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11
Nov

QardioBase 2 – a pricey but top-tier smart scale (Review)


I’ve owned perhaps half a dozen scales in my lifetime; analog, digital, smart, you name it. My current daily use scale is the HTC-made Under Armour Scale, and I love it. It’s solidly made, convenient, full-featured, and fool-proof.

The QardioBase 2 blows it – and all the ones before it – right away.

Build

 

Right when you pull it out the box, you can tell a lot of thought and love went into its design. The glass top is neatly sloped around the edge, and the rubberized bottom casing – not even visible 90% of the time – is soft and cleanly designed, where Qardio easily could have skimped on it. A MicroUSB port is hidden under a flap around the rim, used for wired data transfer and (in a mind-blowing revelation) to recharge the internal 12 month Li-Ion battery. Every scale I’ve ever owned – even the Under Armour Scale – has been battery powered – and we’re talking AAA or C batteries here, not Li-Ion – so having the ability to recharge it instead of replacing the batteries is nothing less than a revelatory no-brainer. Beyond that rechargeable battery, the QardioBase 2 also has built-in 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 – also rare for smart scales, which usually use one or the other or neither.

 

Performance

Initially I had some concerns with the QardioBase 2, because it was reading my weight at five pounds lighter than the UA Scale or a dumb, analog one. Flattering though that sudden weight loss was, I suspected it to be inaccurate. Fortunately, with some advice from a very helpful Qardio rep, I discovered it to be user error, nothing more. With the dumb scales of the past, all that’s been required is to stand on the scale and let it weigh you. With Qardio, though, you need to give it a firm tap with your foot to wake it up, allowing it to “zero” itself and accurately reflect your weight.

Operator SNAFUs aside, the QardioBase 2 offers a range of functionality to track your weight progress, be it gains, loss, or the development of a small parasite with a nine month gestation period in your abdomen. The scale will automatically detect which user is standing on it, up to 12 unique profiles. It not only measures weight, but also BMI (which in my opinion is a horrible decision, given that BMI is a deeply flawed, even emotionally-toxic measure of health) and body composition (the percentage of your body weight that’s Bone, Muscle, Fat, and Water). The information is mostly conveyed through the companion app rather than the LED screen, though the emoji that display when you turn the scale on are at once charming and creepy.

Yeah. This guy.

Companion App

The Qardio app is a simple affair. Unlike the Under Armour app, which strives to be a one-stop shop for all your fitness needs, Qardio’s only has three purposes; to manage your Qardio devices, record your weight progress, and automatically track your activity level (in conjunction with your phone and/or the QardioArm. It can configure your scale to four different modes – Normal (which tracks Weight, BMI, and Body Composition), Weight Only (which is useful for people with a pacemaker or other implanted device), Smart Feedback (which judges your weight gain or loss as a smiley instead of a number), or Pregnancy (if you’re expecting that aforementioned parasite). Overall it’s a pretty simple, unambitious app that more companies should emulate – too many try to be that one-stop shop in a shop full of one-stop shops.

Value

At $149.00, the QardioBase 2 is a little pricy. When compared to other similar models (for example, the Under Armour Scale at $79.99 or the FitBit Aria at $87.79) it’s definitely at the high end of the price sheet. That being said, though, I find it to be in another class when it comes to build quality and ease of use. The QardioBase 2 quickly became my go-to smart scale for daily weigh-ins, and I never looked back. My poor Under Armour Scale is is now collecting dust in the cupboard.

Buy the QardioBase 2 on Amazon

11
Nov

Niantic promises it won’t abandon Pikachu in favor of Harry Potter


Earlier this week, Niantic announced that it had acquired the rights to produce a game set in the Harry Potter universe. While there is bound to be plenty of people who are excited at the prospect of adventuring in J.K. Rowling’s famous world, there were some concerns that Niantic would abandon Pokémon Go in favor of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

After all, as popular as Pokémon GO is, the game still has plenty of issues that Niantic needs to address and fans of the game were worried that the company would abandon them in favor of a shiny new IP. However, Niantic has recently released a statement promising that development on Pokémon GO would not be harmed by Wizards Unite. 

