Saturday, 18 January 2020

Pavement Testing Fitness Apps No.4: iSteps

DC Editor Adam writes…


This January on The Daily Constitutional I'm revisiting some step-counting apps. Many of you will be using a step counter app as part of your January fitness regime. I'm out-and-about most days, up on my hind legs leading tours so here are a few road/pavement test results to help when you're trying to find the right app for you…


I Steps


iSteps Therefore iAm

I first tested iSteps way back in January 2014 on my Kensington walk. I enjoyed its simplicity immediately, but also the the gradual discovery of its underlying features - clearly this was an app that could be as simple as you wanted it to be.

The screen hasn't changed at all in the new version, so here's a shot of that first test…




One Step At A Time

The killer feature for me is that you can easily track individual walks or journeys. That's a big plus for me, being able to quickly set the thing to measure one London Walks tour at a time.




It's All About The Battery

These apps burn through battery like billy-o, but iSteps has a feature which allows the user to switch off all day running






Simple and effective.  

Not sure why every walking or step counting app doesn't have this feature displayed as prominently as iSteps. The log feature is also pretty handy - it allows the user to save data from multiple walks. 



Extra Functionality 

There is extra functionality – available as an in-app purchase upgrade for £1.99 – which gives you access to the mapping function. It's not a necessary addition to make this app function any better, but if you are a bit of a map nerd (guilty, m'lud) then it's quite fun. Especially when your London Horror Story route map ends up looking like this…




… so you can turn it into this…








I used it a few Sundays ago to make a step count on The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour walk. Here are the results…







My Public Scheduled Tours for January 2020


18th January 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

30th January 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

30th January 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

SOLD OUT 31st January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

31st January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)



My Public Scheduled Tours for 
February 2020


1st February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

2nd February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube






Keep In Touch…

   


Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Pavement Testing Fitness Apps No.3: Map My Walk

DC Editor Adam writes…


This January on The Daily Constitutional I'm revisiting some step-counting apps. Many of you will be using a step counter app as part of your January fitness regime. I'm out-and-about most days, up on my hind legs leading tours so here are a few road/pavement test results to help when you're trying to find the right app for you…


Today I'm sharing my experience with Map My Walk



Back to Basics

This one was recommended to me by Rebecca P from Perth WA…





As discussed earlier in this series, what I need from a step counter is something that can be switched on AND off

I want to measure the individual routes of my walking tours – I'm curious about the health benefits for starters. But I'm sometimes asked at the start of my tours, "How far will we be walking?" I just think that being able to reply, "1.37 miles/2.2 Kilometers," is a better answer than "Oh, not very far."

Besides, it's handy info for a London tour guide to have at his fingertips – time and distance stats.




Map My Walk is as fancy or as simple as you want it to be


It has GPS mapping facilities and a setting to play your favourite music while walking. There are a number of features that can be "unlocked" by paying for the premium app - such as weather conditions – but the app works perfectly well on the basic, free download.


Each individual walk - or workout as its termed in the app – can be recorded, stored and shared to social media if you so choose. The stats are presented really clearly.


The only thing preventing me from ditching my current app of choice, iSteps, is familiarity. My current app works well and is easy to use. But if the developers of iSteps were ever to abandon the app again - as they did for a period last year, rendering it useless with the new OS – then this would be my first stop for a substitute.





Versatility is the Key

Reasons for adopting this one as your first step counter? In a word, versatility. The basic features are great and there's the option to get your tech geek on with the Premium features should you so choose.


Thanks for the recommendation Rebecca!

Map My Walk gets ★★★★ from me. A GREAT step counter.




My Public Scheduled Tours for January 2020


16th January 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

16th January 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

SOLD OUT 17th January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

17th January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

18th January 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

30th January 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

30th January 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

31st January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

31st January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)



My Public Scheduled Tours for February 2020


1st February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

2nd February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube



Keep In Touch…

   


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Revised Schedule Of January Tours (+ February Dates)

My scheduled tours for the rest of January 2020


Updated 14:01:20



All the scheduled public guided tours led by Adam Scott-Goulding until the end of January 2020.


Click the Book Your Tour buttons to pay & reserve your place. 


Bookings are handled via my online shop Pay A Tour

There are NO booking fees.





• Inside Covent Garden •

Thursday 16th January 2020

Meet at Covent Garden Tube 10.00a.m

The West End revealed - looking beyond the shops and chain caf├ęs to the rich history of London's playground. Where possible, we'll take in a few interiors, too.


Tour ends in Trafalgar Square

£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…



• Old Kensington •

Thursday 30th January 2020

Meet at High Street Kensington tube

A walking tour of London's royal village…





• Jack the Ripper •

Thursday 16 January 2020
Thursday 30th January 2020

Meet at Tower Hill Tube by the tram 7.30pm


The word's most enduring crime story – social history, conspiracy and gruesome murder make for an intense night.


Tour ends at Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Street station.




• The London Music Tour – Rock'n'Roll London •

Friday 17th January 2020
Friday 31st January 2020

2pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1) 

The history of pop and rock music in London…


£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…




• London Horror Story •

Saturday 18th January 2020

Meet at St Paul's tube 7.30pm

Ghosts, murder and mayhem - 2,000 years of dark history



£10/£8 Pay on the day or book now…




My Public Scheduled Tours for February 2020


1st February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

2nd February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube Book this tour exclusively via Eventbrite - Strictly Limited Places

13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube Book this tour exclusively via Eventbrite - Strictly Limited Places

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube Book this tour exclusively via Eventbrite - Strictly Limited Places

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1) Book this tour exclusively via Eventbrite - Strictly Limited Places

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube




Keep In Touch…

   


Monday, 13 January 2020

The Monday Photoblog: Winter Wimbledon

DC Editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…



Monday is ALMOST mute here on The Daily Constitutional. I like to launch the week with a few London photos, grouped on a theme or neighbourhood.


