Trending February 2024 # Withings Launches New Body Comp Smart Scales And Health+ Subscription # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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Using a combination of sensors and algorithms, the Body Comp can tell you your weight, muscle mass, fat mass, water %, bone mass, BMI and visceral fat.

The latter is the ‘hidden’ fat around the organs in your belly.

It will also assess your cardiovascular and nerve health, giving you a fuller picture of your overall health than many rivals.

The Vascular Age reading measures the ‘stiffness’ of your arteries and can be a good indicator of cardiac health. Given that – according to the WHO – cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of deaths worldwide, the ability to detect problems early gives you the opportunity to make changes to your diet and exercise regime.

Usually, arteries age more slowly than the rest of the body, but the Body Comp will tell you – in less than 30 seconds – if your Vascular Age is higher than your actual age.

The Body Comp isn’t the only Withings scale to measure vascular age, though. The Body Cardio, reviewed, also does this.

The other headline feature is Nerve Health. This is usually assessed in a clinical setting, but with the Body Comp you can do it at home. It measures sweat gland activity in the feet and will give you a score to tell you whether there’s any degeneration of the small nerve fibres.

Together, these measurements can give you an idea of the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

The Body Comp costs $209.95 / £199.95 – the most expensive scale from the company yet – and goes on sale 4 October 2023. You’ll be able to buy it from Withings’ website.

Withings Health+

That price is higher than the Body Cardio primarily because buyers also get 12 month’ access to Withings’ new Health+ subscription service.

This goes beyond the measurements and basic tracking available in the Withings Health Mate app and adds insights that help you to understand what the numbers mean.

Health+ works on the basis that it will motivate you to make long-term changes, but to get the most out of it, you’ll also need to log extra information such as all the food you eat, your mood and your sleep (though this can be synced from a variety of smart watches and activity trackers).

Withings

It includes ‘habit-building’ modules which run for six weeks and are designed to motivate you to achieve health goals by seeing your progress through the various measurements from the Body Comp scale. This includes daily ‘missions’ along with recipe suggestions and workout routines (with videos).

You’ll also get weekly reports that give a detailed analysis of your progress and a monthly measurement report that’s designed to be shared with your doctor.

“Many people know what to do to improve their health. But it’s hard to fit healthy behaviors into your life and to know if they are actually improving your health. Health+ helps people understand how their behaviors impact their health, with bite-sized daily tasks that guide them to better results over the short, medium, and long term,” said Dr. Shikha Anand, Chief Medical Officer at Withings.

“While changes in fat/muscle mass or nerve activity may take months to evolve, other metrics such as weight, resting heart rate, or vascular age can change within weeks. Body Comp and Health+ show how these metrics improve with healthy behaviors, empowering people to take charge of their health every day.”  

Withings is keen to point out that the Body Comp is only the first device to work with Health+, and that it will be available to use with the forthcoming Body Scan health station as well as, presumably, all future Withings scales and other health-monitoring devices.

Health+ represents the company’s first foray into the world of subscriptions, and Withings confirmed to Tech Advisor that it will cost $79.95 / £79.95 per year once the initial 12 months’ access is over.

You’ll be able to use the scales if you choose not to continue subscribing, but you’ll lose the insights and daily/weekly plans.

We’ll be reviewing the service along with the Body Comp in due course. In the meantime, you can have a look at our recommendations of the best smart scales available to buy right now.

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Google Launches New Structured Data For Job Listings

Google is introducing a new structured data markup property for job listings that allow prospects to apply directly on the employer’s website.

In addition, Google is mandating a new editorial content policy in an effort to users can understand the content in a job listing and easily apply for it either directly or another way.

First let’s look at the new structured data property.

New directApply Markup For Job Listings

The new directApply property allows employers to indicate if there’s an option for prospective employees to apply for a job on their website.

Google says this markup is suitable for job listings that meet a certain set of user actions required to apply for the job. Namely, the user must be offered a short and straightforward application process.

Employers offer a “direct apply experience,” as defined by Google, if one of these conditions are met:

The user completes the application process on your site.

In other words, if the job listing requires applicants to upload a resume and then type all that same information again in an application form, it’s not eligible for this markup.