“Just like many of you, we’re super excited about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and are working hard with our partners at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WB Games San Francisco’s development team to bring that to life,” the statement reads. However, we — the Pokémon GO development team — want to say that we are 100% committed to creating an ever-changing and growing game that gets our players exploring, meeting each other, and deepening their connection to the Pokémon universe. We’re actively expanding the Pokémon GO development team to build many more amazing features in 2018.”

This year saw several new features come to Pokémon GO, including raids and legendary Pokémon, but neither of those features have been without criticism from fans.

Wizards Unite is the first Harry Potter video game we’ve seen in some time. The most recent entry in the series was a tie-in to the Deathly Hallows movie and a game in the LEGO series. Both of those games were released in 2011. The release of a new play and movie set in the world of Harry Potter seems to have rekindled interest in the franchise, and Warner Brothers Interactive has announced a renewed focus on Harry Potter-related video games.

United under the label of Portkey Games, the new line of Harry Potter games will include mobile and console games though Wizards Unite remains the only confirmed title.

“The games will vary from mobile to console games, and will feature both new characters and — excitingly — could feature familiar characters ‘at different points in their lives’ from the Harry Potter stories,” the company said.




11
Nov

Best Gifts for Android Lovers


What will you get the Android fan in your life?

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You’ve come to the right place. After all, who would know better what to get an Android fan than the editors at Android Central, right? Here are our suggestions for those friends who love the world’s best operating system and aren’t afraid to show it.

Android figurine

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It’s the most obvious gift choice and yet, here you are, looking up the best gifts for your Android-loving friend or family member. These three-inch figurines have become nearly ubiquitous with the Android operating system. If you know someone who is a big fan of Android, they likely already have a figurine or two floating around.

The good news is that there are vast varieties of Android figurines to collect and give as a gift. The bad news is that there are figurines that only appear in a particular series, so if you’re buying a blind box, there’s no way to see what the figurine looks like before you wrap it.

See at Amazon

Android apparel

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Help your friend show his loyalty to the Android operating system with an Android t-shirt or sweater officially sold by Google. There are pages upon pages of Android-centric tees and sweaters to choose from, in a range of sizes for both men and women.

See at Google

Android Stickers

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Everyone loves stickers, and when they’re a trio of the original Bugdriod Android mascot they make a perfect gift for an Android fan. A set of three 2.5-inch vinyl stickers that are perfect for a Chromebook or the car or just about anywhere is an awesome way to show some team support.

See at Amazon

GOgroove Pal Bot Android speaker

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Why the heck not? It’s a portable, rechargeable speaker anthropomorphized as Google’s Android mascot. It’s got stereo speakers and a subwoofer, too. However, it only works with things that use a headphone jack. So, if your friend is using a Pixel 2 or another phone without a 3.5mm audio plug, it’s #DongleLife.

See at Amazon

Android Foundry Prints

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Help your sibling decorate her barren walls with posters from the Android foundry. You can buy each print individually or a set of four for $48. There are nine to collect in all. Be sure to pair it with a nice frame, too. Amazon has plenty to choose from.

See at Dead Zebra

Android Ice Cube Trays

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What to give that one person you know who has everything? A silicone Android Ice Cube Tray!

Eight icy Android bugbots will keep beverages frosty all year long, and the tough silicone mold will outlive us all. If you’re my secret Santa this year, take this as a hint!

See at Amazon

Update, November 2017: We’ve updated this article with all-new gifts for your Android lover in 2017!

11
Nov

Pay what you want to become an Adobe CC Master!


Designing posters for events, making business cards, or creating graphics for Youtube videos all take powerful designing software to complete. The Adobe Creative Cloud is the gold standard in the design industry today, used by professionals and amateurs alike.

