Archive for July, 2006

A Sign

July 31st, 2006, 3:01am by Jake

The Entourage gang (Vinnie, Drama, Turtle & E) is going to Vegas next week. It must be a sign. How does it start anyways.

Duck Tours and PawSox

July 30th, 2006, 6:27pm by Mike

Joanie surprised me this weekend with a full day of birthday activities, highlighted by a Duck Tour of Boston and a trip to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to see the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox play the Buffalo Bisons. I put some pictures up if you want to feel like you were part of the festivities!

New GPS Watch

July 27th, 2006, 11:55pm by Jake

So last week I went to grab the Garmin Forerunner 201 and it was dead. I tried to charge it & nothing. This was the day of my latest 5K race, and I was worried how I would pace myself without it. I ended up doing OK, running a personal-best of 23:12, but by that time it was too late. I had already ordered the Forerunner 305 from some eBay reseller for $260. The 201 was nice, but the 305 is totally next-level. Besides coming with a heart-rate monitor, it now lets you train against yourself (or others) over the same course you’ve run in the past. 160×128 pixel display can create excelent images. It’s supposed to have improved reception, and it can even integrate with your bike to measure your cadence. Plus, the display can now show up to 4 fields of information, with the 2 main screens and 1 sport-specific screen (running, biking, other) completely customizable. I already downloaded someone’s map of last year’s San Francisco Half Marathon from the MotionBased website, although the course may have changed.
I think I’d be a fan of the Nike+iPod solution, but I like all the extras I get with the GPS, especially the multi-sport capability. And it’s been known for a long time that I really like gadget watches, be it GPS or pager. I noticed that other runners can appreciate the technology in much simpler watches.

The weather is crazy!

July 23rd, 2006, 2:01pm by Jake

Tower Strike from Dan90266

It’s been hot in California for over a week now, but this weekend is off the charts. Yesterday there were record highs all over California (and the rest of the country, from a hot 86 degrees at LAX (a new record), near 100 downtown, upwards of 113 in Santa Clarita & all the way up the central valley past San Francisco. Even worse, along the coast there’s been significant humidity too. Just after I turned around on my run today, it started to drizzle. Then I heard some distant thunderclaps and it started raining harder. In the last 1/4 mile, there was a lightning strike that must have been within a few hundred feet of me, because there was only half a beat between thunder & lightning. Crazy. It’s pouring now, and we got thunderstorms last night, too. This is the strangest summer weather since I moved to California– I remember a few squalls but nothing sustained like this. How is everyone else surviving?


July 22nd, 2006, 7:49am by Mike

Last weekend, I decided that I would like to both protect my eyes from bright sunlight and be able to read outside (books on the beach, street signs while driving, etc), so I bought some prescription sunglasses (note: AAA membership saves you 30% at LensCrafters on any prescription — the membership pays for itself in one visit). I chose some Ray-Bans, and in “about an hour,” my glasses were ready.
Minutes after walking out of the mall, I began noticing something weird — that almost every car on the road had weird spots on their rear window that weren’t visible without my new polarized lenses. The dots appear in a regular pattern across the glass, as shown on the photo above (linked from here), and are visible on my car, too — but strangely, not on the windshield. Searching the web for an explanation, I found a post on a builders’ website called Window Film Magazine, a site devoted mainly to glass used in buildings:

Polarized sunglasses also will allow the wearer to see the difference in density of tempered glass at the point where each cooling jet was blowing air on the hot surface during the tempering process. They show as spots in a grid pattern (these can be seen with the naked eye sometimes as white spots in tempered auto glass, it’s not normal for them to be visible in this way) and the tempered surface displays rainbow due to the surfaces stresses as well as the fact that it isn’t a perfectly flat plane.

Other clear screens, like my iPod screen, show the rainbow effect described there. As it turns out, this isn’t seen in windshield because windshields are laminated, not tempered in the same way (which is great, since it would make it nearly impossible to drive with polarized sunglasses!). I have noticed that it cuts down on the glare dramatically, particularly that from other cars’ windshields — haven’t tried them at the beach yet.

Yahoo sells a normal MP3!

