Dexcom Share: Product Review

Unpacking the Dexcom share reminded me of the same level of excitement that I had when I got most of the Apple devices: a clean experience that builds anticipation and contributes to a continued positive experience.

Let me proceed my comment by indicating that my experience with my Dexcom CGM is unlike any other I have had with any othe diabetes device in my life, including my insulin pumps (I have been on two in the past decade) and a variety of glucose meters I have used since 2002. I have lost track of the number of times my Dexcom has saved my life: being awaken by or alerting my wife of a dangerously low blood sugar has literally averted disaster on countless occasions.

So naturally I was very happy when I heard that the Dexcom Share had been given the green light by FDA in the US. This setup consists of:

  • A docking station that charges your Dexcom G4 while it connects via Bluetooth with your iOS device (an Android version is in the works, as I understand).
  • The Dexcom Share app that allows you to pair your Dexcom receiver with a Dexcom account “in the cloud” so your data can be shared with those you want to. This app is available through the Apple App Store.
  • The Dexcom Follow app that allows those whom you want to share your Dexcom’s 24-hr window of data along with a few alerts for lows or highs, to Se the data. This app too is available through the App Store.

Getting up and running is quite straightforward (it took me no more than 10 minutes or so), and I felt the process should be fairly intuitive for anyone that has paired Bluetooth devices or paired remotes to receivers. Here’s how I found the experience with each of the pieces of the setup.

THE DOCK

I found the design sleek, though perhaps a bit bulky. You can have it standing up or sideways (with convenient anti-slippery things below) to fit different spaces on your night table.

The principle that it belongs on the night table is an interesting one because it is mostly set up to be parked somewhere, since it has to be plugged to a power source to work. My friend Kelly and her crew made me realize that you could take the Share on the road as long as you can plug it to a portable USB power source, like a Mophie, but that is more of a hack (it’s fairly bulky of a combo) than the way the product appears to be designed for.

The Dexcom Share dock with the Receiver in, powered by a Mophie battery pack.

The Dexcom Share dock with the Receiver in, powered by a Mophie battery pack.

The only annoying thing about the dock was the brightness of the LEDs (a green one indicating power, and a blue one indicating Bluetooth connection, which was VERY bright at night). I may end up putting an opaque tape on top of them, because otherwise there is no way to have the Dexcom screen facing you without being “blinded” by the intensity of the LEDs. Well, maybe not blinded, but they are very bright indeed!

THE DEXCOM SHARE APP

As soon as I fired up the Share app (as instructed in the quick setup instructions in the inside cover of the box), I was greeted by GlucoMonster. Although admittedly cute, I couldn’t help but being immediately reminded of the monsters from MySugr, plus the plushy character (whose role is to signal of there are connectivity problems with your Dexcom via the Share dock) doesn’t really resonate strongly with the Dexcom brand for me. Don’t ask me why: I would honestly do away with the little fellow (nothing personal, dude!)

GlucoMonster

Getting the serial number typed in to pair the app to the receiver proved to be challenging in two ways:

  1. I forgot to write it down (as instructed on the same instructions) before plugging the Dexcom to the dock. I ended up pulling it out and taking a picture of it. It may be a nice (though tiny) future improvement to move the serial number sticker to the opposite side of the receiver so it sticks out visibly outside the dock when the receiver is in it.
  2. After routine use (wear and tear) after years, the sticker can be hard to read. Maybe the app could sense any nearby Dexcom receivers/docks, similarly to how you pair Bluetooth devices?

After the S/N was in, it was very straightforward to complete the process, but I admit that I was missing being able to SEE the CGM data within the same app. I gave up, realizing the Share app was designed to do just that: share the data. So I downloaded the Dexcom Follow app, to get a feel for it, and see that part of the experience too. But not without first inviting my wife to follow my numbers through it too.

THE DEXCOM FOLLOW APP

The experience my wife had with the email she received inviting her to follow me was clean and straightforward: I picture this will be the experience of most people that get this invitation.

The invitation message lto a new follower looks very straightforward.

The invitation message lto a new follower looks very straightforward.

I fully anticipate the need to make the invitation process a bit more sophisticated in the not too distant future, as people change phones, delete apps, etc. which hopefully won’t mean that they need to create a new Dexcom user account to follow someone else every time they change iOS devices. Yet, any observations to improve the user experience and the setup flow PALE when compared to my wife’s joy over being able to see my glucose data remotely. I travel a lot for work, and this is something that has always worried her.

I eventually set up my own Dexcom Follow app, to be able to view my own numbers on my phone: it honestly felt odd, and I would definitely envision a more integrated experience for people whose phones are both sharing and following their own data. Or maybe it’s not a frequent use case, but to me that flow in the experience felt a bit odd.

Now that my wife and I are both setup to see my CGM readings for the past 24 hours, we are VERY happy!!

Disclaimer:
I own under 100 stocks of Dexcom, and I received my initial Dexcom kit and the Dexcom Share free of charge. The opinion I express here is entirely my own and hasn’t been vetted Dexcom. All they asked of me was to share my opinion about the Share.

Shame on you and your xenophobia, @AnnCoulter! #WorldCup

How much longer can a columnist get away with xenophobic vitriol?

Of course I am talking about Ann Coulter, and her  hateful piece “Any growing interest in soccer a sign of nation’s moral decay“, which most likely she wrote in search of more publicity, feeding lies to the few people that still believe her.

I am going to actually take the time to demystify one by one each of the lies spewed by Coulter here:

“Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls — all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out, they’re standing alone at the plate. But there’s also individual glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam-dunks.”

False. Last I checked, while soccer (like football, basketball, baseball) is a team sport, goals are scored by individuals. There are soccer superstars, both scoring goals and stopping them.

 

“Liberal moms like soccer because it’s a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.”

Do I even need to comment on this? I wonder what women think about this comment by Coulter…

 

“Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game — and it’s not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.”

False. You obviously hasn’t watched enough soccer games. Unfortunately, it can too cause a fair amount of injuries. This very graphic video shows some of the worst soccer injuries. But that is besides the point… We can see  much of your nature in this comment: you would rather see more fights, broken bones, and blood in sports. Reminds me of… yes! Gladiators in the coliseum!

 

“You can’t use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things.”

PRECISELY! Creating a challenge makes the game all the more fascinating and adds a level of difficulty that other sports don’t have to tackle with.

 

“I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer.”

Worry not: we don’t expect you to like it… but it’s kind of hard to like or dislike something when you haven’t even fully tried to understand it.

 

“It’s foreign. In fact, that’s the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not “catching on” at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.”

Here Coulter is showing her true colors, as a xenophobe. So, because it’s foreign it means we should dislike it? I guess she dislikes me, and 40 million other foreign-born Americans… because we too are foreign.

I feel as much an American as Coulter. I was not born here, but I CHOSE to become a US citizen, and the path to accomplishing this was not easy or quick. It took us 14 years since we arrived in the US, in 2000.

 

“If more “Americans” are watching soccer today, it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.”

Here you show how hateful and insecure you are. So, those who are not born here are not “American”? Those who don’t go back 4-5 generations are not “American”?
Your arguments are so weak and so full of vitriol, that they are almost laughable. One cannot show such contempt and promote hatred indefinitely without eventually being held accountable for it.

This tweet about Coulter perfectly summarizes my views about her piece: