The Daily Ping

The original Ping was painfully written in Perl.

September 11th, 2004

The Garmin Forerunner

When I think a “geek,” I think of someone who always has the latest technology. But at the same time, some of the most “geeky” people I know (and I mean that in the best possible way and sort of include myself in that group) are the ones that know about the latest gadgets but don’t always own them.

There are a few times I’ve bought something especially geeky and have used the hell out of it, making the initial investment well worth it. Like my old school Nomad… it’s on its second life with a 60 gig hard drive, but I’m still using the heck out of it even though there are smaller MP3 players out there. One of my recent purchases that I think will also fall into this category is the Garmin Forerunner 201.

See, while I’m a “sort of geek,” I also consider myself a “sort of runner.” That is, I’ve run more this year than I have in the rest of my life combined, but I’m still not a hardcore runner. I won’t allow myself that status until I can run a marathon. Now, I’m still working my way up to four miles. But the Forerunner’s helping inspire me to do it, and that’s when technology is at its best, when it’s inspiring.

Thanks to GPS, the Forerunner provides very accurate information about your distance, allowing you to more precisely time your runs. In addition, you can use it as a simple mapping device to see where you’ve been or go to a specific location (Geocaching, here I come!). There’s even a “virtual partner” which allows you to set a pace and run against that pace. A visual representation of you and your partner gives you something to race against, even when you’re running alone. Talking aloud to virtual partner is discouraged.

The Forerunner has upgradable firmware and comes with some basic software for logging your runs. The software can export data into an XML format, which you can then upload to a site like GPS Visualizer which will show you your course drawn on any number of different kinds of maps.

It’s a fun, but very practical, toy and has already inspired me to run more… this week I logged more miles than all of last month combined (which isn’t saying much, but still).

(I should also note the site that led me to the Forerunner and GPS Visualizer: Running for Geeks.)

Posted in Miscellaneous

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings