Vitality Insurance’s Apple Watch Offer fails to reliably read Apple Health data

Update: Having submitted Apple Health data from the past few months (via a series of screenshots) direct to Vitality by email, they added it to my account and the system now appears to be working by itself. However, it’s too little/too late because I’m going to pay the balance off manually and move over to Samsung Gear S3 + the Galaxy S8+.

Technology.  It can be such a pain in the gluteus maximus at times. And no more so when as an insurance company, you’re trying to innovate within the health insurance market by offering customers a heavily discounted Apple Watch in exchange for the user getting fitter (which means they’re less liable to make a claim).

For that very reason I sold my old Apple Watch and traded it in for the Vitality Apple Watch – a 42mm series 2 Nike model for £99.  I figured that an incentive like this would help me walk (including fast walking) more if I didn’t have to pay any more than I already had.

In terms of the watches, there is very little difference between the regular Apple Watch and the Nike branded model other than the straps and watch face, which I love.

Along with the Withings smart scales, I’ve been recording my steps within Apple Health and it’s been working just fine.  But I’ll be darned if I can get the Vitality app on my iPhone 7 Plus to read data from Apple Health so that they can track my progress and decide – if at all – I need to pay any further for the watch.

Things have got to the point where BBC News has picked up on the problem. The app tells me that it’s connected with Apple Health, but no data is ever exchanged between both apps.   You’re supposed to collect 10 points for connecting Apple Heath and the Vitality app, but nope.  Absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Kaput.

Vitality released an app update yesterday, but that did nothing.  So we may be in for a long wait before things start working properly.  I’ve already been in touch with Vitality about this, so they are aware that I’m having problems – as to what they’ll do with the payments remains to be seen.

As a side note, why is the Vitality main web site hosted in South Africa?  Member details appear to be stored within a datacentre based in Slough, however.  Very odd.  But at least my health data remains in the UK.  Hopefully.  I doubt my health data on the Watch or iPhone is shared with Apple in the US.  

Sky’s Pie in the Eye

After nearly a full year of Sky Q, I’m almost ready to give up.  Except I can’t – not until August (blasted 18-month contracts).

The biggest problem with Sky Q for me is the user interface – requiring far too many actions to get to where you want to go.  I’ve barely used the Sky Q minibox. I’ve had to power cycle the minibox a couple of times as there are a few Wi-Fi devices upstairs that rely on it and stopped working after the box went a bit wonky (technical term).

I detest Sky’s series record.  It doesn’t work very well at all.  I often find it records new episodes and repeats of the same episodes, completely stops after a series ends and never picks up the next series, and all manner of silly things.  I use Sky’s web-based Never Miss to fill in the blanks, but honestly, this just isn’t good enough.

I gave up using the fancy pants Sky touch remote a while back.  Scrubbing through adverts is too sensitive – often going way beyond where I want to end up. The IR remote also supplied works well enough.

UHD 4K content is still sadly lacking too.

I also find that adding/removing packages is horribly inconsistent too.  Sometimes you can use the web interface to manage this, other times you need to speak to somebody by phone.   Why can’t we manage our account entirely online?

The only good thing about the whole package has been Sky Broadband Fibre Pro. Rock solid, with static IP and IPv6 address and everything.

But I think that come August I’ll be switching to Virgin Media.  Now they offer upload speeds up to 20Mbs and download speeds up to 200Mbs, with IPv6 coming later this year (apparently) – and a new, faster (and tiny) Tivo box that offers even more simultaneous live channel recording than Sky Q, albeit with a smaller capacity hard drive (doesn’t bother me – I’ve barely filled the Sky Q box HD).  I’d be happy to get rid of the Movie channels.  I don’t watch them as often as I used to – I find these days Netflix & Amazon take up most of my viewing time.

Smoke me a haggis, I’ll be back for breakfast..

