Exiting Endomondo – bulk export of your data

Turning forty had one great benefit – a friend went a little overboard on a present and bought me a new toy to track my running/swimming and cycling.  I guess that means I’ll have to do more of the swimming and cycling but given my age – that’s probably good advice anyway.

So I’m now the proud owner of the TomTom Cardio Multisport complete with cadence, heart rate and many, many other sensors.  So far it’s working out really well – though just one run under my belt you might be better off going to find out more about it and how good it is from DC Rainmaker.  Summary – it’s good.

That’s not what this is about.  Because I will no longer track anything using my phone that means I’m limited to the sites that TomTom supports with their software.  Typically that doesn’t include Endomondo – my chosen tracker.  So, easy, I just take my data out of Endomondo and put it in Strava or Runkeeper or MapMyFitness?  Nope.  The problem is that Endomondo don’t see it that way – they think it’s their data and they don’t want to let go.

Fortunately someone’s (Michael Østergaard Pedersen) come to the rescue and has written a script that sets my data free.  Sadly, it didn’t work.  Rather than giving up and finding something else – I’ve updated it a bit to fix the problems.  Amusingly – the problem seems to be that Endomondo have decided to get territorial again and put some counter-measures in.  So I’ve updated the script and you can once again set your data free.  I think this might be an opportune moment to delete my Endomondo account once-and-for-all…?

Get Workouts Download (since writing it, someone pointed out that Endomondo now run exclusively on secure connection so I’ve updated it again to cope).

The Voodoo of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I used to advise clients on SEO, back in the days when I was a one-man-Internet-band.  This was before the rise of the SEO industry and all the voodoo and charlatans that have come with it.

I now revel in the fact that it’s a quasi-marketing function and I don’t need to get involved.  We have experts that take care of that, experts that speak enough of the language of IT to tell the core teams what to do.

That said – it’s still a guilty pleasure.  I re-awakened this site and after having totally fallen off search engines I’ve been working to get it to the top again.  Not for anything profitable – I just want to be on the first page of results when someone searches for “Stephen Casey” [keywords in the content, important stuff].  It’s somewhat of a scientific endeavour too.  Analysis, research and understanding of a closed, unknown system.

So, advising and understanding it isn’t something I want to do at work but I think it’s a subject worth spreading knowledge about.  I don’t know much else about this site but I know the following article is about the best summary I’ve seen on the subject.  It provides a simple breakdown of what makes Google like you.

It’s not brain surgery but it is a lot of work.  What worries me is that the more clinical this becomes, there’s a potential that the content gets worse because it’s just there to rank well in Google, not because it’s worth saying.

New Reporters’ Reading List

I heard this on the radio when it was first broadcast (That Mitchell and Webb Sound, Series 2, not sure which episode).  At the time it struck me that anyone who wanted to become a producer of news should be forced to listen to it and tested to make sure they understood it and took it to heart.

There’s no way that will happen because emotive stories are more compelling listening than objective, but I can dream.  Read on – one day I might get around to buying the series and listening to it again.  They’re very funny men.

 

Radio Presenter: Those are are the headlines at 5.09. And for an immediate reaction to today’s events I think we can speak to Tom Hilton. Hello, Tom.

Tom: Er, hello?

Radio Presenter: Chris Powell here from Radio 4, thanks for speaking to us. Can I ask what your response is to today’s announcement that Rail North East will not be funding the laser-assisted train early warning system?

Tom: Erm, well yeah. I personally think it’s a shame.

Radio Presenter: So, it’s shame on the management? Shame on the Government?

Tom: Well, I suppose, but look, can I just say I’m really not the best person to talk to about this, I mean it’s weird you even had to call me. You see, by a spooky coincidence, I actually lost my wife in a train crash.

Radio Presenter: yes, we know.

Tom: One exactly this kind of system could have prevented.

Radio Presenter: That’s why we’re in touch with you, Tom.

Tom: Oh. Oh, right. Blimey. That does seem a bit, almost, ghoulish.

Radio Presenter: Well, no. It’s because you’ve got personal experience of a rail tragedy that your views are so important.

Tom: Really? I would have thought that it was because I’ve got personal experience of a rail tragedy that my views should be dismissed out of hand.

Radio Presenter: No. No, look. Would you say, that to you, safety is by far the most important issue facing the rail network?

Tom: Well, of course I would. My wife just died in a train crash.

Radio Presenter: Thank you.

Tom: But you really should talk to someone else. It’s impossible for me to have any objectivity at all.

Radio Presenter: Right, but if spending the three billion on system could bring back your wife that would be worth it?

Tom: Well, obviously. Although I must stress I lack any objectivity.

Radio Presenter: Nevertheless, what would you say to the minister? What would your message be to him?

