All posts by Matt Soreco

Google Now, Part II

I can’t believe it was 2 whole years ago that I gave Google Now an honest try. I thought I’d try it again and see if there was any improvements to the service. So far, it doesn’t look like there were many.

What’s helpful:

  • I like getting driving directions with traffic conditions for upcoming appointments in my calendar. This of course required me to add in addresses to everything in the calendar that required traveling.
    • I do sometimes want to get somewhere a few minutes early, so this also required me to update events to build in a few minutes of slack time for a more helpful “leave by x time” prompt.
  • I like the weather reports.
  • I like the stock prices from my Google Finance portfolio.
  • The “ok Google” command to navigate somewhere is better than fumbling around.
  • I like seeing package tracking from e-mail confirmations in Gmail.

What’s ‘meh:

  • Sports scores and upcoming games.

What could be helpful, but isn’t:

  • I like that it has commute time from home to work and work to home, but  like I wrote about in the past, I rarely go straight home or to work. Rather I might drop off or pick up my son from daycare. They should have “routes” built in. Perhaps ask a question “are you going straight to work to day?” then give the travel time, etc. Otherwise let me choose a route with stops, then give the traffic details and estimated times.

What’s confusing:

  • I get what they are trying to do with “where I parked.” Perhaps it’s my behavior to make numerous stops here and there throughout a day that the pin is often time where I had parked 2-3 stops ago.

What’s bad:

  • Cuts battery life in nearly half.

What’s Useless:

  • Totally random nearby places.
    • Might be useful if on vacation or a business trip, but no thank you I don’t need to see the deli that I already know is around the corner from my house.
    • What pops up is so random too, perhaps ask me what I’m interesting in finding out about (e.g. Sushi, Indian restaurants, etc.)
  • Maybe it’s a symptom of living in a suburb, but nearby events is also a huge disappointment.
  • It could be useful for finding hidden gems I guess, but I’m getting Friday’s and Chili’s type of suggestions.

What it needs:

  1. Typical Google having more and more overlapping but not synchronized services… Google Now needs to tie together/sync/reconcile to dos and reminders from Google Tasks, Google Inbox, Google Keep. Then get those reminders into Google Now.
  2. More routes and destinations other than home and work.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

I touched on this a little before:
http://mattsoreco.com/mind-body-and-spirit/
http://mattsoreco.com/the-internet-and-mobile-are-destroying-our-brains/
http://mattsoreco.com/first-successful-30-day-challenge/

There have been ebbs and flows with my discipline. I still contend (I’m not justifying “failures”!!!) that although I didn’t achieve all of my 2012 resolutions or my more purposely-vague-2013 no-so-resolutions, the introspection involved refocused and reset my overall trajectory. And I’ve made some significant improvements. What do I have to show for it? Perhaps more clarity and a lot less stress. Next step: step out of my comfort zone and make more of the added bandwidth.

I don’t beat myself up over “failures,” mistakes, and slip-ups anymore. They are all learning experiences. I find the easier I am on myself, the more aware I am BEFORE I repeat the same mistake again.

One thing I kind of let slip… The garbage in / garbage out theory. Consume garbage, produce garbage. I’m talking about the intellectual type here, although a true analogy is you are what you eat.

During the last 2-3 weeks, I took out the scalpel and cut out most time wasters. Things that add no value to my life and only serve to occupy what seems to be merely idle time. That idle time, however, can make or break my overall mindset. The science behind it is out there.

Out:

  • Constant checking of Twitter for the 1/100,000,000 chance I find a golden nugget of good info. a.k.a. fear of missing out.
  • Same for Facebook. Once a day is enough.
  • Same for Google+
  • Funny videos on Youtube.
  • Morbid fascination with street fight videos on liveleak, et al.
  • Aimless internet/Youtube searching.
  • Aimless TV channel surfing.
  • Unproductive daydreaming.

In:

  • Industry, in my case marketing, podcasts.
  • Creative podcasts and blogs.
  • Entrepreneurial podcasts and blogs.
  • Try new things.
  • Productive daydreaming.

See left sidebar for links to said resources.

Since refocusing on focus (Yogi Berra would be proud of that one) and filling my head with good stuff, I’ve been able to think more clearly at work, feel more on top of my game, articulate complex points better, etc. The difference is profound. Their are downstream consequences of junk food of the mind–for me.

I hope to continue to post more to the blog also.

80/20 Rule to Diet and Weight Loss

The 80/20 rule is a rule of thumb that states “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

It can be applied to so many things. Marketing, advertising, production, etc.

And no doubt diet, exercise, and weight loss.

There is so much static and noise in the health and fitness community that it’s hard to sort out truth, fiction, lies, hopes, proof, deception, exaggeration, marketing, etc.

Arguments are made and defended where shades of gray are made black and white for the sake of defending one’s own opinion. Cults form. Paleo, Crossfit. Dogmas form. Intermittent fasting, low carb, slow carb.

There are also pros and cons to everything. Not everything is perfect and there probably isn’t anything that’s entirely bad (besides disorders like anorexia and bulimia). Paleo isn’t the only way to go.

Take for example the debate over calorie in and calorie out. That’s simply a weight loss method that says to lose weight you must consume less calories than you burn. There are opponents who dispute it, with the focus of their argument turning to an exaggerated hypothetical of someone consuming all of their “deficit” calories from Twinkies or Skittles. Strawman anyone?

For weight (and fat) loss, does calorie in / calorie out work? Indisputably yes.

