Thursday, January 31, 2013

LG Spirit 4G - now available on MetroPCS

The LG Spirit 4G is a prepaid handset from MetroPCS that's equipped with a 4.5-inch display, a dual-core processor, and a 5-megapixel camera.

LG Spirit 4G
The LG Spirit 4G from MetroPCS
(Credit: LG)
Today, MetroPCS and LG announced their newest handset, the LG Spirit 4G for $199.
The 4G LTE device features Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 4.5-inch Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen, and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

Powering the Spirit 4G is a 2,150mAh battery, which has a reported talk time of 4 hours and a standby time of 200 hours. Users will also get 4GB of internal storage, and up to 32GB of external memory.It also houses a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash that's capable of shooting 1080p HD video. On the front is a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chatting and vanity shots.

In addition, the prepaid carrier and LG have tied in the Spirit 4G with the nonprofit youth programAfter-School All-Stars. For every unit sold, LG will donate a dollar to the organization.
While it's disappointing that the Spirit 4G isn't running the newest version of the Android operating system, Jelly Bean, it's good to see a high-end LG device in MetroPCS' lineup. LG's only other Ice Cream Sandwich phone on the carrier is the Motion 4G. Though I was a fan of it, users may find the Spirit 4G's bigger 4.5-inch screen to be more suitable instead.

Selling HTC M7 - 8 March

Yesterday during the day, it is said that HTC will hold a media event on February 19, or a week before the Mobile World Congress, which is expected to be the launch of a new model of the phone company, HTC M7.

However, now under HTCSource said that HTC will start selling the new phone model of 8 March 2013, and that date would presumably apply to the European continent initially, to be followed by other countries, including the U.S. it.

According to current reports, HTC M7 comes with touch screen with 4.7 inch full HD interface with 1920 x 1080 pixels, and Android Jelly Bean and quad core 1.7Ghz processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. 

2013 - Microsoft released Office

Microsoft has opened the New Year with a bang. It has launched a new Office suite and this is great news for all those who have been teased enough by the #TimeTo365 campaign on Twitter, the past few days.
Gotham City – Launch Pad
Microsoft released Office 2013
As Microsoft launched, Office 2013 in New York City’s Bryant Park on January 29, it was initially available as a RTM version in October 2012, with a downloadable preview version also present.
The re-designed and improved Office suite is said to contain features suited for supporting cloud computing and services, touchscreens and the buzzing, social networking space. The best part is, it can run on Windows RT based devices even though it was designed primarily for the Windows 8 platform.
Subscribing to Office
Microsoft has also used Office 2013 to introduce a new subscription-based Office 365 Home Premium version. This version is easily downloadable and can be installed locally. Users will be paying about $100 a year for the Home Premium version of Office 365 and $150 for the Small Business Premium version. This also signals the chance of policy from the earlier pay once for installing in one machine concept.The $100 subscription is being offered as a bundle. This involves running Office 2013 in five computers, including Macs and 60 minutes of free calls on Microsoft Skype and up to 20 GB of extra cloud space on SkyDrive.
The Home Premium tag will ensure access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher and their installation on up to five computers. The Small Business Premium edition would include access to InfoPath and Lync, in addition to the Home Premium privileges.
The boxed version for retail sale is to cost $140 for the Home and Student edition, $220 for Office Home & Business and $400 for the Office Professional edition.
Improved Office Suite
The new Office 2013 is loaded with more cloud based features than the older versions. This includes an option to save files directly to its SkyDrive cloud service.
Microsoft has been working real hard to equip Office with various features to keep its 1 billion users happy. These include a plan to constantly update Office periodically with newer features. This means that Office 2013 will be constantly updated with features instead of waiting for the next updated version of Office, as was the case earlier.
Support for Third Party Apps
Microsoft is also trying to improve the apps available for Office, by creating an app store for enabling developers to share their innovations. The ability of apps to incorporate real time data could come in handy and can eventually be shared with all Office users and improve overall usability.
Next-Gen Connectivity
The most promising aspect of the Office 2013 has to be the connectivity part. The new office suite enables constant connection to the cloud through the SkyDrive service of Microsoft. This eases sharing and collaborating with others to a great extent. It even will indicate if the shared document is being edited and the person can be reached via Microsoft Skype or IM, all this without leaving the application!
Office 2013 will also enable Excel tables with real time live data, constantly updated PowerPoint slide templates, and of course, Word Docs containing videos from You Tube.
Lack of Support
Given the fact that consumers are constantly looking at diverse products, the chances of Microsoft losing market share to rivals is bright. The Google Apps suite is one such example.
With competitors closely following up with innovative and low cost business software offerings, it is high time Microsoft chose to think about extending Office applications across platforms. This should start with work towards making Office suite of applications available for Apple iOS and Google Android powered devices. Integrating support in Office for its recent acquisitions, Yammer and Skype, could also augur well for the Windows maker by providing a constant source of revenue.
The ever increasing popularity of Android and Apple iOS powered devices, should make Microsoft rethink its strategy towards enabling Office for other platforms. Its Numero Uno position, courtesy Windows OS, is always under threat.

