back to article The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

I owe everything to a quick one off the wrist. This was not always the case. Previously, my attempts at achieving a rhythm would frequently slip, causing it to get out of hand. But now with a firm grip on the matter and lots of practice, I’ve really begun to shake things up, good and proper. I feel sure plenty of readers are …

  1. Dr_N

    Lost 10kg ...

    Is that how much £400 in coins weighs?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Lost 10kg ...

      A £1 coin is 9.5g, so 1052 of them.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Fruity watch wearers

    Having seen

    1) a woman get mugged for her iDevice. (The thief ran into a couple of builders who floored him. Plod took him away.)


    2) someone pay in a shop by wafting their Fruity Watch at the NFC terminal

    all within 24 hours in London,

    I had my doubts about wearables but to be able to pay for things without risking your phone or physical wallet (you know those things you keep folding notes it) seems to me to be a very good solution.

    I am sure there are downsides (other than it being Apple tech) that will get pointed out very soon but that is one use that Apple have got very right. Simple to use and seems to work (from my very limited survey).

    If I

    1) Wore a watch (not done that since about 1980)


    2) Had a smartphone I might look at some form of wearable device.

    Until then my old nokia dumb phone and my Half-Hunter pocket watch will do very nicely thank you.

    Now if I could get an Apple watch inside a half hunter case then I'd be more than willing to open my wallet.

    1. Efros

      Re: Fruity watch wearers

      Not quite a half hunter but it is a pocket watch

      personally I'll stick to my good old Seiko, bought in 1971 by my Dad for my 12th birthday, still ticking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fruity watch wearers

        I'll stick to analogue watches too, thanks. After all, who want to look like a 5km individual fun runner?

        1. VinceH

          Re: Fruity watch wearers

          "After all, who want to look like a 5km individual fun runner?"

          I see what you did there. Have an upvote and one of these -->

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fruity watch wearers

      "Until then my old nokia dumb phone and my Half-Hunter pocket watch will do very nicely thank you."

      Even a Nokia "dumb phone" *in your pocket* has a clock display, so if you've not needed a wristwatch since 1980, why do you need a pocket watch too?

      This all rather reminds me of the comments sections on TVs and the posts from people proudly claiming to have neither watched TV since Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon nor even own one of the infernal tools of the Devil.

    3. Seajay#

      Re: Fruity watch wearers

      No need for an expensive iThing to get wrist-based contactless payments. It's just an NFC chip so get just the chip and add it to your existing watch for £30. No vendor lock in.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you change the strap?

    I almost got one of these, there are some really nice ones. All the ones I saw had permanent one time only straps and no supplies for replacements...

    I kill straps. :(

    1. Martin 47

      Re: Can you change the strap?

      Fitbit Alta is the one you want

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can you change the strap?

        12 months too late for me. I saw their marketing drive and I assume their target consumer group.

        They could have had that as standard from day one, but did not. That choice does not bode well with me and the possibility of them providing a product or service I want, as supposed to one they know can gouge out my eyes (wallet).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you even lift?

    To acquire fitness, you have to pickup heavy shit. Unavoidable.

    But you don't need a watch to tell you your 1-rep-max, and even a muscle head can count to 8, which is about the most reps you want to do of almost any muscle group.

    The data these things collect is completely worthless, and if you buy one you'll put it in a draw and still be a fat bastard, only £150 lighter. Be sure to kick yourself that you could have just lifted a rock or a tractor tyre for free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To acquire fitness, you have to pickup heavy shit

      In contrast, I acquire most of my fitness by doing stuff like running around and swimming, not so much by lifting heavy shit. I agree, however, that I could certainly make myself stronger by adding lifting heavy stuff to my routine.

      I'm not really sure that your definition of the word "fitness", in an exercise context, is quite the same as mine. I'm happy to believe that lifting stuff can make you fit (i.e. OED "in good athletic condition") - why do you believe that (eg) running or swimming somehow doesn't?

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: To acquire fitness, you have to pickup heavy shit

        My regime is not limited to putting on a Fitbit and smiling inwardly. I didn't want to bore you all further with my fitness regime, this not being a Daily Mail "I used to be a fat c*nt" article.

        I go to my local gym for cardio and do a lot more walking generally. The boss at my gym, an ex-army beefcake with shoulder muscles the size of footballs, is now nagging me to increase my weight-training so that I don't end up scrawny.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: increase my weight-training so that I don't end up scrawny.

          If weights don't appeal, swimming can also help give sufficient upper body development to not look (so) scrawny.

    2. SkippyBing

      Re: Do you even lift?

      'To acquire fitness, you have to pickup heavy shit.'

      You appear to be conflating fitness and strength. Marathon runners (I mean good ones) generally can't lift up 'heavy shit' because the excess muscle mass in their upper body would affect their ability to run long distances at an annoyingly fast pace. Similarly weight lifters are shit at running long distances because the training to do so would affect their ability to retain muscle mass.

      I would argue both are fit but in different disciplines and both have significant health advantages over sitting watching TV.

      1. MrT

        Re: Do you even lift?

        Buying a fitness tracker and expecting dramatic changes just because it's there did remind me of this story from The Daily Mash back in springtime this year...

      2. Dave Bell

        Re: Do you even lift?

        There's several distinct elements to fitness, and some medical professionals are barely competent to judge. For instance, the Body Mass Index is OK as a starting point, at a "do I need to ask more questions" level, but there are people who don't bother to ask the questions. Some athletes have a high BMI, but the mass is muscle, not fat, which has a higher density, and there's a better correlation of poor health with excess fat rather than excess weight.

        When I worked on a farm I was heavier than I am now, and the extra weight was muscle. I sometimes had to handle 50kg sacks of wheat seed (and you really need to know how to do that properly). When I fractured my spine, all that extra muscle helped me avoid the need for surgery.

        Anyway, the one simple trick to losing weight is to eat less. Exercise helps change the ratio between fat and muscle, and we all need some fatty tissue, Most of us have too much.

        Weght training can focus the exercise. As mentioned, running does more for the legs, and weight training can fill the gap. But weight training isn't as good for the heart and lungs, and that seems to be an important aspect. They call it aerobic exercise, and it matters because for a short burst of exercise the muscles use internal resources. At least, they did according to my school biology lessons.

        In the end, it's about keeping a good balance, the right mix of food in balance with the exercise. And, while you don't need to be a weightlifter, there are things in the computer business that are heavy enough that you need to know how to use your muscles.

        Incidentally, it helps to know how to cook. There are ways in which cooking can really mess with good nutrition. My mother did manage to get away from overcooking cabbage and brussels sprouts.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Do you even lift?

      > To acquire fitness, you have to pickup heavy shit. Unavoidable.

      Rubbish. I doubt very much that fellrunners do many weights (the ones I know don't) and they are (as a class) pretty fit.

    4. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Do you even lift?

      Lifting is dangerous and poor exercise. It will add muscle, but may not make you fit.

      There is only one way to be less fat. It's not more exercise, though for fitness a minimum of activity is needed. It's eating less than you burn, gradually over a long period, a fast diet lowers the metabolic rate and later you put on more weight.

      Fatness, bulk, fitness and muscle are different things, though related.

      Lifting is probably the worst way to lose weight or fat. Even situps does no better than a corset, it just adds muscle to pull in the fat tummy, unless there is eating reduction and some overall exercise too.

      There is no magic solution (diet or exercise) other than a reduction over a year and permanent reduction in food intake. If you are very sedentary, then separately you need also some regular daily activity (even if just using the stairs frequently each day), a weekend gym workout is actually worse!

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Do you even lift?

        Just putting on a fitness tracker can make a person much more aware of just how little he/she moves and tracking caloric intake makes it quite clear just how much you are actually stuffing into your face. Just getting those facts mushed into your face in a clear manner can be enough to make positive changes to eating and daily habbits

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do you even lift?

        Add splitting up your normal three meals to six spread across the day, just to convince your body it is not starving.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Do you even lift?

          That sounds a lot like snacking.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Good response in general. However...

        "Lifting is probably the worst way to lose weight or fat."

        Well, it depends. For some people, cardio is out for one reason or another, and hitting the gym is actually a good alternative, precisely for the reasons you mention (increasing one's caloric intake+exercise). I mention this as I'm one of those people - cardio in general makes me hoover up food at an unsustainable amount, and running specifically temporarily busted my knee joints. However, when weight training I manage to consistently lose/maintain weight (which one of those depends on the caloric intake at the moment), and not break anything in body.

        So, overall, properly done lifting is the only way to go for some people. Of course, OP's claims about "8 reps max" is patently ridiculous.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Mage

          Me getting out of the couch is lifting heavy shit.

    5. gh4662

      Re: Do you even lift?

      I wouldn't mind betting that tractor tyres cost far more than £150.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: photo

    is the Jeremy Kyle show being filmed on a holodeck now?

  6. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Fat chance

    A problem that I have with the obesity epidemic is the supply-and-demand impact on the clothing marketplace.

    I take a size 30" waist (not amazingly active or particularly frugal in my diet...I just have an the kind of metabolic rate that more-or-less guarantees a slim build and the prospect of being an ironic heart attack statistic by the time I reach 50)

    Shopping in a lot of high-street stores is a problem, as their jeans start at 32" and go up in increments well into enormous. It's getting harder to find stuff that fits.

    I could shop in the teenagers' section, but the idea of a middle-aged man in the changing rooms in a teens' department usually ends up with a court requiring you to sign some sort of register.

    Lard pies seem to be the best course of action right now

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Fat chance

      Amen! Every year or so I slope into M&S to buy some bog-standard cheap black trousers for work. It's got to the point where I'm highly unlikely to actually find anything with a 30" waist on ther shop floor. So I usually end up muttering something about the vast majority of GB being fat bastards and then try and order online where they may be more choice.

      On a similar note once upon a time I could have sworn I was size medium for most things (I'm 5'10", albeit thin as a rake), but now I seem to be size small. Now I don't think I've shrunk at all...

      1. Novex

        Re: Fat chance

        I believe that the measurements on clothing are no longer accurate, instead being larger than indicated. So a 30" is now actually a 32". Apparently it's to do with customers wanting to believe they're slimmer than they actually are...

