Sunday, January 31, 2010


I don’t get it.  It looks cool and all.  Sleek and tech sexy like any apple device normally does.  But you’re going to have to tell me again who needs this thing.  It barely surfs the web better than an iphone, but not as good as your computer.  It does not use flash which is what almost every good website is built on.  And though it is faster and bigger than your iphone, you have to carry it in addition to your phone.  In order to get 3g connectivity, you have to pay extra hundreds upfront and a monthly fee.  So basically it is a web-optimized computer without flash or active-x. 

You can do computing on it, but is typing on a flat screen going to be as good as typing on a real keyboard?  It might be fun to drag and drop things on a document or on a publisher file, but I can do that with my mouse pretty easily. 

It allows you to read a newspaper, but can’t you go to the newspaper’s website and read it there?  This thing is supposed to revolutionize the newspaper industry and print industry.  What it will do is allow newspapers to have an ipad friendly version and charge for content again.  This shift will push people away from newspapers and onto free news sites online. 

Of course it is a reader too.  So you can read your books on it.  But remember, long term reading on a backlit screen is not good for your eyes.  The Kindle and Nook might look primitive for their e-ink displays, but they are saving your eyes for better longer reading experiences.  Plus, since I already have a kindle app on my iphone and my computer, I can read any of my kindle books anywhere anyway. 

There is no camera for video chat.  The hard drive is small.  It works on apps and not software. 

There is nothing you can do on an ipad that you can not do on your laptop. 

In my mind, save the money that you would spend on the ipad 64gb with the 3g connectivity and get a kindle and a netbook with 3g.  Save yourself $500 and you have two devices that will serve you better than an ipad. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Body Bugg Review part 1

I won’t make excuses for it.  I am out of shape.  Period.

Over the past few years, I have preferred to sit and do nothing rather than exercise.  It was a choice.  There were plenty of circumstances that make it an easier and more appealing choice most of the time. 

Once upon a time, I couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did.  I drank powders and lifted weights, but didn’t see any increase in my size.  I was a very active teenager and college student.  Every job I had required me to be on my feet in the Arizona outdoors.  That is… until ministry.

Most ministry happens to be done sitting down and talking or on the phone, or at a computer.  There were times when we played in basketball and softball leagues.  There were running games at youth group.  But mostly, I was on my butt.  And I have paid the price for it.

I did work hard to get back in shape in 2003-2004ish only to hurt my legs and develop spiral fractures in both of my legs.  This put me back on my butt. 

I tried a number of times to get exercise by swimming, playing basketball or running on a treadmill, but I had little motivation especially since I am normally around the kids when I am not working and little kids are no fun to play full court basketball with, and are a heart attack to allow to fend for themselves while I swim laps in the pool. 


But this week.  I started something new. 

Last friday, Kim bought me The Body Bugg.  Now keep in mind that as a church planter, my office is in my home, and a good percentage of the time, Braden or the rest of the kids are with me, so I can’t just take off running.  Also keep in mind that even when I go and meet people, it is over a coffee, or at a restaurant.  Also keep in mind that I love greasy food and beer.  Also keep in mind that I am  a nerd.

This Body Bugg thing is exactly what I need.  You strap this thing to your arm.  It is very small and you don’t even notice it.  But it keeps track of how many calories you burn in a day.  It does this by measuring your Galvanic Skin Response (basically a measurement of electric stimuli in your body), it measures your sweat production, your temperature, your movement through an accelerometer and pedometer.  Based on these measurements, it can pretty accurately determine how many calories you are burning.  (there are a few exceptions where I have found inaccuracies.)  But it seems to be very good at guessing how many calories you are burning. 

Not only does it tell you how much you burn.  You plug it into a computer and with a membership to the Apex program, you enter every single thing you eat to get a report of how many calories you ingest. 

Based on your weight loss goals, it develops a program that you can use to lose a certain amount of weight, or maintain weight or even build muscle.  The only catch is that you have to plug it in at least daily, and you have to accurately report what you eat. 

