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Week in Review–February 2nd, 2020

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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 this past week:

Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend in Singapore
Tuesday: The StagesBike: A Quick Hands-On Update
Wednesday: Polar’s New H9 Heart Rate Strap: Everything you ever wanted to know
Thursday: GoPro Media Mod Accessory In-Depth Review

YouTube Videos This Past Week:

Here’s what hit the tubes over on the You of Tube, definitely don’t forget to subscribe there to get notified of videos the second they hit!

Stuff 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 (and in this case, some of these are from the past few weeks…as my backlog is a bit longer):

1) Your Under Armour weight scale is now a paper weight: Exactly four years after announcing it, Under Armour has made your fitness tech purchases non-functional. No matter how many acquisitions UA made, at the end of the day, they’re an apparel company – not a tech company. As such, their business interests (good people aside) are geared towards that goal. This was the culmination of that.

2) Founder of TrainingPeaks Moves On: There are few businesses in the endurance sports realm that have had as big an impact on the way athletes train as TrainingPeaks. I’ve been a customer/consumer for over a decade and will continue to be in the future. Looking forward to see what Gear has in store next.

3) Outside Magazine Article on Let’s Run: Definitely worth a read.

4) The Super Bowl Will be Broadcast in 4K HDR For the First Time: Well, sorta. Yes, it’s 4K, but it’s actually an upscaled 1080p image to 4K. The HDR bit sounds more real, but the fact that one of the biggest single sporting events of the year in terms of viewership can’t be shot in 4K is mind-boggling. Also, I got off on a diversion – I was curious if the Super Bowl is “the biggest” single game type broadcast of the year, but it’s a surprisingly difficult stat to find. Many sites will show biggest sport event in terms of viewership, but they’ll include all viewers across the entire 2 weeks of the Olympics, or the entire 3 weeks of the Tour de France. Which is silly in this context. I presumed a WorldCup finale would easily take the cake (and it does), and the Olympic Opening Ceremony seems to usually win as well – with about 300-500m people watching it. Obviously there are the 2020 Olympics this year in Tokyo (in 8K no less), but no WorldCup. Anyway…

5) Back a few weeks ago, Fitbit started enabling SpO2 Tracking: OK, so that took a while. Now…well…it’s there.

6) DJI to close China offices due to Coronavirus: This is of course only the tip of the iceberg from tech companies. In some ways tech companies that have manufacturing in China have ‘lucked out’ in that many offices/sites would have been closed anyway during this time period due to the Chinese New Year. However, there’s approximately zero chance the concerns will be resolved in the following few days. My bet here is that we’ll start seeing serious global supply chain ramifications for consumer tech goods towards the end of February. With DJI, it’s even more challenging because their HQ/engineering offices are located in China too. So not only does it put them behind on manufacturing – but perhaps more importantly on engineering/design/development for previously planned product launches.

7) The new shoe regulations that were just announced: Will be interesting to see how this develops over time. I’m still a bit unclear on the arbitrary line in the sand. Ultimately, shoe advancements have been happening for the better part of a century. Seems odd to randomly draw the line in one place versus another.

Sports Tech Device 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 and a few other firmware updates.

GoPro Hero 8 Black Firmware Update: Adds Media Mod support, among a few other tweaks.

GoPro MAX Firmware Update: Adds Smart Remote capability, adds lens exposure control priority, and a few other tweaks/fixes.

Garmin Edge 530/830/1030 BETA Firmware Update: Minor fixes.

Garmin Fenix 5 Series BETA Firmware Update: Just some minor fixes, but last week also added in 12-speed eTAP support.

Garmin Fenix 6 Series Firmware Update: This is a biggie, and includes the Garmin Swim 2 features, plus some new HR features, and a pile of other fixes/changes.

Hammerhead Karoo Firmware Update: Handful of smaller tweaks/features, pile of bug fixes.

Tacx NEO 2T Firmware Update: Fixes a few issues.

Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT/ROAM Firmware Update: Added in Specialized ANGi support as noted in previous post, plus fixes.

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

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24 Comments

  1. Florian

    When it comes to a single, annual sporting event, the Champions League final regularly has a larger viewership than the Superbowl.

