Adventurer spreads his nets wide

first_imgHolgate in one of his two Land Rovers,which he has named after the porters whocarried David Livingstone’s body for 1 000kilometres to the sea.(Image: Landyonline) During the Africa Outside Edge expedition,Holgate and his team will distribute onemillion insecticide-impregnated malarianets as part of the One Net One Lifecampaign.(Image: Cameo CorporateCommunications) The expedition had an initial convoy of347 Land Rovers – verified by Guinnessas the longest-ever escort of ahumanitarian convoy.(Image: Land Rover South Africa) Holgate handing out the nets to children ata school for the deaf in Conakry, Guinea.(Image: Cameo CorporateCommunications)Janine ErasmusThe Zulu people call South African explorer Kingsley Holgate Nondwayisa uya Shinga, or African lily trotter, a bird that wades the continent’s rivers on long, spindly legs. The name suits Holgate: both for his physical appearance, and for the number of rivers he has crossed in expeditions across the globe.In the tradition of early explorers of Africa such as David Livingstone and Frederick Courtney Selous, Holgate, always accompanied by his wife and son, has travelled the continent from top to bottom, unlocking much of its mystique for the rest of the world.The family are seasoned adventurers, over the years having journeyed from Cape to Cairo along Africa’s major waterways, circumnavigated the continent’s great Lake Victoria, and trekked around the world along the Tropic of Capricorn.But it’s not only about the adventure. In all his trips Holgate takes with him weapons in the fight of malaria, a disease that kills a million people a year. During his latest adventure, the Africa Outside Edge expedition, he and his team are distributing a million mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide to vulnerable women and children.Africa Outside Edge will see Holgate and his entourage travelling around the edge of the continent in Land Rovers and inflatable boats, starting and ending in Cape Town. This circumnavigation has been achieved only once before, by fellow South African Rian Manser – on a bicycle.The expedition left Cape Town on 27 April 2007, and is currently in Sudan in North Africa. It plans to arrive in Mombasa, Kenya, on Africa Malaria Day, 25 April 2008, where teams of volunteers driving up Africa’s east coast will meet the adventurers.One net, one lifePersonal experience has made malaria Holgate’s mission: he and his family have battled the disease more than 60 times, and he knows how difficult it is for people in remote areas to get treatment.“In the mangrove swamps of the Rufiji delta, where malaria is their single biggest problem, fisherman paddle for days by dugout to get to the nearest clinic,” he says in his book Africa – In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers.“With the help of the World Health Organisation we use our expedition Land Rovers as mobile clinics to distribute educational material, anti-malarial products and insecticide-impregnated nets.” In his One Net One Life campaign, Holgate hands over the nets personally to ensure they reach the people for whom they are intended.In Africa, malaria is the most common cause of death of children under the age of five. A child dies of the disease every 30 seconds and those who survive are often left with brain damage. Expectant mothers are also vulnerable because of the increased volume of blood produced during pregnancy.Africa Outside Edge also has other social responsibility components: Right to Sight, which gives people access to eye doctors and reading glasses, and Teaching on the Edge, which provides educational and literacy material to schools.That’s a lot of baggage, but luckily the expedition had an initial convoy of 347 Land Rovers – verified by Guinness as the longest-ever escort of a humanitarian convoy. Holgate is also carrying a Scroll of Peace and Goodwill through 33 African countries, collecting signatures as he goes. South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, both Nobel peace laureates, have signed the scroll.Added to the baggage is a calabash containing seawater from the Cape of Good Hope. On their first major expedition in 1993, the family carried a calabash covered with Zulu beadwork and filled with Cape Point seawater which was emptied into the Mediterranean where the Nile joins the sea. The calabash has since become a talisman of all the expeditions and is filled at the beginning and emptied at the end of each journey.An old-style adventurerHolgate attributes his love of exploration to his missionary father, who regaled his three sons with stories of Scottish adventurer David Livingstone’s journeys. During school holidays the elder Holgate would pile the family into the car and journey up to Zambia and the Belgian Congo, today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo.Holgate’s