Top 5 iPhone 6 rumors you want to know

Apple iPhone 6 rumors - Apple has been able to mesmerize the world with its innovations and technology of its products. The recent iPhone 5 is also an example of the fact. However, with the New Year set into being, the rumors of another advanced device of iPhone 6 by Apple are doing its rounds in the biz world.
The role of cloud-based operations along with connectivity is increasing with every passing day. Every company is on its way to use that in their favor and try to use it through their innovated devices. According to rumor mills, like every other company, Apple is also trying to take a major step in this sector with the introduction of the innovated iPhone 6.
A few iPhone 6 rumors that are making its way into the foray:
1. Mac Operating System
To start with, the rumors being spread about the latest to-be-released device, the latest upcoming device of iPhone 6 by Apple is rumored to be integrated with the Operating System of Mac. The information doing rounds is conveying the message that the latest iPhone 6 from Apple will be an integrated system with that of the Mac systems from the same company. The significance of this is said to be a complete integration system between the two products of Apple. The OS is said to help the users to have control and even access the other Mac Systems through their iPhone 6, and vice-versa.
2. Inclusion of IGZO
The second rumor about the gadget says that Apple will be using the technology of IGZO for the screens of its future devices. This is said to turn the device of iPhone into a much slimmer gadget with high flexibility of physical qualities. The device is also said to be an energy saving one, consuming far less energy than the previous models. iPhone 6 will be having a much higher resolution definition than the devices marketed till date. This will lead to further precision and sharpness of the pictures (both still and moving).

3. 4.8 inches or bigger display
The third rumor being discussed is regarding the screen size of the gadget. It is said to be sporting a big screen, may be 4.8 inches in display or even bigger. The slimmer phone with a bigger display will certainly be a phone that the customers will be looking towards to purchase. However, things will only be revealed after any official announcement by Apple. Until then, these speculations are only being made under certain information based on the rumors doing the round.
4. Slider keypad
If the fourth rumor is to be believed, then the company will come up with a slider keypad in their new iPhone 6 device. This will help the users to type in their messages more smoothly, rather than using the touch keypad on the screen of the device. However, the concept of a manual keyboard was also being speculated before the actualization of the models of iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, but that remained as a speculation only.
5. Changes in graphical illustrations
The fifth rumor that is doing round the biz world regarding the device of iPhone 6 reveals that there will be several changes regarding the graphical illustration of the gadget. Similar speculation was already made prior to the release of earlier versions. However, even after the release of the latest iPhone device, not much changes or overhauling was noticed. However, the customers can look forward to some changes in regards to the graphic appearance of the gadget this time.

