November 13, 2009

Contour USB II

Everyone who saw the Contour USB used the same one word.


The initial responses to this thing were fantastic. Styling counts. My 16 year old T1 said it was about time Bayer stepped up their game. We joked about teachers mistaking it for an iPod - that is a design compliment.

This Meter is cool. The old Contour - not so cool.

Interestingly everyone who used it a has a similar response the first test. They all like Bayer’s method of tagging before or after meals. That being, it asks for a tag while it is counting down the blood test. There are two plusses here. 1) You log the blood check as before or after a meal. 2) It give you something to do while the meter thinks. Bayer calls this AutoLog. Nice use of the five second it takes to calculate a number.

I wondered if AutoLog would get old. Delaney used it the most of anyone and she didn’t ever complain about the AutoLog feature.

All of y’all out there in DOC land asked the same question - how much blood? Well it is a regular Contour strip. It uses a lot - 0.6 μL. That a ton more than our Jazz meters use.

The color screen is way easier to read than any meter I have seen. Big kudos there. I never took it out into direct sunlight and can’t say if that is an issue or not. The screen does a nice job of changing to tell you what the buttons do. Maybe it is just the landscape layout but it seems easier to line up the button function and the button than most meters.

Also in the cool feature department is the illuminated test strip port. Makes confirming a late night CGM reading a lot easier. Every meter should have this.

I am not a fan of Bayer lancing device. Mostly because it seems bigger than it needs to be. Now this may be a design play for the older lest dexterous type 2 market, I don’t know, but size matters to me and their lancing device is too big. Here it is with a smaller WaveSense pokie. As previously noted the colored lancets were a big hit with the tween and 4 year old TDL.

On the topic of size, somehow the case for The fairly small Contour USB meter is bigger than a Jazz case. As previously advertised in my world smaller is better.

The real deal here is the USB port. After everyone (Delaney, Connor and TLD) gave it a test blood test there were enough data points to test out the software. Plug and play. It was easy enough.

No cable. Standard USB Plug. WoHoo! Score Bayer! Not only groove styling but actual standardized connectivity, functionality anyone with a computer can use!

The software is fairly straight forward. I grabbed a few screen screen grabs and a few pictures are worth a lot more more than a bunch of my words. So here goes:

Nice straight forward log book. Different colors for in range, low and high.

You can click and see your log book into a nice groovy chart. Same color scheme. Just a note here when you look at the log in the meter the in range is white text and high and low are both orange. I guess the meter programing geeks and the software that is going to live in the meter geeks didn't get the same memo on how to use colors.

Pie charts for Thanksgiving dinner dessert.

And you can setup the meter at the keyboard. That green blob there is teling me the default seetings for high and low are different than what I put in the merer. One quick click solved that.

I agree with the teenager the Contour USB puts Bayer back into the game with good design and a significantly smaller form factor. Yo Tim across the pond, you need to check one of these out.Mostly all good. The sample size is a tad big, so is the case. My views on case colors is that with two type 1 kids around (three when we babaysit TLD) you need to be able to tell what meter goes with what kid at a glance. Color helps a lot.

If you are using Contour strips now get one of the these bad boys. They rock. If you are on a meter you don’t love give it a try.

Bayer Dudes.
Y’all need to come back to Friends for Life. Bring guitar hero and this meter. You will get converts. WaveSense needs a run for their money and so far you are it.


  1. Bennet, I agree about your summary at the end. This is a great meter. WaveSense has a great set of meters with really good design, but the Contour USB knocks them out of the ballpark. I'm hoping WaveSense will come back with a great response.

  2. I suspect we will see meters continue to evolve. Bayer here took their strip and breathed new life into it with a very well thought out meter. (OK the rechargeable thing is still a bit of mental issue for me but very minor. Heck we can recharge Alfred

    I think WaveSense has a better, a word that here means uses less blood, strip. (and is reportedly more accurate but how can I tell?)

    Anyway I would call it more of a draw. Between them.

    I don't think the Bayer USB is enough to pull me from WaveSense yet. Not that I make these choice for the kids.

    Pink matters.

  3. Size matters, especially when toting the meter out to restaurant. SO: where is the size of the strip package listed? Ya gotta have em along, and size matters. Slim meter, bulky strips pack?