While the Adobe CC is loaded with powerful programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, they won’t be much good to you unless you know how to use them, and learning how to use these sophisticated design programs can be tricky — especially if you want to master each program. Lucky for you, Android Central Digital Offers has the perfect solution.

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Right now through Android Central Digital Offers you can pay what you want for the Adobe CC Lifetime Mastery Bundle! That’s right, you don’t have to pay a cent more than you want; here’s how it works!

Pay what you want (minimum 1$) and if that’s less than the average price you’ll still get two excellent courses!
Pay more than the average price and you’ll get the entire bundle of courses!
Beat the Leader’s price and you have a chance to win a giveaway prize!

This bundle of courses gives you lifetime access to valuable training content for all of Adobe’s most popular designing programs. Regardless of your skill level coming into the courses, you will learn essential skills for using Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, After Effects and more! Here’s just a sampling of the topics covered:

  • Use selection tools, work with layers, master crop and transform functions, and more.
  • Apply Photoshop filters, layer styles, and explore adjustment layers.
  • Understand the Type tool, blending shapes and colors, and basic effects.
  • Discover transparency and graphic styles.
  • Use templates and styles to speed up creating documents.
  • Explore graphics file formats and print terminology.

This entire bundle would normally cost you hundreds of dollars but is available right now through CrackBerry Digital Offers for only $10!! Hurry up and jump on this offer before the price goes up!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

11
Nov

Take a break and join in this weekend’s comments thread


The place where you can talk about anything with anyone.

We do this thing every weekend here at Android Central. Our weekend comments thread is a place where people who first came here because they are Android users and fans can talk about anything with the people they’ve come to know.

It’s a nice break from the discussion (often passionate discussion) that surrounds tech and phones and Android and everything else. This is just a place to chill out and talk about what’s going on with you and what you might be doing for the weekend.

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I’m starting way too late to try and get a chess set made for a family friend in time for Christmas. I just found out he wanted one and when a respectable young man (he’s 13) admires a wooden chess set and tells his mom he’d like one of his own, the tools come out and the hands get busy.

Besides, it’s fun and it always feels good to look at something you made once it’s finished. Now to hope I can get it finished in six weeks. Heck, here’s hoping I can even get the right wood delivered in six weeks!

What are you up to this weekend? It’s awesome talking to other people and just being friends.

11
Nov

I spent a day working in Windows 10 Mixed Reality


By Andrew E. Freedman

When you boot up a Windows 10 Mixed Reality headset, you land in the Cliff House, a serene ranch flanked by a lake on one side and a mountain on the other. Birds chirp. You could stay awhile.

On the walls are a bunch of Windows 10 apps. I thought that would be enough to get me through my workday. I thought I could work in the Cliff House. But I was wrong: It was 8 hours in hell.

Before I go any further, I should tell you not to try this at your workplace. Keeping yourself in virtual reality for that long at a time, especially without frequent breaks, can be taxing on your eyes and possibly even your mental health.

I started my day with our usual editorial meeting and then plugged in an Acer Mixed Reality Headset to my office-issued Dell XPS 15. Setup was a breeze, but then I had a decision to make. I needed to keep my mouse and keyboard if I wanted to maintain my normal workflow. We had the motion controllers in the lab, but I might hit my colleagues next to me and behind me. Since I like my colleagues, I opted for an Xbox One controller to move around the Cliff House. After all, I had to stay at my desk, facing forward.

I picked a spot in the virtual house with two walls (one in front of me, one behind me) and a beautiful lake view with a tree and some floating islands. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to a corner office. On both walls, I started to open a few windows, and there was my first hiccup: You can use only a few apps from the Microsoft Store.

To get around not having HipChat, I logged in through the Edge browser. But my bookmarks and tools are in Chrome, so I had to open up a virtual version of my desktop and place it on a wall. I also use TweetDeck, Firefox, Sublime Text, Photoshop and a number of other apps that don’t work natively in Windows Mixed Reality. Since I use three monitors at once, I placed them on both walls and turned as necessary to see them.

