Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Another thing that happened 20 years ago today was I closed on my current home. I also made sure I paid off my house 9 years ago this month to avoid any Y2K issues. Funny. I have never missed having to make a house payment all these years, and I never missed getting up and driving to work this last year.
So to mark the day I built a new hand rail for my back steps. I figure I'll be needing it to help me up those steps sometime in the next 20 years.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
TS Designs believes in PPP "People, Profit, Planet" and each of us can help our planet in many small ways by simply taking a small step. They started by not using polystyrene cups for employees or visitors. Over the many years they have saved several 18 wheeled trucks full of cases of cups, and also all the land fill space needed to dispose of them. Those small efforts have lead them to organic gardens and solar and wind power for their use. Now the new roof top array will supply power to the grid through the ncGreenPower program. Way cool! Some of the power you are using today is supplied locally by business like TS Design and maybe even your neighbor.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Well I was right pulling one of the bushes out was hard work. Took a good 45 minutes of winch, huff-n-puff, rest, winch some more, reposition the come ah-long, crank some more -But it was possible, and we got that sucker out. So we decided to finish the job on Saturday.
Well Thursday turned out to be perfect fall day. Clear blue skies, cool, and no humidity. So I called and Larry he said sure come on over. Ever since finishing that first one I had been thinking ... There had to be a easier way. I came up with the idea to hook the chain to the frame of the truck and see if it would snatch the hedge out. Well it did. Having 2500lbs of batteries rolling at 3-4mph provides a serious tug, and each hedge would pop out after 3 or 4 tugs. The beauty of the electric motor is there is no wheel spin since the torque starts at 0 rpm - there is no 'rev up', or clutch slip needed. We did half yesterday and finished the rest today.
Monday, September 29, 2008
The motor mounts to the seat stay with a metal plate. Took a bit to get it adjusted so that the motor will try to 'climb' the tire as it pivots into the tire. This increases the motor's grip (friction) on the tire as the motor shaft rotates. If you pedal (or coast down hill) faster than the motor is turning the tire will push the motor away. Simple but effective design and seemed to work well. There is a lever to lock the motor against the tire if you want the motor to do all the work.
I wish I could say it worked 1st time, but it didn't. I hooked all the connectors up, charged the battery, but nothing happened when I pushed the handle bar mounted switch. Forward for high speed, back for low speed, and center(auto-return) for off. Took me about another hour to debug the problem.
But after getting the 3 pin connector right, I when for a test ride and I have to say it easily pulled my 225 lbs along at a faster than I pedal normally pace and climbed reasonable grades (small hills) by itself. For sure I will have to pedal some to get up any real hill with the motor doing most of the work. Still too early to judge the range. But I have to say that this kit can take the hard work out of bike riding, while still giving you some exercise. If getting all hot and sweaty riding to work is stopping you from doing it this kit could solve that problem.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Day 1-2, 3, 4, 5-6, 7, and the trip home. Hope you enjoy them and feel like you were there.
Monday, August 11, 2008
What's the catch? You have to fill your tiny gas tank using a eye dropper. So getting that 1 gallon worth of energy into your car takes about 8-12 hours. Charging on 120V is slow and at best is only about 50% efficient, so there is a lot of waste heat. Since my garage is air conditioned I charge the truck outside. I put up a canopy so that the truck is protected from all the droppings from the trees. The canopy also lets me keep the windows down, and the EV out of the sun so I don't notice the lack of A/C as much.
Batteries don't like cold so I'll keep it in the garage this winter. The excess heat given off during charging will just keep the garage warm (it's heated). I can charge with 220V using a buck transformer I got off of eBay and that is much more efficient. Charges in 4-6 hours on 220V and is about 70% efficient.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Click the picture to see the ones I took of my truck. More to come. I need to wash and give it a cleaning before I take the glamour shots.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I drove to Dexter's house north of Atlanta and met his family. Dexter's brother, Rick, came down from Baltimore to run in the race, so the three of us set out about 10PM for downtown Atlanta to spend the night with Dexter's Dad Roy. We got up at 5:45AM, and Roy dropped us at the MARTA station where we met up with Dexter's wife, Jan, Little Dexter, his fiancée Leila, and Cynthia at the station and rode the subway to Lenox Square which is where the race started. Rick and I had numbers in the same range, so we waited together. We started running at about 9AM , me with cell phone and camera in hand. By chance, Roy and I saw each other as I jogged by, but I missed getting that picture. My camera is slower than me :-(.
