Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur

6/19/2004

i2Workout

Filed under: Computer Stuff,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

“I think $17 is too much to pay for those iFit workouts. You only get one workout for 17 bucks and if you get sick of it, you’re stuck.”

“I just think that finding iFit MP3s on the Internet is going to be a little difficult. The more obscure something is, the harder it is to find. Unless you’re looking for Top Forty or Trance music because there’s some weird overlap with Trance music and computer geeks. I’ll look, but I don’t think I’ll find anything.”

I puffed out some air and we talked about something else. The next morning he didn’t mention anything about finding any MP3s for me, so I logged on myself. I only had thirty minutes before I had to get my butt on the treadmill or I would have been late for work.

I searched using the phrase, “treadmill mp3″ and the third thing on the list was i2Workout. It is a program to make your own iFit workouts for your treadmill. I was reluctant to even look at it because I only had twenty-eight minutes to get this thing working, but after browsing the other selections, I tried it.

I looked at it, I downloaded it, I installed it and I created a workout within five minutes. After ten minutes, I had a CD in my hand with a random 40 minute workout. There was no music because I didn’t want to have to figure that out. I ran downstairs and grabbed the ghetto blaster and some connectors.

I started my workout on time and it kicked my butt. I’m just so happy that I’m sending in the measly thirty bucks to register it. You can try it out for free for thirty days, so I could just make a whole ton of CDs of workouts before they lapse, but I’m happy to pay the registration fee. For less than the cost of two iFit workouts, I can make all the workouts in the world that I want using my favorite music.

I know that this sounds like a huge commercial for these i2Workout guys and by golly it is. I was able to make myself a random workout, burn it to a CD and set it up on my treadmill within 30 minutes. It made me totally happy.

Have I mentioned how ecstatic I am to have my treadmill back?

Previous: The Return of the Treadmill   Next: Does Anybody Love Their Gym That Much?

UPDATE 09-21-05: If you are unable to download this program from the i2Workout website, there is a mirror of it here: WinSite: i2Workout

You can see my further adventures with this issue at my weblog on Starling Fitness.

9/9/2004

New Palm

Filed under: Computer Stuff,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 10:46 am

9/8/04 12:33pm: I’m sitting outside wondering what to write and trying to learn the new Graffiti. I just got this new Palm yesterday and this is really the first time I’ve tried this. My speed is abysmal. There are new strokes for almost all of the letters, so I am learning it all over again. I’m finding the double-stroke characters the hardest. Half the time, the old strokes work, but there are a few that insist on their way only.

I’ve had trouble with Graffiti in the past. My 5’s have always been indistinguishable from my 9’s. That alone allows for why K-Mart put me on data entry during inventory.


The preceding took me over a half hour to write on my Palm using the new Graffiti. I know that I’ll get faster the more I practice, but right now, it’s bloody annoying. My stroke that looks like a 7 that always made the perfect T is now useless and ends up putting apostrophes where I don’t want them. I know it should be easier because a lot of double-stroke things (like punctuation) are simplified, but I am having a hard time adjusting.

Learning Graffiti the first time was a piece of cake. I had to learn a different way to write a V (backwards), which is completely useless now. I never really was able to write a G, Q or Y correctly. With this new system, those letters seem to work better. I know this new Graffiti is better, but I’m just learning right now and it’s frustrating as hell.

Don’t recommend that program to me that lets me use the old Graffiti system. This is the new system and I’m going to learn it, dammit. The gauntlet has been thrown down and I picked it up when I bought the Tungsten E. Now I have to conquer this beast. It’s a point of honor.

For the last three to four years, I had been happy with my Kyocera SmartPhone. It was only within the last month or so that I realized that if I bought one of the cool new Palms and went back to my Motorola StarTAC, then I could have all those cool features that I have been coveting on those Palms lately: those beautiful color screens, the memory card slot, that new operating system, the MP3 player functions, the huge amounts of memory and (once again, for effect) those beautiful color screens. Plus, the Tungsten E was so shiny.

