Friday, July 31, 2015

Microsoft has made Solitaire free-to-play on Windows 10

Microsoft has made Solitaire free-to-play on Windows 10

Microsoft is tapping into its vast and loyal army of Solitaire players to recoup revenue lost by offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade.

Turning procrastination into profit, the company is charging Windows 10 users $1.49 a month, or $10 a year, to unlock the classic card game's full potential.

Solitaire comes pre-installed on Windows 10 machines and is free to play, but you'll need a subscription to remove its 30-second video ads, get more 'coins' for completing daily challenges, and play additional game modes.

Microsoft's decision to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade for the first time in history came as a surprise to many, but few could have predicted that it would have such a foolproof plan on the cards.

Review: UPDATED: TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

Review: UPDATED: TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

Introduction, Screen, Battery and Design

As impressed as we were with the TomTom Runner and Multi-Sport, it was obvious at the time that there was plenty of room for improvement.

A year later and TomTom is refreshing its watches with the new "Cardio" versions, which bring all the familiar features of the first two but with one big added extra - a built-in heart rate monitor.

Not just that, but (so far) a highly accurate one. The original Runner and Multi-Sport could be paired with a separate heart rate monitor but wrapping that strap around yourself and pairing it with the watch was a lot of extra hassle.

Like the original sports watches, the TomTom Runner Cardio is focused on, well, running, while the Multi-Sport throws in added features for tracking cycling and swimming. As a cycling device it works well, and can even be synced withTomTom's wheel-mounted cadence tracker.

Update: The TomTom Cardio Run 8RA0 running watch has been out for some months now, it's had a few updates, and now costs £170, can it still give the opposition from Garmin and Polar a run for their money?

Screen and Battery Life

Cardio

Battery life is okay. I got something like six to seven hours of use per charge. However, while that might not sound like a lot, this isn't a smartwatch that you'd wear outside of training - it's far too chunky for one thing.

This is an exercise companion that you'll strap on when you stick your running shoes on and slip off at the end. Most users will sync this every time they train, and plugging in via USB also charges it up, of course. That's if you use USB - Bluetooth syncing between the watch and its mobile app is also possible and this means your heart rate data will also now be transferred over quickly with the rest of your workout stats.

There's no touchscreen here or indeed buttons, just a large joystick-style pad at the base of the watch. It's a fairly left-field navigation method, but the UI is pretty intuitive, the monochrome LCD screen providing good contrast even in badly lit conditions.

If anything the screen is too minimalist, although I'm not sure that's an acceptable criticism for a running watch, but there's small examples where more data would be nice - like checking the battery charge requires a back-press to bring up a screen with software version detail as well. Checking the battery shouldn't be the same as checking your software version...

Design, Build Quality and Strap Comfort

As you've probably guessed from the photos, TomTom hasn't gone for anything radically new in design.

It's a bold design that has arguably dated fast (the TomTom Runner Cardio came out in May 2014), but the red highlights and black strap don't immediately embarrass on the road.

Cardio

The strap is removable and swappable for a small range of signature colours, and improves on the previous model, which suffered from a loose fit. The main watch unit is now held in a lot more securely (a gripe I had with the first watches) so it'll no longer slip out unless you apply a fair bit of pressure.

This plugs into a sizeable charging sled with an inbuilt USB cable, which you'll be carrying around a lot, and this again dates the tech here - many competitors now have a sled with microUSB plug to minimise the number of cables you're dragging around, and this system also reduces the likelihood of cable failure as it twists around the base of the charger.

On the plus side, the unit sits on the desk upright so you can see charging progress easily, although you can't operate the watch while it's connected.

Fitness Tracking

What's it like as a running watch?

The broad band hitches on easily with the unusual triple-buckle, then a quick tap right on the odd but surprisingly usable joypad takes you into sport selection mode.

Cardio

There's Run and Treadmill (outdoor and indoor), the former if selected brings up the GPS lock screen, the latter, freed from the GPS chip, gives you an instant 'go'.

While you're waiting on the GPS you've got plenty of time to head over (down) into training, where you've got the chance to race your previous PBs, chase down new goals saved via the desktop, run laps/intervals or train to HR zones.

It's a good spread of training options, and relatively easy to navigate, select and create. TomTom has done well here. However, at times the Multi-Sport Cardio can take several minutes to get going. It's frustrating, because on other occasions, in the same place, it takes just seconds.

You can turn on assisted GPS via TomTom's mobile app (it syncs with the wearable via Bluetooth) but otherwise you're in for a wait. The other issue, which is not unique to this by any means, is that it struggles to track your elevation. So if you're taking on mighty hills, it thinks you've climbed a molehill, and conversely, it'll sometimes think a perfectly flat road is Mount Etna.

There is a version of this with an altimeter but that pushes the price to £329. Testing this device against newer watches really showed this up - GPS lock often took the TomTom 3-4 minutes longer than other running watches from Garmin and Suunto.

