Nike+ FuelBand micro-review

I picked up a Nike+ FuelBand in San Francisco a couple of months ago. It’s a nice piece of kit. On the wrist, it’s comfortable and, more importantly, unobtrusive. In black at least, it looks just like a charity wristband, so hardly anyone even notices it. The tiny little light-up display is both adorable and looks futuristic as fuck.

But I have a couple of minor problems with it.

  1. What the fuck is Nike+ Fuel? I’ve set a daily goal of 2,0001, but what does that actually mean? Is 2,000 a little or a lot? If I’m using this as a way to track my activity or to lose weight, I’d love to know exactly what this is supposed to represent2.

  2. This isn’t FuelBand-specific, and is more a problem with all phone peripherals, such as the Jawbone Up: If your peripheral has shitty battery life (the FuelBand gets less than a week per charge), can you not figure out some way to charge the peripheral off my phone? I’ve already have three things charging beside my bed each night, so if it’s between your stupid peripheral and my Kindle or my phone, you’re not going to win. Even some sort of pass-through between the phone charger and the phone that would siphon off enough to charge the peripheral would work for me.

Overall, it’s not bad. It would never replace my Nike+ app on my phone (I’ve logged 1,493kms run - I am locked in), but it’s a great supplement to it.


  1. Sub-problem: how am I supposed to refer to these units? “Nike+ Fuel Units”? That’s a bit of a mouthful, no? ↩︎

  2. This is like the problem when buying things off Xbox Live - the currency is “Xbox Points”, which doesn’t translate easily to euros, dollars or pounds. They’re obfuscating how much you’re spending. Why would Nike obfuscate the amount of exercise you’re doing? ↩︎

Welcome to Flavour Town →

Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?

Why is one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret — a lunch-only sandwich of chopped soy-glazed pork with coleslaw and cucumbers — called a Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, when it resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson?

If you read just one restaurant review today, make it Pete Wells’ review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in the New York Times

Ashamed

To her family, I want to say: I am ashamed, I am culpable, and I am sorry. For every letter to my local politician I didn’t write, for every protest I didn’t join, for keeping quiet about abortion rights in the company of conservative relations and friends, for becoming complacent, for thinking that Ireland was changing, for not working hard enough to secure that change, for failing to create a society in which your wife, your daughter, your sister was able to access the care that she needed: I am sorry. You must think that we are barbarians.

I am ashamed that Ireland’s medieval abortion law still stands - Emer O’Toole - guardian.com

The Best

I’ve got a bit of a bag problem. By this, I mean that I seem to accumulate bags, because I have this wild, irrational fear of not having the correct bag for any given situation.

(Look, I already acknowledged it was wild and irrational. Shut up.)

For Christmas last year, my wife got me a GoRuck GR1. It is, hands down, the best bag I’ve ever owned. It’s the perfect size for a weekend away. It’s the perfect size for carry-on luggage on an airplane. I’ve used it in the worst weather Ireland can throw at it and it’s never once leaked or even gotten soggy. When I had my bike accident, the bag completely protected my MacBook Pro. Again, the best bag I’ve ever owned.

And I haven’t bought another bag since I got it because I haven’t needed another bag.

So I totally understand what Dustin Curtis is saying. It’s always worth doing your research and spending a little extra money, if necessary, to make sure you get the best.

Let's start the foodie backlash

Let’s start the foodie backlash

Bicycle Helmets

Elisabeth Rosenthal has a piece in the New York Times Sunday Review about whether helmets should be worn when cycling. Her argument is that, yes, helmets probably save lives1 but making them mandatory actually discourages people from cycling.

Recent experience suggests that if a city wants bike-sharing to really take off, it may have to allow and accept helmet-free riding. A two-year-old bike-sharing program in Melbourne, Australia — where helmet use in mandatory — has only about 150 rides a day, despite the fact that Melbourne is flat, with broad roads and a temperate climate. On the other hand, helmet-lax Dublin — cold, cobbled and hilly — has more than 5,000 daily rides in its young bike-sharing scheme. Mexico City recently repealed a mandatory helmet law to get a bike-sharing scheme off the ground. But here in the United States, the politics are tricky.

Last year, I had the worst bike accident of my life. I was coming from the north side of the city. As I came around the corner of the Matt Talbot bridge - at a point where two cycle lanes cross over each other in the middle of a pedestrian crossing - when another cyclist on a Dublin Bike was coming the other way. We both saw each other too late and we both swerved in the same direction.

The results weren’t pretty.

I landed on my head, lost consciousness for a few minutes and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

There were two things I realised. First is that I don’t think cycling helmets should be mandatory, but for my style of cycling, which I would call ‘assertive’ rather than ‘aggressive’, I probably should wear one. The other thing I realised is that people on Dublin Bikes are, generally, awful and dangerous cyclists. They have no idea of the rules of the road. No concept of spacial awareness. They’re oblivious to other road-users (and especially, other cyclists). What I have observed myself is that their first use of a Dublin Bike is usually the first time they’ve been on a bike in a few years, so they’re a bit wobbly and nervous. And then, after about fifteen minutes, they remember how much fun cycling is and they start cycling like lunatics. And that’s when you have to watch out for them. Because they are the heaviest bikes on the road and an accident with them will fuck you up.

Believe me. They will fuck you up.

So, speaking as a cyclist, I guess my point is that I think bicycle helmets shouldn’t be mandatory. Regardless of what I just said about the majority of Dublin Bike users, I think the Dublin Bike scheme is a terrific asset to the city and I also believe that it would get no use if people were forced to buy and use a helmet before using one of the bikes. I think that the decision should be left to the individual cyclist, that people should wear a helmet if they feel like they need it.


  1. Although she seems to suggest the life-saving benefits of helmets are largely apocryphal ↩︎

Advice

Nickd gives some great advice about capital-L living. I really want a fire pit now.

Point - Counterpoint →

Review of the iPhone 5 in the New York Times:

It’s just too bad about that connector change. Doesn’t Apple worry about losing customer loyalty and sales?

Apple’s reponse:

You treat me like a nerfherder and that feels so rough

Won’t be able to not hear this now. Thanks.

Tintin in R'lyeh

fckyeahhplovecraft:

Muzski’s reinterpretation of Hergé’s famous comic series feature Tintin, Captain Haddock, Snowy and all your beloved characters in an exciting new light as they unwittingly stumble upon soul-shattering vistas from Beyond.

Watch our brave adventurers flee from shoggoths, Deep Ones, fish folk, ghouls, Formless Spawn, Mi-Go, Elder Things, nightgaunts, Old Ones, Outer Gods and foreigners (i.e. non-Anglo-Saxons) as they face many an existential crisis regarding their insignificance on a cosmic scale!

What eldritch horrors await our companions as they unearth the secrets from untold aeons in the dark corners of the earth? Will they heroically flee from these abominations from the stars, or will they choose the merciful oblivion that is death by throwing themselves on squalid pavements or shooting themselves in the head? And what trick does Nyarlathotep have up ‘His’ sleeve this time?

Find out in The Weird Adventures of Tintin, by H. P. Lovecraft!