POTD – 6/365

Greetings all…

Well, winter is well underway, complete with associated temperatures in many places. For those experiencing those temps, are you ready for summer yet?

The pic below was taken from my driveway almost three years ago to the day. For a cold day, it was a really nice sunset that caught my eye as I got out of the car. Sunset colors can, at times, be invitingly vibrant. I don’t recall seeing similar during the last few winters, but will definitively be on the lookout.

Hope you had a good first weekend of the new year.

Peace,

Doug

POTD – 5/365

Get away, let’s leave today, let’s get away!
Let’s leave today, let’s get away
Let’s get away!
Let’s leave today, let’s get away

ThIs is the lyrical hook to Earth, Wind & Fire’s smash 1977 hit “Getaway”, the essence of something I think about all too often but hardly get a chance to do, or so it seems.

You know how it is, the daily grind-never enough hours in the day- always have things to take care of-things.

I fully realize the importance of extended relax time, especially away from the major distractions we are presented with in this day and age. The key is to make that realization happen. This past July was one of those times…and much needed/appreciated.

Peace…

Doug

POTD – 4/365

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road” – Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Greetings all.

In my 30 years of working as a professional, there was only a span of two years where I didn’t drive to work. That span of time, 1988 to 1990, was when first moved to Washington, DC (June 1988 to be exact). It was then I caught the Yellow Line from Gallery Place to Crystal City everyday. Other than that, I’ve driven with commute times as little as ten minute and as much as (with traffic on a bad day) 60 mins (I was stuck in the big snowstorm of 1998 between Reston and DC for 8 hours trying to drive home). After all these years, I’d easily sacrifice the sometime long waits for the subway train in order to relax on the way into work versus fighting with rush hour traffic, etc.

Today’s photo is en route home one afternoon from work. On a the best of days, it’s a 35 min commute, partially on the Beltway and I-95. This small stretch has many different looks. This one I caught was a quick minute emptiness ahead with the at just the right angle…before the rain…Hope you enjoy it.

Peace,

Doug

POTD – 3/365

“…and on the third day…”

Greetings everyone. We’re just about at the tail end of the work week, and that’s a good thing (for me, anyway).

I run. I started running of my own volition in July 2010, when I started tracking my runs using the Nike+ iPod fitness tracking system. It’s really that technology which got me interested in fitness tracking to start with. Thing is, I’m not a runner…I don’t profess to, nor aspire to be one. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either, I do it solely, in short distances at a time, for the cardio aspect. That said, I’m all into Nike’s concept for fitness training and use their Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps both on my iPhone and Apple Watch. The watch has been my main tool for fitness tracking since July 2017 and I’m one of five admins in the Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group on Facebook. I’ve run only two 5Ks in the last eight years, BUT, I do believe there is an advantageous aspect to running for fitness (maybe I’ll come to love it more…but not more than bodybuilding/strength training💪🏽).

Whenever I do run outdoors, I choose the local community college track versus the neighborhood or trails. While I’m counting laps, monitoring my pace via visual cues from either mobile device, and tracking whatever improvement I hope to gain this time around, sometimes I see this gent in the photo below. While I am no way a fast runner, he is far slower than me, YET, he presses on with consistency, barely appearing to pick his feet up off of the asphalt, but nonetheless, maintaining his forward motion and progress.

 

Right now, I’m in the midst of completing a 15K Nike Run Club Challenge that started on 31 Dec, last month, and ends at 11:59pm on 6 Jan. I’m more than half way done, running every morning a little before I work out. This morning, during my run, he crossed my mind – as a dose of external motivation that fuels my internal inspiration.

Peace,
Doug

References:

1. Nike Run Club
2. Nike Training Club
3. Apple Watch Fitness Fans (Facebook)
4. Nike+ iPod Running

POTD (2/365)

Greetings all…

It’s January 2nd already…where is the year going?? LOL

The photo below shows a repeatable one, of sorts, that I’ve seen regular during a span of four years – 2014 to 2018 to be exact. This bridge sits at the end of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and can be seen from Adler Hall. More about it can be learned from the reference link below.

