Time for a New Social Network: Garmin Connect Upgrades

Over the past few years we’ve been presented with more and more options for tracking our training and racing performance. It’s also become increasingly easy to that and share your progress and/or connect with friends and foes.

Training log/social networks like Endomondo and Strava have thrived by making tracking readily available on smartphones, and at the same time make it pretty simple for owners of other devices – for instance from Garmin – to import their sessions to these services.

That might be about to change.

4 days ago Garmin quietly announced social features on their Garmin Connect training log service.

Garmin – probably the World’s leading manufacturer of devices for endurance sports and outdoor activities – has kept quiet for a long time while smaller and more agile services established impressive followings in record time. A fair chunk of those followings are Garmin users, so it was almost just a question of time before Garmin would launch similar features.

At the moment things are very basic at Garmin Connect, but the launch communication above shows promise of more – without being too ambitious or promising too much. Rather too little, I hope.

Anyway, if you own a Garmin get on it and try it out – I’m here!

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 19

Need to find an online group for networking about Denmark, with Danes or in/about Danish? You’ll find it right here at http://thusgaard.com/tag/danmark/

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups. For frequent readers of this weekly publishing, you may notice a change in format. Groups have been re-grouped to focus on readers’ areas of interest. You should now find it easier to find a group the fits your specific interests.
Now on to the report.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1
  • DABGO – the Danish largest Danish expat network – outgrew Danmark Unlimited by 10 new members and is still #2.
  • It was a good week for Danish online groups. The looser of the week was DABGO North America, which lost only 3 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Belgium for the 2nd week in a row, which gained 4 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark” group on LinkedIn with an impressive 28 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “Danmark” sub-group “Expats in Denmark” which increased by 60%.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

During week 18 we saw the following activity in the Danmark group and subgroups:

  • Discussion on bringing up multilingual children continued on “Expats in Denmark“;
  • A few people got removed from the network for spamming the group and the members – keeping it clean;
  • Busy week on the jobs page at the main Danmark group: 14 new, legitimate posts – good luck in finding your jobs here!

Your ideas, comments and criticism are welcome. You can find me on twitter here http://twitter.com/thusgaard, you can start a discussion in the Danmark group, or you can comment here on the page.

Have an excellent week!

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 18

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 4 new members.
  • The looser of the week was the Facebook group “Denmark”, which lost another 7 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Belgium, which gained 8 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark Unlimited” group on Xing with an impressive 22 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “DABGO” sub-group “West DK” which increased by 250% – granted from an extremely low base.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

As for the “Danmark” group which you’ll find at http://bit.ly/dklink:

  • 11 new jobs in the past week.
  • News: 3000 New Danes were welcomed to Denmark by the members of Parliament.
  • News: The Little Mermaid is now a hot hit in Shanghai.
  • News: Danish restaurant Noma became the best in the World.
  • Travel guide: Aarhus travel guide posted to the Aarhus subgroup.
  • A Bulgarian expat was kind enough to share a few tips for Denmark expats. Now also on the Aarhus and Expats in Denmark subgroups.
  • Finally a single spammer, Angie Botero, was banned from the group.

Have a great week.

Garmin confuses with Forerunner 110

Garmin Forerunner 110 is now available, but is the entry-level runners GPS-watch a good buy?

Some 4 weeks ago Garmin announced a new model in its lineup of heart rate, speed and distance measurement devices – the Garmin Forerunner 110. The 110 is a runners watch with no cycling support whatsoever. Sure, you can use it on the bike, but there are no options for adding cadence.

That pretty much seems to be the story for the Garmin Forerunner 110. It impresses with simplicity: the display holds less information than for instance the 405/405cx which has previously been written about here, there’s less of a setup hazzle and in simple terms you could this a back to basics design.

Comparing the 110 to the Garmin Forerunner 405 is fairly interesting. The 110 has a lot less features than the 405 and as far as I can judge only heart rate based calory usage is the only feature of the 110 holds that is missing on the 405.

Many have so far mentioned that they see the Garmin Forerunner 110 as an entry-level watch, but the price of around €229 for the version with heart rate is HIGH for entry-level! I have found the Garmin Forerunner 405 for just €259 with heart rate monitor. For just €30 price difference you’ll get a whole lot more with the 405, and so the conclusion must be that the Garmin Forerunner 110 will flop despite the nice marketing.

It’s a basic entry-level heart rate monitor with speed and distance and interesting features for the runners, but comes at far too high a price. Leave it and instead read a later review on entry level GPS, heart-rate monitors on this blog.

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 17

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted. See this post for highlights and link to the stats.

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 30 new members.
  • The looser of the week was the Facebook group “Denmark”, which lost 9 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Great Britain, which gained 7 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark Unlimited” group on Xing with an impressive 48 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “Danmark” sub-group “Expats in Denmark” which increased by 16,13%.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx vs Polar RS800cx G3

For the gadget-happy athletes, the comparison of Garmin Forerunner 405CX and Polar RS800CX.

A while back I read a Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx review which was pro- the device. This text was intended as a comment on that review, but grew a bit out of hand for a comment. Here first a few words on the Garmin – just for context. Garmin, the word is yours:

“The Forerunner 405/405CX is the evolution of GPS-enabled training. This sleek sport watch tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, then wirelessly sends the data to your PC for later analysis. The 405CX features heart rate-based calorie computation and comes with a second wrist band option suitable for smaller wrists”.
For a comparison on the Garmin Forerunner 405 and the 405CX I suggest you go here:
https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare.do?cID=141&compareProduct=31859&compareProduct=11039

Now, while all that Garmin marketing and the products themselves certainly do make you think about how you can use one of them in your training, there are a few things that should make you think twice. For instance the battery life of Garmin 405/405CX is not impressive and will require frequent charging. If you go somewhere far away for training or competition, do you really want to have to worry about charging your heart rate monitor too?

If you compare the Garmin 405 to the Polar RS800CX with G3 (GPS) sensor – the premium product from Finnish company Polar you’ll find both pros and cons for both. Let’s start with some of the Polar’s weak points:

  • too many devices: heart rate band, wrist unit, GPS-unit;
  • since recently: the Polar is a very closed platform with no current options of exporting Polar data to other platforms – although I haven’t tested it, the Garmin does offer export to Endomondo and other tools that allow for mapping and sharing of training routes and data through various social networks.

The advantages of Polar vs Garmin are:

  • The disadvantage for the Polar can also be turned against the Garmin: More devices in the Polar solution also ensures that if for instance the GPS runs out of battery during training you will still get heart rate data for the remaining session. Not so with the Garmin where it’s all lights out if the wrist unit dies. Furthermore the Polar’s battery will take you MUCH further than the Garmin battery – probably because the battery doesn’t need to support the same amount of functions.
  • Final comment on the battery: Battery change with the Polar doesn’t happen often, is easy, and relatively cheap.
  • Soft heart rate strap on the Polar. With the Garmin the heart rate strap is hard and a soft is only available for an additional $70.

I’m missing more information on social network integration. The Polar is completely unfit for any type of social network interaction. The Garmin has an own network with a few shortfalls, but more importantly allows exporting training files to services external to Garmin.

Conclusion: For me Polar wins this battle. The shortcomings in the Garmin package are a source of irritation if experienced while training. I have a feeling that I might find myself without battery really often.

Still, one has to often if Polar is fighting the right battles. Presumably the consumer market is where they get most of their money and they might want to watch it more closely and avoid what has happened to the Navigation device manufacturers: Mobile devices with minor additions grabbing market share with free software.

It’s happening in the training device market already: mobile devices from Apple, Nokia, HTC and more now include GPS for positioning and speed data, software for the tracking and uploading, and finally all they need is a 3rd party bluetooth heart rate monitor and off you go. I’m not aware of any heart rate straps that will do the trick, but as soon as they come out, Polar should get worried.

More about that in a future post.

Denmark Groups status and growth, week 16 update

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted. See this post for highlights and link to the stats.

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 3 new members and 0,04%.
  • The looser of the week was one of the Facebook-based Denmark groups.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was…. Denmark!?
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark” and “Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland” groups on LinkedIn with 28 each.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the DABGO group “DABGO Belgium”.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

Free Ovi Maps Navigation on Nokia E72 unlikely to show on E71

Why Nokia will not offer free Ovi Maps navigation for Nokia E71 and other Nokia phones.

A few days ago @_bjorn send over an alert about this blog post, which essentially underlines my thoughts on what Nokia is doing with Ovi Maps.

There’s been speculation among users of legacy phones like the Nokia whether the recent release of Free Navigation for Nokia E72, E55, E52, N97 and mini, X6, 6730, 6710, 5800, and 5230 would also be released for other phones – like the E71.

Now, I don’t KNOW any of this, but here’s why that won’t happen:

Nokia presumably likes when their new phones get good traction. As mentioned in the blog post I link to above, Nokia is getting traction by offering a service on new devices for free, which would otherwise cost quite a bit. In this case Nokia has chosen to offer free navigation to the Nokia devices mentioned above and (currently) not on any other devices.
That will move customers in direction of a move from their current device to a new device. Some would argue that Nokia is playing a risky game as disgruntled users might choose other smartphones like the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or even Windows Mobile devices in the market currently.

