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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Yikes, crazy busy weekend as we work our way through October.  Here’s what went down the last 48 hours or so:

1) Had Zwift over to get setup on the beta

We started off things late Friday with Eric Min, one of the founders of Zwift arriving on my doorstep to get things all up and running on with the Zwift beta, which should start opening up in the coming weeks.

The install process was incredibly easy and straightforward, though, due to the interwebs being rather slow this day – it did take a while to get the initial 1.2GB installer file transferred.  Once that was done though, it was quick and easy.

We had set it up on the Wahoo KICKR, though, it easily found my Garmin Vector pedals, which I used for the cadence portion.  It was nice in that I could pick and choose from any ANT+ device in the room for the different sensor types: Speed, Cadence, Power, and Heart Rate.  That means that I was able to use the KICKR power portion (and speed), but go with just the cadence from Vector.

Once that was all done I just created my account and got logged in.  I did a few circuits of the island loop while we chatted about a slew of different topics related to their progress.

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Later, once one of the other founders and lead architect of the game engine woke up in Los Angeles, we had a bit of a conference call to go through a few more items.

All in all though, so far so good.  Of course, the real interesting piece will be once there’s plenty of users on the system to see how the social portion of the game works.  Because in many ways, that’s the core difference between Zwift and all the other bike-gaming platforms out there.  Hopefully, by the end of the month that’ll be clear.

2) Did a crazy wedding expo for the CupCakery

Last spring when we were apparently drunk we thought it would be a good idea to sign-up for a wedding expo (a Marriage Salon, as it’s called here).  No, not because we’re planning on getting married again, but rather, because wedding cakes have continued to become a bigger and bigger part of our business.

So, this past weekend we put in a lot of hours, both in the show, and preparing for it.

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And then there was a minor trip to Ikea in there.  The meatballs were good too.

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Don’t worry, we got to bed Friday night just before Sunrise on Saturday.  Or, just before we had to get back up again to be at the show for final setup.

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The Girl had been busy all week knocking out a slew of cakes…actually, this entire table of cakes.

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Meanwhile, we also had smaller mini-cupcakes on display, since they are often part of wedding orders.

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Of course, such an undertaking takes a huge team effort.  Everyone was all-in this weekend between covering multiple locations (keeping our main store up and running) as well as talking to gazillions of people and enduring a Mexican Mariachi band playing the same song every 10 minutes for 10 constant hours a day just a few booth-rows away.

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And of course, that doesn’t include starting baking at 4AM for some, and late-night tear-down on Sunday such as below.

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Phew!  Time to sleep (and luckily, everyone gets the next two days off…well…except me).

3) Went out for a test ride on an autonomous shifting bike

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Next, I find myself operating on a stealthy 2.5 hours of sleep after a long night of prep for the wedding expo.  No worries, I can pedal just fine on that.  Swimming though?  No, I usually just give up and drown.

So with that, Armando Mastracci of Baron Biosystems flew over to meet up with me and let me give the Bioshift system a roll.  The system is designed to automatically shift your bike based on various profiles you can set.  Be it to maintain a given wattage or to to simply keep you in the most optimized/efficient gear automatically.  Very cool.

But for all the details there, you’ll have to check out that post where I go into detail on it (available here).

Luckily, the weather cooperated.  At about 6:30AM, it was raining like the jet pulse setting on a tree-sized shower head.  Thankfully, by 10AM, it was somehow sunny out.  I fail to understand…but loved it.

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We went over to Longchamp and did a number of loops there.  Well, at least until the air decided to depart both of my tires…at once.  Regrettably, this would be the part where the 2.5 hours of sleep kicked in, since I forgot to grab pretty much all of my flat related stuff.  It was a long…slow…ride back. Also involving bartering paper bills for bananas and coins from a street vendor (to grab the train).  Another item I forgot with 2.5 hours of sleep: A credit card. Sigh.

4) Unboxed the GoPro Hero4 suite of cameras

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On Friday the lot of GoPro Hero4 cameras that I bought arrived.  One Hero4 Black, one Hero4 Silver, and one GoPro Hero.  The first two are updates of the previous GoPro Hero 3 models, whereas the ‘GoPro Hero’ is the new budget option at $129US.

