Technology is great and technology sucks. It’s true that it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Technology is great when it works, but it’s terrible (and often unfixable) when it doesn’t.

This may be a farewell to my Fitbit Charge 4, and a warning to fitness tracker developers out there. Rigorously ensure sure it works or people will not just abandon your product, they’ll abandon your platform.

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I was really getting to love my Fitbit Charge 4. It ticked all the boxes I needed:

All seemed great, until it wasn’t. I did a ride with a friend in April and it inexplicably dropped GPS signal after 5 miles.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
02:53:01
hours
00:29:05
hours
4.90
mi.
10.10
mph
21.03
mph
73.16
ft.
1,304
kcal
My Fitbit stopped recording for some reason (said it lost GPS signal 😖). Actually went 16 miles, see https://www.strava.com/activities/5186103344 We went down Chicago to 38th. Continued south on Chicago then east on 46th to Sift. Then took the creek trail back to the river, then back the way we came.
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At my work we have a thing about giving tacos (🌮) to people when they help you out, do something great or funny – as a show of support. The tacos can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards – and one of those prizes is a Fitbit. I wanted a model upgrade from the ones our company was offering. In November 2020, Costco had a Fitbit Charge 4 bundle for $90.

I brokered a deal with my wife. I’d redeem a $100 Amazon gift card with my tacos and give it to her, and then buy the model I want from Costco.

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In 2014 I had a personal ban on Strava. Not because Strava has prompted some people to do stupid things (it has), but because they shut down a perfectly working API and left all of their users (and 3rd party developers such as myself) hanging while they developed their “Version 3” API.

As one of the developers of a WordPress plugin for Strava, all work was effectively abandoned.

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I find it amusing that some of my cycling friends have just discovered Strava, right at a point when I’m looking to leave. When they ask why, I cite Strava’s recent decision to shutdown API access to all but a select few app vendors. I had an inkling why access to the new API was limited, and I’ve confirmed it. Now I’d like to explain the correct way to do it, and how to monetize it at the same time.

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