Posts tagged move
Yesterday, Google announced it is expanding secure search to clicks on paid ads. The change means that the search query a user typed in before clicking on an ad will be dropped from the referrer string in the URL and won’t be passed to analytics or other software other than AdWords. The move…
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Today Facebook open-sourced Tweaks, an application framework that lets iOS developers test changes to an app in real time, simply by using an iDevice, 9to5Mac reported. Incorporating Tweaks into an app provides a new settings menu by which developers can change parameters that affect how the app looks and feels—as it’s running on an iDevice.
Changing such parameters usually requires a developer to “recompile” an app, which can be time-consuming for repeated testing of different combinations. Some of the adjustments developers can make affect animation timings, colors and motion speed.
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ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.
Simple step trackers are going the way of the dinosaur, as a new generation of fitness devices cram more sensors and smarts into smaller and smaller shapes. This next wave will track our movements in three dimensions—and that’s a crucial difference.
Why? Because the kind of vigorous exercise that really advances our health is multidimensional, too.
As someone who sprints up stairs, lifts weights at the gym, and dabbles in yoga and bodyweight workouts, I’ve long been dissatisfied with fitness trackers that count steps and stop there. And I’m not alone: One friend clipped his wrist-based Nike FuelBand to his shoes to get points for a bike ride. I’ve heard similar tales of gyrations done in the name of counting gyrations.
Tracking What’s Next
Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, Amiigo, Moov and others are among the companies whose devices promise to work with the way we actually move—and quite possibly displace incumbents like Jawbone and Fitbit.
Two key developments are enabling these new devices: small sensors and big data.
Moov, for example, packs an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer into a package the size of a few quarters. The addition of a magnetometer allows it to consistently orient itself to the Earth’s gravity, Moov cofounder Nikola Hu told me. That means Moov can accurately track the motion of a fist jabbing through the air during a cardio boxing workout, with a virtual coach comparing your punches to a real boxer’s recorded movements. Moov started taking preorders Wednesday for its $59 device, which the company hopes to ship this summer.
Atlas’s tracker uses multiple accelerometers and a heart-rate sensor to track not just your movements—it counts sets and reps of exercises for you—but also the vigor with which you do them. Even though the device sits on your wrist, Atlas says it can detect distinct patterns that let it tell a pushup from a deadlift. The company is taking preorders on Indiegogo through March 8 for the $159 device, which it plans to ship in December.
Lumo is making a posture-oriented device, the Lumo Lift, that aims to prevent you from slouching. But the company could have greater ambitions: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, founder Monisha Perkash demonstrated to me how a companion app for the Lumo Lift can accurately track your body position. A next-generation product might analyze your form throughout a sequence of yoga postures.
And I recently met with Stéphane Marceau, the CEO of OMsignal, which is planning a line of athletic shirts which will measure a full range of biological signals, down to your breath. It also takes much more detailed heart-rate signals, capturing the minute fluctuations known as heart-rate variability that provide deeper clues to your health and physical performance. The company plans to take preorders in the spring and ship its shirts this summer.
Fitness entrepreneurs have a lot of choices these days—build your own, or just rely on the sensors built into smartphones and smartwatches. Jamo, for example, introduced a dance-fitness app earlier this week that relies on the iPhone’s built-in accelerometers to tell you if you’re matching an instructor’s sweet moves. And Focus Trainr uses sensors in the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Gear to analyze your movements in a way that’s conceptually similar to Atlas’s approach. The “peculiar but impressive” wrist devices Samsung unveiled this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona promise even more fitness-related applications.
A Flood Of Personal Data
While several of these hardware startups have succeeded in taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in preorders, it’s not clear if they’ll make the leap to the mass market the way simpler fitness trackers have. One big problem is taking all the data they’re generating and actually making it useful.
OMsignal, from what I’ve seen of the shirt’s companion app, gets closest to this idea with its “OM index,” a metric for stress. Even with simplified indexes and measurements, though, we can easily get more data without getting more information about our bodies. The best apps will provide context and behavioral cues.
As a gym rat, I’m drawn to the sheer butchness of the Atlas device. But I can’t recall ever struggling to count sets and reps. (I use a simple and efficient app, GymGoal, to do that.) I would like a device that doesn’t just evaluate my form but coaches me with audio prompts in the middle of an exercise to drop lower in a squat, say, or make sure my chest touches the ground in a pushup.
Or better yet, how about a device that can capture my workouts and report back high-level observations to my personal trainer, so I don’t have to do the fiddly work of analyzing the data and massaging it into usable form? It’s clear that inventors are doing clever things with the latest hardware, taking advantage of the ever-dropping cost and power consumption of sensors. But when it comes to tracking our performance in the gym, they must remember that their competition is a mirror, a notebook, and a pen.
Images courtesy of Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, and OMsignal
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The contents of the following column are based on real circumstances. Certain elements have been changed to respect the privacy of each site. Imagine there are two websites. Here are their basic profiles: Site One is an e-commerce company and website launched in 2013 that sells nutritional…
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Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, has been commenting a lot recently about how she wants to get Yahoo back into the search game, with contextual search being one of the focuses. Will Yahoo be able to topple Google when it comes to contextual search?
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Uprooting your life to start anew can be daunting. I came to San Francisco without a plan or place to live, and, after traveling to the city just once before I made a decision to move, the unfamiliarity was mildly uncomfortable. Which is why I relied on my iPhone to help me navigate the San Francisco hills and slowly become a Bay Area local.
From finding an apartment to making new friends, mobile devices can be the best way to connect with and discover cities around the world. I used all these apps exclusively on my Apple device, but most are available on Android, too, unless stated otherwise.
Do I Really Want To Live Here?
Before solidifying my California residency, I took a couple trips getting to know San Francisco and the quirks in various parts of the city. I found out quickly which neighborhoods I would like to live in, and which to avoid.
See Also: I Was An Airbnb Hotel Tenant
But instead of staying in hotels or traditional bed and breakfasts that cater to tourists, I used Airbnb. The Airbnb application lets users rent rooms or apartments from hosts who own the properties. While many people lament the quality of Airbnb digs—a closet-turned-bedroom isn’t that comfortable—the service helped me get a feel for the neighborhood without committing to a one-year lease.
Of course, there’s more to loving your neighborhood than just having a great apartment. Community discovery applications like Yelp and Foursquare provided suggestions for local hangouts for eating, drinking and exploring.
Foursquare recently updated its app to help users better discover new areas. It now pushes recommendations based on your location and previous check-ins—for instance, when your flight lands in Portland, you could get a notification containing the top restaurants in the area.
Finding A Home
As anyone who has moved to San Francisco knows, finding an apartment is almost impossible. I imagine it’s equally stressful in any big city, especially when you have specific criterion that need to be fulfilled.
It’s a good thing there’s an app for that.
Enter Lovely, the mobile application that makes it easy for renters to find their home. Lovely aggregates rental postings from around the Internet, including pulling listings from Craigslist. Lovely places them on an interactive map so you can immediately see where the rental is located, a list of apartment details, and view photos directly in the app. You can also set push notifications to be alerted when there is an available apartment in a desirable area.
I relied entirely on Lovely to find my apartment, but there are other services like Trulia and Craigslist Pro that can help with your search. And if you’re looking to furnish your new space with inexpensive furniture, Ikea’s augmented reality application can help you decide what furniture and home accessories look great and fit right in your living room.
After finally settling into my new apartment, my next challenge was figuring out how to get around. In many urban areas, residents rely on public transportation, or car services like Uber or Lyft—though you will rack up a hefty tab.
Google Maps has its own public transit directions, but if you prefer a separate application—and sometimes a more reliable service—there are a number of transit apps that can plan your trip.
NextBus, a Web-based application that’s optimized for mobile devices, delivers real-time transit information for cities across the country. Unlike Google’s transit data, NextBus regularly updates arrival information and changes arrival times when the buses fall behind. In New York and London, City Mapper is the ultimate transportation app, providing information on trains, buses and bike routes. And the iOS application Smart Ride available in a number of metropolitan areas around the world delivers up-to-date arrival alerts to improve your commute.
If you’re like me and sometimes need personal wheels, Zipcar can provide them. With Zipcar, you can rent a car via a mobile device and pick one up wherever is convenient. Using your smartphone and a card that unlocks the vehicle, you can be up and driving within minutes. Additionally, affordable prices make an occasional Zipcar much cheaper than upkeep on your own vehicle.
A New Social Life
Here’s secret no one tells you about getting older: It’s really tough to make friends.
When I needed to create a new social circle, Twitter was my lifesaver. It was easy to reach out to strangers and begin to have spontaneous conversations about San Francisco, technology and the Bay Area’s best nightlife in just 140 characters. Eventually, the group of friends I built on the service became friends offline, too.
There’s a new trend overtaking personal relationships—meeting each other online. It’s no longer considered “weird” to have met your partner on the Internet. Dating applications like Tinder, OkCupid, and Grindr take the awkward out of ice breakers and open up new opportunities to meet potential suitors.
I quickly found out I wasn’t the only transplant in San Francisco looking to grow my social group. Sosh came highly recommended—the iOS and Web app available now in San Francisco and New York, and soon to be available in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, is an event and activity discovery app that lets you source ideas from friends and tastemakers in the city. And Nextdoor, a private social network exclusive to your neighborhood in a select geographic area, is an easy way to get to know your neighbors as well as keep your home and community safe.
Thanks to the handful of apps in the “social” bucket on my iPhone, my network of friends slowly grew.
And they helped me fall in love with the city I now call home.
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When Google released its Alerts tool back in 2003, there was a lot of celebrating. Instead of waiting for weeks for Google to crawl through the web and spit back reliable results about the changes it found, people could find out about changes in their fields within mere moments. At the time, that kind of […]
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