May 11

iFit – With Treadmill

iFit finally started working with our treadmill!  It took many calls to the company and a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, but they finally got the software working.

iFit does have an entire community that you can interact with.  Additionally in the software you can design your own route and download it to your iPad to work with your treadmill.  The iPad hooks to the treadmill through Bluetooth.

The Set up:

While trying to get it to work we started with our original iPad.  After many tries the company informed us that the treadmill wouldn’t work at that time with an older iPad.  Newer iPads were expensive, so we decided to try an Android tablet.  We ran to Best Buy and got a cheap tablet, only to find that the Android tablet got an error too.  Knowing the iPad better, we invested in a new iPad – we had already spent too much on the treadmill, so figured may as well go for the iPad too… and I’d use it for other things.  Shortly after, we found that the iPad was getting the same error.  The company then informed us that despite the box saying iOs ready, it wasn’t… and since the Android didn’t work either, they would have to investigate.

Investigate:

The investigate went on for a few months.  Every week I would receive the story that the system would work next week.  Needless to say it didn’t.

Finally working:

When it did finally work, it was just happenstance that I tested it and it worked.  I already had the routes downloaded and the iPad had already been connecting.  The system had been giving a firmware update all along.  It finally resolved itself and the app moved on. Inside the app,  I can choose where I would like to walk.  The app then adjusts the speed and elevation of the treadmill to match the training program.  You can manually change the adjustment, but as it goes through it’s paces it will change as you move along.

The system does have different views that let you see the map that shows the route, or you can see the view.  Only some areas are available, and we found that you have to have a really good internet connection to view the location.  For us it only worked a couple times.  – I have to say I was not impressed and can’t recommend it.

 

The treadmill adjusting itself with the app was cool!  – but the lack of support, difficulty in getting the system working, and much higher cost definitely made it not worth the cost.  BitGym definitely won out!

May 04

Bitgym – Fitness Programs / App

I’ve tried treadmills, elliptical, bikes, stair steppers and weights. So far none really hold my interest…. but with the treadmill, I’ve been exploring the cool apps that allow me to explore the world and walk around at places I’d love to see!

I first tried iFit, but it wouldn’t work.  I was super disappointed because I had bought a treadmill specially designed to interface with iFit.  Tech Support for iFit was unable, and unwilling to help – so I moved on to BigGym.

BitGym is an iPad app that allows you to walk around while viewing the location you are visiting.  It doesn’t like to the treadmill, but it does use the camera in your iPad to track your movements.  It can tell when you are moving and uses the motion to extrapolate how fast you are going to count your steps and keep up on the screen.   Pretty Cool!

Being uncoordinated though, what I found was that it was fairly easy for me to misstep and nearly fall off the treadmill.  For someone that has some coordination though, it’s a pretty cool app and way to exercise.

It does have an option for a free trial and will let you go a short distance in the trial, so it’s definitely worth giving it a try!  – It even has little pop ups with information about the area you are exploring that  come up while you walk.

Apr 27

Top Spring Must Haves

My spring must have list probably varies from the standard list, but here goes:

 

    1. A firepit…. I’ve wanted one of these forever!  During the spring it can get chilly at night. Though I think we’ve already passed that time.  I would love to have a firepit though to be able to light up a fire on the back porch and sit out around it.  It’s not on my husband’s list though, and would interfere with the telescope he uses, so I suspect my firepit is going to have to wait until we retire to Illinois.  It is on my list of must haves for the future though.
    2. Grill and Propane…  We actually have the grill, but having propane for it is critical.  I also recently found that you can get a gauge for the propane tank!  It makes life so much easier!  My husband loves hamburgers and I love brats, so cooking out on the grill is excellent!
    3. Yard Games…. Things to play outside with the kids. Whether it’s in your yard or at the park. (This can include bikes and scooters too!)
    4. Bug Screens…  As the weather starts to warm up the bugs start to come out.  I love the little bug screens to put over my food.  I won’t eat outside without them.
    5. Plastic plates and Silverware…  I really believe in recycling.  Plastic plates and silverware that is re-washable is the way to go!

