Revisted: MyFitnessPal 2015

Back in mid 2012 I wrote a review of a mobile cell phone app called MyFitnessPal (which also has a webpage) myfitnesspal.com. A few months after that I followed up the post with an update about it. Here we are in 2015 and I figured that I should do my due diligence of updating you about it again.

You can read these posts here:
One month of MyFitnessPal a review (27 Jul 2012)
Three months of MyFitnessPal a review (25 Sept 2012)

While I’ve never fully stopped using the software I did stop being as complete or thorough as I should have been. I’ve since also picked up a FitBit Flex. But none of that is why I am writing today.

Yesterday Under Armour (UA) [and MFP] announced that they reached an agreement to purchased MFP for $475 million. What does this mean to you? Well according to the MFP blog post (source 2 below):

“In the meantime, please rest assured that your experience with MyFitnessPal will not change. Our products, services and team will remain the same. MyFitnessPal will still be free to use, you own your data and Under Armour will never sell it to any third parties. We will also continue to sync with your wearable devices and fitness apps.”

source 1: Motley Fool
source 2: MyFitnessPal

FOR SALE: 2007 Suzuki s83 Boulevard w/ 4451 miles — $4500

Now that Spring is here it's time to try to sell my motorcycle again. I'm not aware of this bike having any issues at all. It was registered (2014) and inspected (2013), and currently being stored in my garage. I started her up and took for a short spin today. If you are interested in buying her you know how to contact me!

The pictures below are from when I bought it, after the pictures is the bike product information.

Here are the specs:

IDENTIFICATION
Type: Cruiser

ENGINE
Displacement (cc): 1360 Engine Type: V Twin Cylinders: 2 Engine Stroke: 4-Stroke Valve Configuration: SOHC Carburetion Type: Carburetor

TRANSMISSION
Transmission Type: Manual Number of Speeds: 5 Primary Drive System: Shaft

BRAKES
Front Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Rear Brakes: Hydraulic Disc

TIRES
Front Tire(s): 110/90 R19 62H Rear Tire(s): 170/80 R15 77H

SPECIFICATIONS
Wheelbase (in / mm): 63.5 / 1620 Dry Weight (lbs / kg): 535 / 243 Fuel Capacity (gal / L): 3.4 / 13 Seat Height (in / mm): 29.1 / 740 Number of Seats: 2

Nada Guides lists this bike at average retail: $4,715

http://www.nadaguides.com/Motorcycles/2007/Suzuki/S83K7-BOULEVARD-1360cc/Values

Corporate Responsibility for Safety

Written by Angel Darkenna

(This was origianlly posted by Angel Darkenna on Facebook and reposted here with permission)

 

I have seen these comments, or ones like them, over and over again this week:"Bear knew he broke the rules and even tho I agree with him you can't have armed people in the workplace."

 

"Unfortunately, I do not agree with protesting a company policy in which someone knowingly violated it."

 

That… isn't the point.  That isn't the point of all this activity, protests, discussion, and media attention at all.  Nor is this about infringing the Second Amendment (I've seen a lot of those comments, too).This is about corporate responsibility.  If a company prevents its employees from being able to defend themselves from an attacker, then the company assumes responsibility for that employee's safety, especially in an environment such as a convenience store overnight, which is inherently one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

 

Bear Cothran was carrying a sidearm in the early morning hours of Monday 10/14 because he felt insecure and unsafe at work, and if you watch the video of the event you can clearly see why: an armed robber was able to enter the store, come around the counter, and threaten him with a 10" blade at a distance of under 3' all in a matter of seconds. From how the robber is holding the blade and his statements to Bear ("Give me all the money or I will kill you"), Bear believed that the man was going to stab him whether or not he gave the money over. He pulled his weapon and defended himself appropriately, and the incident ended without injury.The big problem is that the robber was able to obtain access to the clerk so readily and the clerk had no where to go and no way to protect himself. If a company does not allow its employees to defend themselves with either lethal or non-lethal means, then the company has the obligation to make the environment safer in some way. There are many, many ways to do this. Most Hess stations, for instance, go to a "lockdown" procedure when there is only one employee on: they lock the doors and all transactions are done through a slide-box that goes under a thick piece of lexan glass. Dunkin Brands (which operates hundreds of Dunkin Donuts stores throughout the northeast) remotely monitors all of its 24-hr locations remotely from a huge command center in Canton, MA. Live monitoring. Which means when a robbery occurs, the command center is seeing it as it happens, and calls for help when its employee cannot. Exxon-Mobil, when a station goes to 24-hour service, remodels the service counter so that it has 2 exits at opposite ends, each of which is near a door off the sales floor, so that an employee can always flee when threatened. McDonald's issues panic-button necklaces and belt boxes to its overnight employees, which automatically summon the local police when activated.Nouria Energy, which owns nearly all the Shell and Lil Mart stations in northern New England (more than 120 stores, nearly all 24-hour operations)… does nothing.In fact, their entire policy and procedure on robbery prevention is a single small paragraph in the employee handbook: in the event of a robbery, give the robber what they want, and once they have left, lock the store and call for help.THIS is what the protest is over what all the media is over, why all these people are crying "foul!". Not Bear carrying, nor his losing his job for it, but the lack of responsibility that his employer took to ensure his safety. Especially in light of the fact that there have been more than 15 armed robberies on the late night shift in the Nashua area since July, several of which ended with the robber intentionally wounding the clerk in order to slow down police response time. Remember, there are more than 100 Nouria employees tonight that are all alone in their stores, who are not allowed to defend themselves and are at the mercy of anyone who walks in the door.The outcry is over bad corporate policy and lack of responsibility. Nothing else.

 

"Angel Darkenna" is the Facebook identity of a loss prevention and security consultant with more than 15 years of industry experience.  Questions and comments may be directed to him there.  He is located in southern NH and is always taking on new clients.  The preceding editorial is comprised of his professional opinion and observations, and not to be taken as the policies and procedures of any company mentioned therein.  (c) 2013.

 

Friend Fired for defending himself in NH (the friends view)

(This was origianlly posted by Angel Darkenna on Facebook and reposted here with permission)

For those who haven't heard yet, last night someone attempted to rob the Shell station on Main Street in Nashua. A large man entered the station, quick-walked around the counter, drew a knife from his sleeve, and held it in a "gutting" position, threatening the clerk. He told the clerk, whom we all know and love as Bear Cothran, to give him all the money in the register, or, and this is a direct quote, "I will kill you." Bear took three steps back, drew his legally concealed firearm, and aimed it at the robber. At this point, the robber thought better of the situation and fled the store. The police were contacted, but have been as yet unable to find the man. Bear was, thankfully, not injured during the incident.

At 11:20 this morning, Bear received a phone call from his boss, informing him that, in spite of his status as a 10-year employee in good standing and both the store and district managers going to bat for him, he was being terminated. Nouria Energy (http://www.nouriaenergy.com/), the franchise owner of the store (as well as the majority of the other Shell stations in the southern NH area), has a policy prohibiting employees from carrying weapons while on the clock. Bear was let go without any manner of severance for violating this policy.

Essentially, he protected the store's assets and his own well-being, in a manner in which no one was injured and no damage was done, and was fired for it.

Now, I support the right of Nouria Energy to choose to have such a policy. I think it's not a particularly good policy, given the business that they are in, but it's their right to make that decision. Just as it is my right to choose not to patronize their business ever again. If you agree with me, please join me in denying Nouria Energy your business.

EDIT: Nouria Energy Corp. is the franchise company that owns and operates this Shell station, and it was their policy that Bear broke. Nouria operates over 120 stations under the Shell and Lil Mart brands. It is these stations that I am asking you to avoid. http://www.nouriaenergy.com/store-locator.html

EDIT #2: From Lee J. Lavallee, Bear's lovely wife:
"FYI: In regards to Bear's termination over last night's situation. He knew the risks of breaking company policy. Bear and I talked about them several times over the past few years, and more so these past several months due to the explosion of armed robberies in the Nashua/Manchester area (and the stabbing/shooting of unarmed gas station attendants at some of these robberies, like the one in Hooksett). And every time we brought up the subject we BOTH agreed that his life was far more important than the job. He knew it, and he did it anyhow. And I support him 100 percent. Guess what gang, we are getting ready to have legal paperwork signed in 2 weeks. 2 Weeks. And I would much rather be a wife of an unemployed, ethical, loyal, hardworking man than to be a widow of someone who simply followed company policy."

EDIT #3, 10/15: HOLY VIRAL POST, BATMAN! Thanks to everyone who is sharing this and getting the word out. 150+ shares and counting.

Also, here are some links to the news articles that are beginning to appear. Please, don't feed the trolls when you find them, and logically answer the people who have legit questions, if you feel like commenting.

http://nashua.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/shell-clerk-with-gun-thwarts-robber-loses-job

http://nashua.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/clerk-im-no-hero-i-just-wanted-to-go-home-to-my-family

http://nashua.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/police-seek-shell-station-robber_03618622

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1018674-469/nashua-gas-station-clerk-halts-robbery-with.html

EDIT #4, 10/15: More articles and opinion pieces. Also, WMUR in Manchester says they will be having a piece on this during their 11 o'clock news tonight.

http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20131015%2FNEWS03%2F131019512&source=RSS