So, from Nokia’s point of view: They already sold the phones that currently can’t do free navigation  – not with Ovi Maps, anyway. They made that money already. To now risk that users move from their Nokia E71 to another platform other than Nokia’s own is (almost) as bad as that users keep their current Nokia devices without making any change at all. No change at all equals no extra revenue for Nokia, so it’s better and more profitable for Nokia to risk alienating users through not offering free Ovi Maps for older devices than to put efforts in supporting users of phones that already got sold.

Or anyway, that’s one way to see it. What are your thoughts?

My Favourite Nokia E71 Apps – 27/6 update

Here a quick list of installed worthwhile apps which I need to reinstall upon E7¹reinstall:

– shozu (social networks): http://www.shozu.com
– gravity (twitter): http://mobileways.de/products/gravity/gravity/
– google maps: http://m.google.com
– nokia sportstracker: http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/main/download.do
– nimbuzz (im): http://nimbuzz.com/
– mail for exchange: http://www.businesssoftware.nokia.com/mail_for_exchange_downloads.php
– totalrecall: http://www.killermobile.com/newsite/content/view/40/82/
– sms preview: http://get.smspreview.mobi
– flixwagon: http://www.flixwagon.com/
– qik
– Enterprise One (Seven) theme for E71
– mobbler
– coreplayer
– google translator
– wordmobi + python
– screenshot
– accuweather
– google app: http://m.google.com
– pathe cinemas

In addition:
– update share online

Maybe:
– Youtube app
– Nokia maps

Part 2: Tweeting E71 – Enter the Challenger: Twittix

Gravity rules as king, but as in all stories involving a king you usually also have someone out to get the king’s crown and the kingdom of S60-Twitterers. Here comes Twittix!

Twittix Followers In the series on Best Tweeting Experiences for Nokia E71 we’ve been having a look at Gravity from Mobileways.de so far. Gravity seems by many to be the king of twittering on S60-based mobile devices including the Nokia E71.

As in all stories involving a king you usually also have someone out to get the king’s crown and the kingdom of S60-Twitterers. In our story, the most likely contender at the moment among paid Twitter clients seems to be Twittix from Viking Informatics, sold and marketed by Mojosmobile.com.

Now, Twittix is a native S60 client for Twitter. It costs about €5 and brings you all the things you’d expect from one of the top two applications in the market: timeline, tweeting, replying, direct messages, My Tweets, people you follow, followers, etc. In my last post on this topic I said that Gravity has set the bar, so naturally we will be comparing Twittix to Gravity. In the following I will focus less on what these two great applications have in common and a lot on what makes them different from eachother.

Twittix packs a few features that Gravity doesn’t which changes the user experience a bit. You can forward tweets via sms, which means that you can share interesting tweets or just your own tweets with anyone with a mobile phone – you’re no longer bound by who’s on Twitter. Personally I’m a big fan of breaking down barriers like that so this is a definite plus for Twittix and something Mobileways should seriously consider implementing in Gravity.

With Gravity you can see how many followers and how many following a profile has. Twittix takes it further and lets you view profile and even browse who is followed and who is following. Smart feature which makes Twittix a stronger tool for finding new connections.

Twittix Profile In addition you can pick any profile and introduce that person to anyone currently following you. This too is a plus point for Twittix.

Twittix has other features which Gravity is missing, but the above features are the ones that in my mind makes Twittix more than just a “wannabe Gravity”.

Twittix is missing some features too, though.

One major missing feature is the ability to create and store multiple Twitter searches. That feature makes it possible for you to not just use Twitter as a social engine, but also as a knowledge engine. Twittix is missing literally endless searches and Twitter trends – two features which are much more about what is going on than who it is going on with. Twittix does have one search and more on this front is coming in version 1.01, but at this point it’s just not enough for content focused users.

Essentially this is what it’s going to come down to for many users: What kind of Twitter user am I? Am I a user-focused Twitterer or am I a content focused Twitterer. Many user focused and social twitterers will choose Twittix for its ability to stay in touch with people and connect people to other people – including connecting themselves to all of those people. Content focused users should stick to Gravity for its access to a wealth of information about things that interest you regardless of who it’s coming from. If I were to come up with a tagline for Twittix it would be “The Social Twitter client”.

With both clients it’s a bit of a give and take and both are excellent software products. You have to make up your own mind, but for me the graphics of Gravity, the many searches you can make along with the ability you do have to stay up to date with people still makes Gravity my Twitter tool of choice – even at €5 more than Twittix. The look and feel of Twittix is not polished enough for me – very subjective, I know, but that’s my opinion.

All that said, it looks like Twittix is carving a niche for itself and judging from some of the activity in the blogosphere the kingdom might not be entirely safe for Gravity just yet.

Have a look at the feature by feature comparison on this Google Doc.

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