first expedition, in 1993, took him and his family from Cape to Cairo along Africa’s major waterways, using inflatable boats and four-wheel drive vehicles as back-ups. Holgate always travels with his son Ross, who takes care of the vehicles and logistics, and wife Jill, also known as Mashozi (“she who wears shorts”), who does, she says, basically anything.That epic trip, registered with the Royal Geographical Society as a world first, is documented in his first book, Cape to Cairo. Holgate is a fellow of the society and has also worked closely with National Geographic to capture his adventures on film. His exploits have since become familiar viewing on that channel.The adventures are almost too numerous to count. Holgate has circumnavigated Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, followed in the footsteps of David Livingstone from his birthplace in Blantyre to retracing the last few days of his life in Zambia, and visited the grave of Frederick Selous, one of his heroes. This, says the adventurer, was an emotional moment. In honour of Selous a little of the Cape Point water in the calabash was poured over the headstone.Holgate’s major sponsors are Land Rover SA and Captain Morgan Jamaica rum – which he says are both practical necessities for survival on his trips. These include the African Rainbow expedition of 2006; the Rufiji expedition of 2004, which followed the explorations of Selous; the Great Explorers expedition following David Livingstone; and the 2001 Capricorn adventure that saw the adventurer and his family circumnavigating the world along the Tropic of Capricorn.The Tropic of Capricorn is the major line of latitude in the southern hemisphere. At the height of South African summer, it is the most southerly point where the sun can appear directly overhead at noon.“Initially it was just going to be Africa,” Holgate says of the expedition, “but the old atlas plays tricks on you. Before long Africa became South America, South America became Australia, and Australia became Madagascar.”He travels in two Land Rovers – named Chuma and Susi after the two porters who in 1873 risked their lives to carry David Livingstone’s salt-preserved body over 1 000 miles, from deep in Zambia to the port of Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Here the British were able to retrieve it for burial in the UK.Holgate has published three books with Struik publishers: Africa – In the Footsteps of the Great Explorers; Capricorn: Following the Invisible Line; and Cape to Cairo.Africa Outside Edge is scheduled to end at the Cape of Good Hope on 28 and 29 June 2008. Its many sponsors include not only Land Rover SA and Captain Morgan, but also Rotary, Nando’s , British Airways, Nedbank, Gemini inflatables, Yamaha outboard engines, Garmin GPS devices, Motorola, and Danish company Vestergaard-Frandsen which produces the PermaNet insecticide-impregnated textile that the malaria nets are made from.Malaria is preventable and treatableMalaria is a blood-borne disease that is caused by a parasite transmitted by certain mosquito species from person to person. Symptoms appear about nine to 14 days after the bite and include fever, headache, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. The infection can be treated but if left untreated can result in coma, severe life-threatening anaemia, and death. There are about 350- to 500-million infections and more than one million deaths worldwide every year.Malaria is preventable but experts agree that a comprehensive approach is required. This includes providing effective antenatal care for women, insecticide-treated bed nets, using insecticide spray on the inside walls of houses and in mosquito breeding areas, making it easier to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment thereafter. They key to the success of this strategy is education.But it is not only individuals that are severely affected. Malaria causes children to miss school, is a deterrent to foreign investment, and tourism is negatively affected. Annual economic loss in Africa is estimated at $12-billion.According to the World Health Organisation up to 124-million people in Africa live in areas at risk of seasonal epidemic malaria, and many more in areas outside Africa where transmission is less intense. The organisation also says that up to 30% of malaria deaths in Africa occur in the wake of war, local violence or other emergencies. Malaria deaths often far exceed those caused by the original conflict or problem.Useful linksKingsley HolgateKingsley Holgate FoundationLand Rover South AfricaLand Rover South Africa’s social support programmeCaptain MorganOne Net One LifeMalaria No MoreWorld Health Organisation global malaria programmeRotaryGrindrod’s Kingsley Holgate diariesKingsley Holgate blogRoyal Geographic SocietyNational GeographicStruiklast_img read more