Cardio

The UI still hasn't been updated to allow a 'skip' function, so you can get moving to stay warm. Once you've cleared that hurdle though, the TomTom is actually a very good running watch - the screen is nice and clear, the weird joypad actually quite easy to operate (at least till winter gloves are needed), and tabbing between the screens of handy data such as split times, HR, distance, time, time to goal, etc on the move is intuitive and easy.

Heart Rate Tracking

But enough on the cosmetics - how good is that heart rate monitor? First thing, in order to get the monitor working you need to make sure the watch is strapped snugly above the wrist bone.

This ensures it will get a clear reading of your pulse, which it does through two green LEDs on the back that calculate your heart rate by detecting changes in blood flow. It's pretty cool stuff.

You'll want to make sure the watch is tight enough to prevent it moving about on your workout. Luckily the watch fits comfortably around the arm so that shouldn't be much of an issue, but letting it slip down will mean a loss of accuracy.

I found that it didn't take long for the watch to find and display my heart rate, and it was easy to monitor the all-important "zone" I was in when running or pumpin' iron - a "treadmill" setting lets you use the watch without GPS, in the gym or home.

Cardio

On my test run I strapped last year's TomTom Runner onto my other wrist and strapped a heart rate monitor to my chest so I could compare the results. As it turned out, the readings were consistently close and often identical (the Cardio watch tended to be a couple of seconds behind in bpm adjustments, which I would have expected anyway).

But that wasn't enough assurance for me, so I also tested the Multi-Sport Cardio's heart rate monitor against a hospital ECG machine. Once again, the results were impressively in sync.

The new monitor also means you can train in your optimal heart rate zone - easy, fat burn, endure, speed and sprint - and the watch will alert you if you need to speed up or slow down. Zones are calculated based on your age and are not user definable but if you're not an elite athlete, that's probably not an issue.

That's if you use USB - Bluetooth syncing between the watch and its mobile app is also possible and this means your heart rate data will also now be transferred over quickly with the rest of your workout stats.

App, Additional Features and Verdict

TomTom app

In a move that will surprise nobody, TomTom has MySports apps for iOS , Android and MySports Connect software PC/Mac desktops.

I tested the Mac desktop and paired it with the Android app. The Android app is relatively simple, but once paired with your device gives you a convenient way to upload and sync your sessions, and the data that's available is decent enough.

In 'Activities' you have a chronological list of recorded runs, showing distance and duration, which once clicked through bring you a deeper level of data such as calories burned, pace, elevation, HR and stride. There's a nice splits vs laps display, and a handy graph where you can map HR to speed via the dropdowns, which is an interesting exercise.

TomTom Runner Cardio

There's also a map, which shows up the GPS chip again with a series of 'running in the river' moments, interspersed with cutting through buildings and avoiding bridges, as the error correction straight lines between plot points.

Overall it's a decent app, but nothing that an Endomondo or Runsense doesn't deliver too. The desktop (on Mac at least) feels clunkier, and can take a while to connect and sync. Once you're in you've got a similar activity interface, but with a crucial addition - a 'race this' button, which allows you to load a specific route back into the watch as a 'Race' for you to beat.

However, there's no function to construct your own 'race' without tracking it first, or to follow other people's 'races' and compete against them, such as with Endomondo, Strava, etc.

Overall it's not a bad desktop experience, but it does require a fair bit of syncing action to uncover fairly sparse stats, and by adding the 'Race this' button to the mobile app they would provide similar levels of insight.

Additional Features

Another major plus point of the TomTom is that it doesn't try and do anything else - all other sports have been stripped out in favour of the running.

There's no smartphone alerts, no sleep tracking, no activity tracker. Just running, time and date, oh, and a stopwatch. That's great news, because it's too large to be worn in general social situations anyway, and it's a very good running watch without diluting itself with other junk.

Overall I liked the single-mindedness of it.

Cardio

We liked

It's the best HR wrist sensor I've used - consistently within 1 BPM of a chest strap. The UI is very logical and it's really super-simple to get up and running - in fact waiting for satellite lock is the longest part of the process. The app is good as well.

We disliked

Surprisingly for the brand, GPS is pretty poor -- without regular syncing with a desktop or mobile app to handover your coordinates this watch takes a long time to get a satellite lock. In winter that's not very funny. It's also quite bulky, by no means a subtle device, and although its comfy enough when worn it's a big beast to truck around. Battery life is also no up to scratch, seven hours or less isn't really good enough. You might get a week's worth of runs out of it, but only just, and I found occasional random battery drain (admittedly on an older test model) stymied my plans to run with it.

Verdict

The heart rate monitor is accurate enough, kept in the optimum position by the broad strap. The watch is comfortable in use and prices have dropped considerably from the TomTom's launch.

However, the look is slightly dated, and I found the GPS pretty sketchy - a shame when so many running watches suffer from the opposite issue (terrible HR monitor, great GPS).

With a better GPS and slightly less bulk this would be an excellent running watch, but you could argue that Suunto, Polar and Garmin's top-end offerings offer similar or better results but with less compromise.

'Plasmonic' material could supercharge fibre-optics

'Plasmonic' material could supercharge fibre-optics

Fibre-optic communication is vital to the modern world. First developed in the 1970s, fibre-optic cables now connect almost every part of the globe, forming the backbone of the internet.

