Friday, July 24, 2015

My new post code

Until recently Ireland was one of the few countries not to have post codes. The only exception to this is Dublin which was divided up into 23 postal districts and my postcode used to be D15 (which I shared with about 50,000 people). Recently the government has launched a system called eircode which provides each address in Ireland with a unique post code. I thought this was good news until I found out the detail of how the new codes work.

My new Eircode is D15NY1* (I obscured the final character to avoid publishing my address). The D15 portion is the same as before and shows roughly where I live, but the NY1* portion is simply a random sequence of characters with no meaning. For example my next door neighbours' post codes are D15KD9* and D15WN8* so they share nothing in common apart from the D15.

For some bizarre reason the postal service think it would be a privacy issue if your  post code were to reveal where you live (is this not the whole point of a post code?). A more likely explanation for the choice of random characters is the fact that the promoters of this system are selling a database which maps between post codes and geographic coordinates. I guess commercial users might want to buy the database, for casual use there is a web site to do lookups.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whether to use MapMyRide or Strava

One of the ways to make exercise more fun is to share records of your activity with your friends so that they can like and/or comment on it. I used to record my activity regularly with MyTracks, but as my phone got older and less powerful I got out of the habit.

Recently I got a new more powerful phone and decided to start recording again. It seems that the most popular apps currently used by cyclists are MapMyRide and Strava, but I heard conflicting reports about which was best. I decided to use each of them for a month and then use my experiences to decide which is best.

Just as I was ready to write up my review, I found an existing review which summarised almost exactly what I found myself. The only additional points I would make were:

  • Strava now has support for saving routes which was one of the main features missing when the previous reviews was written.
  • MapMyRide now has support for segments which was previously a big advantage for Strava
  • There is a better social vibe on MapMyRide since it seems to have a wider range of people I know using it. Strava in contrast seems to be only used by more serious athletes whose main form of socialisation is to race each other up hills.
Overall the two applications are very close, but I decided to stick with Strava as my main app. The main deciding factor for me was the amount of annoying advertisements which appear in the MapMyRide app - they can seriously interfere with the usability.