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.
Peter Thiel, expressing his dissatisfaction with technology’s progress, recently noted, ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.’ Do you agree with him?
I feel sorry for Peter Thiel. Did he really want flying cars? Flying cars are not a very efficient way to move things from one point to another. On the other hand, 20 years ago we had the idea that information could become available at your fingertips. We got that done. Now everyone takes it for granted that you can look up movie reviews, track locations, and order stuff online. I wish there was a way we could take it away from people for a day so they could remember what it was like without it.
You have to take their firepower away. They have offensive firepower, and we don’t want to get into a gunfight with them,” Rivers said. “Let’s put it that way. Let’s try to be anti-NRA and take some of their guns away. Which I am.”
We’re proud to announce the release of our newly redesigned iPhone app!
Our latest release, 3.0, is packed with tons of new features and upgrades including:
Smart Shuffle - Learns and adapts to a user’s listening habits.
Site Follow - We’ve turned every website with music into a smart playlist.
Listening Now - See what your friends are listening to in real time.
Improved Genres - Cleaned up and curated, thousands available.
Fast Search - Autocomplete on songs, people, sites and genres.
The new design is slicker than ever, giving you quick access to your favorite songs, people and sites. We think you’re going to love it so click the button below to experience exfm for iPhone in a whole new way.
This was an interesting year for me musically. Unlike last year, not many of my favorite artists released new albums. I did not have as large of a running list of favorite albums, but when it came time to choose my top 10, I found it more difficult that usual. I spent the last two weeks listening to each album on my list many times, re-ordering them over and over again. I’ve finally settled on this order, and I’m pretty happy with it. So without further ado, I present to you my top 10 albums of 2012.
I’ve said this many years in a row - good hip-hop is hard to find. This debut album by Oddisee stood out among a bunch of other hip-hop albums I heard this year. Really great lyrics and scratching. Anothers Grind has a great Old School feel to it.
Cultfever came into our office and played a few acoustic songs for us. I loved them that night and ever since. Their debut album is so catchy and they are from Ann Arbor so I have to love them. Duress is my favorite song on the album.
Thieving Irons played an exfm showcase for us in August. I already loved their debut album and it was amazing seeing them live. This is a laid-back, low-key album that is great to fall asleep to. Sleepwalking Into The Ocean is extremely powerful.
I’ve loved Angus and Julia Stone for a few years now, so when I found out Angus was releasing a solo album I got excited. It didn’t disappoint at all. His voice is amazing and his guitar work is up there with anyone. Give Wooden Chair a listen. You’ll love it.
Blonds played our July exfm showcase and I was blown away. I knew them from their EP which was total indie pop. Their debut LP was released two weeks after our show, so I heard all these songs for the first time live that night. I can say one thing - Blonds is no longer indie pop. These songs are much darker and a lot more complex. Check out Mr. E to see what I mean.
Islands’ last album came out in 2009 and I didn’t include it on my top albums list that year. I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s one of my favorites from the last five years. Their latest album is somewhat different but very good in its own way. Check out Lonely Love.
I loved some Tame Impala songs a few years ago but never checked out their first album. When their second album came out this year I jumped on it quickly. It’s hard to describe their sound. It’s almost like Pink Floyd but not really. There are a bunch of songs on this album that are stuck in my head. Listen to Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and tell me you don’t love these guys.
From start to finish Traps is one of those albums that every song is your favorite. I hadn’t heard of these guys before this year. It’s their third album and I definitely plan on checking out their first two. Give Horrible Things (Make Pretty Songs) a listen.
1. ‘The Sticks’ by Mother Mother.
Anyone that knows me knows I absolutely love Mother Mother. I discovered them in 2008 with their second album and made it my #2 album that year. I’ve been obsessed ever since and have seen them live many, many times. They released their third album last year and again it was my #2 album of the year. Well this year, they finally took the #1 spot! This album is so deep and dark. Their harmonizing is second to none and their lyrics are very deep too. I highly suggest you get on the Mother Mother bandwagon before they get too big. Check out Happy for a good idea of what this album’s all about.