        I have used an Omron pedometer for five years now. I've found I've become habitualized to using it every day to get around 10k steps on it. But it has one drawback: it has only got a USB connector and doesn't have Linux drivers for it, so can only be used with Windows meaning it's one of the reasons I have to keep a Windows 7 partition on my PC to be able to download the data... (I knew I'd get a dig in at Windows 10 and it's telemetry and forced updates somehow :-D )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fat chance

          @Novex; "I believe that the measurements on clothing are no longer accurate, instead being larger than indicated. So a 30" is now actually a 32"."

          Doesn't surprise me. I'm 5'10" with a pretty narrow *build* (that makes buying off-the-shelf clothes that fit well a PITA), but I still have a bit of fat around my waist; I'm not ludicrously thin.

          Yet I can still comfortably fit into Next's regular fit (nominally) 30" jeans. However, I know damn well there's no way I'd get into my several-years-old suit or dress trousers if *they* were 30" rather than the 32" they actually are. So I'd always been pretty sceptical about the former.

          I'd always put this down to the style of jeans being a somewhat baggy fit, but your explanation sounds plausible.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Fat chance

        There are loads of 28in waist trousers and skinny fittings at Top Man. Jeans, chinos, whatever.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fat chance

        "[...] M&S to buy some bog-standard cheap black trousers for work. It's got to the point where I'm highly unlikely to actually find anything with a 30" waist on ther shop floor."

        Take a tape measure. Even the same M&S trousers on a rail can vary up to two inches from the label size. A friend bought me a T-shirt from M&S that was "small" - and it was like a spinnaker on me. Now she buys me "Fruit of the Loom" T-shirts whose "medium" size is a nice snug fit.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fat chance

        > Every year or so I slope into M&S

        My missus have given up buying clothes there - their sizing is hopelessly mixed up (she is size 8-10 - but in M&S she has to go to childrens sizes because even their size 8 stuff is like a tent on her..)

      5. Kubla Cant

        Re: Fat chance

        ...I'm highly unlikely to actually find anything with a 30" waist...

        But try buying casual shirts, and you won't find anything that isn't slim-fit. Most shirts cling like a corset, and are quite uncomfortable to wear for a day. I confess wear 32" trousers, but I don't think I'm very fat. I can only assume the fat bastards are also pigeon-chested.

        1. Maty

          Re: Fat chance

          Honestly ...

          This is what you get when you buy shop clothes like lumpen proletarians. Just get a decent tailor instead of the work of some east asian factory slave. You will both feel and look better.

          I'm sure your valet can recommend someone.

      6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Fat chance

        "Amen! Every year or so I slope into M&S to buy some bog-standard cheap black trousers for work. It's got to the point where I'm highly unlikely to actually find anything with a 30" waist on ther shop floor."

        Go in August when it's got racks and racks of "school uniform" clothes :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fat chance

      Simple solution: Buy women's jeans. About size 8 should work.

      1. PickledAardvark

        Re: Fat chance

        In the UK, 30" waist would be size 12 or 14. UK size 8 is tiny and you are unlikely to find jeans with a 30" inside leg.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fat chance

          "UK size 8 is tiny [...]"

          A Chinese friend living in England used to have to go on a fattening diet in order for a UK size 8 to fit her properly. So she had to buy children's clothes. That saved the VAT - but her husband complained that people could misconstrue him being with a 12 year old.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fat chance

            > but her husband complained that people could misconstrue him being with a 12 year old

            You have reached the UK (or the US, which is even worse) when this is suddenly a problem.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fat chance

          "In the UK, 30" waist would be size 12 or 14. UK size 8 is tiny and you are unlikely to find jeans with a 30" inside leg."

          Depends on the store - in my experience it's usually a 10R.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fat chance

        "[...] Buy women's jeans. "

        Jeans should be shaped differently for men. A friend took on some home work as an overlocker sewing together men's jeans. She had sent off quite a few pairs before someone pointed out to her that the crotch has to be sown a different shape for men.

        Some manufacturers still fit the zip left-handed to differentiate women's versions from men's. The zip can also be shorter as its function is to allow the trousers to be removed - not to give a handy portal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fat chance

          "[...] the crotch has to be sown a different shape for men."

          Are the grammar nazis on holiday? Mea culpa - homonym should have been "sewn".

        2. cd / && rm -rf *

          Re: Fat chance

          Jeans should be shaped differently for men. [...] the crotch has to be sown a different shape for men

          ^That. I have a pair of Mango ladies jeans that fit me like a glove. Especially around my man parts. It does tend to get me lots of attention on Friday nights out, so I'm not complaining.

        3. Suricou Raven

          Re: Fat chance

          The Ancient Traditions of Tailoring dictate that women's clothing must have small pockets, or no pockets at all. I do not know why this is, but I suspect it might be related to the other strange social convention that says women are allowed to carry handbags, while a man carrying a bag of similar size would draw his sexuality into question.

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Fat chance: women's or kids jeans

        Make sure they open the correct side though.

        UK Size 12 OUGHT to be 30"

        Take a tape as sizes are completely inconsistent between brands or seasons.

        Children's jeans may be too short and too lacking in bum/hip.

        If you are 32" or more you are at higher risk of heart attack. BMI is too coarse a guide due to muscle vs fat and different body types / bones / ethnic origin.

        1. Dave Bell

          Re: Fat chance: women's or kids jeans

          I have to shorten the legs on my jeans. Duck''s Disease waddles in the family.

