Gadgets and the IoT: Speedo Misfit Shine

April 21, 2016 Comments Off on Gadgets and the IoT: Speedo Misfit Shine

I thought I’d review of a couple of things I’ve used recently, all sort of activity trackers that I’d hope would improve on shortcomings of apps that track your activity on your phone. That, and the fact that I was jealous of my other half and her Fitbit.
Fitbit didn’t fit the bill for me as they have no device that records my swims. So when Speedo announced something back in August-September last year, I was eager to try it out. And it was relatively cheap as well. It wasn’t even £60.

Speedo Misfit Shine

The Speedo Misfit Shine promises to do general activity tracking but with the added benefit for swimmers that it would count your laps. I was sort of hoping that it would record the times for those laps as well, but after I first put it to use, I immediately realised that it would never get this far.
The pages at Speedo and Misfit promise you all sort of things, including the fact that this has been thoroughly tested with elite athletes.

  • The Swimmer’s Edition has the exclusive feature of tracking your swimming by counting your laps
  • The embedded proprietary lap-counting algorithm has been validated by Speedo in-pool testing with elite athletes and researchers.

From the very first swim, both myself and another team member of my swimming team realised that not all laps will be counted. The difference could actually be quite substantial. We worked out that when you kick in training, the laps often aren’t counted. This probably means that the internal mechanism does not base the laps on the detection of sudden accelerations which happen as you push of the wall, but is based on pauses in the arm movement. So that begs the question, how thoroughly has this been tested with elite athletes? Assuming of course that elite athletes do kick sets, they might not… (sorry for the irony if you don’t deal with that well).
On top of that, within a month, the device would stop recording halfway my training sessionis. I’ve had a number of emails with support regarding that and their conclusion was that I must have had a faulty device.
Alas, the new device started behaving in the same erratic way within 2 months. By that time, the battery was dead, as well as what remained  from the original battery. So that’s two batteries gone in 6 months. The pages from both Speedo and Shine promise a battery life of “up to 6 months”. I know what “up to” means, but you’d think that the device would last beyond the 3 months.

The data from my activities and sleep (sleep tracking is great with this swim tracker, so if sleep is what you want to track, this is your device) were accessible both through a web interface and the app. There were APIs available but I couldn’t find information on that. IFTTT has done an integration with sleep data for example.
So in terms of data availability and accessability, Misfit did well. Just a shame that the data it collected was crap.

Ditched it and on to new things: Moov. Review coming soon.


Now that was cheap!

October 21, 2013 Comments Off on Now that was cheap!

Bought a Canon 70-200 IS L lens back in 2007 (before going to India the first time, which would include a safari) for 1300€. I was lucky not to pay VAT and get a cash back!
Just sold that lens today for nearly 1000€ via eBay.

That means that I paid about 50€ per year for that lens. Hurray for great resell value.

Photo on 21-10-2013 at 12.56

Les Blue Stars

October 9, 2013 Comments Off on Les Blue Stars

Just thought I’d share this quickly. En FR and in EN

‘Tis The Season

December 13, 2012 § 3 Comments

Yesterday morning in my inbox :

Hi Mike, You don’t know me, and you’ll almost certainly never meet me, but I want to thank you. I want to thank you for this: On July 28, 2010, my mother left me a voicemail singing Happy Birthday, on my 26th birthday. In October, 2010, I upgraded my iPhone from a 3GS to a 4. And on April 29, 2011, my mother passed away, at 63, from ovarian cancer. How bad does that suck? Fast forward a year or so — I was tinkering with jailbreaking my old iPhone, and managed to mess it up to the point where I had to restore it from backup. What I did not realize was that this would effectively wipe all of the old voicemails from the phone — seemingly of minor consequence, but I was pretty crushed when I discovered that this, among the last recordings I’ll ever have of my mother’s voice, was possibly gone forever. Today, I finally decided to try (and in all likelihood, fail) to recover the message. Thanks to your blog post and a little bit of handiwork of my own in restoring the laptop I used to sync the 3GS to, I was successful. I found a link to the post on a page where several others described similar stories — that one message from a deceased friend, parent, child, sibling, that they desperately want to retrieve. When you wrote that post, perhaps you were simply exposing one of the iPhone’s little secrets, geeking out on demonstrating what can be done when digging into the Core of the Apple (as a lifelong Apple user who works in software, I get it). You may not have realized that this is, apparently, a common reason that people want to recover deleted or lost voicemails. So Mike… Thank you. I literally cried when I heard the message. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that I can listen to it every year as a reminder of my mother. I can send it to my brother and my dad on their birthdays, too. I hope this doesn’t come off too sappy and ridiculous, but I owe you a huge debt — and so do at least a handful of others who have recovered their loved ones’ messages as well. All the best, CB