Now, however, we could be on the verge of a significant breakthrough in the speed of that technology. A team of materials engineers has developed a new 'plasmonic oxide' that they claim could boost optical devices to ten times faster than conventional technologies.

Their optical material - aluminium-doped zinc oxide - can reflect different amounts of light from its surface under different conditions, while requiring less power than other similar devices. An additional bonus is that it's very easy to fabricate at low temperatures.

Heat up and melt

"Low power is important because if you want to operate very fast - and we show the potential for up to a terahertz or more - then you need low energy dissipation," said doctoral student Nathaniel Kinsey, who worked on the technology. "Otherwise, your material would heat up and melt when you start pushing it really fast."

It could be used to create optical, rather than electrical, circuitry - speeding up computational processes. The researchers have already proposed creating an all-optical transistor, with Kinsey adding: "All-optical means that unlike conventional technologies we don't use any electrical signals to control the system. Both the data stream and the control signals are optical pulses."

The team published its research in the journal Optica.

Image credit: Karen // CC BY 2.0

Netflix to bring three Star Wars TV shows to the little big screen

Netflix to bring three Star Wars TV shows to the little big screen

So Amazon Prime might have been all smug about the fact it poached the much-maligned fading lights of BBC's Top Gear show, but in this game of streaming Top Trumps Netflix seems like it's got the ace card: Star Wars.

According to rumours from Cinelinx Netflix is set to work with Disney to create three new live-action Star Wars TV shows.

And we thought our Lucasfilm excitement couldn't get any more powerful…

Disney already has a deal in place with Netflix to create Marvel-based shows, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron-Fist and Luke Cage - with more on the way - so Netflix seems like an ideal home for Star Wars. After all, the final series of The Clone Wars cartoon was distributed exclusively on Netflix too.

And with the amount of money Netflix is ploughing into its homebrew TV offerings we shouldn't be looking at low-budget offerings either.

Scene-stealing

In fact reports are that filming of the TV series is being scheduled to fit between work on the various movies so that they can share the same sets. Thank JJ that they've decided to eschew Lucas' obsession with CGI in favour of actual physical things…

There has been no official confirmation though as yet, and the rumours don't seem to have any clue as to who, what or when the different TV series will cover or when they might go live.

With Rogue One covering the Rebels' troops and the second of the Star Wars Anthology movies covering young Han Solo and potentially Boba Fett too, what's left for the TV series?

We're desperate to find out what the hell happened to Ashoka, and maybe see a little more about the seedy underbelly of Coruscant's lower levels too.

Though with three new movies, three anthology flicks and potentially three live-action TV series, is that going to be too much of a good thing?

Familiarity breeds contempt and all that...

via Cinelinx

Toshiba unveils a line of affordable Windows 10 tablets

Toshiba unveils a line of affordable Windows 10 tablets

When you think of Windows 10 you traditionally think of it running on your laptop or a desktop. Microsoft is trying to change that perception, and its manufacturing partners are glad to help.

Toshiba just unveiled the Encore 10 line of tablets that come preinstalled with Windows 10 or Windows 10 Professional. The magnesium alloy Encore 10 line comes in two models, the 10K and the 10, both of which feature a 10.1-inch Full HD display and Intel Atom x5 quad-core processors.

Both devices come with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

What's the difference?

The Encore 10K's battery can run for up to 11 hours thanks to the four extra hours included with the device's keyboard dock. The Encore 10 can't be docked and only runs for seven hours.

When attached to the keyboard, the 10K comes with a full-size RGB output, as well as an HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports. In tablet mode the 10K and 10 give you access to a Micro HDMI and Micro USB port and a microSD slot.

Both tablets weigh 1.3 pounds, but with the keyboard attached, the 10K weighs 2.6 pounds.

Pricing and availability

The Encore 10 will cost $299 with Windows 10 installed or $399 for Windows 10 Professional, The Encore 10K will cost $479 for either model.

The Encore 10 line will be available in mid-September. Toshiba did not provide a more specific date.

Toshiba also launched the Tecra A50 range of Windows 10 laptops catered to the small and medium-sized business owner.

Access Cortana on the desktop with a push of a button

Access Cortana on the desktop with a push of a button

Just in case Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts aren't convenient enough for you, accessory maker Satechi has brought out a Bluetooth button for calling up the services of Microsoft's digital assistant whenever you need her.

You can of course shout "hey Cortana!" at your computer but this new button is less of a drain on your laptop's battery life and probably less embarrassing in a crowded office. It works with Windows smartphones as well.

Satechi suggests using it in the car too - stick it to the steering wheel and you can get Cortana's help without having to start tapping away on a laptop keyboard or phone screen while you're zooming down the motorway- which is illegal in most places by the way.

Talk to the button

As Cortana becomes more powerful, so will your Bluetooth button - you can already check your calendar, get the weather forecast, run a web search, call a friend and much more besides. Google Now and Siri are probably looking worriedly over their virtual shoulders.

