Bootcamp = Ouch

Today, I went back to bootcamp. Ouch. According to my LoseIt app, that first foray back into pushups and box jumps and stair runs only burned me about 557 calories. Which is probably only 2/3 of the amount I’ll take in at Passover lunch with the family today.

According to the rest of me, that shit f**king hurt. Which is probably only 2/3 of the amount of pain I’ll be in tomorrow.

Oh well. At least I’ve got these awesome post workout endorphins to keep me company on the long drive back to my parents’ house. Well, those and the big bag of cookies I just bought to bring along.


iPhone Addiction: Mums the Word

If you ask any of my family or friends, they’ll tell you that I definitely have a favorite accessory. An accessory that also just so happens to be the one gadget that’s been pretty much glued to my palm since the day I first picked it out in the apple store.

It’s my iPhone. And, as much as I complain about it, I know that at the end of the day, I only have one person to blame for my full-blown iPhone addiction. And it sure ain’t Steve Jobs.

That’s why I so cherish those moments in life that help prove the practicality of having a smartphone permanently fused to my palm. And that is why I’m enjoying my mums so much.

You see, two weeks ago, I was standing in the flower aisle at my local Trader Joes trying to figure out which bouquet to buy. I love having fresh flowers in my house but I hate spending so much money on something that just dies. It hasn’t been an issue in a few years because I haven’t been able to afford extras like fresh flowers. Even now that I can, I still want to make the most of my money at the market.

So there I was, standing in the flower aisle, staring like an idiot at all these beautiful bouqets. Unlike the TJs I normally go to, this one didn’t have little signs saying how long each arrangement could be expected to last.

I was at a total dumbfounded loss. Until my phone buzzed, delivering a foursquare update and a reminder of its existence with one simple vibration. And, two clicks of my keyboard and one google search later, I had my answer. Apparently, mums WERE the word. Gorgeous yellow ones on sale for $4.99 to be exact.

Two weeks later, and the big, bright, beautiful bouqet is as big, bright and beautiful as it was the day I bought it. Google was right. And once again, my phone was handy in a totally practical way. Not that being able to play Oregon Trail while at a bar isn’t practical, but I’m not entirely sure it would stand up as a strong case for my app addiction at the local ATT anonymous meeting. Although I could always argue that the dysentery made me do it…

Foursquare: Game, Gadget or Get-Me-Off-My-Ass Magic?

Foursquare appI’m currently locked in an epic battle with someone I’ve never met. I don’t even know what my formidable foe looks like. I don’t know how old she is, whether she’s young or old. I’m not even sure if I know her real name.

I do know that she’s my stiffest competition for the title of “mayor” at the LA Fitness in Hollywood. And, I do know that the less she goes to the gym, the better my chances of victory are. Secretly, I kind of hope she spends 2010 eating bonbons and watching The Bachelor.

Where does all this epic battling and fierce fitness competition go down? Foursquare, of course. In case you’ve been living under a cave that doesn’t get 3G service, Foursquare is a location-based application you can “check in” with whenever you arrive at a new bar, restaurant, gym, etc. You get points for checking in to new venues, and the app will automatically tell all of your friends and followers where you’re at. You can also see if anyone else is checked in at the same places you are, and a lot more.

Whenever I try to explain Foursquare to people they always inevitably look at me like I’m nuts. Terms like stalker and privacy get thrown around. And inevitably, they always ask why — what’s the incentive to use it, why give people your whereabouts all the time?

Which brings me back to my battle for LA Fitness supremacy. You see, when you check in to a certain place a certain number of times, you get crowned the “mayor” of that venue. Which doesn’t mean much, unless you happen to be somewhere that gives better deals to its mayors (plenty of places do by the way). But that’s not how it works at LA Fitness.

Becoming the mayor of LA Fitness doesn’t get you any deals or discounts. It doesn’t suddenly imbue you with any magical powers, and you can’t start suddenly forcing them to schedule spinning around your work hours. But, it does come with glory — lots of glory. And all the bragging rights Twitter has to offer. And competing for that glory gives me one more reason to get my ass out of that computer chair and into the gym.

At the end of the day, I guess I’d say getting my ass out of the chair and out into the world is a huge factor for wanting to be on Foursquare.

Not only can I see where my friends are, and keep up with what they recommend doing, but it also helps me keep up with doing things myself. Seeing that so-and-so went to that bar, or spent the weekend doing that amazing activity (ahem, @laurelkaufman and her ice skating), inspires me to want to do those things too. And to want to just do things in general — things that take me far from the computer-covered cave of my daily digital existence. (Not that I don’t love my office — in fact, I’m the mayor there too, for the record).

So bring it on this 2010, my faceless fitness foe. I’ll be waiting for you by the treadmills — just look for the girl trying to figure out how to run and IM at the same time.

iPhone Food Diary: Weight Loss + iPhone = Love

Okay, so it’s not technically the new year yet. But, as anyone who has ever stood in line with me will tell you, I’m like the least patient person you’ll ever meet.

I tend to like to get things going — whether it’s starting an apartment search months before my lease is up, or kicking off a weight loss campaign before the New Year’s Eve champagne buzz even kicks in, I’m just generally impatient like that.

