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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Somehow, the weather is still fantastic here in Paris in November.  It’s cooled down a bit in the last 24 hours, but overall, I can’t complain much.  Lots of sun, blue skies, and still largely short sleeve workout weather.

1) Running with the Samsung Gear Sport

Lately, there’s a lot of prep work involved in going for a run.  From the 3-4 GPS watches to the 4-6 running footpod doohickies, as well as a GoPro, and sometimes a phone.  All of which I need to double-check are updated and running the latest firmware versions, which in the case of some new products seems to change almost daily.

I started off with getting the Gear Sport unboxed, which occurred on Thursday actually:

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I then spent a bit of time ensuring I had the latest Garmin FR935 firmware and associated running power beta.  Then updated the RunScribe Plus firmware and associated Connect IQ apps.  Then made sure my watches were charged (the Vivoactive 3 was out of juice).  Then made sure the Samsung Gear Sport was seemingly happy, along with the Apple Watch.  All of which had me finally outside and running:

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I did about 7.40 miles (about 11.90KM), down to the Eiffel Tower and back.  Nothing fancy, but a few intervals along the way home.

Certainly as I was running along I was watching the various watches.  Only one watch per wrist, with the two Garmins simply being hand-held.  It became clear right away that the Samsung Gear Sport was definitely struggling a bit.  Here’s the end resultant:

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I don’t know what’s up there.  I didn’t see that on cycling activities, and I haven’t run again with it (that’s tomorrow’s plan).

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Someone from Samsung has reached out to me since my post on Twitter, so we’ll see.

2) Friday Night Live!

Friday evening it was time for another DCR Friday Night Live.  I did it again on YouTube, so if you hit that subscribe button there, you’ll get notified when I go live.  You can watch the whole thing here:

Of note though for this post was that I was using a different camera setup this time.  Historically I’ve used the Mevo livestreaming platform, which generally is stupid-simple to use.  It also has a singular annoyance for me in that I can’t set a specific white balance value (beyond 4 preset ones), so the lighting in the DCR Cave always looks like crap.

This time though I changed the tech.  I bought the Elgato Camlink, which allows me to connect my secondary DSLR (Panasonic G7) camera to my laptop, and then stream using software there (in this case the free Game Capture software).  You can see me threading the cable through the Wahoo KICKR desk in case I managed to trip over it so that it wouldn’t pull my laptop out (hopefully!).

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This means I can customize the white balance, and of course generally get a much higher quality picture.

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On the audio front, I normally use a Rode SmartLav+ lapel mic, but that connector wouldn’t work with my PC.  So instead I grabbed a Rode VideoMic Pro shotgun that I had lying around and hooked that up to the camera.  I’m usually hesitant on using the Rode shotgun mics in the Cave because it echoes too much.  But this turned out surprisingly good, I suspect because it was closer than I usually place it.

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About the only mistake I made was that I forgot to change my laptop’s WiFi from the upstairs network to the underground Cave network.  So this meant the connection stuttered a few times.  It’s not a fully mesh network yet.  I’ve gotta follow Tyler’s advice (he helped me out at CES this past year on the writing front) and pick up a better WiFi situation.  His review is like mine in crazy depth, well worth the read!

3) Hello Ikea!

Saturday afternoon we headed out of the city to Ikea to pick up a few things for organization.  Also, they have Swedish meatballs.

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One thing I did find interesting was the wireless charging pads and ‘furniture’.  I know these have been around for two years, but it never really mattered much to me.  Now however with an impending iPhone X, it kinda matters to me.  With the cheapest one I could cut a hole in an existing desk…so I’m considering doing that.

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The only thing that’s not super clear to me is if there are significant speed differences between the Ikea charging pads and more current models on the market.  Regrettably, the number of reviews comparing Ikea pads to new pads is very…very…slim.

4) Speedy Sunday Cycling Loops

Sunday morning the weather was stunning so out for a ride I went.  Of course, with a slight dip in temps, that meant I had to figure out where my cycling gloves were.  I reached into the bin and somehow managed to pull out these five gloves.  None of which matched.  WTF?

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Eventually I found a matching set and headed out.  Interestingly, there was a running race going on near the Eiffel Tower.  At first this was a slight blocker to my planned route out of town, but then it worked out in my favor as they closed highway lanes in both directions but only used one.  It was like having an express lane to myself!

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I decided on doing loops at Longchamp.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I was just in a looping mood.  Sometimes I want something consistent and mindless.  With loops, I’d get a continuous workout, and if I got lucky and found some larger groups, I’d could throw down some watts.

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It turned out to be packed, with hundreds of cyclists (my guess is between 200-400 cyclists on the loop at any one point in time).  I was mostly riding with one pack that was 30 cyclists alone.

The only downside is, as usual here, you don’t get a ton of teamwork or coordination.  Most people don’t take turns pulling, and there’s often very little thought to rotating through efficiently.  Thus, like three people end up doing 5-6 minutes pulls, and the pulls are often lopsided.

Still, it was fun and I enjoy getting out on a sunny day and just ripping around and around and around.  I wrapped up by riding back via the Champs-Élysées, mostly because I wanted to run the final Vector 3 units and firmware through a specific section of nasty cobblestones that I know of (not on the Champs-Élysées, but in that general direction).  Since it was the first Sunday of the month, the Champs-Élysées was closed to cars:

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Woot!

5) Lunch across town!

Upon returning from riding, The Peanut awoke from a nap and we set off across town via Metro to our friend’s restaurant for lunch.

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They opened up just under a year ago now, and Zia was packed this Sunday mid-afternoon for brunch food, with a line out the door.

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I had the Dutch Baby Pancakes with Fried Chicken (sorry for my bad cell-phone pic), while The Girl had avocado toast.  Meanwhile, The Peanut devoured a pile of scrambled eggs.

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I could eat that fried chicken every day.  Amazeballs.

As an aside, I updated my Paris Restaurant guide listing thingy.  I know a ton of you use it when visiting the city, and we’ve been hitting a variety of new places since summer that are just incredible and definitely deserved to be added.  As always, my listing is heavily slanted towards where we live and places we’ve gone to multiple times, but it’s also heavily slanted towards awesomeness.

With that – thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!

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45 Comments

  1. Rob

    As usual Ray, I finish your weekend blog feeling hungry! Oh well, thankfully it’s dinner time. Cheers.

  2. Aleksander Helgaker

    I was excited for the Gear Sport but dismissed it after seing your tweet and hearing others comment on accuracy issues. The fact that Samsung has actually reached out to you gave me back some hope. Will be interesting to see what happens. If this gets fixed I’ll probably be buying one :).

    • It’s interesting. While I think some of the sports aspects are funky on it, I will say I really like the rotating bezel. It just feels ‘solid’, as well as is actual quite functional.

      And the daily activity metrics pages are actually well done as well. Now, the entire S Health thing/story is kinda messy. Not so much the app per se, but the differences between it on Android and iOS as well as the nuances of things like 3rd party support.

    • Aleksander Helgaker

      Yeah I like S Health quite a bit, but I do find the 3rd party support thing to be confusing. Some things are done via “Connected services” and others are done via “Partner apps”. Confused me a lot.

    • Nathan

      The interface on the gear line is great. Since you can sync Samsung Health to Strava it almost makes it so that you don’t have to even bother with S-Health for viewing your activities. The GPS tracks on my Frontier were always a bit funky, especially when i compared them to a Garmin or my phone tracking (bluetooth off so as not connected to the Gear). I always had added distance or came up significantly short.

      The other inexplicable thing with the watches is that Samsung phones support ANT+. The watches support zero external sensors. Being able to pair a chest strap or some bike sensors to the watch would have been nice. I’m surprised that Samsung didn’t add this as an enhancement in the Gear Sport.

  3. Mike

    Do you think your watch comparisons you can include the Polar M600, since it’s also running a smartwatch OS? And if possible the Sunnto Spartan Trainer seeing as it’s the same price as the Gear Sport(which got a price drop to $270 today as part of their holiday sales promotion).

