Back in 2018, Daniel Auer and Didier Ruedin were conducting a research experiment on prejudice in the Swiss housing market. That same summer, a footballer at the FIFA World Cup made a controversial gesture that got the nation talking. After he did so, our researchers observed a significant drop in ethnic discrimination. Were the two phenomena connected?
The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 is an inexpensive activity tracker. Can you use it without a phone? Kind of. You’ll need an app to set it up; it’s not working out of the box. Once the Mi Band is set up (set the time, update the firmware, indicate which arm you wear it on; the official app requires an account), it works fine without the app.
For what it does, the official app is surprisingly big, and it constantly “phones home”. I first tried to disable internet access for the app, only to find that the app keeps trying and thus drained the battery. There are alternative apps available, some of which much more lightweight and do not automatically send all the information to Mi (apparently these alternatives can authenticate the Mi Band 3, too, but not later versions for which the official app is required initially).
What works without the app? Counting steps, distance (scarily accurate in my case), calories burned; battery left (typically a lot); stopwatch and timer; manual heart rate measure (seems legit). The exercise feature doesn’t work without the phone since the phone does the GPS tracking. Obviously the stats are not available (e.g. the automatic distinction between slow and fast walking, running, and other activity, or the sleep analysis). The alternative apps will calculate these things differently, since only the number of steps, distance, and calories are calculated on the tracker.
Here’s a new series of podcasts by Declan Hill, award winning investigative journalist and colleague during my doctoral studies. Declan is perhaps best known for his investigations into match fixing in football.
The podcast called Crime Waves is a series of interviews about some extraordinary investigations. The first series is called ‘Blood Sports’ and is about his passion of organized crime in sports. The second series is “How to Solve a Murder” and features interviews with a range of forensic experts on the techniques used by detectives and crime scene investigators. There will be more seasons with some incredible investigators in different fields.
If you are into podcasts, add this to your list. If you’re not into podcasts, make an exception for this!