Sunday 25 February 2024

Book review: The Thousand Emperors

PXL_20240211_174428960~2 Wham bam but ultimately forgettable sci-fi space opera; indeed, I have largely forgotten it in the week or two since I read it. And in a way I wasn't paying that much attention when I did read it; it is lightweight stuff and doesn't really repay your attention, you start to notice all the faults and just the lack of umm I'm not sure; detail, perhaps.

Having said that, I did enjoy reading it in a lightweight fluffy kind of way.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

New watch: Garmin Forerunner 55

My poor old 620 - new some time in 2018, though as far as I can see I didn't blog it - is fading. The battery now struggles to last four hours, and the strap is going (yes I know that at least could be replaced). But darling daughter has a Forerunner 55 which seems quite good, and is "only" £150, about £100 less than the 620. So I bought one.


It has no touchscreen. This slightly jars, because I've gotten used to the button-screeen combo of the 620. But meh, I'll get used to the new thing. As my pic shows, the 55 (top) is marginally thinner than the 620. It has built-in heart rate, and when I trial that against the heartrate strap of the 620 I'll update this for how they compare. The new has a slightly elastic softer strap which I think I will like.


The new screen looks OK, but isn't fancy like the Fenix stuff. I'm planning, per this summer's experience, to use my phone for trekking from now on.

Example trace here. HR 151 seems dubious with a simple cycle to work. Now I have an hour's comparison on the erg:


That's mostly good, but the blue (55) fails to pick up the start of the piece that the orange (620) does. And that's me starting up at 1:55 for a few hundred meters before settling to 2:00; and I recall seeing the 55 fail to leap up. About five minutes later it does, and once up it is accurate enough. Note that the 620 was set to "smart recording" so since there is no distance, only puts in a point if my HR changes.

And here, from an outing, is pace. I was wearing the 55 on my wrist, obvs, and I don't think that does the pace any favours, since my wrist is whizzing back and forward. Actually, if I look at a close-up, I do wonder if the 620 is over-smoothing. This may bear more examination.


And again the HR differs, with the 620 being more likely. I'm coming to think that the 620 is more of a gold standard and the 55 just a convenience.

Having decided that I'll keep the old watch, at least for rowing, I decided to get a new strap. Pic. The one I got is: Fit-power Garmin Forerunner 235/235Lite Watch Band, Soft Silicone Replacement Watch Band for Garmin Forerunner 235/220 / 230/620 / 630/735 Smart Watch.

New HR belt

Soon after this, my 620 started giving wacky readings (see e.g. this erg). So I bought a new belt: Garmin 010-12883-00 HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor for £45.