Tried these fun workouts? (Image credit: Thinkstock)
Biking in the pool
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You may be cycling in the gym to attain those shapely legs, now how about biking under water? Pool biking is all about using rust-resistant bikes made especially for underwater workouts. It makes for complete resistance training for the body as sweating it out in water is a lot gentler on the joints than on land. It also improves flexibility as your muscles get more exercise.
When you’re done with your workout for the day, you can just dive into the water for a quick cool down.
Dance + Yoga = Gyrotonic
Always thought yoga wasn’t the thing for you? Try Gyrotonic that offers the mind and body benefits of practicing yoga sans stillness and meditation. Gyrotonic is a training method based on the principles of yoga, dance, tai chi, and swimming and helps improve core strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and agility. Also called ‘Yoga for Dancers’, this one’s ideal for those who hate monotony and wish to embrace variation in their exercise routine. This unique workout comprises spiral movements, rotation and breath work using handles and pulleys to enable movements like sweeping and arcing.
A live-stream class, anyone?
Shelling out a bomb for zumba training session? Spending a good 30 minutes to one hour traveling to the gym? Not able to remain consistent with your workout regimen because of being away for pleasure or business trips? Switch to live-streaming videos which are becoming even more popular on social media with platforms like Facebook Live. Access the fitness regimen from anywhere in the world; all you need is an internet connection. Just hit that subscribe button and get going. Bring that in-class energy to your private fitness session at home. Currently, very few studios and instructors may be streaming live classes, but the shift is likely to happen this year, according to industry experts
The gaming-focused Windows 10 Insider build that Microsoft promised earlier this week, with Game Mode, Beam livestreaming and other features, is rolling out—but with some game-breaking bugs, unfortunately.
What’s officially known as Build 15019 for the Insider Fast Ring also includes a number of more general improvements, including a version of Edge that will read your ebooks aloud and a better out-of-box experience, complete with voice actors to guide you through the process.
If you’re hoping to try out the new PC-centric Game Mode for yourself, though, be wary: Microsoft warned that unspecified “popular games” may experience crashes or black screens when loading, and clicking on certain elements in a Win32 game may cause it to be minimized (and therefore unplayable) unless killed. Even the new Game Mode will show up as OFF when in fact it’s enabled by default. Also, be aware of one download glitch: The issue Microsoft had with its progress bar is still there, so the download will still show “0% completed” even when it’s actually downloading.
“We recognize that this is painful for those wanting to try out the new gaming features announced this week,” Microsoft’s Insider chief, Dona Sarkar, wrote in a blog post. “We deliberated a lot on whether to release this build to Insiders with these issues; however we decided to go ahead and release it as we need feedback from Insiders on other areas of the OS.”
Some great new gaming features
Build 15019 is specifically optimized for gaming, with new additions to both the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms. (A separate build for Xbox Insiders should roll out today, with support for Screentime, a parental control that is already on Windows 10.) Our previous story outlined the new additions, but we’ll briefly recap them here:
Game Mode: a specific mode for the PC that minimizes the resources other background tasks have at their disposal, giving the game all of the resources your PC can spare. My colleague Brad Chacos has outlined what Game Mode does for your PC. The Windows Game Bar now supports 17 more games in fullscreen mode, including Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, FIFA 14 and FIFA 17, Rocket League, and more.
Gaming Settings: Microsoft has consolidated gaming controls for Game Bar, GameDVR, and more into a Gaming section in Windows 10’s Settings.
Beam livestreaming: Microsoft bought Beam and its livestreaming technology last year to take the games you’re playing on Windows 10 and the Xbox and broadcast them to others on the Internet. You’ll be able to trigger the Game Bar (Win + G) and show others how fast you can drive in Forza Horizon 3.
Microsoft also revealed a small additional convenience: If you buy a game from the Microsoft Store app, you’ll be able to track its download progress in the Action Center notifications. The company also fixed a bug that would crash the display controller if an Xbox controller was attached, and another that could cause the screen to flicker if a player used Alt + Tab to change focus to another window.
A better out-of-box experience
Having just reset a balky Surface Pro 4 that couldn’t get past Build 15002, I can confirm that the out-of-box experience that build introduced is excellent—and Build 15019 promises to improve on it even more. Setting up a new PC is now voice-driven: Cortana asks you the questions you’d normally have to be at your keyboard to answer. (For those who are unable to hear Cortana, there are now subtitles.)
