A healthier technology lifestyle

Shine Activity Monitor in action. (VIDEO SCREENSHOT)

Shine Activity Monitor in action. (VIDEO SCREENSHOT)

Syd Bolton, Special to QMi Agency

, Last Updated: 2:42 PM ET

In the '80s I thought being a geek was tough. The not fitting-in with the "in" crowd was okay, but never getting the girl was pretty tough to take for early technology adopters. Sitting alone in the lunch room or being surrounded with other geeks certainly wasn't ideal, but somehow we made it through.

With the new millennium rolled around, being a geek wasn't so bad. Many of the richest people in the world were also some of the biggest geeks. The regular geeks out there were starting to get a little more attention. It was definitely time to step up the game.

Today, being a geek is actually pretty cool. Whether we see it in pop culture with shows, such as The Big Bang Theory or just silently smile as I do that the majority of the world is walking around with computers on then, near them, or with them almost all of the time the fact is, things have changed. That also means, for geeks, that the days of the pocket protectors and broken (but taped) glasses are gone. Now, geeks are often the ones getting the girls and sporting the great haircuts and stylish glasses. The jocks are now spending more time befriending the geeks to help them get a passing grade. For many, it's sweet justice.

It all comes with a cost, however. Geeks have often been considered to live unhealthy lifestyles, by spending far too long sitting in front of screens and consuming large amounts of cola and Twinkies. While those items can help to fuel a complete night of "geeking out", getting a good night's sleep is now part of what a geek has to do. Getting regular exercise and eating healthier are things that more and more geeks need to adopt and, of course, there is no better way to do this than with technology (from a geek's perspective, anyway).

I recently tried out a new product called The Shine from Misfit Wearables. The product is about the size of a loonie (although thicker, maybe three loonies) and is designed to be worn on your body. It comes with a clip that can be used on a boot, a jacket, or swimsuit and because it's magnetic, there is little risk of it coming off by accident. There are also accessories that allow you to wear the Shine as a watch (both a sports band and a more stylish leather band) as well as a necklace. It's rather unassuming "face" (available in topaz, champagne, or grey colours) might not look like much at first but under the hood is a very sophisticated little computer.

Shine helps you lead a more active life by keeping track of how much activity you do. Using the free iPhone companion app, it lets you set goals. Once you enter your weight, height and gender, it keeps track of how many steps you take in a day and depending on what you have set as your goal (somewhat active, active, or very active) it reminds you how far along you have come. It will even tell you how many calories your body has burned so far, which may help you make the decision as to whether or not to reach for that cheeseburger. When writing this, the app told me I had taken 4,082 steps which is the equivalent of 1.6 miles. I even tried to trick it in the car, but it's smart enough to know the difference.

If you tell Shine when you go to sleep (just triple tap the face) it will even track your sleeping patterns to a degree. It accurately told me when I got up and how many hours of deep sleep I got too! It's also waterproof so you can wear it in the shower or take it swimming with you.

The connection to the smartphone is the key, in mind, to the success of the Shine. I can publish my results with social media (although I'd rather not go that route) but it truly is helping me stay more active or at least have a form of measuring it. Are you active enough? Now you'll know.

Syd Bolton is the curator of the Personal Computer Museum and the manager of Information Technology at ACIC/Methapharm. You can reach him via-email at sbolton@bfree.on.ca or by snail mail care of The Brantford Expositor.

 


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