Site owners can start using this markup right away, though there may not be any immediate effect in search results as Google works to integrate this information into its index.

New Content Policy For Job Listings

Google asks that job listings also follow basic grammar rules, such as proper capitalization.

Based on research findings, Google offers the following tips to employers to improve job seeker trust and potentially attract more applicants:

No scams: Verify that no job listings represent scams or spams. Listings must represent real job opportunities.

Improve user experience: Sites with poor user experience ask for user information when it’s not necessary, have poor quality pages, or have complex application processes.

Remove expired job posts: Don’t leave a job post open if it is no longer accepting new applications.

Genuine dates: Don’t mask old jobs as new ones and don’t update the DatePosted property if there was no change to the job post.

No wrong or misleading info: This includes incorrect salary, location, working hours, employment type, or other job specific details.

Google’s new editorial content policy for job listings will go into effect on October 1, 2023.

Source: Google Search Central Blog

6 Key Ways Biden’s New Job Plan Tackles Climate, Health, Tech, And More

Amidst a period of high economic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden announced his American Jobs Plan on Wednesday, which proposes major updates to support natural and built environments across the country and provide new jobs for scores of workers. The plan focuses on remedying the lack of investment that has left the U.S. ranked 13th in the world for infrastructure despite being one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. 

The plan says the country will invest a total of about $2 trillion, or one percent of America’s GDP per year for eight years, into the plan. Biden aims to pay for the plan through his Made in America corporate tax plan, which he announced at the same time and would tax corporations at 28 percent while encouraging job creation in the U.S. instead of overseas.

But just because this massive plan was proposed does not mean we will see all of the suggested changes occur. It already faces opposition from conservatives concerned with the expansion of the federal government, liberals worried the plan does not go far enough to address the climate crisis, and businesses opposed to tax hikes. Many elements of the plan will have to be approved by Congress, where Biden holds only a narrow majority. 

The proposal itself is a significant move, though, so here are six key takeaways from the president’s new jobs plan.

An overall effort to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure 

But the plan also lays out directives to modernize education infrastructure like public schools, community colleges and child-care facilities, and make upgrades to electric and broadband networks. Together, the plan aims to invest $1.271 trillion in these key updates. Biden also wants to make these construction efforts smarter and faster, by expediting federal permitting and providing training and assistance so state, local, and tribal governments have the knowledge to carry out these ambitious plans.

A focus on racial and climate equity 

A common throughline in the many elements of the president’s plan are two major crises the country faces: racial injustice and climate change. It details reconnecting neighborhoods divided by historical projects, and ensuring those most in need of affordable transportation options can access them. The plan also seeks to update infrastructure to make it more resilient to the coming disasters of the climate crisis, like major floods, while focusing on the most at-risk communities, who are disproportionately low-income folks and people of color.

Support for the care economy 

The care economy—which includes the care of children, elderly people and people with disabilities by families or other services—has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Several of Biden’s proposals aim to support this industry through the creation of jobs as well as increased wages and benefits for workers. The plan notes that caregivers are disproportionately women of color, and have been traditionally underpaid and undervalued—essential home care workers are among the lowest paid workers in the country, with one in six workers in this sector living in poverty.

The plan puts $400 billion toward access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for elderly folks and people with disabilities, working to improve care for these communities while shifting burdens away from families and creating new jobs. The plan also expands access to long-term care through Medicaid programs.  

A $30 billion investment over four years will also aim to prevent further pandemic-related job loss through investment in biopreparedness and biosecurity. 

Biden is expected to announce a second part of his jobs plan in the coming weeks that focuses on family and medical leave and expanded health insurance. 

America as a leader in new innovation 

Much of Biden’s $180 billion investment in R&D proposals, workforce development and manufacturing, and small business support focuses on pushing the American workforce into industries of the future. He names artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and computing as just a few of the industries that will help America “win the 21st century economy.” The plan aims to create high-growth, high-wage job opportunities in regions of the country traditionally locked out of these sectors. 

Clean energy is another major focus of the plan. Biden wants to make the U.S. the leader of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, and proposed putting $174 billion toward spurring domestic supply chains and offering consumers tax incentives to purchase American made EV’s. He even wants to make 20 percent of all yellow school buses run on electricity. Another $35 billion is devoted toward developing clean energy tech and jobs. The plan will also extend tax credits for clean energy production and storage, clean energy block grants, and the use of federal purchasing power to make all federal buildings run on clean energy. 

