Category Archives: gadgets

How I Work, January 2021 Edition

Way back in February 2014, I was interviewed as part of LifeHacker’s “How I Work” series. Nearly 7 years have passed since that interview. A lot has changed, both in the tools I use, and the way I think about productivity, so I thought it was about time I brought that interview up to date. Here, then, is how I work in January 2021.

The basics

Apps, software and tools I can’t live without

To say that I can’t live without any of these tools is a bit extreme. Indeed, if there has been a significant change in my overall productivity philosophy over the last seven years, it has been toward simplicity. In 2021, I am trying, as much as practical to get the most from the tools that come with the systems I use, adding additional tools only where absolutely necessary. With that said, here’s a glimpse of my infrastructure.

iCloud

Apple’s iCloud forms the foundation of my infrastructure. I recently merged our various Apple services into the Apple One Premier service, which includes 2 TB of data in iCloud. (We had 2 TB before but paid for it separately.) We all use Apple devices, and this allows us to manage the family accounts, and access our data from our various devices as needed. For storage, it also provides a kind of basic backup since the data is synced to the cloud.

Writing

Seven years ago, I was using Google Docs for all of my writing. In the intervening years I’ve gone back and forth between various writing apps: Scrivener, plain text (markdown) files, I’ve tried them all. Ultimately, I’ve come full circle. In college, I made the switch from WordPerfect to Microsoft Word 5.5 for DOS, and that became my favorite word processor. I have now returned to Microsoft Word, doing all of my writing there. I made this decision for several reasons:

  • It is a proven word processor that has been around for a long time. Indeed, I can open Word documents I wrote in college 30 years ago with Microsoft Word today.
  • It provides a single interface for all of the writing I do. I write these blog post in Word, as well as stories (when I am able to write them). I write letters in Word. Any kind of writing that I do happens in Word.
  • I saved myself a lot of time and headaches by creating a set of templates I use for all of my writing. I have three: fiction, blog post, and personal letter. I don’t have to worry about formatting. I took the time to create the templates to avoid having to tinker while I write.
  • I stick to the basics. I don’t need the vast majority of Word’s functions, and I’ve adjusted my toolbar accordingly.
  • It makes it much easier to archive my documents, something I have been working on for a while now.

I don’t worry as much about tracking my writing as I did seven years ago. I write, and I tend not to look at how much. That means I’ve given up most of the infrastructure I built to track my writing. It felt freeing to do that.

I still use WordPress for the blog here. WordPress is a great piece of software, one of the few that I can say has never really caused me any trouble, and has always worked well.

Productivity

I’ve pared down the list of tools I use to stay productive over the last 7 years. Here are 5 that I use most frequently.

  • Pastebot. I don’t know why the Mac OS doesn’t come with a built-in clipboard manager, but it doesn’t. Pastebot fills this gap. This has been an invaluable tool for copy/paste productivity. Pastebot collects the things you copy (text, images, etc.) and allow you to instantly paste them from a history list. It integrates with iCloud so your copy history is accessible across devices. I probably use this a hundred times a day.
  • Keyboard Maestro. Great for text expanding, but it does a whole lot more. For instance, you can create useful workflows based on various events. I have one that copies the Clippings.txt file to a folder on my computer every time I plug in my Kindle.
  • LastPass. My favorite password management software. This has only gotten better in the 7+ years I have been using it. Nowadays, we use the Family addition so that everyone in the family can benefit from it.
  • Shortcuts. Once I figured out what Shortcuts were for on the iPhone, I embraced them, and I now have several that I created that have proven useful. My favorite is one I call “Let’s Nap” (as in, “Hey Siri, let’s nap). I use this when my 4-year-old and I lay down for a nap at lunchtime. When I tell Siri “let’s nap” my shortcut does the following: (1) checks for when my next meeting is, and if it is within the next hour, sets an alarm for 5 minutes before the start of the meeting; (2) puts my phone into Do Not Disturb mode for the same amount of time; (3) sets the volume of the phone to 12%; (4) turns on a playlist that we listen to as we drift off to sleep. It love it, and it works great!
  • A custom Safari home page. I created a custom Safari home page that every new tab and window opens to automatically. It has grouped jumping off points for the various things I do frequently. It’s kind of a like bookmark dashboard, but it makes it easy to get started with the most common tasks I do in Safari.
Example of my custom Safari homepage.
Example of my custom Safari home page

