It’s not easy rooting against Peyton Manning. By all accounts, he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time and a great guy. But I’ve been doing just that for 17 years now. Here’s why.
In 1997, even though Manning could have been the first pick in the draft after his junior year, he decided to come back to Tennessee for his senior year to graduate, win a National championship and the Heisman trophy. I started rooting against him then, as a freshman at Michigan when, that year, we won the National championship and Charles Woodson of UM won the Heisman.
It continued into the NFL when Manning and Tom Brady became rivals. Brady also went to Michigan and was the starting quarterback my junior year. I’ve never been a New England Patriots fan, but I always had to root for Brady against Manning.
It then continued when the Giants drafted Eli Manning. Clearly, Peyton was the better quarterback. But after Eli won his second Superbowl, it became fun to always brag that Eli had one more than his older brother.
So here I was, last night finding myself rooting for the Seahawks so that Peyton would not win another Superbowl to tie his younger brother and get some more ammo in the ‘Manning vs. Brady’ comparison. The thing is, I kind of felt bad for him last night. To lose like that, after having such a great year and coming back from 4 neck surgeries must have been so tough. I hope he comes back next year. But I will still be rooting for Eli, Brady or someone else to beat him.
Estonia uses a very simple, unique ID methodology across all systems, from your paper passport to bank records to any government office or hospital. A citizen with personal ID code 37501011234 is a male born in the 20th century (3), on January 1st of year ‘75, as baby #123 of that day. The number ends with a computational checksum to easily detect typos.
Fascinating post on the technology used in Estonia. I visited last March and beyond freezing my ass off, had an amazing time there. One night at the pub, I went to buy a round and was laughed at because my credit card had a magnetic strip and they didn’t have anything that supported that.
Hey everyone, I’m happy to let you all know that we will NOT be shutting down Exfm today. The outpouring of love and support from you all has truly been amazing. Over the last month, many of you have written to tell us how much you love Exfm and asked if there was anything you could do to help…
But where functionality hasn’t persuaded many of us, perhaps price will. Archos is planning to launch a basic smartwatch in the summer for just $50, a price it may be hoping will lead people to stop asking ‘Why?’ and instead ask ‘Why not?’….
I recently picked up the Pebble for $70. There was a discount and I had a gift card knocking the price down from $150. I was interested in the Pebble from the beginning but not so much at $150. Now that I have it, I must say it’s blown away all my expectations. It does just the right amount of things - notifications, music control and time.
I liken the Pebble to the Palm Pilot. It’s really cool, and shows what can be done on a wrist. But I have no doubt that it will take Apple to really blow this market wide open. I am very bullish on Smart Watches. In 5 years I think everyone will have one.
This year was as good as it gets for music. It was incredibly hard to order this list. Except for #1, at times I had each album anywhere from 2-10. Many of these albums could have been #1 any previous year. It was that good of a year. I even left off some perennial favorites like Jack Johnson, Portugal The Man, Cults, Silver Swans, Summer Camp and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Btw, for the geeks, here’s a JSON representation of this list - albums-2013.json
10. ‘Ski Mask’ by Islands
Leaving ‘Vapours’ off my top 2009 list was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. I made up for it making ‘A Sleep and Forgetting’ my #4 last year. I was surprised they came out with a new album this year but just like last year, it’s very well done. Each song has a hook with some serious auto-tune that gets me every time.
The second song on this album ‘Heavy Feet’ hits me in such a way that I cannot explain. It is so emotional. ‘Colombia’ is damn good too. The entire album is great. I never really listened to their previous album but plan on going back and especially am looking forward to more of their stuff.
There was some confusion with this band because they were originally called ‘Oregon Bike Trails’ and had a song called ‘Cayucos’ (with an o). After I got that sorted out, I found this album and already loved 2 songs from it. The other 6 are just as good. It’s surfer pop which is usually a genre I get tired of quickly. But not this album. It’s short and sweet and enjoyable every time.
