Best Fitness Trackers

Baby Pushups

Lloyd at ~2 years

One of the most annoying things about medical technology is how good it’s getting. It seems every day some new piece of research done with state-of-the-art technology tells us exactly how unhealthy we are. To no surprise, we have now been a putting quite a premium on our health and fitness. Here at SelfwareSource, we’re a big believer in using technology to help better yourself. Should you find a use for a pedometer or accelerometer, the following is our review of the best fitness trackers on the market.

Fuelband: Best Fitness Tracker


Nike+ FuelBand could just be the right gadget to kick you off the couch. This pedometer doesn’t just track calories, steps, and time; it uses motivational tactics to get you moving by measuring Nike Fuel – Nike’s measurement of activity. Set your goal and the FuelBand will determine your progress. It features a row of LEDs that changes from red to green as you get closer to the target, making it a pretty effective motivational device.

The beauty of FuelBand lies in its simplicity. It features single button scrolling with two rows of LEDs – a larger one for the readouts and a small one for the Nike Fuel tracker. Due to its circular design that snugly clings on to your wrist, it stays out of the way when you’re breaking a sweat. And it’s water resistant too! It has Bluetooth capability, and on one end of the device hides a USB connector enabling you to sync data to a computer to view your peaks and valleys. Its $149 price tag may be hefty for some, but if you need that extra motivational boost, the Nike+ FuelBand is your ideal tracker.

Technology: Three axis accelerometer or “oxygen kinetics
Price: $200

Fuelband Rating



Fitbit: Best Fitness Tracker


Fitbit Ultra is the smallest fitness tracker in the market today. Don’t let the size fool you though; it packs a lot of punch inside its compact, easy to carry exterior. Fitbit is a sophisticated gadget that effortlessly tracks steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, and even stairs climbed! On top of that, it also tracks sleep, which is one of the most important factors in fitness.

This easy-to-wear gadget comes with a small base station that connects to a PC or MAC thru a USB cable. Or you can go wireless in transferring your data. Aside from having Android and iOS mobile apps that allow you to log workouts and meals, it also features engaging Web-based analytical tools in tracking your progress. One can log on Fitbit.com and benefit from a supportive community of friends or join public groups to broaden your knowledge on fitness. At a $99.95 price, Fitbit definitely ranks up there!

Technology: Accelerometer
Price: ~$100
 



Xtrail: Best Fitness Tracker

Turn your iPhone into your instant fitness manager that’s as easy as ready-set-go. Xtrail is a no-fuss GPS-enabled fitness tracker. Tap, tap, and you’re off. And you don’t need to buy a separate device, all you need to do is download the Xtrail app and you’re good to go.

Especially designed for runners and cyclists, Xtrail accurately measures the distance, speed, time, pace, calories, altitude, and climb, which is then displayed in clean, configurable widgets for easy viewing. Xtrail also features a detailed map and an interactive graph for more convenient performance analysis. And if you must brag, you can share it in Facebook, Twitter, or email via the popular GPX file format. Plus, this intuitive app retails at $4.99, which is a fantastic deal for the things it can do.

Technology: GPS
Price: $4.99
 



MOTOACTV: Best Fitness Tracker


To all the dedicated athletes and genuine gym rats who have been looking for the ultimate exercise companion, MOTOACTV is perfect for you. Featuring a very macho design of metal construction in all-black scheme with its water resistant and scratch-proof postage-stamp touch-screen, this gadget is in a league of its own. With 40 different kinds of exercise methods such as Running, Walking, Cycling, Elliptical, and Step Machine, as well as more exotic ones like Gymnastics, Snow Boarding, and even Yard Work, the MOTOACTV can handle any fitness task you throw at it.

The internal accelerometer of the MOTOACTV functions as its pedometer. Aside from being Android-powered, it utilizes GPS, Bluetooth, music and online analytics to optimize the workout experience. You can opt between WiFi and cellular connection in uploading your workout stats to its web portal to see how far you’ve come. Plus, it can even suggest playlist to further rev you up. And with $149.99, you’ll have a cutting-edge fitness tracker, a handy music device, and an Android powered watch all rolled into one. It’s like having your own personal trainer and DJ!

Technology: GPS
Price: ~$140



So whether or not you think that a fitness tracker is for you, these are our pics for the best fitness tracker. Overall, Nike Fuelband wins for us. But again, this technology is very new. One this is for sure though, fitness trackers are on the rise. The tech behind these gadgets will only get better, and you can bet Melvin and Lloyd will be reviewing them right here @Selfwaresource with little to no actual exercise done.

How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job

Job searching sucks and social networking sites occupy lots of your time. So why not occupy your time with advancing your professional career? Here are some rough guidelines for how Generation Y can use technology to find a job.

Complete Your Profile

Spiff up your profile without going overboard. Try to obtain a few recommendations from past or current supervisors to add some credibility. Take LinkedIn’s advice and complete as much of your profile as needed, including ‘Skills & Expertise’, ‘Summary’ and ‘Specialties’. These sections not only fill in the blanks of your profile, they provide companies a means of finding you based off your self-tagged attributes. I also highly recommend adding a ‘Personal Website’ that links to your own personal resume website.

Find the Companies You Want to Work For

This is obviously easier said than done. Hopefully you have an idea of where you’d like to work, and can narrow it down to a few companies. Even if you don’t, you can utilize the Search functionality and target specific people, companies or groups. Since most groups allow you to peruse their public profiles, it’s an easy way to start searching generically and then zoom in on particular groups that may interest you. From there you can get an idea of other groups they belong to, their company, their connections, etc.

Penetrate Their Network

No, not Hugh Jackman in Swordfish style. You need to make connections with people in or around the company you’re targeting. I suggest getting yourself invited into some groups, and look for ways to make meaningful contributions to the right people. There’s a business relationship already. Additionally, you can directly contact someone from the company. However, this doesn’t mean going after the VP of Sales or the Director of Human Resources. Find someone near the level you’d come in at. Tell them you’re interested in the type of work they do, and ask them if they’d be willing to discuss it.

Be Passionately Persistent

Derek Sivers explains how to get hired using the same general principle of targeting one (or a few) companies and then opening up channels of communication, regardless of whether or not they are hiring. With LinkedIn most of the hard work (searching and perusing) is neatly organized for you. You simply need to expand your professional online presence in a methodical way, and eventually you’ll find the open door you were looking for. Heck, you don’t even need to get off the couch to do it.

 

Guide: How do I Get a Server?

Ten years ago, no one asked that question, “how do i get a server”, simply because you didn’t need one. Storage requirements back then were limited to music files, maybe a few pictures, and that DVD you ripped that your wife can’t find out about. Other than that, Hotmail or some other e-mail storage sufficed. Fast forward to today; the age of megapixel images, HD video, and a few more of those special DVDs.

How do I get a server for file storage?

Let’s say you have a solid amount of random files that you just want stored somewhere else than your increasingly fragile laptop. DropBox is the way to go. Here’s the short of what DropBox does:

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computersphones and even the Dropbox website.

I think one of the coolest things about DropBox is the collaboration feature. Sure, these are your files, no one else needs to see them. But when you’re starting a project at the coffee house, and need to leave and pick it back up again at home, DropBox has you covered. Edit files from anywhere!

How do I get a server for blog hosting?

So you’re interested in letting the world know your thoughts? Bravo. One of the first steps you’ll need to do is get hosting. Here, you’re best bet will probably be shared-hosting. Here at SelfwareSource, we use InMotionHosting. They’re affordable, reliable, and have all the features a blogger would ever need.

  1. Go to InMotionHosting’s WordPress Hosting
  2. Choose from the available packages. **Newbies: all you need is the “Launch” package. The main difference between the three is e-commerce. Seeing as you suck at blogging still, you won’t be selling anything anytime soon.
  3. Next you will be asked whether you want to register a domain or add an existing one. For domain help, see previous post.
  4. After filling in your billing information, you will most likely be redirected to your cPanel
  5. Start Googling everything you don’t know about. That’s how we started. Click buttons, fill in fields; there’s very little you could do to critically damage a server when just starting out.
Questions? Post them in the comment box below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

 

How to Search Google Efficiently

Search Google EfficientlyOver the past decade, many companies have become household names. Many have even left a sizable impression on modern culture as a whole; see Coke, McDonald’s, Nike. Few companies, however, achieve the status of becoming a verb.

