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Part 2 – My New Computer

Part 2 – My New Computer

You can read Part 1 that has the why’s I got my new computer and what I was looking for, this post is more about the new computer, setting it up and how I am using it.

I got my ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP300LA Signature Edition Laptop, Tuesday evening and spent the rest of the night and most of today, getting it setup the way that I want it.

ASUS Box Photo

ASUS Box Photo

Now setting up a computer sounds like a lot of work and can be a big pain-in-the-ass, but you know something, it is a process that I actually enjoy. It is a challenge to learn the ins and outs of a new system and bring your new computer up to the level where you are comfortable with it. I know – I am weird sometimes.

Yeah, I went through the setup routine that every new PC makes you do, but with most of my settings already available as part of my Microsoft account, that went very quickly.

Then first thing that I did was take a look at the programs that came with the computer – after all it is a signature edition. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Aging, Technology

 

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My New Computer – Part 1

My New Computer – Part 1

A new computer – what in the hell is going on Harold?

Why is this going up on a “running blog”? Well I use my computer every day and is how I connect with the online running community.

Why did I need a new computer?

Last Sunday morning I am working on my Sony Vaio and suddenly hear a big “click” and everything goes black.

Ummm “Houston we have a PROBLEM“.

The Vaio was dead as a doornail – nothing happening at all.

Having your primary computer suddenly…out of nowhere die on you is a royal pain-in-the-ass.

Let’s backup

My old 2009 MacBook Pro was/is getting wonky (great technical computer term – but I think you know what I mean, it is becoming unreliable) and I had switched back to my Sony Vaio, (which is big, bulky, heavy and I hated the keyboard, but it was always reliable).

Plus I had worked for the past couple of weeks getting used to it again and putting it back the way I wanted.

I swore a bit, scratched my head and went and got the Mac out of storage, to see if I could figure out what had happened to the Vaio.

After trying all the suggested solutions – figured out it was dead and not worth fixing. I am fairly savvy on computers and when I couldn’t get it to working again…well I knew the answer and didn’t look forward to talking about “needing” a new computer with TheWife.

Not good.

I pissed, moaned, groaned and whined…swore a little, acted like a spoiled little brat and threw a temper tantrum.

Not really, but it sounded good didn’t it.

Actually, I just shook my head and started thinking about what I needed to do next and if the MacBook Pro would last for a while or if I “needed” a new laptop. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Aging, Technology

 

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Learned A LOT From a 3 Mile Run – RunLog 2-18-15

Learned A LOT From a 3 Mile Run – RunLog 2-18-15

Hey, it was 25*F this morning, so Bennie and I decided to take it outside and do a run down to Pepin Way, which wasn’t all that big of a deal and other than stopping what seemed like a bazillion times to re-mark his territory (it has been a while since we ran down there), it was a pretty easy run.

However, I did do a couple of things differently.

GPS

I wore my TomTom GPS watch and all the old reasons why I stopped using GPS devices came back to me almost instantly.

Yeah, I fretted over how that damn graph at the end would look like.

Strava Graph 2-18-15

Strava Graph 2-18-15

I was too focused on what I should be running for a pace on a recovery run versus – well just frigging running. This was not a tempo workout, it was a easy recovery run and I was getting all into what is my pace now, why am I slowing down (my legs are tired after Monday and Tuesday’s workouts – you dumb shit) and oh I gotta got faster. You know all that really important stuff, that we tend to over-focus on that takes the joy away from running.

Not the reasons why I run.

Nope this run really showed me how anxious using a GPS device makes me and how much they take away from MY running. Unless I am doing a pretty damned specific workout, running somewhere new or where it is tough to get “close enough mileage totals”, I don’t see me using a GPS device very often from now on.

Outside in the K5’s

The other thing is that I wanted to wear my new Saucony Kinvara 5’s on an outside run. Since the roads were mostly clear and it wasn’t stoopid cold, today was a good opportunity to do it.

I do notice that when I have run on the treadmill a lot that it takes 4-5 days to re-acclimate to running outside (there is a difference). Now I love the feel of the Kinvara 5’s (26.0 miles) on the treadmill, but while running outside today I just never got comfortable running in them.

It felt like I was fighting myself the whole way and that the shoes were getting in the way of my stride and the K5’s felt a lot more firm than they are inside on the treadmill.

25*F is still below freezing as far as temps go and that might make the shoes feel a more firm (I am no scientist, but I have had this experience with other shoes), along with the subzero temps having put a “hard” freeze into the roads (no give at all-like running on steel plates).

Then again, it could be that my legs are totally trashed and some good DOMS has set in from Monday’s speedwork session, but either way or any way – I just never smoothed out on the run and when I had to run in the dirty slush snow or white ice, I didn’t have the grip that I have become accustomed to.

