Xiaomi Announces $16 Heart Rate Monitoring Fitness Watch

The fitness market is booming as people try to lose weight through calorie controlled diets, and rigorous exercise. Technological advancements have allowed consumers to better understand their eating habits and even track sleep deprivation through fitness monitors. One popular example is the Fitbit Flex, which acts a pedometer and whole host of other features to put you on the right track when trying to lose body fat.

At $99, it can seem like an expensive proposition, but this is the norm for any innovative fitness equipment. However, Xiaomi has devised an incredibly cheap, heart rate monitor for a mere $16.  According to Xiaomi’s forum, the device will feature a 45mAh battery and strong strap material to prevent the watch from breaking during intense workouts.

The fitness band, entitled, Mi Band Pulse is set to become extraordinarily popular in the Chinese market and could be a great choice for people trying to lose weight on a budget. I doubt it’s going to match the seamless user-experience of the Fitbit, but this is expected given the low price point.

Fitness trackers, are replacing traditional watches for many consumers, as mobile phones become the standard to view the time. Personally, I prefer to wear a mechanical watch, but devices like the Mi Band Pulse have widespread appeal and provides information to help us all live a better lifestyle.

Do you use a fitness band?

Rock Band 4 Launches Today With Over 1700 Songs Available

Today is the day a lot of people have been looking forward to, I am sure of that. Today is the day that the brand new Rock Band 4 is being released and it looks like it easily could be the best in the series yet. Harmonix and Mad Catz have both been hard at work on this release where Harmonix has created the game and Mad Catz the hardware to go along with it as well as the physical distribution.

Rock Band 4 will be available today, October the 6th, for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and there will be more than 1700 songs available upon launch. That’s a lot of songs to master. Available products on launch day include the Rock Band 4 video game, stand-alone software, Band-in-a-Box Bundle, and Wireless Fender Stratocaster Guitar Bundle. The Fender bundle will probably be the most popular one, at least that’s my prediction.

Through the Rock Band Music Store, more than 1700 songs will be available on day one. This includes tracks from the series’ incredible back catalog of music but fully updated to include the new gameplay features in Rock Band 4. Players can rock to these tracks and enjoy new Freestyle Guitar Solos, Freestyle Vocals, and Dynamic Drums Fills, even while touring the world with their band in the game’s new expanded campaign.

One of the downsides is that you have to purchase a lot of the songs from the store at a price of $1.99 each, but there is also good news for those who previously played Rock Band in the previous versions. If you already owned a song there and you stay on the same platform, PlayStation or Xbox, then you’ll be able to get those songs again for no additional cost.

Some of the new Tracks available:

  • All That Remains – “Divide”
  • All That Remains – “What If I Was Nothing”
  • BABYMETAL – “Gimme Chocolate!!”
  • Blitz Kids – “Run For Cover”
  • Bring Me The Horizon – “Throne”
  • Dead Sara – “Mona Lisa”
  • Duran Duran – “The Reflex”
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
  • Interpol – “All The Rage Back Home”
  • Janis Joplin – “Move Over”
  • Jefferson Starship – “Jane”
  • Linkin Park ft. Daron Malakian – “Rebellion”
  • Marilyn Manson – “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles”
  • Mastodon – “High Road”
  • My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday”
  • Of Mice & Men – “Would You Still Be There”
  • Oh Honey – “Sugar, You”
  • Pantera – “Cowboys From Hell (Live From Monsters In Moscow Festival)”
  • Pierce the Veil ft. Kellin Quinn – “King for a Day”
  • Seasick Steve – “Summertime Boy”
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic – “My Own Eyes”
  • The Wild Feathers – “Backwoods Company”

New Craze Called ‘Extreme Phone Pinching’ Trends On Social Media

Ok, I will say it, what in the hell is going on these days? You have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which was certainly for a good cause, well here is a  new “challenge” and I use this word loosely, which is trending on social media whereby consumers are dangling their precious and I assume very expensive iPhones over balconies and or through gaps in drains.