  4. I bought one of these things. I can't speak to the PC software but the Mac software is WORTHLESS. I'm running the latest Mac OS (10.6.2) and the GLUCOFACTS Deluxe software does NOT run... at all!
    The version on the device crashes almost as soon as it launches.
    So I tried to download the version from their website. They forgot to put the Mac download link on their webpage. I call them and a week later the Mac version is finally available for download.
    So, I download the latest version and run the mpkg installer. The installer fails with an error during configuration. So I launch the newest version anyway and it also crashes just like the on-board version.
    Called them again and they are not answering their phones... again.
    My advice to Mac users: Do NOT buy this until they have software that works as advertised.
    As for me: If I don't get a call back tomorrow (they failed to call me back the first time) I will return it for a refund.


    Process: java [11417]
    Path: /usr/bin/java
    Version: 1.0 (1.0)
    Code Type: X86-64 (Native)
    Parent Process: ??? [1]

    PlugIn Path: /Applications/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/Bayer HealthCare/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/dcf/Mac/64/BayerHID00.dll
    PlugIn Identifier: BayerHID00.dll
    PlugIn Version: ??? (???)

    Date/Time: 2009-12-21 16:25:48.006 -0800
    OS Version: Mac OS X 10.6.2 (10C540)
    Report Version: 6

    Interval Since Last Report: 128912 sec
    Crashes Since Last Report: 9
    Per-App Interval Since Last Report: 2691 sec
    Per-App Crashes Since Last Report: 4
    Anonymous UUID: 8643BEBA-95EA-40F8-A666-7D94467644BE

    Exception Type: EXC_CRASH (SIGABRT)
    Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000
    Crashed Thread: 18 Java: AWT-EventQueue-0

  5. Hi Brian

    Thanks for the heads up. I don't know if I will have any better luck than you but I will reach out to Bayer too.

  6. Hi Brian

    I did hear back from Bayer. I was told; they are well aware of the 10.6 issue and have folks looking into it.

    I know and heard that being an FDA regulated device they can't give a released date in advance. It has to be blessed by FDA. Before they get the FDA OK they can't say much of anything.

    I can get you in touch with the folks I know at Bayer directly if you want to try that path. You can email me at Bennet (at)

    I am fairly sure they can't give you instant satisfaction (as if they have a fix they are having FDA bless it and can’t say jack about it until it is approved) but I know I feel better when I get a live person on the phone who is at least willing to listen. Also you may be able to help get the issue clarified for other folks who need a meter that works with Snow L. That would be good for the rest of us.

    I feel kind bad I didn’t try it in a MAC. I am so new to the Apple world I don’t trust myself there yet.

    All the best.


  7. Hi Bennet,

    Thanks for looking into this.

    Bayer finally called me back and confirmed what I already knew: the GLUCOFACTS Deluxe software is incompatible with Mac OS 10.6.

    What the Bayer representative said next was downright shocking: the GLUCOFACTS Deluxe software is incompatible with Windows 7.

    That's right, you heard right. According to this Bayer representative, your brand new ContourUSB will not work as advertised with any currently shipping operating system.

    I haven't tested the Windows version of GLUCOFACTS but the Bayer representative seemed to suggest that nobody at Bayer expected anybody to upgrade from Windows Vista... ever! [Any Windows 7 users out there?]

    It's not as if Bayer's software developers couldn't have tested the GLUCOFACTS Deluxe software before shipping out the new ContourUSB. Mac OS 10.6 shipped in August. Windows 7 shipped in October. Indeed, Bayer could have gotten beta releases of either operating systems months before their release dates.

    Mac users are used to being treated as second class citizens when it comes to proprietary software such as GLUCOFACTS Deluxe. But, this is something new for Windows users. What concerns me is that if they ignore Windows updates right out of the box, how will they handle Mac updates 2 or 3 years from now?

    Will I be prevented from updating my computer while I wait for Bayer to get around to the next Mac update? And, for how long? Months? Years? Will I have to choose between my ContourUSB and a snazzy new Apple Tablet next June because Bayer decides I don't need a new computer?

    With tax and shipping, I dropped nearly $100 on the ContourUSB. I bought it because Bayer advertised Mac 'plug-and-play' compatibility and a 5 year warrantee. Apparently, that 'warrantee' does not cover software compatibility. They may say they are working on updates for both Mac and Windows. But, what happens when Mac 10.7 comes out in late 2010? Will my ContourUSB become just another piece of techno-junk for the trash heap?

