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Garmin Forerunner 610

I've managed to pick up a Garmin Forerunner 610 with Heart Rate Monitor and a Foot Pod. Oh, and I grabbed the cloth strap as well for $19 because I've heard a few horror stories about the pins in the normal plastic watch band falling out. I may just pick up some LocTite or something if the band is fine.

The foot pod can measure your pace when you're on a treadmill (apparently treadmills are often quite inaccurate) and it can be calibrated by either running around a track once or twice or right off the GPS signal. But I'm looking at it more for the purpose of tracking cadence.

Next week I'll be on week six of the now eight-week Run5K (née Couch to 5K) app. Day three is "run for 20:00." Somewhat oddly, week seven reverts to running and walking1 before returning to runs of 25:00, 28:00, and 30:00 in week eight.

I'm somewhat anal about getting the times right (I don't want to mess up and short myself some time), so I plan to keep my iPhone running the app for the next few weeks, but I think in week eight I'll finally ditch it and just use the watch for my runs, and from there on out.

Forerunner 610 and Stuff

  1. The walks at the end are followed by only brief runs of a minute or two. []

Penn Jillette on Religion

There is no god and that's the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion died out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

Via Daring Fireball via Jason Kottke.

At first I wasn't too sure about that. But religion came about as a way of explaining all kinds of things which are now explained through science. So perhaps if both science and religion were wiped out, we'd be where we are now eventually again. That'd just be history repeating itself - literally.

Humans the Only Intelligent Life?

This video is meant to show something else. What it says to me is that there's quite likely tens, hundreds, or thousands of other forms of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, and that it's incredibly obnoxious of us to consider ourselves alone in the world.

It also says to me that there's no possible way the "God" many people believe in can be right, because if there are other forms of life elsewhere, then they likely have their own "god" as well, and so ours isn't really possible (nor theirs).

olloclip for iPhone 4/4S

A few weeks ago, I picked up an olloclip. It's a three-in-one camera lens attachment for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. I've been impressed with the quality of the iPhone 4S cameras, so I jumped at the chance to try out the olloclip.

olloclip 4

The olloclip is a small attachment made of lightweight aluminum, reasonable quality glass, and a sturdy plastic. The three lenses are contained on the two sides - fisheye on one, a wide angle lens on the other, and a macro mode lens beneath the wide angle lens (you physically unscrew the wide angle lens to expose the macro lens beneath).

I was impressed with the fit and finish of the olloclip - it was snug but fit nicely on all the iPhone 4 and 4S models I tried, including those with some thin screen protectors. It's a bit annoying to have to take the case off, but there's really nothing that could be done about that. The lens aligned perfectly with every iPhone camera I tried. It's simple to put on, remove, and to flip around or use. There's no software, either.

R.E.M. Fanclub Closed

My subscription to R.E.M.'s fan club has always been up for renewal around Thanksgiving, which is a dangerous time if you want to get the "Christmas single" package that makes the fan club worth the $10 all alone (or more).

This year I got the package and noticed my renewal date had passed, so I visited the site to renew again. I knew that R.E.M. had essentially disbanded, but thought that they might still send newsletters or something.

Nope.

Sad day.

R.E.M. Fanclub

http://mplayer.pastemagazine.com/issues/week-21/articles#article=/issues/week-21/articles/rem-from-beginning-to-end

iTunes Match Finally Worked

I persevered and finally got iTunes Match to work.

After it uploaded a ton of songs, I created a playlist as suggested here and, over the next day or so, deleted and downloaded higher quality versions of my iTunes songs.

I'll eventually go through and weed out the duplicates. I've seen a few.

Will I renew in a year? I don't think so. Then again, having all of my songs available on my iPhone might just do it. This year it was a no-brainer. Next year, less so.

Couch to 5K App Changed

Recently I noticed that the Couch to 5K app I've been using was updated. The name was changed to "Run 5K" and the week I was in - week 5 - changed.

Thanks for your email. Sorry for any confusion. You're correct that the Couch to 5k name is trademarked by The Active Network, and they decided that other companies could no longer use the name or the training program (yes, the Cool Running program), so we've changed the name of our program and created an improved training program. Please let us know if you have any questions about the program. It's a shorter program - 8 weeks, instead of 9, so if you want to continue on your 9-week plan you can start one week earlier. In your case, start in Week 4 to continue your training.