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Above, they are from left to right: Black, Silver, Hero.  The black and silver are identical from a size standpoint (and still the same as the previous editions), as seen below.

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Meanwhile, the Silver adds a touchscreen display on the back of it:

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While the base Hero model isn’t actually removable from the case, though, at $129 it can pretty much do whatever it wants as long as the video quality isn’t crap.  Which, is something I’ll be testing out this week.

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I played with the Hero4 Black the most this weekend, mostly in testing the Bioshift noted above.  It allowed me to capture the various video portions clearly.

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Which, is actually an example of a good use case for it.  In this case I wanted to capture a small snippet of the display unit while riding, and do so in a way that was easy for you to see exactly what was going on.  To do that, I shot first in 4K video and pointed it at the head unit while I rode along.

Then, afterwards using Adobe Premier and the Warp Stabilize to take that snippet and still retain 1080p HD footage but with only that section cropped and free of wobble.

It’s a bit of an overdramatic example, but nonetheless somewhat of a perfect example of why people want 4K video for a real world use case.

Unfortunately, said video quality does come at a price.  In this case that’s both a monetary one but more critically a battery life hit.  The Hero4 in 4K mode gets about 65 minutes, and even that might be generous based on the battery life I saw during the ride (only a few minutes of video was shot, while most of the time it was sitting in on-standby…it was dead within 90 minutes).

As a result of the crappy battery performance, I went ahead and also ordered the dual battery GoPro charging doohickey.

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So…now with double the batteries I’m getting double the time, double the quality*…and double the price.  It’s like a daily double special.

*Well, actually, it’s slightly less than double the quality…but just work with me here.

5) Unboxed and installed a crapton of other things.

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While the GoPro triplets certainly took up a bit of time, it was actually part of a huge shipment from the US of various gadgets.  Many were very recent, and others had been caught in a bit of shipper’s hell when one of my previous forwarded boxes missed a cutoff for me catching a flight in another city – thus requiring me to recall/route/etc the box back to the forwarding locale and then jump on a different lot over.

No worries, they say to enjoy the journey.  Hopefully the boxes did that.

As for the pile, some things are backfill (like the Fenix2), and others are ones I plan to review (Cateye Strada Smart), while others are more for poking around and/or random use.  I order all sorts of things just to see how they work and see if they are worthy of a post.

Oh, and I also order a lot of CR2032 batteries.  I go through so…many…batteries.

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With that, off to Malta for the week (work actually), but, with plenty of good gadget testing opportunities!  Including a number of the ones you see above.

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49 Comments

  1. Morey000

    Oh. That reminds me. I need to order another pack of CR2032s! :)

  2. Karl-Henrik Sundberg

    can’t wait for that Moto 360 review!

  3. MAGNUS

    Looking forward to Zwift… I’ve been back and forth on a Virb and GoPro for some time now but thankfully my wife made the decision for me. She bought me a GoPro for my bday. Waiting on Clever Training to ship it but can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  4. Dan Morley

    I look forward to any comments you have on Beddit. I am on my last Zeo headband and would love to find another decent sleep tracking device.

  5. Navnit Ranjan

    Great Ray,
    Cool as always, now waiting for Hero 4 in-depth review.

  6. Stijn

    you should go to PC settings and activate windows :)

  7. Peronnik Beijer

    Who is that lovely coworker beside the girl ;-)

    • Scott E

      Focus on the products, focus, focus, focus. Well, doing that causes a problem in that as usual the cakes overwhelming look delicious. Never mind, continue as you were oogooling the staff.

  8. Abby B

    Your blog rocks Ray! Thanks for helping us all better navigate the world of fitness gadgets. And the Girls’s booth looked great!

  9. Maxbre

    Ciao Ray,
    about the meatballs: in Italy we say they are made with the sawdust coming from the furniture manufacturing… swedish art of recycling!

  10. Ray, I am always baffled how you do all this alongside a busy job! Good for you, and keep it up!

    • Matt B.

      Me too! Please do a post on how you get so much done. I bet technology is involved!

