Month: November 2017

Fuze Card Saga Pt. 2: Wake Up, Please

Today’s episode: in which our hero attempts to turn the card off, and then back on. Hilarity ensues.

After about an hour with the Fuze card, I had managed to pair it with my phone and add a collection of credit and debit cards.  Before heading into the wild, though, I want to see how long it will take to pull up a card under normal use.

So, we power off the card and power it back on.


Issues Powering on the Fuze Card

I have no idea what causes this or how it’s remedied.  What follows are my observations, which somebody smarter than I can hopefully decode:

Guaranteed way to replicate

Continue holding the Power button for a few seconds after the card has powered off.  This will stall the card for about a minute.  I want to say that there’s a buffer getting filled up, and in sleep mode the clock is slowed down to the point that the buffer takes eons to clear.  But I have zero proof for this.

Duration of issue

I’ve had times when it fixed itself after 2 minutes; others when it took days.

Fuze Card’s Response

Provided I could show video proof of the card sucking, they were happy to send a replacement.  Fortunately, it took 2 weeks for my lazy self to get around to mailing in the card, and when I took it out to confirm the problem, it booted with no issues.

The charger may have an effect

A few times, topping the card off in the charger fixed it right up.  This is probably a coincidence, though.

At least it works now

Since it magically awoke after that 2-week slumber, the Fuze card has worked just fine.  I can get it to freeze up by mashing buttons after power-down, but unless I’m trying to make it freeze, no further issues.

More Surprises in Store

Once the Fuze card awakens and powers up properly, there’s still fun to be had.  Stay tuned.

Posted by Adam Labay, 0 comments

Fuze Card Saga Pt. 1: Unboxing & Trying to Add Cards

November 8, 2017: The Fuze Card finally arrives.

First impressions

It’s thin. Like, credit-card thin.  No idea what wizardry was used to fit a battery inside the thing, but they pulled it off.

It’s soft(?).  The matte plastic feels soft – at least softer than a rigid credit card.  It doesn’t seem bendier or in any other way more deformable than a regular card, but it somehow feels like it should be.  Go figure.

The buttons are raised, which does create worries about wallet misfires.  I keep my wallet in my back pocket, where it’s often sat upon by a profoundly bony backside. The buttons do require a decent amount of pressure to push, though, so this may not prove to be a problem.

Getting it Connected

Cards are added via the companion app, which loaded up with no issue.  The card connects automatically via Bluetooth Low Energy, though you can also force it into pairing mode by holding the Power and Multi buttons simultaneously.

Once connected, the app instructs you to set up a passcode, which is just a 6-button sequence created by the three hardware buttons.  At \(3^6=729\) possible combinations, the passcode isn’t exactly guess-proof, but then again neither is a stolen credit card.  And the Fuze card has other security measures as well.

Adding Cards

This was a pain in the ass.

Cards have to be added using an off-brand Square reader which connects via the headphone jack.  First problem: I bought an Essential phone yesterday, and it doesn’t have a headphone jack.

The card reader (right)
and the Fuze charger.

The Essential does, though, have a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, which is nice.  Problem is, I can’t get it to scan for anything.  Worse, I don’t actually own any wired headphones, so I can’t diagnose whether the culprit is the app, the reader, the adapter, or the phone.

Fortunately, I still have my old Nexus 5X, which does have a headphone jack.  This would be an opportune time to troubleshoot the USB-C adapter, but no. I just want to load my blasted credit cards.

Edit: The USB-C adapter also failed on the Nexus, so either it's defective or I'm doing it wrong.

Speaking of loading those cards:

Why can’t I just photograph the card, or manually enter the information into the app, a’la Android Pay?  Maybe requiring the reader is a form of fraud prevention, forcing you to have the actual card?  But even then, I could just use a card writer to make a physical copy of a stolen card – and I’m sure emulators exist as well.

Mercifully, the Nexus can read the cards and add them to the app, which syncs them to the Fuze card.  At least that’s out of the way.

With the cards added, the next step is to test basic usability.  Hilarity ensues.

Posted by Adam Labay, 0 comments