Samsung and Apple Leading In Smartphone Business

According to reports from IDC, smartphones are dominating over 50 percent of overall market share of the present age; Samsung and Apple being the dominant companies enjoying a lion’s share of business in smart devices and enjoying high market reliability. Although it is argued that there is ample scope of growth for the companies, yet, there is virtually no sign that can become obvious reason resulting in their displacement from the position.
Samsung and Apple Leading In Smartphone Business; what is Up Next?
With the present trend of smartphone market, it can be concluded that the war of grabbing a respectable position among the customers and global market is over, as of now, with Apple and Samsung trying to gain a lion’s share. Recent observations have revealed that Android has emerged as a winner in this extensive battle, exploiting the greatest share of smarphone business in global market.
Although records are showing that there is a slight dip in overall expectation on part of Apple, yet it would be tremendous mistake on part of experts to conclude that the company would leave the arena shortly. Even the same can be said in terms of Samsung. According to IDC, Apple has recorded 21.8 per cent of share in the global market of smartphones, while that of Samsung occupies 29 percent.
However, the latest figures of market sales regarding mobile gadgets released by research company of IDC hails Samsung and Apple for being able to secure the leading position in global market. Accordingly, Samsung engaged in shipping 63.7 m devices during fourth quarter; on the other hand, Apple is said to have shipped 47.8 m gadgets. These two companies together emerged holding half of the entire smartphone market throughout the world, recording 45.5% total market share of mobile devices.
With no signs of danger from Nokia’s Windows Phone, experts throughout the world has determined that the war between grabbing market shares between the companies have nearly come to an end. Android claiming to be the highest gainer out of this market, while Apple can be termed as the second best in leading the world market of smartphones. On the other hand, BlackBerry and Windows Phone are able to cater a meager part of share in world market.
According to market analysis, smartphones are clearly taking charge in the market wiping out traces of featurephones. Accordingly, the last quarter of previous year witnessed a fall of about fifteen percent in sales of featurephone, while popularity of smartphones showing rise to a whopping forty percent each quarter. It is even calculated that given such expansion and demand of smartphones in the market, the wonder gadgets will surely capture more than fifty percent of world market at the end of ongoing quarter of the year.
Strategies by companies to get hold of smartphone market
With the growing market of smartphones, competitors are now looking towards some low-end Android handsets and even lower specifications of smartphones to fill the gaps and attracting a section of buyers. Many experts are terming Nokia’s Asha to fulfill such promises. However, many experts are unwilling to categorize Asha as a smartphone since it does not provide facility of third party application through the handsets. On the other hand, the device helps in operating Opera as an internet browser to connect to the web world.
Growth factor for smartphones
However, experts still believe that there is ample scope for Apple and Samsung to increase their market in respect to smartphones. According to studies and analysis, experts are pitching for further room for rise in at least sixty percent of smartphone market globally and that too at each quarter, for coming year or so. On the other hand, experts also believe that there is much less a market of such advanced devices other than the companies of Apple or Samsung.
However, with many experts terming this era gradually proceeding towards closing down the battle of smartphones, questions ponder regarding the future of such devices and the companies. Well, critics are pointing towards unfolding of another technical revolution that has been marked with rumors of futuristic Google Glass. Even gadgets – pocketable and even wearable, equipped with voice alerts might emerge in near future. Hopefully, those gadgets will surely make life even easier and better that what the smart devices of present times are offering.

iPad 5 Rumors Apple - DON’T Want You to Know

iPad 5 concept

iPad 5 rumors – Are Apple going to surprise everybody and release a thinner iPad 5 in March?
Typically, Apple do a product launch for a new iPad in March. This is the way it’s been for some years now, and customers have come to expect it.  However, due to the fact that Apple released a 4th generation iPad in late 2012, many people have been wondering when the iPad 5 will be released, with some suggesting it won’t be until late 2013.

The “Inside Scoop” on iPad 5 Rumors?

