Geek Fitness - Schedule It!

Finally! My next geek fitness post. Its lateness illustrates another aspect of "geekiness" which is being easily distracted. A posting schedule might be just what I need to stay on track.

Speaking of schedules, that is exactly the topic of this article. What a coincidence!

Make It Regular

One of the excuses I hear most often for not working out is that people are just too busy. It's such a great excuse because it's almost always true. Most of us are way too busy to fit in a 30-60 minute workout every day. I mean really busy.

The reality is that we all seem to make the time for the things we really want to do. The issue usually comes down to whether or not what we want to do is important enough to make it a part of our day versus something that we just fit in if and when we can.

This is something that I have struggled with myself. What I have found to be helpful is to decide that my workout time will be every day when I get home from work. Period. I have made it a part of my day so that if a miss my workout I feel as odd as if I had not had time to shower or put pants on.

Possibly my lack of pants would make you feel more strangely than I, but you get the idea.

A timetable works extra well for me because while I may be laid back most of the time, once I have something locked in I get very irritable when plans get derailed. (All of my family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers are nodding in enthusiastic agreement right now.) Whether this is a geek trait or just straight up OCD, I don't know.

Make It A Priority

So you have a regular time. It may be after work like me or first thing in the morning or whenever. Another geek tendency to overcome is  that of being easily distract. Do not decide that the best time to check in on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, MySpa... (well... not them) ...is right before you exercise. You will focus on that activity and then decide that there is not enough time left to fit in your hour of sweating before you have to be on to other things. Business before pleasure! Be smart about your timing

Make It A No-Brainer

It's one thing to have a part of your day assigned to being fit, but if you eat into that time by trying to figure out what it is you need to do, that just gives you another excuse to procrastinate. Decide ahead of time what the workout plan is so you don't have to think about it at the last minute. This would also be applicable to a meal plan if you are doing that.

I am a Beachbody fan and I know that both their P90X and Insanity programs give you schedules for their 90 and 60 day plans. I assume other programs they sell are similarly structured. At any rate, I typically start my workout week on Sunday because I really like my recovery days to fall on Wednesday and my stretching/resting days to fall on Saturday.

Make It Geeky

Pencil and paper are fine, as are calendars and worksheets and all of that old analog stuff. If those things help you, then by all means use them. But if you are a dyed-in-the-wool nerd, you're all about spreadsheets, databases and the web. You have some options.

I've mentioned Beachbody several times in the past couple fitness-related posts because not only do they have great products, but they also offer tools to help overcome many of the excuses we make to not live healthy lifestyles. It should be no surprise that one of those tools is a workout calendar.

If you don't want to or can't use the Team Beachbody site, you might consider doing something with a spreadsheet application. Personally, I use Google Sheets. This gives me the flexibility to manage my schedule and results in one place.

As you can see, I'm nearing the end of my Insanity run. Which means you should be seeing a new post on results and accountability soon.

No really. Sometime next week.

Promise.

Hey! What's that over ther...

Tweetbot For Mac and Revoking Twitter Access

Tweetbot has been a well regarded Twitter app for iOS for quite some time. In my opinion it is the premiere Twitter experience for that platform. In fact, in my recent post regarding jumping into the Android pool I lamented that I could not find its equal there. And while there are a number of very good free Twitter clients for iOS, I liked Tweetbot so much that I was willing to pay the $3 for it.

Short version? I'm a fan.

I've been using the alpha/beta versions of Tweetbot for the Mac and looking forward to the final release, sure that I would once again be willing to pay for a quality application.

Today is the day it was released to the Mac App store at a cost of $20. I understand the reasons behind the decision to set the price there. Part of the reason is that Twitter only allows a certain number of client access tokens. In general it's a matter of supply versus demand. Likely this will generate quite a bit of discussion over the next few days.

Not here, however.

As I said, I'm a fan. However, I'm not that big a fan. $20 is a bit steep for me. It may be too steep for you also. If it is and you had one of the alpha/beta builds installed, you could just drag the application to the trash and call it a day. Or you could revoke access and put that client token back into the pool to be used by someone willing to pay a premium price for premium software.

This is what you need to do.

Go to your Twitter account's settings and select the Apps option (or just click here). It should look a little something like this.


Find the Tweetbot application in the list. It looks like this:
Click the "Revoke access" button for the app.

That's it.

Of course, while you are in there, you should probably take the opportunity to review all of the things you may have given access to over the years. I would bet that most of you are not using all of the applications that currently have access or even remember what half of them were. Clean that stuff up.

So good luck to the folks at Tapbots. I hope this is a successful release for them and I will continue to  enjoy using Tweetbot on my iPads.

An Apple Fan's Trip To Android Land

Or... How I went from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S3.

If you are looking for an article that bashes Apple and praises Android or a post that rails against Android while pining for iOS, you can just turn right around and walk away. You'll get no satisfaction from me.

(Yes, yes... fill in your own joke here. Hilarious.)