This week: A few shots from Wimbledon as we don't see it on the TV - off-season, in the dead of winter.

I snapped these pics a few years back on a visit to the fantastic All England Club Lawn Tennis Museum.



I could look at that scoreboard all day long

Statue of the last ENGLISHMAN to win Wimbledon

The postcode that means Tennis

Wimbledon Windmill, where Baden Powell wrote parts of Scouting For Boys

Wimbledon village in her winter plumage




The Monday Photoblog will return next week. In the meantime, if you'd like to share a London photo with me, please do! Perhaps you joined me on a tour and snapped a great shot. Drop me a line.









My Public Scheduled Tours for January 2020


16th January 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

SOLD OUT 17th January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

17th January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

18th January 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

30th January 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

30th January 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

SOLD OUT 31st January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

31st January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)



My Public Scheduled Tours for 
February 2020


1st February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

2nd February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube








Keep In Touch…

   


Sunday, 12 January 2020

Pavement Testing Fitness Apps No.2: Human

DC Editor Adam writes…

This New Year on The Daily Constitutional I'm revisiting some step-counting apps. Many of you will be using a step counter app as part of your January fitness regime. I'm out-and-about most days, up on my hind legs leading tours so here are a few road/pavement test results to help when you're trying to find the right app for you…


Today I'm reporting on Human




This one is tech nerd heaven.

I have had a LOT of fun with this app.

But it does make me slightly uneasy.

Negatives first…


Orwellian

Okay, ALL of these apps use GPS tech to "follow" us around wherever we go.  RecordingMappingStoring. This one presents all those movements with a degree of clarity and ease of access and crisp design that betters any of the other apps I have tested so far.

This clarity opened my eyes.





Now this may be a complete DOH! moment for many of you, so hold the drum roll. But it made me wonder:


Do you really want to have all those movements stored in an eminently lose-able, steal-able or hackable device such as a phone? 

And then presented in such a clear (and beautifully designed) way?


I suddenly felt a little bit Black Mirror about the whole thing.

If you have a five-day working routine with a regular commute at its heart, and if you are charting your every move, I'd take care with this one. It keeps a perfect record of when you are in and when you are out. Not ideal.

My next thought was that keeping such data is not such a problem for me, in so much as my movements are pretty much different every day. But even then, patterns emerged during the week I used the app. As with all these things, allow common sense to prevail.



And now the plusses…


Minutes NOT Steps


Human is described as a passive fitness tracking app - it runs all day long and gives you little nudges in the form of alerts to keep you focused on your daily target.

At top level, Human eschews the statistical approach - it's not a step counter. Instead, it suggests you aim for 30 active minutes as your initial goal. This minutes-over-steps approach does feel less pressured. The idea is that it fits in to your routines rather than interrupting them.

Having said that, stats are available if you want them – distance and calories – on the timeline, a feature that maps your walk in sections according to your movements.

 

The app also allows you to compare your daily totals with other users in the vicinity – again, a touch Orwellian for my liking, but for those driven with competitive spirit this may be the spur you need on a day when you're finding motivation tough.

If you're looking for extra encouragement, there's also an option to "share your day" with friends in the shape of a graphic with your own photo added…





Battery

Such an app is going to be a big time battery guzzler. And in early versions, the negative reviews seemed to concentrate on this very issue. To resolve the problem, Human has the most ingenious solution - a two-tier operating system.

Setting Human to Standard mode allows you to use all the tracking and mapping features with less impact on your battery. Like this…



The drawback is that maps can be less accurate and the machine will sometimes misread your activities. A fast walk, for example, can be recorded as a cycle ride.

You can opt for maximum tracking accuracy, but that runs the battery down much faster.

In Standard mode you can correct the activities that have been misread to keep your records accurate. And it was at this point that I turned back…


Getting Fit Or Playing On Your Phone?

I'm one of those people who like this kind of thing – gadgety toys and apps. 

But even I paused when I found myself editing a mis-recorded section of my day when reviewing my movements. 

It's not really the point of the exercise. 

The point was to be mindful of healthy habits, and here I was replacing one unhealthy habit (not exercising) with another (playing with my phone)

It's all about balance, of course, everything in moderation and all that. 


I did really enjoy using Human. It's a great app – I'm giving it ★★★★ for its combination of design and ease of use. But much of the extra functionality is just stuff I don't really need.

Fun while it lasted, tho – and I'll look at novelty value, as well as the potential down-side of fitness trackers in the next post.




Are you using a fitness tracker of step counter? Get in touch with your recommendations by dropping me a line at the usual address or leaving a comment below.  



My Public Scheduled Tours for January 2020


16th January 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

SOLD OUT 17th January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

17th January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

18th January 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

30th January 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

30th January 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

SOLD OUT 31st January 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

31st January 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)



My Public Scheduled Tours for 
February 2020


1st February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

2nd February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

13th February 2020 – Inside Covent Garden – 10am Covent Garden Tube

13th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

13th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

14th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

14th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

SOLD OUT 15th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube SOLD OUT

27th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube

27th February 2020  – Old Kensington – 2pm High Street Kensington Tube

27th February 2020 – Jack The Ripper – 7.30pm Tower Hill Tube (by the tram)

28th February 2020 – Beatlemania! The Beatles In London 1961-65 – 10am Embankment tube

28th February 2020 – Rock'n'Roll London – 2pm Tottenham Court Road Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – The Beatles + The Rolling Stones in 1960s London – 10.30am Leicester Sq Tube (exit 1)

29th February 2020 – London Horror Story – 7.30pm St Paul's Tube






Keep In Touch…