Daily Life

Live From Mile 10

I just finished my morning walk with Carter, the special dog. The Marathon Course is coming together. The water crews are showing up to set up tables and the gates are out and ready to be assembled to close off the streets.

It’s sunny and cool (mid 40’s right now) with a decent wind going down the course. Hopefully it will stay that way.

I saw probably triathletes and race workers riding their bikes out to the start, and about 5 ultramarathoners running out to the start.

Today is a work day for me, but I’ll be taking my lunch break when my former co-worker Adam texts me when he hits mile 8 so I can bring the bandit some water.

Graphic Design

Purpose of the Receipt

With Amazon Prime free shipping, and the savings you can get from subscribing to products (e.g. baby stuff just shows up at our house on a regular schedule and we get a price break for having a standing order), the UPS guy knows us well. The only problem is that the receipts that come with the order often don’t show the total.

It’s not like there’s a shortage of white space here.

Daily Life

Cross Posting Link Scam

Christopher S. Penn is traveling abroad for a couple of weeks and asked me to be a guest contributor. Click here to read my contribution to Awaken Your Superhero!

Productivity Buster

Missing the Mark

Sorry to drone on again about running, but this is a good discussion of product marketing and choosing the feature set to go to market with.

Nike SportWatch A couple of months ago I read that Nike was going to be releasing a GPS watch for running that worked with the Nike + running system. The idea is that you wear the watch when you run, and then you upload the data to the cloud where it keeps track of your runs and lets you challenge others (sort of like a Facebook for running). It also allows you to wear a heart rate monitor, which I have used because I am an old fat bastard, and don’t want to die out on the course.

If you dig into some of my prior posts you’ll find that I was big on Nike+ when it first came out and I loved the iPod integration. The big win was to get audio feedback. You could have your playlist of favorite running songs, and then it would automatically lower the volume and tell you “You have reached 4 miles, your pace is 9:00 per mile”, and then the music would go back up to volume. I just loved how it was completely integrated and seamless. Of course time marched on and I left Nike+ behind for two reasons – one was that the method of measuring distance (basically a pedometer in/on your shoe) was not very accurate. This was a real bummer when I thought I was at the race’s end, turned a corner and found I still had a tenth of a mile to suck it up. The other was that Garmin had a better system – similar cloud features (although not as sexy), and an integrated heart rate monitor.

When I heard about the Nike SportWatch I thought this would be the triple crown – GPS quality accuracy, Heart Rate Monitor, and integrated audio. I also freaked out and gave up my lunch hour today when I read my latest email from Marathon Sports, my local running store, who said that because of the marathon 2 weeks away they had them in stores and the rest of the world wouldn’t see them in stores until early May. I called and they offered to hold me one until lunch and I grabbed it (and my favorite Caprese sandwich from Tutto Italiano which was right on the way). Thank goodness the sandwich was as good as usual because I was disappointed with the watch.

The first bummer is that the band is just slightly smaller than my Garmin, and smaller than the last Nike+ watch/remote that I owned. The one notch difference is enough to be a back breaker for me, it’s just tight enough to restrict my movement. Even worse, because the USB connector is at the end of the strap it’s not like I could replace it with another band. It does look like I could use the heat gun to stretch the side without the USB connector, but I instead opted to sell it on eBay because of another issue – music is not part of the system. After my buying frenzy subsided I understand why it doesn’t work – both the watch and the iPod are only receivers, neither transmits so there’s no way to get heart rate, GPS and music all in the same system.

The good news is that because they are still kind of rare I got $60 more than I paid for it (which won’t cover my gas, time, the $10 pouch for the transmitter, $20 pouch of the iPod, yadda, yadda, yadda).

What really got to me was as I was trying to figure out how to make it work, I came across a number of solutions, all of which fall short. There’s software for the iPhone and the iPod touch that have differing degrees of accuracy (if you are using the accelerometer on the Touch or the iPhone GPS), but no heart rate monitor with this route. The iPod Nano works and one of the two versions does connect to the heart rate monitor but neither version has GPS. None of the Nike methods (this watch or a simple wrist band) have music. There’s at least 6 variations, none of which have the complete feature set. It’s really too bad – all the pieces are there to have a unique solution that has never been in the market, instead there’s a bunch of solutions, all of which competitors have already had out in the marketplace. Granted, it’s simple to use and the best looking one out there, but how many geeks are willing to pay to upgrade to a better looking pocket protector?

Productivity Booster

Q1 is Over

Q1 2011
Goals for Q1 2011

The first quarter has already come and gone, and thankfully it took the snow with it. On my quarterly goals things are looking very good, financially the taxes are done and charitable donations are on track thanks to the Run to Home Base (wouldn’t it be great to sponsor me to support Veterans with traumatic brain injury and PTSD?).

Family goals are on track with a big summer trip to catch up with everyone, the personal goals are going well thanks to training on my running technique – ChiRunning which has allowed me to both increase my amount of training and reduce fatigue at the same time. It took me a while to come up with my one “Something Fun” goal, until last month when tickets went on sale for Peter Gabriel and Def Leppard –¬† my fun will be a summer 80’s revival. Work is going well and Marketing Over Coffee continues to be a lot of fun with the LinkedIn group picking up steam.

I’m glad I stopped to look back because it seems like this last quarter has been¬† a whole lot of pain, but at least a lot got done. How was Q1 for you?