Week 4 of Startup Life

FitBit, hiking and Mad Max 2

On Monday I finally bought an activity tracker, which I’ve been planning to do for a while. FitBit Charge HR was my choice after comparing different models. It cost $149 and it tracks, for example, step count, distance, heart rate and sleep pattern. It comes with a handy mobile app that syncs constantly with bluetooth and uploads the stats to the cloud. I also started using another feature, food diary, where I add everything I eat. I try to do that for first for 30 days and see if it is any useful for me. Mostly I’m interested in seeing how my heart rate varies during the day. Below is my sleep pattern from the first night:

It fails to detect the time I go to sleep. I was probably reading until 22:15, which can be clearly seen from the amount of “restless” and “awake” lines. I need to do some research and find out whether or not I have too many restless lines and what are the ways to improve the quality of my sleep. I’ll track my sleep for a couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll see a more comprehensive picture of my sleep routine.

On Wednesday I went for a dinner at my Finnish neighbors where Marko, another Startup Life intern had stayed for some time trying to find a place to live. Marko had promised to cook a nice dinner and he really surprised us all. The menu consisted of a spicy tomato soup, fried asparahus, herb oil mix and slices of bread. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn’t have my phone ready for a picture.

Our host, Mårten, had come up with a clever game for guests. With an ultra-zoom lens he had taken tons of pictures of small details that can be seen from their large windows. Then, each player is given an A4 paper with 6 pictures in it. The first one to find where all the details belong wins the game. The foggy weather made the game a bit more challenging this time… They have a pretty good view for this game:

At work I started a side project doing some map visualizations. Since our blog often focuses on comparing health statistics in different US cities and states, a natural way to present the results is to provide the readers with a colorful map showing values for the entities. Our current solution is to have pictures of maps there but living in the web 3.0 era, it felt too old-fashioned for me and I started creating interactive visualizations with D3.js and topojson libraries. It’s interesting to do some javascript programming once in a while after a few weeks of devops stuff.

On Friday we discussed where to go during the long weekend. During the first 4 weeks here, I hadn’t left the city yet so at least for me it was really important to go somewhere and see some new places in Northern California. After the work Iiro and I met with Marko at South Beach. Eating our excellent pork apple burgers (very good combination btw) ordered from GrubHub, we found a national park called Point Reyes just a short drive north of San Francisco. We decided to go for an early start and meet 8:15 in the morning.

In the morning Marko picked me up in his new Volkswagen Jetta 2001. It turned out to be a good decision to leave early as it took almost 1.5 hours to leave the city. First, we picked up Marko’s co-worker up from the Caltrain Station after accidentally going to the highway just to do an U-turn later. Then, we found Iiro from his house in Nob Hill and headed to a gas station to do oil checks and other mandatory tasks for a new car owner. Driving over the Golden Gate bridge for the first time wasn’t as exciting as I thought. In just 2 minutes we were on Highway 101 heading north and the bridge was quickly far behind.

My friends explained me on the way how all the people living in Marin County (north of SF) are wealthy and live in huge mansions. This probably isn’t very far from the truth as everyone there seemed to drive a fancy car up to the hills where the sun always shines. We stopped at Strawberry Field shopping center to buy food and snacks for the hike.

Around noon we arrived at the Point Reyes visitor center and asked what they recommended for us as we wanted to walk for 4–6 hours but didn’t know exactly where to go. The helpful park ranger drew this on our map:

We started from the visitor center (red point) and started climbing up to the Mount Witterberg. After about 3 miles of uphill, the path started going downwards all the way to the beach. The weather was really warm and there was hardly any wind. We walked to the Kelham Beach for the lunch and enjoyed the ocean view. There were whales just few hundred meters from the beach. We saw them splashing water and coming to the surface for a few seconds.

The way back went through Bear Valley was really easy walk. Here is my heart rate during the hike:

You can easily distinguish my walk to the car in the morning and the uphill part around noon. On the way back to SF we stopped at lookout points north of Golden Gate bridge. From up there you could see the entire city, Alcatraz and of course the bridge itself. The temperature was several degrees lower here than in the national park. We even saw Carl the Fog that comes from the sea and rolls over the city.

On Sunday I felt really tired after the hike and spent most of the day at home. We had a plan to visit a beer festival in Oakland but I canceled because I didn’t feel that good. That turned out to be a good decision as my friends went there just to see that the festival was not this weekend but the next. In the evening we went to see the new Mad Max movie. I didn’t know anything about Mad Max so it was quite interesting to see movie that you knew nothing about. This didn’t help at all since the movie didn’t appeal to my taste at all. Just action with no good plot never works for me.

I felt I needed one more day to rest and I got that since Monday was Memorial Day… more about that in the next post.