Scott's Column
New Weight Loss Goal, Laptop or iPad

December 1, 2010
By Scott Lewis

This month I will outline my new goal for losing and gaining weight. I will also bring back an old topic that never got resolved... what laptop should I get... or should I just get an iPad.

Current Topics:

New Goals for Weight Loss & Weight Gain

Last month I told you about my training to lose 35 pounds over a 4 month period of time. That ended with my painting my body green and going to a costume party as The Hulk. It was a smashing success. The icing on the cake was having Lou Ferrigno sign a picture of myself I took in front of the TV with the real Hulk showing on the screen.

I spent most of November eating all the foods I had given up. YES... I put 10+ pounds back on. But because of how quick those 10 pounds went on they will come off equally as quick. I should be back down to 200 in no time.

I needed some time to prepare for taking my fitness regimen to the next level. At 200 pounds I estimate I was at 5% body fat. I don't know for sure how accurate that is, but I suspect it is close. At 200 lbs. I am leaner than when I had a fat test done when I was in my late twenties. I had a 7 point pinch test done that revealed I was at 9% body fat about 22 years ago. I had larger love handles when I had that pinch test done than I do now. In fact, I have never looked better than I do right now.

Taking it to the next level will have me getting below 5% body fat, possibly getting down to around 0-1%. This is professional bodybuilder levels.

What is the new goal? Rocky. In the movie Rocky III, they announce Rocky's weight as 202 pounds when he fights the wrestler, and then they announce his weight at 191 pounds when he fights Clubber Lang for the second time. Granted, at 191 he is no longer a heavyweight, but that is not the point here.

I am going to try to get down to 190 pounds... and get my arms up to 17 inches. I will also try to increase my chest size. I don't know exactly how much yet. Part of my preparation for starting this is to get a tape measure (and get past Thanksgiving). I will need to keep track of a few key measurements as well as my weight to be sure I don't lose muscle mass while trying to get down to 99-100% lean.

Once I measure my chest I will determine how much bigger I want it. Basically I want to add about 2 inches. However, if I am currently below 48 inches I will probably just set a goal of 50 inches... or two more inches than I am now. Basically I want a chest of 50-52 inches, and when I measure myself I will know how big is big enough.

I don't want to get too large. By the time you read this I could already be 47 years old... I will turn 47 in December, the month this article is published. I do not want to become a slave to my body. I see pictures of people that used to be in great shape and they are not in great shape anymore. Once I reach this new goal I will be backing off my exercise routine to as small a workout as possible to maintain my body. I will also adjust my eating so that I don't have to do any more crazy 1000 calorie/90 minute sessions on the elliptical machine.

I am not putting a time limit on this goal. I hope to reach the 190 pounds by the end of January, but I figure it will be harder and harder to lose weight as the percentage of fat gets lower and lower. Also, my joints are going to be the limiting factor for heavy lifting required to increase muscle mass. I don't know yet how fast I will be able to get my arms and chest to grow.

I will have an update for you next month. By then I will have started this new plan and I might be able to tell you how much effort it will take to reach my new goals.


Laptops - MacBook Air - iPad

I have made it clear in the past that I was shopping for a laptop... and really like the iPad. Now Apple has refreshed the MacBook Air line of ultra portable laptops. So what does that mean for me?

I love the iPad... but it is still lacking a couple of things for me. Steve Jobs may hate the stylus, but I do not. Granted, I understand the issue for Steve. He wants to keep the iPad easy to use. Having a good touch device is in direct conflict with having a good working stylus device. They typically use two different technologies to accomplish the mission of interacting with the screen. And the iPad works better with the finger 95% of the time.

That does not mean I don't want to occasionally pull out a stylus and do some precise work... in my case mild photo editing. If I bought an iPad it would be to do all the things that everyone else uses it for. Web surfing, e-mail, and running some apps. However, when I travel I really want to know I could use an iPad to upload pictures from my camera... and do some editing in a "light" version of Photoshop. That means this lite version of Photoshop would have to handle RAW images, and it should also need to save edited images in standard PSD format. Having RAW image support also assumes a lite version of Bridge and maybe Camera RAW to do a couple of those tasks... like adjusting white balance and exposure.

