Friday, July 24, 2020

Garmin Connect Is Down, But …

Technology is great, isn’t it? Until it doesn’t work! I’ve made my living for the last 25 years on the fact that it breaks with some frequency. And when it breaks, usually there’s a person to blame. Computers are remarkably good at doing what they’re told, but tell them bad things and they do bad things.

Most bad instructions are unintentional. In the case of the outage currently affecting Garmin, they’re not. The maker of GPS devices and fitness trackers is recovering from a ransomware attack. Ransomware is software that infects the target’s system like a virus until the target pays the hacker to remove it. Some targets simply pay up; those who refuse to be extorted find a way to remove the ransomware or fall back to some system restore point.

If you use the Garmin Connect website to track your workouts, then you have been affected for the last couple of days and you probably will be affected at least through the weekend. Your device will still talk to the satellites, giving you real-time information like speed and distance, but you won’t be able to upload the data to Garmin Connect. In this look-at-me era of social media, the temporary inability to share your activities with friends, foes, and followers may feel like a great imposition, but you’ll live. Your device will keep your data safe until Garmin Connect comes back online.

Now, if you absolutely can’t wait to see whether you crushed today’s FTP test while simultaneously setting the world Everesting record, then here are a couple of options … one of which you’ve seen on this blog before.

FitTrackView is a handy utility that can read the FIT file on your device and turn it into a map like the one you see above. If you want a little more of a statistical breakdown and/or you don’t want to download an application, provides distance, duration, average speed, and elevation gain/loss. The site defaults to metric and the column headings may retain those values even when you update your preferences, but this screenshot shows my ride today in miles, mph, and so forth:

Google lists a bunch of utilities that read FIT and GPX files, so your Garmin data doesn’t need to stay locked up on your device when Garmin Connect is down. Explore your options, but explore carefully. You don’t want to invite trouble on your system while you’re compensating for trouble on Garmin’s.

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