Happy Thanksgiving!

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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Administrator » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:15 am

Anachronic wrote:At the same time the idea of a standing desk seems abhorrent.

I'm exactly the same way! I've known people who are all about the standing desks, but it didn't seem to really do much for me when I tried it. I suppose there's some research that says that it's maybe better to stand than to sit all day, but after a half hour of it, I just felt like sitting down. The mechanics of standing just wound up distracting me from programming. Maybe if I got used to it, it'd be good, but my initial impression of the standing desk was not so good.

When it's time to work out, I'll do that will all my focus. When it's time to program, I'll do that with all my focus. And that requires sitting down, at least for me.

I always stuck to skiing in the winter in Alberta where I grew up, but haven't really been into that so much lately now that I live on the coast.

I would absolutely love to try skiing. Did you do cross country, or down hill, or both? It's funny, there's a ski resort within jogging distance of my house right now, but I've never been skiing before. I even dated a woman for a while who was all about skiing and wanted to go with me, but I couldn't really scrape together the money for a ski weekend at the time. Is skiing fun? Down hill looks outrageously cool, and cross country looks like the most exhausting thing in history!

But it's one of those skills I'd sorta' like to have, if for no other reason than to say that I know how to ski.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Anachronic » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:14 am

Administrator wrote:I would absolutely love to try skiing. Did you do cross country, or down hill, or both? It's funny, there's a ski resort within jogging distance of my house right now, but I've never been skiing before. I even dated a woman for a while who was all about skiing and wanted to go with me, but I couldn't really scrape together the money for a ski weekend at the time. Is skiing fun? Down hill looks outrageously cool, and cross country looks like the most exhausting thing in history!

But it's one of those skills I'd sorta' like to have, if for no other reason than to say that I know how to ski.


I'm a decent downhill skier and snowboarder. I would highly doing some of that if you've got the cash, but man it's expensive. One of the reasons why I've been doing less and less of it over the years... Snowboarding is easier to learn than skiing for sure; maybe a good way to go if you want to try a resort. Honestly though the first few days of learning either are often not much fun for people. A lot of time falling over and sitting down in the snow. Doing it with a friend or two who are also new to the sport can make the difference between it being fun and just kinda torturous. Like any sport skiing (and snowboarding) gets more fun the better you get at it.

I've tried cross-country skiing twice and have no idea what I'm doing with it. When I was younger it really had no appeal, but now that I'm older and more into endurance sports I totally get it. With biking I started riding cross-country (XC), then got into downhill and BMX as a teen and early-adult, and have gone back to XC as a middle-aged adult. Feel like I could take a similar trajectory with skiing; learning to love cross-country as an older adult who is cheap, and likes the solitude of the backcountry versus the fray of the ski resort. It's also important to take into account people's increasing capacity for suffering as they get older. Bike rides and sports that would have been hell for me when I'm younger are now what I do for fun because everything, and particularly the cold weather, just don't seem to hurt as much anymore... maybe because my body just hurts all over all the time anyway. Working towards that transition from dad-bod to "old man strength" as they say, but it's slow going.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Administrator » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:28 pm

Anachronic wrote:I would highly doing some of that if you've got the cash, but man it's expensive.

Exactly, this is what held me out of it before. Even just to rent equipment for a day, it can be an arm and a leg! Especially if you're a teenager / early 20s, a skiing adventure is rather expensive as far as date options are concerned. Now that I'm a bit older, though, I've found out that the time you hit the slopes has a lot to do with the cost, at least for the place near my house. If you try it on an off day or at off hours, it can make all the difference.

Doing it with a friend or two who are also new to the sport can make the difference between it being fun and just kinda torturous. Like any sport skiing (and snowboarding) gets more fun the better you get at it.

This, QFE, right here. I would absolutely need another beginner to get started with, because it would most certainly not be much fun to spend a day falling over in the cold by myself. However, a day falling over in the cold could be hilarious and a great time, with the right company!

With biking I started riding cross-country (XC), then got into downhill and BMX as a teen and early-adult, and have gone back to XC as a middle-aged adult.

Oh man, that's so awesome! I used to think BMX was cool as sin, but I never really had a chance to try it out. I suspect I probably wouldn't be coordinated or athletic enough to be very good, but the intensity of flying all around really appeals to me. I've got a good friend who's a pretty technical skateboarder, and I think it's one of the coolest skills to have. Did you ever participate in any BMX competitions? I remember coming across the X Games a few times in high school when channel surfing, and they were always so cool.

Feel like I could take a similar trajectory with skiing; learning to love cross-country as an older adult who is cheap, and likes the solitude of the backcountry versus the fray of the ski resort.

Agreed - sometimes it feels like the further you go in life, the fewer opportunities there are to really unplug and get that kind of worry-free solace from being someplace by yourself. It's part of the reason why I love trail running, especially at the times of the year when the trail is empty. There's a wooden bridge I cross over that's 4 miles from my house down the trail, which is the halfway point for my normal out-and-back run, and I always stop there and hang out for just a minute, me and the river and the trees. I'd never want to do that as a kid, but it's one of my favorite parts of the day now, and it's part of why the winter months and their accompanying treadmill are so bogus.

Working towards that transition from dad-bod to "old man strength" as they say, but it's slow going.

Hahaha, you know, it's funny, I was talking with my brother about this just the other day. I know everybody's different, but I swear, some things get physically easier the older I get. Ten years ago, building muscle was so, so hard, but as I get closer to 30, I've found that it doesn't take nearly as much effort to build upper body and back strength. I'm far from being a body builder, and I'll always be pretty lean with my focus on running, but I'm positive that I'm stronger now than I was 5 or 10 years ago. Gettin' that old man strength!

And I swear, that herculean, old man strength is real. I remember my dad and uncle moving a refrigerator up a flight of stairs, and the thought of this blows my mind. They were both around their early 40s, and they accomplished this mind-boggling feat of strength that I know my brother and I couldn't pull off now, even if we tried. Full of cursing and groaning and sweating and beer drinking, with a minor gut and a brow furrowed in anger, the 43 year old human is the strongest animal on earth.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Anachronic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:49 am

There's got to be some ways that an augmented reality app could vastly improve the treadmill running experience. Same with bicycle rollers. Never thought about that before hmm...

So much much groaning with age. Don't want to groan but can't help it most of the time it just happens. The beer and cursing's a conscious decision though, no regrets, and probably the right decision for having to deal with that Herculean task. I haven't had to buy a new fridge yet in life but the day will surely come.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Administrator » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:58 pm

Anachronic wrote:There's got to be some ways that an augmented reality app could vastly improve the treadmill running experience. Same with bicycle rollers. Never thought about that before hmm...

Now this is the kind of thing that's a million dollar idea, in my book. One of the things that kills VR (at least for me) is the fact that it's still just putting on a helmet looking at a world of computer graphics. I can't actually walk around in it, and this just breaks the immersion for me. I don't actually feel like I'm in another environment, thereby kinda' defeating the purpose of virtual reality.

Materially, I don't think that today's VR craze is all that far ahead of the VR craze from the mid 90s, and the same problem described above was (I think) the fundamental issue back then, too. Until VR makes you convincingly feel like you're in another reality, it fails at its stated purpose. We're still just putting on helmets and looking at computer graphics. Yeah, the graphics are higher fidelity now, but it still feels like a gimmick to me.

What's interesting about the idea to combine today's VR / AR capabilities with a treadmill or stationary bike is I think that the technology would instantly become way more useful. It might actually feel like I'm in the virtual environment, which kinda' excites the heck out of me.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Anachronic » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:33 am

Administrator wrote:
Anachronic wrote:There's got to be some ways that an augmented reality app could vastly improve the treadmill running experience. Same with bicycle rollers. Never thought about that before hmm...

Now this is the kind of thing that's a million dollar idea, in my book. One of the things that kills VR (at least for me) is the fact that it's still just putting on a helmet looking at a world of computer graphics. I can't actually walk around in it, and this just breaks the immersion for me. I don't actually feel like I'm in another environment, thereby kinda' defeating the purpose of virtual reality.

Materially, I don't think that today's VR craze is all that far ahead of the VR craze from the mid 90s, and the same problem described above was (I think) the fundamental issue back then, too. Until VR makes you convincingly feel like you're in another reality, it fails at its stated purpose. We're still just putting on helmets and looking at computer graphics. Yeah, the graphics are higher fidelity now, but it still feels like a gimmick to me.

What's interesting about the idea to combine today's VR / AR capabilities with a treadmill or stationary bike is I think that the technology would instantly become way more useful. It might actually feel like I'm in the virtual environment, which kinda' excites the heck out of me.