If you're tempted by the Satechi Bluetooth Cortana Button it's available direct from the manufacturer or from Amazon for US$22.99 next month. We've asked about UK availability but haven't yet heard back.

There's a watch-style CR2016 battery inside the button that Satechi says is good for two years of use and the Bluetooth range is quoted as 40 feet. This could be the future of personal digital assistants, especially if you can take them anywhere.

iOS Tips: How to forward text messages on iPhone

iOS Tips: How to forward text messages on iPhone

Let's say you have an important bit of info you received via an iMessage (or regular text message) on your iPhone, but now you need to get that info to someone else. Sure, you could retype it, or you could copy and paste, but there's an easier option: you can forward text messages - or even entire conversations - straight from your iPhone. Here's how.

To start, go to the message you're interested in forwarding. Find any part you want to forward, then hold your finger on it for a second or double-tap it. You'll see a pop-up appear with the words "Copy" and "More...." Tap "More..." and a blue checkmark will appear next to that part of the message, indicating it's selected for forwarding. You'll see empty circles next to other parts of the message, too. Tap them to select those parts of the message as well.

Forward Messages iPhone

When you've selected everything you want to forward, tap the arrow in the lower-right corner. Fill in the name of whoever you want to send it to in the "To" field, then tap Send, and the forwarded message will be on its way.

Forward Messages iPhone

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Review: UPDATED: TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

Review: UPDATED: TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

Introduction, Screen, Battery and Design

As impressed as we were with the TomTom Runner and Multi-Sport, it was obvious at the time that there was plenty of room for improvement.

A year later and TomTom is refreshing its watches with the new "Cardio" versions, which bring all the familiar features of the first two but with one big added extra - a built-in heart rate monitor.

Not just that, but (so far) a highly accurate one. The original Runner and Multi-Sport could be paired with a separate heart rate monitor but wrapping that strap around yourself and pairing it with the watch was a lot of extra hassle.

Like the original sports watches, the TomTom Runner Cardio is focused on, well, running, while the Multi-Sport throws in added features for tracking cycling and swimming. As a cycling device it works well, and can even be synced withTomTom's wheel-mounted cadence tracker.

Update: The TomTom Cardio Run 8RA0 running watch has been out for some months now, it's had a few updates, and now costs £170, can it still give the opposition from Garmin and Polar a run for their money?

Screen and Battery Life

Cardio

Battery life is okay. I got something like six to seven hours of use per charge. However, while that might not sound like a lot, this isn't a smartwatch that you'd wear outside of training - it's far too chunky for one thing.

This is an exercise companion that you'll strap on when you stick your running shoes on and slip off at the end. Most users will sync this every time they train, and plugging in via USB also charges it up, of course. That's if you use USB - Bluetooth syncing between the watch and its mobile app is also possible and this means your heart rate data will also now be transferred over quickly with the rest of your workout stats.

There's no touchscreen here or indeed buttons, just a large joystick-style pad at the base of the watch. It's a fairly left-field navigation method, but the UI is pretty intuitive, the monochrome LCD screen providing good contrast even in badly lit conditions.

If anything the screen is too minimalist, although I'm not sure that's an acceptable criticism for a running watch, but there's small examples where more data would be nice - like checking the battery charge requires a back-press to bring up a screen with software version detail as well. Checking the battery shouldn't be the same as checking your software version...

Design, Build Quality and Strap Comfort

As you've probably guessed from the photos, TomTom hasn't gone for anything radically new in design.

It's a bold design that has arguably dated fast (the TomTom Runner Cardio came out in May 2014), but the red highlights and black strap don't immediately embarrass on the road.

Cardio

The strap is removable and swappable for a small range of signature colours, and improves on the previous model, which suffered from a loose fit. The main watch unit is now held in a lot more securely (a gripe I had with the first watches) so it'll no longer slip out unless you apply a fair bit of pressure.

This plugs into a sizeable charging sled with an inbuilt USB cable, which you'll be carrying around a lot, and this again dates the tech here - many competitors now have a sled with microUSB plug to minimise the number of cables you're dragging around, and this system also reduces the likelihood of cable failure as it twists around the base of the charger.

On the plus side, the unit sits on the desk upright so you can see charging progress easily, although you can't operate the watch while it's connected.

Fitness Tracking

What's it like as a running watch?

The broad band hitches on easily with the unusual triple-buckle, then a quick tap right on the odd but surprisingly usable joypad takes you into sport selection mode.

Cardio

There's Run and Treadmill (outdoor and indoor), the former if selected brings up the GPS lock screen, the latter, freed from the GPS chip, gives you an instant 'go'.

While you're waiting on the GPS you've got plenty of time to head over (down) into training, where you've got the chance to race your previous PBs, chase down new goals saved via the desktop, run laps/intervals or train to HR zones.

It's a good spread of training options, and relatively easy to navigate, select and create. TomTom has done well here. However, at times the Multi-Sport Cardio can take several minutes to get going. It's frustrating, because on other occasions, in the same place, it takes just seconds.