This craze of what looks to be insanity for anyone attached to their gadgets was started by an indie pop band by the name of “Twenty One Pilots”, anyone? No me neither, who posted a series of videos on various social media accounts which conveys one of the band members lightly gripping an iPhone while dangling it through a gap in a street drain cover.  Below is a video to convey this, not sure many people would attempt this,

Oh, they would, below is a gentleman who succeeded in dangling his phone while standing at a precise height of 2,487 feet in the air, he was standing on a platform and not levitating.

Below is another individual who thought stretching over what looks to be an internal hotel balcony and lightly gripping his phone was a good idea, good job he did not drop his phone otherwise it would have either hit the ground or someone would have caught a free phone.

Last moron, sorry, individual, who dangled theirs out of a train/bus window, as you do I suppose.

For me it just goes to show that a certain section of society will follow any trend which is placed before them, spending hundreds of pounds on a new phone should be a sign to keep it out of harms way. One thing that would not surprise me if this is found to be a publicity viral video stunt in some way, after all, who would risk an expensive phone for a trend? as of writing apparently the above people. One things for sure, I would not have thought Apple Care would cover acts of stupidity, if it was broken then the genius bar would have to be actual geniuses in order to stick it back together again.

Thank you mirror for providing us with this information.

We May Not See a PC Release for Rock Band 4 and Here’s Why

We saw Rock Band 4 being announced for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 earlier this year, but how about the PC? We haven’t received any official announcements for the latter platform, up until now that is. Harmonix just announced that the latest Rock Band title will not have a PC release due to piracy concerns.

The developer is not actually concerned with the game’s piracy itself, but more with the songs in the title itself. They state that there are many concerns regarding the platform’s security and it looks like bands are sceptical with releasing the game on the PC as well. They are afraid that their songs may eventually end up being stripped out of the game and uploaded to torrent websites, thus they are more comfortable on going with the closed nature of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms.his does not mean we won’t see Rock Band 4 on PC. Harmonix stated that songs may come with a DRM platform and prevent songs from being ripped out of the title.

However, this does not mean we won’t see Rock Band 4 on PC. Harmonix stated that songs may come with a DRM platform and prevent songs from being ripped out of the title. However, they will not make the move to release it on PC due to the low demand on the platform. They say that if a lot of fans want it on the PC, they may consider making a PC version in the future. Until then, we just have to look forward for the console version.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Microsoft’s Band Gadget Finally Lands on the UK Market

Having a desk job is extremely stressing and messes with your body, this is why doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes workout per day. This helps relieve stress and keep you in shape both physically and mentally. But why not track your activity and health with the latest fitness and health bands on the market?

If you are living in the UK and wanted the Microsoft Band, the company appears to have started to offer it for a price tag of £169.99. The band seems to help keep track of activities such as heart rate, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and quality of sleep.

The Band connects to any iOS, Android or Windows Phone device via its companion app and offers customizable workouts. Whether you want to burn a lot of calories or just want to have a balanced diet, the Band and its app are available to help you with that.

Also, Microsoft’s gadget can be controlled with commands sent to Cortana, the company’s personal assistant and Siri’s rival. Is this why Cortana aims to arrive on the iOS and Android markets in the near future? Will Microsoft’s personal assistant squeeze its way into other mobile operating systems and offer integrated support in other applications too? We don’t have the answer for the latter questions, but time is bound to reveal the answer to that.

As far as the Band is concerned, you can order one from retailers such as Amazon, Harrods, Currys, O2 or even Microsoft’s Store itself. How do you find Microsoft’s health and fitness gadget? Are you planning on acquiring one yourself?

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of TheNextWeb and image courtesy of Digital Trends

OK Go Plans to Release Album on DNA

Innovative rock band OK Go, famous for spectacular home-made music videos, wants to encode the band’s fourth album, Hungry Ghosts, on DNA.

Lead singer Damian Kulash, who studied computer science at university, recalls the fork in the road that took him toward music: “I remember sitting with my friend and saying ‘dude, what are we going to do? Are we going to start a startup or a band?’ And at almost the exact same moment he said ‘startup’ and I said ‘band’. He sold his startup to Microsoft, so he’s got a lot more money than I do!”