Reading

  • Audible. I’d been using Audible for just about a year when I was interviewed by Lifehacker. I mentioned how much more productive it made me because I could read more since I could listen to books while doing other things. That is still true today. Reading is how I continue to learn things, and Audible is an invaluable tool (and worthwhile investment) in my continuing education.
  • Kindle. If Audible has one downside, is that there is not a good way to highlight passages and take notes in the app. More and more, when I get a book from Audible, I also get the e-book. Particularly for nonfiction, this allows me to follow along, highlight passages, and take notes on what I am reading. While the e-books work on any Kindle app or device, my preferred device is my Kindle Oasis, since there are no other apps to distract me there.
  • Apple News+. This comes with the Apple One Premier service. I read a lot of magazines, and one thing I really like about Apple News+ is that many of the magazines I read are available there. For some I have separate print subscriptions because I like to read from something other than a screen now and then but having access to hundreds of magazines is useful.

Document management

  • Evernote. I don’t use Evernote for as many things as I used to, but I still use it to scan and manage important documents. Over the years I’ve pruned what I keep in Evernote, getting rid of things I never touched, and streamlining it. I almost never create notes manually. Most of what goes into Evernote these days are documents, either scanned or through some other automated process.
  • Apple Notes. This is what I use for more ephemeral notetaking. It is also where I keep various how-to notes, which I can easily share with the family.
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap 1300i. My trusty ScanSnap is still going strong after all these years.

Data protection

I have a 3-tier approach to data protection that has evolved over the years:

  • Tier 1: iCloud. All of my working documents, notes, archive, etc. is stored in iCloud and so it is always synced between the devices I use.
  • Tier 2: Time Machine. My Mac Mini—which acts as our home server, has two 3-TB external disks. One of these disks is a Time Machine backup, that is backing up data hourly.
  • Tier 3: CrashPlan for Small Business. This backs up all of our home computers (including the external disks) and provides an added level of data protection that has come in handy on several occasions over the years, most recently when Kelly’s laptop got stalled on a system upgrade.

In addition, I use Express VPN when connecting my devices to networks that are not my own, for instance, when staying at a hotel, or connecting to public WiFi in a local park.

Development tools

I never mentioned the development tools I used back when I did the LifeHacker interview, but I figured now was a good time to correct that oversight.

  • Homebrew. The first thing I install upon setting up a new machine is LastPass. The second thing I install is homebrew, which installs all of the good packages that a Mac Unix system is missing.
  • Visual Studio Code. For years I used GitHub’s Atom editor for editing code. But in my day job, I’ve been using Visual Studio for years (decades, really). Now that Visual Studio Code is available on a Mac, I’ve been using that to do local development work, and I’m pretty impressed by its capabilities.

My workspace, circa 2021

I was primarily working from home even before the pandemic hit just about a year ago, so that was nothing new for me. But about 2 years ago, we sold our town house, and bought a house nearby. That house came with a sunroom that in turn became my office. So today, my workspace looks a lot different than it did 7 years ago. The desk is the same (although I’m looking to get a new one). But I now have a table that forms a U-shape that I sit in and provides me with a surface for writing on paper.

Annotated image of my workspace.

I am also surrounded by my books, and often use the old rail chair for reading the newspaper in the morning. I like bright spaces, and the windows on 3 sides of the room let in plenty of light.

The other side of my office, surrounded by books.

The only thing my workspace is missing at this point is a set of French doors that we’ve been telling ourselves we’d install ever since we moved into the house, to create more of a separation between my office and the living room.

My favorite to-do list manager

Well, it feels like I’ve tried them all over the years (most recently Things 3), but none of them prove to be much better than a pen and paper. So beginning this year, in order to have some semblance of order, I’ve switched to Apple Reminders—keeping with my philosophy of keeping things simple, and using system tools wherever possible. So far, that is working just fine. I often scribbling items in my Field Notes notebook, but if I need them beyond a day or so, I’ll add them to Reminders.

Besides phone and computer, what tool can I not live without?

My Field Notes notebook. I’ve had one of these notebooks in my pocket since 2015 now, I believe. They are useful for all kinds of things. Jotting notes and ideas, a convenient ruler for small measurements, a straight edge for drawing a straight line. Remembering someone’s name I just met (because I try to write names down, lest I forget). I have an annual subscription which I’ve happily renewed year after year and I look forward to each quarterly shipment of notebooks to see what creative thing the Field Notes folks have come up with.

