Is This Thing On?

…And we’re back.

After a long absence filled with career moves, address changes, and soul searching, we are kickstarting UpRating.com ® once again.

Thank you to those who helped us get to where we last ended.  The endless hours of writing, editing, researching, and meetings were much appreciated.  We wouldn’t be even thinking about restarting if it wasn’t for the success and fun we had the first time. Bridget, Erin, and David, we can’t thank you enough for this help.

Our relaunch will create some minor changes to our brand.  First, we will be focusing more on buy guides, case studies, tutorials, and tips that will be geared towards a better lifestyle.  This won’t be a major shift from our previous content but will eliminate a couple of categories.  Second, we will be approaching this as a community driven project.  There will be a lot more content driven by requests and contributions from those who use our site.

Stay tuned!

Sincerely,

Alex Brayman and Jeff Blackler
Co-Founders

Should You Buy Google Glass in 2014?

Why I Returned Mine After Only A Month


In late November 2013, I was given an opportunity to purchase Google Glass. I was so excited that it took me less than 30 minutes to give Google my $1,600 and pick a color. All I could think about was how none of my tech friends (or anyone I know at all) had it and the value that it could add in PR for my website. How could I go wrong?

Arrival of Glass

It arrived in 2 days (1 was a holiday) after I opted out of going to NYC for a personalized fitting. At first it was everything I imagined. I felt like I was in the future or a sci-fi movie. I started to dream about the endless uses Glass seemed to have and all the cool video that I could record. After looking through the Glass explorer pages on Google, I was only more excited.

Performance

It didn’t take long to realize there are some downfalls to Glass:

1) Navigation. Navigating through the endless tiles that you can generate is painful (literally) as you try to sift through them using hand gestures and have to constantly look upwards at the tiny screen. There is no “clear all” feature.

2) Voice Commands. While voice commands can occasionally be convenient, it’s rarely appropriate to be talking to your Glass in public. Personally, I can’t stand people who are on their bluetooth devices or yelling into their phones in public, especially when they make awkward eye contact with you while not actually talking to you. Also, to text or email, you have to speak the content in order to send. I don’t see how else they could do this, but that isn’t something you want to do in public.

3) Pictures/Video. You can initiate these with either voice, touch, or the button located at the top of the device. However, the button is actually located on the temple of the glasses, which makes it very easy to press accidentally as you take them off. I ended up with a ton of useless pictures that were taken accidentally as I took the glasses off. The picture quality is equivalent to a standard smartphone.

4) Battery Life. The battery life was not too bad. It would last a few hours of constant use without having to recharge. I think it would be a stretch to have them on for an entire day (10-12 hours) without having to charge them. However, I found it reasonable for how new the device is.

5) Apps. For something that costs $1,500 + tax, you would think there would be some showcase (and useful) apps available. Wrong! There are very few apps, and much like apps for your phone, most of them have obnoxious push notifications

6) Android Connection. This was where I could see the potential for everyday use. When you receive notifications, you have the option to respond on Glass or pull out your phone for longer messages. Plus, the Glass app for Android shows what is on the Glass screen, which is a great introduction to Glass for those who haven’t used it yet.

7) Screen. The only issues with the screen I had are in lots of light or sunlight. The glare made the images so opaque that it was hard to make them out. Resolution and obstruction to my view were what I expected, which was about average. The screen will adjust toward or away from your face for better viewing. My eyes will get tired from reading long messages or watching videos on it.

8) Cost. This one is obvious… $1,500 is way too much for this product and I knew that going in. My estimated value after using them was $300. If I could get them for around that price then I would feel like it was money well spent.

Roadblocks

If you wear glasses with prescription lenses, I would suggest trying them out for a few days first. While they do make prescription lenses for it, you are stuck with Glass for every situation as they do not fold up and the case is rather large.

There is also the legal side of using Glass. From the acceptable use while driving, to the using it in a movie theater, or even using it at a restaurant. It is clear that it will take some time for all of this to be figured out. You should be fine using it with reasonable caution and putting them away if asked.

The Bottom Line

Google GlassWhat I didn’t realize when I purchased Glass was how impractical they are at this early stage. There is nothing in my digital life that I can only do with Glass. Besides, Glass is pretty controversial: there are plenty of (not unfounded) concerns about privacy. It feels strange to use some of its features such as voice command in public, yet I felt like I got even stranger looks when I used it without voice commands. People seem to assume that you are just taking photos and video all the time. Until the public understands and accepts hardware like Glass, you are going to stick out when you use it. It is the bluetooth device of this decade.

Restaurant Kicks Out Patron For Wearing Google Glass

Only time will tell if it will be worth having Glass. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it, but I am more happy that I got my money back. (To Google’s credit, they did refund my entire purchase including tax, and provided free return shipping.) For now, I will pass until it is more affordable and more people are developing for it.

10 Weight Loss Tips (Student Edition)

Weight Loss Before Picture

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins

1) Become a Self Starter
No one is going to lose this weight for you. In fact, you will find many people resistant to changing their habits to help you achieve your dream. You have to decide that you want this enough that you will do it with or without the help of others.

2) Choose a Maintainable Plan
Crash diets may work in the short term but will rapidly reverse once you stop. You need to choose a plan that can work with your lifestyle. Extreme diet or exercise is never going to work long term.

3) Don’t Start Too Big
Many people make the mistake of going from overeating to undereating. If you were eating 3,500 calories a day, don’t then just drop to 1,300 a day. You will lose the motivation to keep it going because you will be miserable. Take smaller steps and you will achieve far more than you ever expected. Big weight loss takes time.