Because of my current size, weight and lifestyle, it has determined that I need to burn 2900 calories daily and I have to ingest 1650 calories a day in order to lose about 2 pounds a week.  This gives me a caloric deficit of 1250 each day. 

I want to lose about 45-50 pounds.  It has told me that I can do this by June if I can keep this kind of deficit on a daily basis.  Of course you can starve yourself and lose it faster, but then you are losing muscle weight and without as much muscle, you will put fat back on even faster and easier than ever. 

So, my plan is… To do this every day.  I can eat as many calories, as long as I burn 1250 more than I eat.  Which is not an easy task.

The problem so far is that in a very sedentary state (ie working at the computer or watching tv, sitting and eating, driving etc.) I burn about 1.6-1.8 calories a minute, meaning that I have to find a way to burn about 400-500 more calories than normal each day.  I can do this by being quite a bit more active, or just working out for that many calories. 

I also have to eat a lot less than I was.  Like crazy less.  1 normal fast food meal for me, uses most of my calories.  Easily.  So now I am eating  a fraction of the calories.  Some fruit for breakfast. A Burger and fries for lunch and I will be eating a salad for dinner, without dressing.  And that’s it. 

I know it sounds rough, but the quicker I drop weight in a healthy way, the quicker I can start getting more active and building enough muscle to prevent weight gain in the future. 

My goal is not only to drop the weight, but to be more athletic and add some muscle afterward.  My goal is health and balance.

So, for right now.  I am doing this thing.  I am going to be completely bound by my commitment so that I can do it in the shortest amount of time and get to feeling better and healthier sooner.

I am allowed to weigh myself on friday to see if I am losing.  We’ll see what happens.

Today is a rough day for Body Bugg and me though.  Tuesdays, I normally do as much clerical stuff as possible.  I am writing, emailing, communicating, talking on the phone, and not leaving the house, so I am burning fewer calories than any other day of the week.  I stupidly had 4 tacos for lunch which added up to around 900 calories.  But if I don’t make my goal of calories burned, I will put myself in a bad position for eating another bite for the rest of the day.  So, I will be walking and running the track behind the house today after the kids go to bed.

It will be interesting to see how much weight I lose this week and how accurately this thing tracks over the course of months.  I will post another review later when there is data to report.


* I said earlier that I found some inaccuracies.  

1.  Steps.  It has a pedometer that claims to accurately measure how many steps I take.  Last night, I plugged in and had a total of 9,975 steps, so I put the bugg back on and walked in a joking and exaggerating way 25 big steps to get to 10,000 which is actually the suggest goal for the number of steps.  I not only counted out 25 steps, but walked through the house up to my room and got on the recumbent bike for about 20 minutes.  I then came downstairs at least once and went to the bathroom.  When I plugged it in, I only had 10,014 steps.  I had easily taken a hundred steps in my estimation.  hmmmm

2.  Activity.  When I run around outside with Jeffrey playing catch, I can burn up to 9-10 calories per minute.  However, when I get on the recumbent bike, even though I will get sweating hard and breathing heavy, I will show only burning around 4-ish calories per minute.  I imagine that I am burning more than that when I am on the bike.  I can burn as much as 5-6 per minute when I am just walking in the neighborhood.  I am wondering if because my arms don’t move at all, it the bugg does not pick up accurately how much I am burning. 

3.  Swimming.  Obviously you can’t wear this thing swimming.  Which would be a major bummer to learning how many calories you burn while exerting yourself in the pool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kurt Warner

Again, the Arizona Cardinals fans are making me feel like I am taking crazy pills.  The Cards were in the worst division in football this year, even worse than last year.  It was a foregone conclusion that they were playoff bound after about 6 games. 

