5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

While it may seem a bit quieter on the site in recent weeks – that’s mostly because I’ve been slammed trying to get things all set up in the new space, as well as compiling the huge buyer’s guides (Power Meter Guide, Trainer Guide, Sports Tech Gadget Guide). Oh, and arranging the biggest DCR Open House (in just under two weeks) ever! Seriously, it’s gonna be massive.  In the meantime, here’s the last few days of activity.

1) So much sorting

The last few weeks have mostly been about unboxing, sorting, and cleaning. Generally in that order, but not always. My weekend started at the DCR Cave doing exactly that. I’d take a box of stuffs from downstairs (where things have mostly sat since June), and then move them upstairs. It’s here I’d clean and sort them, and place them in the correct and sorted spot.


All of this is part of the process of moving into the new DCR Cave (Amsterdam Edition) now that construction has largely wrapped up. The challenge with construction (aside from taking 4+ months) is that it created a lot of dust. Combine that with the seemingly never-ending concrete dust of the downstairs warehouse portion, it was a recipe for…well…more dust.

Ultimately I had to get work done this entire time, and re-opening and closing boxes 18 times a day isn’t very practical. I used large tarps over some areas, but inevitably dust got in and around every opened or semi-opened box.  The far table is ‘ingest’ of taking bins and boxes from downstairs, and where we wipe them down and then sort them into the boxes above (which, are now expertly labeled with advanced masking tape and a pen). There’s also twice as many bins as the above photo, all in just a few days.


In the Paris DCR Cave the single biggest limiter (aside from it being a mere 15sq meters) was organization. Sure things might have looked organized in photos or what-not, but in reality finding things was so difficult because I had so much stuff crammed into the same categorized bins.

Now with a gazillion bins (and growing), I can be much more precise about my categorizing. No longer will every charging cable be grouped together, but rather a bit smaller groups now. But anyway, back to cleaning and sorting.

2) Unboxing of a different kind

While I was busy dealing with moving boxes, the last week has had a steady stream of newer boxes come into the DCR Cave, these ones with gadgets in them. Ok, and also furniture and shelving and steel beams, and all sorts of other non-exciting stuff.  But let’s talk gadgets.


Notably, I got some replacement SRM EXAKT pedals to try and resolve a few issues I’ve seen (primarily battery drain, though occasionally unexplainable low-readings).  Then there’s the new Withings Steel HR Sport watch.  Oh, and actually just this morning (Monday) I got a couple of the new COROS APEX Multisport GPS watches.


I’m hoping to get out a first run in the next day or so on the new COROS APEX watches.  Essentially these take the existing COROS Pace GPS watch and kick up the style a bit, as well as add a few more training load/recovery type features.  And of course, the price jumps too. Such is tech life.

3) Trips for bins

With The Girl out of town for a few days, I was cookin’ along with activities to keep the kiddos busy for a solo Saturday. But, I also needed more of those plastic bins. The good news is the kids absolutely love going for rides in the cargo bike (which is good, since that’s basically our equivalent of a minivan). I figured we’d make a trip out of it. With having emptied out the plastic bin stocks of our nearest store, I headed to the next nearest one – across town a ways.


After getting inside we found our bins and I bought about 30 of them – as many as I could carry around the store while also carrying the smallest Peanut too.  Then we found that store had a lineup that wrapped around the inside of it like Christmas lights.  Thankfully Dutch efficiency was strong that morning, and we were out of there in 10 minutes or so.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR1013.JPG 2018-11-17 13.12.38 HDR

Then I squished all the bins and kids into the bike and set off back across town. It was a wee bit tight, but, everyone mostly fit. I still need a bunch more bins though. Will probably head out after I finish typing up this post.


The weekend weather, while a bit chilly, was stunningly beautiful for the ride home. We’ve mostly been keeping the cover on the bike now since it cuts down on the cold wind for the kids.

