You can use the command “open” to show any directory in the OS X Terminal. Super handy, especially with hidden files not displayed by default. For example, I can view all my SSH keypairs by typing “open ~/.ssh”.
Today I invested $2 in the Nike+ GPS app from the App Store, and I can tell already that it’s going to revolutionize my summer running. It’s incredibly well designed - starts with a home screen, upon which you can view your total miles recorded and associated stats (avg. mile time, calories burned, etc.), and can also challenge yourself to run farther, faster, and longer than you have before. While running, it gives you occasional updates on your distance and speed, and it keeps a record of all runs’ times, speeds, etc. In one of the coolest features (in my book), it utilizes the iPhone’s GPS to keep track of the path you’ve taken, and shows your speed (indicated by color) along your path in the run’s history. Pretty incredible.
My first run of the summer, today, was the first I recorded using the app, and I feel like this is the beginning of something big. I’m well aware that I’m very concerned with statistics and metrics as they relate to my personal accomplishments (the Ballsy download count, for example, is currently at 219), and I think this makes this the perfect app for me. Though I also enjoy running just for the way it makes me feel, I’m super excited to see my mile count rise throughout the summer, and challenge my performance from earlier workouts. For two dollars, that’s a lot to look forward to. (When I say $2, I am neglecting the inevitable purchase of an armband to make running with my phone a comfortable procedure… that’s a drawback I guess.)
Nike has obviously designed the app with motivation in mind. I’d be curious to see how many people would run more (as I may), just to improve their stats; Nike+ appears to be a fitness social network as well as just a tracking mechanism, so it’s easy to see friends’ accomplishments and use them for inspiration. I’m not a terribly competitive person in that way, but I like to be proud of what I do, and this makes it possible to showcase my miles for myself and others.
It’s a great idea - obviously a good commercial plan, but really doing something which will make people’s lives better as well. As a software developer in the making, I can’t help but think that I’d love to work on a project like this: a really fun concept with a smooth implementation, the likelihood of making bank for its creators, and a positive effect on the world (enhancing the fitness of the masses, in this case). Good stuff.
As of Friday, my sophomore year at Brown is officially over. Finals period wasn’t too bad this year, as I was only taking three classes, two of which were CS classes without exams. I limited myself to three because I got five course credits last semester (thanks to an extra TA-ing credit) and could thus afford to make a little more time for frisbee. Speaking of, BMo finished up the season a few weeks ago, losing to Midd and Vermont at regionals. But despite our lackluster finish, I personally felt good about my development as a player over the season, and definitely enjoyed balling with my teammates for a couple months.
The big news from the last few days, other than being half way through college (aargh!), is the release of Ballsy, the final project for one of my CS classes. It’s a 2D puzzle platformer in which the player must navigate a beachball through tricky levels using a grappling hook, and it also sports a fully featured level editor. My team of four poured many hours of design and coding into the project, ultimately surpassing 8,000 lines of code (the largest software project I’ve worked on). We wrote it using Java, with Processing for graphics and a port of the Box2D engine for physics. Since putting it up yesterday evening, we’ve gotten over 180 downloads and over 700 recorded runs of the game, which is super exciting. We plan to continue development over the summer and into the future, at least expanding the built in level set. Check it out: http://www.beballsy.com!
I’ve written all of this with the iPhone Tumblr app, and by this point I really wish it had a sideways keyboard option. Beyond that, it’s pretty nice.
- Elsa: I don't want to get married in space. It would be so cold!
- Matt: Dude, that's why you turn on the space heater!