What we’ve been working on…

It’s been quite a while since we posted, so thought I thought it’d make sense to update everyone a bit about, what we’ve been working on lately.

Our big focus has been to make the site less Nike-centric, and that’s meant a lot of reworking the data model that everything’s built on. It’s important because it’s the groundwork that will one day soon allow us to import data from everywhere. But at the same time it’s also really, really…dull.

The idea of putting out a release after so long with nothing but changes to the plumbing, and no awesome features in the mix was frankly just depressing. So then we started piling in lots of little cool things, and of course, all those little cool things need to be tested, and testing takes time. So here we are: Testing and fixing. Testing and fixing…

We can see the light out at the end of the tunnel though, and that light is reflecting off dozens of shiny, shimmering little features that with a little bit of luck you should be able to start playing with in the next week or so. And we should be able to take a weekend off to relax for the first time in months.

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Site Maintenance Sun March 4 11PM – Midnight EST

Please be aware: Smashrun will be undergoing standard scheduled maintenance to patch the underlying infrastructure on Sunday night March 4th from 11PM – Midnight EST.  The website will be slightly slower than normal during the majority of this window, and will be completely unavailable for a short time at the end while our equipment reboots. We regret any inconvenience caused; however, the security of your data and overall site reliability are of paramount concern to us.

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nike import issues (2.16.12) – FIXED

Nike Update: we are aware that quite a few Nike+ users are having some trouble importing their runs to Smashrun today. Last night, Nike implemented some changes to their site that is now affecting the way we import run data. We are looking into it and will try and push out a fix as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Update (2.17.12): Spent all of yesterday pinpointing the issue that came up with the Nike import and pretty much figured out what the problem was. We should be able to release a fix by this evening. Happy Friday!

Update (2.18.12): Fixed! Please try importing your Nike+ runs and let us know if you find anything unusual.

PS: keep an eye on more frequent updates via @smashrunHQ

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Time for a new color picker

We’re trying out something a little different this month… instead of looking for another generic color picker, we figured it made sense to open it up to our Smashrun community. So if you’ve got a photo that you think would be a perfect candidate, you should definitely share it!

The entry process is pretty straightforward: post your photo on Smashrun’s Facebook wall , include a 120-character description, tag Smashrun on the photo, and share it on your own wall. Ta-da! Easy peasy. Of course, if your photo is chosen, you get a snazzy color-picker badge to go along with it.

As usual, if you have any suggestions or ideas, we’re always keen to hear them. We’ll be choosing a new color picker every month so, over time, we’ll have a crazy range of “team colors” you can choose from! Just remember to read the contest Terms and Conditions.

And, for those who didn’t receive this morning’s somewhat more detailed email, you can view it here.

birthdays (and your birthday badge)

This month’s most popular question: how do I set my birthday so I can earn my birthday badge?

Ahh yes.. we definitely should have included this in the FAQ section. Very truly sorry about that. Here’s the answer: at the moment, we’re currently getting your birthday from Facebook. So, as long as your birthday is public information on your Facebook profile, Smashrun will be able to track your birthday and reward you that awesome birthday badge! Not to mention, you get a cake too.

Going forward, we will change this process and just add a birthday field in the settings page. We should have something in place by next release – more updates to follow regarding when that’ll be.

In the meantime, if your birthday is coming up soon (like in the next month) and you don’t currently publish your birthday on Facebook, you can just let us know via email when your birthday is and we’ll make sure you get the badge!

Facebook posting delays – resolved.

Over the past 2-3 weeks, we’ve had quite a few users email in about a range of Facebook issues: delays in posting, missing Facebook posts, posts that show up on the “Activity Feed” or the newsfeed but not on the Timeline – lots of weird stuff going on.

We tried to figure out what the problem was as things came up, but because the Timeline was still evolving in many ways, things kept breaking. And then we found out that the problem was actually related to Facebook’s privacy settings.

With the introduction of the Timeline, there were a lot of default permissions that have since changed and some 3rd party platforms integrated with Facebook inadvertently required re-authentication after Facebook’s last major release. So here’s what you have to do…

First you’ll need to go to your Facebook Privacy Settings.

