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Last Week in Review–June 20th, 2017

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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 and Facebook, 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
Tuesday: Fitbit Alta HR In-Depth Review
Friday: Stages Dash Bike Computer In-Depth Review
Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend in the Netherlands

YouTube Videos I Published!

Here’s some YouTube goodness that I published this past week, don’t forget to subscribe!

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) Kung Fu Nuns Cycling Across the Himalayas: Because…yes. Oh, and there’s 500 of them…going 4,000KM. Seriously, check it out. (via NY Velocity)

2) NYC Citibike has first fatality: A short piece on bike sharing and how safe they are.  Of course, everything is relative – I’ll take my chances on a Citibike over riding in a NYC cab – if for no other reason than I won’t crap my pants thinking I’m going to die each time.

3) Bike sharing expands more in the UK: Speaking of bike shares – this is an interesting piece as it talks about two Chinese companies and their expansion plans for dock-less bike sharing systems.  I know a few other cities (in fact, I think The Hague where I just was) has such a scheme.  Paris also started doing the same for motos too.

4) YouTube introduces VR heatmaps for 360° videos: This was kinda cool.  I decided to take a look at one of my 360° videos to see what people were looking at, regrettably, it doesn’t seem to actually work.  Despite having piles of 360° videos with lots of views and available for years…nothing. Sad panda.

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5) How to properly wear an optical HR sensor: This nifty little study graphic explains exactly why you shouldn’t wear an optical HR sensor on your wrist bone.

6) Garmin has revamped their Garmin Connect site a bit: I got a few questions asking what I thought about it.  Overall? Shrug.  Nothing wrong per se, and they did address the single page (Activity View) that I use almost daily – so that seems like a bit better since I can scroll endlessly and it’s far faster.  They also fixed that god-awful navigation drop-down thingy on the left-hand side that was like trying to throw darts at a moving target to get to certain menus.  So I suppose it’s better than shrug, it’s not bad. Winking smile I guess I just don’t generally get too excited about web site UI revamps (no offense to any website team).

7) GPLama (Shane Miller) reviews ROTOR 2INPower, dual power meter: I note this video he posted today, as he and I collaborated back and forth around the time of my review, to discuss some quirks we saw at the time.  Here’s how things ended up for him:

8) Strava now has an apps directory: See that everyone else (Lookin’ at you, rest of industry)?  This is why you open up your walls to 3rd party apps.  It’s also why Strava dominates now.   There are roughly some 500 or so active apps/platforms in here, though about 18,000 apps are registered.  I like the categories on the right side, like the Performance apps one.  As I’ve noted many times, if you have a platform where people are putting in fitness/sport data, and you don’t have an increda-easy to access and use API for data in/out, then you’re stupid.  Yes, I called you stupid.  The market agrees.  A 3rd party developer should be able to request a free account within seconds and get to work.  How many cool sites start off with a developer burning the midnight oil to create something on a whim?  If you want to put an approval process prior to data going live, fine, but anything beyond that – you’re stupid.  And yes, again, I called you stupid.  You’re leaving customers, creativity, and money on the table, and you can look at countless examples across the tech industry of how important easy API access is to the success of companies and adoption of technologies.

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 are 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?  Oh – and if you want to get a head start on things, this page is a great resource for watching Garmin firmware updates.

DJI Spark Firmware Update: A bunch of minor fixes/tweaks as they released the unit.

Garmin VIRB 360 Firmware Update: This was the first production firmware update. Also fixed one issue seen in some of my earlier footage (exposure stability in photo timelapse)

Lezyne Y10 units Firmware Update: Huge firmware update that I talked about back at Sea Otter – tons of goodness in here.

Suunto Spartan Series Firmware Update: Another solid update with a bunch of smaller features that folks have been asking for.

Thanks all!  Have a good week ahead!

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45 Comments

  1. Josh

    Ray, With Stryd only currently recommending the Fenix 5X due to dropout issues on the other F5 variants, do you expect that Garmin can resolve the issue and therefore allow Stryd to support the 47mm F5 and smaller F5S? Thank you.

    • My confidence in them resolving it continues to drop. If they could have done it by now, they likely would have. They’ve known about it since at least February.

    • Matthew B.

      Ouch. There are across the board ANT+ issues with the 5/5S, correct?

    • KenZ

      Garmin’s ability, no strike that, level of caring about fixing issues and even known flaws with their own products is legendary.