The bottom-line is that based on how they worked for me today, the K5’s are a great treadmill shoe and did pretty good for a first run in them outside.

Showing the fit of the Kinvara 5. 8.5 fits exactly the way it should.

Showing the fit of the Kinvara 5. 8.5 fits exactly the way it should.

The fit was right and the toe box width never bothered me, but when it comes to running outside in colder temps or mixed road conditions I have better choices available to me – Skechers GoRun Ultra or Brooks Cascadia 8’s.

However, once it warms up and the roads clear, I have a feeling that the K5’s are going to be just fine as outside shoes.

Oh how did the actual run go.

I gave it a 1 on my rating scale. My stride was off the entire run and even thought the “graph” shows that I had a few spots where I ran decently, it just wasn’t all that great of a run.

Strava Stats 2-18-15

Strava Stats 2-18-15

Bad runs happen and it was just a case of having run too much on the treadmill lately and needing to adjust back to running with me being the motor. Along with a little Delayed Onset Muscle Stiffness/soreness.

However, it was a run where I confirmed my feelings about running with a GPS device and learned that the K5’s will work just fine outside, but that I have other running shoes that are better suited to run outside in the winter.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Dog Run, RunLog, Technology

 

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GPS and Running – Is It That Great?

Is seems to me that there is a new paradigm going around in the running world.

That to be a serious runner or to be taken seriously as a runner you have to use a GPS device.

My GPS devices

My GPS devices

You know the watches, smart phone apps and other devices that key into the Global Positioning System to give us data on where, how far and how fast we did it.

That way you can accurately measure your mileage, time, pace, heart rate, elevation gain or loss and a map of where you ran.

Which means that you will become a better runner and be able to prove it.

Needless to say I bought into that paradigm hook, line and sinker.

Back when I got my first smart phone, I started using the GPS apps, I really liked the ease of being able to know about how far I ran, a voice telling me my mile splits, along with other things and be able to post it to various online running logs/website to share with other runners what I was doing. Enough so that I “moved up” to a Garmin and then over to my TomTom GPS watches.

What I loved about GPS

These GPS devices provided me with almost instantaneous data on how far or fast I had run and cued me in on each mile split and could do so many other things to help me train more effectively and closer to the ideal training paces for my racing goals.

However, the real cat’s meow…and the part that I really used the most (loved it), was the data that the GPS devices provided me to study after a run, automatically uploading my run’s GPS data to multiple online running logs.

Those sites that have all those wonderful charts and graphs about what I did on the run, the ability to compare my run with other runs on the same course, keep track of my course PR’s, PB’s, and then announce my successes and failures to the world of Twitter, Facebook and all the others within seconds.

It was so easy and so great, how did it become…

Overwhelming

You know something – towards the end of 2014 using a GPS device got overwhelming between always worrying about whether they were charged, waiting to connect to GPS, if they would keep connection, and if the data would upload correctly, so that…

I could study, compare, analyze and sort through all the data that I was getting about my runs.

It got so that one the first things I would do when I got done with the run was plug my device into a computer and upload my latest run, so I could see the data (does this sound familiar?).

There was very little after-glow or enjoyment of the run…I had to see the data to know if I had hit the goals for that run, met the objectives of the training for that day and would be disappointed if I hadn’t.

All this GPS data collection, otherwise called running, was turning running into something that I did to produce the numbers, graphs and charts, so that I could be a better runner.

My running had become secondary to the numbers it was producing for the data analysis after I was done.

Something had to change

Yes, I can hear it now…you need to know all the information that a GPS device provides to get the biggest bang for your training, meet your daily training goals, give your coach a chance to see where you are weak and what your strengths are, so that you will improve at an optimal rate.

After all if you measure it you can “improve” it.

That sounds pretty business-like to me.

Which might be what many people want, need and expect in today’s world of having to measure everything, in the idea that constant improvement can be attained and is desirable.

Ummm sorry, well not so sorry.

At some point in our efforts to measure everything down to the smallest detail, did we/do we loose track of what is important?

I did.

I am not an elite runner or anything more than a middle of the pack runner who runs because he enjoys running, not someone who enjoys compiling, reviewing and analyzing data about my running.

Changes

The last time I used a GPS device was January 11th and now almost two weeks later, how is it going?

To be honest, other than the usual winter doldrums and being sick of the cold, my running is going great.

At first, when I stopped running with a GPS device turned on, it was hard to let go of the data collection runner I had become. I was so frigging worried about how the data would look on the graphs and then I would remember that there wouldn’t be any graphs or data points to study.

Actually after the first few runs, I relaxed, huh I didn’t hear that…I relaxed during my runs! Especially on the treadmill, I didn’t realize how much I ran around my arm swing to ensure the acceleromotor was getting accurate data on there. I am liking my treadmill runs a lot more now.

