Habitica

There’s a glut of self-improvement apps coming out for your smartphone lately. WeightWatchers, Strava, FitBit, the various one’s built into Android and iPhone’s operating systems, and plenty of other ones.

Most self-improvement apps focus on a specific purpose, whether that’s exercise, dieting, or quitting bad habits.

My self-improvement app of choice doesn’t have any specific focus. And if you haven’t already guessed from the title, the app is called Habitica.

Habitica Banner

Habitica lets you define your goals, what habits you want to develop, and which bad habits you want to lose. You can also define rewards for yourself (such as eating a piece of cake while on a diet). Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading

Nashville: The Case of the Lost License

The title of this post kind of gives it away, but I lost my license while traveling to Nashville.

My dad woke up nice and early to give my wife and me a ride to the airport. He dropped us off and gave us hugs goodbye.

I had my license when going through security and put it back in my pocket after the body scanner.

We found our gate and my wife left to go to the bathroom while I got her a bagel to eat at an airport deli.

Soon enough our plane arrived. We boarded and watched some movies while flying out to Tennessee.

We got off the plane in Nashville, walked to the baggage claim, and waited for our bags. It took awhile so I went to the bathroom by the baggage claim.

After getting our luggage we went over to the rental car location and got in line for our car. Once we got to the front I dug around in my pockets and realized, “My license isn’t here!”

Thoroughly searching my pockets, wallet, backpack, and the folder I kept our travel reservations in revealed nothing. No license.

Going to the lost and found by the baggage claim, nothing.

Going back into the bathroom I’d used while waiting for our luggage, nothing.

Talking to the airline lost and found and getting them to search the plane we were on, nothing.

Out of options, my wife ended up being the driver for our trip.

We got to the hotel and I tried a few more things to at least locate my license and secure a replacement.

I called the San Francisco airport lost and found to see if my ID fell out by that bagel place and someone had turned it in, nothing.

I contacted the California DMV and after negotiating their phone tree for about an hour I got them to send me a temporary license by fax to our hotel.

The license did not arrive next morning as they promised, so I called again and they sent it within a few hours.

With the temporary license we returned to the car rental place to get me added as a driver.

You didn’t think I’d post my license information on the Internet, did you?

Unfortunately, a temporary California driver’s license does not come with a picture. Without a picture the rental car people were unable to “verify my identity” right as it says on that piece of paper there.

And of course my picture on my student IDs was no good. The dozen or so insurance, credit, and debit cards I have in my wallet wouldn’t do.  My wife vouching for me wouldnt cut it. A picture of an expired license on my phone wasn’t good enough either. Apparently the only thing that can verify my identity to the satisfaction of the rental car company is the one thing I lost.

Please note that not even TSA is this strict. I still plan on flying home and as their website states, security will ask me extra questions and it’ll take longer, but I should still get through.

In the meantime my wife has gotten to practice her driving skills (I’m usually the one that drives) and I’ve gotten to practice my navigating skills (she’s the one that usually navigates).

It’s worked out so far! The last hurdle to jump is getting through TSA, then we’ll be home free (quite literally).

-GoCorral

Lost and Found

Two weeks ago while I was walking through the Davis streets I found a Fitbit on the ground.

$100 for a smart phone peripheral!
$100 for a smart phone peripheral!

It was one of the simple models without any touchscreen, but it did have an unusual piece of metal where a touchscreen would’ve been.

The metal plate had the owner’s name and contact numbers for her family members. Presumably so that if she was found injured and unable to communicate someone would be able to contact her loved ones.

I called her husband’s number and left a message.

Unsatisfied with that I looked up her name on Google and found her Facebook page to message her there as well.

She called me back later that day and came to my house to pick up the Fitbit and say thanks.

I didn’t think much of it until I got letter in the mail that had no address or stamp, just my name.

Inside the letter was a thank you note from the Fitbit owner and a Starbucks gift card!

Outside Thank You Inside Thank You

A happy little surprise for my good deed earlier and a free coffee! And also a reminder that I have yet to pen my Christmas cards. >_<

-GoCorral

New Phone

I got a new phone last weekend and have been adjusting to it.

This was a thing for me because I’ve never had a smartphone before.

I’ve shied away from smartphones in the past for two reasons.

#1 Having a touch screen in my pocket kind of freaks me out. I’m always worried that it will touch my leg and turn itself on and text something to someone I know.

Of course that never happens but we all have our irrational fears.

#2 I don’t want to get too distracted from other things by my phone. A phone with more stuff to do on it is more distracting.

I got over both of those things by getting an iPad. The touch screen doesn’t freak me out as much and I don’t get more distracted by my iPad than I did by other things in the past.

So! The new phone! I was basically deciding between an iPhone and an Android.

I went with the Android for a few reasons (this is apparently the listing reasons blog post!).

The Android has better reviews. I generally trust consumer reviews and all of them were poiting me towards the Galaxy phones.

The Android has better ads and has always had a more adult feel to it to me. The iPhone has always felt like a child’s phone to me. Not saying that it is, but I feel childish when I hold one.

And finally, Android phones are cheaper.

The phone is working out great. As a smartphone it can do a lot of things my old dumb phone could not.

