Editorializing: Headphones > Phones

“Courage.”

When asked why Apple was removing the headphone jack, Senior Vice President Phil Schiller answered with that one word.

Really.

Why not say, so we can make way for a larger battery, hard drive, or better antennae? These would have been better answers, but ones that would have made Apple actually improve their product. So instead of doing that, they answered with that one word.

As a nerd, and a computer science teacher, I understand that sometimes that technology needs to move forward because it can.  However, this causes a problem for me.

Yes, I do charge my phone and listen to headphones at the same time. Practically, ever night I do this.  But that doesn’t bother me.  I do listen to music in my car but with aux jack.  My car’s USB jack was poorly placed in that it’s in the arm rest between the front seats so when we close the arm rest it cuts the wire slowly with every close. Therefore, I use the aux jack. But that’s not a problem either because I can work around this problems and have a massive iTunes collection.

So what is my problem getting rid of the headphone jack?

I love my headphones more than I love my phone.

I own a pair of Sony MDR7506s.  I’m on my second pair.  I stupidly put my first pair in carry on luggage instead of just putting in the tray. TSA threw my bag, and I heard them crack. I couldn’t live without them so I bought a second pair.  I don’t just use them with my phone.  I often use them to listen to our record collection and too record our Nola Nerd Couple podcasts. EarPods can’t compete.

My iPhone 6 has had a crack on the screen for more than a year.  I don’t really care.

Again, I know they will have an adapter.  So I have to have a second piece of equipment with me to listen to music with my MDR7506s. I could be an Olympian at losing things especially smaller electronics.  As far as the ear buds go, I’ve never had a pair of Apple wired ear buds successfully stay in my ears when I’m moving, so I’m looking forward to losing these within the first week of getting the iPhone 7. This also means that the ear buds that stay in my ears when I’m on the treadmill or riding on a bike path (I never use headphones when I ride on roads) means I have to have the adapter with me. So, I pretty much will have to have the adapter in at all times except for when I’m charging. And, let’s be honest.  The 7 better have longer battery life.

adapter

5 days is what I’m giving myself before I lose the adapter. 

 

I know I sound like a old man who doesn’t like change.  I promise you, it’s not just that.  I really just love my headphones more than I love my phone. I won’t steer away from Apple because the rest of my house is Apple, but I’m not ready to give up the headphone jack just yet.

Maybe I will just get the 6s. Unless Sony wants to make the MDR7506 with a lightning connector.

Cooking: My Five Favorite Food Apps

Recently, Cristina and I jumped back on the fitness band wagon. We did well until the half-marathon and slowly succumbed back to our old ways. It’s not the food we write about on here that got us out of shape; it’s the food we don’t write about that hurt us. This weekend we did a pantry cleanse and said goodbye to (most) processed foods. Some we just have to exercise moderation.

Yet, we need help. Technology to the rescue. So these are my top five food apps.

  1. My Fitness Pal: My Fitness Pal is at its heart a food diary. You keep track of your food, and it breaks it down by calories, sodium, protein, fat, etc. This is the rare app that actually does the job better than its corresponding website, at least with the food diary. However, My Fitness Pal should be named My Fitness Pals. What separates it from the other food diaries out there is that it has a social networking component. You can provide encouragement to your friends. This is what truly makes it a great app.
  2. Fooducate: Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t know if a food is healthy. Words like natural and multigrain are not regulated so any food company can label their foods with those words. Fooducate does the work for you. Scan the code and you are given a grade on your food. That healthy Kashi we bought a couple of weeks back was given a grade of C+. Not horrible but too much sugar. The fact that app also gives you suggestions for healthier alternatives pushes the app to a must have if you are interested in what is in the food you are eating.
  3. How to Cook Everything: See this blog for more details. For my meat shunning friends, he does have a How to Cook Everything Vegetarian as well.
  4. Seafood Watch: Food safety is important. So is sustainability. I know too many good local fishermen who don’t need to suffer because we want to import in cheap and possibly dangerous seafood. This app lets you know if the fish you are choosing is safe to eat according to its place of origin.
  5. Open Table: This app has nothing to do with dieting. This makes going out to eat easy. Calling on your smartphone to make a reservation? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Actually, you probably do, but why when this app makes it easy. Just like on the phone, you can give all your information the restaurant needs about your party. Unlike on the phone, this app shows you what times are available. Best part of this app: you can change your reservations on the fly.