You can turn on assisted GPS via TomTom's mobile app (it syncs with the wearable via Bluetooth) but otherwise you're in for a wait. The other issue, which is not unique to this by any means, is that it struggles to track your elevation. So if you're taking on mighty hills, it thinks you've climbed a molehill, and conversely, it'll sometimes think a perfectly flat road is Mount Etna.

There is a version of this with an altimeter but that pushes the price to £329. Testing this device against newer watches really showed this up - GPS lock often took the TomTom 3-4 minutes longer than other running watches from Garmin and Suunto.

Cardio

The UI still hasn't been updated to allow a 'skip' function, so you can get moving to stay warm. Once you've cleared that hurdle though, the TomTom is actually a very good running watch - the screen is nice and clear, the weird joypad actually quite easy to operate (at least till winter gloves are needed), and tabbing between the screens of handy data such as split times, HR, distance, time, time to goal, etc on the move is intuitive and easy.

Heart Rate Tracking

But enough on the cosmetics - how good is that heart rate monitor? First thing, in order to get the monitor working you need to make sure the watch is strapped snugly above the wrist bone.

This ensures it will get a clear reading of your pulse, which it does through two green LEDs on the back that calculate your heart rate by detecting changes in blood flow. It's pretty cool stuff.

You'll want to make sure the watch is tight enough to prevent it moving about on your workout. Luckily the watch fits comfortably around the arm so that shouldn't be much of an issue, but letting it slip down will mean a loss of accuracy.

I found that it didn't take long for the watch to find and display my heart rate, and it was easy to monitor the all-important "zone" I was in when running or pumpin' iron - a "treadmill" setting lets you use the watch without GPS, in the gym or home.

Cardio

On my test run I strapped last year's TomTom Runner onto my other wrist and strapped a heart rate monitor to my chest so I could compare the results. As it turned out, the readings were consistently close and often identical (the Cardio watch tended to be a couple of seconds behind in bpm adjustments, which I would have expected anyway).

But that wasn't enough assurance for me, so I also tested the Multi-Sport Cardio's heart rate monitor against a hospital ECG machine. Once again, the results were impressively in sync.

The new monitor also means you can train in your optimal heart rate zone - easy, fat burn, endure, speed and sprint - and the watch will alert you if you need to speed up or slow down. Zones are calculated based on your age and are not user definable but if you're not an elite athlete, that's probably not an issue.

That's if you use USB - Bluetooth syncing between the watch and its mobile app is also possible and this means your heart rate data will also now be transferred over quickly with the rest of your workout stats.

App, Additional Features and Verdict

TomTom app

In a move that will surprise nobody, TomTom has MySports apps for iOS , Android and MySports Connect software PC/Mac desktops.

I tested the Mac desktop and paired it with the Android app. The Android app is relatively simple, but once paired with your device gives you a convenient way to upload and sync your sessions, and the data that's available is decent enough.

In 'Activities' you have a chronological list of recorded runs, showing distance and duration, which once clicked through bring you a deeper level of data such as calories burned, pace, elevation, HR and stride. There's a nice splits vs laps display, and a handy graph where you can map HR to speed via the dropdowns, which is an interesting exercise.

TomTom Runner Cardio

There's also a map, which shows up the GPS chip again with a series of 'running in the river' moments, interspersed with cutting through buildings and avoiding bridges, as the error correction straight lines between plot points.

Overall it's a decent app, but nothing that an Endomondo or Runsense doesn't deliver too. The desktop (on Mac at least) feels clunkier, and can take a while to connect and sync. Once you're in you've got a similar activity interface, but with a crucial addition - a 'race this' button, which allows you to load a specific route back into the watch as a 'Race' for you to beat.

However, there's no function to construct your own 'race' without tracking it first, or to follow other people's 'races' and compete against them, such as with Endomondo, Strava, etc.

Overall it's not a bad desktop experience, but it does require a fair bit of syncing action to uncover fairly sparse stats, and by adding the 'Race this' button to the mobile app they would provide similar levels of insight.

Additional Features

Another major plus point of the TomTom is that it doesn't try and do anything else - all other sports have been stripped out in favour of the running.

There's no smartphone alerts, no sleep tracking, no activity tracker. Just running, time and date, oh, and a stopwatch. That's great news, because it's too large to be worn in general social situations anyway, and it's a very good running watch without diluting itself with other junk.

Overall I liked the single-mindedness of it.

Cardio

We liked

It's the best HR wrist sensor I've used - consistently within 1 BPM of a chest strap. The UI is very logical and it's really super-simple to get up and running - in fact waiting for satellite lock is the longest part of the process. The app is good as well.

We disliked

Surprisingly for the brand, GPS is pretty poor -- without regular syncing with a desktop or mobile app to handover your coordinates this watch takes a long time to get a satellite lock. In winter that's not very funny. It's also quite bulky, by no means a subtle device, and although its comfy enough when worn it's a big beast to truck around. Battery life is also no up to scratch, seven hours or less isn't really good enough. You might get a week's worth of runs out of it, but only just, and I found occasional random battery drain (admittedly on an older test model) stymied my plans to run with it.

