Have you missed the weekly Crave podcast? We sure have. We are, therefore, very happy to tell you it's making a comeback with CNET producer Stephen Beacham! Catch the madness and mayhem below.Episode 101:
It's easy to pamper your pet with some table scraps, a few extra treats, and a little too much dog food. Before long, your fit Fido has become a hefty hound. Fujitsu is looking to help dog owners fight the fat with a pedometer and cloud service system.
The Wandant pedometer is based on motion-tracking technology from Fujitsu Laboratories. It measures and records the steps your pooch takes, picks up shivering motions, and monitors temperature changes.
All that data gets uploaded to an accompanying cloud service so you can view graphs and reports on your dog's activities.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--There are pedometers all over this year's CES (a few of them being tested simultaneously on my own hip), and while there's nothing particularly special about the $25 GeoPalz pedometer for kids in terms of the pedometer itself, its reward system has a few tricks up its, er, shoe clip.
The family-owned business, out of Boulder, Colo., has been working on the motivate-kids-to-move gag since 2008, and features a step counter that converts into online points for prizes such as books, CDs, and sports equipment.
This week, GeoPalz is taking the motivation game a step further by … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Some things are just plain hard work. Like walking the show floor at CES. Which is why Striiv, a 2-inch touch-screen device that counts every step or stair its user takes, is notable among the slew of fancy pedometers at CES this year.
Because all it's done since I clipped it to my pants this morning is tell me how awesome I am, with every step I take, and there are few things quite so motivating.
It would be easy to dismiss something so feel-good as nothing but a device that applauds the status quo, but the folks … Read more
OK, I'm ready for the backlash. I'm wearing an iPod Nano on my wrist as a watch. I already own an iPhone. And an iPad. What's wrong with me?
Would you believe me if I said that I'd have done the same thing if there was any watch that could do what this one does? Would you believe me if I said I didn't do this for the iPod?
Let me explain.
I've always been a fan of digital watches and funky watch design, especially tech watches (I even defended them on TV). I'm a watch geek. I wore a retro Casio watch. I just got a cool Diesel one. A long time ago, I tried the Fossil Palm-powered watch, the Fossil Wrist PDA. I still have it in my desk drawer. Microsoft Spot watch? Check.
The iPod Nano-as-watch is a proud successor of that line, a gadget that I believe will stand the test of time for its novelty. Apple may not make a true iWatch, and the iPod's long-term destiny may not inevitably be on my wrist, but for now it's the most innovative use of iPod technology since, well, the first iPod. … Read more
MP3 players serve many purposes in our lives. They drown out the crazies on public transportation, keep our road rage in check during rush hour, ensure that we're entertained on long flights, and help us stay motivated at the gym. In fact, one of the top reasons why people buy portable audio devices is to have them as fitness companions. And you may not know it just by looking at them, but the iPhone and iPod Touch are excellent tools for watching your weight and keeping in shape--you just need the proper enhancements.
First and foremost, if you're … Read more
Apps and touch screens are all the rage nowadays, but let us not forget the elegant simplicity--and revved-up feature set--of the iPod Nano. It's a pretty spectacular gizmo for folks who prize AV over apps.
Right now, the Apple refurb store has the 8GB iPod Nano for $99 shipped. This is the current model, the fifth-generation Nano, and it's available in your choice of colors: blue, silver, orange, purple, green, black, yellow, and pink.
For as long as I can remember, the most iPod you could get for $99 was the 4GB previous-gen model. So this is arguably … Read more
I am no stranger to pedometers. Last year I used a very high-tech one with an OLED display and over-the-air data syncing. Newly available iPad app Huge Pedometer is brimming with even more hardware potential, though it's wrapped around what is certainly the most ridiculous premise: using a tablet as a tool to track your steps.
Like any other pedometer app on the App Store, the 99-cent Huge Pedometer uses the accelerometer to determine how many steps you've taken. This is something that typically requires you to situate the pedometer hardware on your person--be it on your belt, … Read more
For the past week I've been inseparable from a small bit of black plastic hooked onto my left pocket. It's not a cell phone, or a security card for work. Instead, it's the Fitbit, a high-tech pedometer with a neat trick--it tracks your daily and nightly activities, then sends that information to the cloud wirelessly.
The $99 device was first unveiled at last year's TechCrunch50 show in San Francisco, but the company only began shipping out its first pre-orders last week. I've spent the past seven days using it to track my daily activity levels, as well as my sleeping and eating habits.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn't moved me to make a dramatic shift in the way I live my life, but it has given me a benchmark of how active or inactive I am on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In other words, you can be a non-gym rat and still get a multitude of uses out of this, but it will always be more beneficial for highly active people.The hardware
The Fitbit itself is a clip, and almost symmetrical except for a button on one of the sides. This is the only button on the entire device that controls what you see on its small, but very readable OLED display. Each time you click it, it cycles through how many steps you've taken, how far you've gone in miles, how many calories you've burned, as well as your current activity level which is displayed as a flower; the taller it is, the more active you've been.
Compared with some other pedometers from companies like Omron, Sportline, and Apex Fitness, many of which feature onboard clocks, stopwatches, and "trip" meters, this may seem a bit anemic. But there's more than meets the eye. The device tracks things like duration of activity, and what time of day you're doing it--two things that can be seen back on Fitbit's site once it syncs up.
The Fitbit can be stashed in your pocket, on your belt, or anything else you can clip it on. (Fitbit's product manual mentions something about bras--I didn't get to try that out.) It then uses a three-dimensional motion sensor--like what's inside of Nintendo's Wii remote--to track your movements.
Besides tracking steps, caloric burn, and distance, the Fitbit can be used to monitor sleep duration and habits. This requires users sliding the Fitbit into the included cloth wrist wrap, then holding the Fibit's one button for a few seconds before going to bed, and then again when they wake up.
I found this an easy habit to pick up and build into my normal routine, though worth noting is that the included strap's velcro is basically glued on, and can be accidentally removed quite easily. I also had one night of sleep where the device came out of the strap, forcing me to fish it out of the bed the next morning.
Once you've held the button for a few seconds to start the sleep cycle, the device then waits for you to stop moving to begin its count. It also keeps track of any movements during the night, like if you sleepwalk, start waving your arms around, or get up to go to the bathroom. This information is tracked on Fitbit's site, including how "efficient" your sleep was, which is a percentage of how much time you spent sleeping versus how long it took you to go to bed and how many times you became "active."Software and Webware
While the Fitbit can be used as a pedometer in the traditional sense, installing software on your computer lets you sync it up with Fitbit's site. To do this you have to make use of a special base station which comes with the Fitbit, and is the only way to both charge it, and check its battery level (which is rated at 10 days between charges).… Read more
MP3 players fulfill many roles for the people who use them. For some, a portable audio device is true to form as an essential commuter companion; others turn their players into home audio systems by attaching them to speakers. But one of the most popular uses for an MP3 player is as a workout motivator, which is why companies have packed fitness-friendly extras into the devices over the years. The most recent example is found in the Haier America Trainer, a 2GB player with a surfeit of features aimed at getting you in shape. At $60, the Trainer is a … Read more