Friday, June 29, 2012

People Running with Gadgets Part 2: My Decision

Running is a great way to relieve stress.  It frees endorphines and can make you feel good about yourself.  I like to run with music, and I also like to keep track of how I do.  For about the past year or so I have been using Endomondo along with there free android app on my Droid X.  This has been great until recently.  Lately every time my headphone jack would move my music would pause and then I would be forced to run in silence.  Or even better it would continuously pause/play/pause/play until I rebooted my phone.  To put this lightly, it became really annoying.  A couple posts back I spoke about running with Gadgets and I put a lot of thought into if I need a new device or not (my wife will be so proud).

I finally decided that I don't really need a new device as my device does everything I want it to, just the headphone jack is being stupid, why punish the whole thing.  So after looking at countless reviews I decided on the Moto HD Bluetooth headphones.  They are really zazzy, errr, umm, I mean nice, and here is my pro/con list after a couple uses:

- Lite weight
- Stay charged for a long time
- The buttons to change songs, pause, answer calls, etc.. work really well. Being able to change your song while on the run, awesome.  For you smartphone going folk that use a arm band, you know what I mean.
- The microphone works well for calls.  The two people I asked said they couldn't tell a difference (this is a good thing)
- $50, originally 80 somethin', thanks amazon.

Somewhere Between a pro and a con
- Long term comfort is okay.  After about 3 hours of wearing them the side of my head felt the pressure but they were fine while I was actually running for about 30 minutes.
- At first they feel like they are going to fall off but they don't.  Just takes getting used to them.

- Randomly turned off while I was on the phone the other day, hmf, but turned it back on and it was fine.  Weird
- One size fits all, no adjustments.  I have a fairly regular shaped head (I think) and they fit well but not all people are created equal

Being able to change songs in a middle of a run by a click of a button is awesome.  However, unless you have a moto sized head (see what I did there ;) ) they might not fit correctly.  I would recommend them, but maybe try them out in a store first to make sure they fit.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life on the Road

I recently moved my whole life from Michigan to Wisconsin.  During this transition we drove back and forth about 4 times for job interviews, apartment showings, etc.  While travelling back and forth we found a couple things necessary for survival.

1) If you see the Oasis (a rest stop for all you Michiganders), STOP!  Driving on the tollway there was only 2 rest stops (where you didn't have to pay to get off then pay to get back on).  If you even remotely have to relieve yourself, I suggest you stop here.

2) Start looking for Gas stations when you only have 1/4th of a tank left.  That way you don't find yourself grabbing gas in a shady town (like Gary, IN).

3) If the exit says there is a gas station, but you can't see it, keep on truckin', there will be one at the next exit.  I found this one out the hard way.  I travelled 20 minutes out of my way (twice) in search for said gas station.  Never again!

4) Avoid driving through downtown Chicago unless you are going to Chicago

5) Google Navigation is great unless you don't want to take the exact route it suggests.  If you do research on your route using Google maps before you go, you can save the map route for later, but you can't access it via your phone so you might have to print it out.  If you wanna be really slick print the directions to PDF and upload it to Google Drive.  When your done with the trip, throw it out.

6) Be skeptical of the moving company estimates.  Moving companies are all cut throat (I won't name names, but they are out there).  They will all try to under bid each other and try to convince you the other companies are ran by the devil.  Be very careful about shuttle trucks.  Some companies include them in the estimate, some don't, but if you need one because the haller can't get in your apartment you will be paying about 600 more dollars on each side of the journey.  When you want your stuff might be important.  The hallers might have other people's stuff with yours.  If that is the case, you might have to wait a couple days in order for your things to arrive.  We went with Two Men and a Truck, they were awesome.  They didn't have a haller, just 2 guys, and a truck.  They didn't share the truck with another client, and it was still cheaper than the others.  Mostly due to no shuttle because it wasn't a semi.

7) Just because Google Navigation says that you can take the ferry whenever you want doesn't mean there will be a boat waiting for you at the dock. (more about this later)

8) Verify your GPS route before you start driving (otherwise #7 may happen).  This almost happened to my wife.  She typed in the coordinates and set off with our cats (that were both drugged up and in carriers).  About 20 minutes into her drive she realized she was headed to Muskegon to catch a ferry, she was all like "WTF mate".  She quickly found a better route, but if it was her first time driving there she would have had #7 happen to her.

