My Casio W-753 watch has been my running buddy for 8 years and it still works fine, but recently I have become curious enough for a fitness tracker.
I wanted something small like Garmin Vivosmart 4, Xiao Mi Band 5, Fitbit Inspire 2 or Fitbit Charge 4. I tried each of them on my wrist, but in the end I ended up buying the bigger Huawei Watch Fit for overall fit on the wrist and legibility. It happens to look good, too.
Lesson learned: Online shopping is all the rage indeed, but physical store presence helps a lot.
The Watch Fit's dial / face can be changed in the setting (and it is also possible to download more styles). The physical button on the right side opens up the menu system and the rest is handled on-screen. The screen is touch sensitive with the user interface focused around swiping, scrolling, and tapping the on-screen button. While exercising, the screen responds decently to sweaty finger swiping to see different modes, if needed.
It tracks heart rate, SpO2, stress, menstrual cycle, sleep, etc. Despite being feature rich, I think the user interface is decent.
I have only used it for one 10K run. The GPS measurement came out different from what I once tracked on my phone. A run route that my phone said 2.1 km registered only about 2 km on the Watch Fit. Not sure if the on-board GPS can / should be tuned using the phone first.
One nitpick: This being my first fitness tracker, I was dismayed that I must download the Huawei Health app onto my phone and pair it with the Watch Fit, before I could set it up to use it. The store staff told me that I could disconnect and delete the app afterward.
I wanted a fitness tracker so I could conveniently understand my heart rate while running, so I was not planning to connect it to Huawei server. I could not see any technical reason why a registration is a technical pre-requisite to operate the tracker. The company just wants to get data. Unfortunately, there was no way around it, so I downloaded the Huawei Health app and connected the device. (Huawei provides options in the setting to turn a few things off.)
And the app is decent. For fitness tracker users, the data analytics out of the app is what gives the benefit. I am still a newbie at this; maybe I can warm up to this concept slowly. So I have not deleted the app, yet.
So far, so good! Overall, there is a lot to like in the Huawei Watch Fit.
Update 1: I found out that the app shows the map of the run route and the map looks correct. And on my second run, I ran my usual 1 km loop that I know well and the distance on the Watch Fit seems to be correct.
Update 2: Third run – I retraced my 2.1 km route and the Watch Fit indicated that it is indeed around 2.1 km. I suppose that is good, but I do not know what I did to have improved its accuracy, other than keep using it.
With computational photography, smartphone these days produces seemingly good looking photographs. Major phone brands try to convince you that their phone cameras can produce pictures that are as appealing as those coming out of cameras with professional specs.
Do we need a dedicated camera?
Given that the best camera is the one you have with you, I have been considering whether I will stick it out with just my smartphone camera (which I always have with me) or whether I should replace my dedicated camera.
I had not made up my mind completely yet, but my beloved Pentax K200D camera saw less and less action in recent years to the point that I even left it at home for recent holiday trips. So earlier this year I gave it away, along with the Sigma DC HSM 30mm/f1.4 lens that has always accompanied the K200D, to a friend who I know can make better use of them than me.
I saw pictures taken from the latest smartphone cameras and there were many cases where they were really good, but there were many other cases where they were not up to my standard. I still was not convinced I can survive with just smartphone camera.
About a couple of months ago I bought a new smartphone and last weekend I took some pictures at a dinner. I forgot about them until today as I browsed through the photographs and I thought: not bad, not bad at all.
Amongst the pictures that came out good, I knew it would be better if I work the crop factor a bit. Sure enough, after cropping, the image came out cool.
However, during the process I noticed something that people may miss, if they do not have experience shooting with dedicated camera + good optics.
The computational bokeh from the smartphone fails miserably during the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus area. Give a close attention to the boundary of the neck and the hand.
Interestingly, although not a complete surprise, the computational algorithm can fail to kick in when it got confused.
On the next picture, pay attention to the area between the hand and the neck and the small area between the thumb and the other fingers: the algorithm missed them and did not generate the bokeh effect.
I cannot compare the same scenario taken with a dedicated camera, but here is a flower taken with the Pentax+Sigma at f1.7.
Bokeh represents areas where physically, light enters the lens as out of focus, indiscriminate to the fact it is a small area or large area. And in the real world, out-of-focus is also dependent on physical distance, so the bokeh effect varies based on the location of the objects.
I am happy with my smartphone camera, but this post shows that for certain kind of images that I am accustomed to make, I should buy a camera.
Recently I needed a server for my personal project and I compared the services from various cloud providers. Specifically, I compared the global footprints of their data centre locations.
Cloud providers offer different services; the big providers obviously offer more services than the smaller providers. But for this project, I have simple needs, so any one of them can serve my needs. However, I have one want, which is data centre location; I wanted it to be located in a specific geography.
So I studied the following providers to see where they have data centres: Ali Baba, AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, Fly, Google Cloud, Heroku, Linode, Tencent, UpCloud, and Vultr.
“We don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly.
Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”
~ Steve Jobs
“[Innovation] comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”
~ Steve Jobs
When I moved to this platform, I turned on its email subscription feature. When I posted something, a subscriber would get an email from a @writeasletters.com address. A regular email address, instead of a “no-reply” address.
However, I just found out that, as of current platform capability, if a subscriber reply to the email, then the reply actually never reaches me. And both the subscriber and I would not know.
And supposedly this was by design.
I think this is counter-intuitive. At the very least, they could have sent an email bounce.
This is not the user experience I like, so I am turning off the email subscription. If you subscribed in the past, my apologies for the inconvenience.
If they improve this someday, maybe I will turn it back on.
“Whatever happens, not everyone will understand your intentions, possibly your genius will not be recognized within your lifetime. But we did not choose the life of the artist for fame and certainly not for fortune – But rather, a dedication to aesthetic beauty and self expression.”
~ Dominic Tarr