7. ‘The Speed of Things’ by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
I first heard of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. from Mike Spinella, the guy I trust the most with music. I voided them because I didn’t like their name. Then a few years ago, I liked their album but not enough to put it on my top list. I went in to this album with moderate expectations and they were easily beat. This album is so good from top to bottom. For some reason they remind me of Simon and Garfunkel, which is probably one of the highest honors you could bestow upon a band.
Starfucker has been one of my favorite groups since 2008 when their debut ‘Starfucker’ was my #8 album. It probably should have been higher too. They came in again at #8 with ‘Reptillians’ in 2011 although it hasn’t held up for me well since then. I was hoping they would reverse the trend and release a better album, and they sure did this year. It’s on the longer side with 15 songs but each one is great.
Bell X1 continues to put out solid albums every couple of years. I got in to them in 2009 when ‘Blue Lights on the Runway’ was my #2 album that year. Then again in 2011 when ‘Bloodless Coup’ was my #4. They have a few albums prior to that and they are all great too. This one is a little more subdued then the previous ones but still hits home for me.
Generationals’ last album was my top album of 2011. This album picks up where that one left off. Every song is great. It’s just pure indie pop goodness that always puts me in a good mood whenever I listen to it.
Caged Animals’ last album came out in 2011 but I didn’t discover it until a year later thus leaving it off the Best of ‘11 list. I was really looking forward to their sophomore record and it didn’t disappoint. It took some listens to really kick in but now I can’t the songs out of my head.
I enjoyed Way Yes’ EP last year and when they released ther debut LP this year, I jumped on it. After listening to it a few dozen times, I started to realize the album had a theme - suicide. I asked them about it on Facebook and they confirmed. Whether it’s depressing or not, it’s damn enjoyable to listen to.
Some years you just know from the first listen that this will be the Album of the Year. It was like that for Jamaican Queens this year. Their debut album blew me away and every time I go back to it I love it even more. The last 3 mins of the album are absolutely sublime. Eagerly looking forward to seeing these guys live and their next album.
When we started Exfm four years ago, we had one goal. To help people discover and listen to new music on the web. What started as a Chrome extension quickly grew to a website, iPhone app, Android app, blog widget and API. Along the way we had people from over 200 countries use our apps and more…
“The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It’s a juvenile notion and it’s still being argued in my country passionately and we’re going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I’m astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?”—
What a read. I could have picked out any paragraph to quote.
Tomorrow (Thu 10/10) marks the opening of MoMA Art Lab: Movement, a new exhibition at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art—and Gilt mobile engineer Ruxy Staicut is one of the featured artists. Ruxy’s piece, titled ” Dra’wii’ng Jackson Pollock,” is an interactive installation that…
Starting to stress over cutting my top albums of 2013 down to 10. My list so far (not in order):
Miracle Mile by Starfucker
Hummingbird by Local Natives
Wormfood by Jamaican Queens
Chop Chop by Bell X1
Heza by Generationals
Quantum Leap by Dumbo Gets Mad
Tog Pebbles by Way Yes
Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man
Bigfoot by Cayucas
A Quiet Darkness by Houses
Psycho Tropical Berlin by La Femme
Summer Camp by Summer Camp
From Here To Now To You by Jack Johnson
Ski Mask by Islands
At Home by Keep Shelly In Athens
II by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
In The Land Of Giants by Caged Animals
Three months ago I got a physical and a blood test. The doctor told me my cholesterol was too high and that it had increased from a year ago. He wanted to start me on a low dose of Lipitor to bring it down. Being 34 years old, I was not too happy about going on Lipitor. I asked him for three months to see if I can bring it down using diet and exercise. He agreed.
It’s now been three months and I’ve lost 31 lbs but more importantly brought my cholesterol down to a safe level, started exercising and generally feel a whole lot better. I’m sharing this story here to act as a resource of links and information for anyone out there that wants to lower their cholesterol or lose weight. Here is what I did.
What did I eat?