More quickly than I though I would, I stopped worrying about what the GPS was going to show me about my run and whether I was meeting the pace goals or if I was off target…instead I just ran.

My mind wandered, it went here and there, I thought about this or that, but I wasn’t stressing out over how much I was slowing down going uphill or if I was going too fast down one.

I just ran comfortably, pushed when I thought I should be pushing or Bennie wanted to go faster, slowed down on runs that I had decided that they would be recovery runs. In other words I just listened to my body and started to enjoy the runs more.

Old School

I have worn just wear my old Timex Ironman watch and I might get a mile split in if I remember to look at my watch when I get close to where I think the mile point is, otherwise I get the time at the end of the run.

Timex Ironman Watch - Yeah a bit old-school

Timex Ironman Watch – Yeah a bit old-school

After the run, there are not many data points to follow or study, no automatic uploading to multiple web sites, no broadcasting to the Internet that I finished my run, at least until I do my boring blog posts, no charts or graphs to look at.

Spreadsheet ending 1/18/15

Spreadsheet ending 1/18/15

Nope, instead I get to eventually add the run to my spreadsheet and I get to think about how I felt during the run.

Not measuring the run, but more thinking and writing about how I felt during the run. A wholistic view, versus the data driven view. Yeah, I still keep time, distance, weight and show mileage stats, but the maps, graphs, minute data analysis are gone.

Yeah, a pretty drastic change in direction in a short time.

The reality is that

I had returned to the pre-GPS days of the dark ages and was connecting more with how I felt, versus having to review and dissect each run under a microscope to know how my run went.

Sometime going backwards, can be going forward.

For me, running without a GPS device has been a positive change and one that I will probably make permanent. I am cancelling my “pro” version of Strava, I really don’t need it (though I will miss the social interaction with other runners there) and all the other websites that I auto-posted to, well I suddenly disappeared a couple of weeks ago and that isn’t going to change.

Does this mean I will never use GPS devices again – no. I am not a Luddite by any means and enjoy the modern conveniences of our electronic devices. At the same time when they begin to interfere with, become a distraction or I become over-reliant on one, is it a good thing?

GPS devices are a tool and the data they provide can help us improve as runners, which means they have a place in my tool box, but I have a feeling that I will use GPS more for trail running or if I am attempting to hit very specific pace goals in a training run. Otherwise, they will stay in the drawer, until I need that tool.

However, I do not plan on them re-gaining the control of how I look at my running.

I don’t want to get back to where I feel that I have to measure and analyze every run and go back to believing the most important thing about running is the data that some device gives us about what we did.

No, I still believe the important thing about running is that…

That we get run.

Then again, maybe I am just a crotchety old bastard who got tired of technology getting in the way of enjoying my running.

When does a GPS device stop being a positive part of your running?

Can you become addicted OR over-reliant on a GPS device?

Thank you for reading and being patient with a cantankerous old fart’s blathering and babbling on about the changes that I am going through as I get older and the fun that I am having as a part of this process.

Originally written by Harold Shaw and published as part of http://haroldlshaw.com  

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Aging, Reflection, Running Tips, Technology

 

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Back With Apple – A Month Later

About a month ago, I decided to go back to using an iPhone – my Motorola Droid, just wasn’t doing it for me and as a part of this move, I also got out my old MacBook Pro.

Yeah, I know this is a running blog, but the technology I use does affect my blogging, social media presence and how I keep track of my training and how I look back on what I have done.

So the technology I use does affect my running.

How has iPhone done?

I use my iPhone primarily as a phone (yeah believe it or not), camera and to check my email.
Along with sending/receiving the occasional text message and as an emergency GPS device. In other words, I under-utilize my smart phone considerably, but that is okay – that is why I have a laptop.
Other than missing the “back” button, I love my iPhone 5c.
When and since I updated to IOS 8.1.1, I have had zero issues and haven’t looked back.
I can usually get a couple of days of normal use (for me) out of the battery before re-charging. Unlike many people, I do not have a bunch of apps and work hard to keep the number of apps on my phone to a minimum.
Just two pages of Apps on the iPhone and I could probably get rid of almost half of these if I really needed to.

Just two pages of Apps on the iPhone and I could probably get rid of almost half of these if I really needed to.

No, I don’t have Facebook or Twitter on there, but I do use Instagram.
One of the things that I really like about the iPhone is its camera, it is much more intuitive for me than the Droid’s was and I believe that the photos are a better quality. Now that I have figured out some of the quirks between iPhoto and iCloud, posting those photos to my blog is easy.
Even looking back with 20/20 hindsight moving back to an iPhone was the right thing for me.

Why change back to the “old” MacBook Pro?