Old one on the left if you couldn't tell.
Old one on the left if you couldn’t tell.

My old phone could make calls, text, and take poor quality pictures.

The new one can make calls, text (with a predictive text messaging keyboard which is way faster), take high quality pictures (WTF do you even do with 16 MP pictures?), and has access to apps.

The apps are also a lot better than what I was using previously on my iPad.

It’s surprising to me that differences in app quality would exist for different machines, but there are.

The WordPress app that I use to write my blog posts comes to mind first. My iPad mini has advantages that my Galaxy S6 can’t compete with. A decently sized physical keyboard attachment and larger screen are just things a phone will never be able to do.

But the Android makes up for it by having an app that actually displays pictures while I’m writing. I can also access the picture library that I uploaded onto WordPress earlier. The iPad ap doesn’t let me do either of those things.

The Android app also doesn’t have any problems with carriage returns, something the iPad app has always had a problem with for some reason.

The next app that was noticeably better was the Starbucks app. The iPhone/iPad version makes it difficult to use or even find coupons that the app gives you. You have to struggle to use coupons on the iPhone version and sometimes the baristas don’t even know how to redeem them once you do find them.

The Android app ties those coupons into the pay function. You just tell it you want to pay for something and it applies your coupons to that stuff. Boom! Done!

Cons of the phone are few compared to my old one.

It uses data, so now I have to pay for that, but Wifi is nearly ubiquitous, so maybe I won’t.

The new phone has really bad battery life. I’ve needed to recharge it every night after using it. My old phone needed to be recharged about once a week. Partially that’s because the new phone has apps so I’m using it more, but its still a big difference that I’m adjusting to.

The new phone is also bigger. Taking up more space in pocket means its been a little harder to get my keys out. That falls into the category of #FirstWorldProblems so I’m not overly conerned.

It’s a good phone, I’m glad I upgraded, I wish it was perfect and had all the nice things my old phone had as well.

-GoCorral

Exercise Regime

7:30? Time to do some calisthenics!
7:30? Time to do some calisthenics!

Two weeks ago I started a simple exercise routine to build muscle slowly without going to the gym.

I don’t need to exercise to stay healthy. Somehow my body remains thin and wonderful no matter what I eat.

I only like exercise when its fun or when I can get something tangible out of it.

Exercising for fun is doing stuff like playing sports, running around on a playground (I’m 23 and I still do this. Get over it), or swimming.

I exercise for fun occasionally, but I don’t have a routine of doing fun exercise.

I’m afraid that if I make it a routine that I’ll start disliking fun types of exercise because “I have to do them.”

Fortunately I don’t need to exercise to stay healthy yet. My heart rate is perfectly fine as well being 80bpm at rest and as low as 40bpm after I’ve recovered from exercise (my heart is weird). Part of this is probably because I bike to work everyday.

Still, there’s the added benefit that some types of exercise build muscle mass. I’ve always wanted to get stronger so I can look hot for my wife.

I tried going to the gym, but that was super boring unless I listened to lectures on Greek and Roman classics. But then I ran out of lectures.

So how do you build muscle mass without going to the gym?

Lots of pushups and situps!

So two weeks ago I decided I would do 20 pushups and situps everyday.

If I successfully completed that many then next week I would increase the number by 5 to 25 pushups and situps.

If I completed the week again, then I’d increase the number again.

I missed a few of the days my first week because I wasn’t used to the routine yet, but once I set an alarm on my phone it became easy to remember.

I’ve completed a week successfully and both pushups and situps have increased to 25 per day.

I’m curious how high I can get the numbers. My record for pushups is 37 in a row. I’ve found that the limitation on how many situps I can do has more to do with boredom than exhaustion.

Maybe once the numbers get high enough I’ll have to mix it up a little bit by doing one handed pushups or something.

If you’d like, comment with what your exercise routine is!

-Mister Ed

Lost Phone

20140403-205626.jpg
Today I lost my phone at the bus station.

I’d called my dad while walking to the station.

When I sat down to wait for the bus I noticed a text from my wife. She said she was leaving campus then in our car.

Hoping to catch a ride with her, I texted her and called her, hoping I’d reach her before she drove off.

She didn’t pick up, but I was still hopeful she’d call back before the bus arrived.

I set my phone on the bus station bench to me so I could hear if my wife called me back.

I got out my iPad and played some games while I waited.

The bus came up and I packed my iPad away. I got on the bus and waited a bit for it to leave.

As the doors closed I realized my phone wasn’t in my pocket.

I asked the driver if he’d hold for a second while I checked the bench.

I ran out, quickly looked all over, asked a few people, and couldn’t find it.

I got back on and rode home.

I got home and talked to my wife. I called my phone a dozen or so times, but no one answered.

I gave up and called my phone company and got the phone canceled.

A few hours later my wife got a call from the person who found my phone offering to return it.

We organized a meeting for him to give it back. I went there with ten bucks to pay him back (about half the cost of my cheapo phone pictured above).

I met him outside a grocery store.

He gave me the phone back and refused to take the $10 reward. Nice guy!
So now I’ve got my phone back!

That’s my little adventure from today.

-Mister Ed