Monthly Archives: January 2014

Squat-centric Workout

In the spirit of Crossfit, I’d like to name this workout.  I can’t think of a good one, yet.


In brief, here’s the routine.  It is not timed.

One round consists of the following movements:

  • pullups
  • alternating one-hand clean and press with 20 kg kettlebell (abbreviated KB C&P)
  • rippetoe squat off sawhorses with approximately 1/3 1-rep-max weight
  • alternating hand turkish get up with light kettlebell

Last time, I did this series of rounds:

  • 3 pullups, 2/2 KB C&P, 4 squats, 1/1 getup
  • 4 pullups, 3/3 KB C&P, 8 squats, 1/1 getup
  • 5 pullups, 4/4 KB C&P, 12 squats, 1/1 getup

The focus is really increasing the reps for squats.  The inspiration is Dan John.  Even though the focus of the article I’m drawing on was gaining mass, and that’s not my goal, it’s generally true that high-rep squats are a powerful stimulus.  One of my goals is to have a safe workout that has a high impact-to-time-spent ratio, and I think this workout hits that mark.

My rep count is lower than those in the article, but I plan to go a bit higher as long as it doesn’t get tedious.  Here’s a link to the Dan John article:

Some notes:

The pullup is a great exercise, but often when describing my workouts to friends, they say they cannot really do a pullup.  For that I think the best option is probably to use bands for assisted pullups.  Here’s a video to give you the idea.

The one-arm kettlebell clean and press looks like this:

The squat I’m talking about is the one that strength expert Mark Rippetoe recommends.  It’s at least as low as the video shows, and it’s somewhere between a powerlifting squat and an olympic-style squat.  When using saw horses as a poor-man’s squat rack, there is an extra initial movement to get the bar to the standing position.  The towel protects my clothes.

The getup is kind of an active rest that keeps the workout pleasant, helps coordination and balance, and is also a Dan John favorite.  Here is a video showing the movement.  I am not nearly so particular about how I do this movement, so long as I start out lying on my back, wind up standing up straight, and go back down to lying, with the weight fully extended the whole time.


No, Mom, That’s SMS

Today my mother got her first smartphone.  I want it to be as simple and pleasant as possible for her to take this leap, but she’s going to be on my plan, so I covered some basics.  Here’s what I told her.  I’d like to know if I lied, so comments are encouraged.  But I already know that this version of the facts is AT&T specific.

The Parts

We get service from AT&T, our carrier.  Other carriers include Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.  The cell towers talk to our phones.  AT&T makes everything outside our phone work for us.  Because of the way our plan works, we need to consider three different services that AT&T provides.

The Three Services

  1. voice – The voice service is a shared, limited number of minutes for calls.  My wife will use most of these.  Calling each other on our cell phones doesn’t count toward the limit.
  2. SMS – This is an old, limited way to send text messages.  It is expensive compared to sending text messages over data.  Mom doesn’t text, so I’ll get into details later about how she can send texts over data.
  3. data – Mom will have 300 MB per month of data usage.  When her phone accesses the Internet via the cell towers, that’s using the data plan.  If she just uses navigation and occasional web browsing, the 300 MB will seem large.  If she watches videos or listens to music when out and about, it won’t be enough.  For that, she can use wifi (see below).

Using the Phone

This will be a refurbished Samsung Note II, nice for her because it’s larger and because of its stylus.  Also its Google integration will be useful to her, I think, for navigating, her main reason for upgrading to a smartphone.

I only covered two uses of the phone, and she asked about a third.

  1. calling – In the AT&T store, she tried calling me while I stood outside.  I had her use the speaker phone, too.
  2. navigation – We used Google Maps to see Boulder, Colorado, and to get directions and start navigation.  She liked it.
  3. bridge – She asked whether she could play (the card game) bridge on the phone, and I said that there were probably a bunch of bridge games in the Play Store.  This led to a discussion of apps and the Play Store.

I told her that AT&T only provides a few apps.  By far, most of the apps she’ll get are from independent third parties.  I told her a story about how I looked for a nice French-English dictionary app last night.  I found some free ones, some great looking ones for $24.99, and one that I almost got for $5.49, but I finally remembered Google Translate and noticed that it has gotten a whole lot nicer since I last used it, and it’s free.


We talked about Google a bit, and I summarized by saying that they release things early and then note the reaction of consumers before launching again, bigger and better, or pulling the plug.  They offer useful things for free and figure out some way to make money off it at leisure, while addicting everyone to Google.  Often I will curse Google when a familiar app or service suddenly changes, but usually things generally move in a direction of general improvement.

Widgets Wouldn’t Show Next Alarm

ImageSeveral android widgets have a helpful feature: They show the next alarm that’s set to go off. I like to see what the next alarm is.  It’s reassuring when I have something to remember to look down and see that the phone has it covered.

Back when I was running stock Samsung AT&T phone software, it drove me crazy that the alarm was difficult to silence, because every time I tried to pick up the phone to turn it off, inevitably the phone would spend time rotating the screen before it would respond.  Because there was so much stuff on the stock install, it was sluggish and frustrating.

So back then I got used to using a third-party alarm app.  Later, I was using CyanogenMod 10.2 but hadn’t used their clock app.  I was still using the third party app.  After a while, because the thrid-party app was uglier than CyanogenMod’s clock app, I got curious, and I found out that the CM alarm is easy to silence.

So I transitioned to the CM cLock, one alarm at a time.  But during that time, I noticed that my next alarm wouldn’t show up in the widgets that were supposed to display the next set alarm.

Finally I found out that only by uninstalling the third-party alarm application could I get the next alarm from the stock CM clock app to show up in the widgets.  I’m posting this only because I would have liked to have found an account like this back when I was frustrated.