I am a sucker for data

I have always liked data in every form and manipulation of that data tickles my fancy a little too much. In pursuit of that endeavor, here is a little gem I recently uncovered.

I (recently started to) work out regularly on my exercise bike. I own a Nordic Trac AutoRider R400 which I absolutely adore. The bike is comfortable, there are lots of options and it is still fun to use it. Fun is a crucial component of any exercise routine. My plans are to train on this bike all winter and then ride in the summer. One feature of this bike that I find unsatisfying is the EKG monitor on the handlebars. The pads are not very accurate, nor very sensitive and the readout leaves a lot to be desired. I have been targeting heart rates (I have high cholesterol) and it is hard to do with the bike.

Recently I also found the Polar FS1 Hear Rate Monitor Watch for about $50 and I thought that it might be cheap enough and work well. Then I found the ADI05 Software Logger on Amazon (it works with the FS1 and all its cousins) for about $27 and it all fell into place. I had a heart rate monitor, a receiver to plug into my computer to receive my heart rate data, a data logger for my computer and all the data I could ever dream of. From one of the reviewers, … keep track of how much time you have spent in each zone per week and tells you how many more times, for how long, and how hard you need to exercise the rest of the week to reach your goal of maintaining, improving, or maximizing. I love it.

Now I need to fork over another hundred bucks to get all the stuff and write some code to put it into cool flash graphs. I can’t wait! PS: I will be looking for a relatively inexpensive road bike come summer. Any suggestions would be well appreciated.

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2 thoughts on “I am a sucker for data”

  1. Mark,

    I was looking around in Google blogsearch for people interested in data, and sure enough, I came across your Sucker for Data blogpost. Given your obvious love for data, I wanted to mention Swivel.com for your heart rate to visualization graph idea. We have a pretty cool site for doing exactly what you are trying to put together.

    Here are some examples of other user graphs:

    Yearly average weight, and total miles walked:
    http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/5050703

    Attendance at the annual Burning Man festival:
    http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/8214446

    Come check us out!

    Thanks,

    Chris Grisanti
    Swiveler
    http://www.swivel.com

  2. Hi, there…I noted that you have the same recumbent exercise bike I have. In case you might still have it, I’ll send this maybe-too-detailed request your way:
    Need help hacking iFIT SD card from tech-savvy, data hungry blogger. /g/

    We bought a NordicTrack AudioRider r400 recumbent exercise bike. It uses an SD card in a front port to provide canned exercises from the mothership company. Being of tech mind myself (I’m an EE), I tried to read it on my XP Home PC with built-in SD card reader. No soap. Here’s what I’m asking you:

    1. How do I read what’s there?

    2. How can I hack/modify what is on existing SD cards or back it up to another card?

    3. How can I create NEW routines that fit MY particular needs, as opposed to the (expensive) canned ones? (that are dreadful, don’t go to a high enough exertion level, and have that AWFUL lady yelling the same stuff over and over at ya when you try it out)

    4. What size card do I need? & what is the maximum size card supported by this port?

    I have as yet been paralyzed by my lack of finding any tech community discussion and hacking of the SD card version of these exercises. There are many mentions out on the Internet of the FORMER, audio-based iFIT hacks. They don’t work on our machines, which pay only attention to the SD card plugged into it.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

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