— Unknown (via givology)
It’s not porn…
Take a minute (or an hour) to sink back into 2007 and remember how new the world we live in is, how quickly a marvel becomes a baseline.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Amazing how it was only 6 years ago!
Almost two weeks ago, we decided to buy a few activity wearables to dive into the functionality, what data they were tracking, how accurate it was, and how they represented the data to the end user.
We went ahead and bought the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up, and the Misfit Shine. I was lucky enough to use the Misfit Shine (honestly, I have been dreaming about getting it since I first heard about it a while back). So my review will be about this device in particular.
To start off, the initial setup was a little more demanding that I had expected. But after a few hiccups, I had it on using the wrist band and working. The syncing to the iPhone application was relatively straight forward and as they advertise, I tried sitting the shine on top of the iPhone to sync.
I tried double-tapping and then triple-tapping it making sure the cool light feature worked! It did and everything looked ready to go. So I immediately went out to Zilker park here in Austin to take it for a spin. I was with my two other co-founders who had their wearables on as well.
We started throwing the frisbee and playing fetch with my dog Maddy. I was running around, trying to be as active as possible. Even from the start it gave a sense of motivation to move more because now something was tracking what I did. I couldn’t let it or myself down!
After playing around for about 20-30 minutes we all stopped to check to see how we were doing. However, when I looked down at my wristband expecting to double-tap the Shine and see how much movement I had accomplished, I noticed a big missing space in the wristband where it should be. It was GONE! Somehow it had fallen out while we were playing and I didn’t even notice. I was devastated. How was I going to find a tiny, quarter-sized metal device in a huge field of relatively thick grass. It was like finding a needle in a haystack.
At first I was furious that it could be lost so easily, especially after paying the $120 price tag. Would they reimburse me? Had other people had the same problem? All 3 of us started searching, trying to backtrack where I was. After about 30 minutes it was about to get dark and we still had not found it. But then, with persistence and a struck of luck, Jon held it up triumphantly! The day was saved.
Since that little hiccup, everything has been extremely enjoyable and I have used it running, playing, and throwing the Frisbee numerous times. Although I always keep a close eye on it. The feel of the wristband is extremely enjoyable and the simple feedback and clock do wonders when thinking about how much I need to move.
The application itself is very straight forward showing points that represent how much you move. It shows steps but goes even further, showing intensity from running, biking, swimming, and other things through points. I have not used it to swim yet, because honestly I am nervous I will lose it, but I will probably take the plunge soon.
My favorite features are the little blocks that pop up when you do something that signals an activity. Whether it is sleep, intense activity, walking for a while, or reaching a goal, it will show you these key points and overlay (highlight) on the graph where it actually happened during the day.
Also, the week view is spectacularly elegant, simple, and motivating. The coolest thing is by far the tend line from the previous weeks average. You can see if you are on pace or beating your previous average throughout the week so you can schedule how much you need to move accordingly. Remember in Mario Kart where you could do Time Trials and race against the ghost driver, which was the fastest time, and try to beat it? I find this mechanic similar to that and just as fun because it’s my own body.
I have had a wonderful experience with the Misfit Shine and recommend it to anyone looking to buy a wearable. It will definitely be worth the purchase, get you to move more, and you can show off to your friends. I hope we can use their open API soon to overlay this data with nutrition, sleep, biometric, location, and mood to paint an even clearer picture of myself and learn about my habits.
This is just another good step in the right direction towards a future of personalized health that is inexpensive, predictive, participatory, and preventative.
I once came across a quote, “It is easier to change a man’s religion than his diet”. I forgot who said this but for some reason it stuck with me.
The current problem I am trying to solve relates entirely to our diet. How do we come to realize what we are eating is terrible for our bodies and the long-term consequences are outright deadly? Is our population so lost that we need to change what the big food companies give us or do we change our education and thoughts behind what we eat?
We have come to discover that Americans are killing themselves slowly over-time from what they eat, lack of exercise, and poor sleep habits. The 21st Century will be defined by our understanding, prevention, and control of chronic illness. As of now, we know that the drivers of chronic illness are our lifestyle choices and habits. But my question is, does it start with the individual and changing how they view health, or attacking the corporations and giant organizations that provide the food we eat.
I personally think it starts with the individual. Step one is to capture this data (lifestyle choices and habits). Then we can use this to predict and ultimately prevent disease and poor habits that increase risk and mortality. Once the individual is aware of this, he/she will start to demand different things, healthier options. This will in-turn change what is provided by business, entrepreneurs, and large corporations. After all, in a free market, we vote with our dollars do we not? Most people just are not aware of this or think that their “dollar” does not count.
However, just as in any tipping point scenario, once enough people start to believe and demand a certain level of service or value, everyone will follow and someone will step up to supply this new demand.
It will be a fun ride to watch personalized health care transform how we view ourselves, our ecosystem, and the people around us. In later posts, I will look at the wearable technologies, passive tracking, and connections within the health care industry.
Over the past 4 months or so, I have been spending some of my time and energy on learning how to do front-end development. I started this journey because we needed to make a landing page for our startup company, Pictrition.
