Danish blogger, climber, and Mac enthusiast Jonas Rabbe has posted a thorough review of his new Nike+iPod Sport Kit. While Nike+iPod reviews are a dime-a-dozen these days, Jonas includes an insightful look at how the Sport Kit experience could be improved, which makes the review well worth reading.
Individual pages would only be the beginning. Currently you can name your run, but if you use Nike+ as your training diary you will quickly run out of space. Again taking a page from Flickr, they should have a description field that you could use for route information, maybe you could even have training specific fields, for example rating for how the workout felt or the quality of the run. With a description field you could obviously make up your own notation, but that doesnâ€™t mean Nike should stop thinking about what they could add. Nike already has training programs and diaries on the web, interfacing them with Nike+, or allowing you to make your own, would improve the experience immensely, especially for new runners.
Jonas’ review also pointed me to an August 2006 post by Panic Software founder Cabel Sasser on his experience with the Nike+iPod Kit. I’m not sure how I missed this when it was first posted, especially since I’m such a big fan of Panic’s Transmit FTP app, but I’m glad to have found it. Cabel emphasizes the competitive angle of the Nike+iPod experience:
I can think of a million ideas that would add more video-game-like awesomeness to Nike+ and, yes, by extension, exercise in general. What if the iPod sensor, which works over a proprietary 802.11 protocol â€” could also detect other shoe sensors in the vicinity? I’d really enjoy running along the Eastbank Esplanade, passing a runner, and, assuming they had the (optional) preference turned on, immediately hear their best time mile announced over my headphones and have them added as a “rival” that I could then track via the website. Of course, adding additional technology to the iPod part â€” like a GPS receiver, dare I dream â€” could create even more amazing, city-wide games of running tag with my friends. Now that’s a multiplayer game I’d love to play every weekend.
I haven’t really spent much time considering ideas like these, because for me, running time has always been personal time. I’m not motivated by community or competition, but by personal achievement and discipline. And the Nike+iPod Sport Kit hasn’t really changed that. However, maybe that says more about the Nike+ system’s shortcomings, than about my anti-social tendencies. After all, before Flickr, taking photos was never about sharing them with strangers; before bloging, writing a journal was never about publishing it and encouraging feedback. Now I do those things every day.
I hope Nike’s listening to these kinds of suggestions, because I know I’m not the only one who just might buy into the idea of joining a Nike+iPod running community, given a compelling enough reason and easy way to do so. Right now, I’m not even close. Maybe we’ll get Nike+ 2.0 in May when the new Nike+ watches are released. For the time being, I may see what the Nike+iPod group on Flickr is all about.
I’d be interested to hear about other good Nike+iPod communities. Post ‘em if you got ‘em.
You may also be interested in: