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Week In Review–Oct 9th, 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: Week in Review–October 2nd, 2017
Monday: First Look: Minoura’s New Kagura Smart Trainer
Wednesday: First Run: Garmin’s New Running Power Capabilities
Thursday: My 2017 ANT+ Symposium Keynote Video

YouTube Videos I Published:

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

Sports Tech Deals of Note:

Ok, just one deal actually that I know of:

Garmin VIRB 360 is $50 off [In-Depth Review here]

I suspect this is semi-related to GoPro’s Fusion 360° action camera, which GoPro announced pricing on last week and announced pre-orders for shipping by the end of November in limited quantities.  GoPro is priced at $699, versus Garmin at $749 with the sale.  The challenge is these aren’t really equal cameras.  From a pure software and spec standpoint, Garmin is superior, especially for data overlays and like.

Where GoPro *may* have an advantage is the stitching.  All we’ve seen is GoPro’s own videos, and not 3rd party produced ones (most ones we’ve seen from partner organizations are still edited by GoPro), and thus I really want to see what it looks like without professional ‘assistance’.  Their offset lenses could be really interesting for this and may do a better job of stitching, but again, I wanna see it for myself.  Also, keep in mind there won’t be a GoPro capable mobile app for it till Q1 2018, only a desktop solution near-term.  That’s not a show-stopper for most, since I wouldn’t bother to edit 360° Garmin video on their mobile app anyway either, since the quality is so degraded compared to the desktop side.

Thus, why I think Garmin’s semi-hedged gimme of $50 off is kinda appropriate for now.

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) Another hidden motor found: I’m confused why some people don’t think this is an issue.  It definitely is in the amateur ranks – it’s just there isn’t enough worldwide testing to catch it.  I’d love to see them whip out scanners (however one wants to define that) at Kona next weekend.  I think you’d probably catch a bunch of non-pro folks.

2) The Sony RX0 ‘Action Cam’: Lacking anywhere else to put a comment on this, I’ve seen some questions on this cam.  First off, I’m as excited as anyone else when we see Sony do something in the action camera realm (despite how horrible the user interface is on their other action cams).  Their optics and quality are great.  And that’s mostly true of the user sample footage I’ve seen on the RX0.  Except, here’s the problem: By most definitions, it’s a horrible ‘action cam’.  See, the challenge is that it requires being hooked up to an external recording system for most of the frame rates you’d want to use in action these days.  Or at least, in action for the people wanting to buy a higher end camera system.  For example, yes, you can record 4K….but not in the camera.  Also – the 1,000FPS it does?  Not in the camera either, and even then, it’s at a fugly ~480p (meaning, the same quality as that Paris Hilton video from yesteryore).  The top resolution it can record internally is 1080p60, which…is less than action cameras 4 years old.  Of course, it’ll likely look prettier than those, but also at twice the price ($699).  Don’t get me wrong, there’s some interesting use cases for this camera.  For example, filming in a tight space where you can run the recording wire elsewhere.  Of course, with its 24mm lens, it’s actually not that good for tight spaces either (too zoomed in, a GoPro in Linear/non-fisheye view is ~17mm).  But we’ll ignore that and pretend it is.  I do think that down the road (i.e., Gen2) that we’ll see them figure all this out.  At which point, yes, it’ll be flippin’ awesome.  Till then though, save your pennies.

3) Major League Baseball fines coach for Apple Watch last weekend: This follows as the second known incident related to this, though the first one was actually cheating (and using a Fitbit instead).  Assuming innocent, I can see how easy it would be to walk out onto the field and forgot you were wearing one.  Of course, these days with the red-dot version, it makes cheating a million times easier.

4) Xert gets a pretty big update: Good to see the company pushing forward on lots of new features.  They’ve now got a forecasting engine of sorts in their fitness planner.  Plus additional integration with Strava as well as their apps now support the Edge 1030 and Fenix 5.  Finally, they’ve got a Rest API for 3rd parties to leverage for both in and out access.  Hear that Training Peaks and Garmin? Logical concept, eh?  My previous review here.  Though, this type of update highlights why I hate doing software-focused reviews, they quickly become outdated.

