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Monthly Archives: August 2016

7 gadgets to help Health

Gadget Health

Vivofit 2 is for those who don’t want another device to charge regularly. It has a 1-year battery life and a backlit display that shows time and activity stats for steps, distance and calories. It features Garmin’s move bar that remind you to stay active with audible alerts. Keep in mind that its sleep mode has to be set manually through the app.

GARMIN VIVOSMART HR
The Vivosmart HR is one of the cheapest bands with a continuous heart rate tracking feature. It has a touch display that shows your activity stats and even connects to your smartphone to show notifications. It has a move bar that reminds you to move around in case you keep sitting for too long. A full battery charge easily lasts around 5 days.

MI BAND
Xiaomi’s Mi Band is the cheapest wearable tracker you can get that works amazingly well. It does not have a display but syncs all the data to your smartphone app wirelessly. It tracks your steps, distance, calories and even has auto sleep monitoring. You can choose different colours of the band to suit your style and a single charge lasts over a month.

FITBIT BLAZE
Some of us don’t want to have a fitness band as well as a wrist watch—the Fitbit Blaze is the answer to this issue. It is a smartwatch focused on fitness. You get continuous heart rate tracking, colour display, activity and sleep tracking along with dedicated modes for tracking different kind of activities. Battery lasts around 5 days on a single charge.

WITHINGS BODY
This futuristic looking weighing scale uses a technique called biometrical impedance for your body analysis. It comes with the company’s position control technology that guides the user on where and how to stand on the scale so that it can get accurate measurement. It can measure your weight, BMI, fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, hydration level and then store it in separate profiles for up to 8 different users. All the data is synced wirelessly to the Withings Health Mate app (iOS and Android) automatically making it easy to keep track of any changes on a day to day basis.

WITHINGS WIRELESS BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR
As the name suggests, this is a blood pressure monitor that automatically syncs your blood pressure results with the Withings smartphone app. Using the monitor is very easy—just slip-on the monitor on your arm and it will automatically launch the Health Mate app on your smartphone which will give you step by step instructions on how to properly measure your blood pressure. The synced data to the app is then shown in an easy to understand chart.

GOQII
Goqii deserves a special mention for creating an entire ecosystem around tracking health and fitness along with a personal coach service. The company works on the model of charging subscription for their coach service and provides the fitness tracking band for free. You get a sleep fitness band with an OLED display and a battery life of up to 14 days.

All the data collected by the fitness band in terms of activities and sleep is synced with the Goqii app where it is analysed by your coach. The coach then identifies areas where you need to focus in order to be healthy and provides regular advice via chat or voice call. They also have a doctor service now available on the app who works with your coach to help you make healthier lifestyle choices.

10 Greatest Gadget Ideas

ON New Year’s Eve, don’t be surprised to witness more heartfelt celebrating than usual was not a year noted for its tidings of good cheer, and plenty of people will be happy to see it go.

Still, there were inspiring and gratifying success stories if you knew where to look — and the high-tech industry was one of them. Google Earth redefined how we think of our planet, the Razr phone proved that people do care about beauty, and the iPod — well, you know all about the iPod.

But some of the year’s greatest joys weren’t new products, but aspects of new products. Here and there, you could find tiny touches of brilliance: clever steps forward and new spins on old features that somehow made it through committee, past the bean counters and under the radar of marketing departments.

Here they are, the 10 best gadget ideas :

THE FOLDING MEMORY CARD — After taking a few digital photos, the next step, for most people, is getting them onto the computer. That usually involves a U.S.B. cable, which is one more thing to carry and avoid misplacing.

SanDisk’s better idea is to take the memory card out of the camera and stick it directly into your computer’s U.S.B. port.

That’s possible with the SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus card. It looks just like any other SD memory card, except that it folds on tiny hinges. When you fold it back on itself, you reveal a set of metal contacts that slide directly into the U.S.B. jack of your Mac or PC. The computer sees the card as an external drive, and you can download the photos as you always do — except that you’ve eliminated the need to carry around a cable.

THE VOICE MAIL VCR — Voice mail is a delightful invention. But trying to remember which keys to press — for replay, skip, delete and so on — is not so delightful, especially if you have more than one voice mail system to learn. Thanks to Palm, then, for adding VCR-style buttons on the touch screen of its coming Treo 700W cellphone. You just tap Skip, Play, Delete, or whatever. The phone remembers which touch tones to play so you don’t have to.

THE FRONT-SIDE TV CONNECTOR — The home-theater explosion is all well and good, but one less exciting aspect never appears in the photos: the rat’s nest of cables. Depending on how permanently your TV has been built into your cabinetry, getting behind it to plug or unplug something is either a royal pain or a full-blown construction project.