    • Martin T

      I have to agree! As an I.T worker also, I don’t know how you do it, but I can fully understand your enjoyment of all things gadget :)

      What I’d really like to see is a feature on training whilst travelling with work etc, how do you do it?

  11. Henry

    Ray, is there a plan to look at the Basis Peak just launched? It sounds very interesting on the spec.

  12. Allyn Crowe

    The real question is, was it a metric crapton. I mean you’d have to convert from imperial to metric when it forwarded from the US to France right? ;)

  13. Dr_LHA

    Ah looks like they sent you the new Blue SC. I just got one of those after my previous one got eaten by my back wheel having a massive failure, and noticed a few differences. One it’s duel BLE/ANT+ now, two it’s much stealthier black with white logo (no blue) logo, and three it appears to have blinking LEDs that indicate connection and and operation much like the TICKR does. Haven’t actually taken it out for a ride yet though!

  14. Tom

    Ray-

    Where do you get your CR2032 batteries from?

  15. matt

    A beddit! Cool, I’ve had mine sitting in a box next to my bed for several weeks. Now, I have an excuse to tell my wife: I’m waiting for Ray to tell me what to do with it.
    Thanks!

  16. portlandpaul

    Nice to see ‘the Girl’ getting her staff to push her around in the trolley in Ikea. Slavedriver (literally)…

  17. Ricardo HR

    Can’t wait for that CR2032s review! LOL ;-)

  18. Hey- what is that GoPro USB double charger? I can only find this one, which looks different than yours- since yours appears to be end-loading.

  19. Oh- and the BlueSC in the pic- I’ve been using it for months, I replaced the rear wheel magnet with a slightly thinner one so I could put the wheel arm down (tucked into the chainstay). It’s been completely reliable (better than the Wahoo android app crashes and RFLKT+ battery drain issues).

    • I suspect you’ve been using the BlueSCv1 for months (almost identical boxes), whereas the BlueSCv2 (shown above) just started shipping last week. The only difference being the v2 is dual ANT+/BLE, whereas the V1 is just Bluetooth Smart.

    • Dr_LHA

      The Blue SCv2 also has blue/red indicator lights on it like the TICKR.

  20. David S.

    The green line on the pavement on Longchamp (second picture of #3) was the race line for the 20km de Paris on Sunday. Didn’t run myself (injured) but watched it some and heard it was a good race.

    • Yup! They also do one for the Paris Marathon too. I loves me the green line. :)

    • David S.

      The first time I saw the line was for the 2013 20km de Paris. Took me a few kms to realize what it was…then I remember thinking, “brilliant!” The line really helped at the Paris marathon, a glycogen-deprived brain will often go weird places, as you know…but I remember referring to the line in my brain as “my happy place.” Haha.

  21. Rodolfo Araujo

    Hello Ray. Which forwarding company do you use?

  22. Matt Gow

    Hey Ray, where’s the best place to order CR2032’s from? Lots of people complain about receiving fake batteries from Amazon etc. Sony the best you’ve found?

  23. Matt Gow

    Thanks Ray, appreciate it.

  24. Bernie W

    Hi Ray, did you ever get to play with the CatEye Strada Smart? Reason I ask is that I just got one for Christmas and am attempting to go Garmin-free, but am having one major issue (so far) and wondered if you noticed it also. Basically I can’t get my power reading from my G3 (with BTE cap) to upload from the Cateye iOS app to Strava. Strava just doesn’t recognize the power at all (no “lightning bolt”, just garbage from their estimate). TrainingPeaks, on the other hand, recognizes it fine. As you probably know, TrainingPeaks doesn’t fiddle with the data at all, it reports the same as measured by the CatEye app. Strava has other ideas. I hate the way Strava messes with the data! I am testing it on my trainer with a Polar H7 strap and using the G3 hub for the speed/cadence. I’ve turned off location services for the CatEye app on my iPhone so it won’t record a GPS signal and use the hub instead. I have a gut feeling maybe the CatEye iOS app didn’t follow the Strava API rules correctly for the power .. or something like that. Any thoughts? – Bernie