  2. ReHMn

    …and there was this event…

  3. David

    From a TrainingPeaks blog link to trainingpeaks.com

    And people wonder why the seemingly trivial things are not being fixed in the TrainingPeaks app. (I added the asterisks)

    “Recently, TrainingPeaks commissioned a research firm to analyze why athletes come to TrainingPeaks. The results were humbling as they show just how much more opportunity we have to serve the needs of the endurance athlete.

    **As a result of this, we have successfully shifted demand away from software releases to coaching services**.

    Simply put, more than 500,000 unique athletes come to TrainingPeaks monthly looking for your services.”

    • fl33tStA

      i have some requests for simple bugs for Android App, but they don’t want to fix em, now 3 days ago they closed them :-\

  4. Dave Lusty

    Can’t help but think there’s going to be a big backlash from consumers soon over devices getting bricked. Sonos has probably started the mass awareness here and a weight scale bricking after 4 years is madness!

  5. GPSIG

    I can’t find what “Open Water Swim Dead Reckoning” is in the Garmin Fenix 6 update (or with any other watch that has it). I checked Ray’s Garmin Swim 2 review and didn’t see anything there. Can anyone share what that feature does?

  6. Neil Jones

    Garmin MARQ also got a similar update to the fenix 6 – I know they’re the same underlying software, but they both have their own firmware update cycles.

  7. Paul

    With the new firmware for Fenix 6 will TP start supporting swim heart rate?

    • Zoltan

      When Garmin introduced the Swim HR, TP had issues with the new FIT files (as the HR data is added to the end of the file when it’s downloaded from the strap). The HR data was interpreted as an activity, which was filled with garbage.
      Their ‘fix’ was to simply discard the HR data. This was back in 2015.
      I wouldn’t hold my breath on the HR support. 🙁

    • Paul

      Hi,

      That part about the added hr data have I heard of before.
      But I thought that hr from swim2 and Fenix 6 was a “normal” data file.

  8. Myria

    The annoying thing is there is little to no reason for most products to absolutely require company hosted processing to function. Well, little reason beyond letting big companies collect and sell your data. The storage/processing needs of a scale are trivial and could be handled locally just fine. The same for GPS watches, honestly, a local program could query Google maps just as easily as their servers and auto-posting your last run data to social media isn’t something your phone, let alone any half decent computer, couldn’t handle.

    Until consumers start demanding there, at the very least, be available local programs as a backup, we’re going to keep ending up with bricked items when there’s honestly no reason nor excuse for it whatsoever.

  9. Mr. T

    Not a word about coolrunning.com shutting down?

  10. Blackie

    Ray I’ve not seen you mention the suunto 3, is it a meh update?

    • Suunto updates are a bit wonkier to try and find, since they’re spread all over the place. I believe the last one was a few weeks back though, and was just a date/time bug fix. link to suunto.com

    • Blackie

      There’s a new suunto 3 sans fitness. link to suunto.com

    • Ahh – that.

      Yeah, at this point I’m putting that in the camp of “just a color/band change”. I’ve seen some talk of an updated Valencell sensor in there, but that’s not confirmed. Either way, there was virtually no interest in that previous review, so given this basically just a new materials/color update, no plans to cover it.

      With rare exception when something else is changing substantially at the same time in software, I don’t tend to cover new color editions of existing modes.

  11. Chris Capoccia

    The news on the UA scale makes you wonder whether any similar actions are in the works for UA’s other non-apparel products like MyFitnessPal or MapMyX platform. Or was there something especially bad about the scale that it was worth dumping

  12. glaukos

    “Seems odd to randomly draw the line in one place versus another.”

    What? It wasn’t random at all. They very deliberately drew the line so as to allow the already widely available and widely used Next%s while excluding the AlphaFlys that only existed in prototypes and were not yet publicly released and hadn’t yet set any official records.

    It’s a compromise that won’t satisfy either side of the debate, but it was the easiest path to choose. Multiple world records were broken over the last year and a half by runners in the VF Next%s, and it would have been an even bigger controversy if they had banned shoes that were used to set the men’s marathon, women’s marathon, and men’s half marathon records whether or not they allowed the records to stand. Not to mention there would be a lot of questions and debates or at the very least an air of illegitimacy about Olympic qualifying times set in the newly banned shoes. They picked the easiest, least controversial route–though it fully pleases almost no one. Not random at all.

