Garmin Fenix 6X, a mixed bag

So Garmin is having a big spring sale, so I decided to treat myself to a Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire. It has some amazing features – too many to list here. I had it in my head that I might be able to use it instead of my Forerunner 920XT, but I might have to hold on to the 920. At first I was thinking it would be a good replacement because the screen is big and clear. But I’ve paddled with it twice, and it has a really annoying bug.

When you’re paddling, every time you paddle under a bridge or too near a concrete wall, the watch would lose GPS satellite signal. Every previous watch I’ve had (Forerunners 301, 320, 910Xt, 920Xt) would show a slow speed for a little bit, then it would show a high speed for a little bit, then would settle down and show the correct speed again. Not this guy – instead it shows a blank screen for a short time, and then it shows some crazy impossible speed. Today at one point it was showing 886,844 km/hr. That’s 30 times as fast as the International Space Station in orbit, by the way. If I really hit that on the canal, I’d probably evaporate all the water from Buffalo to Albany.

The worst thing about these huge spikes is that it makes my speed graph unusable. Two days ago I paddled with the 920XT on my boat and the Fenix on my wrist. This is what my speed graph looks like from the 920XT.

Forerunner 920Xt speed graph

And this is what it looks like from the Fenix.

Fenix speed graph

Useless.

Now I remember from reviews on DC Rainmaker that the Forerunner 945 had some accuracy issues because they’d switched to a Sony GPS chipset to improve battery life. I assume that’s what the difference is here as well. Hopefully there will be a firmware update to fix this.

Interestingly, it appears that Strava has done some sort of smoothing, because my speed graph looks normal on it, with a max speed of 13.7 km/hr instead of 888,000.

Shameful Confession

Several years ago when I was working from home completely, I decided I needed a really good chair. I did a bit of research and bought a chair that was advertising how much they customize it and how ergonomic it was and all that. It cost more than a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, even if you didn’t buy it from a 90s era startup that had gone bust, but I thought if it saved my back it would be worth it.

Ok, first problem was their amazing customization was basically asking you three questions and then picking either a small, medium or large lumbar pad. I was expecting bespoke and I basically got off the rack. And it wasn’t very adjustable after it was delivered. I was lead to believe there would be a call with a consultant on how to set it up or a comprehensive manual, and I got none of that.

Second problem was that they insisted it had to be delivered via an 18 wheeler, like this was a major selling point or something. This chair was no bigger than any other office chair and it could have been delivered by a panel van, but they insisted. And so I get a phone call from a delivery driver who doesn’t know how he’s getting his gigantic rig down our tree covered residential neighborhood streets. I tell him to deliver it with a panel van, he says he can’t and suggests I come out to meet him somewhere and he can give it to me. I say there’s no f-ing way I’m going to do his job for him. So lo and behold a little while later this truck comes down the street, slapping tree branches all the way, and delivers this package that’s no bigger than other things UPS has delivered in the past.

So anybody, I spent way too much on a not very comfortable chair, and I was embarrassed to admit it, so I’ve kept this chair for about 8 years. And if this lockdown continues for much longer, I’m not sure if my back can take it. And I’m not sure I want to order a chair without trying it, and that’s not going to be possible.

Whoop Strap, I hardly knew ye.

I got a Whoop strap because I’m an analytical kind of guy and I want to make sure I’m doing the best training I can. I got it kind of late in the season last year, so I was in race mode for a couple of weeks then I was in “just maintain fitness and hope I don’t get sick this winter and blow it all” mode.

I was very disappointed when I first got it, because in the first week I mowed my grass and discovered it thought my heart rate was higher than the highest I’ve ever seen in any workout, race or stress test. I think it was picking up vibration from the mower and measuring about 100 bpm higher than reality. After using it for paddle workouts and races and comparing to what my Wahoo TIKR measures, it was reading about 20 bpm too high, probably due to the impact of my paddle catch. Whoop suggested I try (i.e. buy) their bicep band, which seems to have solved the problem.

But even with that strap change, I would come off 5 straight days of training and take a rest day, and wake up on race day and it would telling me I was in the red or yellow zone for recovery, which is demotivating. Then I’ve have a really good race in spite of what it said. The next day I’d wake up tired and sore and barely able to walk, and it would say I was 86% recovered and I should do a hard workout. So it’s not exactly providing me with useful information. I was hoping that now that it’s spring and I’m going to start being in “train like hell because the season starts in 2 months” that it would start giving better data.