But Kulash kept one foot in the science camp; he’s been working with UCLA biochemist Sriram Kosuri on genetic encoding. “I was at a conference, the Future of Storytelling, where a book had been encoded in DNA,” Kulash said, “and I was fascinated by lots of parts of that idea.”

For an album, or any data, to be encoded on DNA means translating it from binary into base 4 code, referring to the four DNA nucleotides A, C, T, and G. The album cannot be listened until it is translated back into binary, meaning the DNA acts purely as a rudimentary storage device, a fact Kulash readily admits: “It’s arbitrary as an artistic gesture, but the scientists are actually figuring out a lot of actual cryptography and biology, so it’s win-win.”

“I’ve been saying for a while now that nerds are the new rock stars, and that goes both ways,” Kulash concludes.

Source: The Guardian

Sony Said to be Planning E-Paper Watch

Sony is said to be planning a watch made entirely from ‘e-paper’.

The entire band and watch face will function as a display, according to Bloomberg. E-paper can display images akin to those seen on Amazon’s Kindle – digital images that display like they would on real paper.

The watch is said to display simple images and be low powered, but uses e-paper in a way that is unique compared to other display technologies.

The new watch is said to be coming from Sony’s experimental efforts, with them attempting to create more innovative products that can compete with competitors.

This is a good move too, as we reported yesterday on how Sony is planning to slash its TV and smartphone product lines, all thanks to declining profits and falling market share, something Sony is eager to turn around.

 Source: Bloomberg

In on the Craze – Microsoft Soon Launching Wearable Tech

Haven’t you heard? Wearable technology devices are the absolute must have of our technology generation – apparently. Not to be caught out of the spotlight, Microsoft are said to be planning a launch of their own wearable tech in the coming weeks as according to a Forbes article.

Boasting a massive two days of regular use without charge, Microsoft’s band is said to track the users heart rate and be functional across multiple mobile platforms. As a whole we see fitness bands generally do very similar things like heart rate monitoring and other general tasks, but Microsoft are looking to ‘set the scene’ with their two-day battery claim – meaning that this device will last twice as long as big name competition like the Moto 360 and the Galaxy Gear.

First hinted in May, this new device is said to be developed in conjunction with the Microsoft Kinect division and will be usable across Windows, Android and Apple mobile systems – something that will entice many users to take the plunge. Unfortunately there’s been no comment as of yet of a release price, but to stay competitive you can expect it to be similar to competitors such as the Motorola Moto 360 at $249.99 and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear at $199. The cross-platform support of Microsoft’s new device is said to be a move away from the ‘windows only’ path as set by ex-CEO Steve Ballmer and into the territory of the new top dog- Satya Nadella.

We may have been a little openly sarcastic with our opening line, but don’t get us wrong – the wearable tech market is set to absolutely boom. Expecting to be worth $7.1 billion in 2015, we’re likely to see more companies take the plunge sooner rather than later.

Are you not-yet decided if you would or wouldn’t like to get a piece of this tech for your own use? If so, let us know why – we want to hear from you.

Image courtesy of Mashable

Razer’s Nabu Smartband Said To Be Rolling Out In October

Razer looks to be closer to a final release date for its Nabu smartband than initially thought. A press release earlier this month indicated that Razer is working with mobile gaming developer, Tencent Games, in order to bring ‘Timi Run Everyday’ to the smartband, as well as revealing a fourth quarter release date.

A number of developers and at least 1,000 Razer fans, who got to smartband for $1, have been granted beta access to the device so far. The first changes in the Nabu smartband were noticed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, when the 32 x 32 pixel display was removed due to user feedback. Also, the upper screen is said to have been ignored most of the time, leading to its complete removal and changing the way the larger screen activates.

Even though Razer pointed to the last quarter of 2014 as a release date for the smartband, it is aiming to release the Nabu smartband sooner rather than later. This is why October is said to be the most suitable release date. Also, developers such as Wargaming, Techland, Halfbrick and Shortbreak Studios have signed on for the Nabu smartband. However, no details on what projects they might be working on was released.

