Microsoft Band First Impressions

For the last month I have had Microsofts new fitness band on pre-order waiting for the official UK release. It finally turned up this week. As a software developer and developer leader I spend most of my time sitting down, which isn’t great for your long term health. Recently Me and my Wife decided to take out joint gym memberships so we could get a bit healthier. I could certainly do with loosing some weight.

Naturally being a gadget geek I wanted to augment this experience with some technology and as I have made my career what it is by working in the Microsoft Space it made sense to try our their fitness tracker.

Microsoft Band
Microsoft Band

So far I have been very impressed with it. The band is comfortable to wear and although it looks bulky on top it looks reasonable in my opinion. The band contains 10 sensors, to measure heart rate, steps, calories, Sun UV, GPS and all this is available via a touch screen.

The main features for the band are :

  • 24-hour heart rate tracking – Monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day so you can perform at your best
  • Sleep Tracking – See how long and how well you sleep and how often you wake
  • GPS Run Mapping – Map the routes you’ve run, biked, or hiked and save your favorites
  • Get the most out of Microsoft Band with the Microsoft Health app and a full-featured web dashboard
  • Works with the phone you own – iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone Microsoft Band is designed to be awesome on multiple platforms
  • Works with Windows Phone 8.1 update, iOS 7.1 and later and Android 4.3-5.0 phones, with Bluetooth

The main configuration I have done with the band is to turn off email, message and phone notifications. Personally I find them annoying, but I know some people like this sort of thing. What I do love though is the ability to track steps, calories and heart-rate. You can set up calorie, and walking targets so you can measure if you are hitting your own targets. I have the steps target set to 10,000 steps and the calorie burn target set to 2600 calories.

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The Evolution of the Employee

I was reading an article over at Troy Hunts blog about him hitting a personal milestone by getting made redundant and now going full time on creating courses for Pluralsight, and he had a really interesting infographic in his post which was taken from the book the book called “The Future of Work” by Jacob Morgan.

The infographic is about the evolution of the employee and it struck a real chord with me as it aligns with how I have been thinking recently and highlights pretty much everything I have been striving for and want to achieve in the future.

The Future of Work
The Future of Work

I’ll just highlight a few that are really important to me.

Works Anywhere / Any time : The focus of my career is changing and for me the ability to work anywhere is really important. I also find I am my most productive when I change my work environment, be it working from home or a coffee shop. Recently in the office I had to give up my desk and start hot desking. Initially I wasn’t too keen on it, but actually I am really liking it. There are many hot desks all over the building and I change where I work frequently. This not only gives a change of scenery, but I meet more people.

In another article about retaining software developers, I stated that it is important for a developer to have a desk they call their own, and I still believe this is very important.

For my own purposes though, I don’t write code in my current job, so hot desking is more suitable to my needs.

As for working any-time. I find the 9-5 grind a little restrictive. I have 2 kids in school and childcare and to help my wife out I have to be flexible with work times. Sometimes this means working a shorter day in the office as I have to both drop off and collect the kids. Even though my employer is OK with this, I always feel a little uncomfortable about it. As for my out off the office work, like Pluralsight courses, I tend to be most productive with them when I work late at night.