There are design details of the Whoop strap that I absolutely love and others I completely, 100% hate hate hate. On the love side, I like the way you recharge it without having to take it off by having a recharging battery that sort of clamps on top of the strap for an hour or two and it’s recharged. On the hate hate hate side, the biggest problem is the strap. They only anchor it on one end and it’s supposed to be held in place by these two very shallow vanes that do practically nothing. It was bad enough on the wrist strap, but on the bicep band where your bicep changes diameter every time your move your arm it’s utterly useless. I end up constantly fiddling with it. It seems like hardly a minute goes by without looking down and seeing the green lights because it’s slipped sideways under the band and it’s not pressing the lights into your muscle.

Ironically, the only time it doesn’t slip sideways under the strap is when you’ve got the recharging battery clamped on top because the battery clamps over the strap. I asked a friend with a 3-d printer if he could make something that like just the clamp part of the battery so I could wear that all the time, but it has springy metal to hold it on. I’ve also tried scotch tape and duct tape to hold the loose end of the strap down. Doesn’t work well.

So anyway, I can’t currently find the battery. Whoop wants a ton of money for a replacement ($50 plus shipping), and frankly if the battery doesn’t show up in a day or two I’m going to take the strap off and leave it off, because it’s just not working out for me and I’m not going to throw good money after bad.

Well, that could have gone better

My home linux box has been bugging me to upgrade from Kubuntu 19.04 to 19.10 for a while (Kubuntu version numbers are the last 2 digits of the year followed by the two digit month, so 19.10 is approximately 2 months old). Usually these upgrades go pretty smoothly so I fired it up and went away for lunch.

When I got back, it was complaining about something wrong with the MySQL upgrade. None of my MySQL based websites (this blog, my Drupal sites, and my old Gallery3 site). After rebooting, I couldn’t get MySQL to start up.

I removed and purged all the MySQL packages, and reinstalled it. When I attempted to restore my database from my backups, I discovered three things:

  • I’d done an old development project several years ago that had installed something for Paypal integration that the new version of MySQL didn’t like, and I basically had to edit it out of the database backup to get it to restore.
  • Restoring system tables that mysql_dump had dumped broke everything, because it installed a MySQL 5.7 version of the mysql.users table that had fewer columns than MySQL 8.0 expected. I had to manually edit all the system tables out of the database backup as well.
  • When I manually recreated the users that each of the websites required, it turns out that the default authentication method that MySQL 8 uses is not compatible with what PHP expects. I had to re-create the users specifying the older authentication method.
  • Drupal 7 is not officially compatible with MySQL 8, so I had to find and install a patch. I guess I’d better find the time to upgrade Drupal as well.

Other than that, my main worry is that it deleted a bazillion deb packages that it said it didn’t need any more. I didn’t look at them in detail, but one of them was PostGIS and I had to re-install it so my Navaid database would work again. I guess I’ll just keep an eye out for broken stuff and fix them as they show up.

What’s going on with Yahoo?

Ok, I’m really confused about what’s going on. I’ve been bombarded all night by emails with yahoo verification codes from somebody attempting to log into my yahoo account (which I only have for testing email to my mailing list) from Minnesota.

I looked up my yahoo account on “have i been pwned” and it shows up on breaches of sites I am 100% sure I’ve never used my yahoo account on, like Evony and MySpace, as well as a bunch of hackers.

So I changed my password (which caused me to get another email to my real email address with a verification code, which interestingly was 4 characters instead of the 8 characters that the ones from Minnesota have had). But also interestingly, you only get the verification address after you’ve entered a correct password. Ok, maybe one of those breaches included the correct password. But I also checked my “account activity” and didn’t see any other logins.

So imagine my surprise when I continued to get verification codes. Somebody is still getting to that stage of the login even though I’ve changed my password? How?

I checked the verification emails and they look legit. All the links go to actual yahoo domains. The JavaScript that’s embedded doesn’t look like it redirects any clicks. And I did not click on them, I went directly to yahoo.com.

I checked all my account settings. There are no other email addresses or phone numbers in the account, nor is my email being forwarded somewhere. The only weird thing is that there are absolutely no messages in the Archive or Spam or Inbox. Last time I logged into this account (many months ago), there were literally hundreds of spam messages. Also, there seems to be a very long delay between a test message being sent and it arriving in my yahoo mailbox.

I am completely baffled as to what’s happening. Is my yahoo account completely pwned and being used by somebody else, or the verification emails bogus and I’m concerned over nothing?