4) Sinterklaas Arrival

Sunday afternoon it was time to welcome Sinterklaas to Amsterdam. Sinterklaas is basically the Dutch Santa Claus (and many other countries’ tradition as well). Earlier in the morning he arrived by boat to the city, but one of our kiddos decided napping was more important. And any parent knows that waking up kids from a nap is a poor idea. Plus, they only need so much Sinter parade time anyways at this age.

So after meeting up with some other families for lunch we lined the parade route. The initial route in the morning was via canals (some official photos here), the afternoon was via road in a well attended parade. Apparently as part this tradition, costumed men rappel down the sides of buildings.

2018-11-18 13.36.28 2018-11-18 13.36.50

Our two-year-old was visibly concerned about this entire situation. Partially because she was unhappy with strange men descending from the sky above her head a few meters away, and partly because she didn’t like people jumping off of buildings. Either way, she wanted no part of that.

She was also equally suspicious of strangers giving her candy. The same costumed characters (called Piets) also dance down the street ahead of Sinterklaas and give out candy. Lots and lots of candy. But again, strangers giving candy thing. So she wouldn’t accept it from them no matter how hard I tried to tell her it was OK, and how these were Santa’s helpers, she wanted no part of the transaction directly.

2018-11-18 14.29.36-12018-11-18 14.34.48 HDR

However, she was OK with them putting it into the hood of her coat. Which is what they did for kids like her that lacked bags (apparently we didn’t get that memo).

2018-11-18 14.54.44

And then she was OK with me taking the candy from her hood and putting it into her pocket, where then she picked up the candy and ate it.

2018-11-18 14.46.25

The whole transaction was sorta like a modified dead drop….but sweet. Oh, and the youngest Peanut thought everything was great. Though, no candy for her.

5) Sifting sale deals

Finally, the last item on my list (aside from playing with the kids a bunch) was sifting through sale deals for next weekend. I’ll be consolidating these all in a huge Black Friday deals post on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. I’ve done this for more years than I can count, and then refresh/update said post as frequently as every hour for the weekend. It’s kinda crazy.

Of course, I’m also looking for specific deals for some of my own gadgets and tech items. Now of course, in case you’re wondering what type of stuff I have on my BF deals watch list, here’s what I’ve got:


Almost everything is actually for the new DCR Cave. My Synology NAS is out of space and I’m unable to add any more expansion units/disks to it.  I’ve been putting this off since…well, last year sometime. So I’m hoping to get some good deals at least on the hard drives (8TB ones are kinda the sweet spot right now price-wise).

Things like a new iPad are key because my iPad is 2-3 years old and I stupidly bought the 16GB version, so I’m in a pickle where I can’t even keep Zwift and TrainerRoad both installed on it anymore (let alone get the latest iOS updates). Grr… Seriously, the only thing I use this iPad for is testing trainer apps.

We use SONOS at home, but I find it really pricey. So undecided if I’ll jump on that for the studio. We used to have it at the Studio in Paris (but not at home), but then we moved them to home during the move to Amsterdam, and now it’s kinda hard to give those up.

Anyway, I’m sure I had a point here, but I’ve got no idea what it is anymore. Other than sometimes folks find these behind the scenes geeky things fun.

With that – I’ve gotta go and buy more bins before they close up. Thanks for reading, and if you’re travelling in the US this week for Thanksgiving – be safe and have a good week ahead!


Hopefully, you found this post useful. The website is really a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER Supporter. This gets you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bi-monthly behind-the-scenes video series of “Shed Talkin’”.

Support DCRainMaker - Shop on Amazon

Otherwise, perhaps consider using the below link if shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. It could simply be buying toilet paper, or this pizza oven we use and love.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Marc Simkin

    Ray, I came across these on BGR in the last few days:

    link to bgr.com

    link to bgr.com

  2. Ivan

    Hey DCR,

    Can you test Suunto 9 Baro under wood condition with newest firmware (released today)?


    • I’m sure I’ll update the firmware shortly and you’ll probably find it on some upcoming runs against the Vantage V or COROS Apex.

    • k1ndler

      By following you on Strava or where could those Suunto 9 runs be found?

