Hierarchy of control

tao  •  21 Jun 2022   •  

I feel like I haven’t slept very well recently. The warm UK weather, parental worries and irritating thoughts and songs that stop me from dropping off for too long. Add to that a niggling upper back problem and you have the perfect combination for a restless night.

My wife and I both use Garmin running watches which we got eachother for our joint Christmas present last year and she keeps hers next to the bed with her iPhone.

One annoying thing that Garmin seems to do, is to maintain separate settings for the watch, the app on your phone and the website. We both recently had a firmware update for the phone and all of our settings got mixed up. The clock reverted to 12-hour, my custom watch face changed back to default, the distance alerts you get whilst running reverted to beeping every mile, whereas the display still showed me tracking the run in KM.

It’s not the first time either since we have used Garmin devices, so it’s not a watch problem, it’s a software problem.

To fix the issue, you often have to go into the settings on the Garmin Connect app on your phone, which all show the correct settings still and change them to something else. You then need to sync the watch to your phone to update to the wrong settings, change the setting back again and then re-sync. But you have to do this for EVERY setting you want changing. Also, some settings won’t change unless you do them on the Garmin Connect website rather than the app. I am not sure of the hierarchy of control, but I think the website sits at the top, with the app and then watch below.

At the moment, my wife’s watch no longer goes into “bedtime mode” where any phone notifications automatically no longer bleep and buzz on your wrist after a certain time of day. So whilst I am laying there trying to drop off, I keep hearing a ping, bleep and buzz from her side of the bed accompanied by her iPhone screen turning on as bright as the surface of the sun. This normally jolts me awake, but she never stirs.

We have tried re-doing the settings in the app and on the website to no avail. The next step is to reset the watch to factory defaults and remove it from the Garmin Connect app and website too, setting it up from scratch as if it was new.

It’s annoying and it’s making me lose sleep, be tired and grumpy. I wonder if an Apple Watch would be a better investment? Although I would then need to convert from my Android Google Pixel 6 Pro to an iPhone.