          I can use my late mother's sewing machine. There's a simple trick to it that keeps the look of the hem. There's a "magic seam" video on You Tube.

    3. TheProf

      ironic heart attack

      I remember the Peel session they did in the '80s.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: ironic heart attack

        Funnily enough, the washing machine in the flat I moved into post-divorce has taken a terrible toll on my clothes. Either that or I'm shit at laundry. Because all the shirts I have are shrinking rapidly. The nice short sleeved one I only bring out for special occasions (i.e. very hot days) that I've had for years? It's now so tight I look like a throttled earwig. And the long sleeved white one with the special collar for bow-ties... I've had that for years too, and it used to fit brilliantly, but now the sleeves and cuffs are so tight... the right cuff I can't do up at all for some reason. And you're right. Shop stocking has definitely changed. I can't find any 32xs trousers, so I'm forced to wear 34s with belt and turn ups. I always thought it was because there were so many short-legged men around that they sold out of xs before I got there. And now with BHS gone titsup, I've no chance.

      2. Stoneshop

        Re: ironic heart attack

        He did that gig himself in 2004.

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Fat chance

      And if you can find 30" trousers, the bottom of the legs will end up around shin level.

      I'm just resigned to being a weird shape and wearing trousers that either end just past my knee, or have enough room at the waist for another person.

      Maybe I should wear dresses instead, length is less of a problem and the extra air on your bits must be nice in the summer.

      >>>>>> mines not a coat...

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Fat chance / not a coat

        I believe it is called a kilt?

        1. Chris G

          Re: Fat chance / not a coat

          Skirts for men;

          1. Grunchy Silver badge

            Re: Fat chance / not a coat

            Skirts for men!

            Hey have I got a fashion choice for you: it's called Kendura.

            (basically an Arab version of MuMu for the portly - except in UAE, it is de rigueur).

      2. Stoneshop

        Re: Fat chance

        Maybe I should wear dresses instead,

        Why not a kilt? I do, occasionally, and it's extremely comfortable. And it's got a hammer loop, pockets for screws and stuff, loops for screwdrivers, a pocket for my phone and one for a folding ruler. Really nice bit of ki(l)t.

      3. Tom 38

        Re: Fat chance

        Not to sound like an advert, but uniqlo do jeans in 28"-36" waist in 1" increments, and 32" or 34" length, with free 1 day length adjustment. Plus they have some sort of magic system where they manage to keep them in size order, rather than the apparently random order in other stores, that have you checking every single pair of jeans in the fucking store for the one size that you think might fit.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fat chance

      "[...] the prospect of being an ironic heart attack statistic by the time I reach 50.

      Watch out for Type 2 Diabetes as well. Any extra calories have to go somewhere. If they are not being deposited as fat then they are being burned off as heat in brown adipose fat. That suggests the body is possibly having to handle regular high glucose levels.

      Although the stereotypical Type 2 sufferer is overweight or obese - there are also trim people who develop it in their 60s. My doctor thinks the factors are genetic inheritance, high pressure careers, plus irregular meal and sleeping patterns.

      It is amazing how little I have to eat nowadays to maintain my BMI of 22. When I complain that my six monthly Hba1c blood glucose test is still in the low 40s - my doctor reminds me that many/most of his Type 2 patients score 50 through 70.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Fat chance

        > there are also trim people who develop it in their 60s.

        There are also not-fat, ideal-BMI[1] people that develop it in their late 30's. It helps if ones maternal genetic background include a whole bunch of people who developed it early in life, even when living in the days when over-eating was very, very unlikely..

        [1] BMI - aka 'a farce'. But the NHS seems to value it (except for the people who really know what they are doing)

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Fat chance

          BMI is a poor measure, but it's beloved of scientists and policymakers because it's really easy to measure. When you are doing studies on a sample of a thousand people or more, all of which need measuring multiple times, that's a very important gain. It's just not practical to get them hooked up to the room full of expansive instruments for an hour-long physical.

    6. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Fat chance

      If you're having sizing problems you could try getting clothes from the ghost shop. If the staff even serve you, you must be a medium.

    7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Fat chance

      > I take a size 30" waist (not amazingly active or particularly frugal in my diet.

      I used to too - until I became T2 diabetic. Now I have to be a bit more cautious about what I eat (and not just the 'minimise simple carbs' type cautious)

      Now I'm a 33" waist :-(

    8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      To everyone complaining that trousers are too big at the waist:

      Belt up.

    9. andrewj

      Re: Fat chance

      Most amusingly this is worst in the sports clothing section where I can almost never find anything conceived for <XL waistlines. Then again, there's a self-consistent logic that the fat sizes don't sell....

  7. TRT Silver badge


    I'm afraid I'm guilty of having a remote control for my vacuum cleaner. It's built into the handle, so one can adjust the suction just before one hits a loose rug, but it does operate over radio frequencies and needs the battery changing every now and again.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Ah. (Guilty of having a remote control).

      That's like the remote controlled light switch! All the vauum cleaners I can remember using have a simple button on the handle that opens a valve to allow air in at that point. I have always thought of them as the device that allows you to retrieve socks or twenty pound notes from the head before they disappear into the dust collector. Loose ruge are best beaten on a washing line.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two words

    Low. Carb.

