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The Past Week in Review: March 11th, 2014

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The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts this past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Sunday: Week in Review: March 2nd, 2014
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Past Weekend
Tuesday:
A Cardiff (Wales) Runaround

Sports Technology Hot Deals

IMG_8591

Garmin Edge 810 $100 Rebate: There’s currently a rebate out for the Garmin Edge 810 cycling computer.  It’s the one with maps that came out a little more than a year ago.  As usual, if you support the site and purchase through Clever Training you get all the usual goodness that comes with that.  So the rebate is combinable there with the other savings pieces from Clever Training.

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) A cycling pizza cutter: Seriously, how freaking awesome is that?

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2) ANT+ comes to Nexus 5 and Nexus 10?  Apparently.  At least if your phone is rooted.  This would be a really interesting development if it’s a precursor to widespread above-board support.  Note, I have not tried this yet myself. (via Keith Wakeham)

3) The impact of Garmin’s new API policy on 3rd party apps: I’ll be talking about this more likely later this month.  There’s two sides to every coin.  In this case, a side that’ll manifest itself as a major win for what many of you have been asking for with respect to big name software partnerships to Garmin coming up.  But, it’s at the cost of smaller companies and hobbyists who are stuck with a $5,000 fee.

4) Aero Helmet Road Testing: While this is interesting stuff – as a general public service reminder remember that helmet aero testing is incredibly user-specific.  What works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa.  I discussed this in more detail when I took a look at aero testing in person last year. (via CyclingTips)

5) Wello iPhone case can track blood pressure, heart rate, more: Kinda like the new Samsung devices, except, a case for iPhones.

6) Samsung S5 apps include premium fitness memberships: Speaking of those Samsung devices, the devices included access to both RunKeeper and MapMyFitness premium subscriptions.

7) Need to merge two fitness files to upload somewhere as a single activity (like Strava)? Here’s your answer. (via Neal Rogers)

8) New mountain bike shocks wirelessly transmits data between them: Interesting to see another attempt at bringing live data to the shocks.

9) Have a PowerCal strap?  If so, this neat little app will allow you to correlate the data with ANT+ speed/cadence data to zero-out cases where you weren’t pedaling.

10) How to check spoke tension with a smart phone: As cool as this is, I’ve decided that given the large piles of wheels sitting next to me, I’d be here all day… so I’m going to do nothing instead. Still, cool stuff.

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

Most of this content used to be found within the main section, but I figured I’d just call it out up here and make it easy to find. I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects. Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.  And finally, me simply mentioning them below is definitely not an endorsement, it’s just me mentioning they exist.

Insight: Smarter Tech for the Smarter Athlete

The Infinity Pedal

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners is perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?

Site/Firmware Updates:

PowerTap PowerAgent Update: A pretty substantial software update from the folks behind the PowerTap.

Garmin Vector firmware: This adds in torque effectiveness and pedal smoothness to head units that support it (including the Edge 510/810).  And a slew of other bug fixes, along with some interesting new errors it’ll send if it detects some installation errors (like crank length).

Garmin Fenix/D2/Tactix Beta Firmware Update: Continues to add/tweak beta features.

Garmin Monterra Updates: This is Garmin’s Android based unit that targets hiking but supports ANT+ and could potentially be used as an interesting bike computer.

Golden Cheetah 3.0.2 Released: This is the 2nd maintenance release of the 3.0 build (like a roll-up build).  (Via Eli)

SportTracks Mobi Adds Training Load: These have now been added to the online version of SportTracks.

iPhone:

20140311_115600000_iOS 20140309_143700000_iOS

20140309_143723000_iOS 20140309_144732000_iOS

20140309_144952000_iOS

iPad:

photo

Android:

Screenshot_2014-03-11-12-35-01 Screenshot_2014-03-11-12-35-36

Screenshot_2014-03-11-12-35-45 Screenshot_2014-03-11-12-35-55

Screenshot_2014-03-11-12-36-30

Windows Phone:

(No Windows Phone app updates this week that I saw)

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Thanks for reading!

