Archive | October 7, 2012

FitBit Ultra Wireless: I Tossed Mine. Doesn’t Work. Piece Of Junk As Far As I Am Concerned.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related post:
1/ FitBit Ultra Wireless — I Am NOT That Impressed! — October 5, 2012.
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2/ We Are Now A ‘FitBit Ultra’ Couple – NOT! — Sept. 6, 2012.

Per my October 5 post (above) you could see that I was getting increasingly disenchanted, aggravated and unimpressed.

I went to recharge and re-synch my FitBit Ultra very, very early Saturday morning, i.e., October 6. I typically work till mid-night. Then I save my work, online, and start closing down my work PC. I knew we were going to Sandwich Fair first thing Saturday morning. So, before going to bed, I decided to power up my XP machine, charge up the FitBit and get it to Synch.

So to see if it would make a difference, I slotted in the FitBit into the cradle, adjusted it a few times to make sure that it was properly seated, before I powered up the PC. Started up the FitBit Dashboard. Annoying message: ‘You haven’t synched your FitBit lately‘. But, they are so stupid that they don’t provide a button (or a link) next to the message to force a damn sync. Bloody FitBit.

It said it was last synched on Oct. 3. So, I then went through the usual inane dance. Press the damn button. Press it again. Nothing. Nothing. Take it off the cradle. Put it back. Refresh the stupid Dashboard. Go back and forth on the days hoping that that would force a resynch. This time around I didn’t bother to shutdown and restart the FitBit service. Unplugged the USB cable, Plugged it in. Jiggled the idiotic Dashboard. Still nothing. By now I had spent 15 minutes doing NOTHING else but trying to get this piece of junk to resynch. It was 12:20 am. I had enough. I was not going to spend another second with this poorly designed, cheaply made gizmo.

It was a birthday present from Deanna and she loves her unit. So, I wasn’t going to toss it out of the window. I am noted for that; tossing things that aggravate me irrespective of the cost. So I took the FitBit and the cradle and left it on Deanna’s laptop. I do not want it. I will not use it again. We are through. As far as I am concerned FitBit is junk.

I also don’t need a FitBit. I have proven that I am nowhere close to as sedentary as Deanna as Deanna tried to make me out. I don’t walk 10,000 steps a day, but I appear never to walk less that 7,500. Per the FitBit I also climb, daily, without exception, at least 50 flights of stairs. That confirmed my assertion that I go up and down the 3 flights of stairs we have in this house MORE than anybody else. Plus, I run my 2.5 miles, with 5 pounds of weights, up a steep hill 6 times day — in general. 3 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on — UNLESS I am really ill, the temp is BELOW 5F (yes, 5 Fahrenheit, not Celsius … meaning we are talking 27 degrees BELOW freezing) or like toady, I am going to end up walking for over 3 miles (in this case going door-to-door in Gilford, NH for Obama). So, I have a routine. I don’t need motivation. Self-motivation is built in. I am more active than most and definitely cover more elevation in a day than most cover in 3 days. So screw the FitBit. I don’t want it, I don’t need one.

I have told Deanna to give it to Devanee.

We Met Michael Dukakis In Laconia, NH, Today.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Michael Dukakis

Michael Dukakis will be 79 in a few weeks; dob: Nov. 3, 1933. He still looks good. Hair is a bit thinner than when he ran for president. Very alert. Very articulate. Very avuncular. Very impressive. Makes you proud to be associated with the Democrats. Picture from “L.A. Time” (with thanks).


This was indeed serendipitous. I had no idea that Mike Dukakis, the Presidential Contender in 1998, and the longest serving Governor in Massachusetts history, was going to be in Laconia, NH, today. I was under the impression he had moved to Hawaii. [I asked him about that. I said: ‘I thought you had moved to Hawaii‘. He gave me the scoop. ‘I was just there for one semester. I came back after that.‘ So, I wasn’t totally off base. I had at least remembered that he had gone to Hawaii.]

After my two short stints making phone calls Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, the Obama office in Laconia had called up Friday wanting to know when I planned to show up over the weekend to go door-to-door. They never mentioned anything about Dukakis being there Sunday. It could have been a security thing. With our intent to go to the Sandwich Fair I wasn’t sure when I would make it to Laconia but promised I would put some hours in before Tuesday. This morning, with the weather looking good, I decided I will go and do my shift this afternoon, after I had gone for my run. So, as I was getting ready to go running, around noon, I called up the office to say I will be thee at 2pm. My contact there, Derek, said I should come at 1 instead, as Dukakis would be there to rally the troops. So a quick change of plan. Scrapped the run. Jumped in the shower instead. We managed to leave the house around 12:40. I grabbed two boxes of Lindt chocolate for the troops and Mr. Dukakis.

