5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Phew – a whirlwind of a weekend – here’s what we were up to as our visitors wrapped up their stays and the holidays got into full swing!

1) DCR Live Stream With Lama and DesFit

2018-12-07 18.24.24

Friday evening we kicked the weekend off with one last collaboration between GPLama and DesFit, as they wrapped up their stays here in Amsterdam (which started with the open house last weekend).  Both left on Saturday for the long set of flights home, Des to ‘Merica, and Lama+Von to Australia.

But before that, here’s our YouTube livestream we did. We consistently had about 300 concurrent folks watching at any one point in time, which is definitely a high for any of us (all in about 1,500 people joined us live, and then thousands since).  Note that the audio is a bit rough for the first 8 minutes, and then it’s totally passable after that. Our bad!

All of us have pretty good audio setups for ourselves solo, or even the three of us together for recorded sessions.  But we lacked similar stream-able audio gear for three of us to have lav mics on.  And I haven’t yet purchased enough soundproofing to remove all the echo from the new DCR Cave. Don’t worry – by the time they come back, I’ll have this all figured out.

Oh – and in case you haven’t seen it – you definitely need to watch DesFit’s latest video below. It’s flippin’ hilarious!

Hope to see this crew back in Amsterdam soon!

2) Vintage Trolley Holiday Ride

2018-12-09 12.21.22 HDR

Sunday lunchtime The Girl had arranged for the kiddos (and us) to go on a trolley ride with a bunch of other kids and parents. These vintage trolleys are often seen on the weekend, primarily as a tourist thing, but also can be booked for events and such.  In fact, the shed for them isn’t very far from the DCR Studio and they go right by it on a now unused spur track of sorts.

2018-12-09 12.21.11 2018-12-09 12.20.55 HDR

The loop with the kids wasn’t too long – mostly a giant circle around Vondelpark (on the railroad tracks of course). They had some slightly older school kids singing carols as well. Thankfully the trains weren’t too packed either, so it was a more enjoyable ride than a totally full train.

Sometimes on the weekend I’ll take The Peanut via bike to the weekend track they often use for rides. There’s a bike path right next to it, and she loves keeping pace with the trolleys by bike (which is fairly easy to do, as they don’t go super fast).  She waves and they ding the bell, all good fun for a couple kilometers until we turn around and follow the next one. Rinse and repeat.

3) A few loops running

After the train adventures, I headed back out for my own locomotion loops around Vondelpark. This time by foot. Well, two feet.

2018-12-09 14.28.12-1

Of course, it rained about 60 seconds after stepping out the front door, but it wasn’t a complete downpour – so it wasn’t horrible.  I mostly just kept the pace steady Z2 for the entire run, save doing 1/10th of a mile sprints each time I triggered a new mile.  I did these mostly to dork with the optical HR sensors of the Apple Watch Series 4 and Polar Vantage V. Nothing like a good sprint to see how things handle.

2018-12-09 14.58.39

I’m looking to finally wrap up my Vantage V in-depth review by the end of the week – so stay tuned for that!  Oh, and here’s my run on Strava. And in case you’re wondering why I’m using a Fenix 5s, the reason is simple: I stole The Girl’s. I had left mine back down at the DCR Cave for the weekend, and needed one more device to collect heart rate strap data…so hers got commissioned.

4) Movin’ the data!


(Geekery ahead, you’ve been warned!)

Now that the DCR Open House is behind us, and the DCR Cave is mostly functional – I’ve moved on to knocking out less critical items. One of them being getting all my data consolidated.  I mentioned in past weeks that I was looking at Black Friday sales for certain things, one of them was a deal on the Synology NAS that I wanted (DS1817, non-plus variant as it has 2x10GB whereas the Plus has 1GB ports only but more processor stuffs that I don’t need).

That’s because at present I’ve got:

1) Smaller Synology DS416 NAS with ~16TB of data on it
2) A Lacie ruggedized 4TB External USB drive with ~4TB of data on it (full)
3) Another Lacie ruggedized 4TB External USB drive with ~3TB of data on it
4) My laptop with about 1TB of data I need to put somewhere
5) An Akitio Thunder3 RAID Station with about 5TB of data on it

So roughly, about 28TB of data to get consolidated.  There is a bit of duplication between the Lacie drives and the smaller RAID station as I had done some backups of the most critical stuff to it from the orange drives.