Kingspan Kooltherm Phenolic Foam Rigid Insulation

first_imgIn addition to acting as GBA’s technical director, Peter Yost is the Vice President for Technical Services at BuildingGreen in Brattleboro, Vermont. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years. An experienced trainer and consultant, he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here. You can also sign up for BuildingGreen’s email newsletter to get a free report on insulation, as well as regular posts from Peter. Intertek_Report.pdf He continued, “This approach got us to the right total R-value, highest level of airtightness, and excellent drying potential to the exterior.” The exterior layers of the roof assembly include sheathing boards, building paper, and slates. Gould added, “And the clincher for the attic was that the foil-faced Kootherm up there does not need any ignition barrier.”Candace Pearson, a former editor and research analyst for BuildingGreen, explained, “Initially, we were hoping to find a wood fiberboard insulation that could be installed to the interior [of the rafters], but when we did the modeling we found out we needed a higher R-value.”Candace said, “We became interested in Kooltherm because, unlike XPS, Kooltherm did not use a high global warming potential (GWP) blowing agent and, unlike conventional polyiso, it did not contain added chemical flame retardants. That’s what initially prompted me to suggest the product. Plus, it is a recommended product in the latest BG insulation guide.” Improving the thermal performance of an existing attic is often challenging: workers are faced with narrow cavities, low clearances, and cladding systems that make it hard to achieve desired R-values while still maintaining the necessary drying potential of the assembly.The house at 81 Chapin Street in Brattleboro, Vermont, is no exception. It’s a 100-year-old wood-framed two-story home that Alex Beck and Candace Pearson are determined to comprehensively retrofit to high performance.That’s where Eli Gould, owner and founder of Ironwood Brands, comes in. Eli is an architect and builder responsible for projects like the Lemon’s “Almost” Passive House and Alex and Jerelyn Wilson’s Leonard Farm retrofit (see multiple GBA Energy Solutions blogs on the Wilson project). The Brattleboro project has no shortage of challenges; for example, in subsequent blogs we will discuss the basement. Here, we’ll focus on the attic, which needed careful hygrothermal consideration.Eli Gould lays out the roofing configuration used at 81 Chapin Street: “We decided to cavity fill with dense-packed cellulose and then — on the underside of the rafters — to run two staggered-seam, taped layers of 30 mm foil-faced rigid foam insulation.” Gould specified Kingspan Kooltherm rigid foam. (Kingspan is an international corporation headquartered in Ireland. Kingspan’s U.S. office is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Kooltherm is a type of rigid foam called phenolic foam.)[Editor’s note: Phenolic foam rigid insulation was introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s and sold by Beazer East and Johns Manville. Serious corrosion problems of fasteners and steel decks that were in contact with the foam resulted in legal action, and both companies ceased production of phenolic foam in 1992. For more information on the history of phenolic foam marketing in the U.S., see Phenolic Foam Insulation Revisited.] RELATED ARTICLES FlammabilityI have the most trouble with the flammability performance claimed for Kooltherm. After all, it’s a petroleum-based polymer matrix with a hydrocarbon blowing agent. It seems as though we are getting burned, not the insulation!When I asked Kingspan about this, they stated that phenolic foam is “inherently flame-resistant.” That seemed like restatement, not an explanation. I was then referred to one of Kingspan’s chemists, who explained it this way: “It [comes] down to the highly cross-linked thermoset PF [phenol formaldehyde] material. [With] a phenolic matrix, unlike U-F chemistry, once cured the polymeric thermoset material is irreversible. Phenolic resins … have a highly cross-linked, high carbon (char), and aromaticity level which lends itself to excellent FST (fire, smoke, and toxicity) properties. The material is stable to well over 200°C.”That seems to address the fire properties of the phenolic foam matrix, but what about the pentane blowing agent? Craig Lynch, commercial technical director at Kingspan, responded, “The Kooltherm blowing agent is not pentane, but pentane-based. The actual blowing agent is a proprietary mix, with constituents added to — among other things — reduce the flammability of the blowing agent.”That makes some sense to me as well, but is not wholly convincing. Being an empirical sort of guy, I decided to torch some Kooltherm.Using a grill starter flame source, the test yields no flame, very little smoke, and only charring.Using a propane torch, the test yields no flame, very little smoke, and only charring.That’s pretty impressive fire resistance with both the low-temperature grill starter and the higher temperature propane torch. Kooltherm characteristics and propertiesAlex Wilson of BuildingGreen has already published a great article on Kooltherm. The details are really a bit hard to believe:R-6.2 per inch for 1-inch samples, and R-8.2 per inch for 3-inch samples — R-values that are third-party-certified per IECC Section C402;No flame retardants yet exceptional smoke development and flame development numbers;Zero ozone depletion potential (ODP);Low global warming potential (GWP).Let’s go after the first two of these (the most difficult to accept, frankly). Test resultsTo be completely fair, here is a list of fire performance standardized tests from the laboratory certification for NFPA 286: “Tested Wall Assemblies Using Kingspan Kooltherm Insulation Boards in Attics, Crawlspaces, Basements, and other Interior Applications.”The NFPA 286 test is the “corner” test for interior applications (for example, see this video). The NFPA 285 test is the exterior assembly test (for example, see this video).Performance in accordance with ASTM E84/UL 723 for smoke and flame development: Flame Spread Index <25; Smoke Developed Index <450Performance for use without a thermal barrier in accordance with IBC Section 2603.4 and 2603.5.2: Approved.Performance with regard to vertical and lateral fire propagation in accordance with IBC Section 2603.5.5: Approved.Performance with regard to ignition in accordance with IBC Section 2603.5.7: Approved.Clearly Kooltherm — notwithstanding that it is a directly derived petroleum-based rigid insulation — has solid high-performance credentials.Gould concludes, “Kooltherm is now my interior rigid insulation material of choice for this type of deep energy retrofit.” R-value claimsYou get R-6.2 or R-6.3 per inch for 1-inch samples, and R-8.2 per inch for 3-inch samples, according to the manufacturer, because of two properties of Kooltherm:The insulation includes really tiny gas pockets (the smaller the pockets, the less heat flow); andThe insulation has a high percentage of closed cells (98% are truly trapped gas pockets).Here is a link to a good technical reference from Kooltherm. Phenolic Foam Insulation RevisitedChoosing Rigid FoamGBA Encyclopedia: Rigid Foam InsulationHow to Install Rigid Foam Sheathing Calculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam SheathingThermal Drift of Polyiso and XPSHow to Install Rigid Foam On Top of Roof SheathingAvoiding the Global Warming Impact of InsulationCalculating the Global Warming Impact of InsulationMaking Healthier, Greener Foam InsulationIn Cold Climates, R-5 Foam Beats R-6Cold-Weather Performance of PolyisocyanurateUsing Rigid Foam As a Water-Resistive Barrier Intertek Code Compliance Report for Kingspan Kooltherm insulationlast_img read more