    You won't lose weight by counting calories. Well, you will for a bit, but it soon becomes incredibly hard and depressing. Cut down on your carb life and get some exercise. Eat enough fat and protein to keep you nicely full. Eat pork chops and butter, but skip the cookies. And rice. Pasta. Potatoes. Bread.

    It works.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Two words

      Eat Less

      Not "low anything"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two words

        Wrong wrong wrong. You are just so wrong. Sorry. Read "the diet Delusion" or zillions of other similar books for a full explanation.

        Everyone says this and it seems obvious. Commentards agree with you too. Still wrong.

    2. Novex

      Re: Two words

      If I don't have potatoes on a regular basis, I start feeling ill. I can still lose weight though by having a balanced diet with bits of everything but not too much of anything, and getting a bit of walking in each day.

      'Eat less, eat balanced, exercise more, not too much' - that is the mantra. If anyone bothers to look up all the articles and programmes and what-not in the world written by reasonably knowledgeable doctors and the like on how to live a reasonably healthy life, it all keeps coming down to that mantra.

    3. Andy A

      Re: Two words

      Most 'fad' diets work by removing one or more food groups from the subject's plate.

      This results in the digestive system being unable to process the rest of the intake properly.

      The actual food group removed doesn't matter, so we see people promoting diets with all carbs, no carbs, all protein....

      If you ate nothing but 10kg of lard a day, you would lose weight. It's just that nobody could stand that for even a day without the usually-associated fast-food menu items.

    4. Suricou Raven

      Re: Two words

      Eat food.

      Mostly plants.

      Not too much.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart bulbs versus light switches

    It just occurred to me that bulbs with integrated switches could kinda sorta have a purpose. If you designed the house around them, and didn't have any physical light switches, the electrician's bill will be a lot smaller - less wiring, fewer wall boxes.

    Of course it would be bloody inconvenient to have to use a remote / smartphone to turn on your lights on/off, so personally I wouldn't care how much money it saved up front. Of course, you can still get all the physical switches (even if they are 'virtual' and communicate with the lights rather than cutting power on/off) but then you lose the savings AND pay more for your light bulbs AND have to worry about security issues if they are wifi addressable instead of some more sensible like X10. So still a stupid idea marketed to the stupid.

    1. Whitter

      Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

      You've still got to get the power to the light so the wiring behind the plaster isn't going anywhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I was talking about eliminating the wiring in the walls, and the wallbox and switch hardware. The wiring in the ceiling (or wherever the light is) obviously needs to stay either way.

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

      These smart light things are all sold on the premise of saving money and energy by having finer control over your lights and things, though they cost so much and use so much that any savings are pretty much imaginary. If you want to make real savings, ditch the smart crap and buy a job-lot of next-gen led bulbs from china on aliexpress. You can buy similar bulbs here, of course, but they put out less than half the light and cost four times as much.

      Got the idea from watching this chap.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

        Changing a light bulb? You want the current off. Although there are "safe when vacant" sockets (the pressure of the bulb on the pins needed to lock the bayonet pushes the pins through an air gap and onto the live supply - the pins are tied together by an insulated bar, so that they have to move together or they jam before making contact - thus prying fingers would need to push both pins in really hard and synchronously in order to find a live terminal).

      2. Mandoscottie
        Thumb Up

        Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches


        amen, check ASDA out for a box of LED GU10s, reduced to £7.50 for a box of ten atm (dimmable and warm white), the previous owner of my house was a clown and kitted entire house out in GU10 and bathroom were treated to the bright whites from Home Bargains (£1 each)

        Im glad the dimmable ones are, otherwise your blinded by how dam bright they are in sequence...

        after replacing them all, ive seen my electric bill drop by 50%, almost keeps the mrs happy about all the IT kit running 24/7 in mancave/pc room. It does mean up here, the gas central heating comes on more, now we lack the direct flow of furnace hot air from the halogens :P

        I didnt think it would make THAT much of a cost saving, jeesh i was so wrong.

        And on the thought of wearing ladies jeans if you can get the right fit, all good and well except ladies jeans are cut differently, and will give you a lovely derriere like the dood in money supermarket add that jerks......good good no man.

        Buy mens cut jeans and find a local seamstress/tailor who will happily take the legs up or remove "darts" to get the top of the garment to fit proper, for a small amount.

    3. Gavin King

      Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

      I don't know about the rest of the world, but in a lot of old farmhouses in New Zealand the owners had a similar idea; instead of having to tear up the wall plaster, just mount it all in the ceiling. The usual way was with a pull-cord right next to the fitting, on the same base-board, which meant that there was only a single hole in the ceiling too. I have seen one that was something of a compromise; the pull-cord was next to the door where the switch would usually be, and the fitting was in the centre of the room.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

        Pull cord lights are pretty common in closets and unfinished basements in most of the US, though less common in stuff built since 2000 or so. I have them in all my closets, and above the washer/dryer in my basement (the only part that isn't finished)

      2. Stoneshop

        Re: Smart bulbs versus light switches

        The usual way was with a pull-cord right next to the fitting

        Or even in the fitting, with the first part off the pull being a metal chain of some sort.

  10. PickledAardvark

    Smartphone to control your house

    Pity the individual who loses the phone on a night out to find that the front door won't let them in. After waking the neighbours to gain access using their phone and backup codes, our poor soul remembers that they don't have a phone to switch on the lights.

