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On The Go!

August 18, 2015

I don’t usually have cause to do a review over here on this page, and while this has nothing to do with my usual topics…

For those who’ve been following my language learning for a while, you also know that I dropped out of the Add-1-Challenge last year to pursue my dream of trying to make the Israeli national curling team.  You also know that I had the opportunity to go represent Israel in the Winter World Masters Games in Québec in February.

I received a berth in the National Tryouts this year as a result, but didn’t make the team… so a step at a time moving forward.  The coach, though, among things that he noted on my feedback sheet, included the following:

Conditioning a physical fitness is important. You can never be too fit – fatigue affects not only the body but our minds as well.

Let’s be honest.  I’ve not been the most fit guy since my lifeguarding days ended.  For anyone who has seen pictures of me from February, it’s obvious that I’m carrying a couple of extra pounds.  So, as I’d started to do abortively last summer on my sabbatical, I started working with more determination to lose weight and get into shape.  (Since shortly before the trials, I’ve lost about 23 pounds, with another 17 to go to reach ideal weight.)

The problem is, though, that with two children, one of whom is special needs, I don’t have much time to go work out at the gym.  I get up at 5:30 AM and I go for a walk/run before sunrise – and before they-rise – which presents a new difficulty: safety.  It’s just dark enough that I need to be paying attention while I’m out there so I don’t get hit by traffic or an oncoming bicyclist/runner, and let’s be honest with each other when I say that getting hurt is not going to help me make the team.  But running/walking by myself at that hour is boring!

Me, wearing the Cynaps cap in Wildwood, NJAnd then I found an Indiegogo campaign for Cynaps.  Here was something that sounded too good to be true to me – a bone-conduction speaker system, with a Bluetooth receiver that could work with my phone and leave my ears free so I could hear what’s going on around me.  I knew, going into it, that the sound was not going to be fantastic and immersive like my expensive in-ear monitors that I use in the office, but on the other hand, it’d let me listen to music so it’s not just dead air while I’m running along.  So I backed it…

…and a few months later, the cap arrived with the unit.  (That’s it to the side.  Ignore the ugly, sweaty person attached to it – I dare you to look good at 6 AM after running 2 1/2 miles on a day in the mid-70’s with 100% humidity.)

It’s interesting, using the bone-conduction set.  There have been comments around the Internet that the technology sounds somewhat like AM radio, and I agree, but I don’t need a high-fidelity experience when I just need something of a soundtrack while I’m exercising.

And for that, it works phenomenally.  I occasionally have trouble hearing some tones, and I’ve not even tried to take a phone call with it, but I’ve really enjoyed using them, and it’s certainly more pleasant than when I have my earphone cords flapping against my face and neck.

Now, I have had some problems with it, to be fair – there was a shipping snafu with some extras I’d ordered, and my unit decided to die on me after a few weeks… but Max Virtual, the company that makes Cynaps, has been a pleasure to work with, to get things straightened out.  I got the new set in time for me to take on vacation, which brought up the best thing about the product.  It might make exercising in high-traffic areas safer, and it might be nice on a comfort level, plus it’s discreet to boot… but at six in the morning, when you’re running along a boardwalk about a thousand feet from the ocean, have a nice soundtrack playing quietly in the background and you can still hear the seagulls and the crash of the waves, and enjoy just being down the shore?  That’s worth every penny.

(Because I feel I need to say it again – I was not compensated for this review.  I purchased the item on my own, through an Indiegogo campaign.)


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  1. Autism Mom permalink

    What an interesting idea? How do you think it would do for white noise? Do you think this might help with sleep or meditation?

    • I think it would be interesting… and I should try it on my guy at some point. I don’t know if the amount of pressure that the cap requires would be distracting for using it at bedtime, though – the actual tranducers aren’t huge, but they’re square and noticeable where they’re positioned. (Mostly, I think rolling onto them in your sleep would be uncomfortable.)

      For meditation, I’d definitely say that they’d be a great idea. 🙂

  2. Autism Mom permalink

    Sorry, that was supposed to be “What an interesting idea!” with an exclamation point, not a question mark. 🙂

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