Garmin fitness app shows software is where it’s at

Long-time GPS hardware maker, Garmin, released its first fitness app for $0.99 in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. Gone are the days when companies can focus on single-purpose hardware; thanks to smartphones, sensors and connectivity, software is where the real action is at.

21 Ergonomic Tips for Traveling Web Workers

During my recent conversation with licensed massage therapist Wimsey Cherrington about ways of avoiding repetitive strain injuries at work, she also suggested several tips for luggage handling, neck and back support, and exercises that will help avoid strains while traveling.

4 Tips for Holiday Season Stress Reduction

As we move into another holiday season, I’m already noticing an increase in my stress levels. During the holidays, we all face additional expectations on our time. We still have our regular work to do, but we also have holiday shopping, additional expenses, extra cooking, family gatherings, holiday parties and other activities that seem to take up more time than we have available in a regular 24-hour day.

Most of us also try to take a few days off around the holidays, which can create additional time and budget constraints. For freelancers, no one actually pays you for those days off, and you still need to meet client expectations. Telecommuters and other workers still have about the same amount of work to complete with fewer days to accomplish it. Regardless of your work situation, this still means more stress during the holidays. I have a few suggestions to help you manage your stress and come out of the holidays at least as healthy and happy as you were before the holiday season. Read More about 4 Tips for Holiday Season Stress Reduction

Climate Change: Walk It Off

walkscorelogo2As Charlie wrote about earlier today, transportation is a big source of greenhouse gas emissions. The fact that you and I don’t have to commute to work every day already helps in terms of limiting carbon emissions, and it’s something we can feel really good about!

But most of us probably still do more driving than we really have to. I’m from California, the U.S. state with the most cars per capita. Driving is what we Californians do (as you may remember from the movie L.A. Story). It often can’t be helped, given how spread out everything is there.

My simple suggestion, with this post, is that you should try to walk more. Take advantage of the fact that you’re not tied to a desk and a schedule, that nobody’s checking how long your lunch hours are. We can often take the time to actually walk to the grocery store when there’s no rush-hour mob scene, and smell the roses along the way. It’s good for body, soul and planet.

How walkable is your neighborhood? I recently stumbled on Walk Score, a cool site that ranks 2,508 neighborhoods in the 40 largest U.S. cities for walkability. I plugged in my old address to test it: Read More about Climate Change: Walk It Off

Apple Softens Replacement Policy for Moisture-Damaged iPhones

moistureI only ever use my iPod touch (first generation) for working out, because my iPhone is a pampered pet that I try to keep out of danger as much as possible. It would be great to have the iPhone with me on a run, because I could still take calls, and use GPS-enabled run-tracking software, but I’ve always been paranoid about what the moisture levels from my sweat might do, even while wearing the sport armband.

Turns out I was right to be so overprotective because, according to a recent report by a local Houston news station, many users are finding that even just the moisture from their hands are causing iPhones to malfunction, and the immersion sensors in the devices to trip, which means Apple (s aapl) wouldn’t replace the devices, even if they’re under warranty. The people cited in the report had used their iPhone while working out at the gym, and when they brought the now-broken devices to the Apple store, employees suggested that the water damage came from holding the phones in their sweaty palms. Read More about Apple Softens Replacement Policy for Moisture-Damaged iPhones

This American Life Beamed Live to Thousands; Joss Whedon Performs

Public radio program This American Life expanded its second-annual live theater simulcast to a full episode broadcast to more than 400 theaters nationwide last week. While the radio program itself will be aired May 1, the Fathom Events-produced evening was so popular that even out-of-the-loop nerds like me who didn’t partake can buy tickets to an encore of the same show on May 7.

The This American Life–Live! line-up included regular TAL contributors Dan Savage, Starlee Kine and Mike Birbiglia telling stories aloud accompanied by clips from the TAL TV show and other visuals and illustrations. I don’t see any reports of attendance numbers but many showings were sold out. One reviewer attests that nearly everyone who showed up to the actual live show at the Skirball Center at NYU was wearing glasses and was primed to love TAL host and hipster hero Ira Glass.
As a special bonus for the show, Joss Whedon, in his first-ever big live musical performance, played an alternate version of Heart, Broken from the musical commentary for Dr. Horrible. Could that be too esoteric even for This American Life‘s obsession with lovingly expressed oddity? Alternate lyrics for a song about the making of a musical parody that was only released online? Nah — It’s Joss Whedon; it’ll find its sliver of passionate audience. A bootleg video of Whedon’s performance is embedded above.
Fathom Events is the same company that live-broadcasts shows from the Metropolitan Opera (as well as other cultural touchstones, like Dr. Laura) to audiences in theaters nationwide.

West Hollywood Gets In The Moment

[show=inthemoment size=large]While I don’t normally make a point of doing content warnings, In The Moment, a soap opera set in a thriving gay community, deserves one. Created in partnership with the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the city of West Hollywood, the series showcases a multicultural group of attractive men grappling with their tangled love lives. They do so in fairly graphic detail, so if that’s not your cup of tea, be warned.
But Moment is still an interesting example of a series targeting a very specific demographic for a very specific purpose. WeHo residents will recognize certain elements of local culture as being familiar (among them the apartment building communal barbecues, the online dating meat market, even the popular Abbey night spot). And the key issues being discussed, such as like HIV prevention, drug use, and promiscuous sex, are put front and center.
This occasionally pushes the series into PSA territory, with at least one character getting an AIDS test and worrying about his recent bout of unprotected sex, and sometimes the show gets a little on the nose with its attempts to engage the gay community. The third episode begins with the characters reacting to the news that California’s Proposition 8, a statewide ballot measure banning gay marriage, was passed. “We should have gotten married,” one character remarks. “We should have done a lot of things,” his partner replies. (They then attend an anti-Prop 8 rally.) Read More about West Hollywood Gets In The Moment

Web Work 101: Socializing

Many of us are social beings who enjoy interacting with other people, and until you leave an office environment, you probably don’t realize how much contact you have with other human beings throughout the day. In an office, you run into people in the hallways, in the lunchroom, and at meetings. It can be easier to have social conversations or even to bounce ideas off of someone when you run into them unexpectedly. When you work remotely, whether you are a telecommuter or a freelancer, it is possible to go the entire day without ever seeing or speaking to anyone; however, there are also plenty of ways to replace those interactions with new ones.

Health Cubby Tracks Realistic Goals


From the coders who brought you Trip Cubby and Gas Cubby (both of which I use weekly), comes Health Cubby.

If you’ve used either of the aforementioned iPhone and iPod touch apps from App Cubby you’re already aware of the kind of data collection they are known for, and the subsequent graphs of that data. After playing with Health Cubby over the past couple of weeks, I can honestly say that it carries on the tradition of quality design.

After some hang-ups in the App Store approval process, Health Cubby is now here to help you track your New Year’s resolutions. But unlike many of the other Exercise/Health tracking applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, Health Cubby focuses on less detail and more realistic goals (more on this later). The feature that makes Health Cubby the most interesting of the Health apps I’ve tried, is the ability to sync your progress with friends, using it as a sort of buddy support system — or bragging rights, if you want to use the built-in messaging feature for such things.
Read More about Health Cubby Tracks Realistic Goals