Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gadgets, gadgets everywhere, and nothing that will sync

It’s snowing again. Pretty and all, but I am now on the bus with people awaiting the arrival of more spring-like weather. However, given the white flakes falling down, I made my way over to the gym to get in a 4 mile run and some weights.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have become slightly addicted to my Nike+ sport kit, using it to track my miles and pace. Even on the days I don’t listen to music, I still tote along my Nano and use the Nike+ tools. For someone who is looking for basic tracking contrivances and not a lot of extra stuff, this setup really does work well.

However, I do need to lodge a complaint: the sensors suck.

This wasn’t always the case. My first shoe sensor was fantastic, lasting for just over a year. This seemed about right to me given my general weekly mileage (in the 15-20 mile range last year). The sport kit costs $30, and given all the running-related things one can spend money on (jackets and socks and shirts, oh my!), it was, arguably, a cheap investment. Heck, any large race will cost you 2x-3x as much.

But, as all electronic things go, it eventually died. This was in November 2007. I ran for a while without it, but missed the little guy and started thinking about when I’d get a replacement. Fast forward to December, when I discovered it was now possible to simply buy a shoe sensor, as opposed to a whole new kit. $20 instead of $30.

Bought one. The short version of the story: It never hooked up with my Nano. Picture me banging my foot, or just an empty shoe, around to try to get them to connect… After searching around for help and not finding any, I gave up/gave in and bought the whole kit again. $30.

The new sensor kit worked immediately, but showed up as a new user. Thus, any previous runs I’d logged were not accounted for, and any of the online challenges in which I’m involved didn’t count my miles. Mind you, I’m not really winning any of the challenges – as with my actual racing life, my online racing life is one of a middle of the pack runner – but I still want it to be known that I’m trying.

It took a while (end of December-ish), but finally I got the two users (i.e., me and me) to speak to one another. Yay! Back to the regularly scheduled program.

Now, only two months later, the sensor is toast. Less than 250 miles logged, and it’s done for. Let’s do the math… $20 for non-working sensor, $30 for short-lived sport kit = $50 of unhappy me. And Apple won’t take them back (although I’m not done with that part yet… I’m still pressing to get something for the poor product quality).

I am so frustrated with the situation, and possibly even more frustrated for letting the situation make me frustrated.

So, this morning, as I hit the treadmill, it was just me and some music. No sport kit. And I still ran four miles. And it still counted.

I think I’m reverting back to the GOFRL (good old fashioned running log). Runner’s World happened to send me one last week – I think as a thank you for my subscription oh, two years ago – and tonight I’ll log a few miles into it.


mindy said...

Invest in a Garmin. You won't be disappointed. And for the treadmill miles, just add them to a running log if you want a total count (with the garmin miles).

Mr. Satan A. Chilles said...

I don't own a Garmin, though I understand the appeal. Instead, I am a big fan of the GOFRL. GOFRLs don't have batteries that need changing. They don't have components that may or may not work. And you don't have to boot up a hard drive to download information. Just use a pencil, no pens, please...

You are now free! Enjoy your liberation...