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Monday, January 19, 2015

How to use your iPhone's Fitness Apps and a wristband HR-Monitor in parallel

The iPhone has some awesome sports monitoring capabilities, such as the GPS (>3Gs), a motion sensor(>5s) and an accelerometer(>5s), wich can be combined with several apps. So one can use the iPhone as a fitness dashboard for all kinds of sports.

All this, from a traninig perspective only makes sense if it's combined  with a heart-rate sensor, usually worn around the chest, that gives you feedback on your actual heart rate and -combined with the distance and/or time- about the work your body has provided during a workout, or a series of workouts.

iPhones are equipped with Bluetooth interfaces. Such an interface can be used to get the data provided by a heart-rate sensor into an app.
But if you have the HR displayed on the iPhone display only, you always have to carry the iPhone in your hands, in order to watch it.
That does not make sense, if running or cycling in the rain, or rowing on the water, since your iPhone may drop, crash or get wet, besides the handling problem.

So mirroring the actual HR on a wristband device would make sense.

Well known heart-rate sensors that are available as dual band models are among others the POLAR H7 and the Wahoo Tickr.
These HR sensors have a great feature: They transmit the heart rate on two different bands in parallel. The polar H7 sends Bluetooth and Polar-compatible data streams, The Wahoo Tickr sends Bluetooth and ANT+ in parallel. ANT+ is used for the HR transmission in GARMIN and CONCEPT2 devices for example. Both sensors cost about 50-60€

Consequently you can display and log your performance data on you iPhone and on one of the compatible devices at the same time.

This makes it much easier to remember your training results.

This all may be boring after the Apple Watch came out in 2015, but "Who needs an Apple Watch?" said the geek who owns an iPhone, an iPad, two iPods, a MacBookPro and other gadgets.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Upgrading my MacBook Pro 15" (Early 2011) to a SSD

With the upgrade to Yosemite, my MacBook Pro became a bit lame, so I checked all of the opportunities that could speed up my Mac again.

After going thru all of the settings, reducing transparency, refresh rates of the sidebar etc., I was still not satisfied with the speed. The only way to bring back the old days again would be to migrate to an SSD and get rid of the old HDD.

Some research later, I decided to buy the Transcend JetDrive 420 1) package that comes with all accessories like screwdrivers, enclosure for the old drives second life etc.

Although it's a slick way to migrate the existing data to the SSD, using Apple's disk utility program, I decided to go via a SuperDuper! clone, since I already own the software since a couple of years.

I needed to mount the SSD into the enclosure, connect it to my Mac, then format the SSD to one partition in MacOS(journaled) and GUID settings and start the data transfer with SuperDuper! 4).

SuperDuper! is pretty simple to use and all you have to do is to make a 100% clone of the HDD to the SSD. The only thing you have to consider is that the Yosemite recovery partition is not copied by this method. Consequently this has to be done at a later stage.

Once the clone was ready(with my 300GB it took some 4h), I renamed the SSD to the same name the original drive had, shut down the mac, built SSD in the MacBook  2) and that was it.

After starting the remarkably faster Mac, which worked seamlessly, I had to switch on Trim Support for the SSD. I chose a software called TrimEnabler 3) which is free in the light version and two restarts later I was in business again.