So I made the plunge. I gave up the convenience of having my Palm in the same machine as my phone. In return, I have six albums of CD quality music with me at all times. I have a crystal clear screen that has all of those pretty colors. I have more memory than I know what to do with. I have a new version of Bejeweled that glimmers and shines.

I dug the StarTAC out of the basement, charged it, and made the switch. I haven’t missed the SmartPhone yet. I keep thinking that I’m going to miss the phone numbers programmed into the phone. Since I stopped being a real estate agent, I’ve found that I only call three people a week: Stacey, my mom and Mike. I have to admit that I don’t have those phone numbers memorized, but the StarTAC has enough speed dial entries to cover my huge list of peeps.

Now, I just need to learn this new Graffiti system and I’ll be all set.

10/5/2004

The FITALY Keyboard

Filed under: Computer Stuff,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I wrote about a month ago when I was trying to learn the new version of Graffiti. I knew the old version of Graffiti like the back of my hand and I found it frustrating to write with the new one. Mike showed me how to pull up the keyboard on the Palm and I realized that I could plink out my thoughts on the keyboard faster than I could write. I think it was even faster than I was with my old Graffiti skills.

The only problem with the innate keyboard is that when I pull it up on my Tungsten E, it takes up half the screen and I have precious little space to see what I have typed. Additionally, I have to press an extra button to bring it up, so if I only need to type one or two letters, it’s a pain in the butt. For WWCalc, I have so many shortcuts programmed in, I usually only need to type a couple of letters for each entry. It would be silly to bring up the big keyboard just to type two letters.

Mike started playing with some different keyboard that he could install on his Tungsten T3. It replaced his typing area with this new keyboard that is specially arranged for a stylus. It was so cool, but my Palm doesn’t have an active writing area, so I thought it wouldn’t work for me. Mike said that they have stickers to put over your active area on the old-style Palms so that you can use this cool keyboard without using up all your screen space. They had a trial download and it included an Acrobat document to print onto a sticker to put on my Palm.

I printed the sticker up on normal paper and stuck it over my screen protector. I knew I would have to sacrifice a screen protector if I didn’t like the thing, but I thought it was worth that. I used it for about thirty minutes and had Mike pay the registration fee for the program. It was that great. Three days later, their really slick stickers came in the mail (they send you four) and now my Palm is the most efficient note taking device I have every owned outside of paper. I can officially take the Moleskine out of my purse and just pull out the Palm when inspiration hits me. I can type that fast.

I am still learning how to use it. I’ve put in a ton of custom slides for common suffixes and prefixes so that I don’t have to tap “i-n-g” or “t-i-o-n” over and over. I can use my own shortcuts for those common word combinations. The cool thing is that I get to decide what means what. If I don’t use a suffix very often, it doesn’t have to be on my list. I could program entire words for any letter I want. It’s entirely customizable.

My typing speed with the FITALY keyboard is about 28 wpm right now. I’ve tested as fast as 34 wpm, but it’s not consistently that fast yet. It is still substantially slower than typing on the computer. My speed on the computer is between 59 and 70 wpm. I’m sure that I will get faster with the FITALY keyboard as I practice. I know that I’m much faster than I could ever do with Graffiti. I tried testing my speed with Graffiti and I couldn’t get over 15 wpm. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get faster than that and my hands started getting a little sore after writing for so long. Tapping on the keyboard is a lot easier on my hands.

I totally recommend trying this keyboard out for yourself on your Palm. You can install it risk-free and use it for about five days. It only took me thirty minutes to know that I wanted to keep it. DO NOT stick a normal label or sticker on your Palm. If you are going to print yourself up the keyboard to stick on your machine, put it over a screen protector. You WILL NOT be able to remove it from your screen without damaging it. Try it out and see if you like it. It might make your little “toy” something much more useful.

9/25/2005

Writing for The Gadgets Page

Filed under: Computer Stuff,Gadgets & Cool Stuff,Video Games — Laura Moncur @ 6:00 am

I am now writing for The Gadgets Page, so all my ideas about cool gadgets are going to go there from now on. You can read my reviews here:

I am excited to write down all my ideas about the new stuff out there, so please read my reviews for gadgets, video games and computer stuff there!

Wish me luck!

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