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The Microsoft Band in the Wearable Smartphone Market

Microsoft BandRecently, Microsoft brought a surprise to the tech world by introducing a fitness tracking wristband which comes with an app and cloud computing technology which can track fitness and health related data and the best part is that it is actually very good. The band costs $199 and is proof that the company wishes to integrate its Microsoft Health platform with other items, which can be worn such as the Jawbone along with gathering data from Samsung Android and iPhone devices.

In comparison to its competition, this band is a full-featured device, which might actually be considered as the most flexible device available. It contains notifications for incoming calls and text messages, emails as well calendar items along with fitness tracking which included monitoring the heart rate. This feature is still considered to be quite rare in a number of other fitness bands.

The band also tracks steps, estimates the number of calories burned during a certain exercise and has a GPS system built in which can track the cycling or running route you use. It even has the ability to track your movement while you sleep.

A number of other features can be achieved by pairing the band with a Windows Phone such as the ability to use voice commands to activate Cortana which is a digital assistant similar to Siri and Google voice controls. Text messages can also be replied to using your voice.

It would be difficult to find another band which does the same things that the Microsoft Band performs and that too, across a range of platforms. The Pebble Smart Watch, while working on Android and iOS does not include advanced fitness features which are found in the Microsoft Band. The Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up have apps on Android and iPhone however these do not have the smart-watch style of notifications. Similarly, the Gear line of devices by Samsung which includes the GearFit works only with Galaxy phones. The Apple Watch too only works with iPhones. Hence, the cross platform compatibility is a very smart move taken by Microsoft along with some of the features it has built into its Health app.

The workouts are not very easy to navigate and you can have only one workout on the band at one time. However if you plan ahead, it is good to know which workout is next without having to check the phone to see what workout is next.

The battery life is also quite good in comparison to other smart watches. Microsoft has promised 48 hours and slightly more can be achieved if the time display is kept off for most of the time. The band is also made to be dust and water resistant.

The Microsoft band however is not very attractive. The design is quite blocky and industrial with a thick rubber band. The middle of the band contains a power button while there is an action button on the right side of the display. Three sizes are available; small, medium and large and a sliding clasp allows the band to be adjusted so that it can fit well.

The band is the most comfortable when it is worn with the screen on the inside of the wrist which is opposite to the way you would normally wear a watch. This is not too bad as it makes notifications more subtle.

The interface of the watch is similar to that of a Windows Phone; you can customize the band by selecting the color of the screen and the design of the background. The tiles on the touch screen of the band can also be customized; it can display up to 12 screens which includes texts, emails, calls, calendar invites, running data, exercise, sleep, weather, guided workouts, Twitter and Facebook notifications.

Overall, the device works well and the apps are easy to navigate and the heart rate monitoring is certainly a novelty which gives the device an edge.

Brooke work as parenting expert and author has earned her a dedicated flock of readers who are hankering for the latest news and review about Latest tech. Her work turns around the latest in cellphone tracking app like www.theonespy.com

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8 Tips to Protect Your Business and Stay Out of Legal Trouble Online

gavel and keyboard internet lawThe WWW in a URL used to be thought of as an abbreviation for “Wild Wild West” when it came to legality. But the law is finally catching up to many of the ways people and companies can harm or take unfair advantage of others online. Current laws protect against deceptive or abusive emails, online privacy violations, online copyright infringement, and much more.

Knowing the basics of what you or your business legally can and can’t do online can help you avoid a lawsuit or government enforcement action, saving you lots of money, time, and stress. But you also have rights that can help you protect yourself from other businesses or individuals from taking financial advantage of your efforts.

The following tips are based on a legal guide from Law Soup, a site I founded where you can find tips on many other areas of law. If you think you are violating any of the following laws but aren’t sure, or if you believe someone else is violating your rights, you should speak to an attorney who specializes in internet law.

1.     Sending unsolicited emails

It’s generally legally acceptable to send unsolicited commercial email to people, as long as it isn’t deceptive or abusive, and you include three things in the email: (1) identify that it is an advertisement, (2) include your physical address, and (3) include an easy opt-out or “unsubscribe” link.

2.     False or misleading advertising on the internet

You may already know you can’t engage in false or misleading advertising, but did you know that even “liking” a user’s misleading Facebook comment could be seen as legally the same as if the comment came from your business? One pharmaceutical company recently got in trouble for doing just that.

3.     Privacy policy

If you don’t have a privacy policy for your website or app yet, or haven’t posted it, you really should as a matter of good business practice. However, if you have any users under the age of 13, you are required to have and post a privacy policy and follow a few other rules, which you can find on Law Soup. Many states have additional privacy requirements for both adults and children, which you can find here.

4.     Blocking your internet access

Have you ever gone to a hotel and tried doing some work using your personal wi-fi hotspot (usually from your cell phone company), but the hotspot doesn’t work, so then you have to pony up around $10+ for hotel internet? It may be because the hotel blocked your hotspot, which is illegal. A Marriott hotel recently got in serious trouble for this. Nobody can block another person’s wi-fi hotspot.

5.     Copyright on the internet

Most things you or your employees create and post online, such as writings, art, or photos are your intellectual property and others may not use them without your permission. Obviously you also can’t just copy this work created by others. A quick way to force websites to take down your materials is to send them a “DMCA Takedown Notice” which you can find out more about here.

Sharing a post on social media or linking to a page is not considered copyright infringement, and most content creators obviously want people doing this anyway!

6.     Hacking

If you have evidence that you were hacked and can identify who did it (or is continuing to do it), the law allows you to get authorities to take immediate action to disable the hacker. Contact local law enforcement and/or the Internet Criminal Complaint Center.

Almost all states also require you to notify users when their personal information was stolen in a hack or data breach. See your state’s requirements here.

7.     Online sales

If you sell products on the internet, you must ship the goods within the time frame you state (or within no more than 30 days), otherwise the customer has the right to cancel the purchase. But aside from legality, it’s also bad customer service to promise something and not deliver (no pun intended).

8.     Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting is when someone buys a domain name that is the same or similar to someone else’s trademark, for the purpose of taking financial advantage of that trademark. For example, buying the domain “campbells.com” to get web traffic from people looking for the soup brand would be cybersquatting. It is illegal unless it is done for non-commercial purposes, such as political activism. The penalty for cybersquatting involves potentially millions of dollars in fines.

For citations and more on these laws, check out Law Soup’s guide to internet/social media laws.

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