With Channels, LinkedIn’s News Strategy Develops More Interest

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The company is expected to formally announce Channels Wednesday morning in a blog post. CEO Jeff Weiner had mentioned the impending launch of Channels in the company’s first-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts earlier this month.Previously, LinkedIn’s customization options were more limited: Members could follow companies or industries, as well as LinkedIn’s “influencers,” high-profile business leaders like Richard Branson and Jack Welch, who contribute articles to the site. The redesign of LinkedIn Today puts more emphasis on posts from influencers as well.Already, LinkedIn’s push into news seems to be working. Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s head of content products, told ReadWrite that members spend six times as much time finding and reading content as they do searching for jobs on the site.It’s Still About JobsRoslansky says that by offering links to news on other sites, as well as LinkedIn’s Influencer posts and presentations from SlideShare, a site LinkedIn bought last year, LinkedIn is trying to help its members develop professionally and get better at their current jobs – not just find new gigs.What’s in it for LinkedIn? Offering more content – and offering more interesting content – is a key way to get people to use the site more frequently, which helps LinkedIn in obvious ways, like building up its advertising business.But far more interesting is the potential for LinkedIn to build up its database of information about its members. Right now, LinkedIn mostly has explicit data that members share, like their job history and education.Through tracking news consumption, LinkedIn can develop implicit knowledge about its members, too – their interests outside their immediate professional field, perhaps, or new, developing interests reflected in the articles they read.That could ultimately help recruiters – a key customer base for LinkedIn, some of whom pay thousands of dollars a year for LinkedIn’s high-end talent search software – find not just people with a track record in a particular industry, but harder-to-find career switchers and other non-obvious candidates for jobs. owen thomas Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit LinkedIn, once a site known for job hunting, is now becoming an online news destination with some job ads attached. The shift won’t distract from the site’s job focus, though; it will actually enhance it.Late Tuesday, LinkedIn quietly launched Channels – its name for topics – on LinkedIn Today, its news hub. Ranging from “social impact” to “the economy,” they allow LinkedIn members to customize the news they see based on their interests. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

Square And PayPal Push The iPad-ification Of America’s Small Businesses

first_imgRelated Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Mobile Payments#PayPal#PayPal Here#square The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologycenter_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces dan rowinski Square, PayPal, and Groupon all made news today with the common goal of getting small businesses to junk their cash registers for Internet-connected devices that promise to bring the simple act of settling accounts into the future.Change With Your CoffeeI work from home, but every morning I wake up, take a shower and go straight to work from my local coffee shop. About half of those days I stop at the neighborhood ATM kiosk to grab some cash. Call it quaint, call it archaic, but my local coffee shop only takes hard currency.The coffee shop, 1369 in Cambridge’s Inman Square, is really the only reason I bother using cash at all. 1369 is a little old school, a little hipster. Cash sales were kind of its “thing.” That’s why I was surprised the other day when I ran into 1369’s owner, Josh Gerber, and he told me that the coffee shop was going digital with the Square Register.To me, this is disruption personified. No longer are we talking about some abstract concept of how smartphones and tablets could change businesses at the local level. We are seeing it in action on a tangible scale on the street, in our neighborhoods and, yes, at our local coffee shops.Mobile Reshapes Main StreetLeading the charge in this changing business landscape are companies like Square, PayPal, LevelUp, Intuit, Groupon, Revel and a variety of others. The task these companies have taken on is no easy challenge – each aims to redefine the point of sale and replace one of the most common items for Main Street business: the cash register.The chosen vehicle to replace the cash register? The iPad.Call it the iPad-ification of the point of sale or the mobilization of American’s businesses. We are now starting to see distinct results from several years of ecosystem growth and product releases intended to change the way that basic commerce is conducted.Square is the leading disruptor. It was the company that made the original card-swiping device for the iPhone and, later, the iPad. With its Square Register software, it introduced one of the first connected point-of-sale solutions. Today, Square took that a step further by announcing the Square Stand, a full replacement for the cash register that holds an iPad, includes a built-in credit-card swiper and allows business to connect cash drawers and receipt printers. The Square Stand, due out in July, is available for pre-order for $299.Not to be outdone, PayPal announced at the same time a new program called “Cash For Registers” where it will buy old registers from businesses that wish to install PayPal Here, its own iPad-oriented point-of-sale system—and it’s waiving payment-processing fees for the rest of the year.Groupon also unveiled a new iPad-friendly version of its Breadcrumb point-of-sale software today.Already, Revel Systems uses the iPad and Intuit can install any variety of smartphones or tablets into an effective register replacement.Conceptual To ImplementationFour factors are driving the implementation of iPad point-of-sale systems in small and medium-sized businesses:Install cost: It is often cheaper to buy an iPad and a couple of accessories that it is to go through a major point-of-sale vendor like Aloha or Micros, whose devices can cost thousands of dollars apiece.Interchange: The classic credit-card readers often have a variety of hidden costs for the business. They take a few percentage points of the total sale and often have a monthly fee or minimum that must be reached by the merchant, driving up their take to an effective rate of 3 to 5 percent for many merchants. Square charges interchange of 2.75% with no hidden fees on swiped transactions. A company like LevelUp does not charge interchange, but rather makes money as a marketing and advertising platform, offering incentives to users.Mobile acceptance: A couple of years ago (even last year, when we first noticed the iPad point-of-sale trend), smartphone and tablet adoption were still in relative infancy. That has changed in a big way extraordinarily quickly. In just a few years, smartphones are now the norm. Second and third wave mainstream consumer adopters are now looking at them not as some weird fad but as practical tools for solving problems.Ease of use: Anyone can hit a few buttons on an iPad and swipe a credit card. Proprietary register systems pose a training nightmare.Square’s new Stand product promises to be more durable than the older plug-in card swiper. Square merchants like Blue Bottle were known to stock multiple replacement swipers in case one went bad—but no one wants to fiddle with hardware while customers are waiting.PayPal is taking a less prescriptive approach than Square’s integrated hardware and software, but it too is pushing iPad-based solutions. It rolled out an iPad version of PayPal Here in March, with one nice feature from its parent company, eBay: Merchants can scan barcoded inventory for easy input into the register’s list of items for sale.“The reason the iPad is such a great device is it’s touchscreen; you can integrate it with devices like receipt printers; it’s relatively affordable,” says PayPal president David Marcus. “It’s the ideal device.”Marcus says PayPal’s seen many merchants upgrade from the smartphone version to the iPad version.“We just want to accelerate the inevitable,” Marcus says of PayPal’s move to offer free payment processing to merchants who take it up on the register turn-in offer. The cash register “is a dumb device,” he says, that doesn’t handle features like loyalty tracking or remote ordering.At 1369, Gerber knew that he would eventually need to go digital, at least to the bare minimum of accepting credit cards. Yet, the average check at 1369 (or really any other coffee shop) is in the $4-$5 range. When you are processing a lot of small transactions, that interchange rate becomes painful. That is why it is good for businesses when payment processors battle on interchange and lower rates for everybody.We are now in a phase in the Mobile Revolution where we are seeing concepts become reality. This is not just some startup CEO saying, “I am going to change the world” or a huge gadget manufacturer telling us that this is the next big thing. These are real implementations we can see, feel and touch, in our neighborhoods and at our coffee shops.Photo via 1369 Coffee HouseOwen Thomas contributed reporting to this story.last_img read more