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information

Guitar Hero Said to Have Made More Money for Aerosmith than Their Albums’ Sales

The popular American rock band, Aerosmith, also referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”, have apparently sold over 150 million albums, estimating each band member’s fortune at over $100 million. However, the most interesting news is that from 2008 onwards, the majority of their profits have apparently rolled in from a video game.

In 2007, the band is said to have licensed 29 songs to Activision, the American video game publisher behind the popular and very successful franchise, Guitar Hero. In one year’s time, namely in June 2008, the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith title went on sale, having said to have brought over $25 million by selling almost 600,000 copies of the game in the first week and reaching an estimated 4 million copies sold to date. In comparison, the band’s 2004 album, Honkin’ on Bobo, sold about 160,000 copies and received only $2 million in the first week of sale.

This is just an example of one band’s profits coming largely from endorsements, cross-promotions, concerts and even video games in this case, compared to their album sales and digital downloads. It is said that last summer, 11 albums had sold 500,000 copies, having only 5 albums doing so well this year. Some musicians are also suggesting a strategy where they should “make high upfront investments in albums, and then set correspondingly high prices on them at retail.” However, given the album sale decline, the latter strategy would only make the decline in sales faster.

All in all, Aerosmith’s strategy might seem to make the most sense. We all live in an era where it’s more or less free to make digital copies of songs, having music itself not being scarce at all. The key appears not to be the artist’s music, but their brand, having bands earning more from it than from their albums.

Thank you Vox for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Vox

Asus RT-AC68U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless Router Review

Introduction


If I was to say the name Asus to a selection of people and ask what they would associate them with, I’d almost guarantee that none of them would say wireless or networking products in any way and this is quite understandable considering the fact that they are one of the biggest names out there on the market for motherboards and graphics card. Believe it or not though, networking has been something that Asus have been working on for a few years now and even though they have already got a wide selection of wireless and wired networking products out there, they are not as well-known about due to the bread and butter nature of their key product ranges.

As we are moving forward into an era where Gigabit wireless is becoming more of a common occurrence I’ve seen this as an ample opportunity to take a look at their latest and greatest wireless router, the RT-AC68U. Now considering this router is far more capable than the Netgear wireless access point and USB adaptor that I have, up to this point been using, I have therefore needed to employ a new wireless adaptor that is capable of equally delivering the same 1300Mbps connection speed that this router is capable of. Fortunately for me Asus also have a solution for this in the form of the PCE-AC68 PCI Express based wireless adaptor – I’ll have a separate review on this coming up shortly. With these wireless devices combined, we are looking at what is, at the moment, the pinnacle of wireless networking in the home and as we move forward and further into the capabilities of the 802.11ac standard – which I will add is currently nowhere near what its true potential is – we can get a better picture of what the next generation of consumer WiFi has to offer.

As we have seen though, pure performance is not the only thing that a router has to deliver these days, the feature set that each vendor has to be very rich, covering every possible eventuality that we may come across at a consumer and even a prosumer level. Now for the most part we find that a large number of these features will be somewhat similar to those found on other competing products. There is one small item that I will tease you with and one that will certainly catch the eye of any enthusiast; dual WAN capabilities. Before I get onto this little feature however there are a few other pieces to go through including what makes this router tick so to speak. Bring on what could be the most powerful router we have seen to date.

The accessory set for any router is pretty much set in stone and this setup is not that much different. Alongside the router, power cable and a single patch lead, there are a pair of interchangeable mains adaptors for the UK and EU markets, reference guide and manual on a CD with a paper Quick setup guide with a set of three external antennae rounding off the package.

13 Countries Added to AT&T’s International LTE Roaming Add-On List

American multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T is planning to expand its international LTE roaming services, having it being made available in Canada and the UK last year.