The most important thing I did was change my diet. I was not a heavy junk food eater or snacker, but in general did not really watch what I ate. For the past three months, I’ve stuck strictly to this diet:
Breakfast - egg white omelet with vegetables and salsa verde on top. The key to this was buying pre-made egg whites in a container as well as pre-cut veggies. The whole thing takes 5 mins to make and is delicious.
Lunch - salad. I pretty much got the same salad every day. It consists of lettuce, tuna (no mayo), anchovies and tomatoes with Balsamic vinegar and oil.
Dinner - mostly salad, sometimes fish or chicken. I also switched from sushi to sashimi and had that about once a week.
The biggest change I believe I made was to avoid carbs as much as possible and completely cut out wheat and gluten. I’m pretty much convinced gluten is poison and that carbs are what cause obesity and heart disease, not dietary fat. About a month in, I also realized that there was a name for the diet I was doing - The Paleo Diet.
What about exercise?
About a month in I started to exercise. I alternated every other day between running and strength training. For running, I did an 8 week 5k training program. I live next to Central Park which really motivated me since it is so beautiful and there are so many runners out there. For strength training, I did this Basic Bodyweight Workout which lasts about 30 mins and doesn’t require any equipment.
Of course! I used these apps to help me track my data:
Fitbit - I used this to track my weight as well as steps using the Fitbit Ultra. I don’t have their wifi scale although it’s on my wishlist.
Runkeeper - I used this to track my runs as well as their free 5k training program. I paired it with a Polar Bluetooth heart-rate monitor as well.
Lift - I used this to help form habits - daily exercise, daily stretching and sleep before midnight.
Moves - even though this duplicates what Fitbit and Runkeeper do, I loveitso much that I also had to use it.
Google Docs - I created a spreadhseet and wrote some scripts to pull data from the above apps into a master spreadsheet. Geeking out over data made this a lot more fun.
What did I read?
I found a few books and websites that really helped me learn about diet and exercise as well as keep me motivated:
Mark’s Daily Apple - great recipes, great education on the Paleo diet and overall nutrition and health life-hacks.
These last three months have probably been the most important of my life. While I never felt like I was very fat, the bottom line is, I was. It took a wake-up call from the doctor to really kick me into gear. Along the way, my main four motivations were:
Lower my cholesterol
Feel great all day
Now that my cholesterol is low, feeling great and not putting the weight back on are my primary motivations. Unlike in the past, I feel like this lifestyle change is going to last. I’ve never gone this long on a diet or exercised this much. I have so much energy all day and my clothing fits me so much better now. I can’t imagine going back to the way I was. I even signed up for a 16 week 10k training program!
For reference, here are my numbers from April 10th -> July 10th.
I lost my phone for 1hr and 46min then got it back
So earlier today, at 6:24PM to be exact, I got out of the cab I was in, holding a boxy subwoofer in one hand and an umbrella in the other. It was raining pretty hard. I ran into my building, rode the elevator up, grabbed a glass of water and sat down. A little later, 38 mins to be exact, I realized my iPhone was missing.
I immediately went to iCloud.com, clicked on ‘Find My iPhone’ and saw on the map that my phone was across the park on the east side. I clicked the ‘Play Sound’ button a few times. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when I lost it in the couch. I then clicked ‘Lost Mode’. I’ve never done that. It asked me to input a passcode and then leave a message and number I can be reached at if someone found the phone. Since Isabel is out of the country, I left my sister’s number, who lives in Long Island.
I then immediately called my sister on FaceTime from my iPad and told her what was going on. She told me she’d FaceTime me back once somebody called.
I continued to push ‘Play Sound’ on iCloud another 30 times as I brought up GMail’s phone dialer and simultaneously called my phone from that. At around 7:30, someone answered. It was the cab driver. He told me he had my phone and that he could drive it up to me in the next 30-60 mins. He was currently downtown. Of course I knew this since I was tracking his every move from iCloud.
My sister FaceTimed me right after that telling me a woman had called and said she found the phone deep in the seat, it was ringing like crazy and she was giving it to the cab driver. She also texted my sister this:
After that, I waited until I saw the cab was coming uptown, called the driver again to confirm and eventually met him outside where he gave me back my phone.