I often drove over this bridge heading from SCAD back home to DC. I shot this particular photo, with my iPhone 7, from the front passenger seat early one overcast Sunday morning as something meant to be abstract. Again, not originally black and white, I think the final image caught the essence of what I was looking for. Hope you enjoy it.

Peace,
Doug

References
1. Talmadge Memorial Bridge – Wikipedia

Photo of the Day (POTD) – (1/365)

Greetings all. Happy 2019 to everyone. My hope is that yours will be healthy and prosperous.

Earlier today, I was installing some updates to my iPhone and came across one of the the App Store’s standard features on suggested apps. This one included a number of apps slated towards creating a daily post of media for the whole year, particularly photos. Ironically, a buddy of mine, Darrenkeith Wyatt, and I have always discussed our mild passion for taking and sharing our own artistically (if you will) photos, but didn’t favor them being “lost on the shuffle” on photo sharing platforms like Instagram. Instead, we always favored hosting them on our blogs, instead of those aforementioned “gated communities” (as Darrenkeith calls them LOL).

The idea came to me during our chat earlier, that I’d like to take on this “challenge” without employing an app. That said, I shared that idea with him and we’ve both decided to do it.

The first photo was taken on the early afternoon of 31 Dec 2018, after leaving a Starbucks in downtown DC. As I was heading back to my car, the image of The Capitol caught my eye, and appeared to be a nice shot. It was a rainy afternoon and while the original photo is in color, the black and white version is not too far off, but looks better to my eye.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Peace

Doug

Where in the world is…(my privacy)?

unsplash-logoNESA by Makers

NP: Daneel – Debris (Inner Ocean Records)

Greetings, all…

I’ve been out of the blogopshere for awhile, but this topic has been brewing within me for months. As you’ve probably guessed by know, it’s on the aspect(s) of data privacy in this, today’s information age. I can go on for, seemingly, forever citing the many data breaches report on in the news over the last few years – everything from Yahoo, to the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, to Equifax, to Strava, to the latest faux pas’ involving Facebook and Google. While they all are about personal data (or what I like to also call Personally identifiable information (PII)), what I’m going to write about here more aligns itself with location awareness data.

As we all know, the explosion of location awareness really took off with the invention of GPS, but with respect to social media, the sheer personal alignment came with marrying it to mobile phones and GPS enabled smart watches. I really took notice of it after reading an article in Wired Magazine entitled “I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle”. This article (see the reference at the end of the post), almost ten years old, really enlightened me to the implications (good and bad) of location awareness. Fast forwarding to today, location awareness capabilities are deeply pervasive. Again, with respect to the social media world, many people see it as welcomed convenience, if not a boon. I personally don’t see it as the latter. While there are aspects and applications of it that are truly welcomed by me in some situations I could name here, the act of using it – just because I can – doesn’t interest me at all. The primary reason is because of the vast development of the technology when it comes who and how location awareness data is being collected and what it is used for. While I certainly have nothing to hide, I dislike the fact that my location awareness data, in the most innocent sense, can be used, in so many ways, to market ads to me – marketing in which I have NO INTEREST WHATSOVER. The fact that this data can be collected against my will, brokered and sold to whoever can male use of it, bothers me, bothers me to the point where I refuse to give it up, willy nilly. I won’t even get in to the aspects of how it can be used for ill purposes (geolocation meta data on photographs uploaded to the web, aggregation of data regarding every place I traveled for a day, how long I’ve been on vacation (or similar) away from my home for ANYWAY to know and for how long simply because I keep uploading pics and status everyday I am gone, checked into, established I reviewed on Yelp, or similar, ultrasonic beacons being used to assess my shopping habits and likes when in a clothing store, etc, etc). The issue I have with apps (especially those smaller companies), is while they ensure that your data is protected via their technical design and terms of service, they can no longer ensure your data will be protected in the same way if their company is purchased by another company. What happens to my, one protected data, then? Sure, this is an everyday, common issue, but still…

