Tuesday, January 6, 2009

bodybugg® and I: About to Part Ways?

I love the bodybugg®. Unfortunately, what I didn't know when I purchased it was that it required a subscription to the Web site in order to get data out of the bodybugg®.

First, I object to this in principle. I should have done more research, but I did know it was a bargain when I saw it on special for $99 when signing up for five 25-minute personal training sessions (also a good deal) at 24 Hour Fitness. I just stupidly assumed that a physical electronic device like the bodybugg® would be like a PDA (or any other physical electronic device I've bought in the last 20 years) - it would work with software I installed on my PC, period.

Second, it came with a three month subscription (which expired two days ago) to bodybugg.com (apexfitness.com). I don't like the user interface; the site's slow; and it does only ONE thing I want: gets the data out of the bodybugg®. I have other tools I prefer for tracking my food intake and such, and those tools are FREE (see SparkPeople.com). I lost nearly a month's worth of the three-month subscription when my PC crashed - my new PC runs Vista Home Premium 64-bit operating system, and getting the right version of Java to work with the bodybugg® was a little tricky (hint, it's the 32-bit version - the 64-bit version doesn't contain all the needed components, but rather than display an intelligent error message explaining the problem, the Web site just hangs when you attempt to log on).

We interrupt this rant to give compliments where they're deserved: Customer support gave me the clues I needed, but I couldn't stay on the phone with them long enough, right before the holidays, to troubleshoot the problem and configure the new PC it properly. They get major kudos, though, for friendliness and for having a clue, which was enough to enable me to eventually solve the problem on my own. 24 Hour Fitness and bodybugg® customer support do treat their customers well, and in an era when so many customer support centers are bearing the brunt of customer ire and so deservedly so, this is worth mentioning.

Third, the subscription plans are expensive, in my opinion, for what you get (remember, all I want to do is download the data from the device - I am not using any of the other tools on the site, nor do I have any interest whatsoever in doing so):

Renewal Option:
bodybugg® Web Subscription Monthly Recurring ($14.95)
bodybugg® Web Subscription 1 Month Only ($29.95)
bodybugg® Web Subscription 3 Months ($39.95)
bodybugg® Web Subscription 12 Months ($99.95)

Fourth, the Web site doesn't work with anything but Internet Explorer. Need I say more?

So, it's a bit of a dilemma:

Keep paying, over and over, just to keep the $99 device (normally $249 and now a newer, sleeker model) functioning? Give it up and call it a $99 trial and an expensive lesson learned in assuming anything ("user error" in failing to do extensive research)? Smack myself repeatedly for making a stupid "impulse purchase" at 24 Hour Fitness (which OWNS the bodybugg®)?

And to think, I was actually really tempted to buy the display unit. Until I realized it still required the @#$% Web site subscription. Now it's not even an either-or choice (obviously, if it were, I'd get the display and skip the Web site altogether).

I'm going to have to think about this a while. Meanwhile, the bodybugg®'s been tossed aside and my arm - which looks a little like I ripped a Band-Aid off wet skin, since I forgot to move the device around and let my skin breathe - is happy to be rid of the thing. My brain, still hyped on fitness resolutions for the new year is less jazzed - it's still urging me to consider the overpriced subscription.

But right now, I'm leaning towards listening to my arm. Unlike my brain, it has never led me astray.

8 comments:

  1. I just got mine, and I am so frustrated, i am ready to ship it back. I cannot get the software to work. I am also on Vista. It infuriates me that you cannot get in contact with support there. This is an expensive device, and I expect to be able to use it. Argh.

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  2. Christine, are you on 64-bit Vista, or 32-bit Vista? In either case, go to Add/Remove Programs (whatever it's called - I tend to run in "classic" mode) and REMOVE Java and J2RE entirely. Go to the Sun site and download the latest version that supports 32-bit (even if you're running 64-bit). If anything is unclear about this, email me. (There's an email link in my profile.)

    Recent blog post: Dangerous Books!!! Killer Kids' Clothes!!!

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  3. P.S. Reboot after uninstalling Java; reboot after installing it again. ;) THEN try to set up your bodybugg.

    Recent blog post: Dangerous Books!!! Killer Kids' Clothes!!!

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  4. Update: Many thanks to you Holly for trying to walk me through how to fix my problem. Unfortunately nothing I tried worked.

    For all others who may have Googled a similar issue please read:

    I got so frustrated with this company, that I searched LinkedIn and found out the founders name. I then sent him an email expressing my concerns. That got their attention and I finally got a call from somebody.

    What I have learned is that this is a small company, and they are struggling. It sounds like they do not have the bandwith to support all the new customers that they have gotten this year. Also, there are clearly need to work on the technical aspect of this product. It should not be that difficult to interface this thing.

    So, I did get a phone call from a very helpful rep who had to take over my computer remotely. After 1.5 hours, we downnloaded the Google Chrome browser and it seemed to work. That was Friday. Here we are on Sunday, and their site is down. (SCREAM).

    Again, this is a pricey device, and if I cannot get the information out of it, then it is useless. I have already sent an email to the founder and the tech rep that was so helpful. Let's see how quickly they can resolve it.

    As Holly had mentioned before, the device is expensive, and the monthly fee adds up too. I wouldn't mind paying it if everything worked, but there have already been so many issues, and I have only had it 72 hours. Argh.

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  5. maybe just buy the display - you get all of the calorie information from it - no pretty graph like the website but gives the info you need

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  6. If you change the battery too slowly, though, you'll need help setting it up again - because once the memory's wiped out, it needs Internet access to set up.

    Fortunately, I found help with that - I was ready to write it off as a majorly expensive lesson and throw both the bodybugg and the display in the trash, but I'm using them again. I really do like them. I can make my own pretty graphs, though.

    Recent blog post: Chicken Stuffed Peppers with Valley Fresh Steamers

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  7. Your article is really out of date and needs to be updated. There have been MANY improvements to the technology like NOT having to use Internet Explorer. Your pricing is ALL wrong also.

    BodyBugg is a great tool and it is suggested that anyone looking for information that is relevant and up to date should refer to:

    http://ichoosethin.com/thinblog/bodybugg-review/

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  8. I'm not trying to sell the thing. My pricing is quite accurate - for the one I bought, when I bought it. Am I wrong in thinking that the MODEL I BOUGHT cannot be used without the Web subscription? If that's the case, do tell me. I have no idea of getting hijacked into paying another monthly fee on top of the price of the unit.

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