All of this would help Biden make strides toward the goal of making the country run on 100 percent carbon-pollution free power by 2035.

Ensuring the right to clean drinking water 

The right to clean drinking water for all Americans is a long time coming—disasters like the Flint, Michigan water crisis are a reminder of just how immediate an issue this is. Across the country an estimated six to 10 million homes still get water through lead pipes and service lines, and this lead exposure can create a host of developmental issues in children, from learning problems to brain damage. The plan aims to replace every single lead pipe in the country, as well as to modernize all water systems.  

Addressing the affordable housing crisis

Finally, Biden’s plan notes that affordable housing is a major problem for many Americans, as millions of families put more than half their income toward rent. To address this issue, Biden aims to spend $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable homes. 

It puts an additional $40 billion toward improving America’s public housing, which accommodates around 1.2 million households nationwide. He wants to eliminate exclusionary zoning laws—such as minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing—that raise construction and housing costs and lock families out of neighborhoods with more opportunities. 

If Biden is able to achieve what he wants from this ambitious plan, it would be one of the most significant infrastructure updates the country has seen in decades and could push the U.S. to become a more future-facing nation.

China Mobile Launches “5G New Call”: Top 5 Things You Need To Know

Previously, 5G Messages was a major exploration as an option for SMS upgrades. However, the development has been somewhat tepid so far. “5G video calling” is similar to “WeChat video calling” based on the operator’s network. Nevertheless, the new “5G New Call” can allow operators to regain the initiative, or even change the habit of users. Let us take a look at the top five possibilities with respect to “5G New Call”.

1. “5G New Call” – uses the native dialer of the smartphone

China Mobile claims that relative to voice and video calls over the Internet, 5G new calls are “more stable and more convenient”. It has a stable call quality and uninterrupted incoming calls. It is also convenient because you can make video calls without downloading APPs and applets. According to reports, 5G new calls use VoNR (Voice over New Radio) technology. This is an audio and video service solution under the 5G SA network architecture. Both video and data services are carried on the 5G network.

In terms of sound quality, the VoNR sound transmission bandwidth extends from 50Hz-7000Hz to 20Hz-14000Hz. In terms of picture quality, the resolution can reach 720p, which is a level higher than 480P for VoLTE calls. Therefore, the effect of the picture and sound of the 5G video call will be higher than the current video call from social software such as WeChat.

2. 5G New Call Billing

Judging from the current settings of various communication packages and the consumption habits of users, the number of voice minutes in the packages generally far exceeds the demand. In this case, the billing method of 5G video calls includes the voice calls. For operators, it is almost a loss-making business, but it can increase its attractiveness to users in the early stage.

Gizchina News of the week 3. User habit

In the 3G era, the cost threshold was high while the video calling technology, network, and terminals were immature. However, in the 4G era, major Internet companies compete for excellence, and each has a unique strategy to keep users on their own apps as much as possible.

Now in the 5G era, with the development of various technologies, video calls seem to be opening the door to telecom operators again. However, how to reverse user habits will become a major problem for operators. Users are already used to using various applications for video calls. How do you re-grab them to the local dialer?

Moreover, for those with free WiFi networks, using an app for video calls regardless of time and cost seems to be more friendly. This will be a major challenge for the 5G new call technology.

4. Coverage & terminal popularization

Also, since 5G VoNR is still in the early stage of commercial development, there are still certain challenges in terms of network coverage and quality, terminal capabilities, and industrial chain.

First of all, for 5G VoNR to be commercially available on a large scale, broad coverage of the 5G SA network is required.

In terms of 5G network coverage, as of the end of 2023, China Mobile has cumulatively opened more than 730,000 5G base stations, including 200,000 700MHz 5G base stations, basically achieving continuous coverage in urban areas, counties, and towns. It also has its presence in some key rural areas, and key property premises. As of now, its services cover about 207 million 5G network customers.

In addition to network coverage, terminal popularization is also required. Although the new smartphones all support 5G, most do not really know about 5G packages. About 80% of smartphones sold in China support 5G. However, many do not subscribe to 5G packages.