The URL I mentioned and included in the email? http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml.

Knowledge in Inverse Proportion

"I have discovered, in twenty years of moving around the ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats."

- Bill Veeck, Chicago White Sox owner

Netflix Streaming Embedded

Riddle me this: why doesn't Netflix allow me to embed one of their streaming movies on a web page? For example, suppose I like the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead1. Why can't I embed the movie on a page, recommend it to people, and let people watch it right here if they have a Netflix account?

It would seem to be a good thing for Netflix. People could promote videos they like and Netflix may get some word-of-mouth advertising. Is it because they're worried about the advertisements I could put around the movie, or something? Or maybe the studios care about that kind of stuff?

  1. I do, by the way, very very much. []

WordPress 3.3

Upgraded!

iTunes Match NRFPT

I signed up for iTunes Match earlier today.

Since then, I've downloaded (replaced) exactly one song, and I've spent an hour or so searching the Web for "iTunes Match error 4001" and "iTunes Match error 4010" and so on. I've tried some of the tricks, I've set up a smart playlist, and I'm still just sitting here at Step 1 in the iTunes Match section of iTunes.

iTunes Match is, as they used to say, NRFPT1. That's disappointing. It's the first thing from Apple in a long while that didn't "just work."

iTunes Error

If this doesn't start working by the end of the day on Monday, I'm going to seek a refund.

  1. Not Ready For Prime Time []

Happy Blogiversary

Today marks the start of my tenth year of blogging.

Since this post I've lost a dog and one awesome friend, but gained a daughter, a wife, and two good friends. I've moved twice and purchased one home. I've lost two girlfriends that struck me as potential marriage material but re-gained an old friend that quickly became a marriage of over 6½ years.

I've bought one new car for myself, and two for my wife1. I've gone on what I would call a true vacation exactly once.

  1. When I say "I" here I mean "we", but "we" didn't seem to flow very well. []

Running Break

For the past few weeks, my left calf muscle - right at the bottom of the calf and several inches above my ankle - has felt "off." It's been noticeably sore (but not painful) between runs. After a run it has felt pretty good, but when I've focused on more fore-foot to mid-foot form it's been noticeably goofy.

Today when running 8:00 straight separated by a 5:00 breather, the back of my left knee felt odd. It still feels odd now, eight hours later, and a bit like I hyperextended my knee a little.

I'm not a wimp, but if there's one thing I keep reading it's that people tend to take things too aggressively and push too hard too fast, and that only leads to injuries. I've been good about this so far - and I wouldn't even call this an injury, really - but until I get to know how my body reacts to running a bit better, I'm taking a break as a precaution.

The plan right now is to take ten days off, with ice on the calf and the back of my knee, and repeat the fifth week of C25K. I still plan to do something to keep my cardiovascular system improving - maybe I'll use the recumbent bike at Golf Evolution or something. My legs have never really been tired after I've run (because, let's be honest, I'm not exactly running very far or very fast), but I'm pleased with my cardiovascular improvement.

Which, come to think of it, goes a bit against what I just wrote about being frustrated by a lack of improvement. Early on I remember having a harder time running 2:00 straight than I did today running 8:00 straight. I attributed a lot of that to the cooler air, but that's not it, not entirely.

BTW, if you're on RunKeeper or DailyMile, look up "iacas" and add me as a friend.

New Twitter for iPhone

I agree completely with what @gruber wrote: the new Twitter app (and to a lesser extent, the new Twitter website) flat out stinks.

I guess Tweetbot is the way I'll go for now.

Tabata: Four Minutes of Exercise

Carey sent me this Shape article and though I have no plans to do it, I'll post about it here.

But it's worth it. Doing as little as 4 minutes (or one "Tabata") can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, and can help you burn more fat (and make you look 200-percent leaner) than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. That's right—4 minutes of Tabata can get you better fitness gains than an entire hour of running on the treadmill.

The trick to getting all these benefits is the level of intensity. To do a Tabata, an exercise developed in the '70's for Japanese Olympians, all you have to do is pick a cardio activity such as running, jumping rope, or biking and go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times. And when I say "as hard as you can go," I mean 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you're going to die.

This sounds like something that'd be more fun to bet someone else they can't do than to do yourself. 🙂