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DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch!
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To the casual observer, one might assume Garmin’s biggest competitors are Apple, Fitbit, and in certain cycling circles – Wahoo. But in reality, I’d disagree. Garmin’s biggest competitor is themselves. Or more specifically, their lack of focus on solving bugs that ultimately drive consumers to their competitors. In effect, my bet is the vast majority of time a person chooses a non-Garmin product over a Garmin one is not because Garmin lost the features or price battle. It’s because that person has been bit one too many times by buggy Garmin products.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/...are-instability.html
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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All the way back to the experiences of them adding power meter recording functionality to the Edge 705s and seeing them "break" functioning features in subsequent updates, I've always thought that their software quality procedures were quite suspect...at least in the cycling computer space. Looks like things haven't changed.



http://bikeblather.blogspot.com/
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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tough, but fair. i find it maddening to do even simple stuff with really basic hardware - i'm talking downloading a workout or adding a widget to the vivoactive or the edge 500. these days, the lesson from the mobile phone market is that the hardware is only just half the battle.

____________________________________
https://lshtm.academia.edu/MikeCallaghan

http://howtobeswiss.blogspot.ch/
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I have a love hate relationship with most of their products and I tend to agree going back as far as the original Forerunner 50. My latest 735xt doesn't tell time, it only updates the time after a button is pressed. Yet I am still a Garmin-only device gadget owner.


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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I've agreed with this sentiment almost since I bought my first Garmin, the ForeRunner 201. Admittedly it's not as bad as it used to be but they still have trouble. It's like they never heard of actually testing software before you release it. If my software department released software as buggy as Garmin's, we'd be fired.
Last edited by: JoeO: Jun 11, 19 13:14
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, but it's not only software. See all the issues with the Vector 3, Garmin 935 and the brand new and expensive 945. Garmin keep making the same mistakes. I had to return two 935 units and I already returned my 945. It's a bummer.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I ditched the Garmin bike computers awhile back and have been very happy with the Wahoo Bolt.

My Garmin 645 (non-music) has been the first Garmin watch I’ve truly been happy with and haven’t had any issues (hopefully I didn’t just jinx it). This is going back to the 301 for me.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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Agreed.

My shiny new (and very spendy) Fenix 5+ has GPS which is wildly inaccurate while running, and optical HR that’s pretty much a random # generator while exercising.

Sometimes it uploads blazingly fast (like my 520 usually does), but often it is quite slow, and occasionally it seems like it won’t upload at all.
Or if/when it finally does, then that workout won’t auto-sync over to Strava.

Which means I then have to download the file to my laptop, then manually upload it to Strava.

I was tired of my 310 needing to be hardwired to upload, but frankly, the Fenix isn’t much better much of the time.

I really, REALLY want to love it.
But unless and until those issues get fixed, I can’t.


float , hammer , and jog

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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I had a Garmin 305 which I liked, but thought it has some horrid software around it (e.g. "motionbased was awesome, until Garmin bought them and tried/failed to convince the dev team to move from the Bay Area to nowhere, Kansas. Product died on the vine and it took 10 years for Garmin Connect to not suck.").

I finally broke down a few weeks ago and bought a Garmin Edge 520 Plus when it went on sale, and realized the UX/software hasn't really gone anywhere since I bought my 305. After four rides the 520 bricked itself and I returned it.

DCRainmakers article wasn't wrong. My guess is that Garmin is staffed with the cheapest software engineers it can find who are willing to work in Kansas. It's a shame because their hardware has always been impressive.

-Mark Rebuck, http://www.markrebuck.com/
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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gguerini wrote:
Quote:
To the casual observer, one might assume Garmin’s biggest competitors are Apple, Fitbit, and in certain cycling circles – Wahoo. But in reality, I’d disagree. Garmin’s biggest competitor is themselves. Or more specifically, their lack of focus on solving bugs that ultimately drive consumers to their competitors. In effect, my bet is the vast majority of time a person chooses a non-Garmin product over a Garmin one is not because Garmin lost the features or price battle. It’s because that person has been bit one too many times by buggy Garmin products.


https://www.dcrainmaker.com/...are-instability.html

we had this very conversation just last month, in the context of the launch of wahoo's ROAM. i wrote about, "a value beyond what gets listed in the specs," and "think first about what your imperatives ... beyond the spec and features."

compare this with, "not because Garmin lost the features or price battle. It’s because that person has been bit one too many times by buggy Garmin products."

if we flay wahoo for getting out-featured for the price it charges, why isn't the fact that it constantly works a "feature"?

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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It all depends on your reference. I started with suunto and moved to garmin after I got pissed of with all issues and glitches. My experience with garmin devices have been pretty much flawless between my F5, V3 and E520 connected to my Samsung phone and iPad. They have their problems and aren’t perfect but glitchy isn’t an adjective I would use.
On his post he also mentions that it is normal that people have this impression of Garmin because they, basically, own the market and any problem will impact a bigger crowd but overall I think they are doing pretty good and I didn’t really agree with post. If anything it is more a communication / marketing issue than faulty hardware/ software or lacking customs service.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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He's SO right.