5. “5G message” is silent – can “5G new call” become a killer app?

Although 5G Messages development is complete, the application of this technology is a little silent. China Telecom provides 5G messaging standard packages and explores multiple billing models. At the same time, it expands the coverage of 5G messaging terminals and strengthens industry cooperation. However, the three major operators in China now seek to upgrade 5G Messages to 5G New Call. The functions are more powerful, but the tariffs remain the same. This makes it conducive and it will ensure a smooth transition of traditional basic telecommunication services.

Furthermore, the basic “5G New Call” service is simpler and easier to understand. It can be understood as a high-definition video version of a traditional call.

Conclusion

It is important to note that the 5G new call is not strictly a video call product. However, it also has functions such as video customer service, AI voice recognition, screen sharing, and remote collaboration. Among them, 5G video customer service supports basic business investigation, high-sensitivity business authorization, remote operation guidance and other business scenarios.

Some Of The Best Subscription

Not a fan of monthly subscriptions when it comes to using software? I’m not much a fan of it either, yet it seems to be way of the future because it puts more money into software developers’ pockets.

Among some of the hardest hitters when it comes to software-based monthly subscription costs is Adobe. While the company used to sell its professional-grade software at one flat cost, it has since moved to subscription-based models that guarantee ongoing perpetuity in exchange for your use of Adobe’s software. It’s a lot like renting; stop paying, and you lose access.

Applications like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are insanely popular among photographers who edit their work in post-production, but if you’re looking to dodge the monthly subscription costs, then you should know there are excellent alternatives available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and iPadOS that can get the same job done without the recurring subscription costs. We’ll show you some in this piece.

Subscription-free photo editing software GIMP

Free, open-source, and available for all major desktop operating systems, the tried-and-true GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) software carries many of the same tools that Adobe’s venerable Photoshop software does.

GIMP has been around for a very long time, and there are tons of satisfied users who can tell you just how resourceful this free software is. It even helped law enforcement solve a homicide case once; true story!

Head over to the GIMP website to get started.

Darkroom

Darkroom is a competitive and award-winning alternative to Adobe Lightroom that offers many of the same RAW photo editing features that the bug guy does, but at a fair flat price.

While Darkroom does come with subscription options of its own; a lifetime license can be had for $74.99 that works universally across the macOS, iPadOS, and iOS platforms. Sadly, it’s not available for Windows. I personally use this for a lot of my RAW photo editing.

Head over to the Darkroom website to get started.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a powerful alternative to Adobe Photoshop and offers tons of tools for retouching images, including a powerful AI-based spot healing brush that can make elements of a photograph disappear.

Pixelmator Pro is only available for macOS, but for a low flat price of just $49.99 (but a free trial is available!). I use this software almost religiously for doctoring images and making banners and can attest for just how useful it is at the price point. Again, this software is sadly not available for Windows.

Head over to the Pixelmator Pro website to get started.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a great photo retouching software for macOS, Windows, and iPadOS that offers support for professional-grade tools and even RAW photo editing without a subscription attached.

Available for a one-time payment of $69.99 for either macOS or Windows, $19.99 for iPadOS, or $169.99 for everything, you can download and enjoy this software for last-minute photo editing without a continuous stream of payments.

Head over to the Affinity Photo website to get started.

Topaz Photo AI

Topaz Photo AI uses artificial intelligence to automatically soup up any and all of your photographs. It comes with de-noising capabilities, blur-removal capabilities, and even resolution-enhancing capabilities, all of which I use on a regular basis for improving my photographs.

Topaz Photo AI is a bit on the pricey side at $199, but at least you won’t have reoccurring payments like some of those other types of photo editing software.

Head over to the Topaz Photo AI website to get started.

Preview

The Mac’s native Preview app is more powerful than you might think. Not only is it an image viewer, but it provides photo editing tools that can be especially useful, including lighting and color adjustments that work almost as good as what you’d find in Adobe Lightroom.

We thought this was important to mention before you decide to buy expensive software because most people don’t even realize that their Mac comes with pre-installed powerful photo editing software. Unfortunately, Preview is native to macOS and can’t be had on Windows or mobile platforms.

