Category Archives: IT

The pros and cons of FitBits and other wearable fitness devices (plus my own thoughts)

Here’s two recent pieces on the pros and cons of wearable fitness devices.

Pro: Wearables and Self-Awareness (Personal) – NYTimes.com.

Con: Science Says FitBit Is a Joke | Mother Jones

I tend to agree with Krugman’s pro views in the NYTimes.  In a nutshell, Krugman’s view is that having a tracker like a FitBit makes it harder to lie to yourself about your fitness. A FitBit will let you know and help you track when you are active or sedentary, just like a scale will tell you when you are eating too much or too little.

The Mother Jones article has good points, too. FitBits have limits. They aren’t for all kinds or exercise, they may not be precise, and some apps on a smartphone can do just as good a job. That said, their title is a joke and their article is misleading. For example, trackers start at much lower than $100. As well, for people walking or running, carrying a smartphone is not always a good option. FitBits are more accurate than the article let’s on, and the readings that they provide is a reasonably close measure of your activity. The limits to wearable fitness devices are real, but Mother Jones overstate their case.

Do you or I need any of these devices? No. Based on my fitbit, I can walk a mile in about 2000 steps. If I were to sit down with a free service like Google maps, I could easily plot out a 5 mile walking route that, if I walked daily, would mean I would  hit at least 10,000 steps a day. (10,000 steps is my daily goal). Or I could just go for an hour walk and not worry about a route at all. (It takes me around that time to walk 5 miles if I walk it at a good pace.) Either way, a map or a watch can easily replace a wearable device. If you can’t afford or don’t want a wearable device, just use a map, a watch, and a log book, and you will get similar benefits.

Why I like my FitBit is that it does the work for me. I can walk anywhere I want, for as long as I want, and it will keep track of all that for me. Plus it keeps a ongoing record I can look up when I want. Finally, like Krugman noted, it prevents me from lying to myself about how active I am.

A wearable device is an aid, and like any aid, it helps you achieve your desired outcome. If you don’t need such an aid, don’t use it. As for me, the fitbit helps me meet my fitness goals and I am glad I have it.

Want to start a startup? All you need for that is here

And by here, I mean this site: Startup Stash – Curated resources and tools for startups. It is an amazing collection of tools you likely will need, for one thing. Plus, it has a superb user interface that not only groups the tools well, but gives you a sense of all the things you need to think about if you are going to go forward and create your own startup.

If you aren’t seriously thinking about startups, but would like to know about new tools to make you more productive at work, then I recommend you check out this site too.

Kudos to the creator of the site. Well worth a visit.

” The Apple Watch Is Going To Flop” articles are here, and …

…and I recommend you bookmark one or two to go back and read towards the end of the year to see how poorly they did and why they were wrong. This one, for example, You Guys Realize The Apple Watch Is Going To Flop, Right? | Co.Design | business + design, touches on a lot of things that are likely to be problematic about the new Apple Watch. Yet, the author makes the same two mistakes authors have been making about Apple since Steve Jobs returned: 1) looks at the failures of the competition and 2) looks at the limitations of the current technology. These are mistakes, because 1) Apple has a base of purchasers that has not let the company down in some time and that the competition will never have and 2) Apple has a way of having people focus on the potential, not the limitations.

The Apple Watch will be a success. I have no doubt. Wait and see.

(P.S. image sourced via a link to the article).

Forget Google Glass: here is where wearable technology is going

As digital technology gets more and more compact, expect to start seeing it combined with new and unexpected things. Wearables will not just be watches and sports-bands, but clothing and jewellery. For example: Meet Ear-o-Smart The World’s First Smart Earring.

Anything you wear, anything you touch, anything you own: all of it will soon have sensors and digital technology in it to talk to your computer and your phone. This is just starting.

Git 201: how to get to the next level with git


There are quite a few really good introductions to git. I’ve written about them here. Once you get past “git 101″, where do you go to learn more and be more productive with git? I’d like to recommend this article:
developerWorks: Learn the workings of Git, not just the commands. It should help you get to the next level. I particularly like the diagrams: there are alot of them, and they help you better understand the flow that can occur when you really start capitalizing on git.

Why you should be wary of any tech pieces in the New York Times

I used to feel the urge to write posts whenever the New York Times did an article on something that was centered around IT, because they would get so much wrong. It isn’tt just something that happens occasionally either: it seems to happen often. That’s why you should be wary of tech pieces in the Times.

Case in point, the story about Sony being hacked. For this story,  someone has done the work for me: Anatomy of a NYT Piece on the Sony Hack and Attribution | Curmudgeonly Ways. I recommend this piece.

I would warn you to be careful in coming to any conclusions about a matter related to IT based on what you read there.

CP/M and Computer History Museum


If you are an old geek or interested in computing history, especially the early days of the PC, then I highly recommend you check out the section of the Computer History Museum on CP/M. Before Microsoft and Apple there was CP/M. You can even download the source code! Fun! :)

See Early Digital Research CP/M Source Code | Computer History Museum.