Running Gear Review – Nike Plus Vs Garmin Forerunner 205-305 GPS

As a gadget and tech junkie, it was to my good fortune that my initiation into the world of distance running roughly coincided with the appearance on the market of several new high-tech running gadgets: the Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305, and the Nike+ system. I have used both the Garmin Forerunner 205 and Nike+ for greater than 6 months each, and what follows is a review and comparison of my experiences with them.

The Nike+ System

Back in 2007, I was just beginning my life as a runner, and I was looking for tools to help me progress. The Garmin Forerunner and Nike+ systems both had instant appeal to my techie side, however I was initially hesitant to invest the several hundred dollars (at the time) needed to buy a Forerunner. I was also swept up in the excitement surrounding the introduction of the Nike+ system, and my first pair of “real” running shoes were Nike+ ready. Since I owned an Ipod Nano, and had shoes that could accommodate the little Nike+ foot pod accelerometer internally, I decided to give Nike + a try. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll say at the outset that I no longer use the Nike+. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone since it does have its benefits and uses. The Nike+ certainly helped my running in those early days, and the motivation provided by the on-line Nike+ challenges was great. I liked being able to gauge my pace, track distance, and record my runs on-line. But for a perfectionist like myself, the Nike+ has some major drawbacks.

The most serious problem I had with the Nike+ was that it was only really accurate if I ran at the same steady pace on every run, and stuck to more-or-less flat ground. Any deviation from the pace you calibrate it at messes up both the pacing data as well as the distance recording for your run, and at times I found these measurements to be quite far off. Now, for many runners this is not a big deal, but if you like to mix up your training and include things like intervals, tempo runs, and long, slow runs, the Nike+ comes up way short. Furthermore, for me as a road racer, tenths of a mile and accurate pacing data matter a lot, so these shortcomings presented some major problems. That being said, I’m glad that I used it, and it did help a lot when I first started out. Even after I upgraded to the Garmin Forerunner 205, I did still continue to use Nike+ for treadmill runs (this probably goes without saying, but GPS doesn’t work on a treadmill). The Nike+ recordings on a treadmill are accurate enough, and in my case are more accurate than the readout of my treadmill’s own data console (it has never worked quite right for some reason).

I do believe that the Nike+ can be a valuable tool for a new or recreational runner. It’s cheap (less than $30.00), so it won’t dent your wallet too much if you decide you don’t like it, and the website and on-line community associated with Nike+ are both motivational and interesting. If you’re a new runner just starting out, or an experienced runner who tends to run most of your runs at the same pace, then the Nike+ would be a great addition to your running toolbox, and would surely provide some motivation for you to hit the road. However, as mentioned above, it has some major drawbacks for a serious runner who cares about missing tenths of a mile or needs really accurate pacing information.

Garmin Forerunner 205/305 GPS Wristwatch

If you want a personal running computer that will allow you to take your running to the next level and permit you to mix up your training runs with speed and long distance, you’re going to need something more than Nike+. I, unfortunately, am a perfectionist, and the inaccuracy of the pacing and distance data provided by Nike+ continually bugged me (and I was growing tired of mapping my runs on-line to figure out actual distances that I had covered). So, after about six months of consistent use, I decided to relegate the Nike+ to the treadmill only, and I asked Santa for a Garmin Forerunner 205 for Christmas. Sure enough, the fancy new GPS wristwatch was in my stocking, and it has not been absent from my wrist during a run in over a year. Simply stated, this is one of the coolest and most useful gadgets of any kind that I own, and it has allowed my running to progress in ways that probably would not have otherwise occurred.

First, let me explain the difference between the two current-generation Garmin Forerunner models (a fancy new waterproof model is on the way – the Garmin Forerunner 310 XT – but I’ll explain in a bit why I’d still go for one of the current ones for now if you’re considering a purchase). The two current models are the Forerunner 205 and the Forerunner 305. The only real differences between the two watches (besides color – the 205 is blue, and the 305 is red) are that the 305 can sync with an included heart rate monitor, an optional foot pod accelerometer (for the treadmill), and an optional speed-and-cadence sensor for your bike. Otherwise, from what I can gather, they are virtually identical. Given the minor price difference between the two Forerunners (about $10.00-$15.00 more for the 305), it would seem to make sense to go with the 305 if you’ve decided to buy a Forerunner.