Cardinal fans booed Warner, halfway through the season when he had a bad game, that really wasn’t as bad as it looked.  Cardinal fans talked like they were entitled to have an elite NFL team and every time the Cards lost a game, they acted as if the Cards of the last 30 years were back. 

But here is what I don’t get about Cards fans and the media in general.  How can we not be talking about how great Kurt Warner is?  I know Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in football, but can you see how Warner has made him even better?  Boldin and Breaston constantly play like elite receivers every week as well.  The reason why they are all so great is because the ball gets to the perfectly, almost every time. 

Warner is not a mobile quarterback, and he’s not 6’5” or anything.  He hangs out in a collapsing pocket every week and delivers the ball as precisely as Manning does.  Cards have been the worst rushing team for the last decade, mostly due to terrible offensive lines and partially due to their penchant for hiring 40 year old running backs and trying to give them 20 carries per game.  When Plummer was the quarterback, you’d see him running for his life from the moment of the snap.  I love Plummer and he did well with a non-existent o-line.  But look at Warner.  The guy comes in to back Leinart up and mentor him and all of a sudden starts throwing for 300 yards every game. 

The last time Warner threw the ball for a team with a real offensive line, he was MVP with the Rams winning the Superbowl.  Now here he is in AZ, the line is not good, but at least Beanie Wells can outrun some people and break tackles like no back they have had since Stump Mitchell can, they have a passable running game.  But Warner has taken his game to a whole new level.  And no one is writing about it.  If he had been healthy through the whole season without that concussion, he should have gotten offensive player of the year consideration and possibly some MVP talk.  But everyone is treating him like an adequate seasoned vet whose only job is delivering the ball to the freakish receivers.

Remember a couple of months ago when the Saints beat the Patriots, trounced them, and Brees had an amazing game.  Peter King said it may have been the greatest game by a quarterback ever.  It was a big pressure, proving moment for Brees, and he pulled out a great game.  I agree that game was an amazing game for Brees.  He torched a pretty good secondary and made them look awful. 

But let’s talk about Warner on Sunday.  The Packers have three of their cover guys in the Pro Bowl.  This is a pressure packed game where not only is your season done if you lose, but it might be Warner’s last game ever.  The NFL’s defensive player of the year Charles Woodson, is guarding your best receiver.  Your number 2 receiver is one the sideline with a sprain.  You have a team that can and does provide a constant pass rush.  And what does Kurt Warner do?

He goes 29 for 33, that’s 4 incompletions.  That’s one per quarter.  He throws for 5 touchdowns.  2 of them went to the Fitzgerald who was covered by Woodson. (people will say that Fitz pushed Woodson down on one of them, but the contact was more incidental and Woodson flopped a bit.)  He threw 2 touchdowns to Early Doucet who only caught one touchdown all season.  He threw for nearly 400 yards.  More touchdowns than incompletions, and he drove the length of the field in the 4th quarter to score a pressure packed touchdown, and drove the field again to get into field goal range with no time left for Rackers to miss the winning field goal.  So, tell me, why are we not talking about this as one of the best, high pressure games ever played by a quarterback?  I don’t get it.  How is it that Kurt Warner is not held up as the example of great NFL quarterbacks?  Farve got more MVP consideration playing with Peterson, an outstanding receiving corps and the best o-line in football. 

When Leinart came in, who many people consider the heir-apparent, the team went flatter than flat. 

All I am saying is… Warner should be a shoe-in hall of famer.  He won a Superbowl and has the three best Superbowl games by a qb (yardage wise) in NFL history.  He was a two time league MVP and with no help from the o-line or the front office, captained the Cards, the Arizona Cards to become a Superbowl team and elite team in the NFL. 

