AT&T-Mobile

Some pros and cons:

Pros - iPhone will work with 3G

Cons - higher prices from less competition, T-Mobile had good prices and service because it couldn’t compete in other areas.

Thoughts:

Since AT&T is in bed with the FCC already, it looks like it’ll probably pass. Which is just ridiculous. Wireless companies should be treated as utility companies, just as ISPs should be too since infrastructure costs are so high for these industries. Then we can regulate them as utilities.

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Target Heart Rate Zones 1-5

I’ve seen a bit of misleading information for finding your target zones. Misleading because the % is supposed to be from your range, and not of your max heart rate.

E.g. If your MHR (maximum heart rate) is 190bpm and your RHR (resting heart rate) is 60bpm, your 50% is not 95bpm. It’s actually .5 x (190-60) + 60 = 125bpm. Your range is 60bpm -> 190bpm. So you should calculate based off of that and add your RHR back to get the target number.

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10K. Done.

I finished my first 10K last weekend. In VFF Bikilas. Unfortunately, I injured my right ankle due to doing too much too soon. My previous longest run in VFFs was 2.5 miles where I stopped due to a hotspot. 2.5 -> 6.2 is overkill. But I was at the point where I hated running in regular shoes. I did one run around the block in regular shoes and they just felt heavy and clumsy on my feet. I ended up taking them off and running home barefoot. Another time I ran to the park in shoes for softball practice and ended up running home afterwards in socks. So I had a dilemma for the week prior to the race. Should I run in shoes or VFFs? Shoes just didn’t feel natural or comfortable but I had not practiced enough in the VFFs. I brought both to the race and in the end decided to wing it in the VFFs. So what if I couldn’t finish due to a blister? (which I thought would be my biggest problem).

Turns out I would be late to the race and start 5 min after the gun went off. The first 3 miles were a breeze. It’s fun to pass people. Gives you good motivation. I worked on keeping my cadence up “One, two, three, one, two, three…” Felt really good. The weather was just right. Mile 4 was great. Mile 5 I felt like the hotspot was slowly coming back so I tried to find grass wherever I could to run on instead of the pavement. Nearing the end of mile 6 I could sense my form was starting to go down due to the irritation in my ankles. The hotspot however didn’t get worse. But I think my joints were starting to feel it. So I slowed my pace down until after I passed the 6 mile marker and could see the finish area. Then the sprint began. It was strange - my ankle was the limiting factor. Everything else - my lungs, upper legs, feet bottoms felt great. So I toughed it out and sprinted to the end. Not one of those sprints where you can barely tell you’re sprinting. But a full on 40-50% faster than previous pace sprint. It was great. Passing people like a blur :P Crossed the line. And then started to limp. RICE’d it these past few days. Did some research on the criticisms of RICE. Some say it delays healing and some say it promotes it. I’m just gonna go gingerly on it and not run for the next week or so.

First 10K. Under 60min. Minor ankle tendon injury. I can live with that!

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The Art of Running

Leave it to me to do more research on a topic before actually diving in. I’m signed up for three running events in the next 3 months and I’ve barely got off my butt. Instead, I’ve been sitting in front of my screen trying to figure out how to get faster and become less injured as I run. I think I’ve come up with a couple of things:

  • Cadence (Stride Rate) matters. Most amateur runners vary their cadence according to terrain conditions. Professionals vary their stride length. Nearly all professional runners/sprinters maintain a cadence rate of 180 steps per minute, and only vary their stride length. So they take shorter strides going up a hill, and take longer strides going down a hill. A very interesting discovery. Most amateurs have a cadence that’s far too low, some 20% slower than that of pro athletes. Instead of floating and gliding over the ground, they end up bouncing over the ground, decreasing their efficiency and promoting injury (IMO). Some people even advocate running to a metronome.
  • How your foot lands matters just as much. We’ve been conditioned since the 70’s (when Nike first appeared) to run in cushioned shoes, which promote a heel to forefoot motion. We should be striving for a midfoot/forefoot strike instead. Our feet weren’t created to land on the heel. Which brings us to…
  • Shoes. We wrap our feet up because we think it’ll decrease injury. (IMO) It causes our very complicated foot to atrophy and weaken, especially in the support areas like the arch. So that’s why our running injuries are increasing even as our shoes get fancier. There’s been a new movement around that is striving to minimize the amount of cushion and just as importantly the amount of heel lift (the different between the height of the heel and the fore-section of the shoe). When we run barefoot, our nerves give us tons of feedback and we adapt our running style to minimize pain. Try running on a bare floor. After a few steps, you’ll soon learn to stop striking with the heel and landing on the mid/forefoot instead.

With all that said, I’m going to try it out for a few months and report back on the results.

More links to check out.

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My 2nd State of Home TV/Audio Address

First a little follow-up on the UMC-1. There’s a popping sound when changing volume. At least it passes 24P content.

Thoughts on 24P:

It still looks somewhat soap operaish to me at this point.

DVDO Edge and Gefen Dolby Digital D/A Converter:

Wow, the switching is fast on the Edge. And there are no sync issues when changing the inputs. 1:1 frame rate lock is nice. The zoom is very nice if you want to fill-up your 16:9 display with anamorphic (2.40/2.35:1) content. Input renaming is convenient. Input priority auto switching is awesome. I can have Wii > PS3 > TV and it’ll auto switch based on what’s turned on and switch back when that unit is off. And if there are no inputs on, it’ll turn itself off. Very nice. Couple that with auto-on based on inputs, and you basically don’t need to mess with the device after it’s setup. Which is exactly what I want! Now to the negatives, which are few, but are pretty egregious. When using the toslink output (which is the only other option other than HDMI — again, I really wish they had analog audio out!!!!) and the Gefen D/A there is severe popping when switching inputs. It even happened when changing channels on the DirecTV tuner. I was able to rectify that by turning off Dolby digital surround audio on the DirecTV and it stopped — which makes me question whether I should get the non-Dolby digital Gefen D/A since this one can’t handle source changes without popping. Another about the Edge is if you have audio outputted on the toslink output, it won’t put it out on the HDMI either. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but I have an HDMI splitter going to another TV that doesn’t use a separate audio system. Not helpful. It’d be nice if it could put out audio on both.

