Fitbit Alta HR vs. Mi Band 2

It all started with my attendance at the introduction to the BookDoc app event that I got motivated to walk more. 

Gone were the days when I would go to the gym every weekday morning. I now need something else to get myself a bit more motivated to be active. 

And so I decided to get a fitness tracker. 

Fitness trackers have not appealed to me before but from what I gathered from my hubby who has worn one for the past one month, I thought it would be a good idea to get one for myself. 

And so off we went to Low Yat Plaza today. 

We were soon seated at a storefront and whilst at first I wanted the same model my hubby is using, the Fitbit Alta HR, he also told me that his friends are very happy with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. 

The Fitbit Alta HR and the Mi Band 2

And the price difference is significant - RM680 for the Fitbit vs. RM165 for the Mi Band 2. The storekeeper told me that the Mi Band can do what the Fitbit can, it’s only the brand I will be paying for. 

So I was torn. I like the Fitbit design better and obviously the brand but the Mi Band is more than 4 times cheaper. 

I thought and thought and weighed and weighed...the Mi Band 2 it shall be. 

The moment I decided to go with that, the storekeeper started rattling on about what the thing can do. 

I don’t know why he didn’t tell me when I couldn’t decide between the two because with what he started telling us, my hubby responded sadly that his Fitbit can’t do those things. 

And it’s not small stuff. 

For one, the Mi Band 2 vibrates when I get a text message from WhatsApp. And not only from WhatsApp but also from WeChat and Kakao, which happen to be the very apps I use to connect with my language friends. The Fitbit only connects to iMessage, and who uses iMessage these days?

Also, the Mi Band 2 changes its display at the twist of the wrist, whereas the Fitbit needs to be tapped, so you need both hands. 

The Mi Fit app syncs with Apple Health. Fitbit does not. Apple Health consolidates everything you have on health and so it’s important to sync with Apple Health. 

But the biggest is this: the Mi Band 2 battery will last for 20 days. The Fitbit Alta HR battery only last for 7. 

The only thing we found so far that the Mi Band 2 doesn’t do that the Fitbit does is a continuous heart rate measure. 

But one thing I’m not too happy about is that from today onwards, my Bluetooth will have to be on all the time. My phone will now run out of battery very often before the day is out. 

This is not good, but I’ll have to get used to it...and use my power bank more often. 


Do you know how you use your time everyday?

In my current interest in the topic of health and lifestyle, I found a very interesting app called Life Cycle

I have uploaded it before but to begin using it, it needs to run for 48 hours. 

I remember when I first did that some time ago, nothing happened after waiting for 48 hours. And so I deleted it in disappointment not realising I should have just wait it out a bit more. 

I tried it again. This time I let it run for 48 hours and then I left it be and soon it started kicking in and now that I see what it does, I really like it. 

The app tracks my time automatically and at the end of everyday, I will be able to see how I have spent my entire day. 

For a person who loves big picture and who almost always think about the purpose of life, this helps fills my curiosity and brings me some sort of a simple understanding and order to my life. 


When we still hang on to yesterday in our work today, we can forget about tomorrow


I had the privilege to attend a learning session with ADAX on Data Science for Executives, Towards a Data-Driven Organisation. It boils down to an introduction of analytics for the non-analysts. 

We were first asked to rate our knowledge and exposure to this subject from a 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and I rated myself a low 1. 

But as the class went on, I don’t think I’d be more than a 1.5 at the end of it. There is just too much. 

And at the end of the day, I have a brain overload but amongst the takeaways for the day are these two important things:

Always begin with the right questions: something I always tell my classes when I am training myself and it is a good reminder to take with me all the time. 

And in relation to asking the right questions, always begin with what’s the problem statement: it’s funny we are told not to use the word “problem” anymore, but to substitute it with “challenge” and “objective”, but with the two latter words being too overused, it’s high time we call it what it is, a problem. 

And what I like and found so true is this comparison of our changing world between yesterday and today. 

Except that most of us are still using a yesterday mindset at work. 

And isn’t it sad that when we hang on to our yesterday at work today, we can forget about progressing to tomorrow. 


I do actually walk more than I thought I would

My hubby got himself a FitBit recently and he is quite obsessed about accomplishing his desired number of steps every day, and he was quite infectious. 

But I did not do anything about it until very recently when I was introduced the BookDoc app that gamifies it all - apparently if you can achieve a minimum average of 3000 steps a day, you can retrieve rewards through the app. 

It was only then when I activated my step counter in my iPhone. 

The BookDoc people told us that the norm in Malaysia is only at 2500 steps per day. And I half-jokingly told my colleague that I will be terrible at it, that I will probably only walk 200 steps a day!

However, I was quite surprised that I actually did manage an average of 3000+ steps over the past few days. And what’s amazing for a person who hates to walk is that I am better than the Malaysian norm. 

The trick now is to walk like what I have been doing for the past few days.

