A month ago, I switched to using a stand up desk. Rather than sitting at a desk while working, I now stand up. In short: so far, so good.

Why would I do this? Its better for the back and better for your health in general. Perhaps you have see the headlines about a recent study that suggests sitting too much can double your risk of death. One of the striking aspects of this study is that the relationship existed even for people who were otherwise heathy and exercised regularly. I used to think: 'I know sitting all day is not good, but I run, I go to the gym, etc.' So when I found myself without a desk in early July, I decided to give a stand up desk a try.IMG_6133.JPG

While you can get fancy adjustable height desks that go up and down with the press of a button, my setup is essentially fixed at standing height. The adjustable height desks are crazy expensive, but may be worth it considering the health benefits. My desk is about $150 from IKEA, one of their table tops plus 4 VIKA BYSKE table legs. These table legs are way more expensive that other table legs from IKEA, but they are adjustable all the way up to standing height (at least for me at 6 foot 2 with maybe an inch or two to spare, but not more). While technical adjustable, the design of the legs is such that you would need to remove all items from the desk and slowly turn each leg to adjust the height -- not something you would do a on a daily basis, way too much effort and time. The table top is set to the level of my forearms when held a right angle to my body, with the monitor elevated to eye level. I have a folded yoga mat to stand on, making it easier on the legs.

It has gone well. My legs and back do get tired at times, and short breaks are necessary. I also try to to stand still all day, often gently shifting weight from one foot to the other, picking up my feet, walking in place, slight twists, etc. Moving is better than standing still. They say that a treadmill desk is even better than a standing desk, but I am not there yet.

Starbucks recently announced they are entering the yogurt market. Starbucks Yogurt? Really? I understand that public companies often expand into new markets in order to show growth for their investors, but I can't help but wonder if Starbucks has lost its way.

In the past few weeks, I have order two coffees at two different Starbucks locations. Perhaps a coincidence, but in both cases, the coffee tasted as if it might have been sitting too long after it had been brewed -- that's not what I expect from Starbucks.

And now this yogurt thing.

So the other day I picked up a pound of Kicking Horse coffee beans, instead of buying my beans from Starbucks. Seems like a good time to at least give it a try.

Today the "feels like" temperature in Toronto is 44 C / 113 F. Very hot, and everyone is complaining. After living in Bermuda for 7 years, the past few days have been my first taste of Toronto Heat, which can be described as "hot and humid". Bermuda is also hot and humid, but its a different heat (hard to describe the difference, but it is very different). Compared to a typical Bermuda day, the humidity of 62% in Toronto is quite low, fairly dry. Humidity in Bermuda is normally between 70-90%, anything less is cause for celebration.

But today's Toronto heat, a wall that hits you in face when you step outside, reminded me of my longtime policy:

The Hotter the Better

Most everyone disagrees with this, but I think there is just something about that thick heat that presents a challenge -- either you fight it, or you embrace it and take it in. I think the latter is the only way to deal with it. If you embrace the heat and just to decide to let it soak in (and soak you), it becomes extremely energizing.

Or, maybe its just me.

RunKeeper-Logo.jpgAfter using Nike Plus for several years, totaling almost 4,000km, I recently decided to switch to RunKeeper. I would have done it sooner, but one major feature of Nike Plus was holding me back: accelerometer-based tracking -- a feature that it not available with RunKeeper. I used Nike Plus with my iPod Touch, which doesn't have GPS, and RunKeeper needs GPS to work. After I received my iPhone 5, that all changed and I could finally give RunKeeper a try.

What is Wrong with Nike Plus

Nike Plus is full of bugs and each new version introduces new bugs. The old bugs sometimes get fixed, but many persists through several updates. One of the big problems is that it is very easy to tell that they don't beta test the app with actual runners. One example is that at the end of each run, and "ERROR" message appears saying that I am not connected to the Internet. As mentioned, I used an iPod touch and its pretty rare that when a runner stops running that they will be connected to WiFi at that location -- I tend to stop my runs before I enter my home. And this error prompt shows up three times, not once, in a row. First of all the lack of an Internet connection is not an error at all -- yes, I understand that the app wants to sync with Nike Plus servers, and the runner may want that as well -- but its not an error, its something that can easily wait until the next time the app connects. Over 80 million iPod Touches are out there, and Nike Plus knows that they are used with their app. Clearly they don't have anyone testing it.IMG_2274.PNG New Features also make it clear that the product design is not be directed by actual runners, like the change where the app suddenly switched from announcing "current pace" to "average pace" -- with average pace being the simple calculation of you average pace since you started your run -- so you can forget using it for interval training or any other run where you intentionally change your pace for different segments of your run -- gone was the ability to learn what your current pace was. I could go on...

RunKeeper Impressions

RunKeeper is better is just about every respect. Apart from an initial bug connecting to my new Wahoo Blue HR heart rate monitor (now fixed), I haven't encountered any bugs. Features clearly make a lot more sense and you can tell they stem form actual runners experiences and training needs. There are a ton of options for what types of audio cues you will receive when running, including either or both "current pace" and "average pace". The Web UI is also better than Nike Plus, and while I currently have few "friends" on RunKeeper, the social features seem decent (btw, I can be found on RunKeeper at http://runkeeper.com/user/markcarey/). And of course the GPS mapping of runs is pretty cool -- Nike Plus has this feature as well but never used it as I couldn't with my iPod Touch. The one key feature missing from RunKeeper is accelerometer-based tracking -- if they added that feature I bet they would get a lot of new users from among those 80+ million iPod Touches out there (plus I could use it for treadmill runs).

With the recent announcement of Facebook Graph Search, the practice of Facebook SEO may be right around the corner.

But how would Facebook Graph Search Engine Optimization (FGSEO?) work? Rather than ranking web sites, business will strive to have their Facebook "Pages" ranking high for relevant queries. It remains to be seen how Facebook will rank such search results. Of course, "on-page" keywords will play a part, with Pages having search keywords in various profile fields, and perhaps even in post content.

Social Scoring

Facebook being Facebook, we can expect that social actions will play large part in the scoring and ranking of results. Convention web page search engines like Google place most weight on links pointing to a page, but I think Facebook won't bother trying to tally links to Facebook Pages (nor to the external web sites associated with those Pages). They will almost certainly consider the number of likes, shares, and comments that a pages and its posts get, and perhaps weighing some recent actions more than those in the distant past.

How to do Facebook SEO

Given this, what how should companies and SEOs approach the task of Facebook SEO? The answer to this question will take some in coming. Of course, boosting Likes to a Facebook Page is certainly one way, but there's nothing new about that approach. The interesting question for me is whether -- and how -- will managing Facebook Pages change when Facebook SEO becomes part of the goal?