The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Fitbit helping to solve crimes?

Via security expert Bruce Schneier, the AP reports that police in central Connecticut obtained an arrest warrant partially on the timing of a murder victim's Fitbit step data:

Connecticut State Police allege [Richard] Dabate killed 39-year-old Connie Dabate at their Ellington home two days before Christmas in 2015, while their two young sons were in school.

Dabate told investigators a masked man shot his wife and tied him up before he burned the intruder with a torch. Authorities responded to a burglary alarm at the home and found Richard Dabate with superficial knife wounds, with one arm and one leg zip-tied to a folding chair.

But police said evidence contradicted Dabate's story and timeline of events, including information from Connie Dabate's Fitbit that showed she was still moving around the house an hour after Richard Dabate said she was shot.

Dabate pleaded not guilty to the crime. Also, the Fitibit data, while helpful to the police, may have had less impact than the allegation that "Dabate also told his pregnant girlfriend before the slaying that he was going to divorce his wife, state police said in an arrest warrant affidavit."

NBC has more.

The daily torture of hourly step goals

Fitbit has a feature that tells you if you've taken at least 250 steps per hour. You can set the start and end times—mine are 8am and 8pm—but you can't turn off the feature entirely.

This feature is driving me batty.

Most days I'm pretty vigilant. Take last week, for example. I got my 12-hour goal almost every day:

Those two hours last Thursday when I missed the goal bother me. But not as much as the 9am hour yesterday, repeated again today, during which I was engrossed in work, made a mental note at 9:45 that I needed to walk Parker, and looked up again at 10:02:

So. Frustrating.

Also notice that it keeps track of your longest time without taking any steps. Again, it's sometimes hard to get up and move because it breaks the flow of coding. All I need to do is just stand up and walk around the room every n minutes to bring the average down, and yet, it's really hard to remember to do that.

Meanwhile, I've hit my larger goal of hitting 10,000 steps per day on 28 of the last 30, and my 30-day moving average is over 15,000 right now. So I'm doing something right.

Spring is here

A combination of really nice weather, a shift in my project at work, and a loyal dog (who is now loyally pooped) has let me get some serious Fitbit steps recently:

That 7-day total is my best since I got a Fitbit in October 2014. The previous record was 129,249 set on June 16th last year—the day I walked 40,748 steps over 35.6 km.

Also on June 16th I set a 30-day total step count record of 507,849, which I'm unlikely to beat soon. As of yesterday, my current 30-day count is 435,763, so I've got a lot of steps to get to hit 508,000.

That said, today's steps might set a new 7-day record. I just need 19,300 for the day to do so. We'll see.

Lots of steps

A couple of milestones today.

First, just a couple of days before my 2-year anniversary with Fitbit, I've earned what they call the "Africa Badge:" I've walked 8,046 km since I joined, which is approximately the north-south length of Africa.

More interestingly, today is the 235th anniversary of Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, an anniversary Alexander Hamilton may have been aware of when, 15 years later, he slyly accused Thomas Jefferson of having an affair with a slaves. The allegation was true, though few people reading Hamilton's editorial would have believed it, but it may have nudged the 1796 election to fellow Federalist John Adams.

Neither of these things has anything to do with me walking a lot in the last two years, of course.

Yesterday's walk

My goal yesterday was to walk at least as far as I did back in June, when I hoofed it from Uptown to Highland Park (28.95 km, 4:32:52, 32,595 steps). Well, yesterday I didn't, for a couple of reasons: first, I'm recovering from a cold. Second, it was 5°C warmer yesterday than June 16th. And third, I started later in the day, so I had less time to do the trip. Also I was a bit stupid: around hour 3½, I hit the wall, but didn't realize I had, until I finally stopped in a convenience store and downed a pint of Gatorade. Miraculously, I felt better in minutes. Who knew?

My totals yesterday: 24.37 km, 3:54:25, 25,570 steps on the walk and 32,354 for the day. At least that total count for the day was my second-highest daily step count. Could I have done another 7,000 steps? Maybe. But I was so hot and so done, and nothing was chasing me.

I also need to complain that technology failed me. My Fitbit Blaze lost contact with my phone four times, resulting in me having to reboot both once and to reset the Fitbit three other times. Observe:

The Fitbit lost its connection with my phone (and thus its GPS) at 7.75 km, and I didn't notice until I stopped for Gatorade. Which really, really irritates me. That's about half a kilometer and about 600 steps that didn't get counted.

Missed by goal by that much

Yesterday, after a run of 77 days (beating my previous record of 70), I missed my Fitbit step goal by less than 800 steps. So embarrassing.

From May 9th until July 24th, I walked 10,000 steps every day. Then yesterday I didn't notice I was stuck at 9,200 when I was out with friends. An 8-minute walk could have taken care of that.

Crap.

All kinds of PRs

Yesterday's walk had a number of consequences, including some discomfort that has persisted until today. But I also blew away my Fitbit personal records. Yesterday's results:

Which makes my top 5 now look like this:

2016 Jun 16 40,748
2016 Jun 8 32,315
2015 Apr 26 30,496
2016 Mar 8 29,775
2015 Jun 15 28,455

Yesterday's weather worked out, too. It was almost completely overcast, until I hit the heavily-wooded sections of the trail up in Glencoe and Highland Park. And it was cool; I don't think it got above 20°C. So I didn't sweat too much and I was able to keep a fairly brisk pace.

I will now limp to my lunch appointment. And I'll post Parker's birthday photo later this afternoon.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll walk there tomorrow

Yes, I'm a little obsessed with finding out how far I can walk in one day, but you won't have to read about it much longer. Tomorrow's forecast looks perfect: sunny skies, 24°C, and some good breezes to keep the air clear and me cool.

And even as I'm contemplating walking 30 km or so, I have to stop and just be awed by British marathoner Sara Hall's Fitbit data from her 2 hour 30 minute running of this year's London Marathon. Her average pace (3'35" per kilometer) is roughly three times faster than I'll go tomorrow. And given that she only took 28,914 steps to cover a marathon, her stride was a full 144 cm—just a few shorter than I am tall.

Also, don't worry about Parker. He's not coming on a five-hour walk with me. He'll be at doggy day camp.