    • I don’t tend to have a lot of logic into which device I upload to Strava. Often-times I’ll usually just upload the newest/most exciting device. But sometimes it’ll be whatever I think is the most accurate track. Or sometimes it’s just whatever watch uploaded to Strava first (since then it usually blocks secondary uploads of the same workout given I’m using 2-4 watches per workout).

      But for any review data released, I’ll include all activities/tracks there for all watches.

  3. Marios

    It’s great that you got both the 46mm and 42mm Apex to test. I really look forward to your first impressions and comparison! Maybe a menu walk-through video?!

    • Yup, definitely a walk-through video. It’s really nice when companies send two units, as it makes the whole unboxing things much easier. One for video, one for photos.

      Also makes it easier to talk semi-functionally about what’s in the box on video when I’ve already done it once.

  4. BartW

    Your spelling of “Sinterklass ” is wrong, should be Sinterklaas (double A, single S)

  5. A new NAS in 2018? Curious why you’re not setting up a cloud solution given the scale you’ll probably need over the next few years?

    • Everything is actually backed up to the cloud, and in my case I can still access the NAS as well online.

      But ultimately, it’s speed of access. Usually I’m pulling audio and video files off, and the interwebs simply isn’t fast enough or efficient enough (at the Cave anyway) for doing large pulls of files on the fly. For example, a typical set of original video files for a YouTube video would run 20-80GB as a baseline. I usually offload to server storage and then from there at some point offload to Mac to edit down the road.

      If I tried to round-trip that to the cloud it’d take forever unfortunately.

    • Andrew

      Run some 10gb SFP+ to your editing station and they’re practically on your local drive.

    • Yup, that’s roughly my plan. I’ve slatted it out for that. Obviously, need to add a 10GB external adapter to my Mac 5K, and then also do the same on the Synology (which supports 10GB add-on cards). And of course, a 10GB hub/switch (gotta do some research there).

      The only thing I’ve gone back and forth on is whether or not it’s worth it. I tend to edit one project at a time. So basically I can just move the source files I need to the local drive (I also have a small RAID Station attached to it too), edit, and then move back whatever I want afterwards. On standard 1GB, that’s not going to take much longer than a coffee.

      Whereas the cost for all the 10GB components realistically would cost in the $500-$800 range all-in (ports on both sides, plus switch).

    • Claus Jacobsen

      Ray for 10G networking, i don’t think it’s possible to get anything cheaper than this – unless you buy refurb/used. link to store.ubnt.com (at least not $/port)

      Depending on the workflow and fileformats, you might be better off with a Thunderbolt3 array, for recent project storage, and then just dump the cold data on the NAS when not in use. – At least if you are going 4K editing, that would be better than 10G networking and working directly off the NAS.

      On a sidenote – isn’t it about time to rename it to something other than the cave? :-) With you both working there, and it sort of being a warehouse/officespace, maybe DCR HQ might be more fitting now? :-)

    • Yup, I’ve done exactly that for recent/near storage. I use the Akitio Thunder3 for that today: link to amzn.to

      For 10G networking, I think I only need 2-3 active devices if my math is right:

      1) My iMac 5K (with 10G external adapter)
      2) The Synology NAS (with 10G built-in)
      3) Maybe my Windows laptop (with 10G external adapter)

      Even my Windows laptop is really optional. So basically, two 10G ports. In doing some digging I actually found a few options in the $200-$300 range that have 2x10GB ports, and then the a pile of other ports at 1GB.

      This NetGear one has 2x10GB for $199: link to amzn.to
      This one has 4x10GB for $279: link to amzn.to
      This one has 4x10GB for $345: link to amzn.to

      Yeah, I don’t know what to name the Cave. We usually just call it the studio or the office. It’s hard to know. Technically it’s under a building though, so still cave-like.

  6. Stefan

    And Sinterklaas is not the Dutch Santa Claus.
    Sinterklaas is the oldest fellow and the looks of Santa Claus were inspired by the looks of Sinterklaas.
    Santa Claus is therefore the American Sinterklaas ?

