Posts Tagged ‘MP3’

School’s in Session…Almost

August 26, 2009

It is time to start the MBA that I’ve written about in previous posts. It seems that many kids are starting school and going back to college.  I’m going to master Audio Books and save myself the $20,000 that it would cost to attend Jack Welsh’s Business School.

I started with a book by Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog. My six word summary is this: Stop procrastinating, be unstoppable and amazing. So far I love it. When I finish I’ll write more…maybe a 12 word book review. Just kidding!

What I want to address is the ‘Almost’ part of this blog title. I am a member of 24 Hour Fitness and am having a difficult time showing up at the gym during ‘peak’ hours and competing with their sound system. I have no desire to listen to the ‘top 40′ rock songs that are blasting. Is it fair that when I listen to my book, that 24 Hour Fitness is forcing on me a sound track at the same time, one that I don’t want to hear?

On Monday, after my elliptical workout, I went to a Yoga class. The soothing new age music that was played to a class of Yoga students had to compete with blaring music on the other side of the door. What’s up with that? Tomorrow I am calling two managers at 24 Hour Fitness, the one I worked out at on Monday and the one I worked out at tonight. When I spoke with the clerks, I was told that the music is pumped up during Peak Hours so everyone can hear it, and turned down at other times.

Geez, I shouldn’t have to go deaf if I want to listen to a good book during a workout!

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Five Days of Short Stories

May 16, 2009

At a company event I won an iPod shuffle and decided  to experiment downloading short stories to my new device. Since I am a fan of NPR’s Selected Shorts and the website Sniplits.com, where you can download a free story a week, I was looking for a change of pace from my usual non-fiction fare.

At  Sniplits.com, I paid $2.06 with my PayPal account and downloaded three stories to iTunes and from there to my iPod Shuffle.  One story was the free story of the week. Sniplits.com has done a GREAT job of making the purchase and download easy, the process was seamless. Then I downloaded a few shows from  Public Radio’s (PRI) broadcasts of “Selected Shorts podcast that I located in iTunes. Here’s my upcoming listening schedule, not necessarily in the  order I’ll hear them at since I expect the stories to be shuffled:

SESSION A*, 30 MINUTE WALK

  • Story: A Brief Excerpt in the History of Salt by Venita Blackburn
  • Story: Hand Signals by Venita Blackburn

SESSION B*, 40 MINUTE WALK

  • Story: House Rules By Libby Fischer Hellmann

SESSION C, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Playwright’s DelightSelected Shorts

SESSION D, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Indian CountrySelected Shorts

SESSION E, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Shatterd PeaceSelected ShortLOGOwebhorz

I will begin listening to stories on Monday, May 18! Send me your tips for this upcoming week. Oh, and watch next weekend for the upcoming reviews on the all above mentioned stories/podcasts!

* These downloads are from www.sniplits.com

¿Habla Español?: Learn à la AudioBookFitness

May 14, 2009

I was lucky to meet a neighbor, Teresa, who speaks fluent Spanish. She worked in a contract position at Yahoo until last year.  Since I have always wanted to practice the Spanish I worked so hard at learning as a college student and review Spanish for an upcoming trip to Spain, we worked out an agreement that I would help her with her resume and she would help me with my Spanish.  I am fortunate to work at home (company  lap top and cell phone), and I would run over to her place, read for 20 minutes, converse for about 10 minutes and then come back  home, have a quick  lunch and get back to work.  It worked well until her mother had a stroke and she had to return home to Mexico to help her mom for a month.

Not wanting to loose the language skills I have been gaining, I bought a new Garmin nüvi GPS (to be reviewed at a later date) that plays MP3 files and I am dedicating it to reviewing and learning Spanish while I drive.  I downloaded the highest rated Spanish audio book series from AudiblePimsleur, Spanish I, Second Revised Edition: Lessons 6 to 10. This was only for review, and after listening to it, I realized it was a bit on the simple side. ‘Vamos a bebir una Cervesa in al resturante Colon.’  or ‘¿Cuanto Cuesta dos Cervesas?’ are not sentences I will use daily (well, I could change cervesa to vino…) yet this has proved to be a good brain exercise while I am driving. Actually, audio language books are IDEAL for puttering around town, because if you are using a GPS with an MP3, the interruptions of GPS instructions (‘In 500 feet, turn left.’) are best interlaced with the short verbal exercises and sentences of a language (‘Repeta: ¿A donde va Carlos’?) rather than a long narrative of a book.

The biggest challenge for me has been finding the right level of Spanish instruction to start at since I am familiar with the language. There was no assessment to help determine what audio book to start with. So if you have tried any of the Spanish audio books, let me know what you like and didn’t like about them along with some commentary about their difficulty level. I’d love to hear from you.

Italian and French are next…then Chinese. And of course, I will be starting with Level 1 on these languages when the time comes (Yo! I could be in my nineties by then!).

I keep thinking about a study that I read years ago about elderly nuns learning French and how it kept them mentally agile into old age. Yes, that is one of my goals, brain fitness and agility, and I want to speak decent Spanish as I meander the cities of España.

The AudioBook Lifestyle

April 1, 2009

My new dream desk
–My new dream desk–

As an ongoing joke, I have been begging my boss for one of those Treadmill workstations. If only I had one, I could actually SIT down after work and relax–read a REAL book, the kind you purchase at a book store or order from Amazon !

In my off work hours I also have to make my rounds on the ‘net, so I am challenged with balancing my need for information, tasks, (like banking, shopping) and my need for community. Yes, I do all this in the real world and more… but I prefer the Internet for such tasks, because I tend to get much more of those activities done.

Music is vital also, and  I find that I like to at least supplement listening to music with some intellectually stimulating material so I am working out both your body AND your mind.

REAL books-those three dimensional blocks of paper product where one can turn pages-could be a thing of the past someday for several reasons:

  • There are 6.6 billion people on earth, in 2050 there will be over 9 billion. The production of books uses up the world’s natural resources. The trend for books will be to go digital through listening devices or tools like the Kindle 2.
  • This year more information will be generated than in the previous 5,000 years and the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years. By 2100 it’s predicted to double every 72 hours. We can keep on top of this information and ‘read’ more books per year by multitasking.  Listening to audio books while we are exercising, driving , doing chores, will be a way to keep us informed and entertained.
  • The percentage of the world’s population with access to the Internet has increased 250% since 2000. Technology is pervasive and will continue to permeate all countries, cultures, classes of people (just think of the One Laptop per Child inititave).

Audiobook fitness is really about LIFESTYLE, and keeping physically active AND keeping an active mind. How can we continue to enjoy books in this age of information? Our future  promises a more hectic life, and we will have to find ways to continue to entertain and enrich our lives with business books,  literature and best sellers by listening to AudioBooks.

So, what have you listened to this week?