The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

September 23, 2010

Not Exactly a Walk in the Park

Filed under: Random Stuff, Technology — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 8:30 pm

Like a lot of people who I know, I do have to admit that I could probably use to lose a few pounds.  It’s not that I’m necessarily out of shape or anything like that, but working in a profession that involves a whole lot of sitting down at a computer all day, I probably don’t get as much exercise as I should all the time.  For the most part, the exercise that I do get comes from taking walks around the neighborhood.  When you start getting around by walking, Downtown Bellevue gets to be bigger than you might think.  Even what would seem to be a relatively short walk from my apartment to Bellevue Square and back is good for at least a mile and a half round trip, and adding a stroll through the mall or a lap around the trail in the middle of Downtown Park is usually good for adding at least another half mile or so.  Even so, I don’t always have time to go out walking, and with the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder I expect I’ll have to turn to other sources for daily exercise.  The exercise room in the building is one option, and a 15-minute session on an elliptical trainer can be good way to burn off 250-300 calories pretty quickly (which doesn’t do much good if there’s Little Debbie snack cakes in the house, but that’s another post for another time) but the main problem with that is that it’s mind-numbingly boring.  Of course, with this place being a reasonably fancy apartment complex, the exercise machines we have here are the fancy ones with all the bells and whistles including the built-in TV screens, but thanks to Comcast’s elimination of most of the analog cable channels there’s pretty much only local channels to watch anyway, which by the time I generally get around to exercising means I usually end up with either late night talk shows or infomercials.  So far I’ve just been switching over to the stat display and trying not to pay too much attention, but there’s no getting around the fact that without some sort of distraction exercising gets just a tad boring.

In theory I should be able to rectify this situation with one of the various gadgets I have sitting around, and I’ve been messing around with this, and finding that this doesn’t work quite as well as I’d like it to.  Sure the iPad has a nice big screen that would be ideal for the purpose (and the elliptical trainer even has a nice little spot for it) but there’s the pesky matter of getting stuff onto it that I haven’t quite figured out.  As you might recall if you’ve been reading this Blog for a while, earlier this year I somehow managed to turn a combination of warranty voiding, shotgun debugging, a fair bit of failing to acknowledge the elephant in the proverbial room (in this case, a failing power supply) and a completely unnecessary electrical shock or two into an upgraded Tivo with space for over 140 hours of HD programming.  If I had some method of getting the stuff off the Tivo I’d have plenty of content (read:  All sorts of crud I probably won’t ever watch but my Tivo insists on recording the stuff anyway,) but all the downloading and converting stuff is just a pain to deal with. 

As someone who probably has way too many gadgets for his own good though, I do have other solutions to the problem… Sort of.   It seems that fancy new Android phone I picked up a few months ago is supposed to be able to download stuff off YouTube pretty well, and with the 4G turned on it actually does do a pretty good job pulling random cat videos out of thin air should the need for such things arise.  The only problem with that is that with the 10-minute restriction on place on most YouTube clips, finding something to watch without having to spend half the workout time tinkering with things is a bit of a pain, to be perfectly honest.  In the end, the whole thing is barely worth the hassle, which leaves pretty much one thing:  Staring at the timer, thinking you’ve only got eight and a half more minutes of this (plus two minutes cooldown) left before you’re done with this. 

I know it’s kind of cliché to say that there’s got to be a better way of doing this, but, well…  There’s got to be a better way of doing this.  Maybe.  At least I’ve bot a pretty good idea now of how living rooms get cluttered up with disused exercise machines.

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