Alexa and Echo Device Generations

Quick tidbit I discovered while troubleshooting my Echo Dot recently– hope someone else might find it useful.

Have you ever lost track of which generation of Echo Dot you’re working with? 2nd gen, 3rd gen, etc.? The good news is Alexa is savvy enough to tell you which hardware generation you’re talking to, with the simple request of: “Alexa, tell me about this device.”

You’ll wind up with a response along these lines:

Renpho Scale & Google Fit Updates

Old Weight Watchers bio-impendence scale and new replacement Renpho scale, sitting in a cardboard box with lid propped open, juxtaposed on a wooden floor background.

It’s been a significant week in my health/physique transformation goals.

I’d been using an old Weight Watchers scale to track my weight/body fat loss, but began having issues with the bio-impedance functionality failing repeatedly during my weekly weigh-ins. I tried replacing the batteries, but that didn’t seem to successfully resolve the issue. Finally, after a frustrating morning of spending 15 minutes weighing and re-weighing myself just to get any data beyond my total body weight, I’d decided I’d had enough and ordered a replacement scale.

That’s where the “RENPHO Body Fat Scale Smart BMI Scale Digital Bathroom Wireless Weight Scale, Body Composition Analyzer with Smartphone App sync with Bluetooth” (what a mouthful) comes in. It measures more metrics than the older WW scale, uses a combination of Bluetooth connectivity and an Android app to update Google Fit, and the price was around $30 USD (after tax, free shipping).

Although the process of setting up a user account on RENPHO’s site was a little awkward– basically, the initial attempt timed out/failed, but the subsequent attempt told me my account already existed– but everything after that has just worked wonderfully. I’ve used it twice already, and the Android app seamlessly updates Google Fit after you grant it permission to do so once. You open the app on your phone, step on the scale and wait for it to do its bio-impedance scan (don’t do this if you’re pregnant or have implanted medical devices like a pacemaker, by the way) and everything else happens automatically so you can get on with your day.

And speaking of Google Fit, the most recent update adds heart and respiratory rate measurements to its features list. That missing heart rate data in particular was one of the few things which irritated me, but I wasn’t thrilled about dropping $200-300 USD on a watch, ring, what-have-you just to fill in that incomplete data. But with this latest Google Fit update, I just put a fingertip over the camera lens and hold still for less than a minute, and voila! It turns out my resting heart rate is comparable to what it was back in 2003, much to my surprise.

My 2020 In A Nutshell

  1. Got dumped by my so-called “Life Partner” (Good riddance to her & her dog)
  2. Sold my townhouse rental property
  3. Paid off all my debt (i.e. mortgage, HELOC)
  4. Got very sick, was diagnosed with Adenovirus, lost 10lbs. in 3 days.
  5. Bought solar panels, new roof and upgraded electrical panel for my primary residence
  6. Used Rewards Card benefit from home improvements to buy a new Google Pixel 4a
  7. Memorized the Aronson Stack, but epically failed my Goodreads Challenge
  8. Doubled my 401(K) contribution percentage, invested in the stock market
  9. Deliberately continued my weight loss by switching to Huel Black Edition
  10. Learned I had COVID-19 instead of Adenovirus & now have the long-term antibodies

It’s been a profoundly disturbing year, but also a remarkable one. For example, I’ve made more money this year than ever before, but my opinion of women (as trustworthy partners in a monogamous relationship) has never been lower. I’ve gotten farther in my Spanish learning than ever before, but don’t have any friends or acquaintances I’m particularly interested in speaking with in Spanish for practice (or vice versa). You get the idea– a lot of Yin and Yang packed into twelve months, and no reason to believe the next year is going to be any different.

In other words, strap in– I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a crazy roller coaster!