My current Field Notes "Heavy Duty" notebook.

That’s how I work as of January 2021. I’m always looking for ways to improve so if you have suggestions or recommendations about things that work well for you, let me know about them.

Initial Thoughts on the Mac Mini

The new Mac Mini has been up and running for 10 days now and I have some initial thoughts. For context and clarity, I bought the newest Mac Mini (M1 2020), which is running the Apple M1 chip. I bought it with 16 GB of memory (way up from the 4 GB I have on my MacBook Air). The internal disk has 250 GB, but I’ve got two external disks connected to the machine, each of which is 3 TB giving me a total of 6.25 TB of disk space. One of the external disks is for media files and archived data; the other is a local Time Machine backup disk.

As far as performance goes, this machine flies. Applications open so much faster than on my MacBook Air. There doesn’t seem to be any performance hit with backups running and with the various services I have in the background. I really like how fast the machine is.

There are a few downsides I’ve discovered, however.

The M1 chip is the biggest blocker so far. While it is super-fast, not every app has caught up yet, and several still expect an Intel processor. For instance, I use Docker for development work, and I have to run a preview version of Docker Desktop because there is not yet a production version compatible with the M1 chip.

There are some quirks with homebrew as well. Homebrew can be run natively or using Rosetta2 which makes apps compatible, but at a performance cost. Running homebrew natively takes a couple of extra steps to setup, and some bottles have to be built locally to allow them to run natively.

MySQL runs fine on the Mac Mini, but there is not yet a compatible Docker image for MySQL for the M1 chip.

These are relatively minor issues, which only apply to someone doing development work. It appears that most places are working toward making their apps natively compatible with the M1 so I suspect most of these issues will go away with time.

For other tasks: writing, photos, general productivity, I am very pleased with the Mac Mini thus far. Given that it cost significantly less than the newest MacBook Air, it is well worth the cost so far.

I have set up the machine as a home server. I’ve got an internal web server that I am using to build a custom reading list app (that I plan on moving to my domain eventually). I am also using it to host an app for home document archive. Screen-sharing works well with it (I can use screen sharing from my MacBook Air to do development work on the Mac Mini when I am not in my office). I’ll have more to say on these things in a future post.

You can see the new computer in the photo above, peeking between the monitor and the external disks. At some point, I need to clean up all of the cables.

At this point, with the exception of a few development quirks related to the M1 chip, I am very pleased with the new Mac Mini.

Arriving Today: A New Mac Mini

I am writing this post on the same MacBook Air that I’ve used for my writing since I first got it in August 2014. It is still serviceable, and I am not one to jump to the latest and greatest, just because it is the latest and greatest. Indeed, in someways, I am technologically stubborn. If Word 5.5. for DOS was a still available in a reasonable form that I could use on the Mac (not in DOSBox) I’d still be using it.

But things break down over time. For instance, the down arrow on the laptop keyboard fell outs and I had to awkwardly superglue it back in. Also, the laptop has 4 GB of RAM and Big Sur runs notably slower on it than on my work MacBook Pro. So, in December, I ordered myself a Mac Mini and I was notified today that the Mac Mini will arrive before the day is done.

Why a Mac mini?

Well, for one thing, the price was pretty good. It is the newer Mac Mini with the M1 processor. I opted to bump up the RAM to 16 GB on it, which is why it took longer to ship and deliver. Currently, my MacBook Air doesn’t go anywhere. It serves as the home server in addition to the computer that I write on. I’ve got an external mechanical keyboard attached to it, as well as 2 external hard disks with the archive of documents, photos, etc.

I already have an external monitor, so I figured I’d get the Mac Mini with lots of RAM and let it replace my MacBook Air as the home server. That frees up the MacBook Air to be mobile for as long as it continues to function. My plan is:

  • Use the Mac Mini for all of the writing I do sitting here at my desk.
  • Use the MacBook Air for all of the writing I do away from my desk.

In all honesty, outside of this blog, I haven’t been doing that much writing–something I will be discussing in an upcoming post–but I am hoping to change that.

I am using this opportunity to set up a home archive that I have slowly been cobbling together. Initially, this will be an archive of all of my writing, back to the very beginning. I plan on sticking some kind of UI on it so that it is readily searchable. I considered doing this in Evernote, but it doesn’t have the look and feel that I want for this archive.