    • It depends a bit on what I’m comparing specifically. When I go out for runs/rides, I’m mostly aimed at just collecting data. So I usually have devices that I’m testing (Apple Watch 3 and Gear Sport in this case), and then watches for collecting data (FR935XT and Vivoactive3 ).

      In the case of the FR935 and VA3, they were really doing triple duty on this run:

      A) Other sets of GPS data
      B) Recording HR from a chest strap
      C) Recording Garmin Running Power, Stryd Running Power/data, and RunScribe Plus power/data

      The challenge with the other units (Polar/Suunto) is that they don’t have CIQ, so in the case of this test I needed that item C above. Suunto supports running power natively, but not in the CIQ data field support. And I wanted CIQ data field support as we rolled out last night support for enumerating data fields in the DCR Analyzer, so I was looking for test data there.

      Now…when it comes to product recommendations guides – definitely! Just before Black Friday I’ll be releasing my product recommendation guides and talking specifically to those two items.

  4. Iris

    I’m Dutch but never heard of Dutch baby pancakes, the recipe looks yummy, I think I’ll (re)introduce them in the Netherlands

    • Indeed, they’re the perfect vehicle for goodness in breakfast. Usually they’re served in the hot skillet, but with the little one at the (small) table, he put it on a plate in case she made a reach for it (which she did, like 98 times).

    • Swim N Bike

      Ok,

      i need to chime here.

      It’s called poffertjes, very nice dutch delicacy.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Next time you and the girl make a trip to Amsterdam, you can pick up batter and a skillet at most supermarkets.

      yummy!!

      Cheers Ken

    • Iris

      Hi Ken,

      Poffertjes are literal baby pancakes, but the recipe for “Dutch Baby Pancakes” resembles more a soufflé crossed with a German pfannkuchen, which is probably the mix up, like so many lost in translations Deutsch became Dutch.

      But I agree, whenever Ray is in the Netherlands he must order a plate of poffertjes!

  5. Iris

    Maybe a name change is in order, although Adult Dutch pancake sounds a bit fishy 🤔🤣

  6. Juro

    Hi Ray, is Garmin’s running power data field in closed beta? Or open?

  7. Lisa

    Hi Ray! I wish I’d read your restaurant guide before visiting Paris last week! Had some great running experiences and some not so great food.

    Question about HR monitors. Is there any difference in accuracy between latest models and older ones? I’m using a Garmin HRM2-SS that I got bundled with a Forerunner 210 about 6 years ago. It’s paired with my Forerunner 235.

    Lately I’ve been getting some really weird data. The first few km it shows crazy high heart rate (like 160 – 180 bpm) and after a couple of km it drops (immediately, not gradually) to my actual heart rate of around 140 or so and everything’s fine from there. Except my data is messed up. :(

    Thought it might have to do interference from all the winter clothes I’ve been running in for the past month (thermo, jacket…), but had the same thing happen to me in Paris and I was running in a T-shirt.

    Any idea what might be going on? My HR is not that high, the bug keeps reoccurring (super high -> drop after 2-3 km), I’m running with my Apple watch on my other wrist and it’s showing correct numbers.

    • Lisa

      BTW, I read your link to dcrainmaker.com but thought technology may have changed since then. It’s the exact issue I’m getting, and yes, I lick!

    • Paul S.

      Whenever I get weird readings from one of my old Garmin hard shell belts (I have two, had them for years, and they won’t die), the first thing I do is to put a new battery in it. Have you tried that? The old “short the contacts by putting the battery in upside down before putting it in properly” trick also might help.

    • The Real Bob

      Funny Lisa. My wife and I have been in a bunch of countries. Hands down we both agree, the worst food we had was Paris. Which is strange, because everyone says the food is so good. We even reviewed every major eating guide before we went. Everything except the street crepes sucked. Honestly, the best food we had was at some local chain restaurant and mcds. And I hate mcds.

      Everything Ray posts looks so good! I wish we had known about his restaurant guide before we went also.