I was almost to the 1st mile marker when Dexter called to let me know he was done! He flew.. Sub 59 minutes for a 10K. His group when off earlier. I finished 1 hour 29 minutes 44 seconds... Slow.... 14:09 per mile average. Over a minute per mile slower than my already slow summertime pace. I did take a lot of pictures! I hope you enjoy them.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Well riding in a EV is cool - BUT - actually driving one is even better. I got to do that on Tuesday. So June 24, 2008 will be one of those days I won't forget. (No I don't remebmer the date of my very 1st kiss but I remember the girl *Amy*). I drove a Chevy S10 convented by US Electricar in 1994. I of course forgot my camera, but the one I drove is similar to the one pictured. It's a 312v battery pack driving a 3 phase AC motor with regenerative braking (meaning the AC motor turns into a generator and charges the battery when slowing or stopping). These trucks are not backyard DIY conversions. US Electricar professionally converted about 90 of these trucks. Click the picture for specs.
Oh... So how did it drive? You ever drive a S10 pickup with an automatic? It zipped right up to 45 mph in a blink, and it does 70 mph down I40. The only difference is no noise, and the 'feel' of the regenerative braking when you take your foot off the accelerator. It has brakes, but the regenerative braking will actually stop the truck depending on which of the regenerative braking settings you use. In the most aggressive setting there is no coasting. You lift off the accelerator and it feels just like you applied the brakes. The other settings are less aggressive and the truck will coast more like an ICE powered vehicle.
Stay tuned for more news related to me testing the waters of EV ownership...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
So as luck would have it late Tuesday morning I was going to the garage and I saw my new friend - Slim - a nice 4ft black snake. I see snakes from time to time, but generally not snooping around the house and garage.
Slim kept on moving and went by the door. It's a 36inch door so Slim is about 4ft tip to tip.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A PC or laptop is used to run the ShopBot. Click the picture to see the album of pictures with some of the neat things that they can do. The tool that cuts the wood is a 3HP router or a spindle turning a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shanked bit and cuts 600 inches/per minute. That means it can cut a dado from end to end of a 8 foot sheet of plywood in less than 10 seconds. They can move the same length in 3 seconds. The video does not do the speed justice. We were cutting at 3 inches a second (poky).
Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and you might find yourself taking a trip by car even though gas prices are heading towards $5 a gallon. If you want to put $4-5 a gallon into perspective grab your lawn mower gas can and go fill it up. That little gallon jug will cost you close to $5 to fill up (if you fill it to the top). Don't do what I did and take a 5 gallon container. I about had a stroke! Over $20 for that! It's a totally different feeling when you can see how small that amount of gas is. Filling your vehicle doesn't have the same effect since you can't picture the tank hiding in your car somewhere. Seeing the tiny jug will drive it home.
While I'm on the subject of gallons of gas I'm reminded of a e-mail from my uncle in California. It was a chain e-mail worth reading. If you are one of those happy go lucky types that believe all men are good then just stop reading. If you are more realist and know that the rain falls on the good and the bad you should keep reading. With gas pieces all over the place and changing minute to minute how much does it cost to fill your tank with 13.23 gallons at $3.799 a gallon? Go on, do it in your head (hah).
According to Google:
3.77900 times 13.23 = 49.99617
More about calculator.
That's $50 worth of gas. If you really did that in your head then you can stop reading now too. But if you are like me and always in a hurry and thinking about other things while filling the tank (like when will the pump stop) doing math like is not going to happen unless there is a 5th grader handy. So to keep the math simple stop the pump at 10 gallons and the pump better read $37.79. If it doesn't show the correct price take a picture and leave. Call the state Agriculture Department and report them. If it reads right then continue, but know how many gallons should fill the tank. If you learn it takes 13 gallons to fill up at the quarter of a tank mark you remember that and start filling up at the quarter tank mark every time. No more between the mark fill ups. Get used to this as you fill up around home so that when you stop at that station beside the interstate you'll know their pump is cheating you when it gets to 14 gallons. Better they cheat you out of $5 instead of it slowly dawning on you after say 15, 16, or 17 gallons ($10-20). For sure you need to know how big your tank is. Look in your owners manual and write it on a yellow sticky and put it next to your gas gauge. Once you figure out the quarter tank (and/or eighth tank) fill up write that on the sticky too.