There is a good reason I've just shifted to Polar.
Polar have actually responded quickely to emails too and resolved issues
Both I and Mrs J both have unresolved garmin fault call tickets,
One over 2 years old.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I think Ray is so spot on.
My Edge 500 hasn't automatically downloaded since December. I stupidly tried to remove it from Garmin Express and reinstall it. When it comes to connecting to Garmin Connect it says it can't communicate with the server. If I use the wrong password, it tells me I'm wrong. So, they are connecting to the server; just not if I get it right.
I have to manually import all my rides now.
I get it, the 500 is old - but it used to work until they broke their software.

I'm guessing Ray musta been really annoyed or pissed at Garmin to write that post.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
we had this very conversation just last month, in the context of the launch of wahoo's ROAM. i wrote about, "a value beyond what gets listed in the specs," and "think first about what your imperatives ... beyond the spec and features."

compare this with, "not because Garmin lost the features or price battle. It’s because that person has been bit one too many times by buggy Garmin products."

if we flay wahoo for getting out-featured for the price it charges, why isn't the fact that it constantly works a "feature"?
Agreed then and agree now. Garmin does great in the specs/price table. The problem is when you actually try to go and use them. Glad DC Rainmaker wrote that article.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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He’s so right... based on my personal experience. I have owned many many Garmin devices over the years (to the point when they look up account when I call them for support, their first reaction has always been “woah, you have that many devices? Thank you for your business”). As a software engineer myself, I simply can’t wrap my heads around it. I mean they have enough money and clout to license any embedded OS they want and acquire any UX company of their choice. To be fair, they seem to have improved lately, but not fast enough IMO. The thing about consumer electronics is that the upgrade cycling is a few years, so if you miss the mark with your hardware, you are kind of done for that cycle.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [AwayJohnes] [ In reply to ]
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AwayJohnes wrote:
It all depends on your reference. I started with suunto and moved to garmin after I got pissed of with all issues and glitches. My experience with garmin devices have been pretty much flawless between my F5, V3 and E520 connected to my Samsung phone and iPad. They have their problems and aren’t perfect but glitchy isn’t an adjective I would use.
On his post he also mentions that it is normal that people have this impression of Garmin because they, basically, own the market and any problem will impact a bigger crowd but overall I think they are doing pretty good and I didn’t really agree with post. If anything it is more a communication / marketing issue than faulty hardware/ software or lacking customs service.

And this is where I sit too. My Garmin watches just work...most of the time. Yes I have had the occasional 'melt-down' but that's a rare event. I think the worst I had was a successions of 310XTs that would not keep the time when turned off. Other than that, they work.

Ray's post is a bit like one of those self-help books, there are some parts you can relate to, but much of it is just 'stuff'.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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gguerini wrote:
Yeah, but it's not only software. See all the issues with the Vector 3, Garmin 935 and the brand new and expensive 945. Garmin keep making the same mistakes. I had to return two 935 units and I already returned my 945. It's a bummer.

Same here. Returning my second 935 as the Wifi refuses to auto upload. We've reset the device, changed wifi channels, delete/ reinstall Garmin Express, sent watch internals to the garmin team...all too no resolution except send it in for another 935. I'd get a 945 but been hearing issues with GPS and battery drain.

WHERE IS THE WAHOO WATCH!?
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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DC Rainmakers article is spot on. I have not seen the issues he mentions, but as someone who has worked as a software engineer some of the things I've seen with various Garmins I have owned point to astonishingly bad software engineering.

I had a 905 XT that would miscalculate speed every time I emerged from an underpass. GPS coordinates are just lat/long and timestamps, somehow they could not get that basic "speed = distance/time" calculation right. Even a high school level CS student should be able to manage that.

What I find even more astonishing though and what DC Rainmaker alluded to is that Garmin cannot seem to fix long term problems, or avoid breaking functionality that is already there. The problem I mentioned above was not in a first generation device. While new models add some new features, they should generally just be upgrading software they have already written. That fact along with some basic regression testing and their software should be rock solid.

I can't imagine what they are doing to produce their software, but I know it would get me fired.

I once read an article that indicated Garmin employed H1B visa engineers, if they have a lot of turnover and if that is part of a strategy minimize spending on software that might be a lot of the problem right there. Writing software for hardware devices tends to be very specialized work and if Garmin does not have a core of experienced long term engineers (I'm not talking few years, more like 10 to 20 for their senior people) then that is the base of their problem right there. And yes, they have to pay those guys what they are worth.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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I’ve had a Garmin 630 for a little over a year and haven’t had any major issues. The main thing is I have resync it to my phone more than I’d like to. It does its job and hasn’t failed me during a workout or when uploading workouts.