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/opinion/editorials/1018679-465/company-seems-to-shoot-self-in-foot.html

http://gunssavelives.net/self-defense/gas-station-clerk-pulls-gun-on-knife-wielding-armed-robber-is-then-promptly-fired/#

http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/23698368/2013/10/15/clerk-who-scared-off-robber-with-concealed-weapon-fired

EDIT #5, 10/16: And now, the TV news media is involved. The first one, from CBS 5 in Boston, actually has video footage of the entire incident. The last one is about a protest being organized to picket the Shell station this coming Saturday at 2pm.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/10/15/nh-clerk-fired-after-pulling-gun-on-armed-robber/

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/new-hampshire/10011959043080/man-fired-after-pulling-gun-on-would-be-robber/

http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-news/clerk-fired-after-pulling-gun-on-wouldbe-robber/-/9857858/22454840/-/item/0/-/1361eeu/-/index.html

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/mobile/mnews/1018714-264/friend-of-fired-shell-worker-to-hold.html

FOR SALE: 2007 Suzuki s83 Boulevard w/ 4444 miles — $4500

Last year I purchased this motorcycle from a close friend. She and her husband sold both their bikes around the time. Here is is a little over a year later, and I’ve purchased myself a new [to me] bike so I no longer need this one. I’m not aware of this bike having any issues at all. It was registered and inspected this year, and currently being stored at my mothers house in her garage. If you are interested in buying her you know how to contact me!

The pictures below are from when I bought it, after the pictures is the bike product information.


Here are the specs:

IDENTIFICATION
Type: Cruiser

ENGINE
Displacement (cc): 1360
Engine Type: V Twin
Cylinders: 2
Engine Stroke: 4-Stroke
Valve Configuration: SOHC
Carburetion Type: Carburetor

TRANSMISSION
Transmission Type: Manual
Number of Speeds: 5
Primary Drive System: Shaft

BRAKES
Front Brakes: Hydraulic Disc
Rear Brakes: Hydraulic Disc

TIRES
Front Tire(s): 110/90 R19 62H
Rear Tire(s): 170/80 R15 77H

SPECIFICATIONS
Wheelbase (in / mm): 63.5 / 1620
Dry Weight (lbs / kg): 535 / 243
Fuel Capacity (gal / L): 3.4 / 13
Seat Height (in / mm): 29.1 / 740
Number of Seats: 2

RANT: Morons, Trucks, and NetSol

This morning is one of those days where I really kinda wish that I had stayed in bed.

I got to bed late this morning after a late night Walmart run to buy a new air conditioner and installing it. Surprisingly I woke up to my alarm, and got up, showered and ran to work. On my way to work there was a truck in the opposite lane so some dumb bimbo decided that it would be a great idea to leave her lane head on and almost kill me. After some screeching tires resulting in about a foot between her car and my motorcycle… she waves me on. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. I of course didn’t listen.

So I pull the 200 ft up the road and the parking lot is blocked by a large truck. I ask the guys getting out of the truck how long they are going to be and they ignore me and walk away. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. I of course didn’t listen again.

So I sit around waiting. Finally someone else leaves a metered parking lot after 45 minutes so I take their spot. Throw my one(1) quarter into the meter which gives me about an hour and head inside. I ask the front desk to let me know when the jerks are gone. I finally get to my desk, and the emails are pouring in. It seems that Network Solutions is offline… Their webpage is unreachable. They host our DNS so none of our domains appear to be working at all outside the building. This includes email. This was a sign, that clearly stated “GO HOME”. Maybe I should listen this time…

Sigh

Life: On Being a quitter

Day 1 – Morning: Routine Changes

Today is a brand new day. It began almost like any other day, but with a few minor differences. I’m not a morning person, never have been, probably never will be. This morning I woke up, hit snooze a couple times and was surprised by how awake and alert I felt. Usually this is not the case, and I need to get some caffeine and be awake an hour before I feel like I can function like a normal human being.

I didn’t change much in my regular morning routine. I showered, shaved, dressed, grabbed my 2 cups of coffee (in one giant mug) with one small spoon of sugar, threw some ice into it and took my vitamins. I put on my brand new Queen City Cherry Bombs hoodie and leather jacket. Decided on sneakers instead of boots, walked outside, hopped in my car and drove to work.

I imagine that this is a fairly standard routine for most employed adults. I made two deviations from my standard routine today. First I put on a new (and clean) hoodie, and secondly I didn’t have a cigarette before going to work. Why do I repeat and mention this? Because it means not only do I not smell like smoke right now, but I got to work nearly 15 minutes earlier than I usually do.

As it stands now its nearly 11am EST. I’ve already caught myself thinking that I should go out for a cigarette twice, and the lack of nicotine headache has already set in. For me the headache starts as a dull background fuzziness that makes it hard to focus. My body feels like its in a heightened sense of alertness, as my mind wanders from my bottom back left hand tooth to the bottom of my feet, I wonder if I am dehydrated. I commit to myself that I will drink at least 3 liters of water today. I’ll probably update this post again this afternoon or tonight.

