October 29, 2011

My home made Sonic Screwdriver

My home made Sonic Screwdriver, originally uploaded by Josh Self.

My home made Sonic Screwdriver

January 27, 2011

Getting in shape for Geeks

Most geeks usually don't care much about "getting into shape". We've got our toys, and our fingers are usually pretty "buff" from playing our games, typing or using our smartphones. Well this blogger has gotten a little angry at how his body has been responding lately (sluggishly to not at all) so I took advantage of the new year to start with some new goals.

Diet and Fitness

I've started out pretty strong this year on my diet and fitness goals. For those of you that don't know, my wife and I have been on the Carb Lovers Diet for the past 6 months or so. We slipped a little during the holidays but we are back in action this year and I've lost 3 pounds since Christmas. Carb Lovers lets you eat good carbs (whole grains, fiber rich foods etc.) and its secret is resistant starches that come from things like green bananas, beans and potatoes. Its also portion control and some calorie counting. Basically its the way you should be eating for the rest of your life.

My wife's cousin and good friend of mine for years, Jen West (@thejenwestquest) was recently featured on the Rachael Ray show talking about and showing off (in her bikini!) the benefits of Carb Lovers. She has a great blog called The Jen West Quest that follows her daily fitness writing and health goals.
Another great benefit of the Carb Lovers book is that my wife Andrea (of the blog Annie's Angle) has become somewhat of a great cook with all the gourmet and yummy recipes in the book.

I've also been bustin' out a daily arm workout almost every day for the past two weeks and I can already see some results. (ie. my Droid X is easier to pick up above my head). Next... (ugh...) RUNNING.

Best Diet and Fitness Apps

There are some great apps that you can get for your phone to help you keep track of your diet, calories, run and workout.
  1. Livestrong - both Jen West and my wife love this one. Mostly a calorie counter (helpful for Weight Watchers and Carb Lovers), the Livestrong app makes it very easy to track your calories and its extensive database of more than 525,000 foods is huge! Its hard to NOT find something. (only for iPhone right now)
  2. Cardio Trainer + Racing - A great app for Android that motivates you to keep doing better with voice prompts. Also tracks your run / bike route with GPS and shows you the stats and your best times so you can keep pushing yourself. Features music integration so you can play your music while using the app and Facebook updates.
  3. Calorie Counter by FatSecret - Android calorie counter with a large database and features a bar code scanner to scan your groceries.
Geeky Fitness Gadgets

My friend at work (Best Buy) showed me her new Fitbit - Wireless Personal Trainer which I thought was kind of neat. This personal trainer collects data about your daily activities, such as exercise intensity levels, calories burned, sleep quality, steps and distance. The collected data is automatically uploaded to your personal Fitbit website where you can track your progress towards personal goals.

Its basically a super geeky pedometer! It even keeps track of your sleeping habits and automatically uploads to your own personal Fitbit website (which is similar to Livestrong.com) to keep track of your eating and workout habits as well.
The Garmin - Forerunner 405CX GPS Watch is another geeky fitness gadget that we sell at Best Buy (as well as Amazon ;-). Its an all in one type, GPS, heart rate monitor and distance and calorie computer. A little pricey but if you want a separate all in one solution that you just snap on and take off when you're done, then this gadget will work for you.

Do you guys have any awesome apps or geeky fitness gear that you use? Leave me a comment below!

    October 21, 2010

    Droid X vs. the world

    youtube watching on a droid xSo, I just got my new Droid X last month and I did some extensive research before I made my purchase. I was using a Blackberry Curve 8330 for over two years and I loved it but I had this dream about finally owning an Apple product. I was originally considering the iPhone 4 but I REALLY hate AT&T. Being a long time Verizon customer, I had just rolled on to an awesome $50 credit for a new phone every two years (with a new contract of course) so, the choice was obvious...

    Droid X

    (angels singing glorious praises!)
    As I have played with, tweaked, customized and learned about this glorious phone, I love it more and more. I'm not going to post every single tech spec about the Droid X but here are some of the advantages that the Droid X has over the other top tier smartphones out right now:

    • 4.3 inch screen! (biggest in the industry at the time of writing)
    • 720p HDMI video out
    • 8 Megapixel camera with dual LED flash
    • Live wallpapers (interactive and moving wallpapers)
    • Android Ap store (just as cool and probably more useful than the Apple Ap store)
    • Flash support (with Android 2.2. Froyo)
    • Mobile hotspot!
    The only real competitors for the Droid X right now would be:
    • HTC EVO 4G (and soon the HTC Desire)
    • iPhone 4 (no HDMI out, no hot spot, smaller display, DOES have a forward facing camera and higher resolution RETINA screen)
    So, I guess the final point I would like to make is: unless you are on AT&T get the Droid X. Its the most powerful and most customizable phone out right now for the techy types (that means those of you reading The Horse ;-)

    What is your favorite phone right now? And why is it not the Droid X?