While a late 2013 release certainly seemed likely for the iPad 5, it has emerged in the last few days that the release date may actually be in March.
One of the websites reporting this news is the Japanese blog Macotakara, who have a pretty solid track record of “leaking” news before it becomes official. Ultimately though, these iPad 5 rumors are just that…rumors, and should be taken with a grain of salt until any news becomes official. Macotakara also go on to claim the new iPad 5 will redesigned, with a whole range of new features for the Apple enthusiast to get their hands on.
For example, it is rumored that the 5th generation iPad will be shorter, thinner, and narrower, and the whole design is to borrow heavily from the iPad mini. It’s also claimed that the new iPad 5 will be using GF2 touchscreen technology which was used on the iPad mini.
iPad 5 concept – Is this the new look of iPad 5?

So why are Apple aiming for a March release?

Well, if the iPad 5 rumors are correct, then it has a lot to do with the red hot competition that has arrived in the tablet marketplace. Things are not like they were a few years ago, where Apple basically owned the whole tablet market. Those days are long gone.
With tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Surface providing consumers with alternative options, Apple needs to be on top of their game to retain market share and keep the iPad going from strength to strength.
Let’s face the facts here for a moment. Tablets really are taking the world by storm, and they have got everybody talking, and more importantly…spending money!
The mass population are now starting to get in on the tablet trend, as people discover how they can access the internet, send email, chat with friends via video, and take pictures, all while on the move.
With this in mind, you can expect many more iPad 5 rumors to be hitting websites in the coming weeks, as people are desperate to find out the latest information on soon to be released tablets.

Tablet trends for 2013

As tablets become more popular in 2013, it’s worth taking a quick look at some of the trends that are expected to impact the marketplace.

They will become cheaper

Gone are the days when tablets were an exclusive and premium product. As the masses start to buy tablets, the competition between brands heats up, which ultimately means the prices will start to become cheaper.
How much do you think the new iPad 5 will cost? Do you think Apple will keep prices the same despite competition from the Google Nexus?

Android continues to go from strength to strength

After initial teething problems, the Android operating system which is used by Nexus finally seems to have got it’s act together. Consumers are finally saying that it easy to use, stable, and has good performance.
With this in mind, if the Android operating system continues to go from strength to strength, it should provide some serious competition for the iPad 5.

Microsoft Surface might shock everybody

One of the reasons why the Microsoft Surface might be the dark horse in the tablet world right now, is because of their existing partnerships with cable TV operators (think Xbox).
If Microsoft can get their act together, they could be the first tablet device to start offering live streaming cable television. This could potentially be huge.
What implications do you think this would have on Apple and the iPad 5? Can Microsoft really get their act together and turn the Surface into a major player?

Alternative iPad 5 Rumors

Although many websites are claiming that the iPad 5 is set to be released in March, there has been a growing number of sources who are saying it’s going to be a completely different date altogether.
One of these sources DigiTimes, who recently went in the opposite direction of popular iPad 5 rumors by claiming the 5th generation iPad is to be released in mid 2013.
Their reason they believe this release date to be correct is due to the fact that a main supplier to Apple, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, have claimed that their business will have a strong financial start to the year because they are manufacturing parts for the iPad 5 which releases in mid 2013.

Other iPad Rumors

Another iPad rumor that has been hitting the net recently has to do with the iPad mini. Reports are suggesting that a 2nd generation version of the iPad mini will feature a Retina Display. More specifically, this display will be 7.9 inch, with a 2048 x 1536 display, and an A6X chip.
The rumors also suggest that this new version of the iPad mini starts trial production at the end of January, but there is no date set for any kind of release.

The Final Word

Despite what iPad 5 rumors you might hear, it’s always best to treat them as what they are…rumors and nothing else. Until Apple officially announce anything, stories, inside information, and leaks, are just pure speculation and nothing else.
One thing’s for sure though, 2013 promises to be an interesting year for the iPad 5 and the tablet market as a whole.
Who will reign supreme at the end of the year? Will it be the Apple iPad, Google Nexus or Microsoft Surface?
Give us your thoughts below, and also let us know if you hear of any other iPad 5 rumors.

