2016 year review and double counted activities

It’s time again to look at the past year summary. How did I do?

2016 was a fine year, I ran 1387 km, it is 100km behind 2015. But one aspect bothered me, looking at the distance, there is a clear increase on the graph in December 2015, which put me behind in 2016. It worried me a bit. I couldn’t remember an especially good December last year. Did I have another bug in ConnectStats?

I went to check on Garmin connect and it reported the same distance as connectstats: 1478km for 2015…

Hum. Next step was to go and look at the activities in December last year. The search feature in ConnectStats made it easy, just enter december 2015  in the search box of the activity list. Sure enough, I found some duplicate activities. This started to be very worrying. ConnectStats imported the same activity twice? New bug? After some more investigation, it turned out the problem was in Garmin itself… Quite a few activities in 2015 appear twice on the website as well…

They have a different activity identification number, but they are clearly the same activity except for the altitude gain as you can see on the snapshot above.

Next steps was to add a new feature to ConnectStats to double check for such duplicate activities and ignore them… Well, my stats are now lower only 1310km but correct. And 2016 is ahead of 2015 by 50km! Yeah!

I finally decided to check what Strava reported. My account is linked to import activities automatically. I was curious: would strava have the total including the duplicate as well? It actually didn’t… The total is 5km off from my new corrected total, but I suspect it is simply due to the slightly different way Strava computes the total distance from the gps file.

The fix to search and eliminate duplicate will be included in a new release early next year.

Exciting Bug Reports

You may wonder how bug reports can be exciting. Most of the reports I get are about people having trouble to login or set up the app. Usually either because people Bugsuse the wrong device (vivofit or vivosmart), or have special characters in the password. I actually just fixed the latter, which is great news.

So once in a while I get a bug report from someone that spotted some inconsistency in the stats or numbers reported in the app. This is exciting because it is usually somewhat interesting to track down and also because it helps get the app better and better. It even sometimes happens that people spot inconsistency with other apps or report, and when the other apps was wrong it’s quite satisfying 🙂

Inconsistency between Time in Zone Graphs and Laps

An often overlooked feature of the app is the ability to compute statistics over arbitrary laps. You can of course record laps while you do an activity. But what if later you want to see how you did by kilometres or miles? You may also want to get your stats for all the times you were in a given heart rate zone. Or your half distance split, etc. The app lets you do that, by tapping on the lap header and selecting the type of lap you want.

Someone just noticed that the time in zone was inconsistent between the computed lap and the time in zone graph. As you can see in the graph for instance the 149 to 158 zone is reported with less than 10:00Simulator_Screen_Shot_15_Apr_2016__20_31_00

While the graph is clearly more than 10:00

Simulator_Screen_Shot_15_Apr_2016__20_28_59

Bug feels always silly once you found them. Here I was not accounting properly for each point of the activity where the value changes zone. The laps calculation is somewhat more involved than the time in zone graphs, because it requires keeping track of bunch of stats, like distance, speed or pace, average heart rate, etc. Note that the activity don’t report when the timer was stopped on the watch, so there is also some logic to account for the point where the timer appears to have stopped (long delay between points). It’s not exact and sometimes the logic does not work well.  But here I was just missing one point all together. It’s fixed now for the next version. Here is the correct laps after the fix

Simulator_Screen_Shot_15_Apr_2016__20_29_15

Fast Mile starts in slow section

Sometimes what appears to be a bug, is just a side effect of a feature. One user noticed that sometimes the fastest mile on the map appears to start in a section that is slow (blue). It would appear to not make sense as given the section at the end is faster it should more the fastest mile to be starting on the next point as here:

FastBikeSmoothing

Well, in that case actually the pin is at the exact right location. The blue section is also correct, given how it’s calculated: The gradient color represent the speed modulo some small level of smoothing. Here is the same picture without the smoothing

FastestBikingNoSmoothing

You can see that in that case, the fastest mile start correctly in a red (faster) section. It is hard to decide if this is a bug or a feature. It’s also interesting to see that in the case of a cycling activity (as in the above pictures), the speed is actually quite smooth already, so the smoothing probably not that critical. But in the case of a run, it tends to be much noisier. Given I am first a runner, it was quite obvious to me that without smoothing the gradient was less useful in identifying speed zone.

Here is a running activity with smoothing

SmoothingRun

And the same activity without smoothing, with a much noisier gradient

RunNoSmoothing

ConnectStats does not let you control the smoothing of the gradient on the map. Maybe I’ll add an option for that, or I’ll disable it for biking activities.

 

Activity Deleted Bug

Bugs

[UPDATE] This is now fixed with version 3.0.2

Since Yesterday a change in the Garmin API resulted in ConnectStats reporting some activities were deleted from Garmin Connect when trying to download the details.

 

This happens because the part of the API that ConnectStats use to get the weather is now reporting the same error as when an activity is deleted and that confuses ConnectStats.

I will push a bug fix to the store that will stop downloading the weather for now until I can figure a new API to retrieve it.

Version 3.0.2 was pushed to Apple for approval today, unfortunately pushing a bug fix requires a few days, sometimes up to a week for Apple to approve it. Sorry for the inconvenience caused and thanks for your patience

Statistics on a selection of activities

One feature people repeatedly ask about is the ability to see statistics for a selection of Garmin Activities. It is actually possible by using the search feature.