Hewlett-Packard’s latest microdisplay (rear projection) TV sets solve the problem sweetly and simply: everything plugs into the front. A broad tunnel lets you hand each cable to yourself from the back, an illuminated connection panel makes it easy to see what you’re doing at the front, and an attractive door hides the whole ingenious system.

THE BIGGER-THAN-TV MOVIE — Most digital still cameras today can also capture video big enough to fill a standard TV screen (640 by 480 pixels) and smooth enough to simulate standard TV motion (30 frames a second). But Canon’s PowerShot S80 model goes one step further: it can capture videos at even higher resolution (1024 x 768 pixels).

Why on earth would you need a video picture of higher resolution than the TV itself? Three reasons. First, your videos will look better on high-definition sets. Second, the videos fill much more of your computer screen when played there. And finally, that’s so much resolution, you can isolate a single frame and grab it as a still photograph.

TV À LA CARTE — It’s always seemed crazy that TV companies would spend $1 million an episode writing and producing a program that is shown only once. Yet the obvious solution — making past shows available for purchase on the Internet — gave TV executives nightmares of teenage download pirates run amok.

It took Apple to persuade them to dip a little toe into the Internet waters. ABC took the first plunge, offering iPod owners five shows’ worth of archives for a perfectly pitched price of $2 each — and no commercials. NBC came next with a broader menu of shows. The concept was a hit, the floodgates have opened, and the era of downloadable, reasonably priced, lightly copy-protected TV episodes is finally upon us.

THE OUTER-BUTTON FLIP PHONE — First came the cellphone with a hinge (the flip phone). Then came the flip phone with an external screen, so you could see who was calling. Problem was, this arrangement deprived you of the option to dismiss the call or send it to voice mail. If you opened the flip phone to get to the Ignore button, you’d answer the call — unless you’d turned off the “opening phone answers the call” feature, in which case you lost one great convenience of having a flip phone to begin with.

The solution? Add buttons on the outside of the phone. When a call comes in to the LG VX8100, for example, its external screen identifies the caller — and the small buttons just below it are labeled Ignore (let it ring until voice mail picks up) or Dismiss (send it directly and immediately to voice mail). You get the best of all cellular worlds, without ever having to open the phone.

THE FREE DOMAIN NAME — A domain name is what comes before the “.com” in a Web address — like NYTimes.com, verizonwireless.com or MarryMeBritney.com. Getting your own personal dot-com name has its privileges — for example, your e-mail address can be You@YourNameHere.com — but it costs money and requires some expertise.

It took Microsoft, of all companies, to make getting your own dot-com name free. Its new Office Live online software suite for small businesses, now in testing, will offer a domain name, Web site and e-mail accounts free. Yes, you’ll see ads on the screen (unless you pay for the adless version) — but plenty of people won’t mind viewing them in exchange for a free, professional-looking Web presence.

THE MODULAR DVD SCREEN — If you tallied up the amount of money you’ve spent on L.C.D. screens, you’d probably go white-haired in horror. One on your laptop, one on your digital camera, plus screens on your Game Boy, camcorder, portable DVD player, car dashboard and so on.

Audiovox has taken a small step toward reducing that redundancy with its Shuttle DVD player. It’s a portable, battery-powered DVD player (available in three screen sizes) that hangs from the driver’s-side headrest, for the benefit of the young audience in the back seat of the car. But the beauty of the Shuttle is that you can also buy docking stations for it: a car-ceiling mount, for a more permanent and central position; an under-cabinet mount, complete with AM-FM radio, for the kitchen; a cable-ready tabletop stand, with stereo speakers, for the home; and so on. The player and screen move with you from place to place, so your investment isn’t sitting wasted every time you leave the minivan.

THE FAMILY-PORTRAIT BURST MODE — If you’ve ever tried to take a family portrait, you know about Ansel’s Law: the odds of somebody’s eyes being closed increases geometrically with the number of people in the group.

That’s why Casio digital cameras, in self-timer mode, automatically shoot three consecutive snaps, a fraction of a second apart. You’ve just tripled your odds of getting one decent shot.

THE HYBRID HIGH-DEFINITION TAPE — JVC and Sony developed the first camcorders capable of recording in spectacular wide-screen high definition. This would have been a perfect opportunity for them to introduce yet another type of videocassette — some expensive, proprietary new format that wouldn’t fit any other camcorder (and would generate millions in sales).

But they didn’t. Instead, these HDTV camcorders record on everyday $4 drugstore MiniDV tapes, the same kind used in regular camcorders. In fact, you can mix and match high-def and standard video on the same tape. It took a lot of engineering to cram so much more video data onto the same amount of tape, but for home-movie buffs, it was a surprising, generous, kind-hearted move.

