour, rather than 1 hour 30 minutes which is how long most of the classes I take are. That is small, but if I’m trying to quantify myself, then it does make a difference.
I also wonder where on earth they determine calories burned. The numbers seem incredibly elevated for me, a recovering calorie-counter.
Aside from that nit, I love using the UP. So all you fashion girls, check it out! It is a stylish addition to an already-chic “arm party.” Hardware just might be my new thing.
A few weeks ago, I (insanely) volunteered to step into a rather large scanning apparatus, disrobe and have my entire body scanned. (As one does.) All in the name of tech. And fashion! But before I jump into that story, let me back up.
The purveyor of this device is Bodymetrics. Based in London and Palo Alto, Bodymetrics is a startup that has a lofty goal: to help women discover the pair of jeans that is a perfect fit, based on their body. This recommendation is made after submitting to a body scan and then trying on the resulting denim options. As someone who loves fashion and startups, I was curious enough to try this contraption for TechCrunch TV.
As you can see from the video,
I’m a ham I’m super shy my hair sticks up I really enjoyed myself. The scanner is efficient and soothing. It speaks to you with a British accent and aims to have a spa-like quality in its restfulness. After the experience, I have some thoughts on the system and what women can glean from it.
The results can be astounding.
I learned that I’ve been wearing jeans that are consistently one size too large. As someone who is a consistent shopper (not buyer, but shopper) I was dumbfounded. Do you know how many pairs of jeans I own? All but two are the wrong size. This is concerning to me, but I can’t replace them all at once so I have to deal.
Knowledge is power.
Measurements really don’t mean much to me, but what I did find valuable is that the scan validated some of the concepts I previously held to be true about my body and jeans. I gravitate toward mid-rise because I have not much waist to speak of and ankle length jeans because I’m super short. The feedback that the scanner produced echoed that sentiment, making me feel better about the fact that my sizing has been completely wrong.
Flattery will get you anywhere.
Telling me that my legs are the slimmest part of my body is one way to ensure that we are going to be best friends. The Bodymetrics scanner results did just that. Golden. Keep that up, Bodymetrics.
Also, delicately saying that wearing x style will give me a “shapelier seat” is considerably nicer than telling me what I know: that
I have no ass my posterior is flat.
In all seriousness, reading what that scanner had learned about my body helped me be more compassionate about the parts I tend to judge. If I’ve been wearing jeans that are one size too large, perhaps the reason is tied to my thoughts on particular areas of my body. Seeing that the scanner thought a skinny leg jean would be more flattering encouraged me to try a fit I typically avoided.
Rethink the floating mannequin in the results.
Because I have Skitch, I felt comfortable taking a screenshot of my scanner image for this post … and then blocking out 90% of it because like hell I’m showing you that. I felt the same way when going over the results with Tania in Bloomingdales. The information learned and spit out by the scanner results are way more helpful than an image of me in my skivvies. I found myself more distracted (and disheartened) by that and don’t necessarily need it consistently in my face.
I’m aware that if one used Bodymetrics to track weight loss, that feature would be helpful — but for the average shopper, a way to hide that would be ideal.
The technology is impressive. Partnering with the Palo Alto Bloomingdale’s is brilliant. I’ve heard through the grapevine that denim sales have increased in that location and I’d believe it. After I had some time to digest what I’d learned, I signed in to my Bodymetrics account to take a closer look at the recommendations. I’ll be making a purchase or two soon.
Ways I could see Bodymetrics expanding are almost endless: men’s jeans (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE), lingerie, swimsuits. Anything that is hard to fit, Bodymetrics has an opening. Also, online shopping could really use this service. The majority of the people I know who refuse to shop online do so because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of returns. One Bodymetrics scan would alleviate that.
But here’s the million dollar question: would you let yourself be scanned? I’m genuinely curious.
My TechCrunch (writing) debut!