Heck yeah, I feel like a treadmill (or a stationary bike or rowing machine, etc.) would make a killer peripheral for people who want to combine tech with some exercise. I love the Wii games that use the Balance Board and it's sort-of a similar type of thing. An app wouldn't even have to be that complex to be appealing. Just having the ability to put a GearVR or Google Cardboard on your head or something while you're on the treadmill and use the head-tracking feature to be able to look around a virtual environment could make the experience a lot more engaging. I doubt it would ever be a decent replacement for actually running outside, but it might give an experience that's at least appealing enough to make those long winter months more bearable when running outside just isn't an option.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Administrator » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:03 pm

Anachronic wrote:An app wouldn't even have to be that complex to be appealing. Just having the ability to put a GearVR or Google Cardboard on your head or something while you're on the treadmill and use the head-tracking feature to be able to look around a virtual environment could make the experience a lot more engaging.

I'm thinking the exact, same thing, I really wouldn't need much complex functionality at all. Just a bright, sunny, pleasant environment to run through at this time of year would make all the difference. With the fact that it's dark all the time during these months, plus the fact that I'm running in the basement of a YMCA, just a bit of brightness and the thought of being outdoors would help.

The only thing that might suck is wearing the VR goggles. For starters, running with any kind of added weight on your head is a bit strange, especially something front-heavy like goggles. I have a bit of experience physically exerting myself while wearing a helmet, and it's got to be balanced and secured just right, or it's going to move around a ton. And if something like VR goggles are bouncing and moving around, even a bit, it's going to make for an impossibly bad experience. Even trying to wear 99% of earbuds when running is borderline impossible, since the jostling will gradually knock them out. You don't want to be messing with gear and adjusting your setup every 90 seconds when you're trying to run.

There's the further issue of perspiration and funkiness that comes with workout gear. I don't know how easy or hard it'd be to clean a VR headset that's constantly exposed to sweat, and I don't know what the mechanics would be like with potential fogging / sweat getting on the interior view area.

I think the software side might be pretty simple, but like most applications of VR, the mechanical side might be pretty hard.
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Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

Postby Anachronic » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:33 am

Administrator wrote:
Anachronic wrote:An app wouldn't even have to be that complex to be appealing. Just having the ability to put a GearVR or Google Cardboard on your head or something while you're on the treadmill and use the head-tracking feature to be able to look around a virtual environment could make the experience a lot more engaging.

I'm thinking the exact, same thing, I really wouldn't need much complex functionality at all. Just a bright, sunny, pleasant environment to run through at this time of year would make all the difference. With the fact that it's dark all the time during these months, plus the fact that I'm running in the basement of a YMCA, just a bit of brightness and the thought of being outdoors would help.

The only thing that might suck is wearing the VR goggles. For starters, running with any kind of added weight on your head is a bit strange, especially something front-heavy like goggles. I have a bit of experience physically exerting myself while wearing a helmet, and it's got to be balanced and secured just right, or it's going to move around a ton. And if something like VR goggles are bouncing and moving around, even a bit, it's going to make for an impossibly bad experience. Even trying to wear 99% of earbuds when running is borderline impossible, since the jostling will gradually knock them out. You don't want to be messing with gear and adjusting your setup every 90 seconds when you're trying to run.

There's the further issue of perspiration and funkiness that comes with workout gear. I don't know how easy or hard it'd be to clean a VR headset that's constantly exposed to sweat, and I don't know what the mechanics would be like with potential fogging / sweat getting on the interior view area.

I think the software side might be pretty simple, but like most applications of VR, the mechanical side might be pretty hard.


That's a really good point about the sweat from running, it would probably be a problem for some headset. Would have to try it to find out. Maybe the biggest problem for something like the Vive or Rift, where you would have to replace a big expensive unit if it got damaged and not just a case for your phone (although damaging your phone would suck if that happened). Probably the ideal platform would be Google Cardboard and/or Samsung GearVR. Those are probably the lightest units too so the easiest to hold on your head, and with a running app there would be no need for the handheld controllers.

Not sure if there are any headsets that are specifically designed for exercise. That might be a good idea for a Kickstarter for someone who knows something about physical product design. I might know a guy actually... I'd love to dive back into some VR dev at some point, maybe this is something to look into. My new phone doesn't have a gyro unfortunately and Cardboard is really jittery on my old phone argh. Lack of properly functional hardware has been my main barrier so far to VR dev but could probably sort that out.

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