Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS-watch review

The FR 235 is a great GPS + heart-rate tracker for running and cycling. There are cheaper alternatives (notably from TomTom). If your budget allows for this model, buy it ($330 here). You won’t regret it.

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Several very thorough reviews have been written that go into the Garmin 235’s features in great depth — if you want a long version I recommend the one at dcrainmaker. On this page I offer you, by contrast, a (very) short review of the Garmin Forerunner 235 fitness tracker/GPS watch based on daily real-world experience. I bought one with my own money, and use it for my own running.

Footnote: I’m a 30-something guy with a desk job who trail-runs 2x per week. If you are seriously into triathlon or swimming you may want something more fancy like a Fenix 5.

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is available in these colours

The Good:

  • Attractive round-faced design
  • Excellent GPS tracking
  • Very good built-in optical Heart Rate monitor
  • Great battery life (I get 9 days when running 2x or 3x per week)
  • Good ergonomics
    • lightweight
    • intuitive buttons
    • always-on display
    • display works great in bright sunlight
    • customizable
  • Useful as a smart watch (iOS / Android notifications)
  • Customizable watch face (classic analogue, digital, etc.)
  • You can swim with it (rated 50 m waterproof)
  • Features that help you quantify your fitness and training (VO2Max estimate, recovery advisor, activity tracker, training effect)

The not-so-good:

  • Plastic; will eventually scratch during normal use
  • No barometric altimeter (although GPS altitude works better than I expected)
  • Pairs with phone over bluetooth but doesn’t support external bluetooth sensors (uses ANT+ instead)
  • No touch screen (although some people will prefer it this way)
  • No music player
  • Very little on-board storage for apps
  • Odd distinction between custom downloadable watch faces, widgets and apps
  • More expensive than the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio

Bottom Line:

The Garmin 235 is a good-looking runner’s/cyclist’s watch that focuses on core functionality, which it does very well. It also has smartwatch features but never lets these detract from its core functionality.  Fitness trackers and smart watches are still evolving at a rapid pace – every year brings new models with better performance, new features and better designs. Unless you’re rolling in cash I’d recommend rather buy mid-range and update every few years than splurge on a titanium-and-sapphire range-topping watch like the Fenix 5.

My Garmin 235 (Marsala colour). That display is just beautiful in the sun (here in standby mode with classic watch face)

Updated batch-cropping script

By far the most popular post on this blog has been “How to batch separate & crop multiple scanned photos” (click to link to original post). Thank you for your support, everyone!

AutoSplit_Gimp_Photoshop

While the script seems to have worked pretty well for most of you for the past three (!) years, there was actually a bit of a bug in it, making it not work for non-white backgrounds. This is now fixed!

In addition to fixing the bug, I’ve added a few new features including

  • Ability to set output JPEG quality
  • Setting a base name manually
  • Manually selecting the background colour (in case the auto-selection doesn’t work as it should)
  • The ability to automatically save output to the source directory

I hope you enjoy this new and improved script, which can be downloaded by clicking on the following link: DivideScannedImages_improved_v2.zip.

Instructions for installing and using this script are identical as for the original one (click here to see the original instructions, under the “Gimp”heading).

Here is a screenshot of the new and improved DivideScannedImages script’s user interface:

DivideScannedImages_Improved

 

 

Blue Steam

As a photographer I see my camera as a tool with which to capture and create. As an engineer, I see my camera as a wonderful machine and opto-electric toy. But sometimes a situation arises that makes a camera into a scientific tool. To make visible some hidden property of reality itself.

After this poetic introduction, it might seem a little mundane to tell you that this post is about the steam the comes out of my coffee machine. And in fact you don’t even need a camera – this is something that you can see with your naked eye. We own a Delonghi Icona home espresso machine, which looks like this:
DeLonghi_IconaLike most machines of this type it has a milk frother side-arm (on the right), that can be used for making cappuccinos. It works by forcing hot steam out at high velocity. The steam’s velocity is controlled by a valve which one opens by turning the round black knob on top.

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How to photograph the Aurora Borealis

This year (2013-2014) is a good time for seeing the Aurora Borealis (and its lesser-known Southern twin, the Aurora Australis) – commonly known as the Northern- and Southern Lights. I have my heart set on seeing the Lights with my own eyes in the coming year, so in this post I’d like to talk about how one can best prepare for capturing this natural wonder.

A friend, Bart Vastenhouw, travelled to the region of Varanger in Norway to see and photograph the lights. Here is one of the photographs he came back with:Aurora at Varanger

Bart captured this beautiful scene using a Canon 40D and Canon 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 wide-angle lens. The 40D was a good camera, but these days there are better ones to choose from. The lens is decent too, but for best results you’d want a wide angle with larger aperture (F2.8 or faster).

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New firmware fixes D600 HDMI output. (Also, updates for almost all of Nikon’s current other DSLRs)

Yesterday, Nikon released new firmware for almost all of its current DSLR line-up, namely for the D4, D800, D600, D3, D3s, D3x, D7000 and D3200. Most of these updates only add full compatibility to the exotic new 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens – a lens very few people will ever see or use.

D600Bits

The highlight, for me, is the fact that Nikon has now finally addressed the uncompressed HDMI bug that frustrated D600 videographers. This issue used to be a reason for DSLR videographers to get the more expensive D800, and seemed like a lame up-selling scam on Nikon’s part. No more, it seems!

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