  7. Stephen Thomas

    > Oh, and actually just this morning (Monday) I got a couple of the new COROS APEX Multisport GPS watches.

    Got mine this morning as well, so they’re shipping to legit paying customers at the same time. Still way too early to have an opinion on the watch, but I will give Coros credit for making their delivery schedule. When I pre-ordered late last month, I sort of figured that the promised “shipping in November” would really mean December or January. (I suppose I’ve been conditioned by Kickstarter, though by Kickstarter standards, a one- or two-month delay would be exceptional.) Not only did they make their ship date, they made it with lots of time to spare. (Mine was actually shipped on 16 November.)

  8. Zoser

    I’ll be really interesting if you can test the Coros Apex compatibility with several accessories as power meters, etc. And how much internal memory (rom storage) they have. Their CEO wrote me about some suggestions i gave them looking into the future. I believe that they have the Sony GPS chip like Suunto 9 and Vantage. He commented me about development plans with partners like Stryd, etc. And “if” they acomplish to get enough big customer base, they have an open mind about release a future sdk for their watches ; ) For that reason I ask you about the storage capacity, although, i imagine that this model still could have a small one and a bigger in future models. Have fun testing it.


  9. Steve E.

    Please update once you select your NAS/Drives. I’m doing a remodel and had to gut my house. With everything unplugged, and my previous router frying just before (now replaced with a Synology), I’m thinking about a new NAS to replace my quickly filling old one too.

    • So currently I’ve got a Synology DS416, which has four bays. I’m maxed out on both drive size and volume size though. And unfortunately the DS416 doesn’t accept the expansion bay shelf.

      My current plan is the newer DS1817. I don’t care whether it’s the + variant or not, as I use it purely as vanilla storage, and don’t use the processor side of things for transcoding or anything. So no need for that. However oddly, the base DS1817 (non-Plus) has 2x10GB Ethernet, whereas the Plus series requires a an expansion card for 10GB. So that might be a reason to go DS1817 for me.

      From there I’ll stash in likely 8TB drives, since the jump to 10GB drives is substantial.

      Both newer units support the expansion shelf, should I need it down the road. And both support the larger volume sizes (my previous unit is capped at ~18TB).

    • Steve E.

      My first experiment with a NAS is a MyBook live duo with 2X4TB drives. With full redundancy, I’m only getting 4TB. It’s primarily used just for backups of several Macs, storage of some old photos, and music for my Sonos.

      Since it’s only swappable with the same size drives, I’m thinking of leaving it for the music and photo backups, and then getting a Synology for my computer backups moving forward.

      For that, I’m thinking the DS218+. The difference in price between it and the DS218play and DS218 isn’t that significant. I’ll be spending more on drives. Like you, especially with only two bays, I’m thinking 8TB as the jump is more significant.

      …and you will probably need the expansion shelf, eventually. More likely sooner than you expected.

    • So the other night I stumbled on the DS218 (hadn’t seen it before). Pretty cool. So then I started running the numbers – would it make more sense to pickup a DS218 and an expansion shelf, or just pickup a larger unit earlier?

      Turns out it’s way more cost efficient to get the larger unit upfront. Of course, situations may vary – but worth doing some quick math.

    • Steve E.

      Right – I think our storage needs vary pretty significantly. I don’t do any video work, so it’s mostly backups for a couple of laptops and a few desktop Macs. My biggest space hit was when I transferred all off my music and old images over. After that, there is only a modest expansion there. It’s mostly just the backups.

      I found the DS218+ recommended on The Wirecutter. After doing comparisons with the other two versions of it, it looks like it can expand with the 5-bay add-on, while the others can’t. By the time I would need that space, the costs may come down even more significantly for the drives (if there’s still compatibility with whatever they’re offering then). That’s where I’m stuck with the MyBook duo – no expansion or drive size increases.

      But like I said – your needs are so much more than mine. By going big up front for you, you may not have to think about the expansion for a while and storage prices may go down enough to spend the same and get a lot more drive to add to your system instead of starting over again.

