Standing All Day

I am going to try to stand for the most of the day, all month. I don’t know if this challenge is going to work, but I am going to give it a shot. There was an article about a reporter who tried just this in April of this year. He took it to the extreme (standing during a movie, standing during meals, etc). I am setting different rules for myself that will eliminate some of the awkwardness. The only times I will not be standing are:

  • Bathroom visits (duh)
  • Driving
  • Sleeping
  • Eating

Otherwise, I will be standing.

Yesterday, I spent all day standing and my feet hurt. I was shuffling from foot to foot to try to get relief. The normally mundane and boring drive home? It was the best drive ever. My feet thanked the people clogging the roads and wished for my congestion. I went to bed earlier yesterday because I was so tired from standing and slept like a log.

The article goes into details about why we shouldn’t sit so much (lower’s good cholesterol, earlier death, etc). It also goes into why we shouldn’t stand all day. It is a good read, informative and entertaining.

Here I go, starting day two of standing.

Edit: The time I spend on the treadmill will be sitting time.

400 miles since I started tracking on Nike Plus on August 11, 2013.

Amazon’s Missed Opportunity

It looks like the collective reaction to Amazon’s announcement of the Fire Phone was “meh”. The head/eye tracking that Amazon put together for the phone is a gimmick and has not gotten man excited about the phone.

Amazon missed an opportunity to sell their services. The head tracking tech, while kind of “wow”, is not something that is integral into what Amazon does. What Amazon should have done was create a phone like the Yota Phone (or work with Yota Phone).

The front of the Yota Phone looks like any other smartphone. It is the back that makes it special. The back of the Yota Phone is an eInk screen. Why would this have been a better avenue for Amazon rather than a gimmicky head tracking system? It is simple: Amazon Kindle. The head tracking does not bring any benefits to the consumer, but think about how great it would be to let consumers use their phones like a true eInk paper Kindle.

Watch movies and listen to music using the front LCD screen, flip over and read Kindle books using the eInk screen. It brings to the table something useful based on all of what Amazon offers.

If Amazon were to do something like this, I would seriously think about picking up a Kindle Phone. As it stands, the Kindle Phone is just a one-trick pony that does not bring anything useful to an already crowded smartphone market.

End of Running Ten Days

I challenged myself to run ten days in a row and I finished tonight. Physically, I feel like hell. Mentally, I feel great that I finished. I ran a total of 23.28 miles at an average pace of 9 minutes and 36 seconds per mile. My longest run was 4.27 miles and my shortest was 1 mile; I ran four 5k’s during my ten days and my fastest mile was an eight minute mile.

I started out strong in the first few days, running like mad. But, near the end, especially these last three days, things started to ache and hurt — most especially my knees. So, what did I learn? A week of running straight is definitely doable. Anything after that, I think I risk injury. I am going to enjoy a few days of rest, then it is back to running normally again — though I think I will add shorter runs during the days that I take as rest days. For now though, it is time to enjoy the couch and some TV.

Ten Days of Running

I usually run every few days — Tuesdays; Thursdays; and either Saturday or Sunday. But, after my run on Sunday, I wonder what running a few days in a row would be like. So, I figured ten days is a nice number (since I could count that with my fingers). I wondered if I could make it; if I would be sore all the time; and if I did make it, would I continue to go.

My ad hoc plan? Run my normal long runs (3-6 miles) on Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays. On my “off days”, run shorter runs (1-2 miles) but at a faster pace. Today, I finished my fourth day of running - one mile at an 8min/mi pace and one mile at a 10min/mi pace.

So far over the last four days, I have tallied 10 miles. I am planning on 18 more miles by the time I finish day 10.

Podcasts

Earlier this year, I started listening to podcasts during my commutes. I don’t know why I had not done this earlier, but I am glad I started. I find podcasts informative and interesting. I listen to a few NPR podcasts, the Official Playstation blogcast, StarTalk Radio, and a few other science related podcasts. The way that I was listening to podcasts was via the Stitcher app on my iPhone.

Stitcher worked great and while they inserted ads from time to time, it was not egregious. That is until recently. Just a few weeks ago, Stitcher started inserting an ad after almost every podcast and this gets annoying — especially because I listen to some 60-second podcasts from Scientific American. Not only did Stitcher insert a copious amount of ads, they were usually the same ad over and over again (the last two weeks it was an ad for Lone Survivor).

Last week, I received an email from the Stitcher CEO, Noah Shanok, apologizing for the extreme amounts of ads. The email highlighted Stitcher Plus, which makes Stitcher an ad-free listening experience for $2 a month. It also highlighted the fact that Stitcher shares ad revenue with their content partners, though it does not specify what amount. And it makes an effort to emphasize that Sticher’s business model depends on ads.

I like Stitcher, but enough was enough. I switched last night to Downcast, which is a pay-once ($3) app from the iTunes App Store. It works better than Stitcher and gives me much better control of how I listen to podcasts (such as prioritizing podcasts) and also handles previously listened to podcasts better. And, instead of paying a monthly subscription to not have an app run ads, it is a one-time payment to buy the app.

One other thing I have noticed is that the audio quality of the podcasts are much better with Downcast. From what I have found, Downcast downloads the podcasts directly from the podcasts creators, using links from their RSS feeds. Stitcher, on the other hand, downloads the podcasts to their server and recompresses them in order to make the podcasts streamable over a mobile connection. The difference in audio quality is quite noticeable.

Stitcher may want to re-evaluate the amount of ads they are running, the frequency of which those ads are run compared to the length of the podcasts and if an ad-based business model will be sustainable. I don’t know if I will return to using Stitcher in the near future, but I wish them the best.