Verdict

The heart rate monitor is accurate enough, kept in the optimum position by the broad strap. The watch is comfortable in use and prices have dropped considerably from the TomTom's launch.

However, the look is slightly dated, and I found the GPS pretty sketchy - a shame when so many running watches suffer from the opposite issue (terrible HR monitor, great GPS).

With a better GPS and slightly less bulk this would be an excellent running watch, but you could argue that Suunto, Polar and Garmin's top-end offerings offer similar or better results but with less compromise.

Early homers for Rangers in 6-3 win over Giants, Bumgarner

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre homered as the Rangers beat San Francisco 6-3 Friday night in the Giants' first visit since clinching the 2010 World Series in Texas.

No injuries as bleacher section buckles after practice

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Fans straining to get autographs from receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz caused a section of temporary bleachers to buckle slightly after the New York Giants' first training camp practice Friday.

Kenny Wallace preps for final NASCAR race

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) Kenny Wallace has made more starts in NASCAR's second-tier circuit than anyone - and yet he might be known more for his TV work than his racing career.

Hurley hits the ground running with Sun Devils

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Bobby Hurley's arrival at Arizona State created a buzz in the desert and drew national attention to a program often overshadowed by its rival to the south.

Must-see offbeat photos from NFL training camps

NFL training camps open; MLB player sums up painful injury; J.J. Watt is large; more

Meet (and greet) the (new) Mets!

Meet (and greet) the (new) Mets!

Weekend Roundup: Turkey Enters the Syrian Quagmire to Fight ISIS -- And the Kurds

The Syrian quagmire, in which both the Islamic State and the Kurds have been fighting for territory, has now sucked in Turkey. Last week's ISIS attack on Turkish soil, Kurdish gains along the Syrian border and the surprise advance of the secular and liberal pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, the HDP, in recent elections -- which clipped the parliamentary majority of President Erdoğan's neo-Islamist ruling party -- have conjoined into an explosive state of affairs.

To boot, NATO, which is obliged to defend a member state under siege, has now been drawn into a three-way fray in which Turkey is lashing out at both the Kurdish resistance and ISIS.

Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan ominously foresees "Armageddon" descending on the region. Mustafa Akyol, also writing from the shores of the Bosphorus, argues that Erdoğan's assault on the Kurds in tandem with ISIS is aimed at bolstering his nationalist credentials at home in order to block the HDP, which stands in the way of his autocratic vision.

Like Akyol, former senior CIA official Graham Fuller sees domestic politics as a driver of the new Turkish policy as Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party is likely to seek new elections or a governing coalition with an anti-Kurd nationalist party. World Reporter Nick Robins-Early traces the collapse of the truce between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party that had been in effect for most of the last decade. And WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports on the "witch hunt" for Kurdish politicians that's brewing in Turkey.

Writing from Rome, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano argue that the fight against terrorism is not only a matter of state, but must also involve civil society, parents, teachers and coaches. Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji examines the challenges both President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei face in selling the recently negotiated nuclear accord to their publics and legislatures. In an interview, former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki declares his support for the nuclear deal with Iran. Former Al Jazeera Director-General and WorldPost editorial board member Wadah Khanfar welcomes the launch of HuffPost Arabi this week. Mohamed Fahmy, the Al Jazeera journalist on trial in Cairo, writes exclusively for The WorldPost on his expectations and hopes as a judgment is expected any day now.

Our World reporters examine how the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, reported this week, affects the peace talks in Afghanistan. This week's "Forgotten Fact" looks at the rumors around the chief's death and asks if he's really been dead for years. And Mohammad Taqi says the death of Mullah Omar, whom he calls a "Pakistan proxy," has broken the back of the Taliban.

Writing from Berlin, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer denounces the policies of Angela Merkel as turning the eurozone into a "sphere of influence" and undoing the German goodwill built up over the post-WWII era. Writing from the Symi Symposium in Corfu, Greece, I argue that other European states can now leverage this widely shared view of German overreach to move away from austerity and embark on a fresh approach to integration through a "digital community" not unlike the early Coal and Steel Community of the 1950s. In an interview, Prince Michael of Greece says "Greeks don't like people in power." Fusion this week looks at the phenomenon of Greek doctors who are going to Germany because they can't find work at home.

British parliamentarian Richard Howitt reports after a recent visit to Ukraine that there are plenty of sparks that could easily ignite a "hot war" there. From Donetsk, photojournalist Ioana Moldovan documents in a photo essay how so much has been destroyed as low-level conflict grinds on. Writing from Budapest, Amy Rodgers and Annastiina Kallius say the anti-migrant fence Hungary is building to keep out refugees trying to cross from Serbia will prove a social disaster.

From the other side of the world, Fu Ying, chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National People's Congress, lays out a vision of how China's new Silk Road can bring prosperity through connectivity across Eurasia. Veteran journalist Dilip Hiro worries that linking up China and Pakistan through the new Silk Road is a way for Beijing to muscle its way into the Indian Ocean. Writing from Beijing, the Pakistani scholar and former diplomat Akbar Ahmed reflects on China's rising influence as it expands westward and faces the challenge of dealing with Muslim minorities like the Uighurs along the way.