Thus my guess is that I’ve got about 25TB of unique data locally, then probably another 1-2TB of random data floating around on SD cards and other computers that needs to be cleaned up/sorted.  Almost all of this is currently backed up to various cloud providers though – which is actually good.  And in fact, even my 1TB or so of Dropbox storage is reverse backed up onto the Synology NAS. Woot!

In any case – I started that consolidation process this weekend.  The older Synology NAS only supports 1GB Ethernet, so that’s my primary limiter.  I suppose I could use a hard drive in between and do it sneakernet style, but that’s just messier. I’d rather just leave things overnight and let them copy via network than play FedEx man with hard drives back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.

As for those Black Friday deals, I didn’t find one directly on the NAS, but I did find some really good deals on the Seagate 8TB hard drives I wanted (making them by far the most cost-efficient size for now).  Though, while writing this I realized I’m going to need one more – so I just ordered another at a pretty good price.  Always funny how much the different Amazon Europe sites (FR/IT/DE/UK/ES) differ in prices for the same item. All in that’ll give me for now about 36TB or so of storage, with the ability to add another 16TB or so, giving me about ~52TB or so of usable space in a simple RAID5 config (screaming speed isn’t an issue for me on this, thus the RAID5 choice).  After that, I can always add another Synology expansion shelf if needed (something I couldn’t do with my previous unit)

Ok, geekery done.

5) Holiday Art Canal Ride


Finally, on Sunday evening we met up with another group of parents+kids for more transportation touring. This time by canal boat. The city currently has a canal-focused art exhibit going on with ~20 art installations on/above the canals throughout the city. It’s strung together such that it’s best seen by boat (it’d actually be relatively difficult to do it efficiently any other way).

Here’s two of the installations (the hanging lights are actually washer/dryer tumbler parts):

DSC_3164 BoatArt1

Of course, we went by bike there, as always. The kids love it:


On the way back it started really pouring out just as we got to the Rijksmuseum, so we temporarily took shelter (like many others) on the bike path that goes through it. It was our route home anyway.


Thankfully the hard rain didn’t last too long and we were back to pedaling on home to wrap up the weekend.

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


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  1. Francesco

    Ray, I seem to remember that you said you would not review bikes, but is there any chance you’ll make an exception for the Urban Arrow? I’m seriously considering getting one, although my kids are slightly older (4 and 7).

    • MiguelEstrada

      To add to this , Ray do they rent this bike ? Spending 5 days in Amsterdam next week with a 4 and 6 year old girls and this may be a great option. Thanks so much!

    • Probably unlikely I’ll do any sort of review. Ours is a loaner for the moment – but I can say I’d without question buy one (and probably soon will).

      My 30-second review is that I much appreciate a similiar wheel-layout to a ‘normal’ bike (two wheels, not three). It takes about 100-meters of riding, including one 90* turn, to get used to. Though, the more weight you add does take a bit more getting used to over time. Sorta like unlocking a driver certification. But Shane, Von, and Des all rode/’drove’ it this past week without issue – best I know of, none of them crashed. And most times, they were riding it with extra weight in the box (another adult or a pile of gear).

      I can’t really think of much in the way of downsides. I suppose the fact that the accessory are crazy expensive is less than ideal (since living here you basically need the rain top thingy quite a bit). Stupidly, I had left it at the studio a few days prior and forgot to grab it for the weekend. Thus, we got wet.

      There are some quirks with how the Bosche e-assist works when you top-out the speed (because I’m applying more power from my legs). This isn’t really an Urban Arrow item per se, though, perhaps other e-assist systems make that cleaner. Similarly, I noticed over time the cut-out speed (which should be 25KPH) seems to drift slightly. At the moment, it’s drifting in our favor…so…winning?

      I don’t know of any bike shops that rent these specifically (though perhaps some do). I do know some shops rent less expensive bikes. We rented one back in April here, and it was a giant-shoe. No e-assist, but still loads of fun! link to dcrainmaker.com

      I know they rent non-shoe options too. But either way, having a cargo bike for kid movement is the best thing ever. Plus, we’ll be using our tonight to get our Christmas tree (and in theory, the kids will fit too…we’ll see).

    • andre

      quick google showed that there is 1 bikeshop that rents out Urban Arrows:
      link to bicicare.nl

      I agree with Ray that 2 wheels is definitely better than 3. More comfortable, better ride, more stable, more agile (despite being longer), safer. With a three wheeler you have to “push” the steering bar to the outside of the corner, making your bodyweight lean outwards. Which is unnatural and makes the thing feel like it is going to tip over. Exception is the butchers & bicycles from Kopenhagen which leans to the inside.

