FireFox 3 Beta and other cool gadgets

If you aren’t technically inclined, but are interested in impressing your co-workers, consider downloading the recently released beta version of FireFox 3.

This is your chance to look cooler than everybody else in your cubicle farm… pimping out your computer with the latest in open-source coolware.

And since we are speaking of gadgets… Gayle D. recently gave me this very cool pedometer. As some of you know, I try to walk at least one direction to all my meetings. This little device isn’t radically radically changing my life… but it is keeping me aware of my decision to walk everywhere. More importantly it’s enabled me to both set a target of taking 10,000 steps and given me the capacity to measure my progress. This is definitely pushing me make better, healthier decisions.

I’d heard a while back that Ontario Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson pitched to Research in Motion the idea that Blackberry devices should have an integrated pedometer.

I thought was a fantastic idea. Obviously it hasn’t gone anywhere – and to be fair, these advanced pedometers would add to the size of any Blackberry device… but I hope RIM hasn’t dropped the idea altogether.

14 thoughts on “FireFox 3 Beta and other cool gadgets

  1. Harley Young

    RIM already integrates a GPS into their devices, so you could just use that to track where you’ve gone. I’m not sure it’s as good a GPS as, say, the Garmin Forerunner, but it might be ok.

    Putting a pedometer in the device itself seems like a terrible idea. It wouldn’t work when you’re walking and reading because the motion in your hand would confound the motion of walking and of moving your hand. So, you’d end up with a whole bunch of inaccurate step counts.

    Instead, it would be better for players in the iPod/iPhone-accessories ecosystem to integrate the pedometer into a holster for RIM devices. That way, the pedometer would remain in a fixed position, even if you yank out the device to chat or read mail or look at news.

    Reply
  2. Harley Young

    RIM already integrates a GPS into their devices, so you could just use that to track where you’ve gone. I’m not sure it’s as good a GPS as, say, the Garmin Forerunner, but it might be ok.Putting a pedometer in the device itself seems like a terrible idea. It wouldn’t work when you’re walking and reading because the motion in your hand would confound the motion of walking and of moving your hand. So, you’d end up with a whole bunch of inaccurate step counts.Instead, it would be better for players in the iPod/iPhone-accessories ecosystem to integrate the pedometer into a holster for RIM devices. That way, the pedometer would remain in a fixed position, even if you yank out the device to chat or read mail or look at news.

    Reply
  3. David Eaves Post author

    West End Bound – it does seem to work. I can’t tell you exactly how accurate it is as I’m not keeping perfect track, but when I’ve tested it over a few steps it has been pretty good.
    The problem is that you can’t buy it in Canada (or at least we couldn’t find it) so you have to order it from the US…

    Reply
  4. David Eaves

    West End Bound – it does seem to work. I can’t tell you exactly how accurate it is as I’m not keeping perfect track, but when I’ve tested it over a few steps it has been pretty good.The problem is that you can’t buy it in Canada (or at least we couldn’t find it) so you have to order it from the US…

    Reply
  5. David Eaves Post author

    Good thoughts Harley. I am currently holding out for the Curve on Bell (why do they make us wait so!). And since I have an unlimited data package (the main reason I won’t leave them) and could definitely use the GPS to monitor distance – which would be awesome.
    To build on your other idea. It would be best if the Pedometer was bluetooth, offering simple integration into the RIM and your home computer…

    Reply
  6. David Eaves

    Good thoughts Harley. I am currently holding out for the Curve on Bell (why do they make us wait so!). And since I have an unlimited data package (the main reason I won’t leave them) and could definitely use the GPS to monitor distance – which would be awesome.To build on your other idea. It would be best if the Pedometer was bluetooth, offering simple integration into the RIM and your home computer…

    Reply
  7. Karen

    Harvey – perhaps we can employ an idea similar to what Nike has done with their shoes, where the pedometer is actually there doing the data collection, and the iPod/handheld is only for viewing/moving the data? That would keep the use of blackberry from affecting it.

    It’s an interesting proposition, generally. Only that which is measured can be managed, after all.

    Reply
  8. Karen

    Harvey – perhaps we can employ an idea similar to what Nike has done with their shoes, where the pedometer is actually there doing the data collection, and the iPod/handheld is only for viewing/moving the data? That would keep the use of blackberry from affecting it.It’s an interesting proposition, generally. Only that which is measured can be managed, after all.

    Reply
  9. Jeremy Vernon

    Timex and Polaris each have GPS and HRM packages that are bluetooth enabled.

    I have the Timex cluster and it’s GREAT, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reasonably priced fitness tracking system.

    Polaris offers a higher-tech version that has extensible bluetooth connectivity so you can theoretically access its services via any device with the appropriate protocols.

    If you know your stride length, doing the math is pretty straightforward.

    Heart Rate Monitors (HRM) are arguably more useful to track fitness growth since you can see how your cardiovascular system responds to controlled stress over time.

    You shall become borg…

    Reply
  10. Jeremy Vernon

    Timex and Polaris each have GPS and HRM packages that are bluetooth enabled.I have the Timex cluster and it’s GREAT, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reasonably priced fitness tracking system.Polaris offers a higher-tech version that has extensible bluetooth connectivity so you can theoretically access its services via any device with the appropriate protocols.If you know your stride length, doing the math is pretty straightforward.Heart Rate Monitors (HRM) are arguably more useful to track fitness growth since you can see how your cardiovascular system responds to controlled stress over time.You shall become borg…

    Reply
  11. Harley Young

    Hi, Karen.

    The iPod+Nike solution actually uses the iPod to do all the data collection. The small device that you fasten to your shoe doesn’t store anything — it’s just an accelerometer and transmitter that sends out information about when the shoe started and stopped (along with a unique ID, which has raised the hackles of several privacy advocates).

    Using RFID, the device on the shoe transmits acceleration data to the component that you attach to the bottom of the iPod. Upon receiving the acceleration data from the shoe fob, the device attached to the iPod calculates how quickly you’re running, incorporates the information into your workout and saves it on the iPod for later synchronization with your computer and, optionally, with Nike’s web site.

    For reasons of cost and complexity, BlueTooth wouldn’t be my first choice, but since the Blackberry already supports it, it seems the most logical. So, if we married my idea about putting the pedometer in the BlackBerry belt cradle, to David’s idea about making it have a BlueTooth connection to the Blackberry to some software (wait, are we allowed a three-party marriage?) I think we’d have something.

    Cheers.

    /hsy

    Reply
  12. Harley Young

    Hi, Karen.The iPod+Nike solution actually uses the iPod to do all the data collection. The small device that you fasten to your shoe doesn’t store anything — it’s just an accelerometer and transmitter that sends out information about when the shoe started and stopped (along with a unique ID, which has raised the hackles of several privacy advocates). Using RFID, the device on the shoe transmits acceleration data to the component that you attach to the bottom of the iPod. Upon receiving the acceleration data from the shoe fob, the device attached to the iPod calculates how quickly you’re running, incorporates the information into your workout and saves it on the iPod for later synchronization with your computer and, optionally, with Nike’s web site.For reasons of cost and complexity, BlueTooth wouldn’t be my first choice, but since the Blackberry already supports it, it seems the most logical. So, if we married my idea about putting the pedometer in the BlackBerry belt cradle, to David’s idea about making it have a BlueTooth connection to the Blackberry to some software (wait, are we allowed a three-party marriage?) I think we’d have something. Cheers./hsy

    Reply

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