      On paper you get more bang for buck with Garmin. For me, it was just on paper. Suunto I’ve found to be more expensive with fewer features, but it generally just works.

    • Pawel

      I had my first Fenix 5 replaced because of ant+ signal issues and now the replacement unit also drops signal – both to Garmin’s HRM-Run strap. Was told by Stryd that it’s hardware related issue (circus board?) so it very unlikely (like 0% chance) to be fixed by software updates. At this stage I hope I can get my money back from Garmin and get 935 instead.

    • Julian

      Got a F5S on order and this ‘news’ kinda sucks, was hoping the ANT+ connectivity issues would be fixed in the long run.

      But thinking about it, if there are dropout issues with the HRM-Tri, can’t Garmin enable the strap to store the HR data during a run/cycle (besides sending info to the watch) and then at the end of the activity save the data from the strap (in the same way as done during swimming)?

      I know this wouldn’t solve anything for other sensors such as Stryd or HR straps that don’t have the capacity to store data… but still… would at least address the issues for some users.

    • Eli

      This is why I like plastic, radio signals penetrate plastic without issues. Go 935 :-p (Or at least I’m assuming thats how the 935 seems to work much better without doing any research into it)

  2. david n

    Stryd Support for the Polar v800:

    link to support.polar.com

  3. So you’re saying that a $5000 fee for access to some of the API/functionality is not ideal? Who’d have thunk it. Oh yes, you, you’ve said it many many many times and still they don’t listen. Restricting weight data to sell a handful of bathroom scale units too…

    No it’s not just them, but Garmin are the focus of a lot of this kind of stuff because their toys are so central to these things.

    Well said Ray, that’s one of my favourite paragraphs you’ve written and this particular drum needs beating loudly and often. Strava are a bit eccentric* but generally work towards a great platform.

    *They refuse to do anything that doesn’t stick rigidly to standards. Do a race just after summer time starts and you’ll see half the field starting an hour early/late because Strava insist it’s for the watch vendors to fix. They’re right but that’s not a great attitude when you run such a massive platform for non-techie users who don’t understand why fly-by isn’t working between them and their mates.

  4. MrThinWrist

    I agree with the OHR not above wrist bone and all. But the recommendation of 2-3 fingers seems a bit far fetched from reality. If I wear my watch this way and tighten up the watch to be snug fit but not too tight the watch usually drops after any sort of moderate activity and then it’s too loose to be any good.

    This because I don’t have stick like arms, although my wrist is thin, it gets wider moving towards the elbow.

    • JR

      Agreed. I actually do have stick arms (Fenix 5S is a bit too big for me), and there’s no way I could use it that high on my arm. Just above the wrist bone actually works very well, because it’s the narrowest part of the arm, so there’s no way it should slide up or down.

  5. Daniele

    Last Week?

  6. Ken

    Garmin screwed the pooch with this update, specifically on exporting of data.

    There wasn’t much ability to analyze data within the activities section but they allowed you to export data to a .csv file. For 3-4 years now, I’ve used that export function to import it into a spreadsheet that I could do sorting, subtotaling, & searching much better than on their website. However, with this change, they’ve completely changed the column structure in the .csv.

    Adding new fields on to the end; no problem; reordering the first ½ dozen fields & the import no longer works (w/o effort). Why? Why would they do such a thing?

  7. Stefan R

    Yet another Connect update without the most desired feature, activity cropping.

    • peroni

      +1 for activity cropping and I would add the ability to edit bad data, i.e. hr values.

      The reporting page is horrid, seems like everytime they revamp the site the new developer(s) do not care about updating every section

    • I do agree cropping would be ideal.

      Fwiw though – you can use FitFileTools.com – which is pretty awesome.

  8. Eli

    web site UI revamps – I agree. I mean there is this one web site with good content yet still uses an image on almost every page from way back when the 310xt was the current watch along with a bunch of other old watches. Everyone knows they are going to compare products, just hope that the products they can compare are newer then 7 years ago. Why change what works just for the UI? ;)

    • Dom

      I cannot imagine which site you mean.

      Actually, you know what would be a good tweak, Ray? For subscribers, at the top right of the page, you see “My Profile” (meaning me, the subscriber) right next to “About Me” (meaning you). It’s mildly confusing.

    • Funny, I thought about that rolling pin picture a few days ago. Gotta reshoot something else.