I'm being paranoid you say? Think about it... Looking at that pump is painful. Do you really focus or are you like me just in a hurry for the pain to stop and you get away as fast as you can? Around home you are probably safe and need not worry (much). But at that exit along I95 I wouldn't be so sure.
Today is the day we remember those who gave the full measure for our country. I sit here with the freedom to type this blog because of the high price for our freedom paid by those men and women. I owe them all I have and I thank their families for their sacrifice love one. Freedom is not free.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I wrapped the thumb drive I got Maryann in wrapping paper that I assembled from a old day at a time dog calendar. I also made the paper bow for her present using the instructions I found here. The paper bow was a hit and several folks ask me how I made it. It was fun and easy. If you have a paper cutter it would make cutting the paper into 1 inch wide strips a snap. I just used scissors. I suspect an razor knife would work well. If you use paper only printed on one side like I did I recommend not alternating the sides (A and B). I just used hot glue, but if kids are doing this use some other adhesive.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Two of the cabs I wrote in were Ford Escape Hybrids. I talked to the driver and they said they notice the improved gas mileage. One driver said it was a bit under powered. As a passenger I didn't notice that. The driver seemed to be able dash from one light to the next.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
So how many times would be too many times for you?
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I unplugged everything but the refrigerator. I would have unplugged it but I didn't think about it until I heard it kick on. I did unplug 15 of those power packs. I only plugged back in the ones I really needed.
The UPS keeping the cable modem, the VIOP phone and adapter, and the router died after about 30 minutes. I was please that it lasted that long. Probably the biggest sacrifice was missing an hour of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.
You can read more about Earth Hour here.
The UPS that is keeping the cable modem and the wireless router going is now beeping non stop. I suspect that means it's about to die, so I best publish this post. I'll post again after 9pm.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Growing up a Sunday Driver was a driver poking along with all the time in the world and no place in particular to go. Why not, gas was cheap. Never understood why the Sunday was important. Daily Driver would have been more accurate. I was stuck behind plenty of them back then, and they are still out there on the roads today.
I started driving just before the oil embargo of 1973 hit. For a few months I experienced gas when it was cheap. I remember collecting a enough coke bottles to buy almost a gallon of gas. I got a quarters worth. Got me to work and back for a couple days. Anyone know how many bottles per gallon now days? Do they even make returnable bottles?
Since cheap gas didn't last long and money was always tight for a working high school student. Driving less had a positive effect on my wallet. I remember watching all the news stories on how to save gas during the embargo. I learned from the very start to plan my trips, check tire air pressure, and don't carry needless items in the car. After reducing my tool box down to a sack of tools, I could actually feel the difference. 1967 Fiat 850 sedans don't weigh much so removing 50 pounds made a noticeable improvement in mileage (and acceleration) from the 843cc engine (0.843 liter or 52 cu inches - 34 hp - hah). No tools was NOT an option when you drove a Fiat.
Driving around for the fun of it or entertainment was not something I did then or now. I planned my trips back then and I still do. I wonder, are you a daily driver? Just driving when and where you want with no particular reason? Hopefully not. But have you double checked lately to make sure some of your driving is really necessary? Saving one trip a week can make a difference over a month. Have you checked your tire pressure lately? Got any junk in your trunk? At $3.25 a gallon EVERYTHING you do will help and save you money.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
FYI - I purchased their Brown Recluse Spider First aid kit a couple years ago. I figured it is cheap insurance so I never get bitten. I'm the type that believes that if your spare tire is flat you will get a flat. If your spare tire is in good shape you'll never use it. So if you have a first aid kit you never use it. You don't you'll get a nasty cut, burn, etc. Also I have no financial interest in that company. I'm just a customer. You might want to get a couple friends to go in on the order. You get a $10 discount on each when you order 3 kits.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I can't believe it's been another week. Being retired is really hard work. I can't seem to find time to blog. I've still been running most every day and I am getting plenty of exercise. It's been near perfect weather here in North Carolina and the spring flowers have sprung as you can see from the picture I took while at Lake Crabtree Park.
