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Week in Review – November 1st, 2014

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 in the past week:

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

Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend In New Zealand
Monday: A few quick thoughts on Fitbit’s new activity trackers, GPS watch (with optical heart rate!)
Thursday: A Morning At Velo Boutique–A Full KICKR Group Cycling Studio
Friday: My analysis of the 2014 Kona bike count power meter numbers

Hopefully next week I’ll be able to return to some normalcy, last week was pretty packed with 12-15 hour work days, so not much time for blog related stuff.

A few notable sports technology deals:

Just a few quick notables for sports technology items:

Garmin Vivofit is down to $99US.  This has dropped in price via both Clever Training & Amazon from its previous price of $129US.  I don’t expect to see this go any lower in price, since $99US is pretty much the floor here for any Garmin device.  But, a good deal for a well liked unit.

Garmin VIRB down to ~$99US.  Well, sorta down to sub-$100.  It was at $99US, then it floated up to $109US and now $129US, effectively matching the GoPro Hero (base).  I expect you’ll see it fluctuate a bit in that range.  Either way, it’s down from more than twice that – so it’s still a sweet deal.  And for the money, the base Garmin VIRB is a much better overall product than the new 2014 GoPro Hero base unit at $129US.  So many more features such as the screen, true timelapse mode, etc…

In any case, I’ll have a GoPro lineup (Black/Silver/Hero) In-Depth Review up later next week.

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) Running on Instagram vs Running in Reality: A funny little look at the differences between what people supposedly post photos of runs are like, versus the reality we all know and love.

2) Garmin adds VIRB Elite integration with Ski Goggles: Cool stuff, hopefully we’ll see them forge into new areas with an SDK down the road, a la Connect IQ.  I think that’d open up a lot of cool options if they allowed streaming video to apps/devices (via WiFi) and also allowed full control.

3) The Microsoft Band: Well, this week wasn’t without plenty of new fitness bands.  For those curious, this unit is on the way to me once I return to Paris early next week.  Initially I’m impressed with the feature set (which includes GPS – a first in this form factor!). Though, the size does appear a bit bulky to me, something seemingly confirmed by others – and I’m hearing rumblings from readers about HR accuracy during exercise.  But I’m interested in seeing how the whole cross-platform/data availability piece works out, where it’s said a significant focus has been put on letting you take your data where you’d like.

4) Nike is ‘bullish’ on future of Apple partnership: I’ve gotta say, I just don’t get it.  After canning the entire Fuelband hardware division, I’m just not seeing how this is going to end well for Nike as a ‘social fitness platform’ – especially when there are so many other software-only platforms competing for one’s business.  No doubt Nike has an incredibly strong brand and customer loyalty, but I’m not convinced they’re going to magically grow to the numbers they quote in the article in the current fitness app climate.

5) The impact of Tinkov’s grand tour challenge aspirations: A good look behind at how a scenario like this might play out, and what might be required to make it all work.

6) How the NFL digitally tracks everything on the field: A cool behind the scenes view at some of the RFID technology being embedded in or on just about everything on the field.

7) 2014 Boston & Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo tests positive: Sigh, another one bites the dust.  What’s more frustrating is that she was permitted to run the Chicago Marathon after her first positive test result.  And why after 4+ weeks has the B sample still not been tested?  As always though, Ross Tucker has some good thoughts posted here (note to click the ‘Read more’ tag).

8) The C-Suites: A look at Clif Bar’s CEO: This was interesting, lots of little tidbits in there about balancing work/life and running a company in the fitness industry many of us are quite familiar with.

9) Uberpedal: This is a few weeks old, but I thought it was cool.  In Seattle you can now use Uber and request a car that includes a bike rack on it. Nice!

10) Kodak 360° Action Cam Introduced: Another 360° cam appeared poised to hit the market.  Though, the same has seemingly been true for the last 2 years where everyone says they’re only “2-3 months away” and yet hasn’t delivered.  Still, I don’t actually see this segment really catching on until YouTube supports 360° video unfortunately.

11) Strava raises $18.5 Million in new round of funding: I’ve gotta wonder…at some point one has to make money.  I love Strava as a user, but I’d be concerned as an investor on why it hasn’t been able to take massive market support and spit out cash.

12) The voice behind 200 airports: As one who practically lives in airports, I found this hilariously awesome – and thus why it’s here in this post. (via @RunwayGirl)

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  If you’re unfamiliar with projects, read my detailed post on how I decide which projects I personally back.  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.

Veloloop: This little bike accessory will trigger those stoplights that typically cars can only switch to green.  Nifty.

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?

Garmin Edge 510 & Edge 810 Beta: I’ve been meaning to mention these, as they’re kinda cool. Garmin is going to release both Di2 and Garmin Segments support to the Edge 510 & Edge 810 – and has actually allowed you to download the beta version for a few weeks.  This is good both for the features, as also the concept of using beta to test the waters a bit and hopefully account for feedback.