For many, Google is a way of life. It’s become THE portal for the world’s information. You don’t Bing something, or Yahoo something (though with a certain amount of creativity…), you only can Google something. Here’s a few tips, in a new series of Google tips, for understanding how to search Google efficiently :

Search Google Efficiently: filtype

Say for example you’re looking for a template, but Microsoft Word/Excel/PPT doesn’t quite have what you’re looking for. Google it

“budget template” filetype:xls

This will search for the exact phrase “budget template”, and only return items that are of the .xls format. XLS=Excel Spreadsheet

Perhaps you’re in school, and want to find an essay to compare notes with while struggling to finish a term paper. Google it

inflation and micronesia filetype:doc

Google will return Word Documents it knows of that have BOTH the keywords inflation and micronesia.

Search Google Efficiently: Specific URL

Not too long ago, I was reminded by something of an article I saw on Lifehacker. Though, I couldn’t remember the article’s title. I knew a few keywords that were associated with it and the Lifehacker domain it was on. I journeyed to Google.

“rear deltoid workout” site:lifehacker.com

Search Google Efficiently: Related URLs

This can be exceptionally valuable for those of us concerned with SEO. This can often give you a good understanding of how Google sees your site. You can then adjust accordingly depending on your goal.

related:wegotworms.org

 Using the rPhoneBook operator within Google

This can be especially useful when looking for a specific person, or even networking while on the job hunt. Google wil return it’s index of people with that name and location.

rphonebook:erik schneider los angeles

rphonebook:harry dunn rhode island

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in Google…

Get a Blog and Get Hired: How To Create Your Own Website Resume

Besides ‘get a job’, the main purpose of a resume is to have it represent the best of you.

What’s the best way to showcase that?

Resume: sure…in 1995

Cover Letter: sure…in 1965 

Facebook: ehhh, little worried about the underage drinking photos and that mysterious water pipe you tagged as ‘The Little Giant

LinkedIn: moving in the right direction, just as long as the companies you’re pursuing have a LinkedIn presence

What can combine these 4 options, and do so in a creative, unique and memorable way?

Your own website resume.

All you need is $50 and a few hours before you’ve got something to be proud of. Here’s a step by step.

Pick a web hosting provider

Someone needs to support the website you will eventually build from an infrastructure perspective, and you don’t want that person to be you. Search for deals, you’ll likely find something under $6 per month, especially if you’re willing to purchase a plan for more than 1 year.

Recommendations: I use JustHost and InMotion

Pick your domain.

This is your www.domain.com

Advice: Choose something simple, perhaps just your name or a small variation on it. Think long term, something your kids or grandkids will refer to if they want to understand your life. Stay away from the 1990’s AIM screen names or anything that will be stupid over time

Recommendations: I use GoDaddy

Point your domain to your web host

Most domain management companies (ie: GoDaddy) will prompt you for your server information before you complete your order and checkout. Some companies provide all in one hosting and domain management. Or you can choose to have separate companies for hosting and domain management.

Install WordPress

Find a theme. You can search and try out thousands of free themes.

I used zeeBizCard for my website resume. It’s got a myriad of social icons that can direct traffic to your various online presences.

Setup Google Analytics

Hopefully you have a gmail address. If not, get one and then sign up for Google Analytics. It’s relatively intuitive, so once you get your site added they’ll spit you a Google Analytics ID. Take that and paste it into one of the critical quickstart WP plugins and then you’ll have some data to play around with once people start visiting your site.

Beef up your SEO

Using your same Google login, you can also create a Google Adwords account. Adwords let’s you pay for your site’s advertisements to pop up all over relevant Google searches. You can specify locations you want to target, budget per day to spend on your ads, or even congressional districts to pinpoint.

 You shouldn’t engage in proactive ads until you’ve really filled out your site and already have a reasonable flow of visitors. Otherwise Google will ‘devalue’ you if you’re trying to throw ads up before people have started visiting your website resume.

