Samsung Gear Fit 2 voice guide at intervals not working at all: The Fix.

This is a really short note to help other people trying to get their broken Samsung Gear Fit 2 voice “guide at intervals” to work.

In short, by activating the “guide at intervals” function on the Gear Fit 2, you can get a synthesised voice to give you all kinds of stats while you are running with bluetooth earphones. In my case, I set it up to give me distance, pacing and heart rate information every 0.5 km. This helps me to control my pace and extend my run.

After a recent phone swap, my Gear Fit 2 stopped giving me any kind of voice guidance. The music would continue playing, but at the first 0.5 km point when the voice guidance should have piped up, the watch would jump back to the watch face, instead of staying in the exercise app.

As seems to be par for the course with the Gear Fit 2, this was highly frustrating behaviour, with no help from the phone user interface or any of the Samsung documentation.

After some to-and-fro on the Samsung forums, Dutch user BarryNL came up with the answer.

It turns out that if the phone language is set to anything other than “English (US)”, the voice guidance seems to crash the running app, dumping you at the watch face during your run.

I switched my phone from “English (South African)” to “English (US)”, rebooted the phone, then rebooted the Gear Fit 2, and finally went out for a quick test walk.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 voice guide at intervals was back!

I am really happy to have this core feature back, and to have the exercise app stay active until the end of my run. However, this undocumented behaviour, as well as the fact that the watch, which has more than enough processing power and a beautiful display, does not give any kind of feedback to help the user correct the issue, makes for an extremely frustrating experience.

Google’s 0-shot neural machine translation system shows intriguing evidence of an interlingua

In recent research (full paper also available), researchers from the Google Brain and Google Translate teams have shown intriguing evidence of a so-called interlingua, that is, a language-agnostic common representation of sentences with the same meaning from different languages.

What I also found interesting about this work (and related to the above finding), is that they’re able to perform translations between language pairs that the system has never trained on.

A further pleasant surprise was seeing how they used the t-SNE visualization technique to embed the high-dimensionally represented sentences in 2D, in order to study the interlingua phenomenon.

Samsung’s 960 Pro M.2 NVME SSD is lightning fast in synthetic benchmarks, not so much in real-world.

Samsung’s 960 Pro M.2 NVME SSD is lust-worthy:

Two Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVME SSDs. Photo by Edward Chester at Ars Technica.

In Ars Technica’s benchmarks, the 512 GB model clocked in at over 3500 megabytes per second sequential read and 2000 megabytes per second sequential write. Those are jaw-dropping performance numbers.

What I find really interesting however, is that the 960 Pro does not perform much better than the previous generation 850 Pro SATA SSD in PCMark 7 and 8 real-world benchmarks. (Random IOPS performance of the drive is also really good.)

The implication is that most normal users will not subjectively experience much difference in speed between the 960 Pro and the older, much cheaper, model.

Does this mean that we have reached some sort of theoretical limit where increases in drive speed simply do not impact normal computing activities anymore (some sort of performance plateau), or are there changes conceivable to the rest of our hardware and software to increase the effect of drive speedups?

Microblog posts will NOT email subscribers anymore

One of my three subscribers was understandably less than happy about receiving email for every microblog-style post here.

Using the Code Snippets plugin and the jetpack subscriptions exclude categories filter, I have now configured the blog so that in theory it should not mail subscribers when I post in the microblog category.

In short: Email subscribers won’t receive any microblog post emails. I hope this helps!

A blacksmith and a lumberjack walk into a bar

Jack Black brewery’s Lumberjack is an amber ale craft brewed in Cape Town. As bottle designs go, this one is pretty metal:

lumberjack_front

Amongst a number of impressive-sounding statements, the back of  the bottle concludes with:

Lumberjack has a sturdy malt driven backbone packed with loads of roasted malt. Huge hop additions intensify the piney-citrus aromas of this full flavoured ale. A beer for the brave.

After reading that, who does not want to drink this beer for the brave?! Based on extensive testing, I can report that this is indeed a full-bodied beer that deserves and rewards your full attention.

The Blacksmith’s Kitchen is a vineyard restaurant in Paarl. It looks like this:

blacksmiths_kitchen

The views from the outside tables are quite beautiful:

blacksmiths_kitchen_view

Weather permitting (which is very often in Paarl), this kitchen is absolutely worth a visit.