  10. gingerneil

    Good luck with Black Friday / Cyber Monday! I’ll be keeping an eye out for gopro H7B and forerunner 35 deals.
    It sounds like, due to MAP, these will likely be fairly consistent across sellers (other than instore gift cards – but thats no use to me). CT would therefore be the obvious choice, so I can take advantage of the VIP points too. 2 questions… Will any promos at CT go live Friday morning and then stay pretty static – or can we expect things to be added/removed over the weekend and into monday? Secondly – I will likely be left with about $15 of VIP points. Its not much, but they will just sit there for years to come. Is there any way to transfer these to the EU site, and if not, can I donate them to the charity you send the VIP subs to ? I’m unlikely to be buying from the US again any time soon.

    • There isn’t a way to move the points to the UK, mostly because there’s no UK VIP program (no need for it this side at this point).

      Let me find out about the charity though – good call!

      As for deals, any deals that go-live Friday morning will basically be in two rough stages:

      A) Things that are short-term for just Friday (or a part thereof)
      B) Things that remain through to Cyber Monday-ish.


    • gingerneil

      Great – thanks.

  11. Ryan

    Hi Ray,

    Just thought i’d flag up the Panasonic All6 speakers as a fantastic alternative to the Sonos speakers.
    I’ve just moved house and have set up 4 of these and absolutely love them.
    Via the Panasonic app you can send a stream of internet radio or podcast (and once you send it then plays independently, so you don’t need the phone anymore) and it also has 2 hardware quick access buttons to memorise your 2 favourite stations. There is also direct connectivity from Spotify is you use it.

    The speakers can easily be grouped on the fly in the app, and can also be grouped with other members of the All series (including their TV soundbar – and even have a surround mode if you want to use them as rear satellites). They connect via ethernet, WIFI or even bluetooth, so everything is covered and have an auto wakeup feature when you send a feed from the app which is really handy.

    The All series seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat in the smart home connected audio race, but I can’t recommend them highly enough from a price or quality standpoint.
    When I ordered, there was a deal on with my local big electrical dealer that was more or less buy one get one free, so these ended up a fantastic deal.

    Just something for you to look at before you make your decision, hope it is of some use.

    • Interesting, that’s for sure!

      “The All series seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat”

      I think I know why: It’s darn near impossible to find information on them. I can’t find them on Amazon, and even Google is tough to get the right speakers out. Not at all blaming you of course, but rather Panasonic. These look pretty interesting, but man, they make it tough to research/buy them.

      Still – much appreciated for the tips! As long as it’s WiFi and Spotify connects to it (and I can control from both desktop and phone), I don’t much care.

    • Ryan

      Agree with all your points there Ray, I only found out about them when I was buying a Panasonic TV from our local dealer.
      I think Panasonic need to spend a bit more in their marketing department!

      Wasn’t 100% sure on desktop use as i’ve only used via the app on iOS, but a quick search of amazon reviews shows its DLNA compliant meaning windows media player picks it up – bonus! (if it can do all that, then I’m sure Spotify desktop will not be an issue).

      The model number is SC-ALL6EB-K, which is the black version – theres also a white version if it suits better.

      Hope this helps somewhat – something to throw into the mix if you can get a deal on them. If you need any info, please feel free to give me a shout – would be nice to be able to help out considering all the useful advice you give to all of us! :-)

  12. Jim Flesch

    Where do u find the music for your cycling videos?

  13. Felipe Arzayus


    My trusty Fenix 3 is starting to show signs of wear and tear and the time has come to look for its replacement. I like the 935 a lot and was wondering if you knew whether there is an update to the 935 coming up before I invest on it.

  14. alexei

    are Suunto entering the black friday craze? i want to buy the Suunto 9, but waiting for it…if so, do you know hoy much of a discount will be?

  15. ROB T

    Have you considered switching to chromecast audios for multiroom music? Do the sonos speakers you already own have a line-in port?

  16. GPSIG

    Some hard drive buying tips from guys who have a LOT of hard drives: link to backblaze.com

    An my .02 cents, don’t build with smaller than 10TB. I have 8s and 10s, the extra space from the 10s provides peace of mind that is greater than the extra $$$ you pay for them.