Bia has released Live Tracking for their device: And, best of all that it doesn’t require a cell phone since the device has built-in 2G connectivity.  Even better is their rates are astoundingly reasonable: $3.99/month, $9.99/3 months, $36.99/year.  Very solid.  And yes, I’ve got a Bia watch review planned for the next few weeks.  Been using it on most of my recent swim/bike/runs.

Garmin Vivosmart firmware update: Bug fixes and performance improvements.

Thanks for reading!

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33 Comments

  1. I’ve *heard* you can tape rare earth magnets to the underside of your bike and those will trip the stoplight sensor. Don’t know how well that works, though.

  2. Jose I

    Nike+ updated the Running app to work with most bluetooh HRM’s. Works with TickrX.

  3. I also don’t get Nike. They just recently ditched the footpods in their shoes and with the Nike Sportswatch gone, Nike now relies purely on people using their running app.

    When speaking to Nike representatives, the feedback is that everyone uses their smartphones, so it is perfectly fine to run with them. I did not see myself running with an iPhone 5/6 strapped to my arm and have now replaced all things Nike with Garmin. Their shoes had a value-proposition, as I could still collect fuel-points for indoor runs, but with the pods gone, the watch also has become pointless.

    I doubt that Nike and Apple will forge a strong partnership, even with Cook being on the board. Apple has shown quite quickly what happens to “partners” when they don’t do it the Apple way (Fitbit).

  4. luis

    I’ve been using the Microsoft band for about 48 hours now and everything is fine, I really like how solid the product feels and looks. Excellent quality materials and build. The first hour ir so the band felt a bit bulky but not anymore. My only complain is HR accuracy “during exercise”. I went for a run this morning and while my 910xt was reading 145 bpm the band was reading ~160; however at low HR the reading is pretty similar. Happy with the product in general, hope they fix the HR thing.

  5. Chris Barber

    Any idea if we’ll see similar reduced prices on the virb in the UK / Europe?

  6. uraqt

    Sweet WIR is back, fav read all week, thanks!!!!

  7. Shaun Moran

    Hey Ray – if Garmin and others can sell a complete activity tracker (which includes accelerometer, bluetooth, sometimes a screen, etc) for around $100 – which is the ANT+ footpod (which is just an accelerometer and ANT+) still cost $99!

  8. Tyler

    Re: Band

    Just another +1 for the Hr while exercising. I’ve run three times with it now – each time doing half the run with the band facing “up” and half facing down” (Hairy part and non Hairy part of my arm) and I see +/- 15 bpm versus my 620. GPS tracking also with a 15% variance to my 620 and Wahoo iphone GPS (which were within 5% of each other. Resting HR and sub-100 HR seems fairly accurate.

    As a fitness tracker…it seems awesome. Knowing the difference between a situp and a v-up is pretty cool 🙂

  9. cc

    Is Garmin also going to release both Di2 and Garmin Segments support for the Edge 500 & Edge 800? They should.

    • No plans, given they’re adding it to two year old units as-is, that’s pretty solid.

    • Shaun moran

      The big issue with garmin segments is that you need to have the activity as public. Without the concept of privacy zones like strava not many people are going to do that.

    • cc

      To bad from Garmin part of not continuing supporting Edge 500 and 800. There are not that much differences between the 500 & 800 to the 510 & 810. There should not be any problems in supporting 500 & 800 in terms of system and upgrades.

      Right now, I do not recall the exact month and year of the 500 & 800 product launch but what I can remember is that the 510 & 810 was launched not that far away within the 12-18 months. From now on, I will have my reservations in purchasing future Garmin products, knowing that they only support their products on short-term.

      If Garmin is only supporting products within two years of being launched, then Garmin should lowered their prices and have their products with a two year self-destruct timer. Boom!

    • Adam R

      Edge 500 early 2010. Edge 800 mid 2010.

      Even the 800 is over 4 years old. Not including them seems fair enough. BTW, I have an Edge 500. If Garmin were going to update the firmware, there are bugs I would rather they fixed ahead of adding useless segments.

    • Enter the amazing product comparison tool here – which will tell you both the exact announcement date for the product, as well as the date it was actually semi-widely shipping: link to dcrainmaker.com

      In the case of the Edge 500 it was announced in September 2009 – so over 5 years ago. The Edge 800 in August of 2010, so over 4 years ago. To put that in perspective, the iPhone 4 (regular) was announced in June 2010, and the 3GS in June 2009.

