May 31st, 2015

Workout app on Watch

It finally penetrated my relatively thick skull (all that stuff about needing milk to build strong bones turns out to be not completely true) that if I wanted heart rate readings from my Watch during and after a walk around the block, I had to start the Workout App. I feel like I am so predictable, that honestly, the Watch ought to be able to figure out, oh, hey, she went for a walk, however, perhaps the differences that seem obvious to me are not so obvious to a collection of accelerometers and software to make sense of their telemetry.

Then I had to _remember_ to start the Workout App on the watch, which yesterday I did at the top of the hill partway through my walk. Today, it is raining, and I've got a kid who would prefer not to be left home alone for 20 minutes, so no outdoor walk for me. I did remember to start the app for 10 minutes on the treadmill (I'm gonna be lazy today, and do a lot of treadmill "snacking", rather than anything resembling even a short Workout -- I figure that way I'll get more chances to remember to start the Workout App and thus get in the habit of it).

And this is the first app on the Watch that has struck me as cumbersome. You have to start it. If you didn't finish out of the previous workout (save or discard, and if you try to discard it goes, are you sure? so it's easier just to save), you have to finish out of that. Then it interrupts you to tell you YOU FINISHED A WORKOUT YAY! All right, Watch, shut the fuck up I'm trying to get on the treadmill here and you are Not Helping, where was I? Oh, yeah. Having finished up from the previous one, then you have to select what kind of workout (Indoor Walk in this case) and then it wants to know if you have a calorie goal, time goal or distance goal. I picked time, and then you have to press on the + until you get to the time, *sigh*. And then you have to press Start. And then the little fucker gives you a 3 2 1 countdown. [ETA: There is a no goal option. I used that when I went around the block. I may just default to using that from now on.]

Are you _kidding me_ Apple?

On the other hand, if this is the worst thing I encounter on the Watch, I will feel it a blissful experience, compared to historical experience with PDAs, GPSes, the Cogito watch, the Palm Centro, the Blackberry Curve, etc.

But it seems a little over the top that I have to go through all that to turn on the heart rate monitoring which is what I _actually_ want from the App.

ETA: I think the Watch just counted 3 minutes of a half hour walk around the block with my daughter towards "Exercise". At least I get credit for the steps?

ETAYA: I rediscovered a bunch of indoor exercise options around the house today. Down to the basement for the recumbent stationary bike. On the treadmill a couple times. I also went around the block a couple times with A. Through all this, the Watch recorded shockingly low exercise minutes -- far fewer than it would on a day when I was walking much, much more slowly. I finally realized -- the second time on the treadmill -- how drastically far off the BPM was when I actually got my heart rate up. Basically, it would read okay up to about 120, maybe 130, but then it would _drop_ to 90 or below, while actually climbing. Possibly missing as much as every other beat. R. said I probably needed to tighten it up a notch, which I did indeed do on the bike later, and that solved the problem. Even tho that was overall a lower intensity workout, it recorded far more of those minutes as "exercise" than the earlier rounds on the treadmill. Learn something new every day, apparently.

Duolingo, revisited

Since I have missed a couple Dutch lessons, and our August trip is approaching, I thought I'd go do some Duolingo Dutch by way of review. Of course, my daughter then got all obsessed with it (this is _my_ daughter, after all), but she wanted to do Spanish. We got her set up, but remember, this is an almost 7 year old, just finishing kindergarten and she's only been reading at all for less than a year. On the other hand, Dora the Explorer and a handful of bilingual board books that have been hanging around the house. On the third hand, her keyboard familiarity is limited, as is her spelling in _any_ language.

We're obviously providing a fair amount of support. But she is piecing together some things, more than I would have expected. Her spelling of English words is as uneven as I expected it to be. Her pronunciation of Spanish is, predictably, pretty awful. She's ignoring gendered stuff AND conjugation -- totes expected because (a) native language ungendered and (b) she's weak on conjugating in English. Still, it's clear that it's not so impossible that it has stopped being fun, and I don't mind that there's a bunch of English (making it not as immersive), given that she needs to work on that, too.

It's extremely difficult for me to tell when I'm making progress with a language (well, absent somebody producing grades on my work, which is not happening with my Dutch teacher because it's conversational only). Going back to redo stuff in Duolingo is kind of fun, in that it's fairly obvious that a bunch of things I used to have to think about are now very automatic. Of course, it is discouraging that I still forget the words for "empty" and "dry" (dry you would think would stick -- droog, drought, right? I won't forget it now, hopefully.).

Timewasting exercise trivia: Link-fu

Think of this as a place I'm storing things that won't stay in my brain when interrupted by my daughter.

First point: is there a difference between dominant and non-dominant side ... grip strength?
10% rule says yes. R. and I present a mixed answer. I'm not quite 10% different (about half that). R. is a lot more than 10% different --- but he broke his non-dominant wrist a few years back and has some pain that it would be unwise to attempt to power through.

Here is Science:

This suggests that the 10% is more or less true ... for right handers. It's a right handed world, so left handers get extra, IRL training on their non-dominant side, thus evening them out?

Check out that table, btw. It has more data on the men vs women which has better grip strength question. The weakest grips recorded ... were in the men.

ETA: Okay, my lovely, but incredibly loud daughter is now playing with Siri, and we have banished her upstairs, because she is _yelling_ really loudly at Siri, in hopes that Siri will understand her if she just speaks louder. Obvs, not gonna work, but we can all now think a little more clearly.

While the initial comments on this post have veered off into a handedness direction, I'm not interested in handedness per se. I'm interested in different performance on one side versus the other (can lift heavier, lighter, the same; can grip the same, harder, less hard), and strategies for modifying those differences (my goal is to even them out) through training.

This is a great example of what I am chasing after:

In a typical weight training discussion of symmetry, the focus is on training both sides equally to avoid developing an imbalance. This article recognizes the imbalance pre-exists in many cases, probably from activities of daily living. The focus in this article/approach is one-sided training to compensate? not sure that's the right word.

Obviously, you can imagine lifting with dumbbells vs barbells, and adjusting the weight or reps to even things out if one side is weaker than another. The barbell would let you try to do more of the lift with the strong side (altho you would sort of think that would have an impact on form); the dumbbell less so. I'm looking for something marginally more sophisticated than that.

Attachment Theory and the Author/Reader Relationship

I don't read George R.R. Martin. I used to, but I was cured of that by Wild Cards. But just like the rest of my 20s has taken to stalking me in my new, middle-aged life on the other side of the country (believe me, Starbucks and Nordstroms are just the tip of the iceberg; look what happened with libertarianism, encryption -- hell, Ray Kurzweil has some Made For Him position at Google), so has Martin, in the form of no one can seem to stop yammering on about the horror show that is GoT.

I think that when it comes to the author/reader relationshiop, George R.R. Martin has an avoidant attachment style. He's gonna keep making his readers wait longer for books, killing the likeable people more gruesomely, making the awful people more successful and rape rape raping his way along until his readers give up in disgust. Apparently, there are quite a lot of readers with an anxious attachment style in the author/reader relationship.

Where's the Editor: Bill Gates worries about the Flu at Vox edition

Here is the article I clicked on:

Because, sure, we'll probably get a real bad flu at some point. Here is the setup for why we should worry about it:

"But lately, Gates has been obsessing over a dark question: what's likeliest to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? He ticks off the disaster movie stuff — "big volcanic explosion, gigantic earthquake, asteroid" — but says the more he learns about them, the more he realizes the probability is "very low.""

10 million people in the next 20 years? EASY PEASEY! We already kill OVER 1 million people a year with cars. If we _ONLY_ killed 10 million people with cars in the next 20 years it would be the biggest public health success for a really long time. HUGE.

Nope. He's worried about the flu.

mutter bad words mutter Where's the Editor

Should we worry about a bad round of the flu? Probably! But because it's going to kill off a huge number of people, like, it should top our list? Absolutely not.


They are dangerous. We should improve this situation.


I'm okay with worrying about the flu. But don't try to freak me out with 10 million people in 20 years and then point at the flu. It will result in me being unable to read further.

Don't believe me? Here:

"Approximately 1.24 million deaths occurred on the world’s roads in 2010"

ETAYA: Are you thinking, but cars are minor compared to other stuff. You win!

Probably should worry about cardiovascular stuff first, especially smoking.

6 million. PER YEAR.

Honestly. Don't ask me to worry about the flu. I don't worry about meteors, either.

ETA still more: ALSO, people worried about the flu use the 1918 event as their metric for, it was that bad once, it could happen again. WELL IT WON'T IF WE REMEMBER NOT TO ABUSE ASPIRIN.


ETA: And this is the end of it. Gates isn't pushing a new, antigen based approach to flu vaccination or anything like that. Nope. It's just straight up, OUR MODEL SAYS TRAVEL WILL KILL PEOPLE. Right, because we didn't all read Laurie Garrett like 20 years ago. I said this before and I'll say it again. All this stuff about needing more labs is the crap people have been saying they need for a pandemic for over 100 years now. It was said over and over and over again during the 1918 flu. Didn't do a damn bit of good. We got over it when we got over it (and using less aspirin helped reduce deaths in subsequent events, and ending aspirin use in children made a huge difference decades later). Same thing with Ebola. Will there be a pandemic? Sure! And the horrible, huge number of deaths will still pale in comparison to our "run rate" of deaths from heart attacks, smoking, cars, etc. We're better off focusing on those. Policies that reduce those deaths will reduce deaths year in and year out, not just in an unfortunate year with a pandemic.