    • The reality is that most people coming to Paris eat at crap places. Largely because there’s so much crap food. The vast majority of street corner cafes that may look charming, are simply microwaving frozen food. A recent stat I saw is something like 80-85% are just reheating, that’s it. We can walk by the garbage cans at night outside and know exactly what frozen foods they’re using, because we see them at the restaurant supply store.

      That said, there’s no place on earth I’ve found with the intense level of awesome food at Paris. NYC would come close, but I think pricing-wise you can’t compare as well. Meaning that I think you’ll find really good street food in NYC that you can’t find in Paris at lower price points.

      Whereas you’ll find what would be considered a $100/meal/person dinner in NYC for $25-$35 in Paris…*if*…you know where to look. There’s so many amazing new restaurants popping up here. Take Cezembre* that I added to the guide last night. For lunch you can get a 3 course meal for 29EUR, that’s fancy food that’s Michelin 1* level, but without the 1* service requirements (but amazingly nice staff). Or for 52EUR you’ll get a 6 course meal that would be on-par with a $110-$150/meal/person dinner in the US.

      And there’s half a dozen of these restaurants in our neighborhood alone. Yet, there’s 30+ horrible restaurants in our neighborhood. Within one block of our apartment (just one precise block) there are 11 restaurants. Only one of which I’d eat at. Another is attached to the famed Guy Savoy, but nope, not worth it. The rest? I cringe daily as I walk past them and see what tourists have been trapped into eating.

      *http://www.cezembrerestaurant.com/

    • Dan

      I did a battery replacement and still get bad data, more and more often. I wonder if something in Garmin HRM straps degrades with time (years).

      Ray seems to get bad data quite frequently with his Tickr (more often than I’d tolerate), so I’m unsure where to go. Maybe simply a new Garmin strap? Or the Epsom 307. Accuracy is paramount; it just doesn’t matter if a watch has a good UI if the data is poor.

    • Kevin

      I used to have this problem with the old (hard) heart rate strap (almost continuously) – whether connected to my old FR 60 or the FR 230. Only thing that seemed to help a bit (though not perfect) was using electrode gel (available at any pharmacy). The new soft strap that came with the 230 solved this problem (provided that it is wet before hand – a little tap water on both sides). Hope this helps.

    • Lisa

      That’s what I’m wondering, too. Maybe they degrade with age.
      I actually stopped wearing it for a week or so, feeling like no data is better than bad data, but got told off by my coach.

    • Lisa

      Kevin, I’m going to try electrode gel, if I can find it here (Russia). It’s my last chance, other than buying a new strap and hoping I don’t have the same problem.

  8. John Aubrey

    I have a few Ikea wireless chargers (2x 1 coil, 1 3 coil, and one of the lamp ones) . I have a Galaxy S8, so YMMV, but they do charge slower then if you plug them in. I believe at best it’s equal to charging via your computer compared to the wall outlet charger that is much quicker. It’s pretty much standard across all wireless chargers except ones designed to output more juice, but not all phones support it. I do like the Samsung wireless charger I have best, but the ikea ones are good too. All wireless chargers are better for putting you phone on it to juice it up a little while you aren’t using your phone. If my battery is low and I know I need a decent charge soon, I plug it in. At the office I let it sip it’s charge throughout the day.

    • Dan

      Charging little, often, and slowly is the best way to maintain li-ion battery capacity with time, important if you keep a phone for years at a time. Wireless charging definitions wins there.

  9. Mark

    How do you like the μ4/3 compared to your Nikon? I keep going back and forth about getting one for hiking and retiring my old non-waterproof P&S.

    IKEA doesn’t sell the x-ray cyclist picture in the US! Or at least I didn’t find it online.

    • I like it for video, but I think it takes crap photos. I specifically bought it 100% as a 4K secondary camera for doing unboxing videos, which I mount to the ceiling most of the time. I used it this day for the live stream because I don’t actually have a always-on power solution for my Nikon DSLR, whereas I picked up the always-on power cable thing relatively cheap for the Panasonic.