Ladies and Gentlemen.  Kurt Warner is as good as they get, and he is playing at a level rarely ever seen.  Why are fans not buying his jersey?  Why, only now that there are far fewer teams and players to write about, is Warner starting to get some notice from sports writers?  I just don’t get it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Really NBC?  Do you remember when you were THE groundbreaking network?  The Cosby Show and Cheers changed sitcoms as well as the personality of our nation.  You took a risk with Seinfeld and launched the standard of half hour comedy shows.  Friends defined national trends for our country for almost a decade.  Carson and Saturday Night Live set the standard for edgy, irreverent and original skits, monologues and political satire.  Letterman and Conan broke barriers with their own take on the genre and gave new life to the late night. 

You did all of this while CBS was cranking out shows for the aging boomer and senior citizen (Murder She Wrote and CSI) and while ABC was struggling to do anything original at all besides Monday Night Football. 

So Carson retires and you bring in Leno.  No big deal, it was kind of a natural progression.  I don’t personally remember that far back, but apparently Leno used to kill as a comedian and as Carson’s ‘fill-in’ guy.  He did steal the Headlines bit from Letterman, but there is a lot of borrowing in comedy anyway.  Leno grew stale over the years, in my opinion.  The headlines were not quite enough to keep me excited as a fan, but at least I could watch Letterman during Leno’s slot and turn back to NBC for Conan who I have always loved.

But, what the heck NBC!?  You were the biggest, best and most original network and then you just stopped trying.  Why would a network that has modeled doing new and unique things completely change directions.  You move Conan earlier which seemed a good move, but you forced him to tone his show down.  No more Triumph, no more bear, no more manatees.  This made Conan less funny and less interesting.  But to top it off, you took 5 primetime hours a week and gave them to Leno, who hasn’t done anything original for years. 

Then you declare a crisis when Leno show has lower ratings than expected, the NBC news loses viewers because Leno is leading into it, and Conan loses viewers too.  You just gave a coveted hour each night to a show that would never be original, a show that conflicted with the demographic of the viewers who watch the shows leading into it, and what do you plan to do about it?  You plan to move Leno back to the normal Tonight Show time and bump the actual Tonight Show to tomorrow?  You make Jimmy Fallon back up into the Carson Daly timeslot just so you can keep Leno on for a half hour a night.  A half hour when he is going to interview stars and get bigger billing than the shows that need the billing and the starts after it.  WEAK!

Name me president of NBC and here is what I do.  I recognize that ABC and CBS are programming for either Senior Citizens or People who think that Two and a Half Men is a funny show, either way the audience of these networks is not looking for original programming.  Fox is showing tired reality shows and singing competitions while having a couple of decent series like 24 on.  NBC has the opportunity to make a smarter, edgier comedy that does have a huge following and interest main stream.  At NBC, you need to push off at least one more Law & Order to basic cable.  Then you need to grab the Mitchel Hurwitz’s, the Bill Lawrence’s, the Joss Whedon’s and give them free reign to realize their creative visions and create new and interesting programming.  Pull the reigns off of Conan and Jimmy Fallon.  Bring in some people from the USA network and Comedy Central who are spearheading interesting new projects.  Keep the Office, Community, and maybe Parks and Rec, but create sometime new and interesting.  You are already the last place network, so you have nothing to lose. 

What I just don’t get is how a network that is struggling decides to take the least original thing that they do and give it prime billing in the late night lineup, right after it failed in the primetime slot.  Make a decision NBC, either give Leno the Tonight Show back and admit that you don’t care about originality, or cut him loose and make some real changes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Google Nexus One Phone

Ok I want one already.  I’m not a techie blogger or anything, but I already totally love google and love their business model and everything that they do online.  Think for a minute about how different things would be if Google had never come around.  They are the ones who have literally tied the internet together, made it real and user friendly for everyone.  And they’ve done it by taking money from big company advertisers and not from me. 

Today they announced that they are releasing the Nexus One Phone.  HTC manufactured it, which is awesome because they have been the up and coming manufacturer under their own brand for a while now. 