Instead of using drag and drop frameworks like Basekit or others, I wanted to learn how to make a website with legitimate code. And the fact that all of those drag and drop editors had serious downfalls without actually getting in and manipulating code played a role. The design being made by our designer, Jon, could not be fully realized without this knowledge.
So, after a several months of putting random things together, praying it would work, I never truly had a great site built. I decided to dive into Wordpress and PHP because of the plug-ins and support it had. It is still foreign to me but I am about 2 months into it and all of my knowledge has come from googling and trying to hack things together for my needs. I have built numerous impressive sites, but they are still hacked together in a very strange way.
Starting next week, however, I have decided to enroll in the CS50.net class at Harvard University. It is the intro class to computer science and has over 705 students on campus that take it every fall. Even more impressive is that there are over 5,000 following along with the online version which I am now a part of.
If you are curious and would like to check out the course please go to www.cs50.net. They have a TON of resources and it is very well structured for an online learning experience in a Harvard setting. What else could you ask for? This is free education from one of the top universities in the world….welcome to the future of education. It’s up to you on what you achieve now.
Thoughts on Power, Reality, and Open-Source.
I read an article on Fast.Co about a futurist named Rita King. She said we went from the Industrial Age -> intelligence age —> now the imagination age. She says “We can create the future that we can imagine together, and then project it, and then live it.” And of course, this is actually true, from what I believe.
When understanding power, I want to lay out some thoughts. We can create the future we can imagine, this is surprisingly true and part of the human experience. But the problem and the root cause of power could be about the fact not everyone wants to imagine the same thing. If we are not imagining “together” as one, then there are different imaginings altogether. This self-evident concept of having numerous different “visions,” or what someone imagines the future to be like, provides a foundation for understanding power. Some visions are better than others. We want to improve our lives and create value, and some visions are naturally better at making that happen.
Power is the same concept of promoting your vision of the future better than others. Once you understand that we literally, in a very real sense, can change our reality as we see fit, then you can shape it and change it. From my observation this is almost undeniable. But, I also think some people do not really believe in it. The ones who do, want to change their environment around then into what they think is a great idea of the future. Other people validate it and agree, thus promoting the idea.
But then what about the idea of group thought or an “open-source” idea? In a simple explanation, it is many people helping tweak and improve an idea or concept. That is exactly what is happening on a natural scale. It is inherent in nature I believe, in the form of our perceived reality. Stay with me here.
Edit: (Answer to my question) - The problem of an “open-source” idea is actually no real problem at all. We all take a baseline on certain things that we have come to agree on, or in another term, the accumulation of human knowledge. Ideas that have stood the test of time so to speak. So as we all move in agreeance on certain things, we move towards more complex, conflicting ideas. This is where people who express their vision better create the concept of more power. They influence the forward progress of man. Basically they shape the future, either through impressing something physical on the world, or getting others to believe in your version of reality within the mind. That is the foundation of power. Having an open source idea that gives a way to communicate all these ideas in faster iterations is of course desirable, if not inevitable! This is exciting and something that should be looked at closer.
Open-source is just the meshing and hashing of ideas into the digital world.
Our perceptions of reality and the creation of it are always shifting and being tweaked by our different “visions” of the future pressing down upon it. Nature is the interface being played on. So in a sense, is the open-source idea the same way nature itself operates? What about how we actually come to perceive the common universe we live in.
Personally, learning to program has been one of the most exciting endeavors I have had outside of my traditional schooling. Like Paul Graham once said, if for anything else it “gets you to think in a certain way”. I think this is completely true and I will dive into the reasons why.
All through middle school, junior high, high school, and even the majority of your undergraduate career, will be spent on learning information and being asked questions about it. They will mix and match, and tease out certain understandings but none the less you are still answering an already established question. If you get more open-ended ones than not, you got lucky.
In my case, Accounting with entrepreneurship as my major, I took A LOT of multiple choice questions. This is the nature of mathematics, finance, accounting, or areas of study that require a concise single answer.
Only until my graduate school did I learn the true importance of ASKING questions instead of just answering them. It was the idea of peer-to-peer and personal learning that really developed my skills at that level. The teacher was merely there to exercise some control on the forward motion of the discussion. The expert in the room was there to make sure we didn’t miss any key concepts or to dive further into a good question. The good question was more often than not, always asked by a fellow student.
Learning to program is the same way. It is test-driven in a lot of ways. You work backwards. You re-engineer. You use other people’s code. You google little snippets to figure out a certain problem. More than anything though, you have to THINK about what you need to do and then ask questions on how you think it’s possible. Only then do you lead down a sense of discovery and understanding when you accomplish your task. Furthermore, you end up learning a great deal MORE than just the original task!
Of course, you do need the foundation of the structure of the language, and how those languages interact, and the terminology. But in a lot of ways, the best way to do this it to dive in and see for yourself. I believe if a lot more people tried to learn how to code and understood learning for learnings sake, they would be inclined to ask a lot more questions. This would lead them down a path of self-discovery, fulfillment, and ultimately happiness.
"The essence of human beings is to ask questions, not answer them."