Conclusion

While some people flock to the subscription-based Adobe software simply because of the brand’s reputation in the industry, the good news is that you can prevent yourself from being sucked into ongoing subscription payments by using any of the quality photo editing software discussed above.

Personally, I’d rather pay once and own the software for life than pay continuously and lose access to it when I stop paying, so I’ll be using these alternatives for a long time to come – maybe forever!

Editor’s Desk: Bad Firmware Updates, Catalina Fallout, And App Subscription Woes

In this week’s editor’s desk I discuss Apple’s recent firmware upgrade to AirPods Pro and what happens when things go wrong. I also look at the continuing fallout from Catalina’s release, and I plea with app makers to rethink how they’re getting paid these days.

When firmware updates go wrong

Apple periodically pushes new firmware updates to its devices over the air, and for the most part these updates are helpful, or benign at worst. But a recent firmware update to AirPods Pro has worsened the wireless earbuds’ noise-cancelling abilities while apparently enhancing other aspects of their operation, including better frequency response and bass accuracy.

After some back chatter on social media it appears that Apple has pulled the firmware update from circulation, an implicit acknowledgement that something ain’t right with the new update. Many folks, including us at iDB, noticed the changes, though it wasn’t exactly clear what had changed.

That’s because the AirPods and AirPods Pros don’t have an independent user interface of their own, so their updates are delivered by stealth – you really don’t have any direct control over if or when the updates will occur. Instead, they get pushed out by Apple as needed. You just have to assume that the mechanisms that take of the updates work in the background as they’re supposed to. You can check your firmware version, if it makes you happy, but that’s about it.

TIP: How to find out your AirPods firmware version

For a company that prides itself on transparency and providing the user with ultimate control over how data is shared, Apple still too often takes a “don’t worry your pretty little head about it” attitude towards routine maintenance, pushing users towards uniform updates and upgrades to new products whenever possible.

That relentless march towards progress has paid off well for Apple when it comes to measurements like platform fragmentation. We’ve read for years that Apple users upgrade to new versions of operating systems with much greater frequency and in much greater percentages than Android users do.

Another Catalina casuality

On the other hand, sometimes nudging people in that direction can have dire consequences. I’m thinking of the upgrades that some Mac users have made to 10.15 Catalina, only to discover apps that don’t work right.

One more that we found out about this past week is AccountEdge, a small business accounting software package on the Mac which has been around for years. AccountEdge’s developers announced this past week that their app will simply never work on Catalina. They recommend that users stick with Mojave if they want to keep using AccountEdge. Those interested in Catalina must either migrate to AccountEdge’s subscription-based web service, or run a virtualized Mac operating system instance with an older version macOS installed.

This is actually one of those cases where a dual-boot Mac might work too:

TIP: How to run Catalina and Mojave on the same Mac

AccountEdge’s code base is three decades old and its developers have had years to rewrite whatever core technology won’t make the cut. I have very little sympathy for them, especially as their upgrade path is to push people towards a subscription-based service, and I have my own strong feelings about those.

Give me a break with subscriptions

Lately I’ve begun to feel like I’m being slowly bled to death by an increasing number of apps that demand subscriptions even though they don’t deserve it.

I’m ordinarily very reluctant to pay a subscription fee for an app unless I know I’m going to use it. And typically, the only way I know that is if I’ve used it for a while – typically because I paid for a perpetual license for it as some point in the past and found the app to be indispensable.

This chicken and egg problem means that I often terminate with extreme prejudice any app that offers a very limited trial period before invoking a monthly or annual subscription fee. Or apps that provide me with limited utility which I might use a few times, but not something that’s going to be incorporated into my workflow on a daily basis.

I apply different expectations to apps than I do for services, for example. I have no compunction, for example, about forking over fees for Apple Music, Netflix, or even a cloud-based backup. But if it’s weeks or sometimes months before I open an app, why should I be expected to pay a continuous fee to use it?

I understand why subscriptions have been appearing in earnest in the App Store, ever since Apple pushed the idea to app developers a few years ago. But the fact is that only a few apps at the very top of the food chain appear to really benefiting from the subscription model, while independent developers continue to struggle, just as they have for years.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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