Writing from Hong Kong, George Chen says the continuing volatility of China's stock market is undermining Communist Party authority. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports on how one man is trying to sell his pet alpaca after losing big in the stock market.

Rose George tells the tragic tale of how impoverished Indian women are demanding toilets to avoid being raped when they have to defecate in open spaces. Joel Bourne takes on those who see a world of "abundance" and foresees a looming crisis as world population grows beyond our ability to produce enough food without also inviting climate doom. Similarly, Nicholas Agar argues that "techno-optimism" promotes a dangerous illusion that there is a technical fix to all our problems.

Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga expresses the anger felt across Latin America at Donald Trump's tirades against immigrants from south of the border.

In photo posts, we cover a new exhibit that shows what it's like when 1 percent of the world controls nearly half the wealth and document a heat wave that's bringing scorching temperatures to the Middle East. Finally, in our Singularity series this week, we look at how tiny lab-grown human brains are providing insights into the genesis and treatment of autism.


WHO WE ARE


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost's editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost's Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are Associate World Editors.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the "whole mind" way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council -- as well as regular contributors -- to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


MISSION STATEMENT

The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.


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Judge Blocks Anti-Abortion Group From Releasing More Planned Parenthood Videos


July 31 (Reuters) - An anti-abortion group that released videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood staff discussing the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue was sued on Friday by a group of abortion providers seeking to block the release of recordings it claims violate its members' privacy and threatens their safety.


In a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, the National Abortion Federation, a nonprofit representing abortion providers, accused the Center for Medical Progress and its founder, David Daleiden, of illegally infiltrating and recording its private meetings.


U.S. District Judge William Orrick late Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the defendants from releasing videos and audio recordings containing NAF member names and addresses, and dates and locations of future meetings, pending a hearing on Monday.


Orrick said the NAF would likely prevail on the merits of its lawsuit, and said it could face "harassment, intimidation, violence, invasion of privacy, and injury to reputation" absent a halt.


The NAF is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages.


Daleiden in a statement said the Center for Medical Progress "follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work" and will contest any attempts to suppress its constitutional rights under the First Amendment. He has said his Irvine, California-based group plans to release more videos.


Release of the earlier videos prompted calls in Congress to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, and the Republican-led Senate may vote on such a bill in August.


It is unlikely that Congress could override a potential White House veto.


Planned Parenthood has said that the video was heavily edited and falsely portrayed its "participation in tissue donation programs that support life-saving scientific research."


Friday's lawsuit followed what the NAF called the Center for Medical Progress' release in July of four "misleading" and "heavily edited" videos, some of which named NAF members, to advance its goal of ending safe access to abortions, and stopping legal fetal tissue donations that can help save lives.


The lawsuit also accused Daleiden of creating the sham Biomax Procurement Services, which held itself out as a legitimate fetal tissue procurement company, in 2013 to trick abortion providers and gain access to NAF meetings.


"The safety and security of our members is our top priority," NAF President Vicki Saporta said in a statement. "That security has been compromised."


Polls show that a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal at least under some circumstances.


The U.S. Supreme Court is closely divided on the issue, and may soon have multiple vacancies. Four justices are at least 76 years old.


The case is National Abortion Federation v Center for Medical Progress et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 15-03522. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)



Release of the earlier videos prompted calls in Congress to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, and the Republican-led Senate may vote on such a bill in August.


It is unlikely that Congress could override a potential White House veto.


Planned Parenthood has said that the video was heavily edited and falsely portrayed its "participation in tissue donation programs that support life-saving scientific research."


Friday's lawsuit followed what the NAF called the Center for Medical Progress' release in July of four "misleading" and "heavily edited" videos, some of which named NAF members, to advance its goal of ending safe access to abortions, and stopping legal fetal tissue donations that can help save lives.


The lawsuit also accused Daleiden of creating the sham Biomax Procurement Services, which held itself out as a legitimate fetal tissue procurement company, in 2013 to trick abortion providers and gain access to NAF meetings.


"The safety and security of our members is our top priority," NAF President Vicki Saporta said in a statement. "That security has been compromised."


Polls show that a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal at least under some circumstances.


The U.S. Supreme Court is closely divided on the issue, and may soon have multiple vacancies. Four justices are at least 76 years old.


The case is National Abortion Federation v Center for Medical Progress et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 15-03522. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)


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First, They Came For Cosmo...


An anti-porn group announced Wednesday that it had persuaded two major retailers to place Cosmopolitan magazine behind cover-blocking "blinders," the same kind used on adult magazines like Playboy.


Rite Aid and Delhaize America have agreed to the wrapped covers, Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told Women’s World Daily. Rite Aid confirmed the decision to HuffPost. Delhaize, which owns Food Lion and Hannaford, has not returned a request for comment.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation changed its name from Morality in Media this year. The new name lends itself to empathy: Who wouldn’t want to fight sexual exploitation? Nobody, until perhaps finding out that to the center, "exploitation" really means "any sexual behavior it doesn't like." 


What are the group's qualms about Cosmo?