29 Comments

  1. Luke

    With all the discounts etc only $150 more for the 810 over the 500 seems nice, but with Garmin being kinda evil (charging for API) and incompetent (crappy GC2 rollout) I'm going to take a pass for now...

    Reply
  2. Panos

    $5,000 fee for an APi isn't too much? I hope tapiriik won't stop working.

    Reply
    • Gingerneil replied

      I would be amazed if the likes of Tapiriik survive this fee. You are likely though to see the larger platforms such as strava and sporttracks partnering with Garmin and provide native syncing. There will be no need for a middle-man like Tapiriik. A shame for those guys who have shown great innovation in their services, but they just won't survive the consolidation of larger players.

      Reply
  3. Jackson

    Ray - I will be interested in your opinion on the API costs. My 2 cents; I am struggling to see how having big name software partnerships cannot also coexist with with smaller companies and hobbyists using the tiered approach that connectstats proposes. I don;t see how they are mutually exclusive. I like Garmin and have their equipment, but they are seriously getting hit harder and harder (as you well know)) by smartphones, new form factors, and online platforms like strava. The real innovation is done by small companies and Garmin's position by putting a $5K bill for every innovator stifles innovation and the future of the business.It also shows us what they are really scared of.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I completely agree. I fail to see why they can't deliver a lower free tier, with API limits based on queries. This is entirely commonplace in the industry. The way I see it, if companies smaller than Garmin can do it that way (the rest of the fitness tech industry, some only a few people), and if companies larger than Garmin can do it (see: the rest of the non-fitness tech industry, ala Google, etc...) - than certainly Garmin can do it. End of story, full stop.

      Reply
  4. ekutter

    $5000 is too much for a web api like this. This will completely knock out the hobbyist developer where a lot of the current apps started. It's not clear what their real motivation here. Given the number of developers likely to be willing to pay this much, they aren't likely to have a ton of takers so they won't be making much.

    Reply
  5. Simon

    Like other posters I don't really get the a Garmin stance in all this.

    IMO the whole recent round of updates across the fitness range has been a disaster, both technically and as a PR exercise. You'd think given all the new players in the market place they'd want to keep existing customers AND encourage others to develop for their platform.

    I'm another who's not gonna be spending any more money with garmin until the smoke clears (and I've a drawer full of garmin gear - mainly thanks to your pesky reviews!)

    Reply
  6. Simon

    ........ And something you might have missed. The truly excellent veloviewer site have released a pebble app this week. Worth looking at.

    Reply
  7. Josh Parks

    Both of those kickstarter projects look interesting - but like you Ray, I'm 'OFF' of both Kickstarter and Indigogo as I've been burned too many times. I'm happy to support early technology companies - but there's no feedback loop and a couple of things have come up short...

    thus I'll save the money and just buy stuff that works. Lactate threshold is certainly useful and an interesting dynamic if someone could get it working - can't wait to see Ray's review of that when it comes out and is actually working!

    Reply
  8. Myria

    Another crowdfunding one you may or may not have seen:

    link to indiegogo.com

    Sounds a bit dicey to me, but then so do a lot of the crowdfunding pitches lately. Way too many promises, way too little delivery. Frankly even the "successes" have mostly been underwhelming at best, IMHO.

    Reply
  9. Kenn

    I know the IOS 7.1 update is this week, but a heads up, Apple seem to have changed how BLE works. Some BLE devices now appear in the Devices list in the Settings app - Viiiiva, but not my Fitbit One. They must have also changed the API, as a number of my apps wont recognise my Viiiiva HR strap anymore. 4iiii, Wahoo Fitness, Strava & Cyclemeter apps still work with the Viiiiva, but none of the HRV apps recognise the HR device i.e. ithlete, HRV+, HRV4Training, Sweetbeat, etc. The Fitbit app still works with the One.

    Reply
    • David replied

      Does anyone know if this is resolved? I have avoided the 7.1 update until I heard more information. But I can't even find any confirmation that this is actually a problem.

      Reply
  10. Eli

    Both kickstarts seem wrong. The lactate threshold one, Seems like a cheaper version of the moxy sensor which would be good but doesn't seem like it ccan do what moxy can. Why don't they use the existing muscle oxygen Ant+ profile? Why is it measuring the calf muscle, that's not the one limiting performance? They say it talks to garmin watches, but how? What do those devices see? too many questions

    The pedals, fast in out, great, and maybe great for mountain biking. But how stable are they is it only interfaces with the small cleat so can the shoe rock on them? May not matter for mountain biking, but long road rides? You may say Egg beater pedals have the same issue, but then don't as they are designed for the part of the pedal on either side of the cleat to make contact with the shoe to take some of the load and make it more stable. SPD, those have a largish flat area the cleat sits on and is pressed onto

    Reply
    • Hi Eli. Dustin here from BSX Athletics. I just wanted to say I appreciate your contribution to the conversation and healthy skepticism of our Kickstarter campaign. I thought I'd see what I can do to resolve your concerns and answer what outstanding questions you have.

      BSX Insight is the first-ever wearable lactate threshold sensor. Similar to other optical techniques, it uses LEDs to shine light into the exercising muscle and then record the signal that returns. Depending on the physical and chemical properties of that tissue, the signal is distorted along its path. These distortions (also known as absorption spectra) are what contain the information we are able to process afterwards. You mentioned Moxy which does something very similar. BSX has done 3 things which makes it radically different from existing technologies though. 1) It has perfected both the front end electronics as well as the post processing intelligence to do this with much higher quality and exponentially lower cost than other comparables, 2) it has taken the next logical step that many 'diagnostic' tools always seem to miss and makes it both simple and actionable (e.g. measurement of LT-the gold standard in performance measurements and the real-time maintenance of training zones), 3) it includes both lactate threshold PLUS heart rate, cadence, pace/speed, and calories wrapped into a single device to minimize the technological burden on the end user which keeps so many 'wearable' devices from actually being worn.

      Our device uses surrogate sampling techniques. The concept of measuring surrogate markers to correlate with biologic events/conditions is common practice. In medicine we use surrogate markers all the time to measure things we otherwise couldn't measure and /or quantify. When we want to know how the kidney is functioning we measure creatinine instead; when we want to assess liver health and/or toxicity we look at the transaminases. By measuring surrogates of lactate we are simply applying the same rigor a physician would use to help him/her understand the body system of their primary interest in a manner that overcomes many of the traditional limitations to blood-based lactate testing.

      BSX Insight takes the many variables it records to build a real-time composite profile for that athlete. We have developed novel algorithms that use proprietary machine learning techniques to deliver a robust predictor (True Positive Rate > 0.95) of lactate threshold. What we mean by this, is that across all athletes in our sample population we were able to identify the lactate threshold event using Insight with 5% or less deviation from what independent professional assessment determined it to be using traditional blood sampling methods. Those errors measurements essentially represent the percent of deviation from what the blood tests determined an LT to be, and what Insight determined them to be. Current efforts are investigating how much of this error is due to true inaccuracies in Insight's data collection and/or algorithms, vs how much is due to the increased resolution that Insight has over traditional measurements and therefore represents an overall improvement in accuracy.

      I would love the continue the conversation with you either here, or I'm also happy to jump on a call and discuss in person if it helps.

      As always Ray, thanks for all you do in the endurance community and encouraging the 'tough' conversations. I'm a huge fan!

      Dustin Freckleton, MD
      President, BSX Athletics

      Reply
    • Eli replied

      Thanks for the response. Sent you an email as followup

      Reply
  11. Matt

    Just to add - the Endomondo update for Android this week brought a slew of really useful features, including support for BTLE sensors and ANT+ sensors through USB OTG, the latter of which is pretty much for first for the front line of fitness apps for android. They've also added a lock screen widget, which means that you can get running data on screen without the fear of accidentally pausing the run, which is a really neat little feature.

    Looking forward to Strava et al adding similar features soon - ANT+ support on Android really is a bit dismal.

    Reply
  12. Josh Parks

    Thanks for the tip Matt! I've had the ability to plug my Suunto dongle into my phone for a while now, with nowhere to collect the data.

    A big update for Endomondo and nice to see a way to capture ANT+ on Android!

