August Meeting Notes

We had a busy meeting in August. Hannah from JB HiFi came to tells us about fitness devices and smart phones. Carol had some good advice about scams and Liddy tackled the problem of malware (see http://www.bellarinemac.org.au/index.php/our-activities/bmug-faqs/56-malware).

SMART wearables

Hannah from JB HiFi in Geelong came to tell everyone about fitness and smart phone devices. The following was researched after learning from Hannah.

See Choice article at https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/diet-and-fitness/sportswear-and-shoes/buying-guides/fitness-trackers


Most people are interested in smart wearables so they can monitor their fitness. BMUG is encouraging all older people to buy smart wearables they can have on all the time for health reasons. Smart watches can record important health indicators such as your heartrate so that, for example, your doctor can see how it has changed over time. This is a very useful and need not interfere with your life - you don't need to worry about it! But there are some characteristics of wearables that make them more useful. Here we will consider these so we can make better choices about what to buy.

As Choice say:

All the models in our fitness tracker and smartwatch reviews connect to your smartphone or sync directly to your computer, the former option being the easiest to use. The features you'll find them loaded with at the moment are described below. If you don't want to carry your smartphone every time you go for a walk/run, etc, that's no problem either, as most of them store data on your activity and only need to sync periodically with your phone.

There is a difference in look, feel and price of smart watches and fitness bands. But as Choice warns:

While smartwatches and fitness bands are likely to coexist, basic bands with simple screens and a core set of functionalities – such as running, swimming and sleep tracking – are expected to become less popular (according to industry expert presentations at the Consumer Electronics Show). Smartwatch-style fitness bands, also known as 'activity watches', will likely take their place in the market.

Why? Because people want more features, more options, and a larger screen that improves app navigation, without the extra features in a typical smartwatch. It all comes down to a matter of convenience. Being able to quickly check detailed data and control apps from your wrist, instead of stopping to grab your smartphone, is much more appealing to most people.

BMUG is aiming to find out what will do the best job - most conveniently and at the best price. Choice want you to only buy something you will want to wear:

There are a few tricks available when it comes to finding the fitness tracker for you. Make sure the rigid parts of the band's face are not wider than the thickness of your wrist. Buy the wrong size and it's unlikely you'll find the band comfortable.

Heart monitors are usually tucked onto the bottom of a fitness tracker. Some bulge outwards to press against the skin, such as the original Apple Watch and the Garmin Vivosmart HR, but this design can grow tiresome and will prompt you to take them off for a brief break, during which you'll notice an imprint of the heart sensor marked into your skin.

There are a number of features to choose from. Choice describes them in detail at https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/diet-and-fitness/sportswear-and-shoes/buying-guides/fitness-trackers#features

Choice provides very carefully tested reviews of 39 devices that might be of interest. To see these reviews, you have to be a member of Choice - $23 for 3 months is the minimum price. If you are interested in buying a reliable wearable, it is probably worth paying for the reviews. I did!

I, Liddy, chose to consider only the devices with 'smart watch' positive - that is, I wanted to be sure that if I have an accident in my paddock, I can call for help from where I fall. I also want to be sure I can use my phone that is NOT an Apple phone, that the device is waterproof, that the battery will not need charging too often, etc. My recommendation is to pay for the Choice reviews and use the information to make an informed choice. As a result, I am planning to spend nearly $500 to give my family peace of mind - I think it might just be worth it!

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Scams

Carol Wilson told us about scams, basing her information on the government's StaySafeOnline site.

This is a free service for Australian internet users, to explain recent online threats and how they can be managed.

Stay Smart Online Alerts provide easy to understand online safety and security information and solutions to help protect internet users at home, at work and on mobile devices. The resource also informs users about the latest threats and vulnerabilities within an Australian context, and how to address any risks to their devices or computer networks.

This article contains the latest news about spam from the Stay Smart Online website published by the Australian Government. For up-to-date information, or more, you are advised to visit the site yourself at http://alerts.staysmartonline.gov.au/ All alerts are published at https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alert-service.

See more details as a FAQ on the BMUG site at http://www.bellarinemac.org.au/index.php/our-activities/bmug-faqs

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Malware

The final item at the meeting was malware. Liddy prepared some information about this. It can be checked out on the BMUG website at http://www.bellarinemac.org.au/index.php/our-activities/bmug-faqs

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