Pasi’s blog post

Review: Garmin Forerunner 225

I have had Garmin Forerunner 225 wearable / smart watch now about one year. This is my experience on that device.

Forerunner have basically three operations it does un addition to showing time: Gps, heart beat rate measurement, and movement sensing.

The last one is not so important to me. Except that it is sometimes nice to see how much steps I have done in a day. The same sensors are also used to guess if I am sleeping or not, and how deeply. Which means that watching tv can be registered as sleeping.

Measuring the heart beat rate can be useful. Especially if one likes to improve the physical condition, the most demanding is to keep the beat rate low enough

I have learned a good rule-of-thumb: If you can easily talk without being exhausted, the exercise is good. But still even then it is nice check afterward if the beat rate was in a good level.

Measuring the heart beat rate works quite well. It is based on the optical measurement. Green light illuminates the skin, and the variations in the reflection are measured.

However, in some cases there seems to be some problems. The beat rate can suddenly drop or jump. I have checked that there is not such sudden changes in my pulse. So, probably some problem when measuring. And because the shown result must be some average value, the inaccurate values will be seen a bit longer time period.

To me the gps has become the most valuable property. I like to check afterward what was my route. The position is accurate enough. But there seems to be some challenges when determining the altitude.

In gps that measuring is not very accurate, so the device has an option to use “smart” correction algorithm. However, in some cases after the “correction”, the altitude can be even 100m wrong. That’s a lot!

Forerunner can be connected to Garmin Connect cloud services. For that I use my mobile phone. The connection between the mobile and the watch is via Bluetooth. With my Sony Xperia it works mostly well. With my Lumia 950 I have had problems several times.

In Garmin Connect app I can sychronize data and inspect that. For every event I can inspect all data. Even make overlaying graphs like in the figure below where both heart beat rate (“syke”) and the altitude (“korkeus”) is presented.

Gps data is presented in maps that are not useful to me. But I can export the route as a gpx file, and import it to another map like those in “Maastokartat” app.

One minor issue is that one can not download gpx file from Garmin Connect mobile app but one needs to visit the online service. Fortunately the web site works somehow well also with the mobile device.

Below is one route I walked at Koli. The route is recorded with Forerunner, and the exported to Maastokartat in my Lumia 950.

Garmin Connect mobile has also a feature “smart notifications.” Which means that one should be able to achieve notifications from the mobile phone (incoming calls, messages, etc) into Garmin device. But this is not working. It is always a bit frustrating to see some feature, enable those, and find that it is not working.

The main drawback in Forerunner is the battery. If one records an exercise or a route, the battery lasts less than ten hours. For a one-day hiking it is often enough, but not for longer ones.

For longer routes the most practical feature is then that I can see the time. Of course, that is also very valuable.

If you have any suggestions for wearables that can be valuable also for longer trips, just leave a comment below!

Review: Ricoh Theta S

I have tested Ricoh Thera S panorama camera now in various ways. Have to say that it is a really cool panorama camera for non-professional use.

If you like to have professional 360 panorma photos, ask Rami Saarikorpi. I use his help when I need better quality.

The size and the shape of the Ricoh Theta Scamera are perfect. Fits into my pocket. Therefore good also when hiking.

I also like tht I can contol it with my mobile (Sony Xperia Z5 Compact). I can adjust the parametrs, and also the images are automatically loaded into my mobile. I really like it, because then I can also upload the panorama images into Facebook or other services. No extra work is requied, just take a photo and upload.

The camera has two wide field-of-view cameras, and the photos are stitched automatically. No big problems with that. The camera is clipped away entirelly, but its location is not edited. So, small error there as you can see in the photo above where I had the camera in my hand.

Ricoh Theta S records also panorama video. The quality is okay to watch with mobile. Here is an example I recorded in our laboratory.

Panorama videos enables also some fun. Especially if one changes the point of view

For VR use Ricoh Theta has not good enough quality. Photos are almost fine, but the video quality is not good.

And if you want to feel sick with VR do the folowing: record a panorama video while walking and then watch it with VR. Not comfortable at all.

Recording is not everything; some software is also required for watching the photos and videos. It is nice that Facebook and YouTube support panorama nowadays.

Ricoh has its own software available for free. In pc it allows watching photos and videos. The software is not very optimal; it seems to make pc run slowly when watching panoramas.

In mobile it is the same software allows also the mobile phone to be also a remote control.

Ricoh has also online service for panoramas. Works okay. But recently I have started to use Kuula.co. It is really user-friendly; also with mobile.

Using mobile as a remote control makes it possible to adjust capturing well. And that is required if one likes to take photos in tougher conditions. Like in dark.

Here is one photo I took with 60 seconds capture time. The red light ribbon was my daughter running with a red light.

Panorama will have a big potential also in science and education since it can offers a better overview in various environments. Like laboratories. The quality of Ricoh Theta S is still fine for those. Here is one photo taken in our laser laboratory where the conditions can be challenging.

One minus I can mention: the camera I have tested ws not my own. But I really consider to buy my own…

Some of my favorite songs, vol 1

Nobody asked, but still here some of my favorite songs. Just in random order. Links to YouTube videos, if you like to check the songs yourself.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Free bird

My long time favorite. A beautiful combination of piano and several guitars. When I was young I was inspired by that slide guitar. Also, the guitar solos at the end are cool. Nothing technically marvelous but really rocking.

And also the words are beautiful.

Uriah Heep: Easy livin’

Rock can be simple. This really hit me when I heard at the first time. Like running with full speed through the whole song. But still sounds so easy.

Motörhead: Ace of spades

Another simple rock song. The just start to bang your head. Kicks always. Proves that rock can be played loud. Or must.

Piirpauke: Konevitsan kirkonkellot

I have always been fascinated how Piirpauke musicians can take a simple melody and turn it to something else. World music in its real meaning

Derek and the Dominos: Layla

Eric Clapton is here great, but Duane Allman even greater. The second part is to me even better than the first part. Beautiful combination of piano and slide guitar.

Dead Kennedys: Nazi punks fuck off

Well, there is a message and they shout it out clearly. Nothing to add. Simple as punk should be.

Rammstein: America

Nice combination and critical message. Also the video rocks.