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Misfit Or Misfortune

I have had my troubles with fitness bands, trackers and motivational tech and last week was no exception. The Misfit Flash so appropriately named met on all the tech but lacked on comfortability and so tracking health and fitness came at a price, the cost of comfort and so another tracker bites the dust.
I have opted for the Jawbone Move, a similar bit of tech slightly cheaper but far more comfortable and a perfect substitute until the release of all the big named wearable tech in March/ April of 2015.
I was a bit disappointed that the Misfit Flash had so much going for it, it was stylish, compact, affordable and yet lacked in comfort after long periods of wear, the sort of thing you do not expect from wearable tech and for me clearly a Misfit or was it misfortune?
So the Misfit Flash has be returned and exchanged for the Jawbone Move, lets see how tiny tech does now.

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The Flash

The wearable has become the new bit of tech that the body conscious or those who are concerned that they be sitting on their arse a bit to much are using at the moment, but that is all set to change in 2015.
The tech on these fitness bands are becoming so advanced that more and more data about yourself can now be monitored, in some of these wearables sleep tracking is also an option.
Several years ago I had a Nike Fuelband and I think because at that time, wearables were in the early stages, it just did not meet the expectations that Nike had made the band out to be and the Fuelband was forever losing data in-between the sync relationship from phone to wearable, not a good start.
However the 2015 horizon is looking good for the best of the best.  Apple have jumped on to the bandwagon of wearables with its iWatch and those wearables that did not seem to come up to the mark now do.  Jawbone also had a misfortune in its early stages but now seem to be heading the way as wearers want more and Jawbone offer all that and more in its latest model the UP3, due to be released any time soon.
My only concern is what do you buy into in the meantime when you know there is going to be update soon for the bit of tech you really want?
I’ve opted for the Misfit Flash, the budget bit of tech that might be cheap but offers more than most for your buck and has released its latest model ‘The Flash’.

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Small and as colourful as you want it to be ‘The Flash’ is packed with preset features and is waterproof, lasts six months on a single battery, comes with a wristband and clip-on accessory, works with iOS and Android, and tracks steps and sleep.
The Flash is not just waterproof for the shower and the bath but to 3ATM, which means it can be worn in water down to 96 feet in depth (Note: water resistant and waterproof tech should never be worn in salt water, though). So you can wear it in the shower or while swimming. In the Misfit app it has a fitness tracking mode that recognizes swim activity.

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You click the Flash's soft-touch top to show daily progress as the LED lights complete a circle (for instance, if 6 of 12 dots are lit, you've completed 50 percent of your daily step goal). Afterward, it even tells the time via flashing dots for hours and minutes. 
Sleep tracking records automatically, just like on the Misfit Shine, and it does a pretty good job of guessing when you actually went to sleep. It records "light" and "deep" sleep plus the hours slept, which is not as rich a sleep-tracking tool as more advanced REM-sensing, heart-rate-enabled ones such as Jawbone and Fitbit's upcoming wearables, but it is fine for the price.  You can also set a smart alarm that wakes you at your lightest sleep pattern closes to your wake up time, a feature I tried out yesterday only to be woken a whole hour before my actual alarm clock, thankfully I did not feel groggy, so even though I was up earlier than I wanted to be I was not in a bad mood about it or wanting to go back to bed, The feature works.

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The Flash works via Bluetooth with the Misfit app, which is available for iOS and Android and soon for Windows Phone. You will need Bluetooth 4.0 to sync with the Flash: iPhone 4s or later, iPod Touch 5th gen, and iPads going back to the 3rd-gen Retina, or Android 4.3 or later phones. It syncs easily, and the Misfit app cleanly lays out daily progress in steps and sleep. It allows you to label activity sessions, and the app integrates with a variety of other ecosystems: My FitnessPal, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, Walgreens and many more.

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It comes in seven bright colors. It's cute. Does it reinvent wearable health tech? No. Keep in mind that the Jawbone Move also costs about the same price and does nearly the same thing, but it's not water resistant and for recording sleep you will need the wrist band that is at, yes you guessed it, an optional extra.
I have used Jawbone apps and find that they go that bit deeper for information, but I like wearing my wearables in the shower, too. So until the latest UP3 is available this is the bit of tech for me.
Budget, but beautiful in every way.

WWDC 2012

Every Apple lover’s favourite time of the year has arrived. June 11 marked the first day of the Worldwide Developers Conference, and after weeks of rumours and speculation, we finally found out what Apple had in store for us.
With the kickoff of WWDC in San Francisco, Apple has announced the availability of their next major version of OS X: Mountain Lion. It will be available in July for £12.88 from the Mac App Store.
This version of OS X bridges the gap between iOS and Apple’s line of computers even more by bringing in elements that were formerly found only in iOS. What this means is a tighter integration of data for those that use an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac with 200 new features.
Apple announced its upcoming OS X operating system, Mountain Lion.

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Available for Lion users as a beta, the final version of Messages will be available preinstalled on all Macs with Mountain Lion.
Messages is the upgraded version of iChat, but now you will be able to send and receive unlimited messages from anyone with an iPhone or iPad (running iOS 5), and Mac. You can send text or photos, videos, documents, and even contacts through Message; the ability to send out a group message is built-in too.
Similar to BlackBerry Messenger, users can see when their message has been delivered and whether someone has read the message (if enabled), or if they are working on a reply. You can even make FaceTime calls right from Messages too.
Messages, just like iMessage on iOS, features end-to-end encryption, so you do not have to worry about your messages being intercepted, they will stay safe and private.
If you link your Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, all of your messages will be kept synced together, so you are able to continue conversations from one machine to another.