So, I have now been using the Forerunner 205 regularly for over a year, and I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about it. The pacing data is right on (I have run enough chip-timed races with the 205 to verify this), as is the distance data. In addition to time, current pace, and distance, I have three data screens (which is the max on the 205/305) set up to show such variables as average pace, elevation, percent grade, calories burned, and time of day. Of all of these, the only one that seems somewhat iffy from time to time is the elevation, though if you smooth it out in one of the training programs that sync with the Forerunner, elevation patterns look pretty good as well. So far, I have pretty much exclusively used the Forerunner in its most basic mode – to simply track my data while I run. It is possible to configure things like training/pacing partners and interval workouts on the watch, and to use it as a (very) basic real-time GPS mapping device for things like hiking, but I haven’t used it much for this. In addition to running, I have used it while walking, snowshoeing, and biking (less extensively), and it works great for all of the above.

For me, the two features that matter most from a training and racing standpoint are accurate pacing and distance measurements, and as I said above this is where the Forerunner blows away the Nike+. I actually trust the Forerunner more than most of the on-line mapping programs when it comes to calculating distance, and being able to import all of my data into the computer is great. For the latter, I have skipped the included Garmin Training Center software and instead use an amazing, free program called Sportracks. Sportracks downloads all of the data from the Forerunner and lets you look at it in almost any way that you could possibly want. Among other things, Sportracks gives you GPS route maps, tons of data graphing options (e.g., pace vs. distance, pace vs. elevation, mile splits, etc.), and keeps a detailed running log that includes run times/dates, weather conditions pulled from the internet, distances run, and calories burned. As a scientist who loves data, Garmin Forerunner + Sportracks makes me one very happy runner.

A few last comments about some potential concerns with the Forerunner bear mentioning. One of the concerns I initially had about these watches was their size. Yes, they are big, but I have never noticed it as a nuisance while running, and I actually think the size is a positive rather than a negative since it makes it easier to read your data on the go. This is one of the major reasons why I would probably not consider upgrading to the newer and smaller Forerunner 405 – if you pack too many data streams on a small screen then things could get awful hard to read at mile 20 of a marathon. The other concern someone in the market for a GPS watch might have is the forthcoming new Garmin Forerunner 310 XT, which is waterproof to 50m and offers wireless data transfer. It would take a lot of new bells and whistles for me to spend an extra $100-$200 to choose to purchase the new 310 XT over the current 205 or 305. The new watch looks sportier, and the wireless sync feature is nice, but I don’t really care if I can dive to 50m with it on. If for some reason I’m out for a run and I wind up 50m underwater, I probably won’t be resurfacing to make it back home anyway (though in all seriousness, I can see how the 310 XT might be useful to a triathlete). For me, I’ll stick with the 205/305.

Hopefully I’ve given you a feel for what the Garmin Forerunner 205/305 can do. Really, there’s probably a lot more that it is capable of than what I have discussed here, but the best way to experience it is to try it out. As a runner who has now completed 1,266.01 miles (did I mention that I love accuracy!) with the Garmin Forerunner 205 (and it’s still going strong, with no major problems), I can honestly say that next to my running shoes, this is the most essential piece of running gear that I own. I highly recommend the Forerunner – get one and you won’t be disappointed.

The History of Anime – Where Did Anime Start?

Are you interested in Japanese filmmaking, have you ever wondered, while watching their anime, drama or manga, where it all started? Anime first started off in Japan in the 20th century briefly after the boarders were opened in the late 19th. This made the animation techniques that developed in the West easy to transport to Japan by 1914. “The very first three animated films created in Japan fit on one reel and were between one to five minutes long.”(Patten) The content of these works were primarily of old folk tales and samurai legends. Japanese animators were greatly influenced by American animators so the black and white style was a must but the rounded heads and animal adaptations of people was Japan’s first signature to making a style all to their own.

Many animators were urged to produce animations which enforced the Japanese spirit and national affiliation as a result of cultural nationalism, that japanese government began to enforce. Anime started to gain more appeal. The one to five minute shorts about common folk tales gave way to a more Western like style. The change in style meant that Anime was now going in a comedic fashion used to lighten people’s moods on intense topics like war.

In 1970 Anime introduced its most popular style of work yet: Mecha. Mecha, which is short for mechanical, involved large robots that were used in times of war. Also a theme variation started to show itself through Anime. Writers began to twist the good guy/bad guy roles and relationships. The idea of a troubled hero presented itself in shows like Lupin Sansei where a human infected with a demon had to use the evil inside him to defeat other demons.

If you are interested in watching anime, its just one click away.

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Importance of Family in Our Life

Family is very important part of our everyday life. It helps us in improving our personality. It also helps us in shaping our life. It teaches us the value of love, affection, care, truthfulness and self-confidence and provides us tools and suggestions which are necessary to get success in life.

Family is a place where you can be yourself. It is a place where you are accepted for what you are. This is where you are completely tension free and everyone is there to help you. Family encourages you when you are surrounded by problems. It helps you survive through tough times and bring joy and happiness into life.

Decency is very important in the communication of daily life. It helps us make strong relationship with others and make us come across as a very gentle, intelligent and likable person. Everyone loves to be in a company of such person. Family helps bring decency into our life which is necessary to lead a happy life.

One of the most important aims of our life is to build a successful and highly rewarding career. Our families help us in creating a strong future. It gives us valuable suggestion about different career prospective. It not only guides us in choosing the best but also financially helps us to cover the expenses of education. Thus it helps us in making a good future.

The importance of family is probably realized when one went to holiday or celebrate an occasion without family members. It was very hard to celebrate an occasion or went to holiday without being surrounded by family members. At that time probably we realize that how important they are to us. At that time, we came to know about the importance of our families.

Today, most people don’t realize the importance of family. They prefer to spend most of their time with their friends. But when they are surrounded by problems, it was their family that helped them get rid of problems. At the time, when even our best friends refuse to help us, it was our family that came to help us. So it is very important for each and every individual to give importance to their families above anything else and enjoy spending time with family members.

Medical Equipment – Development and History of Medical Equipment

At the doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic, patients rarely consider the medical equipment around them. Medical equipment is an integral part of diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. Even the simplest physical exam can often require a variety of high-tech medical equipment.

In 15th century Europe, during and after the horrors of the bubonic plague, autopsies began to be performed at universities, and a primitive form of ‘scientific method’ began to take hold in the minds of the educated. Practical surgery and anatomy studies began. These curious medieval Europeans laid the foundation for modern science. They also laid the foundation for the well known process of identifying a problem, creating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis by most importantly observing and experimenting; interpreting the data and drawing a conclusion.

Medical equipment prior to and even during the scientific revolution was based on classical Greek and Roman theories about science, which were not based on science at all, but on philosophy and superstition. Human health was viewed as a balance of 4 internal ‘humors’ in the body. The 4 humors– blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, were analogous to the 4 elements of the universe to the classical thinker, fire, air, water, and earth. Ailments, both physical and mental, were caused by an imbalance of humors. The ideal mind and body balanced all 4 humors, gracefully. To heal, doctors prescribed foods or procedures which would balance the fluids in the body. Some of the prescriptions seem to make sense– fevers were treated with cold, dry temperature to combat the hot, wet over stimulation in the body. But when that failed, often the next step was blood letting. Unnecessary purging and enemas were also common cures, which might have helped some people, but also might have caused more problems than they solved. George Washington’s death has recently been attributed, not to the strep throat he probably had as he died, but to the bloodletting and mercury enema given to him to cure it.Not-quite-scientific medical cures are still available and used by many, even today.

Since the 15th century, Western science has focused on examining and observing the body, and has created tools to make this easier. X-ray imaging and today MRI devices are merely extensions of the first autopsies and anatomical studies, which strove to understand how the human body actually operates. Diagnostic instruments like ophthalmoscopes, blood pressure monitors, and stethoscopes are likewise extensions of the medieval examination. Exam tables, gloves, and other medical accessories are simply the newest versions of tools that have been used for centuries. Medical technology and medical knowledge feed off of each other. Take for instance hypertension. Although devices for measuring blood pressure have existed for over 100 years, only in the last 20 years have the connections of blood pressure to disease, genetics, and lifestyle been fully explored. As the importance of measuring blood pressure increased, new technologies were explored to keep accurate measurements and records. It wasn’t until the prevalence of automatic blood pressure monitors that a correlation could be made between readings taken by a human and readings taken in a controlled, isolated environment. The medical equipment and the medical knowledge then form a constantly twisting Gordian Knot, one side tightening, as the other loosens, back and forth.

What does the future hold for this push and pull of technology and scientific inquiry? Recent developments in nanotechnology and genetics, along with more and more powerful supercomputers might create a situation where what it means to be human actually changes, due to technology. For example, scientists have actually created simple life forms out of previously non-living DNA material. While it doesn’t seem that dramatic at first glance, it’s an important development. Medical equipment acts as an extension for investigation of the how’s and why’s of the human body, and as science catches up and surpasses the investigations, completely new kinds of medical diagnosis, monitoring and therapy may result. Imagine the ability to grow new organs inside the body. Limb re-growth is possible in other organisms, why not in humans? And if it is possible, would the developments be truly ‘human?’ The future is unknowable; the only aspect about it we can understand is that it will look nothing like we could have previously imagined. In retrospect, we’ll see the signs, like we always do, but this is hindsight, not foresight. Presently, technology marches forward and it continues, as a process, to change human life.