We got to the Obama office in Laconia by 1:15. It is a small office; 1/4 the size of the nice office we had in 2008. There wasn’t many people there to listen to the former governor. Maybe, at most, 25. But, that was OK. He was shorther than I expected. Deanna reckons that he must have been 5′ 6″. His fair was thinner. But, he looked good. Looked very good. He spoke quietly, without much animation, but it was heartfelt, easy to follow and clearly enunciated. It was a good speech. He spoke about the need for, and a person’s right to, good, affordable healthcare. He, like me, pointed out how so many people just don’t understand the healthcare issue. He, at 78, was on Medicare and got the older folks present to admit that it was a wonderful system. He pointed how Paul Ryan’s austerity program for the U.S. was aimed at making the U.S. be like Greece today. Hear. Hear. He highlighted how government austerity was not the right path for this country. He, obviously, knows Romney. He stressed how unpopular Romney is in Massachusetts; Romney expected to lose his home state to Obama by 30%. He stressed how well Massachusetts is now doing under Deval Patrick compared to when Romney was governor. He talked about how  ‘Private Equity’ company à la Romney’s BAIN Capital had a fiduciary responsibility to make money for their shareholders as opposed to ensuring job growth or job security. It was a good, rousing speech to warm the cockles of any Democrat.

He cracked a few jokes, mainly about Bill Clinton’s meandering nomination speech at his 1988 DNC convention, contrasting it with Bill’s amazing performance this year. He wanted to know why Bill didn’t make such a speech in 1988. He also then had this. According to Mike, Bill Clinton was asked by a morning TV show, in 1992, as to why he was running for President, to have Bill respond: ‘So I can finish the Michael Dukakis nomination speech‘. That cracked me up. He took questions. I asked him about Jack Welch’s stupid, unbecoming Tweet on Friday accusing the administration of cooking the 7.8% unemployment number. Mr. Dukakis agreed that it was totally uncalled for and defied logical explanation.

We all got to meet with him and shake hands. He was very pleasant. Made a point of getting the names of the kids right. Teischan offered him a chocolate and he took one after asking her to recommend which one he picked. It was impressive. I am glad we made the effort to go see him. Made my day. Good for the kids. The most important person that they have met so far (though there grandfather might argue otherwise).

Inspired by Mr. Dukakis ‘we’ went and covered about 40 houses in Gilford; shades of 2008 for me, because I also did Gilford that time.

Piano Movers: Lakes Region, NH


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge



Devanee took piano lessons a few years ago, but as with the flute lessons last year, she was not that motivated. We had got Devanee a mid-range electric keyboard which was downstairs in the family room and had not been touched by Devanee in years. Teischan, however, has always messed about on it. Earlier this year she kept on saying she wanted piano lessons. It took us a while to find one because the lady who taught Devanee was no longer doing lessons. Tesichan was getting so desperate that she convinced Devanee to teach her and with numbers pasted on the keyboard Teischan could play a few recognizable ditties.

Then we finally hooked up with Siroun Braun at the Alton Dance Academy. We had known of her, but wasn’t sure whether she was taking any new students or would accept a student who didn’t have a real piano at home. Neither proved to be an issue. She has been great and Deanna thinks the world of her. Teischan, though she will sometimes claim otherwise, loves her lessons. Unlike Devanee she will practice; daily, most of the time. From the start Siroun had told Deanna about the availability of free pianos and had even given her a list. The BIG issue was getting them moved. We had made a few calls. One of our neighbors was thinking about selling us her spinet. Then two weeks ago another neighbor told Deanna that she had a spinet, in very good condition, that we could have for free.

They are on the same road as us, at most 1/2 mile down the road. But, the issue was getting it moved. I have too much hands on experience with movers. So I was from the start skeptical and wary. Deanna, online, found a company in Nashua with a flat rate $250 for piano moving but the difficulties with getting in touch with them did not inspire confidence. Then she found another company that wanted $350. That was crazy. I wanted to hire 4 local ‘kids’ and give them $250. But, Deanna wanted the insurance coverage. I had used William C. Huff movers multiple times in NH with very good luck but they, alas, they don’t seem to understand the notion of an estimate. Last time around, in 2007, the owner, who I have known for years, came and gave us an estimate for ~$1,500. Then once everything was in the truck he gave me a bill that was over twice that! I then remembered they had done this to me the previous move also. They are very nice people and do a great job. But, I wasn’t going to deal with that.

Devanee and Deanna Googled again and found these ‘1st Class Movers‘ in Northwood, NH. Deanna spoke with them and was impressed. They accepted Visa and was adamant that it was $250. They were also willing to do it quickly, within a few days. Deanna signed a contract.

They were going to come at 8:30 am on Thursday to pickup the piano.

I do not like to be woken BEFORE 8 am because I don’t go to sleep much before 1 am. Deanna gets back from taking Teischan to school around 8:10. So these days that is when I get woken up. I didn’t see any need to change my routine. They couldn’t be here, with the piano, much before 8:50.

As it transpired they were way early. They were here around 7:45 and Deanna saw them as she was leaving to drop Teischan off. Luckily the neighbor was at home and cooperated. The piano was delivered and moved into place by 8:20. I didn’t have to do anything but give them a non-monetary tip.

They told us that they charge a 3% surcharge on credit card payments. They hadn’t mentioned that earlier. As it transpired they billed us $261. $11 on $250 is 4.4%, not 3%; but c’est la vie. I have learned that arithmetic with movers is a moveable feast. So I am just glad that I got whacked this time around for a couple of dollars.

The move as far as I can see was smooth, fast, uneventful and painless. It was done by just two men, albeit with all the right equipment. They didn’t do nay damage to the piano or the house. So that was another plus. So, on the whole we are happy, we are impressed and with this post we will even recommend them.

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