I am also using this opportunity to automate all the administrative tasks surrounding writing so that I can focus on just the writing itself. More on that in a future post, as well.

It turns out that delivery today has a silver lining: instead of refreshing the New York Times to see the most current results of the Ossoff / Perdue runoff election, I am refreshing the UPS tracking site for my new computer.

Once the system has been set up and I’ve been using it for a little while, I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an ear worm: for some reason, I’ve been humming”Georgia On My Mind” under my breath all morning.

FitBit Flex Now Has an Auto-Sleep Tracking Mode

FitBit recently released a firmware update for the Flex that adds a useful feature. Once your Flex has been updated to version 81, it will automatically detect when you sleep and when you wake up so that you no longer need to remember to tap the device to put it into sleep mode and to take it out of sleep mode in the morning.

I like this feature because it addresses one of my key criteria for self-tracking: Ideally, a self-tracker should not have to do anything beyond their normal activity in order to track the activity.

In the normal course of my day, I walk. I don’t have to anything to track those steps beyond wearing my FitBit. I don’t have to tell my FitBit that I am walking. It knows when I am walking, when I am running, and when I am idle, and detects and tracks these activities automatically. Prior to this recent update, however, I had to take an action to tell my FitBit when I was going to sleep, and when I woke up. It was a simple action, tapping the device to put it into sleep mode, but it was still something I had to remember to do. You lose one stat with automatic sleep mode—how long it took you to fall asleep. But you can get that back by continuing to put the Flex into sleep mode manually. How long it takes me to fall asleep is one stat that I don’t really miss.

With the recent update, FitBit has eliminated those actions, and there is one less thing for me to remember.

If you don’t have the recent update and are interested in getting it, you can follow FitBit’s instructions for updating your tracker.

3 Days Without My FitBit

Three days ago, the band for my FitBit Flex broke, and I didn’t happen to have a backup handy, as I have in the past. This means that for the first time since around March 2012, I missed three consecutive days of collecting step data. The good news is that a replacement band (my 5th) is schedule to be delivered today.

Broken FitBit

The bad news is… well, there really is no bad news. It is not like I lost any steps. They simply were not counted. I can’t speak for others, but after a while, it seems like if you forget your FitBit (something that’s hard to do with a Flex since you wear it on your wrist) there is a panic because you will “lose the steps” for the duration. But that is nonsense. I still walk. I still take steps. The FitBit device is not the reality. It is only a mirror of reality. I can look into a mirror and see my reflection, but I don’t need the mirror to know I am there. The same is true with my FitBit.

I like data, and I am fascinated by looking at the data and digging out the ore, but I also understand that just because I didn’t collect the data doesn’t mean the thing didn’t happen. I think that is one trap of the quantified self movement–that we begin to substitute the numbers for the reality. If the numbers don’t exist, the reality never happened. And that, of course, is silly.

So I’ve gone these three days without my Flex, but I am okay with it. My left wrist feels strangely naked without the wristband, but that’s about it. I’ll have a gap in my data, but even that is okay. I have enough data (over three-and-half years’ worth) that missing a few days will not upset the overall numbers.

Still, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly awaiting the delivery truck today.

First Impressions of My Karma Go

On Friday, I received my Karma Go, a WiFi hotspot device that I ordered back in September, and that just began shipping last week.

Karma Go
(Roughly, the actual size.)

A Karma Go is a device that provides Internet access wherever you happen to be. This is useful if you happen to be working in a park, or a hotel for which you don’t want to pay outrageous Internet access fees. It’s “pay as you go,” meaning you only pay for the data you use. And the system is built with sharing in mind. Another Karma Go user can use my Karma WiFi to access the Internet. They don’t use my data; they use their own data. What’s more, each time a new Karma user access my device, I am credited with data. Win-win.

I hadn’t a chance to use it much until yesterday morning. I was working from home, when my Internet access suddenly went out. We have Cox for our Internet provider, and they are about the best Cable company/Internet provider I’ve ever had. Our access is very fast, and rarely goes out. Yesterday, however, it was out for 90 minutes. Cox was great about getting the service restored, but in the meantime, I had work to do.

That’s when I remembered the Karma Go.

I fired it up. It can support up to 8 devices connected to it at once. I only connected two: my desktop iMac, and my work laptop. For the next 90 minutes, I was able to work as seamlessly as if my Internet connection had never gone out.