Life (And Work) On The Treadmill

first_imgReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.I am keenly aware of the blister on my left middle toe. It would probably heal better if I didn’t insist on walking 10-plus miles a day.For a couple of weeks now, though my coworkers and I agree that it feels much longer, I’ve been spending most of my workday walking 3 miles an hour on a treadmill desk.Why? It’s part of a four-month experiment I’m conducting on myself. I’m starting by trying to drop some weight—20-plus pounds by December—while getting into measurably better shape.“Measurably” is the key word here. The quantified-self movement is a catch-all term for the efforts to better understand the human body through data. I can’t call this a perfectly scientific experiment, since I’m running a sample set of one and there are far too many variables to control.But part of the point of using treadmill is just putting down numbers—pushing myself further than I’d go in an ordinary day to see what happens.A LifeSpan Fitness treadmill desk loomed large in my fitness plans.Walking For A LivingThe first question: Can I do my work? The answer is yes—and far better than what I’d read suggested I could do.Most treadmill-desk write-ups recommend going 1-1.5 miles per hour, and some users report they can’t type at faster speeds than that.Setting the paceRedmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady confirmed this in his experience with a treadmill desk: He had to hop off to write longer pieces, and even email was easiest at less than 1 mile per hour. Two colleagues who tried the desk agreed: They needed to slow down to type. So O’Grady’s experience may be typical.Yet I’ve actually managed to write entire pieces—like this one, and the previous installment in ReadWriteBody—while walking at 3 miles per hour. (The treadmill’s maximum speed is 4 miles per hour, which is too fast for comfortable typing in my experience.)It’s possible to get substantial work done, even at 3 mph.I may well be an outlier here in my ability to adapt to working while walking. I credit the high-school instructor who taught me to touch type. I could already carry on a conversation while typing without looking at my keyboard, so on the treadmill, I don’t need to look down at the keys.If you’re constantly glancing at your keyboard, that likely throws off your balance. Your mileage may vary—I’d recommend going slow and then seeing how fast you can go.Can You Hear Me Now? How About My Treadmill?For phone calls, my conversation partners didn’t report hearing noise from the treadmill or my footstrikes. When I did a Google Hangouts video chat with colleagues, though, I found that the constant motion was distracting both to them and to Google’s motion-detection algorithms, which often threw the screen focus to me even while someone else was talking—so I turned off the camera except for when I was talking.The biggest drain to productivity has been the position of the treadmill in our open-plan office: I’m on the way to the kitchen, and it’s highly visible, so curious coworkers have come by to ask questions. (Mostly they ask if I can really type while walking. I’ve shown them drafts of this piece by way of reply.)Connect Me, Connect Me NotThe LifeSpan Fitness TR1200-DT5 has good basic controls. You can enter your weight, which helps it estimate calories burned. It also tracks time spent, steps, and distance.It also has a companion website and downloadable desktop software which ostensibly connects to the treadmill via Bluetooth. I say “ostensibly,” because I only managed to get the treadmill to communicate data to the desktop app and hence to the website twice. After the first day, it claimed to be syncing with the Lifespan website; after a week, the desktop app stopped connecting with the treadmill’s Bluetooth connection altogether. Just yesterday, it started working again. A LifeSpan support technician was not able to diagnose the problem.Meet the LifeSpan website—a circa-2008 disaster of outdated Web design.Which is just as well, because the Lifespan website and desktop app are both useless and ugly. Even if they functioned as advertised, I wouldn’t want to use them.I’m not alone. O’Grady, the Redmonk analyst who has a similar LifeSpan model, came to a similar conclusion. He thinks LifeSpan should stick to making fitness hardware, and leave software to other people.“I don’t trust [LifeSpan] to do software,” O’Grady said. “I can’t get the data out of it where I want to.”It’s frustrating that I can’t use the treadmill desk’s Bluetooth connection to connect to, say, the MapMyFitness app on my smartphone, which already collects similar data from the EB Sync Burn fitness tracker I wear. The tracker and the treadmill disagree on the number of steps I’ve taken—here, I trust the treadmill’s data, but I have no good way to reconcile them in one cloud-based store. O’Grady says he uses a Google Doc to log his miles. I just tweet them at the end of the day.It highlights a problem ReadWrite contributor Matt Asay recently wrote about: our quantified-self data is stored in a bunch of unconnected silos.LifeSpan’s mostly useless desktop app traps your data.The one aspect of the hardware I’d complain about is the emergency stop cord, which LifeSpan tells me is required by regulations. When I did a video chat, I found myself leaning in to better position myself in front of my laptop’s webcam, knocking the cord loose and bringing the treadmill to a halt. Every time I did this, the treadmill also lost all the data for my session to date.A LifeSpan spokesperson told me that safety rules require that the system cut off electricity when the cord is pulled, but it seems like LifeSpan could correct this problem with a tiny, cheap memory chip that retains data when the system loses power. (The Bluetooth connection seemed noticeably more erratic after I accidentally triggered the stop cord, though I’m not sure if the events were connected.)My Blistering PaceSo what’s it like walking all day? It’s easy on my back and neck, which seemed to suffer from sitting. But it’s rough on my feet—I feel sore to the bone, and there’s the blister I mentioned, which I probably could have avoided with more cushioned socks.And then there’s the sweat. When I first got the treadmill desk, I didn’t have a fan, and I went through three T-shirts in one day. Even with the fan, my boss took a look at me one day and said, “You need a shower.” Luckily, our office has one built in.Ramona the Love Terrier is skeptical.I won’t lie: I’m tired. I’m probably, relatively speaking, overdoing it, clocking an average of 10 or more miles per day. But I’m already pretty fit—I frequently walk my dog, Ramona the Love Terrier, up the Filbert Steps and around Coit Tower, a vertiginous climb even in our hilly hometown of San Francisco, and I often walk from North Beach to our office in the city’s SoMa neighborhood.So part of the test for me is not whether I can add a little bit of activity to a sedentary lifestyle, but if I can actually push my levels of performance and effect changes in my metabolism and body competition. And, yeah, fit into that pair of jeans at the bottom of my chest of drawers I’ve been avoiding.So far, so good: I’ve dropped six pounds in a little less than two weeks. That’s not the only metric I’m measuring, but it’s a useful data point.Correction: The model I tested is the TR1200-DT5, not the TR800-DT5. Apologies for the error.Are you quantifying yourself? Share your experiences in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #rwbody. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting owen thomas Tags:#Body#exercise#fitness#fitness apps#fitness trackers#LifeSpan#quantified self#treadmill desk A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Cash for votes: Congress conspiring against Amar, says Mulayam