Let’s say for example I want to see the statistics of all the running activities in july 2015. I first enter that as a search

Simulator Screen Shot 20 Jan 2016, 21.53.35

Then in the statistics page, hit the type button until the term Search appears. It will remind you what the search term was, and then the statistics you see are only using the currently selected list:

Simulator_Screen_Shot_20_Jan_2016__21_53_40

This will be the case for the other stats page as well, here for example I show a scatter plot of Pace versus HR for the running activities of July 2015

Simulator Screen Shot 20 Jan 2016, 21.53.54

Another useful application is to run statistics on a specific activity type, for example all the skiing activities as here, I show how much elevation gain I achieved each month in backcountry skiing. You can see more about skiing here

Simulator Screen Shot 20 Jan 2016, 22.01.22

It is limited though by the current search syntax of ConnectStats, which if there is significant demand, I may extend. Just let me know.

 

ConnectStats 2.5 rejected…

shutterstock_310884725So as per last week post, I had submitted to the apple review process a new version of connectstats with the 3D flyover feature…

Unfortunately, Apple rejected this version. The reason is that the code is using some of the HealthKit API. Actually it is appears to be using it because I am currently working on a version that will let you look at the steps and other information recorded via the Apple Health App or your Apple Watch. It is not yet enabled as I am still working on it and I am waiting until it’s ready for prime time. But the Apple review team rejected it on the basis that my code should not appear to potentially use health data if it’s not clear to the user why.

So I will wait until the next version is ready to release the 3D flyover, at this point would be too painful to patch an old version or  remove that code that I know I will need soon.

Flyover maps in ConnectStats 2.5

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.36.24I recently saw an article on iOS development, explaining the maps features available to developers. I had never realised it was possible to enable in an app the 3d views you see in the apple Map app. A little bit of fiddling later and you can now see your course in gorgeous 3d views if you have an iPhone that supports it and your city is covered by the feature.

I haven’t really yet figured out how it can help you with training or analysing your data better, but it looks great and is a pretty neat way to relive some of your runs or rides, so here it is available in connectstats 2.5 (under review by apple at the time of this writing)

How to

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.43.15To enable it, simply go to the detail page, switch to the satellite view and tap anywhere on the map, it will then show you the closest point on your course in 3d. You can then use the normal controls of the map to zoom or move around.

Small Gallery

You can see here a few samples from recent runs. Enjoy!

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.39.02Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.45.29Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 09.44.27

What the Summary Stats say about September

Looking at the summary stats September turned out a pretty good month for my running.

Looking at the fitness vs fatigue graph section corresponding to september, the line stayed pretty constant, showing I kept my training level pretty constant. Later in the month I pushed a bit more as the peak in fatigue shows.

Simulator_Screen_Shot_17_Oct_2015__21_12_12In the bottom graph, the thicker black line shows the best speed achieved for given distances in september. I achieved my best speed of the year for all distance between 6km and 13km. You can see that as the thicker black line for september is the minimum for the year, and I did quite significantly better in speed than august.

Simulator_Screen_Shot_17_Oct_2015__21_12_27Meanwhile the best heart rate profile shows that this was achieved without pushing the heart rate more than the other months. Actually, the september line (black thick line) stays quite below the max of the year for any duration. This is pretty satisfying: better speed without pushing  much more…

 

What’s new in ConnectStats 2.3

Universal Links

Now, it will be possible to directly open the app in a specific page from an article. It will make it easier for people to navigate to a corresponding page from a post or help on the web. For example this should open the summary page.

Force Touch

For those lucky iPhone 6s owners, you can have quick access to stats, refresh from the home page and you can have preview of an activity without opening it by pressing hard on the main activity list.

Cache Management

A few more options to manage the local cache, and an option to display an icon to quickly identify what activities were downloaded or not.

Few more months to catch up

Another year of running comes to a close. How did I do this year so far?

Year to Date

1443360891_thumb.pngThe Year to Date graph gives me a good incentive to keep the weekly running distance high. I have so far run 949km  this year, about 80km behind last year at the same date. I had a slow beginning of the year compared to the previous one, but since April, I did pretty well.

So if I keep the momentum of the last few months, I maybe able to catch up my running distance of 2014. The year 2012 is still quite a way ahead, though…

Monthly Totals

1443361239_full.pngTo better evaluate my chances, let’s look at how much I ran last year in the last few months. In the monthly stats over the last year, I can see that november and december in 2014 were on the low side with less than 90km each, so hopefully if I keep at it, I’ll catch up! I finish september close to 150km…

ConnectStats and iOS 9

ConnectStats will take advantage of a few new features of iOS 9 with version 2.2.

Spotlight Search

Activities you looked at will show up in spotlight searches. So if for example you type run london in the spotlight search, it should shows activities you ran in london. Note that it will not search your whole activities history, but only the activities you opened in the last few months. To do search on the whole history you can still do that with the search function in the activity list of ConnectStats

Dynamic Fonts

Ok, technically this was already available in iOS 8, but never got around to implement it. So now, ConnectStats will use the system font, the new San Francisco font on iOS 9 and the size will be adjusted with the Dynamic Type settings of your phone. Very personally I prefer the iOS 8 font, but I feel it’s the right thing to update ConnectStats to follow the system default font. There will still be an option in the settings to revert to the old font if you really prefer that.

Optimized Binary and Asset

ConnectStats asset have been reorganised to potentially benefit from the new app thinning for the app store that should result in smaller size binaries and download.