Octal October

Leaf less finallyFor over 2,500 years in our Western civilization, October has been known as the tenth month of the year and the iconic symbol of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.  Originally, though, the Romans had only ten months in their calendar; hence the “dece” in December (for ten).  The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October, retained its name (from the Latinocto” meaning “eight“) after January and February were inserted into the calendar around 750 B.C.  (October Wikipedia article).

October holds a special place in my heart, not only because it embodies the Fall season, but because I was born on the second day of the tenth month (frivolous sidebar: subtract two from ten you get eight).  So to with octal, although I rarely think in terms of just eight digits these days.

Way, way back, before IBM introduced it’s PC (aka Personal Computer) to the world, during the mid to late 70s, my father built several home computers using various early operating systems, including CP/M and DR DOS.  Just as I began to blossom mathematically through early exposure to algebra and geometry, I cut my intellectual eye-teeth on octal, hexadecimal, assembly language and machine code.

So it seemed fitting at the end of September, that I decided to increase my daily step goal from seven thousand to eight thousand.  Are you scratching your head yet?  Or just rolling your eyes?

I am happy to report I met my new goal of eight thousand steps eighty-four percent (84%) of the time. I had five days I did not reach my goal, one of which I would have met the goal had I not accidentally reset my pedometer a few minutes before retiring for bed.

In reviewing the data collected by my pedometer, I learned I’m walking, on average, about twenty-five (25) miles per week and getting roughly an hour’s worth of exercise time in the process.  That means, since the beginning of September, I’ve put nearly two hundred (200*) miles wear on my walking shoes!  I think it’s time for a new pair, or at least a new pair of inserts.

The latter half of November will be a challenge.  Travel and holiday guests may put a crimp on my ability to meet my daily step goal.  Only time will tell.

See you next month, same step channel, same step time.

* That’s thirty-one (31) in octal, by the way.

Stepping Through September

My New PedometerI started wearing my new pedometer the day I received it, on the third of September.  Almost a month has passed since then, and I’ve enjoyed and been encouraged by the ease and usefulness of it.  I love that it’s rechargeable.  I love that it lights up so when I’m walking Apollo during the evenings, in the dark, I can easily track how far we’ve gone.  I really like the total step feature, which is in addition to the seven-day memory.  But I didn’t pass through September completely unscathed.

About midway through the month I took the lanyard off my old pedometer and attached it to my new one.  I wanted a clip to fasten to my pocket opening so I wouldn’t accidentally drop the pedometer.  A day or two after doing that I realized the pedometer had somehow reset itself, losing not only the daily stats, but the memory and the total steps stats as well.  I determined that because this is a pocket pedometer (with no available belt clip accessory), the new lanyard, with the transitional piece of plastic near the pedometer, can become wedge between my body and the reset button (upper left hand button in the photo above), especially if I bend over repeatedly.  I am more careful now about removing the pedometer from my pocket when sitting, driving or doing heavy cleaning and housework.  Jeans proved to be the worst about resetting the pedometer.  My workout pants, looser fitting and with bigger and deeper pockets, were the best at preventing inadvertent resets of the pedometer’s memory.

I returned to the Pedometers USA website, hoping to find a belt clip for my model.  I did not find that accessory but I did notice a price increase.  When I purchased the PE-798 model earlier in September, I only spent $16.95.  Now, with just three days left in the same month, the price shot up to $29.95.  In reviewing other downloadable (but not rechargeable) models, the cute and compact CR-786 model goes for that nearly irresistible price of $16.95.  It looks like a thumb drive (and sort of is) but acts like a pedometer.

But back to how well the new pedometer performed in September after nearly four weeks of continuous use (minus the time I spent sleeping).  Even though the TrakNote software allowed me to export the data collected to a CSV file, I’m so terrible at using Excel 2010, that I gave up and copied/pasted the relevant information into my SparkPeople fitness web tracking account because I liked the charts better.

If I hadn’t accidentally reset my pedometer on the 13th and 14th, I might have actually reached my goal of 7,000 steps per day for most of the month.  The spike you see on September 22nd resulted from cleaning out the garage and an evening of stargazing at Powell Observatory.  I had to take it easy on Sunday the 23rd, when I woke up tired, sore and stiff.

I think it’s time to up my goal.  On the first of October, I will change my target steps, increasing them by a thousand, for a total of 8,000 steps.  I don’t know if I can reach the recommended goal of 10,000 steps by the end of the year (weather permitting of course), but we’ll see how well I do next month with the bar raised a bit higher.  I’ve languished at the seven thousand step mark for far too long.  Apollo wants me to walking him more often anyways.