9) If you are redirected in Google Navigation, your major route might have changed.  This seems like a bug in the software to me.  If i'm set on going a specific way, but I get off the road to grab a hot dog with chilli, onions, and stuff (mmm, that sounds sooo good) should my route change?  I wouldn't think so but I've seen it happen.  Steps to recreate: go somewhere that has alternate route, take the alternate route but before you get to the part where it is different make a pit stop somewhere.  The nav will redirect you to get back on the highway (like it should), but then when you continue on you are set back to the normal route and not the alternative like you requested.  Are you listening Google???

Overall, moving is stressful.  New jobs, house, state, etc...  Coordinating it could not have been done alone.  A big thanks goes out to my wife who helped me though it.  Couldn't have done it without ya :)

Fitness note:
Wisconsin has a shit load of hills!  Its crazy!  Running/biking is a lot harder here.  If you need some tips on running hills, here is my post on that.  I'm trying to bike more so I can work up to biking to/from work (which is 11.1 miles each way).  Wish me luck!

Does anyone have any good tips when travelling by car/plane/boat/superman?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gadget People Go Running Too

Gadgets are EVERYWHERE!  There is a gadget and/or an app for just about everything you can imagine.   The old days of running are gone.  Majority of people you see running today have the ear buds in connected to some type of fancy device.  There are so many choices to what that device could be.  You have: your smart phone, ipod, GPS device, other MP3 player, etc...  So which to choose, I leave it up to you...

Smart Phone:
The great things about using your smart phone is: 
1) You should have a lot of music on there, or Pandora is always available.
2) You can use awesome applications like Zombie walk and Endomondo to help keep track of your progress
3) Built in GPS so you can track where you go
4) One device to rule them all, no additional hardware so no additional cost (assuming you have a smartphone)

The lame things about using your smart phone: 
1) If you sweat a lot the smart phone gets wet, that isn't covered under most phone insurance,
2) the GPS on most phones suck the life out of your battery.  Once your battery is drained you are stuck by a wall charging said smart phone OR you go without your amazing device.  (the latter makes me sad and stuff).
3) To bulky for an arm band.  I found smart phones are turning more and more into Zach Morris style phones when it comes to size.

iPod Nano:

The great things:
Small, Nike+, Genius feature, price tag, watch, itunes

The lame things:
1) NO GPS,
2) no one knows if you need the tab for your shoe or not (not even the apple geeks),
3) Not sure if sweat resistant.
4) itunes (notice it is a great and lame thing)


The great things:
1) It has the display like the kindle,
2) it integrates with your phone wonderfully (iphone/android/crackberry),
3) Open SDK so nerds can create apps

The not so great things:
1) You still have to lug around your smartphone (I think its hilarious that we think that carrying around a little smart phone is a pain).
2) You have to have a smartphone and a pebble
3) price, 150 for an accessory of your phone?....


The great:
1) All in one device: music, GPS, watch, timer
2) has wifi for auto upload to the intertubes (assuming you have wifi)
3) has bluetooth, everything is better with bluetooth,
4) Sweat resistant
5) Neat accessory list: watch, arm band, bluetooth headphones (with heart monitor?), heart monitor
6) Its a watch too

The not so great:
1) Its the first model that moto has come out with, might wait for version 2.
2) It runs on Android, so if they keep developing on it then it will be awesome, but if it fails then not so much.  Kind of a gamble in that aspect
3) Price, 250 for just the base model, then you have to get the arm band or watch accessory which runs another 20 or so.

Garmin Device

1) Top of the line GPS
2) durable

Not so great:
1) No watch


j/k, just making sure you were still paying attention :)  Can you imagine though, someone running with an ipad, bhahahaha.  Actually though, I've seen people running with them on a treadmill, or a stationary bike.

The End Result:

It depends on what you will use it for and how often you drop things.  The great thing about so many different types of devices is the selection.  If you don't like what you have then do you didn't do enough research before purchasing your device for running, or you fell victim to false advertisement.

So what do you guys/gals run with?  If you were to pick out a new device what would you pick?