Running Maps

Running in Boston

Motorola’s now-discontinued MotoACTV sportswatch gives you the commendable option to download all your running routes.

With a touch of data hacking, some manual editing to remove redundant routes, and some beautiful map tiles from Stamen, I ended up with a nice record of the places that I visited in 2012/13 and the parts of my town explored.

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Frames of Reference

An enjoyable film on frames of reference from 1960, with Donald Ivey – for the Canadians, he was the original Nature of Things host – and Patterson Hume. Internet archive says it well:

The fine cinematography by Abraham Morochnik, and funny narration by University of Toronto professors Donald Ivey and Patterson Hume is a wonderful example of the fun a creative team of filmmakers can have with a subject that other, less imaginative types might find pedestrian.

Smartphone Feature Hacking

I’m always impressed with the cleverness of hacks that repurpose a tool for a use completely foreign to its original function. Things like fluffing your pillows with tennis balls in the dryer or keeping moisture from brown sugar by adding grains of rice. One particularly neat area of late is in mobile devices. With smartphones piling on all sorts of trinkets and sensors, people are finding subversive uses for them. Here’s a few that I’ve been amused and impressed by:

Instant Heart Rate (Android): We can all recognize the bright red orb of a finger placed over a camera lens. This app uses that for practical purposes: a user holds their finger over the lens and it tracks their heart rate through changes in color. Neat!

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