Piques of the Week – Volume 9

Reduce Tumbler 2-pack

I’ve wanted a stainless steel tumbler for a long time. I’ve owned several vacuum-insulated tumblers in the past, but they are all plastic and break over time (especially if accidentally dropped). I looked for alternatives, and found several brands: Yeti, Rtic, and many more that are all about the same. All of them were anywhere from $15-40 for a single tumbler.

On a recent trip to Costco, however, I found a 2-pack of the Reduce Cold-1 30oz tumblers for $20. I thought I would give them a shot. And I’m a big believer in them now. The day I brought them home (at about 2pm) I washed them, and put ice in my tumbler. I refilled the water several times for the remainder of the day. I placed the cup next to my bedside and fell asleep. When I woke in the morning, I grabbed my tumbler and to my surprise – there was still ice in there!

I highly recommend these if you get the chance to pick them up. I included the Amazon link, but if you live near a Costco, you can save some cash by picking them up there.

Rinfit Silicone Wedding Bands

My wife and I have never had our rings re-dipped since we’ve been married, and I thought this year would be a good year to do it. Additionally, there have been times at work that I have been messing with electrical equipment, and my wife’s rings don’t quite fit her.

So I started looking for alternatives to wear while we get our wedding bands all fixed up. I stumbled upon the Rinfit line of silicone wedding bands. I was able to pick up a simple men’s band in black, and picked up a multi-color pack of women’s bands for my wife. We are both really please with how well they fit and how they can adapt as our hands expand/contract with heat and cold. As an added benefit, I won’t get electrical shocks from this at work. Maybe I won’t miss that metallic taste in my mouth after all…

Piques of the Week – Volume 8

This week is all about my Apple Watch.

Activity Tracking / Sharing

The gamification of this is really good. I had a Fitbit before, and it was all about step count. But now that I have a Watch, it's much more about being up and active. With watchOS 3, Activity Sharing was added: this allows users of the Apple Watch to view not only their fitness data, but their trusted friends as well. Within my ring circle of friends, it's been nice to motivate each other into doing a little more, even when we aren't talking. I can see that Sam just rode his bike, I can tell that Jeff has hit the treadmill – and I can feel like I'm not doing enough and get after it.

We also get to send responses when someone hits an achievement, which we have made more fun by using the standard responses of the watch. I can be encouraging, or I can be sarcastic. I'm not seeing the results I want to see in my health just as yet, but I know I will be soon. And I'm happy that my friends will also get to encourage me along the way and share in the fun.

Watch Bands

One surprising bit for me has been the customization. I'm really enjoying the swapping of bands, the changing of watch faces,1 and the unique way I can match all of this to the outfit or activity I am doing at the time. And while I'm not going to get all crazy and buy every band out there, having some options has been really great.

Currently, I have a couple of third-party bands that I really like. Aside from the black sport band that came with it, I also have a concrete-colored band that is the same. Well, nearly the same. Apple's material feels better, is likely better made, and will likely last longer over time; however, for $8-10 per band, I can get five of the 3rd-party bands for the price of one Apple band. When the Nike Apple Watch was announced, I liked the look of the new band; the fluoroelastomer bands can retain heat/sweat, and the Nike band seems to be better at reducing the amount. I also got a nylon band that is extremely similar to Apple's version, but for less than a third of the price. I wanted to get something fancy, but thanks to trade with a friend of mine, I now have a Milanese loop that has quickly become my favorite band. I didn't think I'd like it as much as I have, but it's really, really great.

I'm sure I'll get more bands, and I'll likely have to get help for the amount that I ultimately get. But I'm trying to keep it limited, trying to keep it fun and interesting, and have something that's personal to me. I'm digging it.

Note: when ordering bands, especially on Amazon, make sure you are ordering the correct size for your watch. The links above are for the 42mm M/L size bands, where applicable.

Anker Power Charger

I had purchased one of these for my wife a while ago, as she was charging multiple devices by her side of the bed. I had just been using the power bricks that came with my devices. But right after getting the Apple Watch, I needed to change this. It had become cumbersome. So, I ordered the Anker 40W/8A 5-Port USB Charger PowerPort 5 for my own use. And although I didn't get in time for a recent business trip, now that I have it at home, the cord management has never been easier. Couple this with a few Monoprice Cable Ties – power & cord mischief is managed.

  1. I'm hopeful that Apple will allow custom watch faces at some point in the future.

Piques of the Week – Volume 6

This week, I’ve been enjoying two great podcasts.

Science Vs

I really like the Reply All podcast from Gimlet Media. If you haven’t listened to that show, make sure you go listen to it. At the end of episode #71, they had a preview of the second season of a podcast I had never heard of, Science Vs I listened to the preview, which was the first half of the “Fracking” episode, and I was hooked.

Hosted by Wendy Zuckerman, the whole idea of this show is to take a topic, break down the key points, and scientifically back-up or refute the validity of said points. The topics range from fracking to diets to medical marijuana. In the latest episode and first in a two-part series titled “Guns”, she tackles a fiercely debated topic dealing with guns in America. It points out where some of the groups that use statistics get it wrong, and shines some light on how some of these figures get collected. The difference the podcast brings to the debate is that it’s not from a passionate point of view, but rather a scientific one to help understand what is really going on. Is it a problem? Is it a problem with incorrect statements of fact?1 I’m really looking forward to part two.

A nice touch in the beginning of the episode: she gives the telephone numbers for two suicide prevention and crisis hotlines, and even more in the show notes. This is a touch of class that I have not experienced while hearing another podcast, and given the subject matter, was the perfect way to start the show. Bravo, Wendy.

I’m happy that Reply All featured a segment, and I’m going back now to binge-listen to season one. I highly recommend you do the same.

Science Vs on iTunes

Reply All on iTunes

The Black Tapes

I don’t remember how I heard of The Black Tapes, but ever since listening to the first few episodes, I’ve been enjoying this serialized docudrama. The show features Alex Reagan sharing her journey, along with her producer Nick and the focal point of the show, Dr. Richard Strand, through a complex web of a story. The show deals with the “Black Tapes”, a series of tapes that cannot be scientifically explained. It covers elements of the supernatural, demons, the occult, and other topics; some of the are downright terrifying, and often makes me thankful this is an audio-only show.

I should state now that this is not a show for kids, or even listening to it with kids in the car. It can be more intense than other docudrama podcasts, with the background soundtrack adding effects that can make you feel a bit uneasy (but adds to the ambiance of the show). The story starts from the first episode, so if you want to get into the show, you really do need to start with episode one. I’ve really enjoyed this podcast, and if you enjoy Lore, I would definitely give it a shot.

The Black Tapes on iTunes

Lore on iTunes

  1. I’ve often hear this statistic: “90% of all statistics are false.”