I know what you’re thinking….”He’s paranoid, for sure”.
.
.
.
(cues Paranoia Will Destroy Ya/Black Sabbath)
.
.
.
Honestly, because “1984” (and then some) has been here for a minute – I’d agree with you – to a certain extent. Now that you’ve read this far, what do you think? Is it even passe’ to be paranoid at all in this day of of the information age. Is it something we should just accep? I’ve had this conversation with two friends of mine, two I consider to be technically adept, and they both gave me some interesting opinions. They are as follows:

1) Brian Tramuel (@btramuel). He’s is an avid user of the Gyroscope app and is even found on their website with a featured story. Not only is he an avid user, but a subscriber to their pro app (Gyroscope has a free version which I use daily and really like). Essentially Brian’s take on location awareness is not unusual, hey…it may even be common – “Every one is being tracked. The net, for as long as I’ve been using it, has tons of info on me already, so it doesn’t really matter nor am I bothered with putting my location awareness out there.

3) DarrenKeith Wyatt (@myloveformusic2). He made an interesting comment regarding the concern of today’s generation vs future generations. If I recall correctly, his thought was that future generations will have a far greater concern with data privacy, in general, than this current generation. I found that intriguing, because I’d say the opposite – I think it will become SO normal in the future that the concern will vanish.

In short, we are being tracked via cellphone tower triangulation all day everyday. I’m not one to purposely hand over location awareness data freely, 24/7. I continually monitor my app settings on my phone to only use location awareness when needed by me, I make certain (as best as I can) not to embed location data in EXIF data on my digital photos upload to the internet, and a few other things, and try not to post information about my location (DIRECTLY) at anyone given PRESENT time (although it could be inferred if makes the effort of aggregating enough data points (if many) at said given time). Yeah, call it paranoid if you want, but that’s “how I roll”) (pun intended).

I’m truly interested on your take, your opinion…feel free to leave a comment or two (or ten).

Thanks for the read,
Fresh!

References:
1. I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired, 2009)
2. GPS on Wikipedia
3. Ultrasonic Tracking – A Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast
4. Gyroscope – The Operating System For The Human Body

“It’s called The Walk, The Walk….”

Greetings all,

Welcome to September and the last quarter of 2018. Time flies, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I’m a fan and user of the Apple Watch for fitness tracking and what Apple occasional does is create various badges and awards in its Activity tracking app to help users stay motivated to exercise. I’m also an admin of Facebook’s Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group and walking is one of the many workouts I log as an exercise in the app. On ! Sept, they issued the National Parks achievement for any user that walks or runs for a total of 50 mins, minimum, and logs it as a workout. I took them up on the challenge, got up early and went for said walk at 7 am that morning.

It was a cool morning, perfect for a walk during that time of day. It included an uphill walk (don’t know of the elevation got recorded by the watch and/or phone) part of the way, as well as through two paths that joined adjacent streets. The workout data as well as the achievement award, are shown below.

As I had just started the round trip, another walker on the other side of the street approached me. We gave each other the obligatory good morning wave, and kept stepping. What I noticed is, instead of treading on a perfectly constructed sidewalk (as I was doing), he chose to walk in the street. What I *never* understood is why people do this when a sidewalk is available.

Granted, I’ve seen a group of people do this, but I only think this happens because a sidewalk is too narrow to accomodate discussion between all involved, so to spread out by the curve in the street makes it easier for all to talk and hear each other, instead of pretty much walking in single file. I can’t see applying that logic to a single person walking.

I have come to one deductive reason, which may seem cockamamie but here goes: People who do this may have grown up in rural areas where sidewalks were not prevalent, only roads, so they are forced to do so and are used to it. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Thanks for the read.
Fresh!

PS: For you fans of the band, The Time, get the blog title šŸ˜‰

References:
1. Apple Pay and Apple Watch help customers celebrate Americaā€™s national parks.

NP: Birds Of A Feather|Philanthrope

Farewell, FuelBand….it’s been a sheer pleasure.

Greetings all,
It’s Friday, 10:31PM EST to be exact, and I’m glad that the start of a long(er) weekend is here.