first_imgMulayam Singh Yadav said Amar Singh was the victim of a Congress conspiracy.Sensing trouble as the investigation into the cash-for-vote scam reached his party’s door, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday said the Congress was conspiring against his former general secretary Amar Singh and senior party leader Rewati Raman Singh.His party had “helped” the Congress get majority in the Lok Sabha by supporting it, but did not ask for any favours, including a berth in the Union cabinet, Yadav pointed out. The SP had supported the UPA government in 2009.Claiming that the Delhi Police’s decision to question Amar Singh and Rewati Raman Singh was an “injustice” to the leaders, he said the SP would help both the parties during the crisis. The Samajwadi Party chief, however, ruled out Amar Singh’s return to the party following his expulsion last year.Yadav also said the SP had no role in the July 2008 cash-for-vote scam. “It is an injustice being meted out to Amar Singh… It is a conspiracy to trouble Rewati Raman Singh and Amar Singh. He had helped the Congress during the 2008 confidence vote when the Samajwadi Party voted in favour of the UPA government. And now he is being targeted and questioned,” Yadav said at a press conference here.Amar Singh was questioned by the Delhi Police in the cash for votes scam.He added that the SP members were not involved in the bribing of BJP MPs. “We had only helped the Congress by voting in the government’s favour. Did we join the government? Did Amar Singh or Rewati Singh become ministers? Had money changed hands, I would have known about it. Both Amar Singh and Rewati Raman Singh have now landed into trouble for helping the Congress-led UPA government,” Yadav said.On whether Congress leaders like Ahmed Patel should also be questioned on the issue, he steered clear of a straight reply. “I don’t know,” he said.advertisementRewati Raman Singh will be questioned by the Delhi Police on Monday. Amar Singh has already been questioned for three hours on Friday.The SP chief also stepped up his attack on the Congress.Changing his earlier stand, he said the UPA’s rule was worse than the BJP-led NDA government’s tenure for Uttar Pradesh’s Muslims. “Whenever the BJP has ruled, the Muslims have not been exploited.Though it’s a fact that a couple of communal riots took place during the NDA’s rule, but the exploitation of Muslims has been much less,” Yadav said.However, he added: “The BJP has created some problems in the country. The Gujarat chief minister himself carried out the 2002 riots in the state since the party thought it was an opportune moment to target Muslims.” He said the BJP could not harm Muslims in UP as he was in power in the state. “But the Congress is arrogant. It is not concerned about our protests… But we will tackle it,” he said.The SP leader also asked Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh to merge his party with the SP. “We will contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections alone. Ajit Singh should forgive me for saying this, but his influence is restricted to three districts only. He would do better to merge his party with the SP,” Yadav said.Police nail ‘lie’Sanjeev SaxenaThe crime branch of the Delhi Police, which quizzed Amar Singh in connection with the cash-for-vote scam, claims it has evidence to nail the former SP leader’s lie. Amar had told the police on Friday he did not know the accused Sanjeev Saxena, believed to be an aide of Amar.The police said it has a copy of a letter Amar wrote a month before the trust vote in 2008 on his official Member of Parliament letterhead, requesting a college principal to admit Saxena’s son under the sports quota. “The document, addressed to the principal of Dayal Singh College, identifies Saxena as his secretary and requests his aide’s son Samarth be admitted to the B.Com course,” a source said.last_img read more