A son and his father

Those who know me very well, rarely if ever hear me talk about my father. However when I do I feel that my words convey how proud I am of most of the things that he has done in his life. To recap a little, he has always had a very strong work ethic, and probably should have been an early case study for work-a-holics. For many many years he worked for Hewlett Packard designing computer boards for medical equipment. Back when HP spun off its medical equipment he moved with that division when HP decided to focus primarily on desktop/office equipment.

Some thirtyish plus years ago before most people had even thought about having a home PC he and a good friend of his designed and made a desktop home computer and we had it at my house. It was my first real exposure to computers and I cannot tell you much about it. Looking back I think that it may have had an 8080 (2mhz) or 8085 (3mhz) processor but I can’t remember for sure. Both those chips were the right time period. I know that it wasn’t an 8088 (5mhz).

I remember that HP used to have a Family day back in that time period, where I would be able to go to work with my father and see the place he worked. They always had exhibits of technologies that they were working on, and other neat, fun and bizarre things. I remember plotters as large as a drafting desk, with a “robotic arm” that would pick up essentially a marker and draw huge images. I remember the Moon Landing simulator, and how horrible I was at it. And I remember computer reel to reels larger than two of the metal filing cabinets in my office now.

He always seemed to have the best adult toys. He owned a silver 1976 stringray corvette up until I got into a car accident my senior year in high school. He had two motorcycles, and a boat. He was and is in many ways how I gauge my success in life. He is also how I gauge my failures.

I never saw my father as a happy man. Especially after the affair he had which ruined his marriage around when I was 12 years old. It took me a very long time to forgive him for leaving us, and even longer to forgive myself for the role I played in the night he left. But he followed his heart [or so I like to tell myself] and did end up marrying his mistress and they got a house together. Although really he never had the time to use his toys being a workaholic. It makes me wonder if his father was the same way, and if it was a learned behavior.

I repeat, I never saw my father as a happy man. Especially after his own father passed away in 1992. A good friend at the time drove me to Maine to go to the wake. This was the first time that I had ever seen my father cry. I comforted him as best I could, then went home. Looking back, I honestly think that’s when he lost his hope. His second wife leaving him a few years after also probably sealed the coffin so to speak on any hope he had.

All of these things finally bring me to what causes me to write in the first place. You see, my father is an alcoholic. For many years he was a high functioning alcoholic, but an alcoholic is still an alcoholic. I’ve known since high school that he drank a lot. Keeping a keg on tap and more beers in the refrigerator than most people have probably even know exist. Not even a year ago he gave us a scare. He up and decided to stop drinking. Detox can be especially dangerous for older people who are also in poor health. Needless to say my step sister came home to find him collapsed and passed out wedged behind a chair next to the wall. She of course did the right thing and called 911, and they took him to the emergency room. He spent a few days there, and narrowly escaped the specter of death that loomed over him.

Before he was released he promised to get help. I contacted Keystone Hall and got him onto the wait list for entry into their alcohol rehab, and other support services. I gave him their number and told him to call them. He promised to get help, and maybe naively I was relieved that maybe some good would come of his brush with death. Once he was released I reminded him of his promise and made sure that he actually called. Later when I talked to him again, he informed me that he was not going to enter into a 20 day sobriety program that he didn’t need to. This was the behavior I was expecting even though I didn’t want to admit it. I told him that I didn’t agree with him, that everyone needs help from time to time. Of course he didn’t want to talk about it so after making my point I let it drop.

At 1am today, I received a message via FaceBook from my stepsister. Yes I still call her my stepsister even though my father and her mother divorced years ago. It read simply, “Your father is drinking again.” So I in turn sent out a slew of messages to make sure that the family knows. It is with a calm acceptance of the situation that I write these words. Maybe he will read them, maybe he won’t. But know this… I will not keep this a secret. When all is said and done, you have disappointed me by drinking. This is the second thing in your life that you have failed at with remarkable clarity. That being said, two things in 40 years must be some kind of record for a father and son relationship. Strangely enough I find that rather telling.

Neat income percentile calculator

Remeber the Occupy Wall Street protest [which started in NY on September 17, 2011]? Of course you do! It hasn’t even been a year. Since you remember you’re very familiar with all the “We are the 99%” pictures all over the net. Well today I found a “What Income Percentile Are You” calculator over at Intuit’s web site. Ever wonder what percentile you are actually in? The calculator will tell you. I displays both your US percentile and world percentile. Check it out with the link below:

what-percent-are-you

I admit that it makes me wonder if any of the protestors were in the top 1% globally speaking and if they even considered that. In case your curious to be in the top 1% globally you need to make about $104,000/year.