My intentions were indeed geeky, and i hoped I’d help someone… but this wasn’t what I’d anticipated.

Google Wallet

October 24, 2012 § 1 Comment


a couple of things have become clear now since last post.

  1. Indeed, you have to buy stuff whilst you’re in your own country. It says so in some small print. A bit lame if you compare to Apple and Microsoft, and I hope that Google can get their stuff sorted here
  2. American Express is only valid in the US of A for Google Wallet. Why on earth Google didn’t warn me when I entered those details is bizarre to say the least! Only option then is to pay with my debit card… Not a drama, but it’s the initial confusion that caused the disappointment.

So there we go, I understand the Google world a little bit better now. At least Android doesn’t stop working as soon as you leave the country!

Google Play doesn’t get “online” buying.

October 15, 2012 Comments Off on Google Play doesn’t get “online” buying.

Now don’t expect a great review comparing all the details of the services, but… I’ve started noticing some oddities on Google Play that wouldn’t have occurred on iTunes.
First of all, to open an account, you need a wallet. In my wallet is my credit card and a bunch of vouchers that came with my Nexus7. It’s a UK credit card, with a verified UK address, and obviously I bought the Nexus here around the corner! Last week, during my holiday in Turkey, I couldn’t buy (I could update!) any apps as they were not available in the country I was in. Same thing for a book I wanted to buy. Despite my UK credit card, me physically being away from home was enough reason for Google to deny me the privilege of buying from their store.
Now that wouldn’t have happened with Apple. Whilst in Belgium for all those days when Karen was in hospital in Belgium, Apple never denied me buying something from their store. Unlike Apple, Google hasn’t taken into account that you could be travelling.

Now I’m back in the UK and thought I’d buy the book I wanted! So there we go… Google had given me a reasonable amount of credit on the Google Play store, so that I could buy a bunch of stuff. Today is the first day that I’d get over my intitial allowance, so my credit card should be used! But guess what, it’s part of my wallet and cannot be used. No reason given.
It’s the same card as the one I use with Apple, so maybe I should go back buying content with Apple. Seem reasonable enough, not?

And where on earth is the Google helpdesk?

Oh yeah… it’s not only Google Play that thinks you cannot travel, although situation isn’t exactly the same here…

Apple Time Machine Scheduler

August 22, 2012 Comments Off on Apple Time Machine Scheduler

Time Machine Scheduler for Mac, there are a bunch of apps out there for that claim to take care of that. Nonetheless, there’s none out there that either did the job or either had the interface I wanted. After giving it a bit more thought, all I wanted was to switch Apple’s backup mechanism on and off at certain moments of the day.
So if the job is simple, keep the solution simple: MacOS X is a Unix OS so crontab to the rescue!
In a terminal window:
sudo crontab -e

This should get you into vi where you type i (for insert) and then copy:

0 0,10 * * * defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutoBackup -bool true
0 7,17 * * * defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AutoBackup -bool false

Then type: <esc> : x <return>

As a reminder, the syntax for crontab:

Minute Hour Day of Month Month Day of Week Command

Above code should enable the backup at midnight and at 10am (when I’m either sleeping or in the office), and disable it at 7am and 5pm when I often am home.