5) Polar announces plans to shut off older watches/devices: Yes, I’m keenly aware of this.  I’ve been in touch with them and have essentially asked them to explain themselves in more detail.  They’re promising more detail early this week.  In the meantime, I think it’s a great example of why walled garden desktop agents are horrible – and I think it calls into serious question whether you should buy any device that you can’t get the data off through other means if the web platform behind it dies.

6) Apparently there’s a Rainmaker Pass: I don’t believe I’ve summited it yet.

7) A 75 hour non-stop bike ride Strava file: I can’t be the only one wondering what device he used to record this…

8) Recently Retired Pro Cyclist Andrew Talansky to race triathlon: Switching over to iron-distance  As always, will be interesting to see how this turns out.

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.

Garmin Fenix 3/3HR/Tactix Brava BETA firmware Update: See, it’s mostly not dead yet.

Garmin Vivosmart 3 firmware update: Bug fixes.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 firmware update: A large pile of bug fixes.

Wahoo ELEMNT & ELEMNT BOLT firmware update: More 3rd party platform support.

Wahoo SNAP V2 firmware update: An update that was supposed to be released in July to fix spin-down issues.

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57 Comments

  1. CSH

    “By most definitions, it’s a horrible ‘action cam’.”
    Sony explicitly states that the RX0 is “definitely not an action cam”: link to cinema5d.com
    It seems to be geared more towards the professional film making crowd looking for an excellent sensor in a minimal rugged package.

    • Yeah, I guess the question is what scenario you need a rugged packaged camera that connects to non-rugged gear to record it?

      To me, that’s marketing double-speak. All of their marketing shows action scenarios (underwater for example), yet none of their marketing talks to the limitations of recording externally. Their media event was all about showing action

      For example, you can’t record that 4K footage underwater. And there’s almost not validity in having a crush-proof casing when you can’t use it with external out because it would be crushy then. Ignoring the fact that I’ve never actually seen any scenario where a crush-proof case is needed (neat party trick though).

    • I will point out though that their multi-camera control continues to dominate what others in the space do (GoPro/Garmin/etc…).

  2. Paul S.

    I think on board stitching on the 360 has gotten much better since the latest update (3.3?). I rarely see stitching artifacts in my videos any more (except straight down, of course). Occasionally you’ll see them when one camera is in direct sunlight and the other isn’t.

    I also tried RAW mode. It didn’t go precisely as your article indicated. I had no way to choose resolution on the iPhone app, but the raw clips themselves weren’t 4k since they were larger than that in file size. VIRB Edit went through the on-computer stitching pretty automatically, but the resulting final video seems to be 4k. Whether that’s due to being a time lapse or whether they haven’t yet fully upgraded VIRB Edit for macOS I don’t know.

    • Yeah, if you were on MacOS, that’s why it resulted in 4K. Hopefully we’ll get the update any day now from Garmin to enable 5.7K on Mac. I had to do the demo thing I did all on PC, since it supported 5.7K at the time (obviously, MacOS got the update a week or so ago).

      For me on stitching on the VIRB – it’s good at distances, but less good close-up (i.e. handlebars). I haven’t really seen much GoPro footage that speaks to that range.

  3. Thomas

    Still waiting for that in-depth of the Vector 3’s… 😉

  4. simon

    Hi Ray

    the link to the SNAP v2 firmware looks like it takes you to the older firmware for the V1 – can’t see anything for the V2 ?

  5. Karen Pettus

    Ray, over the years I have read your reviews and advice and truly appreciate all you do to help non-technology folks like me. I read your blog about power and running and I am confused. I use Garmin 920 xt but it appears that the 920 will not work with the update to show power? I want to learn more about using power data to improve my running but I really don’t want to purchase another watch. Did I misunderstand? THANKS

    • Correct, the FR920XT doesn’t support Garmin’s new/upcoming running power app. Though, it does support Stryd’s running power app.