      That said, I dream of picking up something like a Leica for both photos and video. Except, my dreams are shattered everytime I look at the price (attempting to justify to The Girl that it’d be cheaper than a RED doesn’t seem to be working thus far).

      I’ve also got a small waterproof Nikon AW1 mirrorless camera that’s older, but it’s horribly slow. And then the original Canon M1 mirrorless, which I really liked – but it’s also super slow.

  10. Remco Verdoold

    Hi Ray, I have the IKEA wireless charger which I use with my S7. I really like it as I do not have the fiddle with the cable every time. However, I always look twice at the charging light before I close my eyes (as it is also my alarm clock), because placing is critical. Would I want to go back to cable charging? NEVER.

  11. Hey Ray,

    Where does your Paris restaurant guide live on your site? I went looking for it after I read your “random things” post, and couldn’t find it. You may want to add an easy-to-find link to it in the Paris Blog section. It might be an eternity before my wife and I make it back to France, but when we do, I want to read your guide first.

    In defense of Paris, people commented that they had terrible food during their visit. This was not my experience. I often daydream about the food I’ve eaten in Paris.

    Thanks,
    Sam

    • You can search Paris Restaurants DC Rainmaker in google and find it (or the top address bar). However, now that I think of it, I don’t really have it specified anywhere else.

      In theory it should just be under ‘Paris Blog’ at the top, but I lack a link after that. I’ll tweak some things there to make it at least halfway logical.

      link to dcrainmaker.com

  12. Paul E

    Are there REALLY… ANY bad restaurants in Paris? It would take a special kind of suck.

    I’m interested in hearing about the Vector 3’s!!!

    Sounds like a nice AND productive weekend!

  13. Scott E

    Ditto.

    The road less traveled deep neighborhood small establishments have the most awesome food. The unassuming charcter is usually the diamond in the rough.

  14. MDW

    I love Zia! Discovered it this past Spring when we were in Paris thanks to my wife’s friends (who are friends with your chef friend). Great food and he sat and talked with us for quite a bit about food and gave us suggestions where to eat in Gent and Brugge.

  15. MarC

    Coming back from the dentist (no eating for the next 3 hours) and looking at the goodies in the last photo I feel the life is totally unfair. Why is that? Do you feel the same?

    The other questlion striking my mind is when is THE review of Mr G coming.

  16. Giles Roadnight

    Just a comment on the mesh network. I did have an Eero but have now switched to Google Wifi which I find loads more convenient. They are about the same network wise (I did some in depth tests of transfer speeds comaring them both) but the Google Wifi app is LOADS better.

  17. Charles

    If you want a great wireless system look at the Eero 2nd Gen. I compared several and replaced my Assus routers and extenders with it and I am very happy.
    Seamless transition from one AP to the other. Single network SSID. I wired each other but they are multi band so you can spread without dividing your speed. As you walk it will handoff your device to the closest AP.

  18. Nigel

    Ray and TG, you need to start offering running, or stroller tours, of Paris and other locations. grin
    More practical question – what brand of hanging storage drawers are you using? I have the standards, uprights, and brackets – but I haven’t seen sliding drawers like you seem to have.
    I second Rob’s comment.

  19. George

    Hey Ray,

    I recently switched my home to a mesh wifi system. I went with the Amplifi system as they are part of Ubitquiti which produces a lot of the commercial systems.

    I do have some of the Ubitquiti systems and have had good luck with them over a period of years.

    The Amplifi system is working great at my home. I was able to cover my home and backyard with one base and one remote. The speed seems consistent everywhere (fiber optic gigabit connection) so my family is very happy with the results.

    Love your site and your reviews.

  20. amp323

    Wish I had an Ikea close to me. The closest one is around 40 miles away, and their shipping costs just don’t make it worthwhile to buy online. For the wireless charger thing. The Wirecutter has a part where they explain how it compares to the competition.

    link to thewirecutter.com

  21. DS

    Try Le Petit Pontoise in your neighborhood for country-style French food. The foie gras (torchon, not pate) is the best thing I’ve ever eaten.