Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wearable Technology - my reflections

For the past couple of years, wearable technology has become increasingly more popular.  I bought a Fitbit Flex two years ago and became obsessed.  It was fun to observe how many steps I was taking every day and to compete with my friends within Fitbit's app on my iPhone.  I went on and ordered various color bands to "accessorize" and felt myself over-focused.  Shortly after I started with the Fitbit, I started using the My Fitness Pal app to track my diet and ensure that I was drinking at least eight cups of water a day.

Did I see results?  Well, sort of; I was already in the habit of eating better, controlling my portions, eliminating sodas and sweets, and getting to the gym regularly.  The days that I didn't go to the gym, I walked to work and ensured that I walked the dogs every night.  Shortly after I got my iPhone 6, I abandoned my Fitbit Flex and relied on Apple's health app.  I liked the features but missed the ability to see what my friends were doing.  Then a friend loaned my his Fitbit Force - very cool because it had a watch and I could see my steps without accessing the app on my phone.  What I decided I didn't like with the Fitbit products was the need to charge another device - I already have to charge my phone regularly, my MacBook, and my iPad.  Arghhhh!  (I also read articles that wearable technology (in terms of the fitness part) is inaccurate and can cause poor habits.... hmmm if ANYTHING can get people to exercise more regularly, it's got to be worth something!)

Then for some strange reason, I got mesmerized by the Apple watch.  Still not sure why.  I got one in November and liked that I could use my phone less.  It's amazing technology, but also limited though it has a very high price tag.  And another device to charge!  What was I thinking?  My wife bought me a beautiful Fossil watch a year or so ago.....

So, I sold my Apple Watch.  I decided that I need to not be so connected all the time.  I know that if I go to the gym regularly, eat healthy portions, and drink water and other drinks that are free of high-fructose corn syrup (and other products) I should be fine.  This morning I went to the gym - no Apple Watch, no Fitbit, and no iPhone - I left it in my locker.  35 minutes of cardio and mild weights.  Protein shake for breakfast.  Feeling good - and it felt good not to be connected to anything for the hour I was there.  I was clear minded and remained focused.  I know wearable technology is here to stay, but not sure it's for me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 - What's the Next Big Thing?

A new year has arrived yet again - as they always do.  The gym was pretty full this morning, as it usually is during January.  As I attempted to put in my 30 minutes on the elliptical after lifting some mild weights, I thought to myself, "What's the next big thing that's going to come out this year?"

I wonder this for many reasons, but mostly due to a piece I heard on the radio a week or so ago regarding Twitter losing its value.  The reporter claimed that one of Twitter's challenges is that with its new releases / updates, it needs to add features that its competitors don't have yet.  At first I thought to myself, "whatever, I love Twitter the way it is." But then I was logged into Facebook and noticed how they've continue to enhance things.  For example, when I log in now from my iPhone, my camera roll appears so I can post items with newer pictures quicker than before and eliminates the need to browse to my camera roll.  Also, when I add multiple pictures, I can create a collage.  Pretty cool stuff.  Not earth-shattering, but enhancements that the others do not have.

Pondering this, I thought about the evolution of iTunes.  And what an evolution it has been.  iTunes and the iPod has effectively changed the way we consume music.  I remember being a kid and buying an entire cassette or CD for ONE song!  Not really a challenge for today's generation, huh?  iTunes releases some sort of update nearly every six weeks.  That just boggles my mind.

So 2016 is here.  What will the next big thing be? What will that next Apple Watch look like and how will it perform?  What will the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy 7, and other new technologies have that we don't have now but decide (once seeing the new stuff) that we can't live without them?  Time will tell.  We are living in an exciting time - almost impossible to keep up with it all.  More importantly, what technologies will evolve that improve our education?