The internet is buzzing on news sites and blogs everywhere that he Google Phone is the Iphone killer.  I wanted to say something quickly about iphone killers.  It seems every 6 months a new iphone killer comes out and doesn’t kill anything.  The Blackberry Storm 1 and 2, the Blackberry Tour, The T1 android phone, the Droid and several others including htc devices have come out under this type of hype and have not lived up to the hopes. 

Whether you like or hate apple, one thing is clear.  They are at the top of the pack.  I have the iphone 3gs and it is amazing.  It exceeded all of my expectations and in many ways, I depend on it.  Maybe I am impatient, or maybe I kind of still cheer for the underdog, but I would love to see phones whose hardware and usability eclipse the iphone.  It would make the next gens of the iphone better as well as stepping up the market. 

But I do feel like I am taking crazy pills because none of these new killer phones have done anything close to what it takes to step up to the bat and take on the iphone.  I feel like the answer that would make things better is not a big secret, I just don’t get why developers aren’t understanding the problem. 

Here is the recipe to kill the iphone.

1.  Get on a better network than AT&T.  I don’t care what at&t says, their network is awful.  Kim dropped a dozen of my calls when she was driving from Phoenix to Seattle this week.  I drop calls in my house all over the place, while AT&T claims that I should have no such problem and won’t fix their terrible service.  Verizon has the network, but they limit things by making you have to purchase the VNavigator and Vcast to do anything.  They don’t seem all that willing to relinquish enough control to allow the freedom that an iphone would provide. 

2. Allow your calls to go over wifi.  Why doesn’t AT&T figure this out.  Though their network should cover me, if they allowed my phone to make calls over my wifi, I could have great reception anytime I connect to wifi.  This would take pressure off of their network.

3. Make sure that your hardware is as good as the iphone.  The technology is easily in reach for everyone, but why does Blackberry think that I need to click through the screen.  I have yet to meet one person who actually prefers to click away on the storm over the iphone. 

So far the Nexus One has let people know that you can not do a two finger touch.  I don’t know if this is hardware, software, or a patent issue, but if you can, you should.

4. Make the entertainment, exactly as accessible as the iphone.  The iphone has a leg up because you manage everything through itunes.  Did you know that you can add music through rhapsody as well?  Why doesn’t Rhapsody link up with phones?  They have the music, the user friendly store and an easy interface.  I would gladly use Rhapsody over Itunes.  I’d use the Zune stuff too. 

4b.  Make the entertainment as accessible on the phone as it is on on ipod.  Other companies actually have a leg up here.  If I were manufacturing a phone, I would make sure it can play every kind of music and video file.  I’d have an easy batch converter if apple wouldn’t let me play their music or videos on my phone.  Make me one quick click away from my music, just like iphone.  You can add little things like the genius playlist or whatever, but no one buys a phone for that stuff.  Make it easy to get to and fast to play.  Why in the world did most phones even in the last year need a special adapter to plug in headphones or plug into your car?  Put a regular ear phone jack in it!

When I owned the Blackberry Storm, I was ticked at how awesome of technology was in the unit, but at how limited I was by the hardware and platform on the device. 

5.  I know that this is very difficult to do, because the american phone carriers are so messed up.  But if a Phone can make itself available and transferable to different carriers, it would be huge.  Right now, if I could switch my iphone to a different network without breaking my contract and disabling some features in my phone, I would.  I think I could argue at&t out of our contract, but if I did, I would have to switch to an inferior phone and I don’t want that either.

Right now I will tell you this.  I would trade my 3gs for a Nexus One in an instant.  I think the Android platform is going to have more options for apps, wifi calls, and processing power than the iphone will.  I also really like Google and would rather own and support a google endeavor than an Apple one.  I am becoming a huge fan of Open Source software on the computer and think that open source phones are going to be the future. 

That’s just my .02. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Did you see this?

Watch the above clip first. 

I have to tell you.  I watched that clip, and even though I am a Christian, and even though I actually believe what Hume is saying about forgiveness, I am still offended by this. 