    Reply
  13. Andrew McCabe

    Ray,

    Have you looked at the indiegogo for this GoBe health monitor? Looks pretty interesting. Apparently it can measure real time caloric intake via impedance sensor. link to indiegogo.com

    Interesting although I am pretty skeptical.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I'm pretty skeptical, especially the timelines seem pretty near-term with little external media coverage with an actual device. I did back it this morning, but, I'd be hesitant to recommend others do as well.

      Reply
    • Mans replied

      just gonna wait on the review, and if it works as advertised buy it.

      currently sounds too good to be true

      Reply
  14. Greg P

    Garmin typically discounts/offers rebates on older products before releasing a newer one. Is there a update to the 810 in the works for next 12 months??

    Reply
  15. dunist

    For those worried that the new Garmin policy will kill 3rd party apps...I propose that Garmin is not stupid in the sense that they don't know that. I think that's their intent. Garmin probably listened to a bunch of MBAs (like me) who reinforced fears that 3rd party access equals loss of control of the data, and therefore loss of control of the customer. So Garmin thinks they are preserving their ownership of the customer with this move.

    Not for one second do I agree with Garmin, but I think Garmin knows full well they will kill apps with this approach. Expect the fee to go up if enough don't go under. Expect "shifting sands" of API specs to keep 3rd parties off guard and a step behind. Ironically, I think Garmin just created an opening for competitors to take Garmin's customers with a smarter data and app approach, making their worst fear come true.

    Reply
    • Jackson replied

      Well Said, nicely written - Garmin has never been good about presenting and analyzing data. Just look at Garmin Connect. Their specialty and what makes them the lead is their hardware. But now they are trying to wall off their data....and as a result, people will buy their hardware less...or at least hold off,..because the API price is an indicator that Garmin does not feel confident about their position in the market if they are fending off innovation. If Garmin wants to survive they need to innovate their hardware and stop focusing on data.

      Reply
    • Aaron replied

      There is some famous quote about malice and stupidity I can't recall which seems a bit appropriate (stupidity is FAR to harsh, Garmin are not stupid by any means)...

      I personally feel Garmin's intentions are in the right place - they have a long history of being very pro-customer. And former staff I spoke to mention this. Hopefully it still holds true.

      I think they are simply feeling cost pressure right now. Consider the division leads that see a $millions bill every quarter for staff, hosting, support, etc. And every Q4 their question probably goes something like "how is this helping us sell watches again?"

      Being one of the early innovators in this space means they probably have a lot of technological legacy and data. It costs a lot! Somebody like Suunto or Polar can pop up a website using the latest and greatest tech, not worry about the billions of hours of data (yet!). Modern scaling and caching tech. No problem. Everything has been solved now pretty much. Not true in 2007. I'm sure there are lots of crusty old motionbased.com code hanging around in GC that nobody knows what it does. Pity the college grad who has to unravel that. LOL.

      Incidentally Garmin are not alone in this... read the blog posts and look at the release delays of another major competitor in this space you can tell they are struggling with legacy weight. (I won't name them but it rhymes with "naming geeks"... figure it out)

      Reply
  16. Harry

    Aaron, I think that you're referring to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    Reply
  17. Eli

    GPS bike tracker:
    link to kickstarter.com

    Smart Jacket: (lights on jacket and the lights can change based on app and/or heart rate)
    link to kickstarter.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I was looking at that (bike tracker) a few weeks ago. My concern is that it seems overly complex, and a bit large as well. I'm really hoping the BikeSpike project pans out. Speaking of them...haven't heard from them in a while now. :-/

      Reply
  18. Ricardo Resende

    I'm looking for an android phone and one of the major features for me is to use it to replace occasionally my 310xt.

    Although I know you're not into the mobile phone industry, it would be nice to have a post about the best choices: connectivity, water resistance, shock, cases availability, etc.

    Also, sorry for the double post on the giveaway it was not intended.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think the S5 is probably one to look at, since it has ANT+ as well as Bluetooth Smart. Same goes for the new Sony phones too. Those (and the Samsung's) have a variant of waterproofing. Check out my MWC posts from about two weeks ago for more details.

      And no worries about double-posts. I'll get them all cleaned up before the giveaway.

      Reply

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