Running: Gear

Cristina and Kurt at the Wild World of Sports at Disney World

Cristina and Kurt at the Wild World of Sports at Disney World

The old saying about running is that the only equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes. When we started running, we were using our everyday tennis shoes. After about two weeks of running, when we both realized that we were committed to this, we headed out to Varsity Sports on Magazine Street.

If I were still teaching marketing, I would ask Varsity Sports if I could bring my class to see what great customer service is. We were greeted right when we entered the building. They asked why were there and set out to find shoes for us. They looked at our old shoes as if they were reading tea leaves. They made us walk to analyze our gaits. They asked about our budget. They then brought out every pair of shoes that fit our needs. Like in Ollivander’s Wand Shop, we weren’t picking the shoe; the shoes were picking us.

However, shoes aren’t the only thing you need. Well, it’s not the only thing I need. I won’t go into details of why I need it, but no run happens without applying Body Glide first.

While, that might be all that runners need, there is quite a few things runners want. Cristina and I both are iPhone users so we both bought a couple of apps to help us with running. C25K and Runkeeper have both helped us out tremendously. The C25K app is great for beginners especially since it tells you when to run and when to walk. Recently, we downloaded the Run Training app because it had training programs for 10k, Half-Marathons, and Marathons. We also bought arm straps for our iPhones, but today’s announcement might soon make that obsolete (actually, it won’t).

ESPN Wide World of Sports -- runDisney Headquarters

ESPN Wide World of Sports -- runDisney Headquarters

Runners Expo at Disney

Runners Expo at Disney

The day before the Disney Halloween 5k and the Food and Wine Half Marathon, Disney held a runners expo. Of course the one thing I am looking for couldn’t be found: clip on sunglasses. Cristina did find some hydration belts that she liked so when we start doing the longer distance runs, we won’t have to carry our bottles. We also bought some Disney 2012 Half Marathon In-Training shirts to help motivate us to run it next year.

The next morning, we laced up our shoes, applied Body Glide, and attached our belts for our 5K in Animal Kingdom the next morning.

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Traveling: How We Got Our Money’s Worth Part II

The other day, when I wrote about Europe, I wrote about how valuable Rick Steves was to making our trip a success. There are few more resources that I feel are just as valuable.

The first one is Tripadvisor.com. I used it extensively to find out not about the tourist attractions (I used Rick Steves for that) but for hotel reviews. We had decided to stick with no frills because every-room-looks-the-same chain hotels specifically Hotel Ibis have all we need: a bed and a shower. We understand we were giving up charm and personal service, but it was worth it for having a private bath in our room each night at a generally low-cost. Well, why look up reviews if you are staying in cookie cutter hotels? Because location is everything. I tried to find out if people had issues with safety in the area, how close it was to public transit, and what it was near any places we wanted to visit.

Sulmona

"Walking" through Sulmona with Google Maps

However, reviews can only take you so far. Google Maps are, simply, amazing. When researching, I would often “walk” around the neighborhood that we were staying in. This really put Cristina at ease because I for the most part knew where I was. We only got lost once, in Paris, and that wasn’t too bad…ok it was horrible because of the luggage, but we did get to see a lot of neighborhood butcher and bakery shops we normally wouldn’t have been able to see.

Finally, the MetrO app for the iPhone made public transportation in Europe very easy. All we had to do was type in the tourist attraction we were next to plus which one we wanted to go to and it would tell us how to get there. Best part is that it works offline so that we didn’t have to use the very expensive 3G networks in Europe.