Some of my time has been taken up reading blogs. I added a Don's shared items to my blog. It should be on the upper left. I'm really into EVs (Electric Vehicles) right now. The RSS feeds and Google reader let's me send links to that area with one click. You can just check my blog and see the shared items, or if you use a reader you add a feed . If you are really old school you can go to this url and bookmark it (add it to your favorites). I'll try to only put stuff there that is interesting, but I admit it will be techie stuff.
Well the book. I'm still plugging along but I have to tell you I'm over half way now and it is still boring. Mr King just spend 6 FULL chapters on college kids playing Heart's for 5 cents a point in 1966. Please just shoot me. Was college in 1966 that boring? Where is all the peace and love and "good stuff" that was suppose to be happening in colleges in 1966? I mean I was playing cards in 1966 but I was only 9!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Clean air eased my mind about running, so I've ran each day I've been out here. It is really sunny and I need to start putting on sun screen. 75 degrees and nice breeze and low humidity. My kind of weather.
After my run my other cousin Micheal came by and took me to lunch. I really enjoyed lunch and getting to catch up on the goings on. I was last out here in February 2001.
Well Mark a CIA graduate just about has supper ready. Nice to have a chef in the family. I don't ask what we are having. I just eat and enjoy it. You can see the rest of the pictures here.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Terminal D at DFW has some really neat art work. My connection was delayed, so I had a chance to explore it a bit. Take a look at the pictures from my trip out here to Brea.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The output of the 'Reader' will allow you to just read what you want from all the web sites (and blogs) you are interested in. Saves you gobs of time. Here is a really good (and fast) video that explains it way better than I can.
I use Google Reader. It's free and if you have a blogger id (aka Google Account) you can just click 'My Account' and click Reader and you'll be already to start doing RSS feeds. Go here if you don't have a Google Account and get one. They are free. Yahoo also has a Reader. Some of my readers already know and are using a Reader (you PW readers know who you are). Something I learned in my 30+ year career with IBM is don't just assume everyone knows (what those acronyms mean).
Monday, February 4, 2008
So I was very pleased to see Eli be named the MVP. Eli got a 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid as a MVP. That good for us. Assuming Eli drives 15000 miles a year and gets 12mpg driving the Hybrid Escalade instead of 8mpg of a non Hybrid.
|625||166.7 <-- Gallons Saved|
Swtiching one person drving an Escalade to an Escalade Hybrid would save 625 gallons a year. Switch one person from a small car to a Prius would only saves 167 gallons a year. Let's ignore the simple fact that switching that same driver from a Escalade to a Prius would save 1541 gallons. After all our government does math like this all the time. No reason that GM shouldn't.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I painted the posts Saturday night just before supper. So they were dry Sunday morning and JB and I fastened them together so they overlapped to make a 12 foot mast. We mixed the Sakrete and set the mast. Then after lunch we unspooled the 1000 feet of coax to form four 250 feet runs. We then set about trenching 190 feet from the mast through woods. We went behind the garage then through the foundation under the dining room cantilevered window. I just looped the slack in the crawl space near the fireplace which is in the center of the house. About 160 feet of the trench was in the woods. They should call woods - roots. Cause the woods are full of them. I cut & dug with the axe and JB placed the 4 coax cables, filled, and covered. The 30 feet across the back yard was a snap compared to the woods.
Guess Mama was right. She always said JB and I ended up digging ditches. But what's a little ditch digging when you get 70 HD channels on the new satellite?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I did my usual run etc today, but we had a late lunch. When supper time came JB and I weren't that hungry, so I made sloppy Joes. Good thing about Sloppy Joes is they don't take much counter space to make. See normally I only keep one cordless drill in the kitchen, but JB feels if one is good three are better. The drills along with drill bits, level, and tape measure take up most of my counter space now. I still have room for a dish towel and normal stuff like paper plates and munchies. Guys need Doritos, peanut butter crackers, and hard pretzels etc. Water bottles filled with tea to wash the munchies down. The tortillas are for JB's Shrimp Tacos. We made room for the fruit by putting the biscuit (plate) joiner on the floor (black box). Our non work time like writing this blog is done in the den while piled up in a recliner. Here JB reading his paper, his laptop and library books close at hand. Since I'm a paperless reader mostly I only need my laptop. Gale our sister is a non computer person (lucky for us) so I'm safe posting these pictures. JD her husband will not rat on us since that would break the guy code. Right JD?
