In my previous post I talked about the bodybugg and how I used it for body recomposition. Many people that look at the bodybugg hesitate due to the cost: first for the hardware itself, and second for the website subscription fee. The website displays those pretty graphs and totals that I showed earlier. More importantly, the bodybugg has a limited amount of memory on-board. The company has deliberately designed the product so that you must log on to their website in order to clear the memory. The subscription is not particularly cheap, either. It is $10/month, less if you pay in advance for extended period. I can afford this, but many people can’t.
There is a display watch that can show you the calories you’ve burned that day. So if there is a way to clear the bodybugg’s memory, it is possible to use the device without the website. Granted you lose those nice activity charts that show you what you burned each hour of the day, but having used the bugg for almost a year, I don’t need them. The “trip” function on the watch offers similar functionality in any case. The analysis tools in the website are absolutely terrible and of course you can’t export your data to a spreadsheet or anything useful like that.
I am not someone who believes “everything should be free” but this particular venture was inspired by a very negative interaction with their customer service. I got my bugg off of eBay, easy to do because eventually many people tire of paying the fees. It came with the previous owner’s remaining subscription. I was able to change gender, weight, etc. so it all worked fine for me. But, I couldn’t change the name on the account. Not a big deal. Recently I got a notice that my subscription was expiring. I figured at this point, as I was about to pay them directly, it would be fair to put my name on the account. I e-mailed them about this, and got a canned response saying that it was impossible to change the name or move my data — an obvious lie — and filled with dark hints about liability between users from sharing information.
That made me pretty mad. A few folks at HacDC had suggested I might be able to find some APIs for the device. And sure enough, I found something that would do exactly what I need. God bless the internet. An unsung genius has created the bodybugg command-line tool. It not only clears the memory but allows you to pull data off the device into various formats. You need to install Python and some related libraries; fortunately you do not need to know how to use Python.
If you follow their directions, be sure to read the comments as well. As a Windows user, I found it necessary to do the additional steps listed there: installing the Python serial library (with the installer), and editing the script to add a ser.close() command.
The clear functionality certainly works, after using it and going back to the website, the site thinks I had the bodybugg off and asks what I was doing during that time. That also reset the watch to a lower value, perhaps because the web site triggered a manually overwrite of what was in there.
I have 6 days left on my subscription. I may end up renewing after all, but it’s good to know that there is another option.