If this sounds tiring, that’s because it is. Eventually, I made one big monitor my main view and switched it between my three desktops with a dedicated button as necessary. Of course, that meant I missed out on some emails and messages. While Outlook’s notifications are built into Windows, HipChat’s aren’t, so they didn’t pop up in the Cliff House.

When I was writing in a Google Doc, the system was usable. The text wasn’t all that crisp, and I could see the pixels, and the Acer headset’s 1440 x 1440 lenses have blurry peripheral vision. But it was only when I needed to use multiple programs at once that the experience got hectic. At first, I would flail wildly with the Xbox controller, researching, then typing, and back again. Whether I did that or clicked back and forth between monitors, it was kind of a mess. You can have only one virtual desktop running at a time, too. The rest go to sleep unless you click on them and actively use them.

Of course, before getting to do any work, I was constantly adjusting my distance from the document, as it was too big or too small. Eventually, I hit my Goldilocks position and tried to stay there as much as possible.

And there were other hiccups. When viewed through the headset, my desktop just didn’t respond to some clicks, or needed to be clicked multiple times. I couldn’t tell you why, but sending a new email in Outlook required multiple tries, as did creating a new Google Doc.

At one point, I needed another browser window. I tossed Edge on a wall over my right shoulder and had to walk over to it when I needed to reference it. When I came back, I lost my Goldilocks spot and had to find it again. And every time I tried to place a cursor somewhere, the VR keyboard would pop up, even though I was using a real keyboard, and I swatted it closed like I was squashing a fly.

Once, when I was researching a product on Amazon, I hit a key combination and the entire website fell off the wall. I couldn’t pin the site back, so I deleted it and created a new version to pin it back against the wall where it belonged.

All of this, of course, slowed me down. I wasn’t as productive as I would have been with proper monitors, and, perhaps, proper socialization.

Besides all of the technical issues, there were social problems. We have an open office, and I sit among all of my colleagues. While I could hear their voices with the headset on, I couldn’t see them, and I felt isolated from the rest of the team, trapped in a dream-house-turned-prison. I was lonely. I didn’t dare put headphones on, lest I lose my grip on reality entirely.

It’s also strange to go that long without seeing your hands, especially when using a keyboard and mouse. I’m a pretty solid touch typist, but without the peripheral vision of my own appendages, I started to disassociate the touching with the typing.

At one point early in the morning, I grabbed my water bottle, only to find that the headset jutting off of my face blocked the bottle from reaching my mouth. Luckily, I could flip up the visor without taking the whole headset off.

Remember when I said you need breaks? By 12:30 p.m., my eyes were dry and tired, and I was never happier to go get a salad in my life. Since it was a break, I took half an hour without the headset. I felt better, and besides, I couldn’t see my salad in VR.

Otherwise, I was in the headset unless I had to leave my desk. I learned to savor any time when someone needed me on the other side of the office, though that was infrequent. Bathroom breaks were a chance to rest my eyes. When I looked in the mirror while washing my hands, I noticed a big red mark at my hairline, where the top of the headset was resting. I was quite uncomfortable.

By 3 p.m., I was wondering, “Should I have consulted with an ophthalmologist first? Why didn’t I elect for our company’s vision insurance benefit?” As the day went on, the image and pixelation looked worse.

Speaking of the time, it’s tough to hit a deadline in VR. The Cliff House is like a casino — it has no clocks — so it’s hard to tell how much time you’ve spent there. My options were to hit the Windows key, which brought up a version of the Start menu; open an empty desktop to see the task bar; or, in my descent into madness, frantically type, “What time is it?” into Google.

Unable to see the outside world, I opened myself up to all sorts of practical jokes. Many colleagues took photos of me working with the headset on. Senior writer Caitlin McGarry posted one on Twitter (have you ever been on Twitter in VR? It’s awful), which was then retweeted not by other colleagues, but Tom’s Guide itself.

