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  • Reply to: Crowd-Sourced Color Names by XKCD   40 weeks 5 hours ago
    Tux

    "Definitely-silly-non-tuxedo-looking-tuxedo" could have been one of the answers submitted in the xkcd color names survey.

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  • Reply to: Heart Rate Monitors, Fitness Trackers, Garmin Vivosmart HR & Fitbit Charge HR   40 weeks 5 hours ago

    Ok, ok, ... You've dropped a few suggestions that I should review the fitness monitors I bought at the end of last summer, and I hadn't taken the hint so far. The thing about it is that after six months with a Garmin Vivosmart HR on one wrist and a Fitbit Charge HR on the other, I'm still making up my mind about what I think about them. People who can wear one of them for a week or two and then write a 3000 word review must be a lot smarter than me.

    The backstory for why I'm wearing two very similar fitness monitors: Both were well recommended, and when I saw the prices I could get them for (under $60 for a refurbished Garmin, under $30 for a decent used Fitbit--less combined than the new retail price of either one alone) it wasn't worth spending more time deciding which one to pick. Besides, I figured I'd likely learn more if I had both of them to compare.

    Bottom line: As the reviewers say, both of them are very usable. Here is one comparison that I didn't write. Here is another one. Here is yet another. I have no big disagreements with any of them. Both work decently well as heart rate monitors although not as well as my (very old now) chest-strap HRM. Both are comfortable and yes the watch-style buckle on the band is definitely the way to go. And I can confirm what the reviewers say about them not doing well at tracking sudden heart rate changes, as in interval workouts, either while increasing during efforts or decreasing during recoveries. One or the other of them also might get confused and go walkabout for a minute or so at any time no matter what I'm doing. Realistically, they only work so well, but most of the time they work well enough.

    The best thing about the Fitbit Charge HR is automatic activity detection. The Garmin needs to be told when an activity starts and ends and what type of activity it is while the Fitbit does a respectable job figuring that out on its own. (It doesn't have a profile for skating though. It's usually recognized as walking and each skating stride is counted as a step, which isn't particularly useful be honest.) Garmin has something called Move IQ that detects activities in tracker data, but as it stands now Move IQ activities always remain as second-rate entities that can't be promoted to the main list of activities and that lack the heart rate and pace charts of logged activities.

    The Fitbit is also a better sleep tracker for me than the Garmin, as it recognizes sleep any time of the day while the Garmin only looks for sleep events that overlap the sleep hours it's been given. For those of us who sometimes take significant naps at odd hours, that's a very important feature. And I'll add that I learned from using these devices that I needed to focus on getting sleep a lot more than I had been doing. It's very easy to go around being sleep-deprived all the time and not know it, which doesn't help much with anything.

    The best things about the Garmin are the average resting heart rate display on the watch itself and the last-4-hours graphic heart rate display. I check these quite often. The websites for both Fitbit and Garmin have day-by-day resting heart rate charts (and they often show surprisingly different values, which I find curious) but that's a backwards-looking indicator. The on-watch Garmin resting heart rate value seems to be the best indicator of my current fitness and state of recovery from moment to moment.

    The most immediately obvious difference between them is the large e-ink display of the Garmin versus the small OLED readout on the Fitbit. Because e-ink doesn't need power to display a static image, the Garmin shows something on its screen all the time while the Fitbit blanks its screen after a few seconds to conserve battery charge. In principle, you can just glance down at the Garmin to check the current reading whenever you want. In practice though, you often need to swipe between data screens to get to the one that shows the information you want. The Fitbit activates its display when it detects the stereotypical twist-of-the-wrist checking-your-watch movement, and data items (time, steps, heart rate, distance, etc) are stepped through by just tapping on the watch. In rainy or hot sweaty weather, swiping the Garmin's capacitive-touch screen with a wet finger can be frustrating and sometimes has no effect while tapping on the Fitbit is always reliable. Also, a wet jacket sleeve rubbing on the Garmin screen occasionally "feels" enough like a finger to trigger spurious touch events, which can cause a variety of kinds of mayhem.

    There are big differences between the phone apps and websites for each brand of device, a subject that's covered well by the many online reviews. I don't have much to say except that it all works well enough for me in its own way and for me none of that business would be a deciding factor.

    Overall, I find them at least as valuable for round-the-clock fitness monitoring as for workout tracking. Neither one lets me take manual time splits, something I care a lot about during workouts, so I'll end up bring along a trusty Timex Ironman too during any serious activities. Both brands offer similar models that also include a GPS receiver, and I don't know how much it would change things if that was part of the package. If I had to choose between them now, I'd probably pick the Fitbit Charge HR, mainly because as a discontinued model the used-market price is crazy low. But I still wear both of them and each one has features that I use and like.

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  • Reply to: Crowd-Sourced Color Names by XKCD   40 weeks 2 days ago

    ...Is the name of the emotional support peacock who was banned from a flight recently. 

    I'm sure your prom date would have been blushing with giddiness. The young can pretty much get away with wearing anything.