With build 15002 and the latest build 15019, you can be working away at another PC while Cortana’s voice asks you if you’d like to accept the default options and other questions. It’s fun to holler “Yes!” and keep typing.
At one point during build 15002’s reset process, Cortana’s voice was replaced by a more robotic text-to-speech voice. That’s been fixed, with additional voice acting in place to maintain a consistent, pleasant tone. A bit of spit and polish has updated the UI, including the way in which you sign in with a Microsoft account. Windows Hello enrollment, which simply asks you to smile at the camera for a second or two, has also been updated.
Troubleshooters, all in one place
I have sporadic issues at my home office where my Wi-Fi connection needs to be reset, requiring me to right-click my Wi-Fi icon on the Taskbar and launch the troubleshooter. For Build 15019, Microsoft’s grouped all of the Troubleshooter options inside Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot so you can see the complete list, including tools for resolving printer issues, Windows updates, Bluetooth, and more.
A bevy of other useful features
Build 15019 adds a number of other useful features, most of which don’t require that much additional explanation:
A new “read aloud” button in Microsoft Edge will read ebooks stored in Edge in 24 languages.
Full-color emoji, on those sites that use them.
Blue light support, which removes the blue colors your display produces late at night so as to help prevent insomnia. (Microsoft now calls the feature “night light.”)
If you use the Hyper-V feature to create virtual machines, you can now resize the window and the guest OS will rescale the resolution appropriately.
According to the NFL, 70 percent of fans use a second screen while watching football. It’s easy to understand why: mobile devices—and the apps that run on them—give us easy access to player stats and analysis, provide interactive features to supplement the big-screen experience, and offer a convenient way to communicate with other fans watching the game.
We’ve rounded up six of the best second-screen apps to enhance your football viewing. Take them for a spin when the season kicks off Thursday, September 8, and we’re sure you’ll be reaching for them along with your remote every week until the end of Super Bowl LI.
A year ago, the NFL seemed as determined to conquer the second screen as effectively as it has the TV screen, offering a dizzying array of official apps. It has pared down and consolidated its offerings since then, but NFL Mobile remains the league’s digital flagship.
This free app gives you everything you’d expect: news, real-time scoring, video highlights, radio broadcasts, customizable team alerts, and push notifications. You also get access toGame Pass, the league’s on-demand video subscription service. If you’re willing to pay $100 and don’t mind watching games after they’ve aired, you can replay any of the season’s 256 match-ups on your mobile device.
NFL Mobile offers Verizon customersa few extra perks with a More Everything plan. You get 24/7 access to the NFL Network on your phone, and you can live-stream all nationally broadcast games on that channel as well as those on CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN.
If you miss a game for whatever reason, NFL Mobile’s at-a-glance recap is indispensable for catching up.
(iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
NFL app for Xbox One
Xbox has more to offer football fans than endless hours playing Madden. Thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with the NFL, your console will give you the best possible field position to follow the upcoming season.
Subscribers to the NFL Network and NFL Sunday Ticket can watch commentary programs and live games respectively, directly through the app. But the app also includes a wealth of features for fantasy owners and armchair quarterbacks alike, including game-day notifications, multi-angle replays, and real-time player tracking.
Don’t miss this other great story related to watching NFL games: NFL without cable: A cord cutter’s guide for the 2016 season
Most impressive is its “Next Gen Stats” feature—similar to what’s been used in actual NFL broadcasts—which delivers player data such as distance traveled, top speed, and routes run. The elegant integration of live games with instant data and analysis makes this the next best thing to being in the broadcast booth.
ESPN Fantasy Sports
If you’re an ESPN fantasy football owner, you have more than bragging rights on the line with each game. The ESPN Fantasy app provides every tool you need to stay on top of your squad all season long.
This free app gives you full access to your ESPN fantasy team, letting you start, bench, add, drop, trade, and waive players and otherwise manage your roster in the lead-up to game day. It also provides the most comprehensive collection of stats and analysis you’ll find outside of an NFL war room.
While you’re glued to the tube during games, Fantasycast keeps you updated on all your fantasy players’ scoring in real time, while push notifications alert you to injuries, trades, and other player news.
Even if you’ve never stepped foot on a football field, this app could make you the Bill Belichick of your office league.
