After a year here in the US I've noticed some changes. My accent is once again shifting in some inexorable drift to a new median sound (I don't sound English, Australian or American. Most often I'm asked if I'm South African. Or Danish. That must say something about my linguistic skills), I can order a double tall eggnog latte with whipped cream and only shudder a little bit, I can actually work out from a handful of change and greenbacks how much money I have in my pocket... and (possibly a result of the lattes) I now need bigger trousers.
So, in an attempt to stop me becoming elliptical we've installed a hulking brute of a machine downstairs (Nautilus EV718).
Even if I feel the will power slipping I suspect the sheer mass of the machine will be enough to drag me out of bed an extra half hour early in the morning lest it make it's way up the stairs and do something Terminator-style to me while I sleep!
The problem with pounding away on this thing and having time to think (between yelling at the dog to get out of the way of the moving bits and trying to catch the iPod as it flies off on it's own little adventure) and imagine a future where this beast is part of SkyNet (or at least a less inimical version) and using my LiveID and Spaces I could automatically share my workouts, track my progress, get friends to nag me if they don't get a daily twit to say I've done my time. We could have leagues and do lots of trend analysis to see if it's working. Network machines together and I could race a friend the other side of the world (perhaps with the Xbox or Media Center delivering cool graphics and a pumping sound track to complement the exercise) and if I'm staying in a hotel I could hit they gym, type in my LiveID and have the exercise profile and tracking work from there as well.
I don't know what it would cost to add a network enabled, token reading Windows Embedded device to these things (and even if it could be retro-fitted to older models) or how much work it would take to push this "platform" out across multiple vendors... but I'd love to have my Facebook profile say "Jeremy burnt 150 calories this morning, and traveled 1 mile. Average level 5.6, average heart rate 158"
If will power doesn't work... peer pressure sure would ;)