The corporation is planning to extend their services by adding 13 more nations to the feature list, including Spain, France, Russia and others. Taking into account how AT&T is dealing with EE in the UK and Rogers in Canada, the charging rates for the additional feature, named “Data Global”, will not change with the LTE service additions, but AT&T has not specified anything about it in their press release.

“Today, AT&T has expanded its international LTE footprint to now include Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong and Antigua & Barbuda. AT&T is committed to providing its customers a wider global footprint to enjoy LTE data speeds. In fact, AT&T currently has agreements to allow for LTE roaming in over 200 countries.”

However, due to different countries having different LTE bands, it would be a bit hard to get your phone to work with LTE while roaming, though if the smartphone used is fairly new, it would have more chances of connecting thanks to the newer LTE technology which adds support for more and more LTE bands into one single handset.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Netgear A6200 Dual-Band USB Wireless AC Adaptor Review

Introduction


Just over a week ago I took a look at one of Netgear’s latest Smart WiFi routers to roll off the production line and into the real-world. The R6250, like many of Netgear’s latest routers, offers up the latest in WiFi technology with Gigabit wireless connections and also beamforming+ technology to ensure the connected devices get the fastest and best signal as possible. When we look at the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac – at this moment in time, there isn’t actually that many devices on the market that can connect using the AC standard. Whilst a number of devices can ‘see’ the AC networks (which run at 5GHz), in most instances they will actually be connecting through the 802.11n standard as that is the fastest they can go.

For the most part, running at wireless-n speeds is going to be fast enough for the average household and considering the fact that pretty much everything runs to this standard these days, many people don’t feel that there is a need to go that bit further. For those the do want to take things up a notch and push towards the world of Gigabit wireless, the AC standard is where the speed is. As we’ve seen recently, the routers the support AC are readily available in the market place and now we are starting to see the add-in wireless adaptors crop up too. As a result I have taken the opportunity to start testing routers that we have in for review at the new AC standard, and the A6200 wireless adaptor from Netgear is what I will be using.

When we get on to the testing stage of this review, some will note that the performance results look very similar to those found within the R6250 review and you would be right – they are. The simple reason for this is because of the router that I opted to use for the testing of this adaptor, on both the 5GHz band, but also on the 2.4GHz band. In the same way that I used this adaptor to test the R6250 router, I was also recording down the performance for the A6200 at the same time as this was the only router that I had to hand that would be able to deliver the bandwidth required.

Inside the box and alongside the wireless adaptor, Netgear include a few bits of paperwork including a quick setup guide, along with a CD with the drivers and Netgear Genie software and a USB dock come extension lead.

The A6200 is one of Netgear’s premium wireless adaptors offering up both the fastest possible speed and features.

Asus RP-N53 Dual-Band Wireless N600 Range Extender Review

Introduction


Imagine a scenario that I’m sure many of you already encounter. You’ve just got a lovely new high speed internet connection and as part of the package you’ve received a new ISP branded router that promises to offer the best wireless coverage of any internet provider that spreads to every corner of the globe (slight exaggeration may be found here). You feel chuffed by this but soon after you’ve got everything set up, you soon start to realise that the coverage is not as great as you was expecting.

This is something that many people experience and soon after moaning at the ISP for false advertising with their routers signal, they realise that it’s not so much a fault with the equipment but more a case that the wireless signal is not able to penetrate through the walls and floors due to the type of construction or materials used to build the house. Concrete, bricks and metal work for example are all items that wireless signals hate. My home as I’ve mentioned before is a typical example of this. Having solid brick walls all over the place is bad news for me when I’m trying to get online from the front of the house. Whilst there is a signal there, the speed that I experience has dropped considerably and when I’m trying to use interactive services on my TV, the poor signal has an effect on the QoS (Quality of Service) that I experience.

One option is to setup a powerline, but not only are these more targetted for wired devices, but they require two plugs and a little extra cost to get everything going. I’m not ruling them out as I think that they are fantastic bits of kit, so much so that we use them in the office and I use them at home. For wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets, ultrabooks and so on, they really need the strength of the signal to be boosted and consequently we find items such as the RP-N53 Range Expander from Asus come in to play.