Tag Archives: fitness

Dudes Kickstarting: XOWi, A SmartBadge

Wearable computing is all the rage these days.

Look at the FitBit and Nike+ gadgets that help you track your fitness levels and workouts. Google Glass is getting ready to hit the market soon, bringing computing to eye-level all the time. Smart watches like the Pebble are reimagining what it means to wear a watch, connecting the devices with your smartphones.

There’s a phrase for this sort of thing: ubiquitous computing. That means that computing and the devices that power that are found everywhere.

Which doesn’t mean that every single wearable device has been imagined or is in the pipeline. There’s still room for improvement and advancement.

Which brings me to XOWi: the world’s first smartbadge. It’s up for funding on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding organization that lets potential consumers help to fund the process of bringing a device to reality and then to market.

Here’s a little info about it.

Basically, this thing is the Star Trek communicator badge, but real. You can use it to control and interface with your phones, make calls, receive calls, control just about anything your phone does.

It is, right now, the very essence of Techool (can you tell I just made up that word? Techool, a combination of tech and cool? Well, I think it works.).

But it’s not going to become real unless you help out. There are fewer than 10 days left in this initial funding round and there’s still a long way to go. Why not go and check out the project and see if you can give it a little boost. Pick the right amount of giving and you could end up with one of these amazing devices.

You’ve got to hurry, though. There’s not much time left. Go on. Give it a try.

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Dude Review: Nike+ Fuelband

I’ve been feeling a bit like I’m getting in better shape these days, dudes. And I owe it all to Christmas.

Well, not to Christmas, per se. I mean, really, I probably owe more than a few pounds to Christmas and all the sweets and chocolate and nuts and sweets and chocolate and nuts with chocolate and peanut butter that I scarfed down to fill in the tiny spaces left open after the turkey and key lime pie and vegetable casserole and fondue and chocolate fondue.

So, yes. I was eating a lot.

However, I did receive a very nice gift from my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Harping On About Health And Fitness All. The. Time., that is helping me lose those extra pounds.

Oddly enough, it was something I asked for. No, not a membership to the pole-dancing-as-weight-loss class. That would be silly. Besides there was already a waiting list for the viewing window and I didn’t want to wait.

No, I received a Nike+ Fuelband. Here’s what it looks like in the black ice version, which is what I received.


The Fuelband is the latest little shot in the fitness wars in which sedate, out-of-shape Americans try to use technology as a way around good, old-fashioned hard work and effort as a way of losing weight.

And, yes, I do include myself among those dudes and dudettes.

Anyway, the whole point of the Fuelband is to fuel that competitive spirit that rages inside every dude. See, the band uses a small accelerometer inside to track your steps and movement and suchlike. Then, using a formula that takes into account your height and weight, it tells you how many fuel points you scored during the day.

The big deal with the fuel points, according to Nike, is that they are designed so everyone is equal. If you gained 3,000 fuel points during the day thanks to the walking you did with the dog and getting up to walk around the cubicle farm, then you gained just as many fuel points as the athlete who worked at cardiotennis until she reached 3,000 fuel points. Just because someone is much better at a sport than you are, that doesn’t mean they will receive more points. Because you both expended the same amount of exertion, just at different levels.

So I set my goal as a relatively modest 2,000 fuel points to begin with and managed to make that pretty handily. So, when school got back into session and I was walking around more with the kids at Wonderful Elementary School, I decided to up my goal to 2,500 fuel points. Even then, I managed to make that goal pretty handily. I’m feeling the need to maybe crank up that goal again.

I’ve got some Facebook “friends” who also have Fuelbands and I’m thinking it might be time to show them a thing or three about how the old people can still move. There’s that competition again. Thanks, Nike.

Strangely, considering this is a Nike product, it’s not actually the top of the line. There are similar gadgets like the Jawbone Up and the FitBit, both of which track sleep activity, but I like the look and the feel of the Fuelband. Plus, there’s that whole fuel points thing where I’m certain to be kicking someone’s butt.

I think I’ll get back to it.

If not the Fuelband (which I do really like), I’d recommend you get something like it. Anything to help you get and stay in shape has got to be a good thing.

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Stand Up, Sit Down, Live, Live, Live

Just to get your new year off right, I thought I’d send you dudes crashing to the floor.

Sort of. See, the thing of it is this: I just know that once you dudes and dudettes read this little story, you’re going to be sitting on the floor within the hour. Not that it’s that shocking that you’ll fall there, but you’re going to want to sit down just to see.

If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so.

The test was a simple assessment of the subjects’ ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. The assessment was performed in 2002 adults of both sexes and with ages ranging from 51 to 80 years. The subjects were followed-up from the date of the baseline test until the date of death or 31 October 2011, a median follow-up of 6.3 years.

Before starting the test, they were told: “Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed.”

As it turns out, the people who were able to stand and sit without using any help or using their hands had a much higher level of survival than did those who needed assistance.

Yeah, as soon as I read that, I sat down and then stood up rather quickly. Without help or using my hands, I must add. Feeling pretty good about my survival chances. So good, in fact, that I’m contemplating jumping out of an airplane.

Although I’m not sure this test actually considers that sort of thing.

Over the study period 159 subjects died, a mortality rate of 7.9%. The majority of these deaths occurred in people with low test scores – indeed, only two of the deaths were in subjects who stood and sat unaided.

Sounds good to me.


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