Is it PERFECT? No, nothing is.

Is that the only variable? No, you should also make the calories you consume all healthy calories. You should also exercise, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, etc.

For weigh (and fat) loss, what 20% effort provides 80% of results?

  • Calorie deficit (moderate is healthier than drastic)
  • Eat plenty of vegetables (and a variety)
  • Cut out all added sugar
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise moderately
  • Don’t be afraid of healthy fats

On the flip side, what 80% effort provides 20% of results?

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Eating more smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Meditarrinian diet, South Beach diet, {insert fad} diet
  • CLA
  • Green Coffee Bean Extract
  • Raspberry Ketones
  • Excessive exercise
  • Garcinia Cambogia
  • x% fat, x% carbs, x% protein
  • Broscience
  • millions of other nutty suggestions, gimmicks, etc.

Also, the 80% effort stuff will lead to futility without first taking care of the 20% that drives the most change.

I’ve documented the healthy living part of healthy weight loss methods on my healthy living checklist:
http://mattsoreco.com/healthy-living-checklist/

Here is a great article to help sniff out fads and psudo-science:
http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2011/05/how-to-spot-bad-science-and-fads.html

Training and Healthy Living Update

It’s been a while since I posted an update. Like previous years, I slacked off again the last winter and put some weight back on. I didn’t slack so much in my diet than I did activity level. But looking back a little further, I did kind of mail it in from the end of 2011 through the beginning of 2013.

I didn’t slack on my tracking however. I’m a quantified self‘ers dream. I have my weigh loss down to a science, where I can dial it up or down. I wish I could do the same with winter motivation.

Now I’m back on track in a really good way. I think I finally put everything together diet wise–as far as restricting what’s bad and eating a lot that’s good, not just restricting calories. This includes a good balance of carbs, fat (yes fat!) and protein. More than enough veggies. The newest revelation to me was that in the past my diet was too fat-phobic. Fat (healthy fat) is good for so many reasons.

I’ve been sticking to my original (yet ever evolving) healthy living checklist:
http://mattsoreco.com/healthy-living-checklist/

I have a hot and cold relationship with jogging. I’ve done the C25K year after year. I unenthusiasticlly got most of the way through the program before deciding to hit the elliptical at the gym instead. That’s where I’ll be doing cardio until jogging starts appealing to me some more. It’s good I’m getting to the gym, which I’ve been paying for anyway. This year, I want to finally get resistance training and hiit incorporated. Those have eluded my since day 1. I need the gym for the weight training.

You can see where I was 4 years ago. Although I did have ups and downs, the net continued to be lower. I was very close to my goal in 2011. I’m well on my way now. Actual weight withheld until goal met.

yoyo

G+ Just Got Worse

In my own opinion of course…

Google+ has been focusing on aesthetics far too much. They seem to be going more in the way of Pinterest.

Here’s the thing… Depending on the content you want, pictures, thumbnails, etc could be useless. In my case, it is. Very much so.

I follow a lot of online marketing industry people, companies, etc. Health and fitness people, companies, etc. They share and write information, not pictures.

I want a quick eye scroll through a lot of content. I want to read headlines. Not look at pretty pictures with no real context.

I don’t want…

2, maybe 3 posts viewable (using G+’s current multiple column view):

Google Plus Multiple Column ViewI also don’t want…

1, maybe 2 posts viewable (using G+’s single column view)–which I prefer over multiple “ADD inducing” columns:

Google Plus Single Column ViewI DO WANT…

19 or so “posts” viewable (like Google Reader’s compact view). They are getting rid of Google Reader by the way…

Google Reader Compact View

 

I have no patience for the new look. I know a lot of people stomp their feet after every Facebook design change. I don’t want to sound like that, but this one, for me, is a real reason not to want to check in throughout the day. Sorry G+.

 

 

Smoothie Recipe – The Staple 4.0.1.2.3.5.12.387

Joking about the version number. I’ve switched this up so many times that I’ve lost track.

I’ve been drinking this one (and slight variations) the last few weeks:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 scoop unflavored whey isolate
  • 1/2-1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2-1 cup strawberry, raspberry, blackberry mix
  • 1 cup steeped matcha green tea
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Sometimes kale.
  • Sometimes a tablespoon coconut oil.
  • Sometimes handful of almonds.
  • Sometimes some cucumber.
  • Sometimes some celery.
  • Sometimes some broccoli.
  • Sometimes some chia seeds.
  • Sometimes some carrot.

I’ve switched from taking the veggies raw to steaming most of them. Cooked/steamed veggies are a little easier to work with plus reduces the oxalate level.

Another winter, another season of inactivity. Luckily each winter (of inactivity) I never put everything back on. But… Here we go again.

I’ve updated my “YoYo Graph.”

yoyo

“Experts” and the Rush to Judgement

GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ad was a tremendous failure. They. Did. Everything. Wrong. FAIL!
#fail #failgodaddy #godaddysucks #godaddyjustdied #boycottgodaddy #hastagsarethecoolthing

Re-tweet that a couple of millions of times. 10 seconds after the commercial airs.

Or just wait a minute. Or a day or two or a week. And let the facts and figures come out:
Go Daddy Posts Biggest Sales Day in History After Super Bowl Ads Run

Still, people are calling the ad a failure. Why? They didn’t like the ad? Didn’t agree with the tactics? Doesn’t fit their own neat little marketing ideas?

And yet said experts are ironically still extending the conversation about GoDaddy.