This post is about the end of a journey, a journey that began with the use of what became a fitness tracking device I became very fond of. While I won’t rehash all my feelings about it in this post, I’ll provide links to previous posts that you can read, should you be so inclined. The beginning of the end of the journey began on 20 April of this year. That is the day that Nike officially shutdown the Nike Plus website and pulled the Nike+ Connect app as well as the iOS NikeFuel and Moves App from the app store. The API was no longer available for quite sometime and the Nike Fuel Developer Site was also shut down. What this meant for users of the Fuel Band, Nike GPS Watch, and a number of other legacy Nike fitness tracking devices was that they were no longer able to sync their data or change any current user profile data to the Nike website. This also meant that once the device’s memory was full, it would essentially become useless. The day the announcement went up on Nike’s site, there was mixed emotions around the interwebs. Those emotions pretty much centered around two camps: 1) I haven’t used mine in YEARS/It broke, and 2) Being pretty much upset that Nike discontinued all support (even though they stopped selling it new years ago). With bearing much repeating, Nike and Apple eventually agreed to integrated NikeFuel into the four OS apps – Nike Fuel, Moves, Nike Run Club (NRC) , Nike Training Club (NTC). With April 30th arriving, Nike Fuel and Moves got the boot from the app store. Along with that, the Nike Training App ceased to generate NikeFuel points from their workouts (which I was not happy with – especially going back with the dolts at Nike Support who took about four Twitter messages to finally answer my question “Will the NTC app continue to track NikeFuel points because you didn’t make that clear in your website announcement).

That said, I was only able to track NikeFuel points via the NRC app…the issue there is…I’m not a regular runner, so that wasn’t going to me any good in tracking on a daily basis. As you’ll see from the previous posts below, I had already cobbled some math together that would allow me to “estimate” NikeFuel points derived from Apple Watch calories so this was going to be my way of tracking Fuel points once the Fuel Band ceased to work. I wore the Apple Watch and the Fuel together from 1 May to tonight (it’s still on my wrist). Since then, I became an admin in the Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group on Facebook, and continually posted my stats and photos of the band in that group.

Since since the website and apps were no longer available, I had to now log my daily Fuel points manually. Since I have a wee bit of knowledge in using Excel, I developed a spreadsheet to enter the daily goals into. I also created a graph that was a mild facsimile of the one used on the Nike Plus site. In a notes column, I entered anytime I logged Fuel points by using the NRC app, along with any workout exercises that added to my daily points.

This has been going since 1 May. Graphical data for the past four months. My Fuel Band user buddy, Hope asked me why I won’t continued until the band’s data is maxed out. I decided to only track dated for whole months. The band is giving me the “Memory Low -Sync Now” warning, which means it can be filled up anyday now, so I’ve decided to call it quits tonight, the last day of the month. Here’s what the data looks like since May 1.


Monthly Avg.: 2265
Exceeded Goal by: 67.7%


Monthly Avg.: 2299
Exceeded Goal by: 76.7%


Monthly Avg.: 22384
Exceeded Goal by: 77.4%


Monthly Avg.: 2142
Exceeded Goal by: 58.1%

And the grand total Nike Fuel Points earned (23 Sep 17 through 31 Aug 2018): 641,206

I spent the last week of July in Jamaica, came back in August and slacked off – hence the lower stats. LOL. nike has stated in its Fuel Band FAQ the band can go for about 30 to 45 days (max) without before the memory fills up and needs to sync with the website to empty the memory I believe I was able to extend that time frame because as of May 1st, my daily goal was only at 2000 points and the highest goal I reached in the past four months a little over 4000 (as seen above).

Well, tomorrow starts tracking Fuel points via the Apple Watch. I was fortunate enough to connect with a Sr. Data Scientist at Nike who worked on the Fuel band, who was kind enough to vet my math and provide some comments and suggest corrections for the conversion to be as accurate as possible, considering difference in accelerometer technology between the Apple Watch and the Fuel band. For those interested (see my previous posts via the links below on how I got started with this), I use this simple formula to continue tracking NikeFuel points using the Apple Watch:

[AW calories x 3.84]/0.892]
.