Next up, I will try the D/A directly from the toslink output of the TV since it seems to have no problem muting its built-in speakers when changing inputs. If that works, then it’s harder for me to justify having the Edge, whose primary purpose was to convert the Wii component imput to HDMI so I wouldn’t have all these cables clutter up the TV. Which I guess was hard to justify in the first place since I also got a Gefen Component -> HDMI unit to try out. (I wanted to compare the output qualities). If only there was an input priority HDMI switch like the one Oppo stopped selling. Boo.

Followup:

Using optical out from TV to Gefen D/A = perfect results! No popping or squelching. Switching channels - no problem. Switching inputs on Edge - no problem. Next, using the Emotiva UMC-1 strictly as a D/A. Two ways, one using HDMI audio and the other using optical Toslink. As Toslink, switching inputs on Edge results in slight squelching. Barely acceptable. As HDMI audio only, switching inputs results in high frequency buzzing. Moderate bass popping on occasion. Changing channels, HDMI no problems. Toslink no problems as well. Overall, much better than using Edge -> Gefen D/A, but still only barely acceptable. Why don’t these companies work more on polish and finish. These little details matter!

Post postscript:

Using optical out to Gefen D/A, there is a bad turn-off bass pop. Sigh, still not appliance like (in having no glaring problems and working day in day out). I’ll have to stick to turning off the audio portion before turning the tv off.

3rd postscript:

New Gefen D/A (non DD 5.1):
This one works even better than the DD D/A that Gefen makes. No turn-off pop when connected to TV. Will try it out on the DVDO edge to see if it makes noise when changing inputs. Result: No noise. The regular non-surround D/A works like….an appliance!!!

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My State of Home TV/Audio Address

My current setup keeps audio (analog mostly) and video separate. As you can see from my previous rant about digital only audio outputs on TV’s I’m still ticked off that I have to spend additional monies just to keep the same setup. Previously, I had the audio from the TV feeding into the pre-amp which fed the downstream audio equipment. Video signal was handled by a cheap HDMI switcher into an HDMI splitter. Component video (Wii output) was unattractively connected directly to the TV. Now that most TV’s are digital audio out only, I decided to try a different route that would also incorporate video (including component) into my main setup. So…I purchased…

The Emotiva UMC-1. So far, I’m not too happy with this unit. A lot of raves on the internet about how this is a $2000 unit at a bargain $699 value. With some possible downsides. I buy the downsides part, but the value I’m still suspect on it. I expect a product like this to work like an appliance — it should work out of the box, no problems first time and everytime. It’s not a cheap HDMI splitter that I can tolerate, occasionally needing a power-cycle. The audio and video sync should happen flawlessly without stutter. I was watching L&O SVU last night and everytime it came back from commercials, it would have to resync when going from 2 channel to surround sound. Unacceptable. Eventually, it would stop syncing altogether and I couldn’t even watch that channel. Seriously. It would stutter the video along with the audio. Even after restarting the unit. Moving on it also looks like the component upscaler is pretty low quality as well. Definitely a lot of detail is being lost in the conversion. Start-up time is slow and the whole unit just seems sluggish. Changing inputs is slow as well. That was just 2 hours with it. I hope it gets better, but in the meanwhile, I’ve poured more money into a contingency plan.

This plan, is more linux-y in that it stays modular like my previous setup. I’m getting a DVDO Edge to handle the video (along with component upconversion), A Geffen D/A that will allow me to continue using my old analog only pre-amp, and another backup Geffen component to HDMI converter in case the DVDO Edge is another un-polished product — from reading it’s FAQ, I might have instances where it won’t output audio on the digital out (HMDI only) due to HDCP compliance (btw, I hate HDCP, just another crap DRM) not allowing non-HDMI digital audio out.

So, just because I upgrade the TV, I have to jump through many hoops just to get a simple analog audio output…well, actually, I add a little to the problem because I wanted to get rid of the ugly component cables from the Wii (damn you Super Mario; I wouldn’t need it if you weren’t a fun game). Still, it’s quite annoying. If I do the simplest setup which moves the D/A to behind the TV, I’ll have to look for right angle adapters for the Toslink connection, which is more money and more time down the drain. Even writing the entry is a pain b/c it wouldn’t have been necessary! It’s an analog world and it’ll always be an analog world damnit.

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Rangers vs Media

Can we stop talking about how the umps screwed up the calls and actually give the Rangers some credit? The visiting team was already up 2-0 even without the Michael Young 3-run homer. The Rays ended up with 2 hits and no runs. What’s the difference between 2-0 and 6-0? It’s still a W. Ok sure, psychologically it probably gave the Rangers an edge, but the Rays are a playoff familiar team. Calls can go both ways. You just play through it. So Yahoo, ESPN, et. al, stop ranting about how the call saved the game for the Rangers. It didn’t. Shut-up and focus on the real news — how we can manufacture runs when our hitting is weak, or the fact that our hitting AND pitching has been great so far. We’re dominating the Rays (at least the two games so far).

This is nothing like that blown call when the Mavs and Nuggets were tied and the ref totally missed the intentional foul on Anthony (at 2:10). That was a game changing call. So don’t write crap about how we stole the game from the Rays.

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