    February 16, 2010

    How is FourSquare changing marketing?

    A little mobile ap called Foursquare, that was introduced last year at SXSW has exploded in popularity this year and is being rumored to be the next Twitter as a new generation of "location based services" (or LBS) including Foursquare and GoWalla are set to take over the mobile social networking scene in 2010.

    What is a Location Based Service (LBS)?

    A LBS is an information and entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device via its GPS (global positioning system) sensor. (Wikipedia)

    Some examples of LBS could be:

    • Turn by turn navigation to any address
    • Locating people or places on a map displayed on the mobile phone
    • Receiving local alerts, such as notification of a sale on gas or warning of a traffic jam
    • Location-based mobile advertising
    Some of you may have followed our honeymoon journey last year as I used the Google's Latitude LBS on my Blackberry Curve to chronicle our road trip to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. I also used it as a pseudo-turn by turn GPS unit when we were in the "big city".

    As you can guess, some of these services can and will provide a whole new way of targeting personalized advertising, rewards or services to the end user if you follow the model out to the next logical step.

    Just a game?

    Both FourSquare and GoWalla started out with a level of social game play and quickly grew in popularity as users vied for the coveted badges and points for checking in. Then, businesses in the New York and San Francisco areas started noticing the usefulness of having regular customers check in and started offering physical rewards or freebies (ie. free beer, french fries, discounts) to the visitors that checked in the most (on FourSquare this is called being the Mayor). Now that FourSquare has been opened to the world, more businesses are jumping on the band wagon of the reward concept for FourSquare players.

    The market share of smart phones in the U.S. is up to 17% as of January 2010, according to Forrester Research, and is predicted to be above 20% by the end of the year. Based on this growth, I predict LBS will become more interesting and useful to targeted marketing as more smart phones are purchased in the next few years and marketers and businesses look for new ad venues other than the traditional "old media" outlets. FourSquare is also getting a head start in the LBS race by already opening up their API to the public for open source ap development and there are already a few interesting aps on FourSquare's developer's page.

    What are some new and innovative ways that LBS and FourSquare could be used to improve humanity, make us more efficient, have more fun? Hit me up with a comment!

    January 27, 2010

    iPad A Kindle Killer?

    Hot off the presses today, Apple's Steve Jobs announced and showed off the new iPad tablet computing device called the iPad. For those of you that have been hiding in a cave, the iPad is an ultra thin tablet computer used over Wi-Fi and soon over 3G cellular networks. Some of the stats reveled today are:

    • 9.7-inch multi-touch screen
    • 1.5 pounds
    • runs apps from the Apple app store
    • attachable physical keyboard with stand
    • iBook app store for buying books
    • starts at $499 for the 16gig Wi-Fi version!
    • iPad also comes in 32 and 64 gig versions
    The atomic bomb that was dropped by Jobs was when the price for the base model was announced to be a low $499. Most rumor mills were expecting a price somewhere between $799 and $999. One of the new apps that Apple has revamped was the iBook store. The iBook app looked great and the interface blew the other eBook readers out of the water. So, when the price was announced, we all felt the same thing.

    Kindle is dead.

    According to Apple, five of the biggest publishers have already signed up to support and contribute to the iBook catalog. The new interface on the iPad using multi-touch looks very cool and innovative. You can store your books on a virtual shelf for easy access. Of course the reader is in color so to me it was like comparing the first Nintendo Game Boy to the Sony PSP. Which one would you play? The interface is similar to the iTunes store with the added ease of the multi-touch interface and app-style speed.

    Will the iPad make it easier for people to switch to eBook format? Is the iPad a Kindle killer? Leave us a comment below!

    Josh Self is the editor of The Horse. He is also a photographer and blogger for Examiner.com.
    Follow him on Twitter @joshself or any of the other social media sites on the right.

    December 18, 2009

    The website mowjcamp.org hacked by Iranian cyber terrorists

    Full article by me on Examiner.com:
    Twitter hacked by Iranian Cyber Army - http://tinyurl.com/y96m435