    The Bayer representative couldn't answer that one.


  8. Aargh. Just received my ContourUSB and was excited about using my Mac. My laptop has 10.4.11, my new iMac 10.6.x. Seriously? I need 10.5??? Can't get it to work on either machine. Guess I'll have to continue using the Windows XP portion I added to my MacBook solely for my old OneTouch meter. (I only switched due to insurance coverage. Not sure who I dislike more - insurance or Microsoft.)

  9. Hi Bennet,

    Thanks for your thorough review of the Bayer Contour USB.

    It is a good thing that Bayer chose to use a standard USB interface. It's a shame they used proprietary software to log the data. There are myriad advantages to the open-source approach, not the least of which is, faster bug fixing.

    Does their software allow data export as Excell, tab or comma separated value files?

  10. Gordon

    I think I agree about the proprietary software but in fairness Bayer is no different than everyone else on that score.

    I don't know of an insudtry standard BG data file. Continua is working towards developing some but they are not in meters yet.

    As to export I looke dover the manual and the only export I saw was to a PDF. Not what you are looking for.

  11. GOT IT TO WORK.........

    After installing select cancel on dialog where it says to create new database and then after the first crash replace the
    /Applications/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/Bayer HealthCare/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/dcf/Mac/64/BMI.dll

    file with

    /Applications/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/Bayer HealthCare/GLUCOFACTS Deluxe/dcf/Win/64/BMI.dll

    open the Glucofacts deluxe software and it should work. I have not yet tested if other functionality is working but the software loads starts.

  12. Rohit - thanks for sharing keep us updated.

  13. MAC USERS BEWARE - This meter's software does not work with 10.6.x and I can't get it to work with 10.5.8 either. Called support and after two transfers was told it was a technical problem (as if I didn't already know that) and would have to be escalated to the tech team which does not work weekends. They are calling me back on Monday Feb 8; well that's their commitment. If I get it working, I will post the "HOWTO".

  14. Just bought one, still sucks on the Mac. And I'm supposed to trust this company?

  15. These meter manufacturers seem to be clueless about the development process for consumer software and electronic devices. They need to hire some people who have worked in that arena and who know about software release management, software development life cycles, and how to produce device drivers and management software that work with current versions of operating systems.

    On the other hand, the groups representing medical professionals and people with diabetes need to develop a standard data format using XML and then pressure the meter manufacturers to adopt the standard. This is being done in practically every industry and every area of knowledge. If the manufacturers were progressive, they would initiate this themselves, as has happened in the financial industry, for example, but apparently that is not happening here.

  16. Well.....not sure what I'm doing different, but the software on the meter works just fine with my Mac running Snow leopard 10.6.3

    No problems at all.

    The only issue is, the download link for the computer version of Glucofacts doesn't seem to be available right now...

  17. so is the update on the website? im running snow leopard and nothing is working properly!

  18. There is now an update on the web site that work with Mac 10.6.3 and 10.6.4. The new software version is 2.07.

  19. MAC users who feel left out in the cold: You have hope of an upgrade, Linux users are just ignored.
    But we are working on that ourselves. as usual.

  20. forebWorks on the Mac. I have 10.7.1. When I plugged it in it said there was an update and I followed the steps. It did crash once. Upon startup I still get some error that I ignore and sw still works. So I guess its still a little buggy. I have been using it on the mac for 2 weeks now.

  21. I used my old onetouch mini case and the strip container to fix the stupid case and huge strip container problem

  22. Just wanted to share that I picked up a ContourUSB today, could not get the Glucofacts software to run. Using MacBook Pro 10.7.4. Discovered that under my Java preferences I had the 32bit listed first, changed to were the 64bit was listed first. Software worked. Once you plug in the meter to a USB opening, open finder, you should see two drives (contour, glucofacts). Click on the Glucofacts, then click on the icon that looks like a monitor with a zigzag line across it. Software should run (ensure that if have 32 bit and 64bit java enabled, that the one at the top is the 64bit).

    Hope this helps someone. Took me awhile of what I call ciphering to resolve. Even emailed Bayer, then had to followup with a it was my bad email.