Domicile Destination

Conundrum:

  1. stay in current apartment, sign a 12-month lease extension for the same rent
  2. stay in current apartment, sign a 6-month lease extension for $50 more
  3. move within a month into not-shitty apartment for roughly $100 more (at current market value) on a (hypothetically) better 1BR apartment in this area.

Hmm.

Don't Like

Nonlike

I read a blog article written by Some Guy On the Internet who was performing an experiment. Instead of clicking “Like” on articles, statuses, and comments his friends posted, he would withhold clicking and, instead, would make actual comments if the urge warranted. What he found is that his Facebook experience became more human, less automatic. He was seeing more posts from more people, and less reposts of links designed to inspire outrage and click-through page views (outrage is a cottage industry now…ask me about my theory some time). In a word, his experience was better, at least subjectively.

With that report, I decided to do my own experiment two weeks ago. I’ll admit, it subjectively feels different, perhaps better (I’m not sure how I can even objectively quantify the difference in experience). I do feel less outraged, perhaps even more engaged with what my close friends (or who Facebook thinks are my close friends) are doing. It’s not terribly surprising.

The filtering algorithms that decide which posts to show us (out of the thousands that our hundreds of Friends post every day) need help, and they use the shorthand of the Like to decide what to give us more of. There’s a certain amount of activity on our walls that Facebook must provide us in order to keep us interested. If they give us too much, we complain about overload and burn out. If they give us too little, we lose interest and stop visiting. There’s a magic sweet spot that the site’s admins and social scientists are trying to hit to keep us hanging out.

It’s a fine line that varies from person to person, and in situations where FB doesn’t have enough to show us, the algorithms resort to presenting stuff similar to what we’ve Liked in the past (among other tricks, such as giving us wall notifications about what our Friends have Liked). If we’ve previously Liked a high enough quantity of lost dog posts, for instance, FB will give us more lost dog posts, etcetera.

By withdrawing myself from the automatic Like behavior that I’d grown accustomed to, the machine has less to go on, and so it has to draw from the larger body of posts by my Friends to see if there’s anything there that interests me enough to Like or comment. The algorithms get hungry. What I’ve found in this “algorithmic ketosis” is a steady increase in posts from Friends I’ve not seen on my wall in a long while. This makes me happy.

My, how I’ve missed those folks.

Angry Distance

I absolutely hate musicals. They’re always uncomfortable. Same as if someone is singing and they’re singing directly at me: I have no idea how to handle it.

But after 13 years, I finally took the opportunity to rent the 2001 gender-bending musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. Dammit, this is a good musical.

Dammit.

There’s a delicious message in the metaphor that we’re all unbelievably split in twain and we’re trying like hell to find out other half, no matter who or what they are. It’s a hopeful idea. I could stand to have a little more hope in my life.

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.