Now I Know Why Microsoft Abandoned the Band

http://humanesmarts.org/events/toddler-time-in-the-farm-november-8th/

I used my Microsoft Band 2 for maybe four and a half months before the wristband fell apart (clumsily repaired by me with Scotch Tape in the photo above). This is not a minor problem, because the wristband is not replaceable and the tear exposed important-looking metal innards. Nor is it an uncommon problem, as I learned from Google. What a piece of crap! I apologize for saying nice things about the Band in this post, back in July. Microsoft has announced that there won’t be a Band 3, and it’s unloading its Band 2 inventory at a discount. Don’t be tempted.

Until my Band fell apart, I actually liked it and wore it all the time, even though it wasn’t waterproof and all I really used it for was to count my steps and tell the time. Also, it barely got through a whole day on a single battery charge. I could probably cover all my personal fitness-tracking needs with a wristwatch and a pedometer, but when my Band self-destructed I replaced it with an approximate counterpart from another manufacturer: a Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate +. The Fitbit does pretty much everything the Band did—in most cases, better—and because it isn’t tricked out with a lot of pointlessly fancy graphics its battery lasts much longer. And the wristband is replaceable.

Recently, I read that some people who wear fitness bands are more likely to gain weight than people who don’t, apparently because they view their supposed “calorie burn” as a license to overeat. I myself have always ignored the calorie-counting feature, since nobody really knows how to count calories and the relationship between food consumption and weight gain is immensely complicated. I just like knowing roughly how far I’ve walked when I play golf and walk the dog—and, occasionally, taking a peek at how long I slept the night before (which the Fitbit tracks automatically).

These are the Best Golf Shoes, and I’m Not Kidding

The True Linkswear golf shoes of Tony, David O., Tim-o, & Tim. Royal Portrush Golf Club, Northern Ireland, April, 2012.

Among the hits of last year’s PGA Golf Merchandise Show were some unusual golf shoes, made by True Linkswear. They look a little like Earth Shoes and a little like Crocs: the front end is wide, allowing your toes to spread out the way they do when you walk barefoot, and there’s almost no heel. A teaching pro who now works for the company told me, “It took me a week to get over it, visually.” But golfers learn to love the look, he said, and are often able to throw away their orthotics, like crutches at a revival meeting. (It’s also possible that True Linkswear shoes promote a slightly better swing, by making it harder for you to lean over your toes.) The company’s reps brought 300 pairs to Orlando but had to stop selling them after just a few hours because they were running out of samples. By the time I got to the booth, they no longer had a pair in my size, but the ones I tried on—which were half a size too small—were still the most comfortable golf shoes I’d ever worn. I now own four pairs.

I took two of those pairs to Ireland this month, along with some New Balance walking shoes. I figured that the walking shoes would be good for après-golf—but I was wrong about that, because by comparison with my golf shoes they felt like army boots. I wore the walking shoes when we went out to dinner our first evening in Ireland but left them in the car after that, and wore only my golf shoes. And I never felt even a twinge, despite the fact that, according to Tim-o’s Fitbit Ultra, we walked between eighteen and twenty-two miles a day (while playing 36 holes and searching for balls among the dunes). And I wore my Trues on the flight home, too.

I wasn’t the only True believer on the trip: Tony, Tim-o, Tim, and I all wore them, in various models and colors—as you can see in the photo above.That’s four of the seven golfers on the group. And Jack wore FootJoy Contour Casuals, which look and feel like sneakers and which he also didn’t bother to take off. It’s now hard for me to believe that golfers ever played in shoes that had stiff soles and metal spikes and had to be broken in.

I’ve retired my original pair of Trues from active golf duty, but I wear them when I work in the yard, walk the dog, and wander through the woods. I’d wear them in the house, too, if I ever wore shoes in the house. And a day will come, I predict, when I will own no other shoes.

Brendan icing a foot rubbed raw by a week of links golf in conventional golf shoes. Cullen Golf Club, Scotland, May, 2008.