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  • Reply to: Crowd-Sourced Color Names by XKCD   40 weeks 3 days ago

    In the late 70s, were a male either brave or stupid enough, and not wanting to wear a definitely-silly-non-tuxedo-looking-tuxedo, one could wear a peach-hued (three-piece, even) Stanley Blacker suit to a high school prom. I ain't namin' names, but even if the suit brought out the color in the young lady's dress, it may have also brought out a rosy color in her face from embarrassment to stand next to this peacock. We'll never really know. :o)

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  • Reply to: Sound Doll/Bran Doll   40 weeks 3 days ago

    Oh yeah, I meant North Carolina licence tags. Oops. There were some Eagles and Rolling Stones albums that were pretty disco, to my chagrin. Though some came out OK. Yes I think ABBA is popular today for their not being stuck in one groove, for attempting and succeeding at lyrics, for their quirky composition of personalities and looks, and of course because some people associate them with the good young carefree days. Dunno. They seemed to have fun and were serious about writing and performing, but not so serious that they thought they were to good to be poked fun at or to poke fun at themselves.

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  • Reply to: 2018 USA Olympic Long Track Speed Skaters and Social Media Links   40 weeks 3 days ago

    Good stuff. Always interesting to hear theories of performance. 

    The paragraph from scienceofrunning.com on David Krummenacker is interesting. He had changed coaches and the focus went from endurance/aerobic to high intensity :

    When he improved by so much, the assumption was that it was entirely the new training, which obviously played a large role. However, it was probably the combination of the larger aerobic base combined with a decrease in mileage and increase in intensity that did the trick. After several years, his aerobic base was gone, and performances declined.

    This fits with my experience. One year, eebee and I actually did scheduled intervals through the summer. We didn't necessarily enjoy it, of course, and we were not so sure we were doing it "right." In fact, eebee would probably say she never felt she could do those really short intervals. But my memory of that year is that we did much better on all the hilly 30 to 87 mile events we did. We used the interval schemes put forth in Barry Publow's Speed on Skates, page 167. This book is old by now (published in 1999, and it'd be great to get an update on the science part of the book), but still has a lot of information and drills and a good discussion of training, heart rate, vo2max, anaerobic threshold, and more. 

    Data from my year where I make these vague claims of how much it helped? No. But I recall we were strong on the hills and I credit that with adding intervals, plus lots of training rides on skates in the company of recreational cyclists. I think intervals also helped reduce my tendency to cramp. I always say the cure for cramping is training. I don't know if it needs to be intervals, aerobic endurance, or both. I lean toward the latter.

    But if anyone wants other people's data, this is far better...the source material for the excellent scienceofrunning.com post.

    https://beaconhillstriders.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Renato-Canova-Development-of-Strengthy-Endurance.pdf

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  • Reply to: 2018 USA Olympic Long Track Speed Skaters and Social Media Links   40 weeks 4 days ago

    Thanks! Btw I spied this article in the right-side column:

    Why Olympic Skaters Move from Wheels to Ice

    Outside, Amanda Loudin, Feb 9, 2018

    Inline speedskaters are particularly well-suited to ice, thanks to the similarities between the two sports. There are some technique contrasts—wheels require more force than blades to generate speed, for instance—but the two disciplines share more commonalities than differences. Inline skaters compete both on the road (in races from 5K to 100K) and indoors (on 100-meter courses). The former translates well to long track, which is the traditional 400-meter oval version, and the latter to short track.

    While there have been lots of articles about inline-to-ice crossover, and this one's mostly focused on this year's breakout, Erin Jackson, some of the facts and details were particularly interesting to me. She's coached by Ryan Shimabukuro, who has a heck of a resume, and his comment about training her for "tolerating a higher lactate buildup" seems to reflect current thinking about performance across many athletic disciplines. (E.g. this page I looked at a few days ago.) Also it has some good quotes from Derek Parra, now the director of sports at the Utah Olympic Oval. (Interview with him at this page.)

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  • Reply to: Sound Doll/Bran Doll   40 weeks 4 days ago

    I think the GA tags right now are in the Rs. I see a lot of RJR plates, which leads to memories of post-training-ride, sweaty spandex clad fancy dining in Reynolda Village's Village Tavern - you know, back when we were fat and old. 

    It's perhaps a bit futile to mention that I prefer all of ABBA's  non-disco songs. I'm not going to change the disco connotation over here, when they were more a pop folk schlager fusion band over there.

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  • Reply to: Sound Doll/Bran Doll   40 weeks 4 days ago

    We can do lots with that I bet.

     

    More typed on my ohone: I really enjoyed Mott the Hoople and Ian Hunter. His book, Diary of a Rock'n'roll Star, was an interesting read, as I recall. I have strong memories of visiting my brother in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. He handed down much great music when he upgraded his stereos and vinyl. Among the Disco bands, ABBA have survived well in my ears, and I've enjoyed seeing their documentaries and performances. 

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  • Reply to: Sound Doll/Bran Doll   40 weeks 4 days ago

    After many days of not feeling like using my computers, I am finally feeling well enough to catch up on roadskater.net on my phone, no less. Yes that's harder, perhaps, but it's working surprisingly well. All I have to contribute is firings that are tenuous at best:

    Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

    Its a mighty long way down rock and roll.

    Beatles broke out of it by stooping touring and forming a fake band, SPLHCB.

    How long has this been going on? 

    Tracks of my tears.

    Ok that's it. No reply necessary unless there's a spark. Thanks for reminding me why y'all are fascinating friends and why the hours roadskating can feel so short.

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