Which is why I’ve already chosen to try something new for my annual ‘oh-god-i’ve-gained-ten-pounds-since-last-summer-and-i-need-to-get-back-in-shape-a-thon’ this year. After reading about the LoseIt iPhone app on one of my favorite blogs, I was intrigued. A few weeks ago, I actually downloaded it, although it sat unused on my screen until the morning after a particularly passionate personal moment between myself and a mega-sized slice of cheesecake.

So, I tentatively took the time to input my morning meal, only to see that half a bagel and a little butter is about the same amount of calories as I thought it would be. No big revelations there. But, around lunchtime, the app’s real usefulness really hit me. After seeing how quickly I could calculate that if I really wanted that extra piece of pizza I would have to add twenty minutes to my treadmill time, I was hooked.

Who wouldn’t love a weight loss solution that says you can snack on as many Goldfish as you can fit on your desk, as long as you hit the gym for an equally energetic cardio session after work? After years of the kind of dieting drama that singlehandedly keeps most women’s magazines in business, this approach was a welcome relief. If I want to eat more, I just work out more. Since the app has a whole library of exercises you can mix and match throughout the day, I can literally plan to pump iron for 10 minutes, do a few jumping jacks for five more and make caloric room for that extra slice of something or other in no time.

Of course, like most weight loss resolutions, the true test of the LoseIt app’s effectiveness will be how well I can stick with it over time. I’ve already had a day or two where I forget to log a lunch or calculate a quick drink. But, on the whole, things are good so far. I feel like I’m finally able to balance being conscientious of my calories with being a person that just plain likes to eat and drink. And I’ve been finding myself being a lot more physically active as a result, which is always a good thing.

So, for now, I give the LoseIt app an enthusiastic two thumbs up, and highly recommend it for anyone looking to gear up for a good, healthy weight loss goal in the New Year. Of course, my only complaint is that I wish my own personal weight loss goal would hurry up and get here quicker. But according to LoseIt, if I keep going the way I’ve been, I should hit my target in mid-March. And in the meantime, the app’s got plenty of shiny buttons and pretty pictures to keep me distracted while I weight.

Operation Chokehold: ATT Users Rally Around Steve Jobs Fake

In case you live under a rock — or you just have better things to do with yourself than check social media blogs every five minutes like I do (thanks, google reader!) — there’s a bit of a people’s revolution going on at the moment. And by people, I mean all those smartphone users ATT has unfairly cast as spoiled, selfish data hogs.

Who are we revolting against? The trough that feed us, of course. And why are we revolting? Because the folks responsible for filling that trough are blaming us when the trough runs low. Apparently, it’s our fault that the food runs out because our fancy iPhone apps are hogging all of  it. Or something like that.

Well, the Fake Steve Jobs ain’t gonna take it anymore. And he’s organizing a digital flash mob on Friday to prove it. Smartphone users from across that sad blue map of ATT’s 3G coverage are coming together to try to bring down AT&T’s networks once and for all by using as many data-intensive apps as they can get their hooves on. Not that AT&T doesn’t do a great job of screwing up its own network without our help. But hey, who am I to argue with a flash mob for a good cause?

And it is a good cause indeed. As software gets better, it also gets greedier. The best browsers eat up the most memory. The prettiest programs take up the most processor space. Running data-intensive iPhone apps will decimate the data delivery process.  But that’s not the fault of the user.

When companies start blaming their customers for being too cutting edge, too excited about emerging technologies, or too greedy to try all their new gadgets, it not only hurts the customers. It hurts the company too. All of a sudden, Apple looks a whole lot less like someone I want to spend my money with. Not if they’re going to go around telling the whole country that my data-hogging ways are hurting their simple cell phone usage.

The problem is, until more people join us at the data trough, it’s easy to blame the relatively smaller percentage of early adopters for screwing things up for everybody. And of course, imposing penalties and punishments on data usage is only going to discourage more people from, well…adopting.

I guess, as much as I love a good flash mob, I do worry that this one could just as easily give AT&T one more excuse to marginalize and demonize the data-hogging customers — or at least one more reason not to care about losing those customers if they do impose penalties and punishments for data usage. In the end, there’s gotta be a better way to do these things – for all parties involved. ATT did take a good first step with their free customer service app, and maybe that’s the direction we should be taking this discussion in. I’d love to say that with more certainty, but I don’t have any 3G on my iPhone right now, and my google maps won’t load my location, so I’m in no position to be giving directions.

Would A Twitter By Any Other Name Still Smell As Sweet?

What’s In A Name?,164140/printable.html
Ever had to think about the possibilities of a leopard eating a twittering bird, while wearing a red hat and being watched by an android who just happened to take a break from reading wikipedia and look out the windows of his pod? Yeah, that’s right. I just Taxi Driver’d web 2.0. Still, in case you wondering where new technology gets all of its wacky names, PC World has broken down the backstories of some of the most common (and most oddly-named) tech innovations of the past few years. It’s actually a really interesting article. Who knew so much thought (and fashion sense) went into the naming of Red Hat? Of course, the most interesting name in the whole article is the author’s — Thomas Wailgum. Clearly, someone is planning to launch some sort of crying gum machine in the near future…