Topic Stew

Question: What do my ADHD and Friday blog posts have in common?

Answer: An inability to stay focused on one topic.

So fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Running and judging progress

I suck at judging my progress in my exercising or weight loss programs. What I mean is, I forget where I started and focus on the now and often that now looks like I’m not progressing.

For instance, in running, if you were to ask me have I improved any, I’d probably say, “a little.” Because I can’t see, or remember, where I used to be. And I even keep a training log! I just don’t look at it.

So when Facebook wanted me to post a memory from last year, I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, because I finally had concrete evidence that I have improved. Here is that memory:

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How things were back on April 26, 2016

That is from April of last year. My Facebook comment was something like, “Look what I did!” and I was proud of it. I had run one and a half miles in under twenty minutes at an average of 4.6 mph!

So when I saw that, I really was amazed to realize I had indeed made a ton of progress. Just recently I set a personal best running the 5k (3.11 miles) on the treadmill in 28:45 minutes at a 6.5 mph average.

Sometimes you need to look back to move forward.

Weigh-in Friday

I broke the 200 pound barrier! Whoohoo! 199.9, baby! Booyah!

Earbuds and driving

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people driving around with earbuds on. Seriously? You’re behind the wheel of a 2000 pound bomb! All your attention should be focused on safe driving, not distracted and deaf to everything around you.

Why do they do that? Do they think it makes for safe, hands-free phone use? Maybe, but now you can’t hear emergency vehicles and other sounds that could warn you of impending dangers.

If that’s the reason, then get a single-ear Bluetooth device so you still have one ear free to listen to the traffic sounds around you.

If, on the other hand, you’re listening to music, well, then you’re just an irresponsible asshole. Get off the road.

I thought for sure earphone wearing while driving was illegal, but I checked. Guess What? It’s legal in 35 states! That’s whack. And you’re still an asshole.

Another advantage to driving stick

Unless I chew gum or munch on candy (which isn’t good for my teeth or diet) while I drive, I have the unconscious habit of biting my nails and cuticles, often to bleeding. Hey, I said it was unconscious.

But I’ve been driving stick now for over a week and I just realized, I haven’t been biting my nails. I guess because I need both hands to drive there isn’t any time to gnaw.

Bluetooth woes

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know how much I can’t stand my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge because of a whole laundry list of reasons.

Add “the Bluetooth sucks” to that list. It just won’t connect to the Blue&Me in my Fiat. I’ve tried deleting a ton of apps in case they were interfering and it finally manaves to pair, but it still won’t connect, which is weird, right? It’ll pair but not connect?

Red Sox fans hurling epithets

For many of us, the news this week of Red Sox fans shouting racial slurs and epithets is downright shocking. Seriously? We aren’t past this yet? Sure, I admit we haven’t eliminated racism, but many of us thought we had at least sent that sort of pig ignorance underground, made it so racists could no longer be overt about their hatred unless they wanted to be severely castigated by intelligent society for their repugnant views.

But now, it seems racist and bigoted thoughts have risen from under whatever rock they had been hiding under and are becoming normalized. Why? Because of Trump, that’s why. He’s made that sort of hatred and vile judgemental anger acceptable among his voting base. 

And that is why they are deplorable.

And speaking of deplorable pig ignorance

Hasn’t this man — sorry, Trump isn’t a man, he’s got all the emotional maturity of a child — hasn’t this illegitimate buffoon said, and done, enough ignorant bullshit to get him impeached? I mean, Andrew Jackson is just the latest in showing off his amazing stupidity. Hasn’t he embarrassed us enough on the world stage? Aren’t Americans fed up enough with his lying, cheating, and vacation golf every weekend to shout a collective “you’re fired!” yet? Haven’t we learned by now that “Make America Great” really means “Make America Great Again for Trump and his family and businesses at the expense of the poor and middle class?”

Isn’t it time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and get this orange asshole out of office?

And speaking of orange assholes, Milwaukee has a statue dedicated to Trump:

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Trump’s orange anus

Thank god it’s Friday!

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tomtom gone gone

In Friday’s blog post, I wrote that I had just purchased a Tomtom Runner Cardio and I detailed my thoughts on it up to that point.

My prime concern at the time was the tomtom wasn’t syncing. I had wasted an evening and an entire next day trying to get it to sync. I tried everything, including unlinking the tomtom from my smartphone, turning off bluetooth, uninstalling the tomtom sport app, shutting down and restarting the smartphone and on and on and on. Nothing worked.

After I got back home that evening, I plugged it into the computer to see if I could get it to sync. I had plugged it into the computer when I first got it to charge it. This time I plugged it in and it started downloading an update, as well as a GPS map. I’m not sure why it didn’t install the update when I first plugged the watch in, but there you go.

After the updates were done installing, I went through the whole process of reinstalling the tomtom sport app, turning on bluetooth, and trying to get the phone and watch to sync.

This time, they synced. Yay!

Now I could play with it. So I went running on my treadmill. The tomtom Runner Cardio seemed to do a pretty good job figuring out my speed and tracked my treadmill run as well as the treadmill itself did. Yay! That was the main reason I bought the watch, because as I said, I do a lot of treadmill running, especially  in the winter.

Two issues down. Now to play with the app itself. Well, let me tell you, the app still sucks. It’s as minimalistic as they come. Maybe that’s because the watch itself is very simplistic, only designed to track running, outside or on a treadmill, so the app has very few features.

Sure it has some great feedback for the run. But it really doesn’t do much else.

Unlike the Garmin or Fitbit phone app, which have several useful features to help you monitor different activities, this pretty much just tracks your heartbeat and your runs.

