flotsam, peeves, there is something wrong with me

Feeling low. Or high.

Not my Wii Fit meter. The main clues being that I haven’t burned anything like that many calories yet today. And my Mii looks more like, well, Me.

No, wait, low again. What?

OK, so as little as I’ve been blogging lately, y’all (yeah, I said “y’all”, what of it?) have had to hear about my Wii Fit altogether too much.

Meaning twice so far, specifically. And one of them barely counts, because it was more “a mention within a post” than a real post. OK, three times if you count this post. I know it seems like more, but believe me on this.

No? Go ahead, search my site for “Wii.” I’ll wait.

See? Next time don’t be such a skeptic.

Anyway, I’m blogging about the WiiU again because there’s something (else) about it that’s really irking me.

About the Wii Fit Meter that came with it, specifically.

What the heck is wrong with the altimeter?

Here’s a couple of things I’ve been able to glean from the extraordinarily limited information that Nintendo actually provides about this device and what others have posted on the Wii Fit forums.

  1. It combines some mixture of your body temperature, motion, and changes in altitude to come up with your METs, which it converts to calories burned, and it tracks your steps taken and current altitude.
  2. The altimeter is based to the Wii unit, not to sea level. Or more accurately, it uses wherever you set up your Wii device AS sea level. (Meaning, apparently, that due to where I live, every time I go down to my mailbox my Wii must think I’m going for a swim or something.)
  3. You can reset this, if you’re going to go on a mountain hike or something and want to use it to measure how high you went, but the method for doing this is unclear at best, and to my way of thinking, probably not worth pursuing.
  4. There’s a complete lack of clarity on how it defines your altitude on the readout.

It’s that last item that bugging the stuffing out of me. What is it doing, exactly, in regard to altitude? Some information implies it’s reporting based on my actual altitude (adjusted to its fictionalized sea level calculation), and others imply it’s reporting based on how much I’ve actively changed my altitude during the day (ie my actual climbing activity).

Wait, wait.

OK. So.

I look at one part of the display, and it makes sense. It shows my altitude as a line throughout the day, hour by hour. My altitude line is flat while I’m not moving it around (being asleep, and all), then perks up when I put it on to run around getting ready, dips when I go down to my car, levels out for a while, rises dramatically while I drive to work (up the hill!), settles slightly when I get to the office, and then does the whole thing (more or less) in reverse 8-11 hours later when I go home again.

Day after day the same, which makes sense because my apartment is always in the same place, my office is almost always in the same place, my desk in that office is always in the same place.

Same place, same basic altitude line. Good, good.

But wait.

There’s this other measure, which is just a digital readout of (apparently) my actual altitude (sort of).

OK, but it can’t be just my altitude, or it wouldn’t have been telling me that today as I sit at my desk my altitude is 66 feet and yesterday I sat at my desk and it was 332 feet and the day before that it was 111 feet and WHAT THE HECK IS IT DOING?

Am I up? Am I down?
Am I sky-high? Or down in the dumps?

The only comments I can find that even remotely explain this phenomenon are those that imply it’s actually basing that number on my ACTION, not my LOCATION. So, like, if I’m at my desk, but I went up and down the stairs 3 times today instead of 2 times today, my number should be higher, even in the same locale. Because it’s not netting my altitude, it’s calculating how much I contributed to changing my altitude through the day. Or something like that.

That would almost make sense.


Setting aside whether I ever vary my in-office activity between 66 and 300+ feet in the course of a day… I was just back from vacay this week. Read as, I’ve been glued to my desk all week. I didn’t go out for lunch, and I didn’t have any meetings on other floors or in other buildings.

This means that to get my desk at this time of day, every day…

  1. I went down my stairs at home exactly once.
  2. I drove to work exactly once.
  3. I went up to my cubicle exactly once, and up and down the office stairs, once for coffee, and once for lunch, exactly twice.
  4. I was otherwise on the same floor, all day long.
  5. I am sitting in my same cubicle, which is in the exact same location, in a chair that’s at the same height every day.

So what’s with the variation already?

And look at that. While I’ve been sitting here, I just fell 3 feet. How could I fall three feet, if this thing is based on the number of steps I’ve climbed? If it’s based to my activity, did I somehow do negative activity by virtue of sitting here for 10 minutes? If it’s based to my actual altitude, shouldn’t I have whiplash or something from that kind of sudden drop?

Since I can’t tell if I’m up or down, here or there, coming or going…

It’s after hours on a Friday, and I’m going.

By the way, if you actually know how this thing works, for reals? I would be fascinated to better understand it. Leave a comment, thanks.

3 thoughts on “Feeling low. Or high.”

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