6 new gadgets in 2017

Office, home or on the go modern life is a constant buzz. And it’s here that new gadgets and gizmos help save time make life simpler. With the year wrapping up, there’s renewed hope in new technology. We give you a sneak-peek into six gadgets that are likely to hit the mart in 2017.

Samsung foldable smartphone:
Samsung has been reportedly working on the foldable phone for years. Reportedly, the Korean giant is brainstorming over two kinds of foldable phones, including a dual screen one with a flat screen on both sides. One of them is slated to hit the market mid next year. The smartphone is rumoured to have two flat displays on each side, with a hinge between the two displays that will allow the smartphone to have a foldable design. And once the device is folded, the displays will be inside and will be no longer visible.

iPhone 8:
Well, an Apple product and no rumours? Unlikely! The buzz is strong that the new iPhone 8 is going to be a major refresh, with the Home button, which will allow an edge-to-edge glass display, getting booted out! Apple also intends to include a new kind of technology that will allow the screen to act as a fingerprint sensor. Rumours are also rife about Apple intending to use a flexible OLED display rather that the LCD panels, that will eventually make the device lighter and also offer more vivid colours and contrasts. With the iPhone’s 10th birthday bash coming up, Apple might also include long-range wireless charging.

iPad Pro:
Staying with Apple, there is a buzz about the new iPad Pro as well. The upcoming iPad Pro will be seen in three different sizes – 12.9 inch, 7.9 inch and 10.9 inch – with some design changes, too. The tablet’s bezels may be tweaked too to make more room for the display and the new tablet is expected to come with 32GB RAM native storage, housing the brand’s yet-to-be introduced chipset A10X.

Google Smartwatch:
Google is expected to launch its smartwatches next year. The two Android Wear smart watches have been codenamed Anglefish and Swordfish. Anglefish is the high-end variant of the two and will be larger and thicker than the latter. It will have a distinct crown button on the left with a small shoulder button on the top and will be equipped with cellular connectivity, which will support both GPS and LTE. Meanwhile, the Swordfish will have a single button protruding to the left and will be compatible with the Android Wear Mode watch bands and will not support cellular connectivity.

Nintendo Switch:
Next year looks good for gamers! The iconic video game company will release its new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. This will feature a multi-touch screen and will support up to 10 touch points. It will also feature a 6.2 inches display screen with 720p resolution.

Xbox Project Scorpio:
Xbox project Scorpio, which is expected to be launched in 2017, is said to be five times more powerful compared to the current Xbox One version. It is expected to come with a VR headset and six teraflops of graphical power. It would also feature a newer and more powerful chip. Microsoft has already confirmed that the Xbox Scorpio will have a memory bandwidth of 320 GB.

Recycling electronics

Before you do anything, you’ll need to back up your data so that you have it available for your new device, and wipe it, so that nobody else gets their hands on it. Instructions for doing that will vary from device to device, so refer to your instruction manual or ask the internet.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be looking for a way to get rid of them. If they’re relatively new and desirable then you may be able to pass them on to friends or family to extend their life, or potentially even sell them on eBay.

For a more philanthropic option you may wish to consider donating them to charity. Places such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity will accept second-hand inkjet and toner cartridges, for example, and will even come and collect phones and gadgets if you have a large enough quantity of them to warrant a trip.

Likewise, Parkinson’s UK will take phones, iPods, laptops, sat-navs and camera – as well as antiques, jewellery or even cars, for that matter.

If they’re older, or broken, then recycling them may be the best option. Recent European legislation – the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), to be exact – now says that companies which make electronic gadgets must also have a facility for recycling customers old gadgets when you sell them a new one. For example, when you buy a new toaster, the company is obliged to recycle your old one if you ask them.

Many large manufacturers now have special programmes set up to handle this. Apple, for instance, has a programme whereby you can send in your old phones, iPads or computer (Mac or PC). The company will then check to see if the items are worth anything, dropping the money into your bank account if they are. If it’s not worth anything, they’ll still responsibly recycle it for you.

You can also send in any iPod or mobile phone – no matter who manufactured it – and receive 10 per cent off a new one through the Apple Retail Store. This is good news for you, as you get a discount and clear out those kitchen draws, and good news for the environment.

Other companies, such as Samsung, have got around this by instead making a donation to the Distributor Take Back Scheme, which in turn runs a network of 1,100 recycling sites across the UK that handles items made by a range of manufacturers.

In short, whatever your device, there’s likely to be somewhere that will dispose of it responsibly for you, free of charge.