Cost Benefit Analysis

So, I started a new diet and exercise routine with the initial self gratifying goal of getting back six pack abs. And for a couple weeks, that was pretty much the only benefit I really saw in it. I’ve certainly experienced some of the downsides – return of my repetitive stress injury in my ankle due to the significant increase in jogging that I do now. It originally started from regular playing of volleyball combine with soccer and jogging too. Luckily, because I’m not currently in a volleyball or soccer league, the amount of jumping I do (I tend to become the blocker/spiker or goalie/defense) I do hasn’t changed much and I don’t have to worry about the return of the shin problems as well.

Some point out that my diet is pretty restrictive and thus very hard to stick to. For the most part, that is not actually the case. I can manage with what I’m allowed to eat and a couple of my favorite dishes can be easily made using what’s on the acceptable list. The tough part though is snacking. I tend to be lazy about grocery shopping – pretty much only do one large trip at the beginning of the month and one smaller trip in the middle. So, aside from not having enough cheese cubes to satisfy my snack cravings, there is actually very little else I can have (as a snack) that I actually want. So while meals are usually where people go wrong, in my case, snacks could be my biggest Achilles heel (as if I didn’t have enough foot problems).

In the past week though, I’ve come to find some other benefits besides those of a purely physical nature. I’m actually eating less – perhaps due to the restricted food choices and not always feeling like cooking (which is weird, a couple years ago I was fine cooking almost every other day), but that’s going down which means my monthly food cost is also decreasing. I’m also fitting into more of my clothes purchased some time ago which means that I won’t have to spend as much to refresh my wardrobe. Furthermore, I’m getting back into decent shape (well, better than before) whose benefits while a bit more intangible are no less real.

Aside from the diet, I have made some changes to the tech in my life. I’d been working on a multimedia setup for my bedroom and recently purchased a pocket projector. While I’m not enthused by it’s one hour battery life on reduced brightness (makes movies or anything with dark scenes barely watchable without the AC adapter), it otherwise seems to be ok. I’d purchased a roku box to give that device a shot. At some point, the main projector in my living room will die and I expect to replace it with an HD capable proejctor. Currently my media device is an original xbox running xbmc. However, video output is only composite (no HD) and some 720p titles can’t be played (too much decoding work for the xbox to handle). So, the plan is when the projector gets replaced, to replace it with an HD capable media device.

Given that my pocket projector has both analog and digital outputs, I thought roku might be a good first step to play around with an HD media device. And while it seems to handle streaming video ok, most of my media actually lives on network attached storage and would require a lot more configuration on my end to work with roku. Furthermore, even the lastest roku device does not support all the media formats that my movies and tv shows are encoded. So, I need a replacement. I’d been considering boxee as a next step when I noticed that the Logitech Revue (a google tv) device has been reduced in price to $99. Given that my roku cost the same amount (and has a 30 day return policy), I think a swap is in order. From what I’ve read, the google tv should support more of my media (technically all of it, the revue has been hacked to run Android – I can install an android media player which supports all of my files). While google tv is lagging behind in terms of available partners, it can browse the web (and presumably playback flash and html 5 content). I’ll verify it’s ability to access Hulu once it arrives.

Now, as promising as this all seems, I did notice a slight flaw in the bedroom media thing. Since the living room projector is a full-size one and thus very bright, it puts out enough light whereby I can comfortably move around, see the remote, even quickly read over something or eat without having to turn on the room lights. I think the eating part will be the hardest to translate to taking place in a bed. Also, that pocket projector is pretty noisy. Coupled with the AC (though this won’t be a problem once the summer is over), it is pretty hard to hear things from the projector’s speaker (which isn’t the greatest either). So I’ll need to invest in a set of those as well.

Now, I’d also been planning on purchasing a tablet pc to take over as my primary computer. Of course, it will be interesting to see my usage of it between the revue actually having a built in web browser, especially when it makes the move to the living room (and the xbox goes to the bedroom). However, my screen configuration has been delayed by yet another month and I’m unable to wait any longer. So, I’m going with a Sony Vaio Z. This is my first Sony. . . I may have briefly owned one for a week once in my undergrad, but aside from my first laptop (a compaq) and the disaster that followed it (a Dell), I have been solidly thinkpad for the past 8 years. This marks a big departure for me but I’m hoping the power and lightness of the Z will make up for not having a tablet (though the tablet I was getting wasn’t a thinkpad either).

Still, with all these changes, I will be left over with a variety of tech which I no longer really need that were purchased in anticipation of a different technology scenario. Hopefully I can unload them without suffering too much of a loss over the next couple weeks.

Turning back to my exercise/diet, my recent NYC trip has left me at 208.2lbs. On the other hand, I’ve definitely lost a few inches on my waist, a bit on my chest and thighs. Biceps remain the same. I didn’t get in my third hour of running this past week, but I plan on doing an hour each day over the next 5 days. I still think it is possible to hit my target of 185 by the end of the month.

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