Ruckus over CWG scam forces Lok Sabha adjournment till 2 pm

first_imgNoisy scenes continued to rock both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday over CWG scam and Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s statement. Both Houses of Parliament had to be adjourned till noon as the BJP pressed for its demand to suspend question hour and discuss the matter.Lok Sabha was further adjourned till 2 pm when it convened at noon. The BJP parliamentary party earlier decided to give a notice for the suspension of question hour to the speaker’s office. “BJP demands suspension of Question Hour in Parliament to discuss CWG scam and Privilege Motion against Sports Minister Ajay Maken,” BJP leader S S Ahluwalia told reporters in New Delhi.The decision was taken at a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party in New Delhi. The BJP had given a privilege notice against the sports minister on Monday, alleging that he had misled Parliament by his statement on sacked OC chief Suresh Kalmadi’s appointment.”We will not only discuss the statement, we will also discuss the Shunglu Committee reports, the functioning of the CWG Organising Committee and observations of the CAG,” Ahluwalia said,”We are not going to spare the government on this issue,” he said. On Friday, Maken had said that Kalmadi was appointed by the NDA government, and UPA couldn’t do anything about it, being bound by the Host City agreement.  Maken has since stood by his statement. The Congress defended Maken by taking potshots at the Comptroller and Auditor General, whose report sparked off the controversy.- With inputs from PTIadvertisementlast_img read more


first_imgThe ATA is calling for Assistant Coaches and Managers for the 2005 All Nations Senior sides. The All Nations is being held in Christchurch, New Zealand. The closing date for applications for Managers has been extended until Friday April 29. The closing date for applications for Assistant Coaches is Friday April 22. For the criteria and application details, please read the following memo. ASSISTANT COACHES AND MANAGERS MEMOlast_img

Michigan State Football’s 2016 Recruiting Class Is Ranked Higher Than Every Other Class It Has Had In 21st Century

first_img247 Sports Team Rankings pits Tennessee as the top recruiting class.247 Sports Team RankingsIf you follow recruiting, or college football in general, you’re probably somewhat aware of the momentum Michigan State’s program has. Spartans’ quarterback Damion Terry probably summed it up best on Twitter this afternoon after his team landed another four-star recruit. Feels like every time I refresh my Twitter we get a new big time recruit#SpartanDawgs— Damion Terry (@DamionTerry) June 7, 2015He’s not wrong. Michigan State’s 2016 is shaping up to be really, really good.How good, exactly? The best-class-the-Spartans-have-had-in-the-21st-century good. On 247 Sports’ Team Rankings, Michigan State’s class is currently ranked No. 7 in the country. The Spartans’ previous best class of the 21st century was their 2000 class, which was ranked No. 8 in the country.  Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 4.38.11 PM2000.  Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 4.38.29 PM2016. Mark Dantonio with elite recruits is a scary thought for the rest of the country.last_img read more

Las Vegas Sportsbook Releases Betting Lines For College Football’s Games of the Year