This is a good motivation for me - not so much the rewards, but the fact that I can and do actually walk more than the norm, more than I thought I would. 


A great nite-out

I was at the U Mobile-WeChat collaboration and partnership event and it was quite a fun night out. 

A good photo opportunity

We lined up for Musang King durian for half an hour

Thankfully, I had good company 

Oh...I haven’t had any durian in a long time. This is a really good treat for me. 

Except that I have been eating so much lately I have already gained a kilo!


Penang Trip Day 3

We decided to leave Penang early today but we all slept in instead. 

We were in Chulia Heritage Hotel and while I was ok with it (despite the shared bathrooms which were only disclosed after I booked and paid for it via Agoda!), my hubby didn’t like it very much. 

For me, I do like heritage boutique hotels and especially if they are in convenient spots in town. 

We left after brunch in MacAlister Road and it took us about 4 hours or so to reach KL. The highway was congested here and there but it wasn’t that bad. 


Penang Trip Day 2

When it comes to Penang, it’s all about the food!

But with my son, there is nothing but western food, even in a local food haven like Penang. And so to satisfy his palate, we went to Wheeler’s Cafe and the food there was actually very good. 

Smoke Salmon Sandwich with Poached Egg and Mashed Avocado

Then it was my turn for local food and we went to the Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol. It was a long perpetual queue. 

And this auntie’s Glutinous Rice Cake with Ground Peanut was really good, just as she indicated. 

I did not try this but found it rather amusing for a left-handed char kuey teow. What’s the difference between a left-handed char kuey teow from a right-handed one, I wonder?

Penang Street - I am very pleased with the quality of photos taken using my iPhone 6S. I don’t have to cry over my spoilt DSLR anymore. 

Then we were recommended to go to Lebuh Cecil hawker center for lunch, and forgo Jalan Selamat where we would usually go to for char kuey teow. It was a good decision. 

After looking for a place to seat ourselves down, I lined up to pack some char siew and roasted pork shoulder which was just awesome. 

Umbra juice - trying my luck to take some bokeh photos. Not very successful. 

Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th’ng - looks so good. 

The char kuey teow we gave up Jalan Selamat for at a much lesser fraction of the elevated price in Jalan Selamat. It was good, but just a tad too oily for me. 

It was a really good food day. 


Penang Trip Day 1

We took advantage of the long weekend and took a trip to Penang. But the normal three-and-a-half-hour drive took us almost six hours to reach the island. 

It was a long tiring drive but I got to listen to the entirety of my two 3-hour-each Apple Music playlists. 

After we checked into the hotel, we headed to Ocean Green Seafood Restaurant. We were warned that it will be expensive but the view and feel is quite worth it. 

What we ordered included a plate of soft shelled crabs. We were told once by a restaurateur not to eat too much of these crabs because their soft shells are not natural but chemically induced. Okay...just this once. 

It is rare that we get scenes like this in KL. 


Useless words that I use all the time

I gave a short brief at work about business writing and one thing I did highlight was the need to do away with useless business jargons and buzz words. 

And I obviously need to practice that myself as I notice that I use the word “basically” a lot.

I know that whenever I wanted to explain something or whenever I’m in a discussion, I will say that word all the time, every time. 

I don’t know when I got infected by it but I find that it’s a favourite of many. You hear it wherever you go and with most people whom you speak to. 

And I can’t seem to stop it from coming out of my mouth. 

When I am speaking and as I think to speak, I’d soon say “basi-”... and I would have no choice but to complete the word and get on with my speech, though my thoughts will be interrupted with some self-chiding going on. 

The trick now is to stop my brain from producing that now dreaded and useless word. 

But how? The brain thinks what it wants to think. 


I had a bad day...

...and I needed come comfort food, and had fried chicken and a llao llao frozen yoghurt. 

As much as the comfort was short lived, it was nevertheless a much needed one. 


Microsoft’s AI app to learn Chinese

Today my hubby sent me a very interesting article and link: Microsoft’s AI language app will give you a friend to practice Chinese with.

I downloaded the app and it is very promising. It isn’t much at the moment with very limited lessons but if Microsoft continues to build on it, it will be a very useful tool. 

The AI allows you to be flexible with the responses required from you and thus giving you more freedom in answering the questions in ways that are more relevant to your context. 

The beginner level only has four short sections which I completed in less than 20 minutes, and I have just started on the intermediate level where keywords are given for you to use in the reply required. 

It’s worth a try and it’s free anyway!


Two beautiful versions of Angels We Have Heard On High

I bet some of you are busy practicing for Christmas by now. 

We were practicing the Pentatonix version of Angel We Have Heard On High. Err...rather ambitious I know, but it’s a long story...but aren’t they awesome here. 

And then I noticed this Piano Guys version in YouTube and I love it even more. I could watch this again and again and again. 


The “truth” of Job’s three friends?

We had a long break since our last CG bible study and we met for our fifth session today. 