"Cosmo is actually just another porn magazine glamorizing and legitimizing a dangerous lifestyle -- pushing readers to try violent, group or anal sex," Hawkins told WWD.


The center's website also criticizes Cosmo for promoting casual sex and BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism) and for providing detailed descriptions of sex acts.


A National Center on Sexual Exploitation spokeswoman told HuffPost that the group has "not called for removal or a boycott of Cosmopolitan," just that it be covered from public view and not sold to minors. Still, the group, which notes that it opposes all forms of pornography, calls the magazine "pornographic."


It's true that Cosmo has a serious diversity problem in its pages, offers ridiculous sex tips, pressures readers to live up to conventional beauty standards, and has historically had an unhealthy focus on "pleasing your man." But it’s also one of the few magazines that unabashedly celebrates female sexuality. Cosmo doesn’t pretend there is anything wrong with women wanting or liking sex, and it gives its readers extensive information about birth control.


Putting Cosmo behind blinders sends the message that sex and female sexuality are shameful. But then that is the implicit message behind many statements from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Its website's "Frequently Asked Questions" section is filled with scare-tactic misinformation like the scientifically unsupported claim that watching porn featuring adults leads users to seek out child porn. The FAQ section also essentially states that adult film actors can never truly consent to the work.


The group takes the position that all pornography is a form of exploitation:



Rarely do those being exploited truly give informed consent. This is where the person consenting has a full understanding of what they are agreeing to, the consequences, and the potential risks. Abuse of power or taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability, whether or not they said “yes,” is exploitation. One may consent and still be sexually exploited, as in the case of a porn model.



Aside from the fact that it’s insulting to say that adult human beings can’t tell whether they are being exploited, conflating victims of abuse and sex trafficking with all sex workers obscures the data and harms people in both groups. Hiding the cover of Cosmo also does nothing to help the real victims.


Should little kids be reading how-tos on oral sex? No, but we also don’t know many 8-year-olds who are going to the store and buying Cosmo on their own.


If parents fear the magazine will warp young minds, they can choose not to bring it into their homes. But it would do a lot more good if they talked to their children about healthy sexual behavior and supported comprehensive sexual education in schools.


Contact the author of this article.

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A Peach of a Pair Is an End of Summer Hit

Summer is winding down. The kids are almost back in school. The trips to the beach are becoming fewer and fewer. Still there is time for one more good beach read and luckily for readers everywhere we have a "peach" of a book by Kim Boykin. It is titled A PEACH OF A PAIR and it is as enjoyable and heartwarming as any book I have read in months. This is the kind of book that makes you want to lock the door, turn off the phone and read every page straight through to the end.

The story centers on Nettie Gilbert,a senior at Columbia College, an all girls school in Columbia, South Carolina. The time is 1953 and Nettie is hoping time will fly by so she can marry her adored Brooks who is waiting for her at home in Alabama. But things change. Nettie drops out of school and heads to nearby Camden, South Carolina where she becomes the housekeeper for two elderly sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge.

Emily and Lurleen are both unmarried and have lived together all their lives. Now Lurleen's heart is failing and Emily can not care for her adequately. At least this is the opinion of the young doctor who is attending to her needs. He is the one who advertises for a housekeeper, and it is he who finds Nettie. From the moment she enters the door to the house where the sisters live her life is never the same.

Boykin's style of writing is amazing. She totally captures the atmosphere of the 1950's and shows how these times affect the lives of those living this story. She also creates characters we instantly care about and adds their fancies and foibles which makes them even more endearing. Some people are part of the total story while others flicker around the edges of the tale, but all are important in creating the essence of the plot.

A PEACH OF A PAIR is a book that appears simple in story at the start but as you read you realize the core of this story is full of truths. Plus the characters described are ones that will live with you in memory. Boykin's ability to assemble this story is a gift she received, and her desire to share it is a blessing to her readers. When you reach the end of the book you will know how true this is.

Do not assume you know how this is all going to turn out as you read the first few pages. Believe me you don't. Boykin has a few surprises in store for you. Just when you are settled in and enjoying the pace the story turns a corner and races into a new direction.

Kim Boykin's last novel PALMETTO MOON introduced a talented writer to me. This follow up book exceeds that story and sets a new bar of achievement. I firmly believe she is just getting started and oh what a career she is gong to have!

A PEACH OF A PAIR is published by Berkley Books. It contains 304 pages and sells for $15.00.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com

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Reporter Wendy Burch Startled To The Max By Videobomber



An interloper cutting in on a television news live street broadcast has become old hat. But it still can be a surprise for the reporter.


KTLA's Wendy Burch in Los Angeles was giving viewers the lowdown on LA's Olympics-hosting hopes on July 28 when a man sneaked up behind her.


And this happened:



KTLA Reporter Wendy Burch Scared on LIVE TV in Los Angeles

Burch may have lost her you-know-what, but she laughed afterward and kept her sense of humor in a Facebook post, noting, "I've gone viral, baby!"


"I may also want to consider reducing my morning caffeine intake," she concluded.


 H/T KHOU


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