    I pity the sad person, in between bursts of laughter.

    1. Seajay#

      Re: Smartphone to control your house

      Except no sane person would do that, you can (and surely would) get a zigbee light switch so that the majority of the time you control your smart lights without a phone (only using the phone for "cinema mode" etc). The advantage of that is that you can set up any of the buttons on it to run any light commands you like and you can position the switch anywhere you like.

      Not worthwhile in a new house where there will almost certainly be switches which pretty much do what you want in sensible places. But I can see the utility if you're building an extension and you want to put switches for the new bits on to otherwise unaffected walls. I live in a house which has had multiple extensions added by various owners and some of the light switches are now very oddly positioned and wired. For me to fix that the old fashioned way by rewiring would be a lot of hassle and money. £150 for a Hue starter kit seems almost reasonable by comparison.

  11. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Geiger-conceived robot cheese grater from Hell"

    Apart from probably meaning Hansruedi Giger that's just smeggin' brilliant!

    "Anyway, I started off as a cynic and became a convert, like a particularly annoying and self-righteous ex-smoker."

    I never knew you've met my dad!

  12. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    TV Remote

    Given that we had only three TV channels and the analogue audio was perfectly consistent between them...

    That's not my recollection. We may not have had quite the problem of dynamic range during a show; it was the disparity of perceived volume between shows and adverts which was the problem back then.

    And not getting up to push a button on the TV to change channel was something I believe most appreciated, just like not having to get up and answer the door or the land line. We might not have needed it, but it was a great convenience to have.

    1. 's water music

      Re: TV Remote

      it was the disparity of perceived volume between shows and adverts which was the problem back then

      Perhaps Dabbs was too middle class to watch much ITV. I know I was so mine and my wife's childhood cultural references are a bit out of sync.

      And not getting up to push a button on the TV to change channel was something I believe most appreciated

      No younger siblings? In an emergency just sit within arm's reach of the telly

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: TV Remote

        No younger siblings? In an emergency just sit within arm's reach of the telly

        Or sit back and use an element of a VHF Band I or II Yagi to poke the buttons. With a bit of rubber on the end and a bit of dexterity you could even turn the volume control. At least, if the set didn't have it combined with a push/pull power switch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TV Remote

      "And not getting up to push a button on the TV to change channel [...]"

      The old UK multichannel TVs used a rotary knob. A clever arrangement of plug-in "biscuits" in a turret tuner allowed you to customise the order of available channels for your area. A nice positive clunk as the detent engaged.

  13. Efros


    Bastards breed, they also have suicidal tendencies, they seem to coat themselves in an invisible slippery field guaranteed to end up with the damn thing bouncing on the hardwood floor springing it's battery cover (if it still has one) and occasionally batteries too. In my living room there are 8 remote controls, AC and Fan (both items are essential at this time of year although their need for a remote is dubious), TV, Satellite system, Amazon Fire Stick, HTPC (X10 rf), rf keyboard and mouse for gaming PC, and rf mini keyboard and touchpad for HTPC. The TV and Satellite ones are supposedly multi remotes but they only cover the essential parts of the device it wasn't designed for, so if you want to mess with the screen or audio settings then you gotta go hunt for the original remote. STB should come with QWERTY remotes, searching for something using a phonepad is a pain.

    Neat trick for those of you who don't know if you have an IR remote that you think is nadgered switch on your camera phone and point the remote at it, the sensor in the phone is IR sensitive and so you can see if the transmitter is working when you press a button.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remotes

      Oh no, I'm no longer hunting for the remote. Apart from the joke value (which was admittedly the original reason I bought it), there isn't a chance you won't find this one quickly.

      I do agree with the irritation of having to mine the original remote if you want to change specific settings, though, it's quite irritating. Worse, however, is the inability to LOCK those settings.

      Admittedly, for me it's not a big deal but I also deal with some people that are much older than me.

      As every media device seems to have been visited by the same featuritis fairy that has made all Microsoft products such a total pain to use it has become impossible to buy something that cannot be upset by accidentally pressing the wrong button out of a 100, and worse, that then cannot be restored to a usable condition by anyone other than a rocket scientist in full control of their faculties.

      Way to go for a growing market, morons.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Re: Remotes

      My old Sony audio centre has a remote control that allows you to open the CD drawer without leaving your chair. Even after 20 years I have a low success rate throwing CDs across the room and into the drawer, and there seems to be no way to get them out remotely. I suppose a remote-control vacuum cleaner would be useful for that.

      1. Darryl

        Re: Remotes

        I had a Sony CD carousel with that feature. Only use I ever found for it was to freak out the cat

      2. Stoneshop

        Re: Remotes

        Have you tried mounting a funnel in front of the player in such a way that a CD, thrown across the room and landing in the funnel drops exactly onto the open drawer? Of curse there's still the problem of them landing data side up half the time, but that could be solved by judicious use of a cat and a slice of buttered toast, I think. With the vacuum cleaner removal method you're on the right track for that part.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: PHOTO

    TRON has let himself go a bit, hasn't he?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TRON "Fights for the users!"

      ....and Chicken McNuggets!

  15. Alister

    Well, Alistair,

    I'm afraid your credibility has taken a severe beating with this article.

    Not only does the whole spiel appear to be written in an attempt to justify your ownership of a smart-band, but you gratuitously admit to having purchased it in PC World.