    • They drew a line to benefit one company and model, along with a bizarre 4-month ‘availability’ specification, without actually defining what ‘available’ means. For sale, in-stock, what exactly? First consumer? And who defines consumer? A pro athlete, a brand but unpaid ambassador, a media reviewer, someone from a normal retail shop – but only shipped a single unit? Having seen how this type of thing works with the definition of ‘shipping’ within this industry repeatedly, companies will twist this a hundred ways. Still – why 4 months?

      And – to that end, why is the Olympic record trying to be preserved? I’m pretty sure most people care more about the WR in this case, not the OR.

      Perhaps random was the wrong word – but in the greater context of a 100 years of running shoe advances, it seems pretty random, and seems rather reactionary and designed to benefit Nike.

    • frankie

      “designed to benefit Nike”. Who have no links to the people setting the rules LOL. I find Ross Tucker’s output on this topic to be pretty good but you’re no doubt all over that Ray.

      Thanks as ever

    • glaukos

      You clearly misunderstood what I said, but I can’t tell from your response exactly what you thought I said. At the very least it seems you are conflating my statement about Olympic qualifying times with my statements about world records. I said nothing at all about Olympic records.

      It’s easier to get people to accept changes going forward than to get people to accept going back and “trying to change the past.” I think a lot of people think that because of how long the VFs have been out and how widely they have been used and how many WRs they’ve already set that the cat is already out of the bag on that one and that it would be too controversial to try banning them after the fact at this point. I’m not saying I agree with that point of view, I’m just explaining it. It is the path of least resistance to allow everything that’s already out there while drawing a line and saying, “No further,” regarding the next iteration. There’s a reason why the concept of “grandfathering” exists and is so common that we even have a word to describe it.

      The reason for the availability requirement is due to the unfairness of athletes running in prototype shoes that give them a significant performance advantage over all the other athletes who don’t have access to those unreleased prototypes. The most high profile example being the 2016 Olympic men’s marathon where all three of the podium finishers were wearing a prototype of the VF 4%s that no one else even knew existed at the time. This is a clear violation of the stated spirit of the rules which aim to ensure a fair race where some athletes don’t have an advantage over others due to having advanced shoes that others don’t have access to.

      If you actually read the press release, the definition of “available” is not nearly as vague as you are trying to portray. They very clearly state that the shoes must be, “available for purchase by any athlete on the open retail market.” They reiterate, “If a shoe is not openly available to all then it will be deemed a prototype…” The rules clearly state that the shoes have to be available for any athlete to purchase, so I don’t think there is any confusion at all about, “who defines a consumer.”

      The only part that’s potentially strange is the 4-month part of it. Clearly the intent is to prevent a company from releasing their new shoe on the morning of the race giving other competitors no chance to purchase the shoes in time to use them, much less have time to evaluate them. But yes, 4-months does seem a little long, and it could create weird scenarios where amateurs are wearing shoes that the pros can’t use yet (though the brands would almost certainly time their releases carefully to line up with major marathons). But it seems WA wanted to err on the side of having more time to catch any unforeseen dramatic advances in a future shoe before someone goes out and sets a new WR in them.

    • “If you actually read the press release, the definition of “available” is not nearly as vague as you are trying to portray. They very clearly state that the shoes must be, “available for purchase by any athlete on the open retail market.” They reiterate, “If a shoe is not openly available to all then it will be deemed a prototype…” The rules clearly state that the shoes have to be available for any athlete to purchase, so I don’t think there is any confusion at all about, “who defines a consumer.”

      Except, in the industry, that leaves the door wide open.

      Let’s take the Tacx Bike. That bike was “available to buy” in September 2018. People put money down for them at that time, paid the whole bit. But, they didn’t start trickling out into the market until a year later – September 2019. Exact same thing for the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB, a year later until it actually got delivered to real consumer hands. Between those dates, it was available for sponsored athletes to use, media people, etc… The cycling industry is famous for this. UCI has a semi-similiar rule, and it’s basically ignored these days.

      My point is that the wording is empty. The 4-month bit basically converts the ‘availability’ term into an announcement term. The product effectively must be announced, but not shipping, four months prior to an event.

  13. Hi Ray,

    Just spotted the new Wattbike Atomix on their website… any ideas on this interesting looking machine?