Friday, January 25, 2008
I've missed a few days, so I'll get you all caught up. After I picked up JB at RDU Tuesday evening and after getting some Chinese food for supper we headed home. On Wednesday we didn't do much except for going to the Holly Springs Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. That Wal-Mart is supposed to be the largest in the state and JB was impressed. I still think it's neat that the freezer cases light up go when you approach and turn off when you move away.
Thursday I had lunch with Mimi and Rollin in RTP and ran a couple other errands. I left JB at home asleep with the toaster (aka the xB), my library card, and 5o cents. Sure enough when I got home I found JB in his recliner wrapped in the electric throw, his computer in his lap, newspaper scattered around on the floor, and a stack of library books on the coffee table. Since I have two recliners, which of course is the minimum number one should have, I piled up in my recliner until supper time. For supper I cooked (gulp) my chicken strip fry and added some of JB's shrimp. Yummy if I do say so.
Today was project day. I've been having trouble for several months with one of my garage door openers. So with JB's help we replaced the faulty opener with one I bought on eBay. We had it working in an hour or so except for reprogramming all 7 remotes I have. Where's Chris when I need him. I got my exercise today by digging a nearly 4 foot deep hole for the mask of the new satellite dish. Tomorrow maybe I'll trench and bury the coax.
Last thing I did was hang the plaque that JB brought me. He got the plaque on it on his Africa trip in Mossel Bay which is on the east coast of South Africa. Mossel Bay's claim to fame is a mention in the Guinness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year round climate in the world, second only to Hawaii. JB being from Maui appreciates good climate. I suspect JB will finish his stack of books before I finish my book. I just cannot stay wake for more than a page or two.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I went for a run while killing time and set a personal best according to Paula Radcliffe who congratulated me after my run. Neat thing about that Nike+iPod - it gives you some positive feedback whenever you achieve a milestone. Lance Armstorng told me yesterday 'Good workout - you burned a serious amount of calories.'
Well in case you are wondering.... I did get the garage cleaned up. Here are the before and after pictures. Funny how things are. I have to clean up the house before my sister comes for a visit and clean up the garage before my brother comes. So if I could get them to come at the same time I have the whole place clean. Oh well.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Since I slept over I got to witness Carol's reaction to the TV. "Oh My!" She then said all the right praises us guys need to hear. She even commented on the no visible wires. She seemed to like it well enough.
On the way home I stopped by Lowes and Ace hardware. I got some of those new Compact Fluorescent Light (CPL) bulbs and a motion detector for Fluorescent lights. I installed the CPL bulbs in my new home office overhead light and installed the motion detector in the garage ceiling lights. I attached it to the fixture closest to the door. Opening the door will cause it to turn on two of the fixtures (of the 12 fixtures in the garage). I've tried this before with another detector (Leviton) but the two fixtures would not fully start and flickered badly. This motion detector (Cooper) starts the fixtures fine. Still a small amount of flicker but I can live with that.
I did my run and then cleaned up the toaster. The wet roads yesterday got it dirty but I used my California Duster and some spray car detailer to clean it up. Needless to say I'm staying in tomorrow - snow or no snow.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Today was one of those cold rainy gray winter days. It never stopped raining and it never got out of the 30s. I was up at 7am hoping to see snow but I was disappointed. Most the snow was melted by the rain that was falling. It rained all day.
After I woke up from my afternoon nap I headed up to Wally's. Wally and Carol had a beautiful sun room built on to their home this summer. All it needed is a nice HD set in it. Only Wally and Chris are home. Carol is out of town on a business trip. She gets back tonight. So boys being boys we decided to install an HD set before she gets home and surprise her. Nothing like going on a business trip and coming home to see a 42 inch LCD hanging on your wall. For sure it's every guys dream!
Wally picked out a wall mount before he picked out the TV set. The mount needed to allow the set to tuck into the corner of the sunroom. Wally got an UCL Articulating Wall Mount at Costco a couple months ago and then started looking for a set to use the mount. Turned out he found a 42 inch LCD HD TV also at Costco and had it delivered today.
This is my third large flat screen install and 4th wall mount of a large screen set. I didn't like the 1st place I put my 50 inch set so I moved it. So by now I've gotten good at mounting these things. Of course Wally and his son Chris did most of the work. I was just the guy who drilled the holes in the nice smooth walls for those great big lag bolts.
