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SPORTS, TELEVISION (permalink) 08.31.2016
that special time of year
are you ready for some football??? !!! if not, the folks at amazon and netflix have the elixir you require in two top-flight documentaries.

first is ALL OR NOTHING. this one was for-sure made possible by the decades of great ground work done by NFL films and the hard knocks folks because it is like a grown-up, evolved version of hard knocks AND has lots of the heart-wrenching moments offered by the classic NFL films offerings.

my favorite quote from this series was:
if it is to be, it is up to me.

- possibly the longest obscenity-free string of words ever put together by bruce arians (he was quoting a preacher which may explain that).

the second show is LAST CHANCE U, another documentary about the highest performing junior college football program in the nation. i avoided that initially thinking it was tv series but the second i heard it was a documentary i popped in to try it out. i did not regret that decision. holy smokes was it well done.

my favorite quote from that series was:
don't let someone else's misbehavior affect your peace of mind.

last chance U coach quoting ghandi maybe (don't recall who they credited).

and if you're not ready or into football, then watch netflix's STRANGER THINGS. anthony and i got watching that and were quickly joined by others in the family given how stellar it was.

as a rule i try to not watch tv. like any. but dang are these show makers making it hard. while there is an astonishing amount of dreck being churned out daily for our DVR equipped masses, the top flight stuff that finds its way to press is truly top flight. crazy impressive how good some folks are at this business. granted, it is equally curious how poor some of the other stuff is.

TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 08.30.2016
yes, please don't sweat so much on our fitness band -- it's not good for it.
l have been seeing more and more articles on how fitness trackers are not living up to their expectations. based on my conversations with people most of these trackers need a boxing about the ears. my five second evidence-light sense is, apple watch aside, the better a tracker looks, the less functional a tracker is. i exclude the apple watch mostly because i think it is far more than just a "step-counter" which is essentially where all these trackers initially took hold.

here's one sample case, i bumped into a guy wearing a fitbit. i always thought those were very sleek and sharp looking. but after a ninety second conversation with him the thing seems like little more than an expensive wrist bangle. first he said he got it wet and it stopped working. how the hell can an activity watch not handle moisture. then he went to show me one of the readouts but it was too sunny and we couldn't read the screen. he cupped his hand over the truly miniscule display and pulled it close to his face before reporting that he just couldn't see it. really? unreadable in the sun. but, to be fair i could see how handling water and being readable in daylight could get missed during the design requirements session. i mean those are pretty unusual asks for something fitness related.

while the man was blocking light and moving his hand around looking for an angle that would let him see the readout, i glanced down at my wrist and noted the large, readable print. print that you could still read even if someone aimed a bright flashlight right on the readout, in the daylight. like with the kindle paperwhite folks, the makers of my band have this screen-in-the-sun business fully figured out.

if you are one of the reported masses struggling with the form or function of your band, before giving up on the market i would suggest looking at garmin's vivofit 2. it is surely not the sharpest looking band on the market and looks downright utilitarian, but that is because it is. by my account, it is the functional and smartly designed workhorse of the activity watch lineup, but for reasons i don't understand it is not part of these tracker roundtables, the ones i'm reading at least. i think it may be yesterday's news even at garmin as i see they just released the vivofit 3.

i initially had the first generation vivofit. i got it to let me know when i was sitting too long. it was ok but i had three gripes about it:
  1. i wanted an audible chirp when the alert to move took place.
  2. i wanted a backlight so i could read it at night.
  3. i wanted a stop-watch feature.
when they announced the vivofit 2, it possessed all of these features. i upgraded mine the day it came out and have worn it every day since. so if you're finding your activity tracker wanting, i would highly recommend looking at a vivofit 2.

and for what it's worth i'm leary of garmin's vivosmart which is a "connected" version of the vivofit 2. i predict too many distractions. i know i'm in the minority here but like to keep my gear as simple as able. i'm confident i wouldn't benefit from the connected features because the reason i have it is to tell me to move (and record my vitals and activity) and twitter or messaging is not part of that equation. not only is it not necessary, i deem it counter-productive. this is part of the reason i don't like the apple watch as a fitness band. i've seen way too many exercisers standing on the side of the road/track punching out messages on their mini-computer. not helping.

as noted above, i just saw that there is now a vivofit3 but they changed the screen pretty dramatically, seeming to model it after some of the more stylish/connected trackers. my spidey-sense tells me there is trouble ahead. the amazon reviews are also middling so i'm not seeing anything to run me off from my 2, especially since the 2 is fully meeting my needs at present (i have nary a suggestion for improvement). one possible good thing to come from the release of the vivofit 3 may be the vivofit 2's are now only $60 now -- cheap enough to try it out or get a backup.

i don't know what is harder with good design: coming up with the initial idea or protecting a proven one. why are we so averse to letting something that works do what it does, work, and leave it alone or at least better protect the refinements.

that above sentiment reminds me of something i heard someone recently obvserve about self-help books. there are loads of them that teach/tell/help you become successful, but there really aren't any that teach/tell/help you STAY successful. thinking on it for a few moments, success is a different animal that carries some new and often confusing challenges. it is a most astute point and worthy of some attention.

PHOTO (permalink) 08.29.2016
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.

JULY 2016

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