      Plus, there’s other companies (like RunScribe) coming out with units (actually, they just started shipping) that should work on older units too.

    • karen pettus

      Thank you Ray, I appreciate that you take the time to reply personally

  6. San

    How did he record for 78hours? I guess from looking at the gpx export, joining GPX files together!

    • Wellco

      Why wouldn’t you be able to record for 75 Hours or more. I’m pretty sure that my Edge 1000 would go indefinitely if you keep attaching USB backup batteries.. Is there a limit to the size of a GPX file??

    • There’s no set limitations I’ve heard of in that timeframe, but most of the people going that long are doing it with wearables, not bike head units. And usually, with UltraTrac/Low-battery type settings, which don’t work as well on a road bike at road-bike speeds (they’re designed more for hiking speeds, since the update rate is much lower).

      I don’t see head units on most of the pics in the Strava link, though do see one photo that might be a V650 – it’s hard to tell from far away.

    • PeterF

      Or he _really_ did have faith in Garmin…

      Longest I have recorded on my Edge820 is 32,5 hours (little over 23 hours moving time), continuously connected to an external USB power pack. At least two other people had to kiss their Strava record goodbye because their Garmin 810 crashed…

    • Andy Helm

      It shoes his max speed at 205km/h, so if it was done as a single recording, perhaps he had it done with low GPS accuracy ?

    • Ken

      I used a Garmin 910xt & their (old) Power Monkey to get me thru a number of 24-hr ultras. The watch is supposed to go for 24 hrs but I’d always have it turned on beforehand & the race length is the same as the expected battery length so I’d always recharge it for a bit, either at a longer rest stop or strap it to my wrist & do it on the go to ensure I captured the whole race.

      Dumb decision to not allow on-the-go/during-race recharging with newer models, which is why I still use the 910 for 24-hr races.

    • All the newer models (in the last 2-3 years) support charging on the go. It was really only some in-between models (more than 3 years) that don’t allow it.

      Where it’s tricky is the 2017 newer models have a sucky connector for wearing it on your wrist compared to the 1-2 year old models. But technically it’s possible.

    • Ken

      Thanks for the info. I know it didn’t work with the 920 & the 735 had too short a battery life to even get many thru a full tri, let alone an ultra. Haven’t upgraded since because the other two work fine & haven’t seen enough features, yet, to justify a third GPS watch, along with the Virbs (plural), eTrex (plural), & Nuvi (plural).

    • Bernat Valls

      Is it not possible to use the ‘resume later’ option which I have in my Fenix 3? I guess you could charge it when you stop to eat/sleep and then press resume activity..

    • Andrew

      He mentioned in one of the comments that Suunto was fixing the GPS data initially.

    • He mentioned something about SUUNTO in the comments. So my guess is Spartan or Ambit

  7. Hey, recently in Poland was a cycling ultra-marathon around Poland. One participant registered a nonstop tour and posted it on strava: link to strava.com (3,153.4km / 142:40:16 h)

  8. M

    Ugh, how about a different comparison for 480p quality.

  9. TK

    Ray, how are you doing with Apple Watch Series 3 review ? When can we expect that ?
    We are all anxiously waiting :)

  10. okrunner

    Polar shut off of older Watches – Garmin data available and NOT locked in cloud

    I looked at your twitter feed and someone was complaining that Garmin had done something similar in not allowing you to view activities prior to 2010. I just checked and can see activities to January 2007, which I believe is about the time I picked up my first 305 and only about six months after you picked up your first 305. So, it appears I can view every Garmin activity I have ever done since I have owned a Garmin first in January 2007. Not sure who these trolls are but Garmin data seems still available from my very first activity. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  11. John Frank

    Ray:

    Could influence Garminto add Varia Radar & Varia HUD for the Fenix 3? I think this is highly unlikely, but it can not hurt to ask.

  12. John Frank

    Ray:

    I was wondering if your 2017/2018 trainer review is going to be available soon? I have the itch to buy a new trainer for this winter. I am trying to be patient, so I can get your input, which is always helpful.

