Panel service stopped

Fix Your FitBit Sync Service

A month ago, I purchased a FitBit Zip to replace the pedometer I’ve been carrying for a few years. The old one didn’t have the ability to upload activity logs, which is a feature I liked about the Zip. I installed the sync software onto my Windows 7 laptop, plugged in the USB BlueTooth dongle supplied with the Zip, created an account at FitBit, and starting carrying the Zip in my pocket. Easy-peasy.

What I discovered very shortly was that the sync client service was consistently crashing and dying every time I woke my laptop from sleep. This service is responsible for scanning for any paired FitBit device within radio range (like the one in my pocket) and uploading its activity logs to the FitBit site. Without it, the FitBit dashboard won’t show your most recent activity data until you intervene.

I followed the instructions in the panel to reinstall the sync software, even fully uninstalling and reinstalling from scratch, but there was no fix. The unhelpful support page at FitBit even stated that I should either manually restart the service or reinstall the software because of a possible conflict with other software on the system. This is untenable. So I put my powers of QA regression testing to the task.

When coming out of sleep, the FitBit Connect Service crashes with some variation of the following events in the Windows Event Viewer:

Faulting application name: FitbitConnectService.exe, version: 1.0.3.5511, time stamp: 0x5379f32a
Faulting module name: unknown, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0×00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005

Some events are more verbose:

Faulting application name: FitbitConnectService.exe, version: 1.0.3.5511, time stamp: 0x5379f32a
Faulting module name: unknown, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0×00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x7369446c
Faulting process id: 0×2334
Faulting application start time: 0x01cfb17aaf68a127
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Fitbit Connect\FitbitConnectService.exe
Faulting module path: unknown
Report Id: d9b9bdea-1d81-11e4-abcd-9696ce78bd84

Many of the events reference the file ntdll.dll, which I assume is an abstraction layer to the OS (since the sync software is written for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android):

Faulting application name: FitbitConnectService.exe, version: 1.0.3.5511, time stamp: 0x5379f32a
Faulting module name: ntdll.dll, version: 6.1.7601.18247, time stamp: 0x521ea8e7
Exception code: 0xc0000005

At any rate, the service is crashed, is not restarted by Windows, and is therefore not available to perform the sync, as visibly apparent in the task tray icon:Tray Service - StoppedSo, until FitBit analyzes the code failure and issues an update with the bugfix, the workaround here is to get your hands dirty with Windows innards and make a small change to the FitBit Connect Service runtime parameters.

Open your Services control panel by pressing the Start button. In the search box, type “services”, and select “Services” from the results. In the Services window, scroll down until you find the FitBit Connect Service in the list, and double-click to open the service properties panel.

Services - fitbitconnect - StoppedYou may see that the service status is stopped. This is OK for now. Select the “Recovery” tab.

Services - fitbitconnect - Recovery No Action The item “Subsequent Failures” might be set to “Take No Action”. We want to change this to “Restart the Service” because we want Windows to continue attempting to restart the service until it runs.

Services - fitbitconnect - Recovery - RestartClick the OK button, and then click the link in the Services panel to Start the service. You’ll notice the Task Tray icon menu is now changed to let you know the dongle is connected and that you can sync now.Tray Service - Started

This means the service is functional. To test the fix, put your computer to sleep for about a minute, wake it up, and check the Tray icon menu again.

When you open the FitBit Sync Main Menu, you should be presented with the actions that you’d expect.Panel Ready to Sync

I hope this workaround works for you. Let me know if it doesn’t.

Also, if you know me, and I know you, and you’d like to link your FitBit account with mine in a competitive friendship sort of thing, let me know in some offline manner and we can arrange a link. Thanks, everyone.

Revolutional Intersticial

So, an addendum to my previous post. This night schedule certainly does have me screwed up. But I can no longer underestimate the curative power of a 4AM power nap and some quality social time at sunrise with some of my early-rising but otherwise respectable friends at the cafe. I do feel a bit better.

Now. Confession time.

I confess that I actually do like the morning. I adore it, actually. I just abhor waking up for it. There’s a beautiful light that comes with the dawn, and once that sun crests over the treeline, it shines beautifully over the detritus and scenery of last night. It’s like the somber and sober scenes at the end of “Before Sunrise” — there’s a blue cast over everything as all the chairs stand stacked, the courtyards are empty, the light strands are turned off, the balconies are illuminated in sideways orange as the hustle of the morning traffic builds below. It’s a stony transition between promises. That’s what I like about it.

And then realtime starts to happen, and we have to keep moving along to fulfill our promises and work for more. That’s the hard part. When I’m still wearing off the psychic privacy of dreams and re-erecting my mental wall against the world, it’s too much to handle. Mornings are beautiful, but they should never be that early.

Inversion Blues

This graveyard schedule is horribly unkind to me. My life for the past two weeks has been an exercise in forbidding myself sleep when I need it most, and forcing sleep when I can’t. I am unrested, and my soul is unwell. I am on day two of my three nights off, and I want very much to sleep. Had to shake myself out of catnapping in my chair. Why? I don’t need to screw my circadian rhythm up again — I have one week left of this graveyard insanity before I have to slip again into the evening swing shift. The benefit of the graveyard and swing is that I have four days on and three days off, but while I’m in it I hardly feel like a benefactor. I feel horrible.

The most depressing part is that the night and evening shifts are solitary — I’m the only soul on shift in the office. And when I’m on my night off, even more so, since everybody else is in bed or at work. Everything’s closed. So I stay home or go to the cafe. Wash, rinse, repeat. The sunrise starts beautifully, with its blue promises, but soon the activity of life starts up around me and I’m reminded that I have to go back home and attempt sleep. My eyes suffer from the sleep mask i wear, my memory suffers from the thin veneer of sleep that wears on me.

My only solace at this point is that in a few weeks, this will be over and I will be able to sleep at night again, when I’m programmed to sleep automatically. I will return to normalcy soon enough. But right now, I’m chewing at my heart to fill the hours with something that’s not meaningless. If only.

Mud in my mouth
Sand in my shoes
As I try to walk off
These inversion blues.

Untilted

It bothers me that the little sleep I get is dominated by dreams of work. Being on night shift, my sleep schedule is completely inverted, and I’m lucky if I can get 5 hours of solid sleep a day. When i start to come out of sleep, if my dreams aren’t involved with work, they soon become involved with work as I remember that it’s daytime and I have to sleep to prepare for my shift tonight. It’s like my life has completely stopped and exists solely for the service of my job. That’s an empty feeling.

I have two more nights this week; Saturday morning’s shift will be the 12-hour bitch that I dread. Once that’s over, 3 nights off, and then another two four-night weeks before I rotate out to 3 weeks of swing shifts. If you’re looking for the end, you won’t find it — the wheel keeps rolling. Best I can do is pretend I still have hope and that relief is around the curve.

A plastic lunch tray.

Cafeteria

After reading “Why You Never Truly Leave High School” (published in NYMag last year but just making its rounds to my social circles), I’m left with a few mealy-mouthed feelings and an urge to tear open old scars and lick the new wounds. The article posits that the common experience in the average American high school is that of cruelty, shame, and humiliation, the overall effect of throwing a mass of strangers into a box as they struggle to create a baseless hierarchy for themselves. This description is not entirely disconnected from my own experience.

How a person handles, and is handled by, society when they are in this most impressionable moment in their adolescent life has profound implications on how they are to succeed or fail later in their life. I myself am trying to live down the shame and castigation of that era (I suspect quite a few of us are), reliving hurts by the pound and victories by the ounce in the physical and emotional violence of that caged society. Were I allowed to drop out and shove off on my own into a world populated with adults with metrics and rubrics anchored in reality, my experience would have been largely superior to the one I endured. High school is a cruel little world where judgments and stratifications are not based in any sort of reality. Your height, your weight, your clothing, your parent’s position, your attractiveness, your ability to handle others with authority — those have more to do with where you go in life than the lessons in the pages of those textbooks.

On an almost daily basis, I mentally look into the face of the bastards who had something to say about what I was, who I was, how I was dressed, which side of the tracks I lived on. Every day I hear their words in my soul. Spiteful words, rolled easily off the tongue like professionals. “I was just playing” removes none of the sting. Terrible words stuck into my mind like barbs at a time when I had no neurological facilities to pluck them out. Those words have become me. The damages, in my opinion, are permanent.

And here I sit at the age of 42, repeating the same tropes, reliving the same moments, attempting, day-in, day-out, to find the right acknowledgment to make me content. My life all these years is a struggle to place my tray at the right cafeteria table. Damage is deep, but with hope and a helping hand, damage can be undone. Mine is the fight to find contentment for myself.