September 04, 2013

The Social Diet gang has been using MyFitnessPal software and the UP wristband to track calories in and calories out, and the UP band has been an invaluable tool for reaching the 10,000-steps-per-day goal. (Some members are doing 20,000, even 30,000 steps, and it's been a bit competitive; we can all see what each member is doing every day.) But two of eight users have seen malfunctions requiring replacement (sometimes the band just needs a soft reset or hard reset, described on the website). I was one of them: My band just petered out, its light softly winking, and nothing could get it to talk to my iPhone. Since the last version of the band had some real reliability problems, I wondered if those were continuing. But folks repping Jawbone, the manufacturer, assured me that isn't the case. However, in discussion, I also realized that these bands need to be treated a bit more gently than you might think.

First, though the company says you can take them in the shower, there can be problems from extended exposure to steam. So, if you let your shower double as a sauna after a long run, don't take the band in there. In fact, I don't take it in the shower at all, and I take it off when I'm washing dishes, etc. The problem is not immediate damage, apparently, but long-term problems from moisture that seeps in. In the case of my band's total failure, I realized I had jumped into a pool with it eight weeks before the shutdown.

The second issue has to do with handling the band: It's a complicated little computer, basically, and if you have a toddler who yanks at it violently, or if you tend to toss it onto the counter, that’s a recipe for long-term trouble.

I'm told the company is being pretty generous about supplying replacement bands right now to people who may have accidentally immersed it or manhandled it.

Let me know if you've been having any issues, or how your problems were dealt with: E-mail me at, or comment below.

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