eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

Winter Indoor Training – TIVo plus iPod Nano = Big Hit

with 6 comments


Going to the gym and keeping in shape during the winter for me is a chore but two things keep my interest up:

1. Shoveling snow – if I shovel I get the day off. So far this Winter that has meant a lot of days off. I can’t recommend shoveling for everyone.

2. Watching TV shows on my iPod Nano while I exercise at the Gym. This has been a great discovery.

My wife gave me a new Gen 3 Nano as a surprise present this fall. I had a Sandisk 8 GB Sandisk E200 that I had been using for Podcasts and audio books. The hardware was fine but I never really found good syncing software. I was using Juice and it was OK.

I am not an Apple fan and reluctantly use any Apple Product (a topic for a Rant someday) but have been surprised and delighted by my new Nano.

Here’s what surprised me:

1. The screen is terrific and just fine for watching most TV shows. I never though a screen that small would be useful for someone with vision as bad as mine, but I love watching TV shows and Video Podcasts on it. I wouldn’t watch football or basketball on it but for most TV shows it is amazingly good.

2. TIVO provides software (TIVo Desktop Plus) that takes shows that you have selected from your TIVO using your home wireless network compresses them for use on an iPod and sticks them into iTures automatically. You just set up a season pass on your TIVO for the shows you want to record and then pick the shows you want on your iPod in the TIVo Desktop software, everything else is done automatically for you. The next time you sync your iPod your shows are there.


I love watching Charlie Rose Interviews, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and Tavis Smiley, show that I never seem to get around to watching at home. But I have also become a big fan of Family Guy, Futurerama and Robo Chicken. Plus some great one shots like the PBS series on Democracy in Ancient Greece. I do convert movies I own on DVD to the iPOd but that is just for when I am traveling, in the gym I like shorter stuff that requires less visual attention. Most TV shows are just fine if you let your eyes wander occasionally.

So I get most of what I watch that way but also have discovered Dexter in iTunes and love that show. I had read the three Dexter books and really enjoyed them. I wasn’t expecting much from the TV show , but this show on Showtime is better that the books. It is a delight and I am eagerly waiting to see season 2. These aren’t free but to download a whole season of shows costs about the same as a movie DVD.

Next time I’ll talk about Podcasts, another great source of free entertainment that makes the time in the gym fly by and keeps you on the bike or elliptical machine longer.


Written by Roland

January 1, 2008 at 8:22 pm

6 Responses

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  1. While we don’t have snow, it is cold, so my Creative ZEN is a constant companion on the recumbent exercise bike. Podcasts save me from the wasteland of radio and TV. Tiny screens do work well for some videos but I usually don’t take the time to encode video for the ZEN.
    Have you heard Richard Vobes, http://www.vobes.com or The Brit and Yankee, http://www.thebritandyankee.com
    For just plain entertainment, they are a great listen.


    January 2, 2008 at 11:34 am

  2. Charles, You mention you don’t take the time to encode videos for the Zen. That was exactly my issue with the SanDisk. It was too much trouble to bother with Videos even thought the hardware was great, the system just didn’t work well enough to use.

    That is the beauty of the TIVo – iPod system I describe. I don’t spend anytime transferring and encoding videos. That all happens in the background automatically.

    When I connect my iPod to my PC to charge it about every 3rd day, the latest TV shows and Podcasts are automatically loaded into it. I don’t spend anytime converting and selecting, it just happens while I am off cooking supper or getting my wife a glass of wine.

    Pretty nice, I am convinced and I am a certified Apple Hater. My wife gave me the iPod because she knew I would never buy one.


    January 2, 2008 at 10:49 pm

  3. That sounds like great system for you. Guess I’m just a cranky old geezer as I don’t really find much on TV to interest me these days.
    Does TiVO work with satellite? (no cable out here in the sticks) My wife might be interested.
    Do you listen on the bike? I don’t. Having spent nearly ten years commuting in the city before moving here, I found listening to traffic very important. You don’t get to be an old bike commuter by taking easily avoidable chances.


    January 3, 2008 at 12:37 pm

  4. Charles, old and crotchety is me .. lol. But I do like civil and intelligent conversation of ideas and politics. You are right there isn’t much of it around but I try to support what there is.

    For satellite systems, TIVo used to be available with Direct TV, I’m not sure that is still true.

    I only listen in the gym on the exercise bike or other equipment. I do take it with me on bike trips but only use the iPod in the tent, never on the bike.

    I don’t think it is safe to listen and ride, my wife however, would disagree.

    For me listening to anything disturbs my ride. A clunk on the bike, too much traffic, a radio, or music, they all disturb my ride and keep me from relaxing. When I am riding well it is like meditation, my body falls into a rhythm and things just feel right. My minds clears and I forget about the things that are normally buzzing around in my brain. They aren’t gone but my mind is like a blank slate (Tabula Rasa). That’s not for everyone but it works for me.


    January 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm

  5. Roland,

    For the more budget minded, my Slipstream sets on a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine during the winter. I have an inexpensive rug (not rubber backed)under the trainer so that the bike and trainer slides around out of the way very easily. The trainer is very smooth, quiet and feels like the road. This allows me to enjoy the Slipstream ride (or pretty close) year round.
    New York State


    February 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

  6. My family has the following ipod formats…..the original mini…..the original nano…and the newer 30 Gb Video and now the 3rd generation 8GB nano. All are still in working order amd all still look like the day I bought them……..Apple just gets better and my wallet just gets getting lighter…………but at the end og the day…..happy family and products that deliver as promised everyday any day ….all day……quality that is rare these days …for sure. Buy the new nano……….you will not be disappointed.
    I think I will buy ipod nano for my son’s birthday.


    July 19, 2008 at 4:37 am

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