Link to your site through social media, particularly LinkedIn where you’ll stand out more by having a Personal Website. Keep yourself in the news feeds by making small updates here and there, and as always keep expanding that network.


 

Quickstart Plugin Guide for WordPress

Assuming you’ve got your web host and your domain set up, it’s time to install wordpress and get rolling with essential WordPress plugins. If you haven’t gotten your web host or domain yet, check out this post for an overview.

This are the bare-bones, most efficient way to get up and running with your blog with the most essential WordPress plugins.

1. Yoast WordPress SEO

Probably the best feature of Yoast WordPress SEO is that you can import all of your titles, descriptions, and keywords from some of the other popular SEO plugins. Very visual in it’s layout, it makes a great beginners–>advanced SEO tool for WordPress.

2. Akismet

Get yourself a configuration key and activate it. This plugin blocks spam and is the universal choice of most WP’ers, mainly since it’s built in with current versions of WP.

3. All In One Favicon

A favicon is the little icon you see in your web browsers tab. This plugin lets you upload any size picture and in multiple formats (ICO, PNG, GIF). Another fun feature is that you can select a separate favicon for the backend part of your website too, so you don’t always have the WordPress icon on the site you spend most of your time on.

4. Simple Contact Form

It is what it is. Throws a small contact form wherever you want (pages, posts, homepage, etc…) and it’ll shoot you an email when someone has contacted you. Safer than throwing an email address on your site, and much friendlier than comments.

5. Twitter Tools 

Integrate your blog with Twitter and vice versa. Quick and easy ways to configure content dissemination.

These are the first 5 essential wordpress plugins I download/activate that help me suit up and look presentable. Hopefully this list will grow as we learn more.

Tim Ferris has a more in-depth look at WP plugins, which may be useful once your site is more legitimized and optimized. Check here for his article.

Please submit any recommendations by commenting below, contacting us or following us on the tweet machine.

How To Own Your Technology (and not the other way around)

Choose the Right Technology for You

Warren Buffet has a very simple way of picking the right investments: understand them first.

You may be shocked to hear that even as a good friend of Bill Gates, and being the savvy and prolific investor he is, Warren has never invested in Microsoft because he says he does not understand how the company works.

Just because you grew up with a smartphone, or get 10+ Likes for every picture you post on Facebook doesn’t mean you understand technology. I bet Warren has used Microsoft products for 3 decades, and still he has the humility to stay away from it, despite the potential gains he might have accumulated.

Photo courtesy of the wonderful Fortune Magazine (please don’t sue us)

If you understand how each piece of technology fits in to your life, then you’re halfway to every tech company’s dream – being a customer! But what’s more important is to understand why technology works for you, and whether it’s actually worth your time.

Establish your Limitations

If you ‘need’ any aspect of technology, then you’re already in the deep end. Try removing yourself from the grid for a few hours at a time – maybe even days if you’re crazy. The point is to own your technology. You be the master. Be cognizant of the real effects it has on you. Do you rely on technology so much you feel like you’re missing out? Are you accomplishing more during the day? Are you unhappy?

These seem like silly questions, but most of us are scared to admit what type of separation anxiety kicks in when we don’t get push alerts or have Words With Friends moves to play.

If you consciously attempt to control the time you spend on a connected device, you will help separate yourself from your virtual self, and heck, maybe go for a run or read a book. Try these tips  from Dave Boehi on how to establish your technology limitations.

Alert Your Friends

This is more of a courtesy rather than a rule, but it could save your mother  a heart attack when all of your closest friends text your mom ‘haven’t heard from Lloyd in like 7 minutes…is he ok?!?!’. This is not how to own your technology, this is technology owning you.

User Your Time Well

Drop the phone, the laptop and the tablet, and make sure to occupy your time with something relatively useful. You can proceed with your normal day, but do it 21st century Thoreau style – with no connectivity.

Pursue things you enjoy doing, and if the desire comes for any types of technology, you can be the judge on whether or not it’s worth it (I cannot get away from Evernote).

Most of the time technology speeds up our lives or makes them more efficient, but sometimes we need life to slow down to human pace to keep us happy.

 

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