    • That’s not a bad rental rate at all. I think my shoe bike was like 22EUR/day, so 30/day for full e-assist is solid.

      On insurance, I probably would opt for the 5EUR/day insurance. Urban Arrows are among the highest value targets in the city for theft. Or so all the bike shops say.

  2. Jonathan Burchmore

    With drives that big I’d use RAID6 or SHR with dual redundancy out of a fear of a second drive failing during a volume rebuild.

    • Yeah, redundancy isn’t a huge issue for me beyond a single drive failure, since everything is sync’d to the cloud (and actually once I consolidate this, I’ll do a geo-redundant sync between the old and new for certain family photos/etc…).

    • Ian S

      Ray, any pointers on NAS backup? I’m eyeing up AWS Glacier at the moment but the potential recovery costs are making me pause.

      My plan B option is to stash another NAS at parents/friends house, which would be a faster restore option if ever needed but I like the idea of a commercial cloud option who’s going to have multiple layers of fault tolerance.

    • Struan Lownie

      It’s an interesting debate/dilemma as long as all you ever need is reassurance your data is safe Glacier is the clear winner.
      Then when you actually find yourself in the s■¥t needing to restore 25TB of data, you might well question that decision.

    • Ian S

      Yep, on one hand offsite is the ‘last resort, it’s all gone fubar…’ plan. So restore speed shouldn’t matter, it should all be about resilience and ease of backup. On the other hand, not much point having it if getting at it is brutal…

      The idea of plugging a NAS into my hardwired network has a lot more appeal than pulling TB’s down ADSL.

    • Amazon makes it pretty easy to be honest for large scale jobs. They’ve got a wide array of ‘snow’ themed devices. For example the Snowball Edge would work pretty well in my case, since that goes from 50TB up to 100TB: link to aws.amazon.com

      I can’t find (within the 6 minutes I’ve spent looking at it) documentation for whether or not I can go from Glacier to Snowball, or if I’d have to route it somewhere else first (S3). The price for the Snowball is actually only $300, which is astoundingly reasonable (it’s a short-term loaner). Again, I haven’t done much research here, but, knowing typical DR recovery costs at enterprise grade, that’s increda-cheap.

    • Fun tidbit – I used to know these details off the top of my head, but since it’s been a bit over two years since I left my day job, I’m no longer required to ramble about this very specific topic for 8 hours at a time.

    • Ian S

      Secretly you miss the day job, who would rather play with fun sports tech every day as opposed to talking DC’s….:-)

      Thanks for the pointer. Off to research Glacier and Snowballs a bit more thoroughly

    • Jacques

      I’m not Ray, clearly but I use Synology’s C2 service for critical data backups. Other less critical stuff (mkv movies for Plex) just get backed up to a normal external HDD. Admittedly I only backup ~4TB offsite, anything more might start getting quite cost prohibitive.

  3. Paul

    Judging by the difference in distance between 3 watches on one of the pictures (or rather how much off Vantage is from the other 2), Vantage V review might be pretty painful for Polar :)

    • When the GPS starts on time distance is one of the things that isn’t a problem on the Vantage. It doesn’t always start on time though, due to a bug. It also often does random things for swimming link to gpsrumors.com depending on what your previous activity was.
      There is an update due in December which might fix some of the many bugs present right now. Since Polar have refused to acknowledge them, though, I’m not confident. Support have only a couple of suggestions; reboot or reset. They aren’t even interested in collecting information on what went wrong so how they intend to fix things I’ve no idea. Unless they were already aware of the massive issues when they shipped…

    • sal

      I mostly run with a Forerunner 935 on my left arm tracking my run and an Apple Watch 4 on my right arm for music/podcasts.
      (yes I know.. Fenix Plus, 645 or Vivoactive.. but I really like my 935).

      Sometimes I activate the Strava-, Runtastic- or the native Apple-App to compare the run-results to my Garmin’s.
      And it’s always the same: it doesn’t matter how long or far I run; Garmin always shows about 5% distance less (or the Apple watch 5% more).
      I always presumed that Garmin has the better GPS and it tracks more precisely. Well it’s not an assumption, when running on a 400m racing track Garmin is always very precise while Apple shows me 400m after a little more than 3/4 round.