    • Happy Runner

      I think cc’s point is valid — that Garmin could have included the 800 in the update with probably no effort at all. OTOH, there was so little to distinguish the 810 from the 800 (especially if you don’t use the Smartphone stuff), that these new features could make those who upgraded from the 800 to the 810 feel like there was some value to that move.

  10. adam hollingworth

    Hi Ray,
    As always i know you’re super busy, but i was wandering if you were going to post your musings anytime soon on the Vivosmart? (I was thinking about getting Misfit Shines but it seems they fall off everybody!) I saw in your ANT symposium keynote that you were enjoying it, and that you had mentioned previously you were going to do a review on it. The selfish in me would love to see what you thought of it. I’m thinking of pulling the trigger on buying a few of them for the whole family for Christmas. I thought it would be nice if everyone were on the same ecosystem and everyone could see how each other was doing in terms of activity.

    The family are not techno people but i could call it the ‘gift of life’. The move alert feature (and activity monitoring) fits nicely with this article in the medical cancer literature…..

    link to jco.ascopubs.org

    Sit less than 6 hours a day and walk over 2.5hours per week and you have a 28% less chance of getting cancer!!! And after your diagnosed with cancer you have a 48% less chance of dying in the future!

    The future is walking, (and not sitting)!

    • My Vivosmart review will be following my FR920XT review, so probably in the next few weeks.

      In general though I really like it – more than I thought I would to be honest. By the same token, there’s just a glut of new activity trackers + smart watch functionality out there. So it’s a bit tricky.

  11. jose

    Hi dc
    I also have the band for 2 days and I’m very happy with the accuracy of the band.I have used it for two treadmill short run and the accuracy is standing compare to the treadmill itself and also to my garmin forerunner 610/with footpod.I can’t say the same for the vivofit that always track a way too much on all the run. The accuracy for the heart rate when in running mode for me have been good enough. I saw some spike that are fixed very quick like second. I put the band a litter more tide for the run.what I don’t like from the band is that we need to push a botton to go in sleep mode and the same bottom at wake up time.but again what I’m very impressed is with the accuracy on the treadmill. Myself never can use a vivofit run for login to any place because of the inaccuracy that some time can be up to more than one mile. But this band is very very accurate only a few feet.

  12. Chmouel

    About Strava funding, usually if you got Sequoia and Moritz involed it’s pretty sure you are in good way for revenues, I am guessing crowdfunded data for ads is going to make big bucks, be able to target fitness crowd of where they stop and where they go could be good revenue

  13. Aaron

    Watch them pick up one of the weaker powermeter makers in 2015. Mark my words, you read it hear first.

  14. Arild

    I’m really looking forward to a Microsoft Band review! I am a Windows Phone user and I have a Suunto Ambit 2S. I realize that it will take forever for Suunto to release a WP app for the Ambit 3.So now I’m hopig that maybe Microsoft Band can deliver what I need and want in a training watch/band.

  15. Happy Runner

    This is good both for the features, as also the concept of using beta to test the waters a bit and hopefully account for feedback.

    Garmin actually tests software? Who knew?

  16. dr.max

    Hi, Ray,

    Noticed that the beta firmware mentioned Edge remote support for the 510 and 810. Is this correct?

    Planning to try beta on my Edge 510 as soon as I receive remote from Amazon…

    Best,

    Max

  17. Richard Kaufmann

    Just in case anyone is going to try and integrate a Di2 with an Edge 810, there are a ton of gotchas. I’m not done yet, but thought I’d share.

    1. Go to to link to www8.garmin.com, download and install the beta firmware for the edge. (Instructions on the link, but it’s really easy.)
    2. Buy the Shimano SM-EWW01 Di2 Wireless Data Transmitter. $80, more or less.
    3. Sit back in smug satisfaction thinking you have everything. This nice feeling does not persist.
    4. Open up the “EWW01” (well named, ewwww!) and realize that it doesn’t include the short wire needed to actually hook the ewwww! inline to the rear derailleur.
    5. Go to your LBS or online site and get a short wire… Shimano Ultegra Di2 EW-SD50 Electric Wire, available in lots of lengths. They’re all too long, and they’re way too expensive! $25?!!!
    6. Again, sit back in smug satisfaction until…
    7. Try pairing it with your now-upgraded Edge 810. Nope! Look furiously in the fine print on the website and find out your need a firmware upgrade for the Di2. Yoinks! (Very new Di2’s will be OK, mine — 2013 — was not.)
    8. Go beg at the LBS for someone who has (a) something that runs Windows, (b) a $200 box that maps USB to the Shimano cabling/protocol, and (c) the neuron count necessary to figure out how to install the firmware.

    So that’s where I am now. I found two LBSs that can do it, but I have to wait for the “right day” for the resident genius to be around. “They” say it’s $30-$40, which is much cheaper than the cost of buying the adapter and the hassle of finding a Windows box somewhere.