first_imgCFB Betting Lines for the weekend of September 5th.CFB Betting LinesIf you’re a gambling man (or woman), you can now bet on college football’s (basically) full slate of 2015 games.  Harbaugh-MeyerWho’s favored in the first Harbaugh-Meyer game? The Las Vegas sportsbook, Golden Nugget, has released its lines for its “games of the year,” which are nearly all of the notable games that will occur each week. The casino will take a max bet of $1,000 on the games. Here they are: Thursday, Sept. 3Michigan at Utah -4TCU -18 at MinnesotaFriday, Sept. 4Washington at Boise State -13Saturday, Sept. 5Wisconsin vs. Alabama -10 (Arlington, Texas)Louisville vs. Auburn -11.5 (Atlanta, Ga.)Arizona State vs. Texas A&M -3 (Houston)Texas at Notre Dame -7.5Virginia at UCLA -17BYU at Nebraska -6Monday, Sept. 7Ohio State -16 at Virginia TechSaturday, Sept. 12LSU -3 at Mississippi StateUCLA -32 at UNLVOklahoma at Tennessee -3Notre Dame -9 at VirginiaOregon State at Michigan -14Iowa -4.5 at Iowa StateMarshall -3.5 at Ohio UniversityBoise State -6 at BYUOregon at Michigan State -1Thursday, Sept. 17Clemson -3 at LouisvilleSaturday, Sept. 19Auburn at LSU -4UNLV at Michigan -33Ole Miss at Alabama -9.5South Carolina at Georgia -11Georgia Tech at Notre Dame -2Nebraska at Miami, Fla. PKStanford at USC -4BYU at UCLA -14Colorado -1.5 vs. Colorado State (Denver)Thursday, Sept. 24Cincinnati at Memphis -2Friday, Sept. 25Boise State -9 at VirginiaSaturday, Sept. 26LSU -20 at SyracuseUCLA at Arizona PKUSC -1 at ArizonaUtah at Oregon -14Oklahoma State at Texas -2.5BYU at Michigan -7Texas A&M vs. Arkansas -6.5 (Arlington, Texas)Mississippi State at Auburn -8Tennessee -2.5 at FloridaThursday, Oct. 1Miami, Fla. at Cincinnati -2.5Saturday, Oct. 3UNLV at Nevada -14Ole Miss -6 at FloridaAlabama at Georgia PKSouth Carolina at Missouri -11Arkansas at Tennessee -1Mississippi State at Texas A&M -6.5Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech -9Arizona at Stanford -7.5Arizona State at UCLA -6Oregon -16 at ColoradoArmy at Penn State -28West Virginia at Oklahoma -10Kansas State at Oklahoma State -4Texas at TCU -21Notre Dame at Clemson -3.5Thursday, Oct. 8Washington at Southern Cal -19Saturday, Oct. 10LSU -8 at South CarolinaGeorgia Tech at Clemson -3Arkansas at Alabama -7.5Florida at Missouri -10Georgia at Tennessee PKMiami (FL) at Florida State -14.5Virginia at Pittsburgh -6Boise State -12 at Colorado StateTCU -11 at Kansas StateOklahoma -6.5 vs. Texas (Dallas, Texas)Oklahoma State at West Virginia -5Wisconsin -1 at NebraskaNavy at Notre Dame -14Thursday, Oct. 15UCLA at Stanford -4.5Auburn -9 at KentuckyFriday, Oct. 16UNLV at Fresno State -12Boise State -9.5 at Utah StateSaturday, Oct. 17Florida at LSU -14Arizona State at Utah -2USC at Notre Dame PKOregon -15 at WashingtonLouisville at Florida State -12Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech -14Virginia Tech at Miami, Fla. -6Missouri at Georgia -8.5Alabama -7 at Texas A&MWest Virginia at Baylor -17TCU -29 at Iowa StateOklahoma -3 at Kansas StateMichigan State -4.5 at MichiganPenn State at Ohio State -19Saturday, Oct. 24Utah at USC -7Kansas State at Texas -2Tennessee at Alabama -10Auburn at Arkansas -6.5Texas A&M at Ole Miss -4Clemson -4.5 at Miami, Fla.Florida State at Georgia Tech PKThursday, Oct. 29Oregon -5 at Arizona StateWest Virginia at TCU -20Saturday, Oct. 31Boise State -28.5 at UNLVCentral Florida at Cincinnati -6Georgia Tech -10 at VirginiaOle Miss at Auburn -4Florida vs. Georgia -12 (Jacksonville, Fla.)South Carolina at Texas A&M -10Oregon State at Utah -16Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015Northern Illinois at Toledo -3Thursday, Nov. 5Mississippi State at Missouri, -6Baylor -12 at Kansas StateSaturday, Nov. 7LSU at Alabama -9Arkansas at Ole Miss -1Auburn -1.5 at Texas A&MTCU -11 at Oklahoma StateMichigan State -6 at NebraskaFlorida State at Clemson -2Virginia at Miami, Fla. -6.5Notre Dame -3 at PittsburghArizona at USC -7.5Thursday, Nov. 12Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech -9.5Friday, Nov. 13USC -12 at ColoradoSaturday, Nov. 14Arkansas at LSU -1.5Utah at Arizona -3Oregon at Stanford PKAlabama -9 at Mississippi StateFlorida at South Carolina -2.5Oklahoma at Baylor -13BYU at Missouri -12Saturday, Nov. 21San Diego State -16 at UNLVLSU at Ole Miss PKFresno State at BYU -18TCU -5 at OklahomaBaylor -10 at Oklahoma StateMichigan State at Ohio State -14Michigan at Penn State -4.5Mississippi State at Arkansas -10Tennessee at Missouri -2.5Georgia Tech -6 at Miami, Fla.Arizona at Arizona State -3UCLA -1 at UtahCalifornia at Stanford -13Friday, Nov. 27Baylor at TCU -6Oregon State at Oregon -22.5Washington State at Washington -4.5Iowa at Nebraska -7Texas A&M at LSU -7.5Kansas State -24 at KansasOklahoma -3 at Oklahoma StateBYU at Utah State PKOhio State -16 at MichiganPenn State at Michigan State -12UCLA at USC -3Colorado at Utah -13.5Notre Dame at Stanford -3North Carolina at NC State -6Virginia Tech -4 at VirginiaMissouri at Arkansas -7Alabama -3.5 at AuburnFlorida State -4 at FloridaGeorgia -1 at Georgia TechLouisville -2.5 at KentuckyOle Miss -2 at MississippiClemson -3 at South CarolinaVanderbilt at Tennessee -17Saturday, Dec. 5Texas at Baylor -18West Virginia at Kansas State -5Saturday, Dec. 12Navy -13 vs. Army, Philadelphia, Pa.last_img read more