    Shame on you sir, I thought you knew better than that.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Well, Alistair,

      I'd buy my tech gear at Primark if they sold it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the subject of daft remotes

    I was once totally baffled after buying a car stereo, unboxing it ready to install and discovering that it came with a remote?

    WTF would I need a remote control for a device which is within arms reach of where I'm sat?

    It would require exponentially more time and effort just to find the remote rather than move your hand several inches!

    This was about 10 years ago but it still makes my blood boil to think of the waste - not just regarding the appliance, but also the fact that the person who came up with this idea could be doing something more befitting of their ability, such as treading grapes in the south of France.

    1. Goldmember

      Re: On the subject of daft remotes

      I bought a device which connected to my phone via Bluetooth, then was supposed to transmit over an FM frequency so the radio could pick it up and play music (my car is 9 years old and the head unit has no Bluetooth connectivity built in). Cool idea but turned out to be an unusable piece of shit which couldn't get through a full song without cutting out, and the quality was shocking. It got binned after the first use.

      Anyway, this thing plugged into the cig lighter. Which from my experience is pretty much always within reach of the driver. And it, too, came with a remote.

      My thought was simply; huh?

  17. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The best diet for weight management I've seen ..

    .. was in a John Hart Studio cartoon. They had a Wizard of ID cartoon where the Wizard helped someone lose weight by giving him pills, to be taken 8 times a day on an empty stomach :-).

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: The best diet for weight management I've seen ..

      OK, I found it - enjoy!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are a great idea. Pumping the price up with fitness gimmicks will kill it off I fear.

    Having a companion Pokemon Go app to work on a smartwatch.

    Now thats going to make someone lots of money.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only smart band I need in my life is One Direction...

    ...because I am so down with the kids.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eat in haste, repent at leisure.

    "I’m aiming to lose another 7kg before the winter [...]"

    Beware "hibernation mode". We are hard-wired to put on fat during autumn ready for the long winter when supermarkets have bare shelves. The cold dark days can turn food into a psychological comfort too.

    Not to mention hurting the feelings of those who suggest you are being a Scrooge for declining that thirdsecond helping of seasonal fayre.

    With birthday and Xmas close together - two of my women friends turn up with creatively iced rich fruit cakes for those occasions. Having spent hours on the decorations and drizzling brandy to the correct level of moistness - how can one be churlish and refuse?

    I marvel at the 30 inch shorts in the wardrobe that used to fit me nicely until I was 35. Now it is 32 or 34** depending on the season - with a BMI of 22-23.

    ** that is the measured size - not the M&S label which can deviate by 2 inches on the same rail. Even their "small" T-shirts billow out like a spinnaker on me - whereas "Fruit of the Loom" "medium" are a snug fit.

  21. Anonymous Custard

    On the air?

    a three-dimensional accelerometer to track motion and intensity of motion, plus an altimeter for elevation

    So is this forward planning and it's expecting you to evolve and learn to fly? Would be more calorie-consuming than jogging I guess...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: On the air?

      It claims to tally how many steps you climb through the day. I don't think it's necessary to leave the ground without the assistance of stairs.

  22. 404

    Car head unit remotes

    They don't seem to make sense either until you realize the manufacturer put functions in it that the faceplate does not have access to. Bastards. Velcroed the fucker to the dash so I wouldn't lose it.

    1. The Packrat

      Re: Car head unit remotes


      My first car also came with a remote that had a few key features that should have been on the unit (like the bloody mute button). Wish I'd thought to velcro it. I usually left it in the area next to the cigarette lighter.

  23. Arctic fox

    Re: "or indulging in onanism"

    Please Mr Dabbs, stop doing that. The image of your Fitbit Charge having a total nervous breakdown as you approach your climactic moment is too much to bear. I am billing you for a new keyboard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "or indulging in onanism"

      This one is a bit sticky, I presume?

  24. Scary Biscuits

    I too have lost a stone and a half in 6 months* since buying a fitness band (in my case a Microsoft Band 2). Forget all the crap reviews discussing how accurately they measure your heart rate or calories, the important point is that they help you to stay motivated and not to under or over do it.

    *about 800 furlongs per fortnight.

    1. Efros

      "*about 800 furlongs per fortnight."

      about 6 wanks a day?

  25. Teiwaz


    "about 6 wanks a day?"

    - Sounds Olympic level, could barely manage that in my teens...

    1. Darryl

      Re: Wut?

      Maybe he means 6 actual movements of the arm before deciding it's just too much work and going for a nap instead?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wut?

      IIRC the Kinsey Report said the age of 16-18 was the peak of repeat performances with double figures possible in a day.

  26. parperback parper

    Or, exactly the same WITHOUT sending all your data to World+Dog

    Which does what a fitbit does for £5 and without sending all your data to a central hacker repository.

    Warning! May contain traces of Carol Vorderman.

  27. tony2heads

    For Brexiters

    The unit for weight should be grains, or ounce. Check with king Offa.

  28. HAL-9000

    Forget fitbit ifit whatever

    You only need some of these.

    Without meaning to slip into dodgy territory, you don't see many fat chinese people do you?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forget fitbit ifit whatever

      "[...] you don't see many fat chinese people do you?

