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The Flying Developer

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22 Sep 2009
The Flying Developer Goes For A Run

Update: Guy, the developer of the C25K app, was kind enough to leave a comment on this post. Here it is in full:

Thanks for the feedback. I’m actually the developer of the app, and I hear you on the complaints.

True, the application needs to be in the foreground to work. This is my first Android app, and I wrote it mostly for myself and to learn how to program for the Android. I haven’t really worked out the “background” thing yet. It’s the first thing on my todo-list. Also, the sound pack support is still a little experimental, so there’s only one. I’d be happy to add more, though, as time allows. The idea of allowing to choose any audio file is good. I hadn’t thought of it.

To put it in context, though, this is a weekend project and I decided to share it with the world for free. As I find more time to hack on it, upcoming versions will be better…

Best,

Guy.

Thanks for getting in touch Guy!  I really like the app, I have found it invaluable on my runs. Not being able to change the chimes hasn’t bothered me as much as I thought it would, I think seeing the option to change them leading to no real choice was what annoyed me. The no-background thing is a problem however. Right now I would give the app 3.5/5, as soon as I can run it in the background that rating would go up to 4.5 or even 5/5. Here’s hoping we get a new version soon!

I have decided I need to get fit.

This is a variation on my semi-regular desire to ‘lose weight’. Unfortunately, these urges never last long enough as laziness inevitably gets the better of me and I go back to the frozen meals. This time though, I think I will have more success. This time, I’m using technology!

The Couch-To-5K program is a running schedule designed to get a couch-potato (or more accurately, keyboard/mouse potato) like me off his arse and running 5k within 9 weeks. Lots of people seem to recommend it, including a couple of friends of mine.

The real point of this post though is to highlight a semi-great 3rd-party app designed to help you out with the program. The C25K Android app is available on the Android marketplace. You can get it by scanning this handy-dandy QR code with your phone:

QR code for the C25K app

The app basically does all the timing involved in your workout for you. For example, the first week of running is made up of alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking. Having the app do the timing for me was really useful, as I could listen to music and not have to worry about missing my cues. There are only two real problems with the app.

Firstly, things keep interrupting it. It’s unfortunate, but as soon as you navigate away from the app itself, the timer pauses. This is really annoying. The last thing I want to have to do while trying to keep my lungs from collapsing is have to make sure that my timer is still going. If the phone rings, the timer stops. If I get a text message, the timer stops. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future release.

The other thing is the ‘sound pack’. The app alerts you of your progress by playing a short bell chime. Great! What if I want to change it? The only option is to choose a new ‘sound pack’. Eh? What’s a sound pack? There’s only one in the app (bells) and it’s not bad, but I’d like more variety. The creator says that more are coming, but what I’d really like is the ability to pick mp3s from my SD card to use as chimes.

Other than those 2 niggles, I’m very pleased with the app. I’ll definitely be using it on my future runs, at least until the laziness reclaims me.


Thanks for reading! If you like my writing, you may be interested in my book: Healthy Webhook Consumption with Rails

David at 06:22

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