Creating A Professional Online Presence Is Crucial For Today’s Job Market

Let’s face it, the job market is becoming more and more competitive. Although I unfortunately haven’t experienced other job markets around the globe, I would imagine that no matter where you live, getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult. Employers are now going towards the online application process, limiting the amount of face-to-face contact.
It’s one of the shortfalls of the Internet, but how can you use the Internet and technology to your advantage to stand out instead of being looked over and forgotten?
Many people often think that the “Internet stuff” is just for technology careers and young people, but it’s not. There are many cases where having a solid online presence has proven beneficial to people of all ages and industries.

It All Starts With The Right Mentality

Just like anything, creating a professional online presence starts with a firm purpose and a mentality that you will give it your best shot. You can’t just start a “blog”, never publish any solid content and then expect to attract potential career opportunities. No – you need to have a vision and a purpose for what you hope to gain.
Also, despite your efforts, you’ll likely not see immediate results. It may take several months before you start seeing the benefits of creating your online presence.

So, Why Should I Create A Professional Online Presence?

So if you won’t see results right away and it takes a lot of effort and vision and purpose… whyeven do it? Why not just put that same effort and time towards other things that might yield a quicker return? Because effort shows. And vision shows. To who? Your potential employers, career contacts and people who share the same passion and interests as you.
How does that phrase go again? It’s not what you know, it’s who you know? Yes. That’s it! Well, that’s what creating an online presence is all about. Some people have accidentally fallen into a career by doing this without really “trying” and have become very successful. However, for many (and probably the majority) it takes a lot of effort, but also quite a bit of know-how.

Alright, I Want To Do This! Now How Do I Go About It?

There are several things you need to do to achieve your goal of creating a professional online presence. But as you read this, don’t look at it each of these as individual things you have the option of doing. Instead, think of all of them as just a piece of the whole picture. Without one part, the picture isn’t complete.

Don’t Share Anything You Don’t Want EVERYONE To See

This is the golden rule with social media and there is never an exception. Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent mishap with Randi Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder’s sister and previous marketing director, who posted a personal photo which someone then posted to Twitter. Many of the original tweets about this have been deleted, but you can read the full story on CNBC, BuzzFeed and other news sites.

Create a Personal Website &/Or Blog

If you’re like me (or were like me), you read that title and thought to yourself:
I’ll tell you this – I thought that exact same thing. That is until the spring of 2012 when I read Thomas Frank’s article The Ultimate Guide To Building A Personal Website. His article is geared towards the student because his blog, College Info Geek, is obviously geared towards students. But like many of his other articles, the same advice can be applied to you if you aren’t a student.

At the very beginning he states 4 reasons why you need to build a website. It’s too long to quote, but if you found yourself saying those things above, you need to read his article – I guarantee it’ll change your perspective. Of course, it’s not just about the why, but the howtoo, which his article covers in depth flawlessly.
In June and April of 2012, we shared our own advice in creating your own website without any coding skills with sites like,, Sidengo and others.
  • How To Build Your Own Website In Minutes Without Any Coding Skills
  • The Easiest Ways To Make A Personal Website Without Any Coding Skills
An Example Of An About.Me Page
I personally believe that WordPress is the best platform to build your website on and although knowing some code might help you, you don’t need to know any to get a basic personal website running – you can always learn how to code for free later. Also, as a quick note, I used to be very intimidated by WordPress – I honestly don’t know why. I created this huge mountain of doubt about why I couldn’t use it. But after reading Thomas Frank’s article, I jumped into it and realized how simple and easy it really is. If you’re having those same doubts, I encourage you to first read his article and, second, jump into it!
If you don’t want to fork over the money (although it’s not much) now for a website domain and hosting, you can always start with a blog. We’ve covered how to get started with a blog on WordPress as well as providing you 5 tips for starting your own personal blog, both of which are excellent resources I encourage you to read and save for future reference.

Find Your Niche In The Social Media Community

So you’ve created your website and blog, now you’re thinking, how do I let the right people know about it?
It’s one thing to tell your friends and family about your blog, but sadly, they aren’t the ones who are really going to benefit you or even care. They might read it occasionally because, well, they know you and they want to show you their support. But they aren’t the ones who are going to aid you in your goal of building your professional online presence. However, they arebetter than none. So don’t feel like you shouldn’t tell them about it – they just might be interested or even be able to help.
Family aside though, how do you find your niche? Well, first you have to know your niche.What is your blog or website going to be about? I feel you should focus it on you, but if you have additional interests, it might not be a bad idea to create blogs and websites for those too, depending on what they are. Such niches might be cooking, travel, politics, art, photography, film making – the list goes on.

Using Thomas Frank as an example, his niche is college students, thus he runs a very successful blog/website called College Info Geek.
After you have settled what your niche is going to be (it shouldn’t be hard as you should already have an idea what you like and don’t like), go out and network, finding people along the way who have the same interests as you. Remember what I was talking about being open and sharing your skills, interests and passions? This is where it comes into play. There are several mediums which you can achieve this on and I recommend using several, if not all, of them.
  • LinkedIn – the ultimate professional profile
  • Twitter – find people with your same interests, passions and skills
  • Facebook – everyone uses it, don’t forget about making those career-specific posts public
  • Tumblr – a very social blogging platform, great for creating a community
  • Quora – create a name and reputation in your area of expertise by answering questions
  • Pinterest – excellent for creative types such as photography, art, etc.
  • Google+ – still young, but is starting to build communities in several niches
Of course there are many more. For example, if you’re an author you might consider Goodreads or if you’re a videographer or actor you might consider YouTube or Vimeo.
Again, it may take a while to build an audience and find people to interact with, but by constantly using the services you will find new ways to integrate them into your life and create your own system and style.

Blogging & Guest Blogging

Blogging is a medium all in itself. I mentioned Tumblr above, but there are so many platforms which you can blog on. Of course, there’s the famous WordPress, which you probably already know of. It’s really all about what you are most comfortable with. Personally, I’ve used many of them and I really never could decide which one was my favorite, so I have blogs on Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and previously Posterous. They’re all great.
What’s more important is using your blog as a tool. Once you start creating posts and meeting other bloggers and contacts in your niche, consider guest blogging. Sometimes it pays, but the reward is far better than the small amount of cash that you’ll make with your post. It’s about connections and getting out there. When you establish a connection not only with fellow bloggers, but their readers too, that is when the connecting begins. Remember me mentioning Twitter? Most bloggers have a Twitter account – use it to keep in contact with them.

Communicate With Your Followers & Those You Follow

Creating a website, blog, social media accounts, content, contacts, etc. does you no good if you don’t communicate. You must communicate. Whether this be through social media, email, blog comments, whatever – it is essential to follow through with your followers and fans. If you don’t, you’ll be forgotten and they will move on to others who are more responsive and value them more.
This isn’t just about the average subscriber to your blog. I’m talking about career prospects and people who can make a difference for you – don’t ignore them, no matter how trivial it might seem.


Again, don’t look at each of these things as individual steps. Yes, each of them start out as little steps, but you can’t do without any of them – they’re all essential to your success of creating a professional online presence.
Each of these things I bring with personal experience, whether it was something I did or didn’t do. I wouldn’t consider myself even close to creating the online presence I want, but each day I strive to do a little bit to get closer.
Have you started to create your professional online presence? Why were you moved to do so? How have you seen its impact on your career?

Nike FuelBand review

An unassuming little band you wear on your wrist - which can quietly guilt you into becoming more active

At its heart, the FuelBand is little different to the UP or Fitbit; it's basically an accelerometer you wear on your wrist that tracks how active you are throughout the day, and though its understated styling and system of monitoring and achievements on your iPhone or at is cleverer and richer than with its competitors, the fundamental idea is the same.
That's good, because the idea works really well. Even if you make no other conscious changes to your lifestyle, just having something telling you how active you are each day is an astonishing motivator.
Tired and want to get the bus home instead of walking, for instance? Ah, but that'll probably mean you won't hit your goal for the day. It sounds almost petty, but we're yet to meet anyone with one of these monitoring devices who isn't affected in the same way.
It doesn't hurt that the Nike+ FuelBand just looks gorgeous, with its simple black rubbery exterior and single band of silver at the clasp. Press the single button on the FuelBand and a system of LEDs light up on the face; unlike pretty much every other gadget we've seen, these lights really do look as if they're embedded into the band, and the effect is mightily pleasing.
The white lights give readouts for its key metrics - number of steps taken, calories burned or NikeFuel (of which more shortly) accrued - as well as telling the time. It would be nice to have the option of keeping the time always displayed so you could glance at the FuelBand like a watch, but that would presumably have a hugely detrimental effect on the battery life; as it is, the battery can just about last a full week.
Below the white readout is a line of coloured LEDs that show you how far you are towards your goal. Having all this information live on your wrist, rather than having first to sync with your iPhone as with the UP is terrific. And unlike the Fitbit, which can only sync over a PC or Mac, the FuelBand can also sync directly with your iPhone over Bluetooth.
The iPhone app is very slick, and though the process as presented is essentially broken at the moment, the fact that you can track your activity against FuelBand-owning friends on Facebook is great.
Going for the burn
Although NikeFuel is a synthetic measure that Nike has just made up, we quickly adjusted to it; you can also measure steps and calories, but while their accuracy seems reasonable, the fact that we can't question the accuracy of NikeFuel oddly made us trust it more. Besides, NikeFuel is standardised across a huge range of Nike products, and it's a level playing field - you can 'compete' against Olympic athletes as easily as against Sandra from accounts.
As with all these things, we remain annoyed that you're on your own when it comes to setting goals. We'd like your first week, say, using the FuelBand for it to just monitor your typical activity levels, and then gently but firmly set you goals to gradually get you fitter and more active over the next few months.
As it is, we spent the first few days (when we had no real feel for NikeFuel) setting wildly generous and then impossibly stringent goals for ourselves. We feel like a bit more nannying would be beneficial as we progress; you can set goals on the Nike+ website that are bigger-picture than the usual daily goals, and it can suggest some, but we'd like it to be very much more in-your-face.
The FuelBand is easy and convenient to wear, and though some forms of exercise will be tracked less well just by the nature of the device (weightlifting, for example, or swimming, since it's water-resistant but not waterproof), it's such a pleasant system to use that you will use it.
We'd like GPS as well to track runs, say, but quite understand the technical trade-off here - it would soak up too much battery - and you could always use the separate, free Nike+ Running app on your iPhone for this.
Yes, it's maddeningly expensive, but if you can afford it - or can justify it to yourself from a pot of money you had apportioned in your head marked 'A Nice Watch' - it's a beautifully-crafted bit of kit backed up by both services online and apps, and happily complements the rest of the Nike+ range. It's just a shame that it's only on sale in five Nike Stores in London - and that, for some reason, Nike won't comment on future availability.

Highs and lows for Apple in 2012

Apple used to be the underdog, but of late it's spent time flirting with being the biggest company in the world by market cap (depending on the price of petrol - Exxon's its closest rival at any given time).
Because of this, Apple continues to be a company people love to love (if they use its products) but also love to hate (if they don't use its products… and sometimes if they do).
2012 was the first year Apple was without its charismatic and forward-thinking founder Steve Jobs, and many pundits fired up their bonehead-o-meters and predicted nothing but doom and gloom.