Boy is Carol going to be surprised!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In the case of the toaster they are for more than just looks. Twice last summer I left the windows cracked and it rained. The 1st time the seats were wet I just figured the wind blew the rain in. But after the 2nd time having wet seats and a puddle on the floor mats I realized that the nearly vertical windows and the way the door seal is that any rain that comes off the top will just flow directly into the open window. The in channel design should allow the rain to just drip off the edge of the vent.
It takes me about 20 minutes this time of the year to cool off and stop sweating after I run. I heat the garage to about 55 degrees so it's a good place to cool off without getting uncomfortable during the in process. In the summer it takes like an hour before I cool off. The AC in the garage and the fan I have out there help the summer.
I use this cool off time to clean up whichever vehicle I drove last. I have a California Car Duster and it keeps them looking good between washings assuming I avoid mud and wet roads. I've been known to stay home and not go somewhere because the roads were wet. I really like a clean car and I have to say it pains me if my car gets dirty too quick after I wash it. I clean the brake dust from the rims also during the cool down time. I tried some of that wheel spray that is supposed to prevent the brake dust from accumulating. Nope still accumulates. I also spray the tire black stuff on then clean the over spray from the rims. That one cleaning takes care of both the brake dust and tire spray.
If by chance I have not drove either vehicle then I use the cool off time to put up tools and do general garage clean up. I'm way behind and I really need to be spending extra time cleaning the garage before JB gets here next week. 4-5 hours should put the garage right.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I used my new Nike + iPod for the last two days. I have to tell you I LIKE IT! If you have an iPod Nano and you run (or walk) for fitness or training you need to get one. For $30 it's a winner. At first glance it you might think you need to buy a pair of Nike+ shoes. But after reading Nike+iPod FAQ you'll see any old shoes will work. People (and vendors) have come up with creative ways to attach the sensor to any shoe. Some folks can knit and Nike+iPod Shoe Hack made a little cozy to hold the sensor. Some floks used duct tape. You can see Nike+iPod Shoe Hacks and Accessories for the ideas others came up with to attach the sensor to their shoe.
Me? I used a coin wrapper, a couple staples, and some tape. The sensor just needs to be secure and not move around. You can always shell out the $$$ for a pair of Nike+ shoes which have a compartment designed in them for the sensor. But that takes all the fun out of it.
OK so it attaches to any shoe, but why do I like it? It's small, wireless, and just plain slick. That white stub on the end of my iPod is the receiver for the shoe sensor. It's also easy to use. Best of all it keeps you company by talking with a sexy female voice as you run. And that sure helps me run! She tells me how many calories burned, time, or mileage depending on the type of workout chosen. You can choose a male voice if you want. I already knew about how far I ran, and about how long I run, so I chose calories. I entered my weight and how many calories I wanted to burn and started running. After a bit she reduced the song volume and told me "50 calories burned so far." She then brought the volume back up so I could hear the music. She repeated the process again and let me know "100 calories burned so far." She keeps it up every 50 calories until the last 50. For the last 50 she cranks up the volume and counts out every 10 calories until I reached my goal of 600 calories burned. She then told me the distance, and work out time. You can get her to tell you then workout status at any time by pressing the iPod center button. If you hold the center button for a couple seconds she plays your power song so you get that extra kick to get up that big A$$ hill. NEAT! You can buy workout playlists and even training sessions from people like Lance Armstrong if you want.
After the work out you can dock your iPod and it will upload (for free using iTunes) to nike.com the work out data and you will get a nice graph. Here is the graph for my run today. Across the top is the workout distance, time, pace, and calories. The curve bents down at the end because I stopped running and left my iPod going while I took the pictures. The dots along the graph are the mile markers. If the mouse hovers over the dot it shows you the time for that mile. The red towards the right is when I pushed PowerSong. You can set goals and create challenges for yourself. Also you can have a private running club and see your others club members runs, and challenge them - "1st one to 100 miles this month gets a free beer" - stuff like that. It's all free and easy to use.
The iPod itself stores the last 1000 workouts. You don't have to use iTunes or nike.com. You don't even have to listen to music while you run. It has a 'no music' option. You can even tell it that you are walking and it'll keep track of that activity. The only complaint I have is with the music blasting I can't hear the beep of my heart monitor watch. If you want to know how it works read EETimes article Runners get iPod virtual trainer.
So "Satisfaction" by the Stones is my power song what's yours?