Bright Stove

Reflecting information risk journey

Losing heart earned data

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I haven’t been running for the past two weeks due to the numerous short trips and started with the treadmill at the gym yesterday, which covered a nice 6 km distance. Today, managed to get home earlier and seeing that the sky was still bright and shining, I quickly changed and dashed out for a longer distance run to cover my favorite Chaoyang Park 9 km track.

Being winter now, the sun sets pretty early and quickly, and being Beijing, it is always windy when the sky is clear. Today is no exception. The temperature was around 9 degree Celsius, and the wind was strong. In less than 2 km, I started to feel that my feet were freezing, like being solidified, even though I had extra think socks, wearing two layers pants, and three layers of shirts (with a wind breaker as the outermost layer). As I ran on the first part of the Park towards the north, the wind were face-on. When I turned, at some corners, trapped wind were blowing all over.

While on the run, as usual, I monitored my pace with the Nikeplus device hooked on my little iPod Nano. The first check was at 3.8 km point, and as I turned the second corner at around 5.9 km, I clicked the center button and everything went quiet. My running was disrupted, then I pulled out the iPod to check what happened. Meddling with the buttons here and there, the pace count continued, and suddenly, the Powersong that I set up previously (with U2 singing the “Where the streets have no name”) came out, replacing the playlist that I was on. At that point, I was only about two-third of my planned track, I’m not going to dash with U2 for another 4 km. I switched to the menu option and upon pressing the “Change songs” option, the iPod rebooted itself 😦 That was the worst timing to have a software error resulting in a system reset for the entire device. My “heart earned” run data just vanished as a result.

After the reboot, I restarted the Nikeplus program and continued my run, but with a new count. So this run is counted as a 3.84 km run, as shown in the chart below, instead of the actual 9+ km.

This is not the first time that such an incident happened with the iPod with Nikeplus. I’m not sure whether it is the Nikeplus software or the iPod platform has a bug somewhere, or the iPod platform. Once, when I pressed the center button on the iPod to invoke the Powersong for my final leap to make a spike on the score, the device hung and the only step I could take then was to reset it, losing the entire 9 km of heart earned run data. When I first bought the device and set up the account at the web site, for some reasons, it did not upload the data relating to the first two runs. I contacted the support desk via email and after a few rounds of to-and-fro discussion, the support line gone quiet, totally forgotten about the issue that have been reported.

Usually we may tend to dismiss such losses as trivial, since they are non-mission critical, or not even business or personal life safety or privacy critical. We however can see that more such technological devices are creeping into our way of life in many ways. Over time, more and more data will go missing, and if simple devices cannot be relied upon to help improve our lifestyle, or even achieve what they are meant to provide reliably, then what we have will just be a false sense of a technology-enabled society. It is therefore important that such small technology things work, and work reliably all the time, with adequate redundancy or provision for recovery so that they give confidence to users when we adopt more complex systems into our daily life. In fact, we are already adopting more complex technological systems into our daily life, and in some cases, they have not been living up to expectation. Sometime they do, and those occasions give light to move us forward.


Written by mengchow

November 26, 2008 at 10:17 am

Posted in Running

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