  17. gingerneil

    Hero 7 silver seems be discounted now – about 25% off! Interesting move – a veiled admission from gopro that its a poorly priced, and poorly thought out product?

    • Now now Neil, don’t be adding logic to this. Next thing I know you’ll be telling me that users actually appreciated the front-LCD that they took away on the Silver/White.

    • gingerneil

      I’d love to see their internal sales figures broken down models for the past few years. Your detailed post about the Session was very very eye-opening and shows how ‘good techie ideas’ can cause massive commercial and financial problems for a company.

  18. Nicholas Winiarski

    Hi Ray-two questions:

    1) You said you can’t keep Trainer Road and Zwift installed on your 16gb iPad-are you serious? Reason I’m asking is I plan on picking up the 32gb iPad during Black Friday and I thought both apps were only a few GB, if that. Are you actually noticing that much swelling up in storage with these apps?

    2) Random, but do you have any plans on reviewing the Humon IO Muscle oxygen tracker that keeps popping up on my facebook and IG feeds? I’m assuming it’s a huge gimmick that you might not want to waste your time with, but I figured I’d ask.

    • Hi Nicholas-

      1) It’s actually not these two apps per se, but rather Apple. iOS has swollen quite a bit in the last few years. I’ve got no photos or videos on this iPad, but because of iCloud it does sync my iMessages, which has 3-4GB of content. And while I can remove/archive iMessage, my understanding (with a lot of research), is that doing that on one device will do it on all devices (which I don’t want). Sigh.

      2) I keep thinking about it. Honestly, while there is some interest from folks, overall it’s pretty low compared to the larger backlog of reviews I’ve gotta do. :-/

  19. gingerneil

    Heads up – gopro are now including a sandisk extreme 64Gb card with their web sales (usually 32Gb). I have emailed CT to ask if they will match this, altho their page says 32.

  20. Sam J

    Hi Ray,

    If you don’t find a TV in the deals this weekend, I happen to work for *famous Dutch lighting and TV manufacturer* and will be coming up for the open house, so depending on what you need may be able to help you out with something through the staff store…


    • Nice! I actually found a Philips 39″ one on sale via MediaMarkt that I might pull the trigger on tomorrow, unless something else pops up. Seems a good deal: link to mediamarkt.nl

      For this particular one (going downstairs to replace another TV I moved to the main set area), it doesn’t need to be 4K. And then the main TV I needed upstairs our friends look to be getting rid of one at a steal, so might grab that too! At which point, my TV shopping will conclude. :) For now…

    • Sam J

      Ha, that iw cheaper than I can get the same TV through the staff shop… mediamarkt must have got a good deal on those!

      There is always space for another / bigger / higher quality screen ;)

    • Haha…always bigger and better! Our friends TV is apparently a 62″. Holy balls!

  21. Art T

    I was in Amsterdam last week and seen the SINTERKLAAS ARRIVAL parade on Sunday. It was the last day of the trip, so I spent little time to see the parade. It was quite chilly.

  22. Abryl

    Happy Thanksgiving, Ray!

  23. Dan G

    Hope you’ll do an online training platform guide or guides (perhaps one for training platforms, and another for virtual rides and workouts). I think you did one a year or two ago, and it was my favourite.

  24. Gary

    Hey Ray
    How is the Coros Apex review coming along?
    I see an athlete broke a running world record using the Apex……, it must be reliable.

    • It’s close. The only thing I want to do still is an openwater swim. I’ll be down in openwater swimmable waters (South Africa) in a bit over a week. So the review should be out in about two weeks at the latest.

      Otherwise it’s working mostly well for me, though, I had my first failboat yesterday on my run when the watch mysteriously crashed mid-run (and I lost the entire run as well).

    • Gary

      I use their helmet which has been solid. We can always use another quality player in the GPS/ sports watch arena that can challenge the big G on quality and price point to keep them honest.
      I look forward to reading it when it’s out.