Tom: My message would be, “Minister, good luck in judging how to allocate your finite resources given the many competing demands you face.”

Bike Fit Guide

Some time ago I wrote a bike fit guide based on a few sources I’d found.  As part of bringing web content I’ve written over the years into one place, I thought it would be useful to have it here.

Bike Fit Guide

Although a professional fit will probably allow you to get the most out of your bike and your body, I think the following guide will work for most people and get you most of the way to a perfect fit.

To do this yourself, I highly recommend a turbo trainer to allow you to easily sit on the bike, supported and with the pedals in any position.

Saddle position

Start with the saddle completely flat.  That should be the best position but I usually adjust it to a level where I don’t find myself slipping towards the back or front when out riding.  Make any adjustments one “notch” at a time.

Saddle height

Put your pedal at the lowest position with the crank arm pointing directly down.  Wearing your cycling shoes, sitting on the saddle, place your heel on the pedal.  Now, adjust your saddle height until your leg is JUST straight.  If you put your foot in the correct position on the pedal you should have a slightly bent knee.  If your shoes have different sole thickness, you should adjust the saddle height up/down by the difference.

Foot position on pedal

Clip into your pedals with the ball, or widest point of your foot directly over the centre of  the pedal.  Adjust the foot angle (towards/away from the frame) so that your feet are pointing in their natural walking position.  This may not be parallel with the frame, but obviously adjust the angle so you’re clear of the chain stays.  Badly angled feet are one of the most common causes of knee pain.

Saddle fore/aft adjustment

Now, turn the pedals so that they’re level with each other with the crank arms entirely horizontal.  Once again, clip in and run a plumb line from your knee just behind the kneecap.  The line should go through the centre of the front pedal.  Once you’ve done this, you may need to go back to the start and repeat the steps above until everything lines up.

Bar Height

Using a spirit level, measure the difference in height between the top of the saddle and the top of the handlebars.  This can be a bit tricky to do alone but easier with a bike stand or a helper.  Using stem riser/spacers, you should set the height of the bars.  They should normally be between five and ten centimetres below the saddle.  The bigger the gap, the more extreme and aerodynamic the position.

Stem Length

Now, sit on the bike again in your normal “drop” riding position.  Either on the drops or hoods.  If you look at the front wheel hub it should not be visible, blocked by the bars.  The only way to adjust this is by replacing the stem with a shorter/longer one.  Another rule of thumb for the stem length is to place your elbow on the nose of your saddle and hand on the stem.  Your finger tips should reach around half way down the stem.

You may want to adjust the tilt of the bars – this will impact your wrist/elbow/shoulder positions so it can have a big impact on your comfort.  Most people find the hoods should just continue along in a flat straight line away from the bike.  If you make a big change you should probably check the bar height and stem length again.

Agile Requirements – the communication gap

A youtube video to start with – it started me thinking…

Now, what can we do to prevent this and what agile methodologies exist to help?  The problem is often that the expert doesn’t know what the customer is thinking and the customer doesn’t know enough about the technology to be able to explain.  So at least we can try to help in two places.

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Using the Internet to better yourself (part one?)

I think we all do this already.  Every time you don’t know the answer to a question and look it up, you’re a little bit more knowledgeable than you were before.  I’ve recently been trying to be more proactive, making an effort to use some of my precious spare time more constructively but still making sure that it’s “down” time.  I thought I’d share three of the best ways I’ve found and really like.

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Dealing with Minorities at Code Club

When I first decided to run a Code Club after school at my kids’ primary I had the lofty idea of trying to make sure there were as high a proportion of girls to boys as possible. I don’t know why women and girls avoid technical pursuits but I am pretty sure they’d enjoy CodeClub if they tried it.

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Robots Presentation

Robots Presentation

Yesterday I spent the day at my children’s school.  When I say I spent the day, I really mean that – from observing my “link class” as part of my governor role, presenting to the year 3/4 year group about robotics, running Code Club in the afternoon and attending parent teacher meetings for both my kids later.  I finally left at about 18:20 having arrived before 09:00!  I left quite tired but also happy having spent a day doing something different and probably a bit more emotionally rewarding!

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Recruitment presentation for Code Club

With less than 24hrs to go till I’m teaching 17 kids how to write a variation on whack-a-mole for Code Club, I thought it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared the PowerPoint presentation I used when I went to the school assembly.  The aim was to get as many of the 45 9-11 year old kids interested in joining the club as possible.

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Code Club creativity – not a witch to be whacked in week 2!

This week’s Code Club at Hawley Primary was to build a “Whack a Witch” game.  It’s quite straightforward – add a sprite (a picture/character that can move), give it some rules to travel around the screen a bit randomly, disappear and re-appear and score points whenever you click it.

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