4) Plan Out Your Workout
Make a plan of what you want to achieve in your workout BEFORE you start. That way you don’t just stop once you start feeling good. Plus, who doesn’t like to accomplish something they set out to do? You would be surprised how fulfilling it is to cross something off of a list.

5) Success Is More Than A Number On A Scale
Progress isn’t all about the number on the scale. As you progress on your journey, you will gain muscle and your body will become more toned. Neither of these things will be reflected positively on a scale. Do something other than weighing yourself, like taking measurements. You will feel much better in those times that the scale doesn’t reflect your hard work.

6) Diet is Most Important
You didn’t become overweight by not exercising. You became overweight by not eating properly day after day. While exercise is important in the process, you can’t out-exercise your poor diet and maintain it for the rest of your life. Remember, six pack abs are made in the kitchen.

7) Push Yourself Once A Week
Try something new every week. It doesn’t matter if it is a new routine, longer/heavier sets, or trying a new recipe. These new things will keep you interested and motivated. You don’t know what you can accomplish if you never try it. I promise, you won’t regret it!

8) Know When You’ve Fallen Off the Wagon
You will fall off the wagon eventually. Many people will fall off after putting in all the hard work once they discover their newly improved body. It is important for you to take time to assess yourself and make sure you are heading towards a goal.

9) Surround Yourself With Experience
Find friends, trainers, and strangers who have gone through (or are currently going through) the weight loss journey. These people can help you better understand the process and struggles that come with a long weight loss journey. It is also wise to befriend a few trainers and experts.

10) Goals Make Dreams Come True
Writing down and accomplishing goals is the only way you can get that body you’ve dreamed about. It is important to set achievable goals that still push you. You will be surprised what you can accomplish when you break it down into small steps. Don’t worry about the length of the journey and just keep focused. You will get there.

One Year of UpRating.com!

Shirts for a Cause

UpRating.com New layout It’s been one year since our first published blog post on UpRating.com! This website has beat almost every expectation that we had when we started it. Although UpRating.com turned out to be drastically different from what we originally imagined it to be, change is sometimes for the better. We love where this website is going and the new areas we are planning to explore.

Every month we have grown in unique views as well as visits per person. This means that people are coming back to see what we do next!

Shirts
To celebrate our successful first year, we will be selling UpRating.com T-shirts. We are ordering from CustomInk.com, owner of booster.com.

We want to celebrate our success by giving back to a cause that means a lot to us. We will be donating 100% of the proceeds generated from these shirts to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis has affected some of our friends and family. This charity helps people live with this disease in a dignified way. Please help us support this cause by buying a shirt.

Cost: $15.00 + $5.00 (flat rate, buy more shirts with no additional shipping!) shipping = $20
http://www.booster.com/uprating

Thank You!
Alex, Bridget, and I would like to thank all of you who have visited this site over the past year. Without people coming to our site we wouldn’t have the great opportunities that we have.

We would also like to thank our guest contributors David Holthausen and Erin Cummins. Their contributions have added a new perspective in the worlds of technology and fitness.

This website has grown into something we never imagined. All of you have helped us get closer to our dream. Please continue to follow us along this journey and share our content with your friends. We have set up a monthly newsletter (signup on the right!) to make it easier to follow all of our content!

Paying the Bills
When we started this website we decided that we would not charge a fee to view our content. This means we need to come up with another way to pay for the site. Over the next few months, you will be seeing advertisements and affiliated links (clearly marked) appear throughout UpRating.com.

As we transition to this new format, we want to be clear that it will in no way impact our content. We have never, and will never, accept payments for reviews. It is important that we do not let any money we make influence how we produce content.

The Next Year
We have been working hard to bring some great new content through the form of videos and blog posts. Our focus is to work with more experts, trainers, and educators to better provide our visitors with the best available information.

We are always looking for more contributors! If you are knowledgeable in the areas of technology or fitness we would love to work with you. Any suggestions for content topics is also much appreciated!

Best App for Losing Weight

Review: Lose It! App (Android, iOS)

I came across this app after discussing weight loss and fitness goals with Alex. He showed me Lose It!, which he was using to gain weight through exercise and calorie tracking. I was looking for something basic that would keep me on track for losing weight. It had to be easy to use and not consume much time in my day in order for me to keep using it. The app I would also be happy if it could sync with my fitbit but I didn’t expect to find that for free. Lose It! seemed to meet all of my criteria in a weight loss/tracking program, so I decided to give it a try.


Price: Free (also has premium version for device syncing)
OS: Android, iOS
Maker: FitNow, Inc.


Pros:
1) Free – This is a free app
2) Previous Meal Feature – If you tend to eat the same meal often this app allows you to find it quickly and add the entire meal or parts of that meal into your current day’s tracker
3) Barcode Scanning – Allows you enter nutrition facts by scanning a food’s bar code
4) Portion Input Options – Many items allow you to choose to put in portions in ounces, cups, fractions of bags, and more. This is great when you have no idea how many ounces something is.
5) Speed – It takes me about 5 minutes a day to input 3 meals plus snacks. That’s fast!
6) Weight Goal Tracking – It calculates when you will reach your goal based on how you have been progressing

Cons:
1) Connecting fitness tracking devices costs money – In order to sync my Fitbit data with Lose It!, I have to upgrade to the paid version of the app.

Summary

This is an extremely useful app for weight loss. I find it to be very easy to use and it only takes about 5 minutes out of my day to input everything. The simplicity is really what makes this app so good. I have no excuses for not putting my daily food intake. Armed with some basic knowledge of calorie counts and weight loss programs, you can use this with great success. I lost 15lbs in the first month!