      Now I see your pic of the 3 whatches and I start doubting. Polar (6.21 mi) and Apple (6.3 mi) are very near while Garmin (5.96 mi) differs a lot.. well the usual 5%.
      And the irony is that the usual web-/forum-justification for Apples inaccuracy is that it gets GPS-signal too late, when you’re already running. That would mean less distance and not 5% more…

    • Note above that the Polar was at 5.96, not the Garmin.

    • sal

      oops.. my fault!
      so my world is ok again!! haha :-)

    • Paul

      Dave, I have owned and tested Vantage V for 2 weeks along side my 935, have done a bunch of GPS accuracy tests Garmin vs Polar and GPS is an issue on Vantage even if it starts counting distance from a very beginning of a run. The problem is Vantage V cuts the corners a lot, the more turns on the course the more off it is. When the course was simple (not a lot of turns, from point A to B and back)) it was 100-200m off vs garmin, if it was more “curvy” up to 1km off on a 10k course.

      Then there was really awful battery life (5 days vs 14 days on 935 with the same usage, plus smart notification on my garmin) and long story short, I have sent it back and stayed with my 935 for now.

    • For those curious, here’s that run data (finally had a chance to steal The Girl’s watch data): link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

      It shows the Vantage V vs Fenix 5s (TICKR HR) vs Apple Watch Series 4.

    • Very interesting. For once it’s me saying I’m not seeing issues like that. My GPS track for the Vantage mostly picks up the correct side of the road while yours is pretty poor to say the least. I hate to say it but maybe you have a defective unit? It’s also possible you’ve done more running outdoors than me, but on the ones I’ve done the tracks have been good (if you ignore the total failures).

    • Yeah, I’ve got a couple of devices. We’ll see how things go with the latest firmware update.

    • Weird. As I’ve said though, accuracy is of little concern if it sometimes doesn’t work at all or starts the wrong sport mode if you don’t reboot in the right sequence.
      On the positive side, since buying a Suunto and Polar I’m really feeling some love for Garmin for a change. They aren’t perfect but I do trust them nowadays and they have most features sorted. Garmin really ought to look at some of the competition features though and copy some of the nice bits!

    • Rmv

      NO full review of the Polar Vantage V yet?

  4. StephenA

    Was that the shops by the Foodhallen in Des’s video?

  5. Steve

    What’s the thinking behind the 10Gbe? Future expandability? What speed internet connection do you have?

    Just saw this week that Mikrotik make a 10 Gbe with 4 SFP+ and 1 RJ45 switch for about $100! Bargin! but you’ll need PC on the other end not a MacBook on WiFi ;)

    • Mostly just offloading large video files, with the potential to also edit off of the server (though admittedly I’d do that less).

      I get about 300-400mbps downstream at the studio, though upstream is a bit slower (40-50mbps, mostly because I’ve got 4xNest cams streaming in there, so actual speed is likely higher).

      I did see that Mikrotik switch, though, I also saw a slew of folks in the comments section of that YT video saying that there was some bug where if you used a 1gb device on one of the ports, the throughput was disastrously slow well below 1gb speeds (somewhat common if I were copying from my laptop).

  6. Matt Leitch

    I’ll say it becuase no-one else has:

    That shot (presumably) taken with the Wiral Lite Cabel Cam 24 seconds into the “Locked in..” video is just awesome

    • Definitely go give the video a like if you haven’t! I know Des would appreciate it!

    • Domen

      I also really like the Locked in video and although I spend too much time on YouTube I couldn’t resist to add one more subscription. Especially because I had the honor to break the 30k subscribers milestone.
      So congrats to Des and looking forward to his future content and more collaborations (with GPLama as well).

  7. Tom

    I’ve heard/read sketchy things about synology. Be interesting to see how they hold up for you over time.

    • I’ve had my first one now 2-3 years I think? No issues to date.

      There are some setup-type things that are annoying. For example getting those disks initialized took like 6 days all-in. No kidding.

    • 5 years here with zero issues using it as a NAS, remote file sync, mail server with webmail and web server occasionally. Included in that was usage from iPad, Mac and PCs. Mine is quiet (sits in lounge) and doesn’t seem to use too much power. Upgrades are generally seamless too which is reassuring. I think I even used it as a SAN briefly for testing with VMware/HyperV/Xen :)