July 21st, 2006, 11:26am by Kelvin

Via engadget, Yahoo Music has started selling a Jessica Simpson song as a normal mp3 (DRM-free). If that’s not enough of a gimmick, you can customize the song with your name, so it appears in the lyrics. Sounds like they’re trying to trick you into incriminating yourself when your version of the song appears on bit torrent!
I’m totally gonna buy it (the song, “A Public Affair,” is not on AllOfMP3– i had to shop around, after all).

4th of July

July 19th, 2006, 1:49am by Derrick


We spent the 4th of July long weekend up in the Bay Area.
Read on for more if interested…


18th Place

July 19th, 2006, 12:35am by Derrick

So Money Magazine just came out with their Top 100 Best Places to Live, and Santa Clarita came in at #18! Apparently strip malls, track homes, and chain restaurants have a real appeal to the masses. The 100 degree weather in the summer also must be quite a draw, though the statistics listed low-ball the high temp in July as only 94.

3M Trip

July 16th, 2006, 9:49pm by Mike

We just got back from our “3M” trip — no, not a trip to the maker of Scotch tape, but rather to three places that start with the letter M — Martha’s Vineyard (with Joanie’s parents), Madison (to see friends from college), and Minneapolis (to see Keith and Molly, and their baby AJ, as well as our friends Jon and Anna from MIT). If you’re interested, I put together a little photo album.


July 16th, 2006, 9:31pm by Mike

Ever since it was announced, we’ve been excited about the Nike+iPod joint venture, which basically is comprised of a shoe-mounted transmitter which communicates with a receiver attached to an iPod nano. New software for the nano allows you to track how far you’ve run, pair music with your run, give audio feedback, and much more. While it only costs $30 for all this, it supposedly also requires a pair of $100 Nike shoes (and the nano). Yesterday, while we were at the mall, we stopped by the Apple Store and decided to throw caution to the wind, plunk down our hard-earned cash, and see if we could make it work without having to buy new shoes.
The sensor is about the size of a postage stamp, and about the thickness of two quarters. Designed to go into the shoe (the official Nike shoes have a cavity in the shoe’s midsole for the transmitter), our idea (and that of others) was to attach the transmitter using a shoe-wallet attached to the laces on the outside of the shoe.
Step 1: Buying the supplies. There were a bunch of kits at the Apple Store, and even a customer who was wearing the shoes and had his iPod headphones on, bragging that he had it in his shoe right then. After buying the sport kit, we continued walking around the mall, to the usual mall “sporting goods” stores (i.e., not real sports stores) — FootLocker and the like, looking for the shoe wallet. Of the 3 stores we went into, ALL 3 were selling the kit, and the shoes. And none were selling shoe wallets. For our first try, then, it’ll just be stuffed under the laces on top of the shoe (which has also been done, and apparently works fine), and if that doesn’t work, it’s off to either a real running store or to Niketown.
Step 2: Updating iTunes to 6.0.5, and running an iPod updater. No problems there.
Step 3: The first test. We walked from our house to Harvard Square. We set the desired workout to 2 miles, and started walking. We were in the middle of Harvard Yard when the voice announced that we had gone 1 mile (we also bought a drink, so walked a little in there). At the 1-mile point, we turned around and headed for home, aiming to see whether it would say 2 miles when we got home. It was off by about 25 yards, which is probably about how much we walked around in the convenience store. And this is without using the manual calibration. Awesome.
Step 4: Uploading data to When the iPod was connected to the computer, it automatically uploaded. When we went to the website to see what happened, this is what we saw. It automatically records the splits and pace at every mile, and also at intermediate points whenever you hit the center button (prompting the voice to tell you the time and distance during the workout). It also calculates calories burned, based I guess on the weight you input.
Things it doesn’t seem to do (at least, we can’t figure out easily):
— Allow you to put in workouts that didn’t involve the Nike+iPod
— Export workouts to a spreadsheet-compatible file
— Delete workouts (like our walk tonight)
Hopefully, they’ll work it out to hook the Nike+iPod data into the training log on the Nike Running website.
In summary: I am completely impressed with this thing. It’s truly incredible how easy it all is, how well it all works, and how cheap it is. On the downside, it’s not a complete workout-tracking solution — for example, Jake will not be pleased with the lack of data analysis tools on the website. But with basic time and distance, it’s easy enough to plug that data into Excel manually, as I’m sure most people do now with their watches. Stay tuned for tales from the road under real running conditions!

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