     

    Time to get outside while it’s nice out!

Apr 24

Traveling – Alabama Trip – Vulcan’s Statue

Vulcan Brochure

Vulcan the Statue

On a trip to a conference we decided to take a small side trip to see the Vulcan statue. For us it was just a trip off the road to check it out from a distance, but it was fun to see anyway.  We were able to look up information about the statue before visiting!

 

While commuting to work, my favorite thing to do was books on tape, and one of my favorite book series took place in Birmingham Alabama.  The statue is mentioned many times, especially the fact that the Vulcan statue is only wearing an apron!   I had to see it myself after hearing the books on tape mentioning it so many times. The book series is the Southern Sisters Series by Anne George. I had to see the statue after listening to so many of the books on tape!

The statue itself was created for a world’s fair and transported back after.  The statue represents the history in the area and was created by an artist.    We could kind of seeing the statue from the interstate, but not enough to give a good idea of what the statue looked like.  Our drive was going to take a while and we had a friend with, so taking a long detour or staying an extra night wouldn’t work – so our best choice was taking a short detour.

We also were able to see a small copy of the statue at one of the children’s museums on our way down… kind of a Rube Goldberg device set up in a cage for the kids to see balls run through a system and make a hammer go down on the anvil of the statue.

The History

The statue was created for the (Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 World’s Fair) in St Louis Missouri.  It’s the world’s largest iron=ore statue and one of the tallest also!  After going to the World’s Fair the statue was shipped back to Birmingham but due to unpaid freight, it was left unassembled by the tracks.  Over time it was put back together at the Alabama State Fairgrounds, but it was assembled incorrectly and it was missing it’s spear (lost forever to time).

Over time Vulcan became an advertising figure.  Vulcan held everything from ice cream, Coca-Cola, to Heinz pickles!  Finally it was moved to Red Mountain to become part of a park!  In 1946 the Junior Chamber of Commerce decided to make the statue into a symbol of road safety.  His spear was replaced by a neon torch that glowed green normally, but changed to red during the 24 hours following a fatal traffic accident.

 

 

 

 

 

Vulcan pamphlet back

Apr 09

AT&T


We’ve had AT&T for a while. We were under the grandfathered plan forever!  Recently I decided to check into swapping around plans to see about getting a better deal.  – We actually had two phones with unlimited and three that were on a shared data plan.  The shared data plan had begun as 200 MB.  As time went on and phones were using more data, my son got older, and my husband figured out how to use his phone… 200 MB just wasn’t cutting it.  We finally swapped to a 3 GB plan for them.  That’s 3 GB shared!  They were doing fine with that, until Pokemon Go came out.  We were doing some fancy footwork to make that work.  Watching data usage climb, but we were still making it work.

The two of us on unlimited were pushing the limits of what were able to use, but with unlimited we weren’t worried.  Notices were showing up each month about our speed being reduced, but we were functioning.  The last straw on the plans though was when my husband decided to go to a physics string conference in Nashville.  He was using 1 GB a day on his SHARED 3 GB plan and was still at the beginning of the month.

Somehow the conference software broke his phone and we were now seeing his phone eat data daily, no matter what was on it.  The phone was using data even when on wifi.

The FIX

Calling AT&T I was finally able to get the three phones swapped to an unlimited plan tied to DirectTV, leaving our other two phones on the old grandfathered plan until we knew how this was going to work….  – It did seem to be going ok, and I wanted to reduce the rest of our cost…

Reducing more:

I then decided to reduce the other two by first just reducing the amount of minutes.  No one mentioned that the family unlimited text portion and mobile to mobile.  So our account was completely messed up at this point!  I spent two days on the phone trying to fix our account.  I asked that everything get put back the way it had been!

Final Solution

Finally I had to roll the last two accounts in with the unlimited accounts that were tied to the Direct TV service.  Shortly after AT&T came up with new unlimited plans.  We are tyed into the Direct TV deal though.

 

 

 

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