Mar 092013

My Tracks - Google Android App

I have been using the android app, My Tracks from Google, to track my daily walks and other outdoor activities for a couple of months now. I have used my Garmin GPS to map my routes in the past but being able to use my phone is so much more handy. Just as we all use our phones as a handy camera, I want to be able to use my phone as a handy GPS. And just as my phone camera is not as ‘good’ as my large dSLR camera, my phone GPS only needs to be ‘good enough’ when I am out and about. So, what does a GPS app need to do to be ‘good enough’?

Background Mode Endomondo Pro had been on my Galaxy Nexus for a number of months and did a pretty good job but has a major failing; if you need to run any other app, it cannot run in the background and will close down as soon as it looses focus. So, if you need to take a call, answer a text message, or change up something on your android mp3 player, Endomond will silently quit running and you may not realize till you get home that you have no record of your activity.

Display Tracks on Google Maps We all want to see where we have been, especially if we took a nice hike. My Tracks can export your track to your My Maps at Google or you can share it on any of your favorite social media sites.

Export Tracks to a GPX Geo tagging photos allows you to place the location of a photo within the image so that you and others can see where the photo was taken. By using this on my last trip to San Antonio I could easily see where I was when I took each photo. Running the GPS constantly can be hard on battery life but I always carry 2 spare batteries when I plan to do this just to be on the safe side.

My Track Features

  • View your real-time location and where you’ve been on Google Maps for Mobile.
  • Monitor real-time speed, distance and elevation right on your phone.
  • Share your tracks with friends via Google+, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Want to remember that secret vista or running path? Mark it with a waypoint.
  • Record your heart rate and bike cadence to know exactly how you’re doing.
  • Export your tracks and stats to Google Maps, Google Docs, and Google Fusion Tables too.

All in all, I like the My Tracks app. I turn it on when I take my daily walks and have it set to ‘announce’ every 2 minutes how far and how fast I am walking so that I push myself. I have used it on vacations, hikes, and even Cross Country meets to geo-tag photos, that then can be plotted on Google Maps.

What apps do you use?

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Feb 142013

Cheryl Strayed.
Google Books

2 hours into the 11+ hour audiobook and am giving up. There are too many good books to read. This book was recommended by Oprah’s Book Club on June 12th, 2012 and by July 15th it hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, where it stayed for seven weeks.

The numerous reckless and stupid things she recalls piled too high for me to continue. Sure she was depressed, sure she was lonely, sure she was young, sure ….

Here are some quotes from Goodreads (the Amazon quotes seem like hype from the Oprah book club):

What kind of dimwit would decide to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail alone with zero backpacking experience? Apparently the same kind of dimwit who would try heroin just because the stranger she spent the night with happens to need a fix. – Jeanette (Netterooski)
A self-absorbed, ill-prepared woman, 26 years old, leaves her husband (a decent guy) for no good reason, mucks her life up even further with drugs and reckless sex, then engages in some vacuous navel-gazing on the Pacific Crest Trail. – Cathy
So much baggage. As a backpacker myself, I cringed to read about hoisting a backpack so heavy that she could only strap it on while sitting on the ground. How she managed to balance that pack and not let it accidentally fling her off the Sierras, even after Albert put that bag on a diet, is beyond me. And those tight boots that ate her toenails and mangled her feet into a fine pulp!! – HappyReader
I know what Cheryl felt like on the Pacific Crest Trail because I felt like that reading her book. Neverending. Arduous. But without that whole enlightenment part. – Nikiverse

Book Info

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Publisher: Knopf
Published: 03/20/2012
ISBN-10: 0307592731
ISBN-13: 978-0307592736
Started: 02/12/2013
Abandoned: 02/14/2013
Source: Mid-Columbia Library
Reason: #1 New York Times Bestseller Non-Fiction
Format: audiobook

Publisher Synopsis

Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Author Info
Raised in Minnesota, Strayed now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, the filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, and their two children.

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