What amazes me about all this was how well iCloud worked, how I was able to lock my phone, give it a message to call my sister, track the cab all over Manhattan, use GMail and FaceTime to communicate with people and of course get my phone back.
If it wasn’t for a very warm-hearted cab driver (#8E66), a very nice woman and my awesome sister, this story would not have had a happy ending.
A funny side note - here’s how my iPhone saw it through Moves:
The coolest feature of Xbox Music, however, is sadly not in the Windows 8.1 Preview yet. At a press event before today’s official unveiling Microsoft showed a feature that allows you to take a website about music (think a top-10 list, review, set list or something similar) and automatically turn it into a playlist for Xbox Music. From Internet Explorer, you can simply invoke the regular Share charm, click on ‘Music’ and the service will scan the page for artists’ names, songs and other information to put together this playlist.
This is the closest critique on paper to how I feel about iOS 7 so far. There are many new features to like. The design is sometimes new and refreshing. But there are just so many inconsistencies right now that it’s hard not to think what Michael is saying below. If you have a few mins, go and read his few posts. For the first time (and I own AAPL stock) I’m nervous for Apple.
We can haul out excuses about short development times and it being a preview. And yes, I too hope it will be fixed before release. But it doesn’t change the fact that this was either designed without understanding how and why it works, or without respect for it. Seeing something like this has shifted my belief in Apple’s discipline as the leader in interface design.
Over the last 90 days, the Digg engineering team — all 5 of them — has been heads-down building an updated take on the RSS reader. For our first public release, in time to (just) beat the shutdown of Google Reader, our aim has been to nail the basics: a web and mobile reading experience that is…
Lately I’ve noticed a trend where by each night I open up a few apps and organize the data they collected on me that day. This is not so much the real-time web and not so much Timehop telling me what I did in the past. This is me living my life normally, then making some sense of it when I’ve got the time.
As an example, check these two screenshots out. The first is from Moves. It has my physical location and knows that I stopped somewhere for 3 minutes. I later went back and labeled it ‘Dean & DeLuca’.
The second image is from Mint. It has my purchase history and shows that I made a transaction at ‘Dean & Deluca’ for $4.57. I went in after the fact and categorized it as ‘Coffee Shops’.
Now both these apps learn and adapt so the next time I stop and purchase something at Dean and DeLuca they will both label and organize it correctly. I can then act on this data to know how many times I visit Dean and DeLuca, how many Coffee Shops I visit, how much time I spend at them and how much money I spend on coffee. This data can help me budget both my time and money better. The idea of apps silently collecting data on me in the background, then me post-organizing that data and learning something from it is incredibly exciting.
I know I’m a bit late to this (thanks @toddml@rstaicut) but after seeing Moves announce their API yesterday I took the plunge and installed the app. First impression - it’s pretty awesome.
Moves tracks your movement using your iPhone’s sensors and GPS. I already track my steps with the Fitbit Ultra so the first thing I was interested in was how close Moves came to the number Fitbit tells me. After a day, the numbers are close enough for comfort.
But the real beauty of Moves comes from its GPS data and Foursquare venue tie-in. This goes way beyond what Fitbit provides. Moves knows when you walk but also can determine when you take transportation or run or bike. Looking below, you can see in my Storyline (great name btw) that I walked from Work to the subway, then transferred to another subway, then walked home. Later I left home, took a subway to Riverside Park, then walked home from there. Moves knows when you are at a place for a while, and allows you to label that place with Foursquare venue data (or generic terms like ‘Work’ and ‘Home’). This is pretty mind-blowing and clearly the future of geo-tracking.
So what’s the downside? You guessed it - battery life. Even though Apple and geo developers claim background location apps only effect your battery by 10%, in reality it’s a lot more than that. At this point, I’m not sure if I will use this every day. But one thing is clear to me. This issue will be solved soon enough and after that, I expect the adoption rate on apps like this to explode.