(To paraphrase Ace Rimmer from the popular television series, Red Dwarf)

If the overall theme of last year was gadgets, the theme for this year is wellbeing & travelling.  I’ve just booked all the bits and bobs for a 9 day trip to Edinburgh – one of my favourite places on this tiny island that I call home.

I’m starting in London – staying two nights at a local Premier Inn and having a full day to explore the capital.  I like doing something like this every so often – trying either annually or at least every two years to get out and about around the capital to see what’s what.  London is huge, and despite living on the outer edges of the place for approximately half my life, there are still many things to see and do.  For example, I’ve never been to the Tower of London.  I’ve not been up the Shard.  So those two are on my list.

After my full day in London, it’s first class all the way on a train up to Edinburgh. I’ll be staying at The Hub by Premier Inn again – after such a great experience last time, I’d be a fool not to – and especially when the overall cost works out at £38 a day  – including breakfast.

I’ve got a rough itinerary worked out for the nine days – including hiking up to Arthur’s Seat that overlooks the whole city.  A trip to see the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith.  A day trip to see Loch Ness and the surrounding area.  Another trip to some whisky distilleries.  A day trip to Glasgow.  A day at Edinburgh Zoo – I’m a member, so makes sense for me to go visit when I can get in at a discounted rate.  And another trip to Edinburgh Castle.  Amongst other things.

Stay tuned – I’ll be sure to blog about it as and when.

The scales of justice!

I’m loving my new Withings wireless scales.  At £52 (bought in the sale – they’re now £89), they’re pretty pricey, but they get the job jobbed.

Over the past six days, I appear to be losing weight (2lbs!) despite trying eating different things to see how much they add or remove to the total each day. After an initial weigh-in last Saturday morning, the biggest gain was a Carluccio’s breakfast (magnifica) shortly afterwards (the biggest rise as seen below in the chart – but I was also wearing clothes at the time – each weigh-in occurs first thing in the morning after using the toilet and while I’m not wearing very much clothing).

After that, I started eating sensibly, or at least reasonably sensibly based around the Weight Watchers point scheme.  I’m still hacked off that there are no meetings near me that offer a time that’s suitable for somebody working a 37 hour week.   But hey-ho.

The slightly raised peaks are Domino’s pizza and a Chinese respectively.  Providing I stick to a sensible diet (I don’t have to cut out my morning coffees – now only taking the smallest size – and a daily chocolate bar at work is okay), things should progress nicely.  I’ve also cut out artificial sweetener.  I should reach my ideal weight by February 2018 according to the Withings app.

As for Apple Watch/Apple Health – I’m currently smashing my target roles and are raised the moving goal considerably, and will continue to do so as things progress with the weight loss.

Note: I have not assumed my identity as The Snail yet – too bloomin’ cold.

This blog is now available in IPv6 where available..

If you’re one of the lucky few to have an ISP that natively supports IPv6, you’ll find that you will now resolve and connect directly to this blog over IPv6 rather than IPv4. Nothing exciting, but I hadn’t realised that cPanel could let me use individual IPv6 addresses with /128 subnets.

It’s nothing exciting, sure, but I hadn’t realised that cPanel could let me use individual IPv6 addresses with /128 subnets.  It’s interesting that when checking over this blog’s stats, there are an ever increasing number of people connecting via IPv6.  So it’s all good news.  IPv6 will play a much more important part in the infrastructure of the internet in the forthcoming months and years, so getting this done now ensures that I don’t have to worry about this too much in the future.

(Sidenote: This isn’t the first time has been available with IPv6 connectivity; many moons ago when I was putting CloudFlare through its paces, it presented an IPv6 tunnel that connected to the backend – e.g. the webserver, via IPv4.  I’ve also ran on a Debian nginx server that had native IPv6 out the box too.  But as I deal with cPanel enquiries every day, it makes sense for me to run this blog under cPanel – and up until fairly recently, IPv6 support in cPanel has been rather clunky.)