Typical day at @tomsguide with @FreedmanAE working in VR, as one does. pic.twitter.com/39lqBZPwFl

— Caitlin McGarry (@Caitlin_McGarry) November 1, 2017

Of course, there were a few positives. Once the oddity of me sitting there in the Acer headset became more normal to my co-workers, there were fewer points during the day when they bothered me unnecessarily (though I would’ve welcomed the interruptions, considering the loneliness thing). I could also goof off a bit if I wanted. Edge browser windows in the Cliff House that aren’t on your desktop don’t show up to anyone but you, so no one would know if I was wasting time (which I totally wasn’t, Boss, I swear!).

At the end of the day, with a bit of headband sweat and tired, dreary eyes, I managed to write out one last article: this one. Now, I’m going to take this headset off, shut down my computer and spend some time outside with real people. Maybe tomorrow I won’t see pixels anymore.

11
Nov

Recommended Reading: Trust your gut


Is Your Gut Microbiome the Key to Health and Happiness?
Amy Fleming,
The Guardian

You’ve likely heard the phrase “trust your gut” at some point in your life, but the key to being healthy and happy could actually lie in all of those organisms in your digestive system. The Guardian lays out the case for how influential your gut really is and discusses the act of “poop doping.” Yes, that’s a thing.

Something Is Wrong on the Internet
James Bridle, Medium

A detailed look at the disturbing kids videos on YouTube and why it’s a major problem that’s doing real damage.

A Surfer and a Scientist Teamed up to Create the Perfect Wave
Jon Cohen, Science

It can be hard to find a beach that creates great waves for surfing, so surfing champion Kelly Slater teamed up with a fluid mechanics specialist to create the perfect conditions in an artificial lake.

How Journalists Fought Back Against Crippling Email Bombs
Julia Angwin, Wired

A subscription email attack hit ProPublica writers after publishing a story on extremist websites. Instead of folding, the journalists took action.

11
Nov

iPhone 8 Production Said to Drop Significantly Given Popularity of iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X


With fewer major selling points and given a consumer preference for the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects iPhone 8 production to see a 50-60 percent sequential decline this quarter.

In his latest research note for KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the lower-than-expected iPhone 8 demand could result in fewer orders for Apple supplier Pegatron, which assembles the iPhone 8 in Taiwan.

Pegatron — iPhone 8 production to decline 50-60% QoQ in 1Q18F on lower-than-expected demand: With fewer major selling points and given a consumer preference for iPhone 8 Plus on a limited price gap, we expect iPhone 8 production orders to see 50-60% QoQ decline in 1Q18F, potentially shrinking Pegatron’s utilization rate. But considering new iPhone orders may become more diverse (compared with a single model of iPhone 8 in 2H17), and assuming the new models will come with more compelling features than iPhone 8, we are positive on Pegatron’s growth momentum in 2H18F.

Just this week, research firm Canalys said the iPhone 8 Plus outpaced the iPhone 8 last quarter with shipments of 6.3 million units versus 5.4 million units respectively. Canalys said the iPhone 8 Plus is the first Plus-sized iPhone to out-ship its smaller 4.7-inch sibling in a single quarter.

Apple doesn’t disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, but chief executive Tim Cook said the iPhone 8 Plus has “gotten off to the fastest start of any Plus model,” which came as “a bit of a surprise” to the company.

Kuo remains positive about iPhone X demand, and estimates production will rise 35-45 percent this quarter compared to last quarter, which should help to alleviate supply constraints heading into the holiday shopping season. The device still has a 3-4 week shipping delay online, with limited in-store availability.

Kuo said Apple’s primary manufacturer Foxconn will convert its iPhone 8 Plus production lines into iPhone X lines in late 2017 to fulfill additional orders. Still, Apple is unlikely to achieve supply-demand balance until 2018.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone XTags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi KuoBuyer’s Guide: iPhone 8 (Buy Now), iPhone X (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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11
Nov

Chromebook multitasking to improve with ‘split view’ (with one big catch)


Now that touchscreens have become more common on Chromebooks, Google will introduce a split view for improved multitasking — but only for some apps.