How’s the speed?

The Karma Go uses Sprint’s network for its Internet access. They say that you can get download speeds of 6-8 Mb/s, including highs of 25 Mb/s. Upload speeds are around 3 Mb/s. The speed seemed fine to me yesterday.

Under normal conditions, when I am using Cox at home, my upload and download speeds are about the following:

Speed Test - Cox

When I tested my Karma Go this evening at around 5 pm EDT, I got the following results:

Karma Go Speed

That seemed plenty fast for the kind of work I was doing. I wasn’t streaming video (although at that speed I could have). I was writing code, sending email, uploading images. Oh, and since I forgot to disable CrashPlan, I was also backing up my iMac in the background. This was using two devices. I was plenty satisfied with the speeds.

Data usage

Since you pay as you go, it’s important to be able to monitor your data usage. Karma makes it easy. You can see your day-to-day usage from any web browser:

Dashboard___Karma

Better still are the mobile apps that allow you to look at your usage. Using the iPhone app, I can see my usage hourly, daily, or monthly. Here is the daily view:

Karma Usage

Karma prices data at $14/1GB; $59 for 5 GB; and $99 for 10 GB. If you don’t use it, you don’t lose it, so the data is entirely under your control. Moreover, you can get data credits when other Karma users connect to your device

Overall

So far, I’m very happy with my Karma Go. It saved my bacon yesterday, and allowed me to continue to work when I would have otherwise been dead-in-the-water. As someone who depends on Internet access to get my work done, I think that the Karma Go will prove to be an invaluable tool in getting things done, where I happen to be.

Karma gives its users a code that allows others to get a $10 off a Karma Go device. If you are thinking about getting a Karma Go, and want $10 off, you can use this link. You can find the specs for the Karma Go here.

A Competitive Bunch of FitBit Steppers

On Monday, my buddy and coworker, Rob, invited me to the FitBit “Workweek Hustle” challenge. This is a little challenge in the FitBit app that allows you to compete with friends to see who ends up with the most steps through the course of the workweek. Apparently, I have a competitive set of friends when it comes to steps. After not quite 3 complete days, here is how things stand (no pun intended):

FitBit Challenge

We are each averaging close to 20,000 steps per day.

And, while we each have a full 5 days to complete the challenge, I must point out the my pals Rob and Alvaro have the advantage of walking in the comfort of warm southern California air, while I am getting in my steps in windy (sometimes rainy) and cold conditions of the east coast. I think I should get some kind of handicap for that. My count is down today for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I am back on the rollout countdown for this project-that-never-ends.

The challenge ends Friday. I’ll let you know how things went.

5 Tips for FitBit Newcomers

With the holidays approaching quickly, people are beginning to think about New Year’s resolutions. Getting into better shape is always one of the more popular resolutions. And with the explosion of wearable tech devices–like a FitBit–on the market, I imagine there will be a lot of people eager to improve their fitness with the help of their new device. With that in mind, here are a few tips I’d offer for getting started with your FitBit (or similar) device in the new year. These tips come from my own experience. I’ve used a FitBit Flex almost constantly for the last 2-1/2 years, tracking more than 10 million steps.

1. Spend the first week or two establishing a baseline

A FitBit device doesn’t automatically improve your health or fitness simply by wearing it. What it does do is provide an effortless way of collecting data about your physical activity and sleep behaviors. For me, one of the most difficult challenges in trying to improve myself has always been measuring that improvement. And to measure improvement, you need to set a baseline.

When I first got my FitBit, I spent about 2 weeks, just going about my normal behavior, and trying to forget that I had the new device. This allows you to establish a baseline and from that, you can set realistic goals.

From your baseline, you can see how much walking you do in a day–and even when you do that walking. If you find that your baseline is 4,800 steps per day you might try upping it to something reasonable like, 6,500 or 7,000 steps per day.  The baseline will also tell you when you are not being active during the day, and might help you to plan times when you can be more active. Below is an example of a day’s activity for me.

A typical day's activity

 

Your baseline will also include an estimate of how many calories you burn throughout the day, and this can help in determining how many calories you should consume.

It is worth spending time that first week or two wearing your device and not worrying about it because the baseline will prove to be a valuable calibration tool in the long run.