NFL Fantasy Football
If you want to keep your fantasy focus strictly on football, check out the league’s official fantasy app. It puts everything you need to manage your NFL fantasy team right in the palm of your hands.
Draft from anywhere, then make week-to-week adjustments with the help of live scoring, expert analysis, and news and stats straight from the NFL. You’ll also get video highlights of all your team’s key plays. Keep the chat feature handy to talk trash to your opponents while you’re watching the real-life games.
(IOS, Android, Windows, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire Phone)
From the Washington Redskins’Hogettes to the denizens of the Oakland Raiders’ Black Hole, football fans have unique ways of showing their devotion to their team. FanCredis a free app that helps you harness that passion and share it with other fans.
FanCred is a social network that works like any other, but because it’s designed for sports fans, your followers are genuinely interested in your check-ins to Soldier Field and your latest fantasy football trades.
Create a profile and select your favorite team and you’ll receive a feed containing news, scores, and comments from other fans. If the prospect of socializing with your sports tribe isn’t enough, you can even play broadcaster by posting Periscope-style streams from your sofa or the stadium.
This network is not for lurkers: You’ll also receive a FanCred Score, ranking you from 1 to 100 based on how much you post and interact with other users, so make sure you get in the game.
(iOS and Android)
Venting your football frustrations to the general population on Facebook or Twitter is unsatisfying for you and downright annoying for your friends and followers. SportsYapper offers a more welcoming forum where your opinions and rants will always find a sympathetic ear.
Essentially, SportsYapper creates chat rooms around specific teams and live games where you can hang out and “yapp” with other fans. You get 300 characters to comment, which should be plenty to express your joy over your team’s last-second win or to debate a ref’s controversial call. When you have a meeting of the minds with another fan, you can give them a “high five,” the SportsYapper equivalent of a Facebook “like.”
Beyond sports chatter, the free app lets you upload and search photos of game gatherings, and it will alert you when a game is about to start or when a friend logs in.
Let’s say after a game on his mobile phone a 12-year-old boy has been able to master a little more of Calculus, or an impatient girl in fourth standard plugs into a tablet to know more about the ‘bite marks’ on Pluto, they wouldn’t necessarily be representative of a distant future.
Education-technology startups over the past decade have been transforming how youngsters learn, mainly via visual or interactive online modules that make learning instant and complex concepts more palatable. Several of these firms, though, are tethered to the formal model of education in India that is rooted in rote-learning and focused on test scores, which has largely meant linking students to tutors online or helping them improve test scores by generating multiple practice papers.
With technology rapidly evolving and students wanting to reach beyond structured boundaries, entrepreneurs and educationalists are pushing the limits trying to engage better with them. They are creating mobile-first, cloud-headquartered, analytics-based products, with emphasis on simplification and ease of use.
The four-people team at Oust Labs wants to make preparing for exams fun by putting friends and classmates through game-like competitions on its mobile application. The startup, founded last year, encourages students to hang out with friends on Oust as they bust challenges designed for 9th-12th standard students in science, math and social science.
A leaderboard features the top scorers, just as in gaming apps.
‘NEW TECHNOLOGY VITAL FOR CANCER TREATMENT’
“Unlike regular test-prep solutions we are using mobile gaming as a mechanism to drive engagement with users,” said CEO Shrikant Latkar, former chief marketing officer at mobile advertising firm InMobi. This latest crop of startups are emblematic of a big change over the initial era of ed-tech companies, and their ingenuity is helping draw investors. From $13.06 million invested in ed-tech startups in 2014 across 13 deals, investors pumped in $107.5 million across 22 deals last year, show data from financial research firm VCCEdge.
“Mobile-first solutions and gamification technologies are the future of education, since they can scale very rapidly at low cost,” said TV Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education and an investor in ed-tech startups including Oust Labs, Magic Crate and OnlineTyari, which, too, is a test-prep firm. Magic Crate provides skill-enhancing activities for children in ages 4 to 8 in a subscription-based service starting at Rs 549 a month.
CarveNiche Technologies mines and analyses data to teach maths. Its automated learning platform, beGalileo, works like a multiple level storyboard through which a student has to progress step by step. In the background, the platform analyzes the user’s learning minutely. “It will go as minute as… this child is struggling with decimals, he doesn’t know fractions, etc. The system will place the child on a learning path on a knowledge graph. This is the path you need to cross to reach your goal,” said CEO Avneet Makkar.