 

 

 

 

 

On the subsequent page, next to “Apps and Websites” – click on Edit Settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, you’ll have to select Smashrun and manually remove each Facebook permission before clicking on “remove app” at the top.

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, you just log back into Smashrun, go to “settings” > Facebook > the page should prompt you to log back into Facebook and re-authorize Smashrun.

Many thanks to our Smashrunner, Mai, for giving us the heads up regarding the changes in Facebook’s old privacy settings! For any questions regarding the above, or if this doesn’t work for you, please let us know by sending us an email at hi@smashrun.com

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Nike upgrades

Looks like Nike’s down while they make upgrades. Unfortunately that means our Nike integration is down too…

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On the subject of PRs

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the PR (personal record) section of Smashrun recently, and as they come up I’ve begun to think a lot about the way I’ve implemented it and the pros and cons of the approach.

The PR section on Smashrun is pretty straight forward. I take the speed you ran and then for any run just equal to or farther than a common PR distance for the unit (km/mi) you’ve selected and I multiply the speed by the rounded distance.

An example should make this clear:

You run 10.5k in 1 hour.
So your speed is 10.5k per hour.
Running at 10.5k/hr for 10k would take only 57 mins and 8 secs.

So I use 57:08 as your PR, that way you’re not penalized for running a bit farther. The idea that something would have been a PR if only you stopped at exactly 10k just seems silly to me.

What’s good about this is that you can compare every about a 10k with every other about a 10k. I find this great because usually I just walk out my door and run, and only stop when I get home – I’m not about to start walking just because my GPS says I’ve hit exactly 10k.

Ah, but, how about if you’re in a race? Every course is different, and every racing line is different. I’ve run 10k’s that are curvy and crowded and my GPS has registered well over 10k. I think most people feel that your time is your time for a race. Your 26.6 mile marathon at 4:01:00 isn’t a sub four just because you made wide turns, right?

But at present Smashrun doesn’t this work this way. Whether a run is tagged as race or not. Your PR is the run where you ran the fastest. Period. If you ran 10.5kph on average for a 10k race that your wide turns turned into a 10.5k race. Smashrun will say that that’s faster than a race where you ran 10.1kph on a pretty straight line for exactly 10k.

So, I’m considering having two models. For races your time will be your time, but for all other runs your time will continue to be calculated as it is. But before I make this change we wanted to get your thoughts.

What makes the most sense?
Do you have any better ideas on how to handle this?

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New features and fixes

Everyone’s running is different, so each persons running stats can expose unique problems. Over the past couple months we’ve had dozens of bug reports from our users. In this latest release we’ve hopefully fixed most of the major ones. We’ve also added a few nice features and tweaks, they’re small things, but they’re things that we think you’ll like.

  • An enhanced battery meter for Nike+ users .Just click on the battery icon in the header to see a report of all the Nike sensors you’ve used in the past.
  • An enhanced PR section that includes a separate “official” flag for runs that you’ve tagged with “Race”. You’ll probably want to edit in your official time for the race as well. (Although this does lead to questions of distance ran vs. official distance for when your stuck in a big pack taking wide turns).
  • The morning/afternoon run pie chart now breaks out days in which you ran both.
  • On some badges where it makes sense, you can click on the badge to see how close you’ve come to getting the bade. The running streak, days logged in a row, and miles run in a week/month badges now show your records and when those records occurred.
  • We’ve also taken some steps to improve the internationalization of the site. Date formats, time formats, and kilometer/mile support should be working correctly throughout the site.

Happy Running,
Chris

PS.
Special thanks to Peter F, and the dozens of other users whose screenshots and detailed reports made our work a thousand times easier.

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Tweet your 2011 running stats

So last week: I posted my 2011 running report on Quantified Self’s LinkedIn group and got a message from someone who said I should also tweet it. Of course, that was easier said than done, especially because my post was so darn long:

 

 

 

I tested a few tweet variations and eventually we settled on something like Joe Cullin‘s – yeah!

 

 

 

Consider it our first step towards many more tweeting action for your sharing preferences. Keep an eye on that bouncy bird on the right… one day, that little guy will move on to doing bigger and better things within Smashrun….. but, for now, he’s sticking around so you can tweet your 2011 running stats.

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