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Friday Tidbits of Note

Rather than have a specific theme for today, I figured I’d share a slew of interesting little tidbits that have floated across my week thus far.  Some of them sports technology, some of them me-stuff.

#1: Dinner with the Speaker

First up is Monday night.  Those of you longtime readers will remember when I had dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama at an Italian Restaurant in DC a few years ago.

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Well, this Monday I was back at the same place with The Girl and her Dad (aka, The Girl’s Dad).  When we pulled up to the door I noticed the tell-tale escort vehicles illegally parked out-front – indicating someone special inside.  Turns out, after being seated we were only a table and a half away from Speaker of the House Boehner.  For those outside the US, he’s third in line for the throne should both the President and VP have a bad day.  While I didn’t get any photos of him, it was clear we weren’t the only folks that noticed. As always, the place is usually packed with movers and shakers.  And while virtually every time I’ve been there, there’s been some recognizable folks – the Speaker is definitely pretty high up there.

Ultimately, he left about 20-25 minutes later to take a seat at the table inside the kitchen with the Chef.  Still, cool stuff.

#2: Caps Game Cleanup

Tuesday night was another evening spent downtown – this time enjoying the Washington Capitals game.  A friend had scored some totally awesome tickets for us.  The view was crazy good – only about 10 rows back from the ice!

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Even better is that the Caps completely rocked the Panthers, with a final score of 4-0.  Additionally, the salted soft pretzel was pretty awesome too.

#3: Treadmill Virtual Running Software

Wednesday night brought some ugly wannabe snow+rain mixture to the DC area.  Rather than run outside, I simply jumped on a treadmill at the office for my run.  But instead of being just a regular treadmill run, I loaded up some software sent to me by Outside Interactive to review.  The software has various routes/courses filmed (motion stabilized), and the video plays back according to your speed while running.  Everything is wireless via ANT+, and just about any normal laptop will work.

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For this evening’s run, I went with NYC’s Central Park – filmed during a nice warm late spring morning.  The route was ‘packed’, which kept me pretty distracted – and the time flew by.  The only thing you need to make it work is a ANT+ USB stick, and a ANT+ footpod.  Well, and their software.  Ideally you’d connect your laptop/computer to a big TV screen.  But for me tonight it was just the small screen.

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To briefly share a funny moment…I was all alone in this small office gym and trying to get various photos/videos for a review down the road as I wrapped up my workout.  I decided that the best place to illustrate a change in running pace while showing both the screen and my running, was to place the laptop at the front of the treadmill, while the camera teetered on the ledge.  I was slightly concerned about the camera falling off, but it’s pretty durable and the fall would only have been 3-4”.  Given the camera has been thrown into the air from a high speed moped and survived, I wasn’t worried.  However, I most certainly did not take into account what actually happened next.  Enjoy the following clip:

Virtual Runner Fail

I’ll be using this a bit more on some of my runs over the next few weeks as weather and work schedules dictate – ultimately ending up with a review.

#4: Various Garmin Firmware Updates (FR910XT, Edge 500)

There have been some confirmed issues with some folks and the FR910XT where the instant pace fluctuates a bit too much.  In short, the smoothing isn’t applying correctly – so the pace jumps around a lot for some people (i.e. it shows 7:30, 7:35, 10:00, 6:30, 8:00, etc…).  I don’t see it on my unit, but from the general trending it appears to be less impactful the faster you go (logical, given simple spreads of paces).  Additionally, a complete satellite reset and giving it 20 minutes on the first turn on to reacquire satellites seems to fix it for others (no need on subsequent turn-ons).

Nonetheless, Garmin support has confirmed this to be an issue, and in talking with them they expect an update no later than early March – which will also include the FR910XT TSS/NP/IF updates that were promised for the unit.  I should be getting some more detail on exactly when this update will occur sometime Friday.  This update will also address a few of the other bugs that folks have run into, notably some around the unit shutting off mid-activity.

Additionally, the Edge 500 update for TSS/NP/IF is now in March – a slip of another month from the most recent promise of early February.  Which of course, is a slip from every other date noted since August.  Honestly, I put this in the category of ‘We’ll see it when it’s posted on Garmin.com’.  Wish I had a better answer here.

#5: It’s Friday.

And that’s reason enough to celebrate.  Woot!  Hope everyone has a great weekend ahead, and thanks for reading!

13 Comments

  1. Tim

    Thanks for the updates on Garmin Firmware news. It's a shame they keep dropping the ball on the edge 500 update. I'm glad I don't have one at this point because I would be feeling pretty unimportant to Garmin as a customer.

    With the increasing pressure from competition I was hoping they would step up their game on both quality software and responsiveness.

    So far we haven't seen it. The best recent example is the 910xt released with notable, fairly obvious software issues. I am referring to the jumpy pace, course drawing issue that has been in the 310xt and reported for > 6 months, random freezing up and random shutting down. They may not happen on all units but enough that one would assume it would have been seen with the right testing.

    For now I continue to buy and be addicted to their products.

    Reply
  2. Still waiting for the 910XT I ordered back in early November. Not feeling generally loved by Garmin at the moment.

    Reply
  3. Your screenshot made me nostalgic for my daily runs in NY's Central Park.

    Reply
  4. That running software looks pretty cool. I assume since it seem to go by foot pod, it is stand alone and doesn't have any interface with the treadmill? My treadmill has iFit Live that is similar, but the screenshots are powered by GoogleMaps, so it isn't fluid. However, it does adjust elevation based on the terrain (-3% up to +15%) of the course and you can create a course anywhere, which comes in handy when you are considering a race that isn't immediately accessible, but want to scope it out. Curious if you are considering playing around with that?

    Reply
  5. Good info on the 910 update. Mine jumps around like crazy - I can seen 2 min+ pace changes in just a few seconds.

    Reply
  6. Bad news on the delayed update for the Edge 500. I understand problems and set-backs, but it seems like its been delayed until next month for almost half a year. When will it end?

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Garmin - just delay after delay in getting quality software out. Crashing courses - missing features. Amazing!! As you alluded too - can't trust them & the suggested release timeframes.

    Reply
  8. Love the humility in posting the laptop fall... I'm sure you put the hurt on that treadmill for doing that :)

    Reply
  9. Hi Lesser-

    I hadn't heard of iFit Live. Looks cool, but I assume it does require a compatible treadmill? It appears to - but just want to ensure I'm not missing something.

    Reply
  10. TB

    Ray, any word on when your Amazon channel will be shipping 910s? Nothing email this week saying "We don't have any" after an early note saying "9th at the latest"

    If not, we'll keep waiting.

    Reply
  11. No idea, though, I'll see if I can find out.

    I wish I knew as well, simply because I have some on order via Amazon too!

    Reply
  12. Regarding the Treadmill Software, there is something much better.

    The Program is called "Univet System 3" and it connects to most of the major Treadmills and Ergobikes.

    Features:
    - Run anywhere with Google-Earth
    - Adjusts Incline of the Treadmill
    - Live-Video (if included with the route. There are about 50 routes with live-video at this time. If you record one yourself it can easily be added to the community)
    - Online races vs other people (however there are only cyclists online now)

    The software is still in beta but development is fast. 5 bucks a month.

    link to univetsystem.com

    Reply
  13. Correction: Its 8€ a month. Not sure if my memory is bad or if they increased the price.

    Reply

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