First of all, Fox News devotes it’s news commentary on Right Wing Conservative stuff.  This is no secret and even Fox knows and admits that the pundits that they employ are Republican, right wing folks.  (OReilly, Beck, Huckabee, Hannity, VanSustern, and the Fox and Friends Crew.)  It’s fine, it is who they are, Fox has every right to air conservative political commentary.  Fox has argued forever that CNN and MSNBC are biased towards the liberal side of things.  And personally, I agree that MSNBC is as liberal as Fox is conservative and CNN falls somewhere in the middle.  Whatever.

But, here is the respected news anchor at Fox, speaking on air about a religious issue.  Slamming Buddhism and touting Christianity. 

What is offensive here is the lack of knowledge about Christianity, Buddhism, the people he is speaking about and the people he is speaking to.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear a person who calls himself a devout Christian act as if choosing a religion should be based on looking at the benefits like a consumer.  It’s like Hume is making the statement, Buddhism is OK if you only want coverage for minor sins and normal person stuff, but if you need forgiveness for the big nasty sins, you’d best hit Jesus up for that. 

It’s not a comparison and it’s not a competition.  Christians who make faith sound like a supermarket misrepresent what Jesus was talking about.  It’s not Jesus versus Buddha.  It’s Jesus loves you and wants a relationship with you.  Period.  Buddhism is not about forgiveness, it is about enlightenment.  Hume’s type of consumerist Christianity has a feeling to it that you can just take forgiveness when you need it and grace when you want it, and throw in a little peace or comfort if that suits you.  Buddhism would actually talk about Tiger’s responsibility to make amends for his wrongdoing and to seek redemption with the people he has hurt.  This is one of the things that I believe Tiger would need to do if he wants to be a role model or find true recovery and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I know full well that Jesus does not advocate a consumerist Christianity.  I know that the faith of Jesus would have Tiger doing whatever it took to make things right, even if it meant never playing golf again, or giving up his massive fortune.  I actually whole heartedly believe that no matter what the cost, Tiger should decide that if he does have to sacrifice everything, every dollar, and every trophy and achievement; it would be far more worth it to do whatever it took to make things right with his family. 

When Christians stop competing with other religions and start living as ‘Sermon on the Mount Christians’, you will see a difference in the way we are seen by non Christians.  If we continue to try to attract people to our consumerist faith salad bar, we misrepresent Jesus and lead people to a powerless religion rather than a relationship with Jesus.

What Hume said is basically right, real forgiveness can be found in Jesus alone, no question.  This should never be used to disparage whether or not Buddhists are good, or can be forgiven or can understand this concept.  I would want Hume to know that if Tiger is a Buddhist, which is something I have never really heard, and I had the chance to talk to him about forgiveness; I would not tell him to reject any Buddhist thing he has learned, and call himself a Christian before he can find forgiveness.  I would try to introduce him to Jesus.  Forget, whose faith is better or bigger or righter; arguing and dissing a person’s faith formation is not any answer.  Tell him about a relationship with Jesus.  Period.  You don’t have to call it a conversion, if he starts a real relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will start to convict him to what was right and wrong about what he has already learned. 

Obviously based on Tiger’s choices, there are a lot of changes that he needs to make.  People with comments like Hume’s will make it more unappealing to choose Christianity because of the judgmental and elitist attitude.  AAANNNND… Did you notice how flat his affect was?  He sounded like the whole faith thing is the most boring and solemn subject you could possibly talk about. 

I’d love Hume to look at his Wikipedia Page to see what someone wrote about him: Brit Hume (born June 22, 1943) is an American commentator and television journalist. He is also a television evangelist who is insulting to hundreds of millions of Bhuddhists in order to offer easy, no questions asked forgiveness for golfers worldwide from a two-thousand year old corpse.

Nope, of course I don’t agree with the Corpse thing.  But Hume did a disservice to his faith, and to Christians who want people to know Jesus and not be turned off by the marketing of consumerist, elitist, colonizing Christianity.