Fitbit disappoints. Looking for alternative.

I got my first Fitbit Flex (Gen 1) in 2014 and used it for almost 2 years until April 2016 when I decided to upgrade for a few reasons

  • I got really sick of changing the bands. Each band, even the original ones, lasted me an average of 3 months before cracking and splitting.
  • I wanted that Heart-rate monitor feature badly

So fast forward to April 2016, I threw the still-functioning Fitbit Flex aside and got myself a Fitbit Charge HR (Gen 1). I love the heart rate detection feature as it allows me to track my heart rate when I have my rare jogs or when I feel unwell.

In July 2016, barely 3 months after the purchase, my Fitbit Charge HR started peeling at the bangs and the band got bloated. A few days later, it became non-responsive and cannot be powered on again. Dead.


I contacted Fitbit Support and sent them this photo as per their request (Nice right? I just bought a lightbox back then and happened to be in the mood of taking photos in the light box)

There was much back and forth between Support and me and I got pretty frustrated because they were asking me one question per email and each email took several days to get a response from them.

Finally, they agreed to ship a replacement to me – all the way from the U.S. Luckily, it didn’t take too long (a week+) for me to get the replacement. It took an entire month (till August) before I could close the matter with them.

Fast forward to December 2016. Despite extra care taken by me (and almost zero instance of exercising with the band -_-), the bangs started peeling again and the bloating happened too. I discovered that the skin of the band was glued onto an inner band and adhesion doesn’t last more than a couple of months with daily removal of the band (it’s stupidly not waterproof enough to even wear into the shower).


I raised a ticket with them in January 2017 and this time round, they wanted me to take a photo of the band with a piece of paper with handwritten date and a case number that they have just issued to me.

As you can see from the image, the bloating is quite bad on this one. I requested for them to issue me a store credit so that I can order a different (more expensive) model that may not fail on me so often. No matter how I explained about the frustration that I had to go through due to the product flaw, they refused to obliged. They insisted to send me a replacement Fitibt Charge HR again. I’m obviously less than pleased.

I am now looking around for a new fitness / wellness band. I do hope I can find a band that looks decent and can do more than just telling me about my heart rate. Maybe one day, I can measure my blood pressure without using my clunky Omron machine. Just maybe.

Anyway, good bye Fitbit. Thanks but no thanks.

Is our favourite Milo drink killing us slowly?

As most of you might have read, tests on animals show that Palm Oil could be carcinogenic, i.e. cancer causing! Whilst there are many processed food out there that contains palm oil, some of you may not realise that your favourite beverage, Milo, at least the local version, contains palm oil. That would explain why your Milo mugs are significantly oily after drinking Milo from it.

Then came reports that Palm Oil is only carcinogenic if heated above 200 degrees Celsius during the refining process. Given that consumers like us have totally zero visibility on the refining process, I personally feel that it is safer to just skip products with Palm Oil as much as we can. Of course, I didn’t go into detail about the exact contaminant (glycidyl ester) responsible for the toxicity of Palm Oil refined at high temperatures. You can click the links to read more if you are interested.

Now to finish the few packets of Milo refills before hopping onto the Australian version.

Home Surveillance overhaul with D-Link DCS-5222L

D-Link DCS-5222L

Got two D-Link DCS-5222L IP Cameras from Lazada to replace my old D-Link DCS-930L (3 of them). I was a fan of cheap IP Cameras and was always telling people how I can monitor my home for under $100. However, as time passes by, I am no longer satisfied with the poor field of view offered by cheap IP Cameras. As an interim solution, I even bought wide angle lenses meant for Smart Phones and mounted them on the D-Link DCS-930L using adhesives or magnetically.

D-Link DCS-930L with self mounted wide angle lens bought separately.
D-Link DCS-930L with self mounted wide angle lens bought separately.

Here’s how one of the 3 look like:

Even with the wide angle lens, I wasn’t satisfied.I did not mount the cameras securely so a slight knock will tip the cameras off the surface and I spent quite a bit of time looking for the fallen lenses.

I decided that enough was enough. I took the plunge and went for the D-Link DCS-5222L which is a PTZ IP Camera with wide angle lens built-in. The IR LEDs were also immensely useful. No more pitch black videos in my NAS at night!

Another feature I look to the D-Link DCS-5222L is the availability of RTSP streams. This allows me to:

  1. Use VLC to easily launch the RTSP stream on any computer for quick viewing or monitoring
  2. Use FFMPEG to record the RTSP stream onto my NAS or local disk. I know VLC can do the same but after much tries, FFMPEG appears to handle errors from the live streams without crashing so easily.

In my next post, I will talk about how I use VLC and FFMPEG to build my own command line IP Camera recording and viewing.