I just need enough editing so that I can make my images look good before e-mailing them out or posting them to a web site. I would save the heavy editing for when I was home with my desktop computer.

I can only hope that the next version of the iPad will be a better (not great, but better) photo tool. If so them I am done, and I will probably never get a laptop.

When I was looking at laptops (May 09 & June 09) I stalled before taking a look at the larger media style laptops. These fall more in line with being desktop replacement laptops. Which is essentially what I had with my old 17" laptop. I gave up on the idea of anything with a screen larger than 15.x inches. Since I last visited this topic I have moved out of my house, and I live in an apartment. I have an HDTV with a Blu-Ray player that also plays videos from my network. I no longer have a need for a laptop to attach to an HDTV to play Blu-Ray movies. With the lack of need for a large screen also removed the need for a Blu-Ray drive in the laptop.

I still want a laptop (or iPad) that can watch two movies on a single charge. When I fly to New York this is the main reason for using a device. I would hope to get a device with at least 4 hours battery life watching video. Besides that I want something with as high a resolution display as possible and as light as possible. I know those two requirements usually contradict each other.

I was very impressed with the HP Envy 14 earlier this year. This was the second generation of HP's Envy line. With a screen of 14.1" and available with a 1600x900 resolution... it was almost perfect. Unfortunately HP no longer offers the Envy 14 with that screen. Now it is just like everyone else with a 1366x768 screen. Very disappointing.

This leads me to the new MacBook Air. The 13.3" version of the new MacBook Air comes with a 1440x900 screen and has a battery life of 7 hours. I doubt that it would play video for 7 hours, but 4 should be possible.

However, the 13.3" MacBook Air is very expensive. At $1,299 for a model with only 2 GB of Memory and only 128 GB of storage that is a hard pill to swallow. However, the instant on feature with 30 days of standby is perfect. I could leave this laptop on the coffee table and easily pick it up to look up something on the web while watching TV. And then close it and leave it there until the next time it was needed.

The limited storage is only a minor concern. Since the laptop will be a secondary computer I don't plan on loading a lot of files on it. However, if I get a Mac for a laptop I will contemplate moving my entire music collection to it. That's 35 GB of space right off the bat. I would only load videos on it on an as needed bases. When I went to Florida this past summer I took a little more than 32 GB worth of pictures. I used my son's laptop to store them after each day of shooting. Then I transferred them all to my desktop when we got home. I think I can live with 128 GB on a laptop, but any less would be a problem. Finally, I could load Photoshop on the MacBook Air and it should handle all my minor editing... and then some.

So the bar has been set. The 13.3" MacBook Air is the perfect laptop for me. I don't need an optical drive. I will RIP movies from Blu-Ray or DVD and store them on my network. I will transfer any movies needed for a trip to the laptop on an as needed basis. I will probably delete movies as I watch them while on vacation to make room for photos.

Unfortunately the MacBook Air is expensive. Granted, it is much better than the original Air while being cheaper. But it uses an older Core 2 processor instead of one of the Core i Series CPUs. In this day I would expect to get everything I want in a laptop for no more than $1,000. Fortunately I don't have $1,000 no less $1,300 for a laptop at this time.

I will be on the lookout over the next few months for a laptop that can do for me what I feel the MacBook Air can do... for a lot less money.

Maybe the next generation iPad will be up to the task, but that is unlikely. I expect the front and rear cameras will be more important to Apple than stylus support and real photo editing capabilities.

I expect that Apple will migrate this screen resolution to the MacBook Pro line of 13" laptops. That can only drive other manufacturers to put higher resolution screens on their products. It's just a matter of time before I find the perfect laptop.



That's it for this month. I contemplating what to do with all the spare computer parts laying around. Next month I will tell you one idea I have... I just don't know if it is practical or affordable.

Until next month.