      Apparently obesity is now a problem in China according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Grunchy Silver badge

    I may be the only one to give a Hearty "Well Done!" to Dabbsy for dropping 10 WHOLE KG, that's a big blop of blub to get rid of, bub.

    The extraordinarily sad fact is you have 95% chance of gaining it back, and dying with it.

    What works well is to jump on the scale each and every morning for a look at the news, and take every bit of gain deadly serious and fight it and never ever stop fighting. Sadly, yeah that's the fact of life for the (formerly) rotund, so long as we succeed to not give up the fight.

    In my own personal anecdote I had run 5km "fun run" Mon/Wed/Fri and 1 hr spirited kickboxing at the activity centre Tue/Thurs and dropped not AN OUNCE for 12 months solid.

    Yes - it was dietary intake was what made the difference. Fit bit is interesting for general fitness & muscle tone and that sort of stuff. Losing blubber, in my personal experience, is a not-overeating diet-related thingy.

  31. x 7

    "since I bought the Fitbit, I have lost 10kg."

    you could've saved the money and just stopped drinking instead........I lost a similar amount by switching from cider to gin & tonic.

  32. x 7

    25 years or so ago I gave my nephews Sony wristwatches.........didn't take them long to realise they could be used as remotes for the display screens in their school classrooms. Chaos and hilarity ensued, with the kids switching programs mid-lesson. Took ages for the teachers to work out what was happening. Retribution was swift when the did work it out: detentions and confiscations ensued, and Sony watches were banned

  33. Unicornpiss


    -I think the "fitbit" and similar devices are here to stay. I might buy one when the battery life can be measured in at least weeks instead of a day or so. My phone already tracks a lot of this stuff including steps and calories. (when I feel like entering the calories)

    -IR remotes started as a fad and so did Smartphones. I don't see them disappearing any time soon. The most ridiculous remote I had was one for my car stereo. But it actually was useful a couple of times when hanging out outdoors and using the car as a music source.

    -Instead of denigrating the 5K "fun run", why not an app specifically designed to track and encourage it? The "Wankman" could track rhythm, time spent, calories burned (and 'released' if you wish), and possibly offer pointers on technique, such as occasionally varying your stroke. it could even work with your computer or smart TV to integrate with the... nature special.. you're watching. It opens up a whole new level of online competition with X-box apps similar to the ones that rate your dancing. There are those that say that hardcore gamers are wankers anyway. Why shouldn't life imitate art?

  34. Slx

    Isn't that image above what the crew of the Enterprise and Voyager *really* look like when the Hologrid falls over?

  35. Rolf Carson

    Weights and cardio is best along with getting off your ass in the first place

    Each pound of muscle in your body burn about 6 calories per hour VS. a pound of fat which burns about 2 calories per hour.

    Furthermore, after age 30 we lose about 1% of our muscle mass per year.

    I started ~4 years ago with a regular routine of 4-6 days in gym and I am 53 now. My routine combines relatively even amounts of 75 minutes mixed cardio combining long intervals (3.5/4.5 minutes up and 1.5 minutes down) alternating with low-level steady heart rate/steady medium intensity aerobic 60-80 minutes. By the time my cardio is finished I am completely soaked. Then I do slow strength-training (8-10 reps) circuits.

    Since I started, I have gone from 265 pounds to 215 pounds and have never looked this good in my entire life without a shirt. Quite a few of the younger crowd in the gym are doing the 12-15 reps/multiple set body-building routine. Meanwhile, I have built serious solid power-packed muscle mass AND serious aerobic/cardio fitness to such a level that I can wipe the floor with many half my age.

    To me, for us ordinary folks, success in losing/keeping off weight consists of just a few simple guidelines.

    Establish a long-term stategy. I plan on still doing a form of my current routine 20-30 years in the future.

    Look for incremental gains over time. Forget about impressing others and thereby avoid injury by taking small steps toward your goals.

    Promise yourself to follow an ironclad rule of proper form no matter the exercise routine you practice. Back off weight/reps/time whatever you need to do to do the exercise right.

    Be your own personal trainer. Do a bit of research each week and create your tailored workout routine and adjust it over time as needed.

    I contend that you will be far better off in the long-term if you combine cardio and strength training. Keep in mind that those who weight train tend to pay greater attention to what they eat.

    If nothing else, at least get up and walk each day.

  36. Mike Flex

    Unsound Sound

    "Given that we had only three TV channels and the analogue audio was perfectly consistent between them"

    Those were the days. In these days of digital wotsits sound levels are all over the place within a single channel. In the case of BBC's Click (supposedly its technology flagship programme in the absence of Tomorrow's World) levels are all over the place within a single programme. (In a bad week, even within a single item.)

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm waiting for the film

    Carry On Up The Weekend - starring Mr Alistair Dabbs! Another good'un, Dabbsy, well done! :-)

  39. DanceMan

    I need a remote.....................

    that can help me find the other remotes.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silent vibrating alarm

    This is what I mostly use my Mi Band for! Although given I have on a few occasions gone "ooh, I'm only 1,000 steps below my daily goal, better walk around a bit more" it does in fact help me get a bit more fit.

  41. tiggity Silver badge

    spot on

    "slower-than-Ceefax text services"

    I do get irritated by the glacial slowness of freeview text services - it takes ages loading news headlines now.

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