Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

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Evernote: The Myth, The Legend

November 14, 2012

Let me be clear up front I am an Evernote fanboy and I have been really since it has existed. I can take notes in a meeting, or jot down some work ideas at the doctor’s office on my iPad and it is all available everywhere on any device. I can’t sell this point enough for me, it is really important for it to not be locked up in some proprietary mess of an application but I digress away from the technical and will save that for my other blog. I mean I literally use Evernote all the time, that and Dropbox are definitely my two favorite “cloud” services ever. This takes us to this morning…

I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room like every Wednesday jotting some notes down and noticed there were some updates for my Android device. While I was updating I surfed around Google’s Play Store and then I saw it, right there staring me in the face, I didn’t know how long it had been there and I didn’t care, it had to be mine. The “it” in this case was Evernote Food which is basically Evernote all prettied up to be a food journal. It allows you to upload pictures of the food and caption/tag them for posterity and sharing later. This is fantastic if you want to keep a food journal (like I want to) but are too lazy to write down everything you eat. Also, I really like them branching off their core technology to offer niche services.

I haven’t messed with it too much because I just found it this morning but I am looking forward to exploring it quite a bit. Hopefully it won’t sour on me like most shiny new things I like but we’ll see.  Again to sum up, Evernote is awesome, you should be using it, no they don’t pay me and Evernote Food seems like a great idea.

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Workout Update: Week Four

September 27, 2012

Well I’ve kept at it for roughly four weeks now. This week I bumped up both my elliptical and my stationary bike training, going 30 minutes on the former and 20 on the latter. Then about 15 minutes of weight training. I do that about four times a week and in the intervals I do kickboxing or absolutely nothing. I’m starting to build up some restraint for my hatred of the whole activity and am noticing my stamina increasing quite a bit. I’ve also started taking the stairs at work for a quick hit during the day, we’re only three floors up but it’s something, I also take the stairs at most of my doctor’s appointments except the ones on like the tenth floor, I’m not that brave yet. 🙂

I have also started hating my Nike FuelBand and I’ve had the FitBit Zip for a little while now and I don’t care for it much either. Next month I’m going to try to acquire another piece of tracking tech and I’ll review that here. The FitBit Zip has great battery life but doesn’t see any more accurate than the FuelBand. The FuelBand has a terrible battery and needs to be charged no less than every other day but usually every day. I’m still considering taking up jogging and I’m going to discuss it with my doctor in the next couple weeks so more to come on that as well.

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Workout Plan Part I or Nike Got Me Again

August 27, 2012

Here is the truth, completely unadulterated, I hate working out. I hate ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes (hate the least). The only things I don’t mind too much are the heavy bag and lifting weights, that’s because I really like to hit things and work out my frustrations that way. Basically, I guess, I hate cardio, even when I was younger and more in shape I hated cardio. Now that that is out of the way and I’m trying to get myself healthier I guess I’m figuring out that working out is a necessary evil because, well, I don’t want to be all flabby when the rest of this weight comes off and working out is the only way I know of to avoid that. I’m building a new routine that is heavy on the cardio (because that’s the best way to tone up and shed fat so even though I hate it, I’m going to do it) and uses light weights and kickboxing (because I love those activities). Basically to augment all of that I want to increase my daily activity like taking the stairs, walking around more and possibly, though I’m not completely sold on it, running. The geek side of me said I needed to measure my current activity so I can know what I’m increasing from. Enter Nike+ Fuelband .

The Nike+ Fuelband is basically a really fancy pedometer that keeps track of steps, calories burned (estimated) and your accumulated “NikeFuel.” NikeFuel is a completely made up metric that is entirely useless, the ones I care about are the steps (activity) and calories burned (estimated is better than nothing). I got my Fuelband today and got it all set up, it was painfully easy to do, just plug the thing in to the USB port, go to the website on the box and click next while answering questions. After you let it charge, which is quick, you put the thing on and it just collects the data about you. So far I have only one real complaint about it, it is uncomfortable, especially when trying to type so I doubt I’ll be wearing it much while at my desk or sleeping but otherwise it will probably be okay. I’ll update more as I use it and maybe post some pretty screenshots of my progress, etc. Wish me luck.

 

 

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Google Alerts for Your Health

August 19, 2012

Today I got yelled at for “knowing too much” and “being too geeky.” The truth is, I don’t know that much but I am geeky so that might be why it appears I know a lot, I dunno. At any rate the thing I “knew too much” about was West Nile Virus, given my immune system problems and my living proximity to large bodies of water it kinda pays to be up on that stuff. The simple truth is, I don’t have time to search for various stories, etc about West Nile or food recalls or whatever else I might want to know about so I let Google do my work for me. This is a feature that I thought was pretty well known in Google but apparently not because a few folks I talked with today had no idea what I was talking about so I thought I would demonstrate it.

1) Go to http://www.google.com/alerts

2) Under Result type, choose News (this gives you the most relevant information about a new event)

3) Under How Often, choose how frequently you want to be alerted (I choose As-it-happens) for important stuff, like West Nile

4) Under How Many, choose “Only the best result”

5) Finally under “Deliver to” choose your email address or choose “Feed” and it will create a feed for you. I will sometimes use a special email address for important things so that I am always alerted when a Google alert comes in.

Check out the video for a quick demo:

You can pretty much set up these type of alerts for anything. I’ve used them for food recalls (both human and dog), the aforementioned west nile and for the various medications I used to take. I also use it heavily for my job, which is great.  There are literally countless applications for it. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.