In addition, I was able to connect with some other employees that worked on Fuel band development, I was told that Nike had some discussion about releasing the Nike+ Connect (desktop) app as open source, but later found out that it is not on their list of priorities. There have been a few people who were able to establish bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity with the band and log certain types of data. There’s a software engineer I connect with on Twitter who has been working on doing the same in his spare time but, again, that is low priority.

On a whim last night, I decided to do one last Google search on the band, this time via Behance’s website. Behance is a portal for creators of illustration, photographic, animation, and product design content. To my surprise, I came across the work of Valentin Dequidt and his “recent” concept idea for a Nike Fuel Watch. Totally fell in love with what I saw. Here are two graphics of it.

For the entire concept, click on the link below.

NikeFuel Watch Concept – Valentin Dequidt

Well that’s it. It is officially Sept 1 (12:09 am). Goodbye Fuel Band šŸ™‚ There never was and will never be another fitness tracker that will take the approach to fitness/activity tracking the way you did. The advertising Nike put into it’s ecosystem was phenomenal.

Nike Fuel Band "The Inside Story" from New North Sound on Vimeo.

It was a long post I know. I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

peace!
Fresh!

References:
1. The NikeFuel Band SE in 2017: Band On The Run
2. Apple Watch calories to NikeFuel Points: An experiment
3. Nike Discontinues NikeFuel Legacy Devices and Software

The Phone Zone – Lessons in Reduction

Greetings and good evening….

As is often said, “Where did the month go?” Three more days until we enter in the last quarter of 2018. It’s just after 9pm and it was a long day at work – two hour meeting followed by coming up to speed on various aspects of the current mission I’m working on, via a lot of reading. Top that off with the fact I should have gotten my tail in the bed earlier last night.

In any event, those of you that have been following my many blog posts this month, Darrenkeith and I have been on an accountability journey regarding this sabbatical we’ve both taken from Facebook, Instagram, and a few other social media sites (save Twitter), waxing philosophically as we go. As said earlier, what I thought (in the beginning) was spending too much time engaged in social media turned out that the result of that was the lack of putting my phone *away and out of sight*. I’m convinced now that is the crux of the issue – an issue that I’m glad became clear during this sabbatical. I’ve read and shared a few articles with you on the subject already and came across one that I shared with Darrenkeith this morning. It was interesting because it involved a handful of subjects who sought to deal with this particular issue in their own, separate ways. I’ll share a link to that article below. I’d be interested in reading your comments on the article. in addition, there is a podcast that I recently listened to that provides fantastic insight and balance on the exact topic of this blog post, it talks to considerations of persuasive technology.

Suffice it say, I’ve come up with a number things I plan to put in to play in hopes of dealing with the same, in a way that I hope to prove beneficial. That said, if I am a lot slower in getting back to you via text, Messenger, Twitter DM, and the like, as Jermaine Jackson sang “Don’t Take It Personal….” (it truly isn’t)… just attempting to return to a time, long, long, ago (LOL) of less distraction from mobile device-ism, less “device dopamine hits” and more movements towards being in a “tech-less” moment and goals achieving state.

In a few days, I’ll reactivate my FB account and deactivate my personal Instagram account but keep two music production Instagram sites for branding purpose – the only difference this time is that neither FB or IG apps will be back on my phone. All (what I continue to be) my best photos will be seen from my Flickr account from here on out. The pleasure of blogging from my own “theater” has returned this month, so be on the lookout for this relationship:

content creation > content consumption
(where content = blogposts/music/podcasts/photography/code/film score music and video)

Come 1 Sept, the rubber (of the sabbatical) meets the road (of reality) – let’s see what sticks after a month off.

Thanks for bearing with me….

:::oceans of rhythm:::

Fresh!

References:
1. Tech Titans Dish Advice About Phone Addiction ā€“ Great Escape ā€“ Medium
2. This World My Life – Darrenkeith
3. “Persuasive Technology” from Let’s Know Things – A podcast about context and the news.

NP: Lovely Standards/Amel Larriuex