The Nike+iPod Sports Kit on a budget (or ‘How to get a non-running geek interested in running’)

So, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, actually it was last year! Anyway, asides from *not* blogging I had a great break over the Christmas holidays. I had a good bit of time off work which gave me a chance to really chill out and just relax. I’m now back at work and feeling quite refreshed and focused now.

Being a big fan of all things Apple I was intrigued when they brought out the Nike+iPod sports kit as to how it worked, not being into running or owning an iPod Nano I didn’t think much more about it. Anyway, one of the things I got for Christmas ’06 was an iPod Nano (it was actually a present to myself, ahem…), I’m not really much of a runner, much preferring things with wheels or that go on snow or water, but with the winter weather making it hard to find time to skate I thought it would be a good way to get into better shape. Also I was amused by a blog post by Cabel Sasser so I got more interested in getting one. Go read Cabel’s blog post as it really is quite funny and kind of echoes my experience. Anyway, on with the main point of this blog entry which is mainly to take a wee look at how you can do the Nike+iPod thing on a budget!

Part of the deal with the kit is that it’s intended to work with particular shoes that Nike make, however, not wanting to spend like £60+ on a pair of running shoes I knew there would be a way to do it using any pair of running shoes. Ok, the ingredients I found for cheap running experience:

Shiny new iPod Nano
Brand new shiny iPod Nano
(2GB basic model) £90.00
iPod+Nike Sports kit
Nike+iPod Sports kit, sensor on the left,
iPod attachment on the right. £20.00

The Nano was purchased on for about £90 delivered, I managed to find the Nike+iPod kit in a local sports shop so no delivery cost there.

The sensor for your shoe
The sensor for your shoe.
The receiver attached to the iPod
The receiver attached to the iPod

The kit comprises a sensor that you put in your shoe and a receiver that attaches to your iPod Nano, information about your running progress is transmitted from the sensor to the receiver (via some form of bluetooth protocol). You get audio feedback in your headphones as you run telling you how far you’ve gone, and if you run longer than you have before you get a nice little message from a famous athlete (I’ve heard Paula Radcliffe and Lance Armstrong so far!).

The handy 'iStrap'!
The handy ‘iStrap’! (Please note,
this is not an Apple product!) £1.00
The iStrap's velcro disk attached  to the back of the sensor
The iStrap’s velcro disk attached
to the back of the sensor.

Now, the key ingredient to do the ‘Nike+iPod on a budget’ thing. Presentiing the ‘iStrap’, which is basically a velcro strap and disk that you use to attach the sensor to your shoe. Cost benefit of this over paying £60+ on a pair of the proper Nike+ running shoes? The iStrap is £1.00. Savings? At least £59.00 ;)

The right-hand image above shows the velcro disk attached to the sensor.

The Asics running shoes
The Asics running shoes (looking
very new and shiny still). £20.00
Shoes with iStrap fitted under the laces
Closeup of the iStrap fitted under
the laces of the running shoes.

Ok, to be fair I have to offset the £59.00 saving with the cost of a ‘normal’ pair of running shoes. So, in the January sales I got a great pair of Asics shoes for £20, so that brings the savings to about £39.00 I guess.

The image to the right above shows the iStrap fitted under the laces of the shoe.

Nike+iPod sensor stuck on the velcro
Nike+iPod sensor stuck on the velcro
via the already applied velcro disc.
The sensor enclosed by the iStrap
The sensor enclosed by the iStrap, it’s
held in place quite securely.

The sensor is then attached to the velcro strap which is folded over the top and fastened securely. I was a bit worried about how secure it would be but it’s actually pretty solid, which is good because the sensor doesn’t want to be rattling around as it can affect the measurements taken from it.

Screenshot of additional Nike+iPod menu item
Plugging in the sensor results in an
Additional Nike+iPod Menu item.
Screenshot of content items of Nike+iPod menu item
Some of the menu items found within
the new Nike+iPod Menu item.

On the iPod itself you get a new entry appearing in the options, once you select the Nike+iPod option you then get other options for choosing the type of workout you want to do. You can choose workouts based on Time, Distance or Calories and you can view past workouts.

Screenshot of runs viewed in shows the details of the runs that you upload via iTunes.
Screenshot of detail of run in
You can view the progression
made on your individual runs.

Once you’ve completed a run you then hook up your iPod and the data taken from your run is synced up to the website, you can then log in and view the progress of your run in the form of a graph. The graph is accompanied in text form with details like distance, time, pace, calories, type of workout and playlist chosen for the run.

Total cost of my running kit…

  • iPod Nano – £90
  • Nike+iPod Sports Kit – £20
  • iStrap – £1
  • Asics running shoes – £20
  • Reebok running pants – £15
  • Total: £146.00

That’s great, but does it help you run?

That’s a question you might ask, but it really does help you run. As the title of this post states, I’m kind of a non running geek (not that I’m inactive by any means, just never been into running!) but the kit makes running much more interesting for me, the audio feedback for each kilometre (I run in metric!) you run helps you to see the goal you’re aiming for rather than kind of aimlessly running around! So yes, it’s not just a gimmick, it really does help!


‘Stories can be either bacteria or light, they can infect a system or illuminate a world’

I was just reading the recent post on Cameron Moll’s website about the first domain name he registered, it set off a discussion in the comments about people’s early website design. It reminded me of a bunch of my early web designs, I enjoyed the nostalgic reminder so I went and had a look at some of it. I’m fortunate to have stayed a part-time employee since I graduated art college in 1997 so all of the stuff I did whilst a student / intern there is still there.

