Monday, February 18, 2008

Nike + iPod

A few years back Adidas came out with the Adidas 1 running shoe.  It was $250 and had a small computer in each shoe that adjusted the cushioning of the shoe based on the type of surface it detected that you are running on.  I, of course, bought a pair at Sports Chalet, which apparently does not employ runners/joggers.  The guy knew nothing about the shoe.

I didn’t really start using them until I bought the Nike + iPod sensor.  One sensor goes on your shoe (while Nike shoes have a special built-in area for them, I simply attached it via a Velcro money holder to my Adidas) and the other goes in your iPod Nano.  It then tracks speed and distance, and you can set your jog to music, with a “power song” when you need inspiration.  (I don’t like running to music with words.  I don’t need to hear John Meyer whine about something while jogging.  I feel that nothing goes better with running than trance music.  I have the ultimate mix, which I’ll post here shortly.)  Once you are done with your run, you sync your ipod with your computer, and it transmits the data to a personal website where you can see all of your runs, set goals, and challenge others.  It’s really the only thing that has motivated me to run since high school, when I ran track.  (Well, even then, I’d run to my house and watch MTV when we were supposed to be up on Mount Um Un Num (sp?) running).

By using the Nike + iPod, I lost 15 pounds and began thinking about doing a mini-triathlon.  But then my feet started killing me, and my toe nails on my big toes actually died (they turned a cool blue/black shade). 

This happened last September, and I stopped running.  I tried to buy new shoes at the usual suspects…Nordstrom, Foot Locker, SportsMart, but the staff at each of these were completely clueless.  Nordstrom was especially disappointing.  The Nordstrom at Arden Fair in Sacramento either hires the mentally challenged, or the real workers were tied up in the back while I was there.  I felt like I was an extra on a Fast and Furious movie.  But I digress.  I finally found a store specifically for runners.  It’s called Fleet Feet, and they appear to hire actual runners.  (Either that, or the sales chick was bulimic).  They spend 15 minutes analyzing your gait as well as foot/ankle positioning.  The sales girl recognized that my left ankle was buckling in (I broke it twice), which caused my arch to collapse, and she recommended an ASIC shoe with a lot of heel support.  She also told me that I should go up ½ size for running shoes, and she said my Adidas were too small, which was causing my pain/toe nail issues.

Unfortunately, the pair she recommended were only $100, and she actually recommended against buying the $180 model that was dark blue with silver.  I bought the cheapo pair anyway, along with some $10 running socks from South Africa.  I’ve been running for a couple days now and the shoes make a huge difference.  I’m not up to 5 miles a day again yet, but should be shortly.  I’ve hope that I’ve motivated you to get off your fat ass and start running.



Friday, February 01, 2008

Apple Airbook: Better Buy a Big Carrying Case

You waited in line for an iPhone and you pre-ordered the Airbook, which arrived today. You excitedly put on your coolest clothes...your 7 For Mankind jeans, Dsquared2 shirt, John Varvatos loafers and you even pulled out your Alain Mikli glasses (although your vision is 20/20). As you walked to the Starbucks on Chestnut, you beemed with pride, knowing that every other tech tool in the place would be impressed. And they were. Until you started pulling out USB hubs and a bunch of other mis-matched peripherals and plugging them into the Airbook. Your pride turned to shame as you powered down your ultra thin laptop and headed back to your depressingly small, overpriced flat in the Marina.

The ads for the new Airbook show it being pulled out of a manila envelope.  If you buy one, you better keep that envelope in a big laptop bag so that you can hold all the peripherals you’ll need.


No Wi-Fi access? To connect to a wired ethernet network you’ll need a $29 add-on USB adapter.  But wait!  The wonderfully designed Airbook only has one USB port, so you’ll also need to have a USB hub!  You also get the pleasure of buying an external DVD/CD drive, and the Airbook lacks firewire capability.


Battery life?  No worries.  You won’t have to carry around a heavy spare battery. You simply need to send the Airbook in for service!  You’ll likely be very familiar with the service department.  Given the Airbook’s thinness, it’ll be crushed by the peripherals in your laptop bag.