So I got this Garmin device that does GPS in hopes that it’d make me run more. So far it’s been successful. The GPS and Google maps mashups on their activity summary web app are super cool (see full example):
Over time, if you keep up with it you can see improvements in different categories:
- Distance – you can run more as you get in better shape
- Heart rate – peaks and average should normalize
- Time – you’ll improve your time (ideally!)
Since I’m not a running super-beast and I’m not very fast, I have been pretty interested in the heart rate! I’m also interested in it because the first few runs were pretty tough because I’d run for a bit (at the speed I remember running at) and my heart would go nuts and I’d have to walk for a bit. For a while I’d have to keep doing that, and my heart rate chart showed why.
On my first run in about 2 years, I was getting owned:
After waking up this morning at 430am and going for a crazy morning run (which, if you knew me, is something I never do), I was happy to see this:
I still have to walk a bit in the middle of a 3 mile jog, but while I’m running my heart rate remains constant and it never felt like it was going to explode. I’m now able to sustain for longer and I also have less movement between 180 and 200 bpm (Note that the top graph was 1.5 miles and the bottom one was 3 miles).
As I was writing a blog about browsing statistics and how they can improve how we use the web, it made me think of this little Garmin watch and how knowing more about my own body can help me improve my life.
Data is good, knowledge is good. By itself, not so much — but if you use it right it can make all the difference.
Firefox users: Did you know that you have private database that contains all your browsing information?
Well, you do. And here’s the thing:
- Only you have access to it
- It’s under-utilized
- You probably didn’t even know it existed
Browsing could be better. There’s no question about that. We have set conventions and preconceived notions about how browsing should be. That is, until the next big thing comes along and rocks our world.
It feels like using data to improve browsing is a no-brainer, and data-driven browsing is already the next big thing. You see this in search suggests, amazon suggested items, the iTunes store, and other sites. And that’s just all site-specific. Imagine if we used data the right way and made things just click?
On a limited scale, it’s all more than possible today. You have complete control over your own browsing history:
- Sites visited
- Awesome bar history
- Media viewed
- Favorite sites
- Search keywords
- Trending of all the above
Simple fact is that you’re not using as much as you could.
The Firefox awesome bar was heralded as a great step in browsing innovation. And it’s true, it really was. And that’s because a lot of browsing is really repeat browsing. How many times do you go back and view what you just looked at the other day?
But that’s the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of things we can learn about the web and about how we use the web to make it better. And don’t think about person -> corporation -> other corporations. For starters, think about what you could do with just your own browsing data, or your family’s browsing data:
- Easy access to repeat searches – movies, facebook, maps, you name it
- An automated media catalog of images, videos and news articles you read over time
- A list of phone numbers you have looked up and who they belong to
- A list of all map directions you’ve ever done
- A list of people you read about over the last week
The awesome bar in Firefox already uses this, and it’s great to see some Firefox extensions are already tapping into the possibilities:
- about:me lets you read about your own browsing statistics
- Voyage is a very cool way to not only view the sites you’ve used but see how you got there over time and whether or not you Tweeted about it!
Those are just two examples of what we can do and where we can go. I’m pretty excited to see what happens next. Maybe you have the next great idea — go forth!
This weekend my laptop decided to die after the latest batch of Apple system updates. Not sure why, but on the first startup after the update, it wanted to randomly shut off (hard power-down) and could not get out of that cycle. Thanks, Apple.
So I did my first successful restore from a Time Machine backup. However, while I was waiting, I used a vanilla install of Firefox. I noticed that I couldn’t tab through form elements and it would jump straight from the page to the address bar. WTF?
Here is how you enable this tab behavior that you’re used to on Windows:
- Go to System Preferences… in the apple menu
- Open Keyboard & Mouse
- Go to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab
- Check All controls
This will let you tab through individual web elements normally. Screenshot below, in case it helps.
Update: Alex Faaborg noted that you can track Bug 437296 if you’d like to follow overriding OS keyboard settings to maintain a consistent user experience in the browser across platforms.
Update: Chris Ilias pointed out so kindly that this is already in the Mozilla Knoledge base.