Here’s a few choice items I enjoyed looking at:


Suburbia as a name was kicking around in my head way before this blog came into being as you can see from this site under my personal webspace at the college.

Red dust, Roadtrains and redbacks:

This was a travel diary I wrote whilst in Western Australia for the first time. This predates the term ‘blog’ so it’s a ‘travel diary’!


This was a site designed for my class at college, it was originally very bright with multi-coloured textured graphics (photoshop filter overdose!). After a while I changed it to this monotone version after I grew tired of the colours! Click on the OK button to enter, then click on the ‘Enter the body’ link to meet all my classmates. Ah the memories!

Time flies when you’re having fun…

I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 years since I graduated and almost 12 years since I first designed a website!

In case you’re wondering about the title of this blog it’s a quote from a writer called Ben Okri who I read a lot around the time I was at college, I came across the following image whilst looking through these old websites:

Stories can be either bacteria or light, they can infect a systeom or illuminate a world.

For Grandma:

According to my Mother-in-law my “Website needs more Nat pictures, less computer stuff”! So, for her here are a few pictures of my daughter Natalie to end this post, these are from 21st Nov 2003 – just to keep with the nostalgic tone of this post!

Natalie #1

Natalie #2

Natalie #3

Natalie #4


MacHeist – Want an invite?

If you’re a Mac user, like free or cheap software and don’t mind a little challenge to get it then you might like to check out the invite-only MacHeist.

Picture of Macheist website

MacHeist has been described:

MacHeist is a 5 week long event that will be invitation-only at first and will work towards an über bundle at the end with the last week starting on December 11th.

Anyway, if that’s got you interested then I have some invites for it, I’ve got 7 at the moment so if you want one get in touch! So far the 1st week’s challenge has already been done and I’ve got 3 little applications for free already.


Checking out the surf…

Seeing as me and Colin are trying to surf more, I thought I’d put an easy link for us to see the Surf report. So I’ve added a page called ‘Surf Reports’ to the blog so that we can see what the surf is like in one easy place. Check out the ‘Surf Reports’ link in the left hand menu.

The surf reports are from a site called, so if you’re interested in surfing and live on this planet then check it out!


Congratulations Alyn and AJ!

Alyn announced in his own amusing way about his and AJ’s impending ‘download’ of a baby in his latest blog post, the mark of a true Mac geek to announce a baby in the same paragraph as mentioning the iTunes 7.0.1 update!!!

So as a fellow Mac geek to another here’s a little graphic congratulations for Alyn and AJ:

iBaby '07 - the must-have upgrade...

The one bonus thing with iBaby is that you get the ‘Family Pack’ by default!!! ;)

Congratulations to Alyn and AJ!!!

The Science of Sleep / Lost again

I just noticed that there’s a new film coming out by Michel Gondry – the guy who made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a favourite movie in our household!), it’s called ‘The Science of Sleep‘.

Poster image for The Science of Sleep movieThe Synopsis:

“The Science of Sleep,” a playful romantic fantasy set inside the topsy-turvy brain of Stephane Miroux (Gael Garcia Bernal) an eccentric young man whose dreams constantly invade his waking life.

While slumbering, he is the charismatic host of “Stephane TV,” expounding on “The Science of Sleep” in front of cardboard cameras. In “real life,” he has a boring job at a Parisian calendar publisher and pines for Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the girl in the apartment across the hall. While Stephanie is initially charmed by Stephane, she is confused by his childishness and shaky connection to reality. Stephanes co-worker, Guy (Alain Chabat) a vulgar but practical man, offers advice on the opposite sex, but Stephane is too far in the clouds to listen. Unable to find the secret to Stephanies heart while awake, Stephane searches for the answer in his dreams.

Written and directed by Michel Gondry, the boundlessly inventive creator of award-winning films (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), music videos and commercials. “The Science of Sleep” is a whimsical trip into a cut-and-paste wonderland fashioned from cardboard tubes, cellophane, and imagination.

Other news:

Thanks to the wonders of having Canadian relatives Annie and I just got Lost Series 2 in the mail, and yes, we have watched, no, we won’t tell you what happened! ;)


So, long time no blog?

Mmm, yep, it has been a while since I posted anything on my blog. Almost a month in fact! Well, what’s my excuse? I guess just work and being generally busy, plus skateboarding a lot more too.

Good news is that my sore back is getting better, it’s taking time but I’m able to skate and ride my bike without much pain, I’ve still to go surfing (no waves!) and see how that goes though as laying horizontal on my board is one of the sorest positions for me. Hopefully it will be all good though.

Other news:

Our car is running well, Annie is busy playing a bunch of ceilidhs, three this weekend actually, Fri, Sat & Sunday nights!

Birthday boy:

Sunday is a special day, it’s the day I become 34 years old! If I had gotten my driving licence at the age of 17 I could now have been driving half my life! However, this birthday makes it 21 years since I got my first skateboard! Wow, 21 years of consistent skateboarding! Definitely my preferred method of 4-wheeled transport!

Must sleep:

Ok, well it’s late on Saturday night and I think I’m going to go to bed now and catch up on sleep!

Geek info:

One final point of interest for those interested in the technical aspects of this blog and what I do. This blog entry was posted using a cool little plain text markup tool called PHPMarkdown, this in turn is a PHP port of John Gruber’s original Markdown program. Check it out if you’re interested in that kind of thing.