Comcast, Chrome, DNS, Crashes, Oh my …

So here is a story. I’m posting this in hopes of saving someone else a couple of days of headaches like I just had. So there we were, my wife and I sitting on the sofa when she tells me that Google Chrome is crashing on her Macbook. So I check it out and sure enough, after launching Chrome it immediately crashes, showing us a dialog which tells us that Google Chrome has quit unexpectedly.

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Well, that sucks. So I try some searching on the inter-webs and ran across these for starters.!topic/chrome/Ou60f8SUnKA

Neither of which were of any help. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Chrome several times with no luck. At this point, I’m concerned so I check out my Macbook and well, the same story. OK, this really sucks. So I look for earlier versions of Chrome to try to install, which are hard to find.

I also find Google Chrome’s release channels so I try installing beta and dev builds.

Still no luck. We then notice that Chrome on our iPhones is also crashing on startup. So at this point, I’m thinking a Chrome update or maybe an Apple update was the culprit. But there wasn’t a lot on the inter-webs discussing this issue. If it had been a recent update I would expect a lot of yelling and screaming out there. So I left this for researching later and ready for few drinks to release some frustrations. Sitting down with a drink and ready to watch some Netflix on our Apple TV, I pull up Netflix and bam! White screen, nothing. Oh, I am ready to flip the f__k out! I filed a bug report on Chrome and decided to call it a night.

Then today, at work I notice that Chrome on my iPhone works. OK, this crazy. Then it sort of dawns on me. While searching the inter-webs I remember running across a post on Reddit about Comcast DNS issues. I then remember the Chrome crash report. The crash was in the libresolv.9.dylib library and the bug was assigned to their Internals>Network>DNS components. So as soon as I get home I find the following information about using Google’s Public DNS.

So, I set the DNS IPv4 and IPv6 settings on our WiFi router, reboot, check my phone, now Chrome works from the home network, right on. I check Chrome on my Macbook, hell yeah, we’re rocking with my favorite browser again. I then switch to Apple TV, click on Netflix and Booyah! We got Netflix. Now who’s the shizznit? That’s right. A little strutting a couple of celebratory beers. That headache is finally resolved. In any event, I had to post this in the event someone is in my shoes searching for a resolution. It was definitely not a straightforward issue but had I read the crash report a little closer and put the other information together sooner, I could have had this resolved much quicker.

So long Runkeeper, hello Strava

I had been using Runkeeper since about 2009.  Recently, about the same time Jo and I upgraded to new iPhones, Runkeeper’s GPS tracking became so inaccurate it was virtually useless.  Runkeeper would report my runs as more than twice the actual distance, and the GPS points during a run were mostly a jumbled mess.  At first I thought it might be the new phone or the new version of iOS, but after a Runkeeper update and the issue was still not resolved, I submitted a bug report to Runkeeper.  I received a very generic response of trying the various basic steps which I had already done, so I wasn’t very happy with that response.  The response from Runkeeper also reminded me that I could manually edit my run data to remove inaccurate GPS points along my run, which I had been doing but it was extremely tedious and annoying.  Meanwhile there were other various minor issues with Runkeeper, but the poor GPS tracking was a deal breaker.  I mean, a run tracking app at the very least should track runs fairly accurately, otherwise they are kind of missing their whole core competency.

So I started researching other running apps.  If a new run tracking app would track my runs without issue then I knew it wasn’t my new phone.  That’s when I ran cross this thread on reddit.  After reading this thread I knew I was not alone with my issue.  Also, one of the really cool pieces of information from this thread was the Tapiriik site. This site allows you to migrate your running data from one service to another.  This was awesome news.  That was one of the biggest downers about potentially leaving Runkeeper is that I’d lose my running data history.  So after reading the thread I decide to give Strava a try.  After installing it and setting up an account, I went for my first run, and sure enough Strava tracked my run with reasonable accuracy.  It also syncs with the heart rate monitor I was already using and I like their web site well enough.  The only thing Strava doesn’t do that Runkeeper did was during my run, Runkeeper audio cues would also provide my current heart rate.  Strava does not do this so that’s a nice to have feature they could add.  Other wise I am totally happy with Strava, and it’s free.  I was paying for Runkeeper Elite.

Notice I said Strava tracked my run with reasonable accuracy.  One of the down sides to running in the city is the large buildings will interfere with GPS tracking.  See the image below.

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You can see as I run along Bush Street there are portions that look like I’m jutting off the street and running through buildings.  Obviously this isn’t the case and Runkeeper even used to have this level of inaccuracy as well, but with the more recent versions it went from this to something that looked like I was running a full block or more off of Bush Street, or running back a block, then forward a block, or running in complete circles.  It was basically just a jumbled mess.  I should have saved one of my unedited runs in Runkeeper to show here.  You can see that with Strava, once I get out onto the Embarcadero the GPS tracking improves quite a bit.  However this was not the case with the more recent versions of Runkeeper.  See the following image.

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It was sad to leave Runkeeper since I had been using it for a while, but there was a noticeable increase in issues that both my wife and I noticed.  With that said, it was nice to run across Strava.  It offers all the features I had, minus one, and for free, and they have a great web site.  Strava also has a cool social aspect and a really cool feature called Flybys that shows other runners on Strava that you run by during your route.  It’s a very cool app and well worth checking out.

Thanksgiving San Francisco Turkey Trot, and more …

Jo and I started our Thanksgiving morning by running the 5 mile San Francisco Turkey Trot in Golden Gate Park.  It was a very cold morning and unfortunately before the race, the race swag, signage, and snacks were stolen, but the race went on.  More info on the theft.  Jo’s new company, Chegg was kind enough to provide us both with running shirts, go team Chegg!  Oh that’s right, I haven’t mentioned that before.  Jo recently left Gap Inc. for a director position with Chegg, a company that provides services to students.  The race was a blast.  While getting up before sunrise and freezing our butts off was not that great, the run was well worth it.  So after a nice 5 mile run, Jo and I had a great Thanksgiving dinner at Sutter Pub.  The food was excellent and best of all, no clean up afterwords.






Walking home from work through China Town

While walking home from work I sometimes cut through China Town.  This evening was especially lovely out.  Every once in a while, even as someone who lives in this city, I just have to stop and recognize how beautiful it can be.  I think in our day to day lives we can get jaded or at least just take for granted that we live in a city in which tens of millions of people visit per year.  Also as anyone living in San Francisco knows, more and more people are wanting to live here resulting in outrageous housing costs.  So, who knows how long we’ll even be able to live here, but for now, I’m just going to try to appreciate my surroundings a bit more.