Oh, and I almost forgot to mention an interesting occurrence between my coworkers and I.  Yesterday afternoon, my cube mates began discussing and guessing how many trips it would take around our floor to equal one mile.  Since I know my stride length and I always wear my pedometer, I volunteered to walk the floor one time to determine the number of steps around the perimeter (the hallway that hugs the exterior windowed offices).  Roughly, it came up to three hundred steps (I rounded up for ease of calculation).  Once I got back to my desk, I fired up Excel (I can at least do simple formulas, if not complicated fancy pivot tables and charts) and did the following calculations:

  • 1 mile = 5,282 feet
  • 5,282 x 12 inches = 63,384 inches
  • stride length (in inches) = 28
  • distance around floor perimeter (in inches) =
    300 * 28 or 8,400 inches
  • trips necessary to walk one mile = 7.56

So depending on your stride length, six or eight trips around our floor would equal approximately one mile walked.

Product Review: Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis Pedometer

My old pedometer finally bit the dust last month.  That explains why you haven’t seen any posts here relating to my weekly or monthly step stats.  My Omron pedometer decided it needed a permanent vacation.  This prompted me to go looking for a new and improved model.

I reviewed the Omrom pedometers at a website I stumbled upon dedicated to pedometers called, not surprisingly, PedometersUSA.com.  At a bare minimum, any new pedometer had to do everything the Omrom HJ-113 could do, including resetting automatically at midnight and having a seven-day memory.  I didn’t find anything from Omrom that flipped my trigger though.

Using the PedometersUSA.com ‘Best Rated/Accuracy’ web page, I reviewed all the pedometers listed under ‘High Accuracy – Multi-Function’ and decided to purchase the Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis pedometer.  The number one reason I bought this model?  It’s rechargeable, which means I never need to buy another weird small coin battery again or keep track of a small screw driver to access said battery.   I couldn’t believe the low price of $16.95 and I appreciated the free shipping as well.

I placed my order on Monday August 27th and I received the package on Saturday, September 1st, which impressed me for free shipping.  The pedometer came to me uncharged, so I hooked it up to my laptop to charge for a couple of hours.  A small CD came in the package which contained the tracking software, which I installed on the same laptop.  Windows 7 had already identified and installed the correct driver when I initially hooked up the pedometer’s short USB cable.


  • Rechargeable
  • Multifunction
  • 7-day Memory
  • Downloadable
  • TrakNote Software (mini-review below)


  • No belt clip
  • No lanyard clip

Sunday morning, while working from home on an application upgrade (it’s what I do), I read through the one sheet map-like-folded user’s guide and got the clock set (sort of … more on that later), my stride length and my daily step goal. I got the lanyard attached to the device, but didn’t really see the point since the cord did not include a clip.  I will probably steal the lanyard from my old Omrom pedometer, which does have a clip.  Since this new pedometer is supposed to ‘highly accurate’ using a tri-axis (instead of a dual axis like the Omrom had), I can just put it in my pocket or my purse.  I slipped it into my pocket late in the day on Sunday and recorded about a thousand steps before retiring for bed.

I woke up early on Labor Day and decided Apollo needed a walk.  I slipped the pedometer into my pocket without looking at it and headed out the door with Apollo pulling me down the steps enthusiastically.  I wanted to stay out at least three-quarters of an hour, if not an hour, so I could enjoy the gradual brightening of the sky as dawn approached.  I checked the pedometer when I reach the halfway point, while crossing Main Street at Mary Street and thought it odd I had already surpassed four thousand steps.  Apollo and I continued south through the partially developed Lansing Town Centre area down to Sonic and then back north again, retracing our steps to Mary Street.

Once I got back home, I put my reading glasses on and realized the clock was off by twelve hours.  This meant that at midnight, the pedometer didn’t reset because it thought it was noon.  I adjusted the clock and made a mental note to subtract about a thousand steps from Monday’s total steps.

TrakNote Software

I no longer have to worry about where I put my reading glasses when I want to record my steps in my fitness log.  The software that came with my new pedometer makes this insanely easy.   It even allows more than one user to use the software, although I don’t think you can have more than one person per pedometer (how would the pedometer know?).  If I were to purchase another one for Terry, he could use the same installation of the software.

The first time I ran the software, I filled out a short user profile.  These data points: gender, age, height, weight and stride, help calculate calories burned.   The target step I had already set directly on the pedometer, but it’s nice to be able to update it via a computer keyboard.  I connected the pedometer to an open USB port on my laptop before running TrakNote (you will get an error message if the pedometer is not connected).  I saved my profile and continued to the main screen of the TrakNote software.

I only had one-half day’s worth of data to review on Monday, so I couldn’t explore many of the features available.  The longer I use the pedometer and the tracking software, the more data and graphs I’ll be able to review.  If I want to really go bonkers, I can download the data to a CSV file and use a spreadsheet or database program to create pivot tables, graphs and other reports.

While I haven’t had the pedometer for very long (just a few days now), I’m excited about the possibilities.  I did e-mail customer service asking if a belt clip for this pedometer was available as an accessory.

I’ve also re-ignited my determination to get back on track with my walking and exercising regime.  The scorching hot summer de-motivated me.  With the autumnal equinox just a couple of weeks away, I’m all fired up to watch the leaves change colors while trying to keep up with Apollo on our evening and morning walks.

I will revisit this review after a few more days, but initially I would give the Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis pedometer high marks and a best buy recommendation.