The update doesn’t come from an official announcement: It was discovered in the Dev Channel in the latest version of Chrome OS. The feature was spotted in version 64’s Dev Channel by Chrome evangelist François Beaufort, who said the feature was called “Split view in Tablet mode.” Similar to how Windows 10 works, Chrome OS split view works by dragging any window to the screen’s far left or right. The system then snaps it to either side, making it easier to have multiple apps open at the same time.

As with many things related to Android apps in Chrome OS, however, the feature may not function correctly with apps from the Google Play Store. Beaufort claims that “some Android apps don’t support snapping and therefore won’t work with split screen.” In particular, according to comments on Beaufort’s post, Android games are refusing to split. It’s an unfortunate exception, but it nevertheless solves a key Chromebook problem. It also gives Pixelbook users an easier way to handle multiple windows in tablet mode and opens the door to additional multitasking features in future updates to Chrome OS.

9to5Google guesses that we should see the feature rolled out within version 64 in early 2018 based on the rhythm of previous releases.

Google brought split-screen multitasking to Android years ago in 2016, but as Android tablet are nearly extinct, Google is turning its attention to tablet mode in Chrome OS. In addition, Android on smartphones also have a split-screen mode that allows some multitasking. As it stands, multitasking on Chromebooks in tablet mode is fairly limited to fullscreen mode, even for larger 2-in-1s like the Pixelbook or Samsung Chromebook Pro.

Apple introduced a fairly comprehensive update to multitasking for the iPad in iOS 9 in 2016.




11
Nov

iPhone X problems, and how to fix them


The iPhone X is completely different from any of its predecessors. It’s the first iPhone to boast a stunning OLED screen, as well as the first to do away the iconic home button.

But like any smartphone, there are always a few issues that crop up. We’ve compiled a list of iPhone X problems, after scouring through support threads and forums, and we also have fixes and workarounds to make sure your new iPhone keeps working perfectly.

Problem: Screen burn-in

Shortly after the release of iPhone X, Apple released a statement about OLED display used in the phone. The company noted that over time, “image persistence” or “burn-in” could appear on the phones.  

Burn-in occurs when a static image on a screen that’s on for a while gets burned into the display permanently. For example, if you leave your iPhone X screen on for quite a while, the icon of an app may get  burned into the screen, so much so that you can see its faint outline when watching a video.

It seems like Apple is being proactive here and warning users that burn-in could occur on the iPhone X in the future, as OLED screens are often prone to the problem.

Workaround:

  • Apple recommends you reduce the brightness on your phone. To reduce the brightness on your iPhone X, pull down on the right side of your screen to open the Control Center and adjust the brightness slider.
  • Turn on Auto-Lock.  Since static images are much more likely to cause burn-in, you’ll want to make sure that your screen will turn off when you’re not using the phone. To turn on Screen-Lock, go to Settings > Displays & Brightness > Auto-Lock.  Set your display to turn off after 30 or 60 seconds of inactivity.

Problem: iPhone X not working in cold temperatures

A number of users on Reddit have reported that the iPhone X stops working when they are in cold temperatures. The problem typically only lasts a few seconds though some users have experienced a longer freeze-up. Luckily, Apple is aware of the problem and is working on a software update that should address the issue.

Workaround:

  • Users report that locking/unlocking the screen will fix the problem.

Problem: Green line appearing on screen

Apple Insider reports a small number of iPhone X users see a persistent green line on the left or right side of the screen. People who have experienced the issue say the line does not appear when you first turn on the phone, but after using it. Samsung, the manufacturer of the iPhone X display, had a similar problem with the Samsung Galaxy S7, leading people to believe this may be a hardware problem.

Solution

  •  Apple is aware of the issue and is currently replacing affected units. The company is also gathering data from the damaged devices to determine the source of the problem. If you have an affected unit, take the phone to an Apple Store or contact them by phone at 1-800–694–7466, or online here.




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