One year, 500 miles and a new iPod

Nike+ 500 mile certificate

I started running with Nike+ on December 15, 2007, exactly a year ago tomorrow. Today, after a 12-mile run, I passed the 500th mile mark. In my quest to keep fit I fully expected to stick with running for at least a year; however, I certainly didn’t expect to be running as far or as often as I am today, a year later. My previous Nike+ certificate came at 100 miles. I received the “big dog” certificate to the right after uploading my run from today. (The date is off…probably a time zone issue.)

It seems like just yesterday when I set a goal to run 9 miles/week for 3 months. I’m now averaging about 25 miles/week whether running in the hot sand of Cabo or along the icy sidewalks of Seattle—it snowed last night and the roads were a mess today.

Apple iPod nano 4G in blue There was one casualty of all the long-distance, outdoor running: My refurbished iPod nano 2G. Apparently, iPods don’t like liquid and you may have heard it rains quite a bit here in Seattle. Further, those fancy, expensive Nike+ armbands are merely water-resistant, not waterproof. So, after running 11 miles in a downpour, my nano bit the dust. Not only did I lose the results of that run—which would have catapulted me to the 500-mile mark sooner—I lost my $99 running partner. It was a sad day.

TB, noticing the extent of my devastation, green-lighted an emergency trip to the Apple Store for a replacement…upgrade! I love my wife.

I am now running with a blue 8GB iPod nano 4G. Apple offered a $15 credit for the broken unit but I’m still not happy about paying $135 (before tax). I figure it’s still a pretty cheap running partner/trainer. The new 4th-generation nanos are much nicer than the two-year-old, 2nd-generation unit I ran with previously. The 4G has a bigger screen, twice the storage, better sound and snazzier navigation & graphics.

Also, if you buy (or already own) a nano 4G and are thinking of getting started with the Nike+ running program, I recommend the Apple Nike+ Sport Armband (TU017ZM/A). It is available through Amazon for about $30. The strap is much simpler to adjust and the full-body, protective film makes viewing and controlling the nano easier than the official 2G armbands. Lastly, it fits the 4G nano like a glove so the player won’t slide or slip during a run.

Where do the new iPod and I go from here? Well, four people have logged 10,000 ❗ miles with Nike+ leaving many milestones to reach.

Old Zune Gets New Life

It has been about a month since my last Zune post. My Zune 80 is alive and well but I have not traveled this last month and my primary music player for the gym is an iPod nano with its Nike+ support. The ironic thing is buying a new Zune 80 back in December actually has injected new life into my original Zune 30, which I now listen to almost daily.

Altec Lansing M604 Powered Audio System for Zune After placing my Zune 80 order, I was not quite sure what to do with the bulkier and lower capacity Zune 30. Around the time of that quandary Woot ran a special on the Altec Lansing M604 Powered Audio System for Zune, selling the units for $45 brand new while supplies lasted. I decided I would buy one and use my Zune 30 with the M604 system at work.

It took about a month for the speaker system to arrive due to popularity of the offer and the holiday backlog, but everything has worked like a charm since. Now my old Zune 30 sits in the M604 dock on my bookshelf at the office piping out jazz, classical and easy listening background music throughout the workday.

The M604 has excellent sound quality and durable construction. I really like the included remote which makes it easy to adjust the volume and skip through playlists from a distance.

When Low Motivation Meets High Tech

As of this morning, I had gained 6 pounds since November 4th. That’s a pound a week. Yikes!

There are many excuses and explanations I could give, but I won’t. I knew I needed to get it together shortly after Thanksgiving, but get it together I did not. My motivation to workout regularly has been low and my success sticking to a balanced diet has been even lower. I have decided to do two things to motivate myself to a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Go high tech. Nothing motivates a gadget geek like electronics so I am investing in the Nike+ running system.
  2. Report my results. Public scrutiny is a highly effective behavioral adjustment tool and I will periodically report my running (and other exercise) progress here on my blog—I have created a new “Lifestyle” category to make future posts easier to find.

4GB 2nd-Generation Silver iPod nano Despite Apple’s iPod nano being the center of the Nike+ system, I must admit it is extremely cool and very well done. Being a Zune fanboy, I decided to stick it to Apple by purchasing a discounted, refurbished, 2nd-generation nano instead of buying a new 3rd-generation nano at full price. I bought a 4GB refurb, silver nano direct from Apple. It cost $99 (reg. $199) and came with a one-year warranty.

Nike+ Sport Kit sensor and receiver Next, I bought the Nike+ Sport Kit which includes the sensor that goes in one running shoe and a receiver that plugs into the nano. The Nike+ Sport Kit costs $29 from Amazon. I already have a pair of Nike+ running shoes which have a compartment specifically designed to hold the Nike+ sensor.

I loaded the nano with music and registered on the Nike+ site. TB is the runner in our household and she was kind enough to join me this morning as I rediscovered the gym for my first high-tech workout. I spent the first half of my workout calibrating the Nike+ system using the built-in configuration assistant. I then ran on the treadmill for another 20 minutes. Here is a neat Nike+ widget showing the speed vs. time plot of that second half of this morning’s workout captured by Nike+:

I will add a couple Nike+ widgets to the sidebar to track the results of my most recent runs and latest challenge. I will start by challenging myself to run at least 12 times over the next 4 weeks. Wish me luck…

Zune Update

As promised two posts ago, I ordered a Zune 80 from Zune Originals late last week. It has officially shipped from China and will arrive on or before this coming Tuesday, December 11. My older brother, who is currently serving our country in Qatar, had me order one for him also, so there are now at least two “May the Funk be with You,” Colletivo designed Zune 80s in circulation.

In other news, this week C|Net published a Microsoft Zune 80 vs. Apple iPod classic prizefight, pitting the devices head-to-head in 5 categories: Navigation, Sexiness, Compatibility, Sound and Science and Wallet Factor. The new Zune won every category except compatibility.

It is not clear how a device can win 4 out of 5 categories and the bout still end in a tie. C|Net surely isn’t using the Queensberry rules in this contest. In fact, it is reminiscent of Florida balloting in the 2000 presidential election. Hmm…

Regardless, this head-to-head comparison by 3 somewhat-independent judges validates my assertion that Microsoft has outpaced Apple in this category of digital media players in just under a year. To go from laughing stock to serious contender in only v2 is a significant accomplishment. Will Microsoft once again achieve significant market share in v3? Only time will tell.

Apple iPhone/iPod 6G Compared to Microsoft Zune

To commemorate today’s release of the Microsoft Zune 2 digital media players, services and software, I present a feature matrix comparing all the Apple iPod 6th generation devices—including iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic and iPod nano—with the 1st and 2nd generation Zunes—Zune 80, Zune 30, Zune 8 and Zune 4.

The following table covers what I think are the most important features of a portable media device including screen size, storage capacity, screen resolution, height, width, depth, weight, battery life, connectivity options, interface, supported audio formats, supported video formats, available colors, and, of course, price.

There are several comparisons missing to keep the chart manageable (e.g., podcast support, size of music & video stores, Cover Flow, desktop software, etc.) However, I have included things many shoppers want to evaluate when choosing a device to playback music, video and pictures from various sources while on-the-go.

Zune 2 vs. iPod 6G Comparison classic touch iphone 160 80 8 4

Earlier, I stated “…Zune 80 sets a new standard for hard-drive based media players vs. iPod Classic.” This table shows why. Note the new Zune 8 & Zune 4 devices compare favorably to the latest iPod nanos as well.