Background

I'm coming from about five years as an iPhone user. I am an Apple fan without a doubt. I've owned every major version of the iPhone, own both a 1st generation and 3rd generation iPads, subscribed to the iOS developer program, installed early builds of iOS and I'm currently working on learning Objective C.

There are no axes to grind here.

Although the home button was unreliable and the proximity sensor had decided to take an extended vacation I continued to limp along with my iPhone 4 while I waited for Apple's annual iPhone announcement. Based on rumors it seemed likely that I would want to investigate other phone options, but I wanted to base a decision on facts instead of speculation.

Unfortunately, the rumors were pretty accurate.


The Decision To Switch

I'm not going to get into the whole iPhone 5 is boring thing. It's fine. Gorgeous even. I'll even go so far to say that it's the best looking and feeling phone available today. I could go on at length at how great it is.

But it is not what I really wanted.

They say familiarity breeds contempt. Now "contempt" is far too strong a word in my case, but you get the idea. I wanted something different and the new phone hardware and iOS 6 were not quite delivering the scope of change I was looking for.

For instance, one of the things that did not change with the iPhone 5 was the width of the device. Many see this is a positive thing because you largely retain the ability to use the phone with one hand. Pretty handy! (No apologies. You should expect puns like that from me by now.) However, the width in portrait orientation was starting to feel cramped after 5 years.

Andy Ihnatko communicated this better than I could...


My wife was also due for a new phone (so long, 1985 phone!) and she had no interest in an iPhone. Not that she didn't borrow my iPhones occasionally. She found it useful in a pinch, but not something she ever felt she really needed. The two of them just were not a good fit for whatever reason.

Helping a non-geek shop for an alternative has been educational to say the least. What she felt was important didn't necessarily match what her geek husband felt was important. Some things I could guess. Size of the display to ease the transition to a virtual keyboard. A replaceable battery because she hated the fact that I had to charge my phones daily. But NFC? Who knew?

While we didn't go into our search with a need to both get the same device, it turns out that the Samsung Galaxy S III seemed to fit the bill pretty well for both of us.


The Hardware

I won't lie. The S3 feels cheaper to me than my iPhone 4 and that was a slight disappointment. Apple really has cornered the market for phones with that "premium" feel. For me there is just no comparison when comparing glass and metal to plastic.

However, I was talking to a friend of mine who was still rocking an iPhone 3GS and he thought the quality feeling was about the same. Again, I always hated the plastic-backed iPhone, but it does give the Apple aficionados out there some idea of what to expect if looking to jump ship to an Android phone.

I am assuming that because of all that plastic, the S3 is surprisingly light in spite of its Nimitz-like proportions.

Having the power button on the side took some getting used to. No matter how often I press the top of my S3, it just doesn't do anything the way it did on the iPhone.

Aside from muscle memory issues, having the power and volume rocker on opposite sides of the device does not seem like a great choice to me. I have a tendency to squeeze both when I only want to press one control. Then when watching video in landscape mode, I have to decide which control I want on top and to be careful that any pressure on the side resting on the table doesn't accidentally activate that control.

Yes. I'm picky.

That aside, I do love the screen. (Except in direct sunlight. It's terribly hard to see.)

The camera seems pretty good although I've not done much with it yet.

The speaker is sufficiently loud for my purposes although putting it on the back of the phone was an interesting choice. There are both upsides and downsides to this.

Stock battery life seems to be on par with my iPhone. Maybe a little better. It's hard to say since I don't think I've settled into "average daily usage" mode yet.

The notification LED is also a welcome feature and reminds me of my Blackberry days.

All-in-all, while I really can't in good conscious say that the Galaxy S3 is nearly as sexy as the iPhone 5 (or even the iPhone 4/4S), it's not bad. The extra screen real estate does come in pretty handy on occasion even if you do have to have a full tank of gas to drive from one side of the thing to the other.



App Parity

Features and hardware are all well and good, but if you can't make the thing do what you want it to do then what's the point?

I found in most cases that if there is an iOS application out there, odds are that there is an Android version. To illustrate this, I put together a table with some of my most used iPhone apps and their Android equivalents with links to both.


I have two major pain points in this area. I cannot seem to find reasonable alternatives for Tweetbot (Twitter) or Downcast (podcasts). I'm split between whether this is due to the strength of those particular applications or a general lack of quality in Twitter and podcast applications for Android.

If anyone has any app recommendations, feel free to give me a yell on either Twitter or Google+. Please.


Conclusion

Sadly, this post has been weeks in the making. Much of that time I've been distracted by my playing with the Galaxy S3. Depending on your point of view that's either a glowing recommendation or a scathing condemnation.

I've also learned a lot and had to make adjustments along the way. I had little to no Android exposure before this phone and that has made this an interesting transition. Some of what I heard from the Apple faithful has been true while other things have been exaggerated. Each person's needs are unique to them and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Compromises will need to be made no matter which route you take.

Overall I am pleased with my choice. It has certainly given me a greater appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses in both camps.