Since I already knew that an iPhone is more integrated with a Mac than a PC, I took out my old MacBook Pro from late 2009 and started using it a few days after I got the iPhone.
My MacBook Pro's Desktop

My MacBook Pro’s Desktop

I had upgraded the MacBook Pro’s RAM to 8GB, about a little before I got the Sony Vaio (after I brick-tested my Chromebook), but hadn’t really had a chance to do much with it, I had retired the MacBook as old and unreliable and it became a backup laptop) so I didn’t realize how big a difference the extra RAM would make in my MacBook Pro.
That RAM upgrade to 8GB made all the difference and my MacBook Pro has done everything I have asked of it over the past month. Even when I upgraded to Yosemite, I experienced no issues whatsoever.
I do like Yosemite a LOT better than Mavericks or other older versions of OS X and having it installed has made my return to using the Mac an awesome experience.
Especially, with some of the new features that Yosemite brought to the table. Well at least the ones that are supported and work on my 2009 MacBook Pro.
The biggest changes moving from Windows back to OS X were remembering/figuring out where the commands were hidden for the different programs. OS X programs are more drop down menu driven than toolbar/icon driven, so finding the commands, took a little getting used to and also changing some muscle memory.
Personally I find that OS X software is a more old school UNISYS (Lanier, Wang, Burroughs) style of interface. It is elegant in its uncluttered and more minimalist styling, which now that I have gotten used to it again, I prefer. The icon toolbar is there and you have the inspector is there on the side, but most everything is in command bar.

Staying in the Apple Silo

The one thing that I have done differently this time moving to a Mac, is that I have purposely stayed as much within the Apple tech silo for my software – as possible. Apple makes 90% of the software that I need or want to use and the other 10% is stuff that I still have licenses for or can get cheaply.
Yes, there are some Apps that are superior to Apple’s offerings, but the way I look at things now, Apple’s Apps work good enough. I am tired of constantly looking for the next best thing or trying some new software just because I can. At this point I just want things to work – good enough.

Old Fashioned

However, one thing that I want from my computer is if the Internet is down or not available for whatever reason, that I can still do my work, do things that I want/need to do and do it seamlessly, without me having to frig, fart around with it. Although I haven’t had any issues or problems with iCloud, but at the same time, I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy about it. This is something I am going to be watching closely – it is improving, but…
So any Apps/software that I use a lot, needs to have offline/online capabilities.
Am I being old-fashioned?
Yep, no doubt about it, but that is okay – I can handle and like being old-fashioned. I will still be doing things that I want to do on my computer, when others are bitching, moaning and groaning about how they can’t do anything without Internet acces.
Seems like Win-Win scenario to me.

The Reality is that

During the last month, I have purposely stayed within the Apple tech silo and you know something…
It has just worked.
I haven’t had any urge to turn-on my Sony Vaio Laptop, go back to the Droid, use Evernote/OneNote, or even use Google’s Chrome Web browser – at all. All things that I used pretty much exclusively and daily for the past couple of years.
My move back to Apple’s Tech Silo has been problem-free and the experience was much better than my first move to Apple (which was pretty bumpy). Yes, it helped that for 2 1/2 years I had to use the MacBook in the classroom and have had 2 iPhones before, so I was familiar with what I was getting myself into, by going back to Apple.
Although moving back to the iPhone that was the impetous for the move back to Apple, now that I am back, I use my MacBook Pro a LOT more than I do my iPhone and the iPhone is something I use when I do not have access to my MBP or need a phone or camera.
The next question will happen in a couple of years, when Apple stops supporting my MacBook Pro (it already does not have full capabilities in Yosemite), what will I get?
Another MacBook Pro or an iPad with a keyboard?
They both have their pros and cons, but that is a decision that I do not have to worry about for a while, but either way, I need to start saving up for whichever I decide on sooner rather than later.
 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Technology

 

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Moving Back to the MacBook Pro

Although the post’s title is Back to the Mac, to be completely accurate, it should be Moving to Apple.

Photo by Harold Shaw of MacBook Pro back

Photo by Harold Shaw of MacBook Pro back

Why?

After I got my iPhone 5c a couple of weeks ago (see iPhone My Phone), I decided to dig out my old MacBook Pro and use it.

The more I played around with it – the more I enjoyed using my MBP and since I downloaded Yosemite, I really like the way it looks and works. Also I have started using more and more of the Apple software.

Isn’t that the way it works sometimes, you put something on the shelf and then after trying several other things, you find that you had the solution sitting right there all along. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Running, Technology

 

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iPhone – MyPhone

Okay, this doesn’t have a lot to do with running or does it?

Not really, but in a way it is pretty important – at least to me. Especially since I carry my phone on about 90% of my runs outside – for safety reasons.

So I guess the choice of what phone I have can be an important part of my running.

On Thursday, I moved back to an iPhone 5c, from my Motorola Droid, but why?

My new iPhone 5c

My new iPhone 5c

My Smart Phone

First, how or what do I want from “my” smart phone? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Technology

 

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