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With Mountain Lion, the gap between desktop computing and iOS becomes even more blurred since Notification Center is finally here. With it, you will be able to see whenever something new happens on your computer, whether it is a new email, message, friend request, calendar alert, or more.
Notification Center on the Mac will look just like its iOS counterpart, with the banner notifications that appear long enough for you to get a glance, and then disappear just as quickly so the interruption is very brief. With a simple swipe, you can pull up the entire Notification Center tray, which will show all of your notifications in a single, organised list. Clicking any notification will open the selected app, just like on your iPhone and iPad.

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Mountain Lion will have system-wide dictation. Now you can just type what you want to in any application.

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Also taking the stage at WWDC, Apple’s head of mobile software Scott Forstall kicked off his iOS 6 presentation noting how, with over 365 million iOS devices sold through March, Apple’s mobile software is doing very well in the market. The latest publicly available version, iOS 5, has been installed on over 80% of available devices. Released in October 2011, iOS 5 has seen exceptional adoption: over 140 million iMessage users have sent over 150 billion iMessages to date, making it over 1 billion on average every day. Directly integrated into iOS 5, Twitter saw a 3x growth increase, with over 10 billion tweets sent from iOS 5. The numbers go on and on.There is no denying on Apple’s part that iOS 5 has been a success for developers, the companies involved, and, ultimately, the users. iOS 6, previewed and released to developers as beta yesterday, is a major new release that, with over 200 new features, will take iOS devices in “entirely new directions”.

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Apple’s voice-based assistant, Siri, is getting several new functionalities, support for more countries and languages, and new iPad compatibility in iOS 6. Keeping true to its original promise, Apple today published an official list of the countries and languages Siri will work with in iOS 6. As for the iPad, Siri will work exclusively on the third generation iteration of the device, with an interface design that is largely similar to it’s existing iPhone counterpart, only available through a floating popover window that “pops out” from the Home button in landscape and portrait modes. With iOS 6, Siri will be capable of finding movies available in your area by location or showtime. Support for flicks goes beyond fancy GPS integration, however, as Siri will be integrated with Rotten Tomatoes to show you ratings and reviews with just a command of your voice; Siri will also be able to display trailers for movies you are interested in, and load additional information such as premiere date, actors’ timelines and guest starring in other movies, and more. Siri will be getting support for Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to post tweets or status updates directly with your voice without needing to fire up dedicated applications. But if you do want to open apps, Siri will also gain a new feature to launch apps, so this autumn launching Angry Birds or Tweetbot will just be a question away. At the keynote, there was no mention of a Siri API, but Apple notes on its site that you can “ask Siri to launch Facebook and see what your friends are up to, or take a look at the latest posts on your Wall”, quite possibly hinting at some limited functionality to launch an app’s specific section through Siri.

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Lastly, Apple has been working with car manufacturers like Honda and Ford to bring “Eyes Free” to Siri: by having Siri integrated with existing voice control systems and steering wheel buttons, your iPhone’s screen will not turn on, you will not be distracted, but Siri will still be fully functional and operative.
From what we have seen at this years WWDC, iOS 6 will be about supercharging the iOS 5 experience and making it better from two standpoints: the original iPhone OS and OS X. iOS 5 didn’t get Facebook sharing, but iOS 6 will, once again stating how Apple sees social networking as a feature relevant to native and third-party applications, rather than competition.
Now it is just a waiting game to see how all these features are really going to work out and if they do become a helping hand or an hinderance, time will only tell.

Size Up

Slowly but surely I have been putting my iMac through its paces and in doing so I am discovering new features each day that are part of the system that just makes life so much easier.
I have discovered that you are not just limited to one desktop but now with as many as you want to create, so in effect you now do not need to have several monitors but just several desktops for all your applications.

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I have been running several desktops for my graphic design projects and my photography projects, with each application having its own space to work within.
Seems long gone with the days of needing more than one screen to work with and I do not need a screen solely for application palettes.

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So today I made the jump with the grouping all my applications in their respectful genres i.e. news and Internet, journal and diary and so on. Now though I'm with only one screen I'm working on several desktops within Mac OSX.
This made my second monitor redundant so I thought it would be a nice gesture to give it to Ian so that he is no longer looking at a smaller screen at home but instead a swanky 22inch screen.
I was surprised that the installation of just plug and play on a windows machine went without a hitch, I had visions of certain windows drivers not working.
The evening was then finished off with a fab homemade Lasagne with a side of salad and a scrumptious Eaton Mess.
Yummy.

Another iPhone Owner

Today I helped my sister set up my old iPhone4.
Yes, you heard it right, she is now an iPhone owner as I have had a sneaky upgrade to the iPhone 4s as my contact came to an end. Value for money it was better option to get the iPhone through my mobile phone provider rather than buy is SIM free as I usually do, because what ever way you look at it I will always need to have a mobile plan. So far ever year I have taken a discounted line package but as I am on the bare minimum and so then my provider cannot really give me with anything less and in all honesty a £10 line discount does not really compare to owning the iPhone 4s, does it?
Well, it did not take long to get the phone up and running and as Hayley already had a Apple I.D. it made everything run even smoother, the only thing we did not manage to do was set here up a me.com email address that you get with iCloud. I think due to the fact it has been out for some time that all the best email addresses have gone, that seems to be the problem with anything Apple, you kind of need to get in quick and that is one of the advantages of my interest for knowing whats going on in the Apple world as soon as it develops.
It has been less than an hour and the phone is working a charm and with no manual to hand Hayley has already grasped the basics of using the iPhone, she has also learnt a few advanced features that I have shown her and I do not think before long she will be discovering a few more.
I could tell that before I even arrived the excitement of owning an iPhone had already kicked in as after we got the phone up and running, Hayley had already made a list of applications to download.
Oh well best crack on and get these applications downloaded for her, no better still I will pass the phone to Hayley and let her do it.

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