  13. John

    Ray, any updates on the Edge 1030 grade issues (i.e. reporting approx. half the grade above around 7%-8%)? Fixed in any new betas?

    Thanks!

  14. Garry Munro

    I think Polar may only be the tip of the iceberg. The GDPR essentially makes it illegal to assume consent when it comes to data collection and sharing. From next year onward every company, public service or anything that gathers data will have to explain explicitly how the data is going to be used and who it will be shared with.As a health service worker this is going to be huge but I think tech firms are going to be having nightmares about it.

    • True, I do agree that GDPR makes life difficult.

      But I don’t agree with Polar throwing GDPR under the bus for their pre-Flow woes. Which is what they’re doing. They’re basically saying (via Twitter/etc…) that because of GDPR, they can’t run PPT any longer. And perhaps that’s accurate. But that’s sidestepping the issue of simply not updating Polar Flow Sync to support these legacy devices.

  15. Zlatko

    Would it be possible to prevent motorized doping (at least in pro peloton) by checking power files? I mean if a motor is used wouldn’t you see low power/high speeds cases?

    • Paul S.

      Clearly if you’re going to do it you’d be smarter than that. For example, you’d start using a rear hub based power meter and a downtube motor. Then you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference: faster speed would show more power, and whose to say if the power was coming from a motor or your legs? You wouldn’t put out 1200 w for several hours and solo away from the peloton (from what I’ve read, the batteries don’t last all that long anyway), you’d just add a little extra on hard climbs or sprints or something, below the threshold of unbelief.

      Personally I’d ban anyone using a motor for life. It seems to me a higher level of cheating than PED’s. Lance Armstrong and other dopers had to generate every joule with their legs, they just enhanced their muscles with PED’s so that they could generate more of them. Relying on batteries and motors is worse.

    • While it might be challenging to see motor usage in files, it certainly could be done with algorithms pretty easily.

      There’s actually been a contingent of people (that I agree with), that would say that power files from accurate power meters would probably be more useful in doping (of all types) than the blood passport in certain stages (like climbs). It makes it really easy to spot non-human efforts, or efforts that aren’t known to be possible without drugs.

  16. Mark A

    The CT link for the Virb shows the price as $799. Must have been a quick sale! :)

  17. Luzandro

    “I think it calls into serious question whether you should buy any device that you can’t get the data off through other means if the web platform behind it dies.”

    While this is true and I also don’t like that nowadays everything relies on some webservice, technically you can get the data off via websync, but it’s much more complicated and in a fileformat that no one supports (polar hrm), not even polar flow – actually for that matter, AFAIK you can’t import any activities to polar flow via file upload regardless the filetype.
    And besides that, you can’t load training plans onto your watch without ppt or create them directly on the watch (at least for my RCX3)

  18. Adriaan

    Exemplary approach to the famous quote: “My biggest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my bicycles for what I told her they cost!”

  19. Chris

    Hey
    Ray awesome site! when will your winter 2 017-2018 winter cycling gear guide be published?

  20. Andy

    It would seem, from your video, that you had some time with Hammerhead recently. Do you think they will be hitting their current timeline to start shipping the Karoo in the last week of October, or will it slip again? Have you an concerns about the continual slipping of this release date?

  21. JT Lynn

    What do you think about the timing of the next upgrade cycle of Garmin Fenix 6/ 945, etc? Worth waiting?

    I have been running with an Apple watch 2 (got for music/GPS/HR….but not really using music as much as I thought) and riding with it and Strava on an iphone. Phone dies after 30 miles, but recording on watch instead helps alot. But getting more into my training with longer rides, I just bought a Garmin 1030. Adding swimming now, and apple just doesn’t share their data off their watch well enough. I think my next addition will be Vector 3’s& Tacx Neo. Then heading into winter seems like a reason to wait for what I suspect will be a spring upgrade world for wrist units.

    Your thoughts? Worth waiting until spring. Will the next go round bring any leaps forward or mostly incremental?