2. Identify common milestones

Once I established my baseline and set some goals, I found that it was useful to have a few pieces of information handy to help me meet my goals each day. For instance, since everyone’s stride is different, I thought it would be useful to know how many step it took me to go one mile. I used my FitBit device to help figure this out, and it turned out that I typically take about 2,200 steps in a mile. How is this helpful?

Well, my current goal is 7.5 miles per day. If I happen to be at, say 13,000 steps, and know that I need about 2,000 more to make my goal, I know that all I have to do is walk one mile.

It also helps to know how far a mile is. For instance, I know that one walk around the city block on which my office building resides is just about 1 mile.

If you don’t think in terms of steps or distance, but instead, think of calories, you can identify similar milestones. For instance, you might learn that you burn 600 calories walking one mile a normal pace. I find these milestones useful in helping me make ad hoc adjustments to my activity throughout the day.

Continue reading 5 Tips for FitBit Newcomers

FitBit Milestone: Ten Million Steps!

This morning at around 9:15 am Eastern Standard Time, I surpassed 10 million steps on my FitBit device. Here is what it looked like after I passed this milestone.

10 million steps

For those wondering, 10 million steps comes out to about 4,600 miles.

4600 miles

 

According to Google Maps, that about the distance from Washington, D.C. to the crater of Vesuvius in Naples, Italy.

Vesuvius

The 10 million steps covers 2 FitBit devices spread over more than 2-1/2 years of tracking. I used a FitBit Ultra from early March 2012 until I lost it a year later in March 2013. I went a month and a half without a FitBit device and then I got my FitBit Flex in May 2013, and have been using that ever since. You can see that gap when I was missing my device in the chart below. The chart shows my steps for every day in the 2-1/2 years it took to accumulate 10 million steps. The red line is a 7-day moving average.

Ten Million Steps Over Time
Click to enlarge

I clearly began to pick up the pace when I got my FitBit Flex, going from an average of 10,000 steps per day to 15,000 steps per day. I’ve done fairly well at maintaining that pace, which amounts to about 5.5 million steps per year.

On my single best day, back in May 2014, I walked over 31,000 steps in a single day. It was exhausting.

In any case, it was pretty exciting to see the numbers flip from 7 figures to 8 figures this morning. Of course, at this pace, it will take close to 20 years before the 8 figures flip up to 9 figures and I reach 100 million steps. Stay-tuned…

 

An Index to My FitBit Posts

My FitBit posts seem to be quite popular. Indeed, 2 of the top 3 posts for 2014 today are posts about FitBit. So I thought I’d collect links to all of the FitBit posts I’d written in one place for easy access. Here they are:

Happy walking!

Automatically Send a Summary of FitBit Activity to Evernote with IFTTT

Yesterday, IFTTT introduced the FitBit Channel. This is something I’ve been waiting for! Now it is easy to trigger IFTTT events based on FitBit activity. As an example, I created a recipe that will automatically send a daily summary of the previous day’s FitBit activity to Evernote.

IFTTT Recipe: Send a daily summary of #FitBit activity to #Evernote connects fitbit to evernote

There’s a ton of other things possible with this IFTTT integration. You could send your data to a Google Spreadsheet, send an email when you get less than a certain amount of sleep, send a text message when you meet a daily goal. Check out the possibilities over at IFTTT.

My First 30,000 Step Day

I‘ve had a FitBit device for more than 2 years now. I average between 15,000 – 20,000 steps/day. I’ve gotten my 25,000 step badge, but the 30,000 step badge has always eluded me. Not anymore.  Yesterday evening, as I turned back onto my street from a long evening walk, this happened:

30K Day

Kelly and the kids were out, and the street outside the house was desolate because it is being repaved this week, so I celebrated my achievement alone:

30K Celebration

As you can see, 30,000 steps is about 14 miles. I only have detailed records going back 2 years, but I think it is safe to say that this is the second best distance I’ve walked in a day in my entire life. I think the top day took place sometime in 1999 or 2000 when I walked what I estimated to be about 15 miles in Manhattan, wandering about for most of the day. Still, I’ll take the 30,000 steps.

By the time I went to bed last night, I had amassed 31,194 steps for the day, which is my new record, and will likely remain so for some time to come. It is really hard to get 30,000 steps packed into a day.

FitBit emailed me a note of congratulations, letting me know that I’d received my 30,000 step badge. But there was also a little hint of challenge in that note:

30K Badge

Really? Another 5,000 steps? I’m going to be happy with my 31,194 steps and leave it at that.