      Good call on ‘About me’. Maybe I’ll change it to “About” or ‘About DC Rainmaker”.

    • SummitAK

      The Garmin site update didn’t really change I gave substantially, but did you see what Nokia rolled out for the Withings site update today? Terrible!

    • Eli

      Or “5 EASY STEPS TO THE SITE” listed twice on the main page

    • Hmm, not sure I follow. I only see it (despite how old it is), listed once.

    • Eli

      Always on the right most side panel for all pages but on the front page also in the middle

  9. PureZOOG

    Not sure if this is new re the Connect update but I notice you can now drag a section of the graphs and they expand to the selection. Just a shame the average readings don’t reflect the stats for the selected part, so you can see what actually happened on that col section :(

  10. Adriaan

    The Garmin Connect update is not good at all, but must admit that question of perspective…
    Previously, the fields/columns of the List of Activities were customizable, users could decide what info they want to see. Now it is rigid.
    They added some kind of advanced filters by activity type. Big thing! Should have been there since 2009.
    They fixed the 12 month activity count and graph… Big thing! Took them one year to fix it…
    The Classic version of GC was way better!!! They should leave it parallelly with the Modern version running.

    But the truth is, Garmin have a big gap to fill comparing to Tyler & Murray from Wahoo in terms of responsiveness, implementation of ideas, software update and overall customer approach…

    • Adriaan

      …and one more thing… Do you folks also have to Sign in every time you visit the GC webpage?
      I do, even if I tick the “Keep me signed in” option.

  11. Doug

    RE: Garmin Connect revamp
    Agree that the LH Nav Bar is better however they still haven’t made one of my favourite features easily accessible, which is seeing what routes users have been doing in various locations
    link to connect.garmin.com

    • Adriaan

      Thanks for mentioning that…

      The complete Explore activities is not working at GC… Has anybody noticed that?

  12. GianKam

    There have been sightings of references to a “garmin edge 1030” on the Garmin forums and on garmin documentation. Anything you can share?

  13. Gennaro

    I’m not very happy with the new Activities page in Garmin Connect. Navigating is now far more cumbersome as there are too many options for a person like me who does mostly cycling and a bit of running.

    It seems not possible any longer to filter by course, which is what I was doing all the time, so it’s now basically impossible to quickly view all activities on the same course.

    Also “advanced” filters were earlier immediately available (for me, I was mostly interested to see activities in a date range). Now to see the “advanced” filters I need to choose between running/cycling/other and click on “Advanced”. When I get to cycling, a lot of prominence is given to different sorts of cycling (indoor, recumbent, road, track, etc) which I really care nothing about, and still I can’t filter by track.

    Horrible overhaul.

    Gennaro

  14. Aaron

    >> If you want to put an approval process prior to data going live, fine, but anything beyond that – you’re stupid. And yes, again, I called you stupid.

    It should be noted that the official Strava terms of service for data API access are quite restrictive (unless this has been changed recently?). And this puts technical limits on the kinds of apps that can be created. TL;DR: Users of Strava don’t really “own” their data in the sense they can do anything with it via the API. So Strava doesn’t deserve a gold star quite yet.

    I suppose you could say this is an “on paper” thing that isn’t enforced, but that keeps partner apps in the hobbyist arena, or for companies that just ignore the ToS and take the legal risk of termination.

    But you’re absolutely correct that their competitors pale in comparison to integration and data freedom. Garmin doesn’t deserve all the ire, Fitbit is actually worse.

    • Mateo (Strava)

      Hey Aaron, sorry for the delayed response. I somehow missed this.

      Just to put it out there, my counter would be our API is not really designed for the use case of a single person trying to get unrestricted access to their own data. Our “Download all your activities” button, serves that purpose. Unlike other sites, there are no restrictions and it is not a premium featured. As a matter of fact, there are a few ways to do it link to support.strava.com. All the data you download via these methods, you own. It will of course not have things like Segments, leaderboards, SufferScore and other Strava specifics tidbits, but I think that is expected.

      fwiw, our API terms are pretty standard. We spent a lot of time auditing the space for the new terms. If you look at them from the angle of 3rd parties having access to your data and ours, perhaps they might read a little differently.