And with regards to your heartbeat, that never seemed to show up on the app. Ever. It said something that if you wear the watch at least two hours a day, it’ll provide you with a resting heart rate. Or something. But it never did. The app never showed me anything about my heart rate.

It said it was syncing. It did upload my treadmill run info. But the heart? Nothing.

And also unlike the Garmin or Fitbit, syncing wasn’t automatic. You had to have both the app open and menu down on the watch to wake it up in order to sync. Way too much work.

So at this point, I’ve chalked the watch up as a Big Fail as a fitness watch. It doesn’t do step counting, it doesn’t monitor sleep, and the heart rate monitor is questionable at best. Sometimes it wouldn’t read anything when on my wrist, other times it was reading a heart rate of well over 100 when I was supposedly resting. So unless it realized I was stressed over the fact that the watch sucked, it just did not work very well. Additionally, the watch itself was bulky and uncomfortable. Not to mention, the app is a fail as well. Too minimal in feedback to even be useful.

So the bottom line? I’ve returned the tomtom Runner Cardio. I’m not sure I’d even recommend it to people who just want it for running. It was just too unreliable.

And I’ve picked up the Misfit Shine 2 in red. The fitness tracker I should have gotten the first place.

Maybe I’ll post a review. Maybe not. I already know the Misfit phone app is pretty awesome because my wife has the Misfit Ray. And the Misfit Shine 2 is similar in function to the Misfit Ray, it just has a different look to it. Both are very stylish. Both are comfortable and unobtrusive.

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Misfit Shine 2

I like red.

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2/28/2017 — I completely forgot to add one other point against the tomtom, and I believe it’s something in common with even their popular Spark model: the USB charger dock. 

TomTom Charger Dock

That bulky end piece on the left docks with the watch behind the menu button. I had some trouble getting it to fit, but then it finally clicked on.

No big deal until the watch was done downloading updates and had finished charging and it came time to disconnect.

I pulled and tugged and wiggled it, but nothing. I looked for a hidden tab or anything to indicate how it separated, but it seemed once joined it didn’t want to unjoin.

I was afraid if I used too much force, I’d damage something.

So I Googled how to disconnect the dock from the watch. It appears that is a common problem because there were tons of people asking the same thing.

The answer? Just yank hard.

Yes, well, I finally got it after several minutes of tugging, wiggling, and jerking. And the second time I attached it, removing wasn’t any easier.

So keep that in mind if you’re considering a tomtom Runner or Cardio.

TomTom needs to work on that. What’s wrong with a universal Mini-USB  plug?

The more things change…

My laptop arrived with Windows 8. I’ve been dreading the day I’d have to migrate over from Vista. I had my first exposure with Win8 last Christmas when I purchased my son a new laptop and tried to set it up beforehand so he could be up and running when Christmas Day rolled around.
I made it through the HP set-up and then was greeted by … tiles! Flashing colorful tiles! WTF is this? I was overwhelmed. What was I supposed to do? Where was I supposed to go? Where the hell was the infamous Windows Start button? I gave up and shut it down to let my son figure it out. Surprise! A new operating system nobody knows anything about! Merry Christmas.
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Well, six months have passed and I’ve watched a few videos, read portions of some books, on Windows 8. I believe now I have a vague understanding of it. So last night when I finished running the HP set-up and was greeted by the tiles, I wasn’t so intimidated. And I knew how to reach the charms, which would then take me to the Start button and Shut Down.
But the whole uproar of Windows 8 reminds me of another time when Microsoft released Windows 95. Win95 was a radical change from the familiar Win3 desktop everyone knew. Win3 was a simple GUI shell that overlay the MS-DOS core. It was almost primitive in its application. If I recall, you used the File Manager window basically opened a graphical representation of a DOS. Programs were listed alphabetically and you’d click on a folder, say MS Word, then click on the Word.exe, launching the program.
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We’d laugh at Mac users who were isolated from the inner workings of their operating system with their GUI. Heck, we could still call up the “C:” prompt and get our hands dirty working under the hood if we wanted to.
And we liked things that way.
Then Win95 came out. I first saw it at a trade show where our software company was demonstrating their latest integrated manufacturing and business management software. I was a documentation specialist, which was a fancy name for a technical writer who also did the design, layout, and desktop publishing of the documents and allowed the company to pay us a lot less than if they had hired people to do handle of those jobs. But that’s neither here nor there. And no, I’m not still bitter about it. Thanks for asking.
My point is, I had my first exposure to Win95 at that tradeshow and I was aghast. Where was menu bar? What is this “My Computer” icon all about? And WTF is this “Start” button? What if my computer is already started?  Where do I go to find my programs? And I see a start button but where’s the stop or off button?
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Then the critics started asking: Why is it named Start? Why didn’t they name it Home, or Menu, or even Launch?
Back then, the introduction of the Start button caused as much anxiety, anger, and ridicule as the elimination of it in Win8.
And you know what? We learned how to navigate that new OS.  Microsoft didn’t backpedal or cave in to public whining like they did with Win8. They left Win95 just as it was and we had to accept it. And after 18 years it had become old and familiar.
But the world was changing. The old OS was a dinosaur. There were touch screens and tablets and smartphones and Microsoft had to do something to keep up, to stay viable.
Win8 is it. So stop your whining and man up. Pick up a book, watch some YouTube videos. Learn. Accept. Embrace.
If this old DOS dinosaur can learn to use and appreciate Win8, then you young whippersnappers should be able to also.
Now get off my lawn!
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