Now the garmin connect app is a different story. It’s a bit “clunky”. I was glad to see that they added a Connect IQ app, but it too is a bit finicky.

Overall, I’m happy with my garmin experience. I go outside, start my watch and go on my way and it works every time. It’s only when I try to do anything extra in the supporting apps that I get flustered and end up leaving it alone.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [helo guy] [ In reply to ]
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helo guy wrote:
. GPS coordinates are just lat/long and timestamps, somehow they could not get that basic "speed = distance/time" calculation right. Even a high school level CS student should be able to manage that.


That's the high school way of doing GPS velocity. :) Doppler and/or carrier phase shift calculations are generally much more accurate for measuring instantaneous velocity. And that's how most GPS receivers do it. There's one set of algorithms to do the least-squares stuff on pseudoranges to calculate positions, and another set doing carrier phase stuff to calculate velocity.

But I agree that Garmin (who know a thing or two about GPS) should be able to detect poor velocity measurement conditions and use some simple modelling techniques to estimate what velocity might be. And then use post-processing once the satellite signals are regained to improve those estimates given the new information.
Last edited by: trail: Jun 11, 19 16:08
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [gguerini] [ In reply to ]
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Finally! I’ve been saying this for 10 years. Thank you dcrm now they can’t ignore this anymore. Garmin hardware and features and product designs are spot on. Their software is for shit and has always been. They need to reform their software development efforts. Starting with firing the bad apples and most of their leadership. Everyone there knows who the problem is. Execs just need to know how to listen.
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [Parkland] [ In reply to ]
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Parkland wrote:
Overall, I’m happy with my garmin experience. I go outside, start my watch and go on my way and it works every time. It’s only when I try to do anything extra in the supporting apps that I get flustered and end up leaving it alone.

Same. My 735 does run and swim perfectly, try to run Live Track on the 735 or my 520 and chances are it won't work. The 520 does its thing pretty good otherwise, except incident detection kept going off during aggressive riding so much I gave up and disabled it completely.

Blue tooth to my phone has it's moments as well. On a 25 mile ride I must have seen "phone connected" and "phone disconnected" a dozen times tonight.

"...the street finds its own uses for things"
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [Dilbert] [ In reply to ]
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So7nds like you know some inside information about their software or product development?
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
helo guy wrote:
. GPS coordinates are just lat/long and timestamps, somehow they could not get that basic "speed = distance/time" calculation right. Even a high school level CS student should be able to manage that.


That's the high school way of doing GPS velocity. :) Doppler and/or carrier phase shift calculations are generally much more accurate for measuring instantaneous velocity. And that's how most GPS receivers do it. There's one set of algorithms to do the least-squares stuff on pseudoranges to calculate positions, and another set doing carrier phase stuff to calculate velocity.

But I agree that Garmin (who know a thing or two about GPS) should be able to detect poor velocity measurement conditions and use some simple modelling techniques to estimate what velocity might be. And then use post-processing once the satellite signals are regained to improve those estimates given the new information.


I am not expecting any advanced signal processing nor do they need to do any modeling techniques in the situation I described. Garmin has no data to work with when it is in a tunnel or under a bridge, BUT they do know the last good GPS fix and the fix when they exit the tunnel. They don't know exactly how my speed varied while I was in the tunnel, but they COULD calculate what my average speed was as soon as I exit and they get another fix. I would be perfectly content with that.

But that is not how my watch worked. I have no idea what calculations they use as I have never seen the source code, but it seems to be some sort of moving average where they assumed a fixed time between points. I always got a massive jump in speed as soon as I got GPS contact back, which then moves back down to my actual speed. I'm talking going from 10 min miles, to 5 min miles on exiting an underpass, then ramping back up to my actual speed. No way any of the techniques you described would consistently behave like that if they were properly implemented. And GPS fixes include uncertainty values so they should always be able to detect this situation.

I seriously doubt they are doing any advanced signal processing even when they do have a solid GPS connection. Speed readings tend to be much too erratic, and this is an issue that I've heard repeated by many Garmin users. Even a very simple smoothing algorithm would fix that. I see somewhat similar behavior with gradient calculations, but I cut Garmin more slack as altitude measurements are much less precise.
Last edited by: helo guy: Jun 11, 19 20:12
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Re: DC Rainmaker: Garmin’s Biggest Competitor Is Their Own Software Instability - Ouch! [helo guy] [ In reply to ]
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helo guy wrote:
I am not expecting any advanced signal processing nor do they need to do any modeling techniques in the situation I described.

It's not advanced, really. It's just how the chips work these days, even the low-cost commercial ones. I'm sure the application layer developers just read the velocity off the GPS receiver chip without knowing or caring how it's done. But clearly however they're doing it, it could be done better. I get the sense that the hardware/electronics guys at Garmin are super sharp, but the application layer (and by "application" I mean the embedded application on the watch/head unit) aren't that great. Like some in this thread I got tired of it and switched to Wahoo.
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