    • Aaron

      our [Strava] API is not really designed for the use case of a single person trying to get unrestricted access to their own data

      Yup. Agreed. That was exactly my point.

      fwiw, our API terms are pretty standard

      Section 7 of your API Agreement is unusual, and problematic:

      “No Strava data shall remain in your cache longer than seven days.” … “Except for such limited caching, your Developer Application is prohibited from storing any Strava Data or providing or displaying such data or any associated service to any third party”

      This is the crux, and limits how Strava athletes can use their workout data. Even a simple workout data backup app is prohibited. A pity.

      You won’t see these kinds of terms in the data API provided by Twitter, Google, Facebook, Garmin, Polar, TomTom, … so I can’t really agree this is “pretty standard”.

    • Mateo (Strava)

      Yeah, I think we agree the API isn’t ideal for backup purposes. That being said, I do wonder what specific use cases are where having to refresh data caches every < 7 days is dibilitating to an app?

  15. Hans

    and another garmin connect update that removes usefull functionality …

    ok it looks more as the mobile app does, but this is meant for a browser with a big screen. and now I even have less data then before.

    and gone is the quick edit in the list view of activities which was really handy for tagging all my commutes in one go.

    and still no way to put intermediary (waypoints) on courses in any other garmin application then the very old desktop one. but still they support it in the watches (and it is a thing I use)

    they make good products, but some choices they make are very debatable.

    ps ray: you may change the article again, I now have no idea how to find the number of steps done in an activity on the garmin site anymore. they removed the only screen where it was visible.

    • Adriaan

      Hi Hans,

      I have an opposite issue. I do not care about steps and I do not want to see them.
      Wherever I click in Connect, they force me to see the information about steps.
      For instance, when you open your dashboard, the block of report is showing steps, the comparison on Connections is showing 2 options (Activities, Steps) and under Activities there is a link filtered on steps. Please see attached screen…

      a suggestion: implement 3 versions of Garmin Connect:
      1. Modern for those who do golf and count steps and are very keen on modern design.
      2. Beta. For the planned updates, users can check their activities and make comments comparing to the actual Modern software version.
      3. Classic. Yes, put the Classic version back! For those, who do sports and keen on bare data and not fancy shit and social media…

    • Hans

      Adriaan,

      those are not the steps I was talking about. there used to be a field that gave the number of steps for 1 activity. which was kind of fun to know for some races or other activities.

      those total number of steps on a day you refer to I use it just as an indicator to see if it was a day in the office, or one in which I moved a little :) because depending on what you do it is waaaay of. walking while pushing a stroller for 5km gives something like 200 steps :)

      I agree completely with the second part, each release they tend to try to do as much ‘fancy’ stuff as possible but we don’t really care. it is the data we want.

    • Adriaan

      Hi Hans,

      In that case I would suggest to check with the option Calendar. It gives an overview of all activities. So if the device detected any steps walked during some activity, the Calendar will display that.

      I noticed that for pool swimming. I turn my device on and select Pool Swimming, but while moving to the dressing room – shower – pool – shower -dressing room, all steps are being recorded…
      I am not sure about the stroller thing thou, I think your arm must do some periodic swings to be recorded as walking.

      That’s why I do not care about steps. And it is sick that I have earned my trophy cases just for going to the shower. Is it really the are where software developers should be focused on?

  16. Kyle

    I still find it amazing that you cannot add waypoints to a course on the Connect site. The process it takes to get a course/gpx file with waypoints, correct elevation, etc onto a device is unreal

    • Yeah, every time while travelling (like this and last week), I keep on hating on how crappy the GC site/experience is for creating courses.

      For yesterday’s ride, despite having four GPS devices on my bike (three of which were Garmin), I used my cell phone in my hands with the simple Easy Route app to navigate. With WiFi sucking so much here, I just want to be able to quickly create a route *on my phone* and spit it out to my Garmin via Bluetooth Smart. Why does this have to be so darn hard?

  17. Written

    Hey, any chance you’re reviewing Lifebeam’s Vi soon?

    The net is full of influencer reviews but little genuine. Would love to get your take on it.

    • It’s not currently on my radar for short-term reviews, though the company has reached out a fair bit. I honestly haven’t seen anyone else ask for a review till your post (nothing wrong there, just looking at numbers a bit). :-/

    • Chris Benten

      Interesting…did not really read the website but my first inclination is that, if I am in the position to wear headphones (NOT on the open road), I would rather listen to The White Stripes than some Siri twin telling me I am not working hard enough.

  18. Stephen

    Even if she was right, you’d told her to push you and it inspired you to push?