We studied the first round of debate between Job and his three friends from Job 4-14. Oh yes, it was a long eleven chapters worth of passage that we tackled bit by bit using the questions in our workbook. 

We couldn’t complete the lesson because in the midst of studying and asking questions, we also spent time reflecting on other matters that arose based on the reading of Job and stories we share. And it was valuable. 

One takeaway for me was an answer to something that had bugged me for a long, long time. 

I find Job a difficult book to figure out. When I read the arguments given by the three friends, I always found that they were not wrong in what they said. But in the end though, the final verdict from God is that they were wrong. 

It was also brought up that the book of Psalms says about the same things and so why do we quote and pray the Psalms and not Job?

The conclusion I got was that what the three friends said wasn’t entirely wrong, though at times they were depending on context, but that their version of the truth was not complete. 

Their basis was in the retribution theology, with no understanding or knowledge of the grace of God, that God can forgive through the work of his Son even if we are the greatest of sinners. 

So in reflection, if we look at the book of Job, Psalms and the New Testament chronologically, Job was at the outset of the revelation of God, and so they only knew so much. 

Moving onto Psalms, the psalters knew more from further revelation from the prophets of the time, and by the time we get to the New Testament, God was revealed perfectly in the person and work of Jesus, his Son. 

But even that is not fully revealed to us yet. We will definitely see a fuller picture the day we come to see our Lord face to face. 

And with that, what can we learn from Job’s three friends?

For me it’s this: we only know so much and so we should not behave like we know it all, even though we are confident in the truth that we have come to believe. (This may swerve us to the other side of the pole where all truth is relative and this is not desireable. But this another story altogether.)

Therefore when we counsel someone or when we are with someone who is suffering a great pain, watch what we say, or say nothing at all but just be there with them. Our presence would serve as a better albeit inadequate comfort. 


When you need an Excel formula or a process map

I find myself in a time where when I want something done or if I need a solution to a work requirement, it is almost always available. 

That said, the things I usually need done aren’t so complicated at all - an Excel formula, a business model, data and information or a process map - and there is always something useful I can pick up from the Internet or AppStore. 

When I need a complicated Excel formula, I would write a post in this Excel forum, which is still very active, with the problem and solution I needed, and more often than not in less than half an hour, someone would respond with a formula. 

When I need an easier way to draw a process map without having to spend so much time drawing boxes and arrows in PowerPoint, I found Q FlowChart a free iOS iPad app where I can draw process maps with just my finger. I created a simple process map in less in 5 minutes, saved in jpeg and exported it over for use. 

We live in a world where tools are always available. We are very industrious and innovative. When there is a need and there is a way, it will be made. 


These Chinese words are driving me crazy

I have these words in my Mandarin HSK deck where I get terribly confused when I get them. They all look alike and when I am tired, I will almost always get them all mixed up. 

苹果 菜单 
开始 并且 
打扰 讨论
结束 结果 结婚
生活 生命 生病 
生意 注意 主意 愿意 
意见 意思 
休息 消息 信息

I hope by grouping them like this would help. And this list here will surely grow and grow to a larger and larger set as I move along in my HSK deck.   


They have retired Plants vs. Zombies

Sniff sniff. They killed my all-time favourite game app Plants vs. Zombies. 

I have blogged it before - that I have been playing and I am still playing Plants vs. Zombies for the past 7 years. 

They did launch the newer Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time in 2013 but it never grew on me. I played it halfway and soon had it removed from my devices. 

And as you have it, IGN published this article yesterday - Update: Plants vs. Zombies Creator’s EA Departure Clarified

Apparently, Plants vs. Zombies’s creator George Fan was fired because he objected to the newer version’s pay-to-win model, which I wasn’t keen on as well. Why should I pay to win?

It was reported that “when EA proposed its sequel - Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time - has a pay-to-win model that supports in-app purchasing, Fan pushed back. He's like "I dunno, that's not really a good idea and I don't want to do that with my game."”

And now the original game is being retired and removed from the Apple Store. They did relaunch a free version of it but I think it takes to a pay-to-win model as well. I have just started playing it and so far I have been watching endless and irritating ad videos in between games. 

And I just brought up the subject of lifetime purchases for devices with my colleague and this is a case in point where lifetime is not forever. 


Why incompetent people think they are amazing?

I was having a team meeting when my colleague said it is frustrating engaging with people who do not realize how incompetent they are. And this reminded me of an article I just read a couple of days ago: Why Incompetent People Think They Are Amazing?

This 5-minute video explains why some of us overestimate our capabilities and some even underestimate it. How is it that when we’re unskilled, we can’t see our own faults, and when we’re exceptionally competent, we don’t perceive how unusual our abilities are?

My takeaway from this is to ask for feedback even if it is hard to hear, and there is just this one thing which has been bugging my mind for the last couple of weeks. I need to gather up the courage to ask for feedback already.