An Early Adopter’s Take on the Nike+ FuelBand

It lights up all pretty…

I’ve got to hand it to Nike: when it comes to sleek products combined with slick marketing, not many other companies in the world can do it better. My perpetual fascination with technology coupled with my recent conversion in brand loyalty from Adidas to Nike led me to their latest gadget, the Nike+ FuelBand. I had just won my fantasy basketball league–for the second consecutive season–and rationalized such an uncalculated purchase.

The concept of the Nike+ FuelBand was simple: a wristband you wear all day that tracks your movement and gives you points for activity, thereby gamifying your activity level. The FuelBand is a matte black rubber wristband similar to those ubiquitous Livestrong bands that everyone had in the mid 2000s, except slightly thicker and heavier. It seems quite durable and was comfortable enough for me to wear that I’ve already forgotten about it after 2 days, but I’m used to wearing lots of crap on my wrists so your comfort may vary. Inside this wristband is a three-axis accelerometer that tracks the motion of your wrist in all directions, and a really cool LED display. The display is completely invisible when off, but with a push of the only button on the FuelBand, the display magically appears and relays the time, calories burned, steps taken, and NikeFuel.

The integrated clasp / USB connector.

What sets this device apart from being a glorified pedometer for middle-aged women is the concept of NikeFuel. Researchers at Nike have developed algorithms to translate the patterns of wrist movement to the intensity of your activity, quantified as NikeFuel. The amount of NikeFuel you receive is normalized to your height and weight, so essentially, NikeFuel levels the playing field for everyone of all shapes and sizes. Each day you set number of points as your goal for the next 24 hours. By Nike standards, a normal day sans workout would net you 2000 NikeFuel points, while an active day (1 hour workout) nets 3000 points. The calories burned and steps taken metrics feel like tacked-on afterthoughts though, as the real star of the show is the NikeFuel.
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If it’s not on ESPN, it’s not a sport…but I don’t care.

Before I get into the second part of the last post, I need to show off my newest toy:

Like many normal teenage boys, I had one of those Nerf basketball hoops in my room. You know, the kind where after a few months you start to master the fine art of off-the-side-wall-double-clutch-reverse dunks or how to arc your shot just high enough so it almost scrapes the ceiling.

Well it turns out I never grew out of that phase. I guess I never grew period, but a couple months ago I got myself a mini basketball hoop from Now these bad boys aren’t your normal plastic hoop and cardboard backboard type that you get from Toys R Us. The Justintymesports hoops are breakaway and made of solid steel, and attached to a thick fiberglass backboard. Basically, it’s the real thing, just miniaturized. Basically, it’s the best $50 I’ve ever spent.

Unnecessary Instagram filter.

In this apartment, the holy grail of trick shots is the one where you bounce it off the back wall of the living room, and into the basket. After hundreds of failed attempts, my roommate Chris did this:

Anyways, the moral of the story is that this will never get old!

I’ll take the long way, please.

Once again, I’ve been neglecting my blog, this time for an entire year. I sort of forgot about writing in here until I remembered that it was nearing a year since my last (uninspiring) entry. Anyways, just take what you can get and everything will be just fine.

It may be old news by now, but sometime last December I went on a little road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I had just finished my first taste of grad school finals, was burnt out and wanted nothing to do with science. So I did what any normal person would have done: instead of taking the normal and boring 6-hour route up the 5, I decided to make my way up the coast on Highway 1, a twisting, turning, 12-hour jaunt.

Call me crazy, stupid, or Bob if you want, but I pulled a Robert Frost and took the road less travelled. I got up at dawn and made my way up the coast, stopping first at my old stomping grounds in Santa Barbara for breakfast. The California coast is home to some amazing sights, and sounds if you stop in San Luis Obispo County to check out the elephant seals, whose apathetic noises kind of sound like the irritated groaning you’d make if someone woke you up 30 minutes before your alarm was set to go off.

If only I could have this kind of life...

I don’t really have any idea why they need to talk anyways. All they do is lie there on the beach in their own filth. It’s like

“hey…whatcha doin on that side of the beach?”
“chillin, how bout you?”
“chill brah.”

Once I passed the stinky elephant seals I encountered windy roads and fog so thick it was like driving through a marshmallow.

You try driving through that.

Thanks to the mostly deserted road, I got out of the fog in one piece and made my way to the whole reason I went coastal to begin with: Big Sur.
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I’m blogging from an iPad.

This is unremarkable. I hope the Apple people don’t read this. They’ll kick me out of the store.