Instead, we got the iPhone 5, iPad mini, and the bloke Apple bafflingly hired from Dixons got fired.
But there were lows to match the highs; not least Apple's disastrous iOS Maps app, and the realisation from onlookers that although the company is angered by plagiarism, Apple itself isn't against the odd bit of pilfering.

Apple's highs of 2012

1. iPhone 5
The iPhone 4S was great, but underwhelmed people who apparently didn't understand something can be new without changing shape.
No problems with the iPhone 5. Taller! Thinner! Faster! Better! Of course, a few doomsayers said it wouldn't sell. Predictably, they were very wrong indeed.

The iPhone 5 with its new tall design, better camera and general loveliness
2. iPad mini
The worst-kept secret in tech arrived in October 2012.
It wasn't the first smallish tablet, and the display is closer to the one on the original iPad than the Retina models. However, those who've used an iPad mini mostly say it's surprised them: the device is light, fast and every bit as good as its larger siblings.
3. Retina displays
High-res displays on smartphones are one thing, but the iPad 3 wowed with its 9.7-inch Retina display.
Apple then took things further later in 2012, giving its MacBook Pro line the most beautiful displays imaginable; they come at a price and complicate Apple's line-up a touch more than we'd like, but they look gorgeous and are the new benchmark everyone must beat.
4. Growth and profits
If you've been around the block a few times, you'll remember Apple earnings calls used to be depressing affairs.
By contrast, the term 'record' is now used an awful lot. Apple in 2012 grew fast and was hugely profitable, which is a high in anyone's book.
5. A pile of new iPods
At Apple's September 2012 event, the iPad mini was expected, but new iPods showed Apple could still keep secrets.
The iPod touch got major upgrades (redesigned case; new camera; faster chip; better screen) and even the nano found itself back in favour, with a sleek new design and revised iOS-like interface.
New iPods arrived in late 2012. They're lovely. Also, we had no idea they were coming
6. Optical drives are go
And by 'go', we mean 'gone - as in 'outta here'.
The Mac Pro and the old MacBook Pro are now the only shipping Macs withoptical drives. Good riddance. The fewer moving parts, the better; and, let's face it, someone needs to drive this kind of thing, or we'd all be using floppy discs.
7. Social integration
On the face of it, Apple welding Twitter and Facebook functionality to iOS and OS X doesn't seem like a big deal; but we're listing it as a high as recognition, more than anything, that Apple's realised it sucks at social. It also shot Ping. Hurrah!
8. Sir Jony Ive and chums
Ive has a major hand in all Apple's hardware, and 2012 was a great year for him: new iPads, new iPods, the iPhone 5, new iMacs and MacBook Pros. Oh, and he got a knighthood.
It's understandable, then, that Apple CEO Tim Cook now has Ive in control of all Apple human interface teams.
Jony Ive is now a Sir. He's also still a fantastic designer. Keep hold of him, Apple!
9. Bye bye, Dixons guy
When John Browett was hired by Apple to take over from Ron Johnson as the guy to run Apple's retail stores, Brits uttered a collective BWUH? This was the Dixons guy!
Six months later: boom - he was outta there. Not a high for Browett, but definitely one for Apple, given Browett's mistakes. It also showed Cook would put things right when needed.
10. Education inroads
Our final high is Apple's renewed focus on education.
iTunes U continues to improve, as does iBooks Author, which got a major upgrade in October 2012. Kids are the future, and if Apple can help get them there with more enthusiasm for education, that can only be a good thing.

Apple's lows of 2012

1. iOS Maps
Each year, Apple has a tech disaster that pundits desperately weld 'gate' to. This year: mapgate.
Having ditched Google data, Apple rolled its own solution. The result: bendy architecture and data occasionally so inaccurate police said it could kill.
But, hey, at least you got free turn-by-turn! Although the Google Maps app now does this too...
The best thing we can say about the iOS Maps app is 'it will improve'
2. The new iPad
We don't mean the new new iPad (a.k.a. the iPad with Retina display/iPad 4), but the new iPad (a.k.a. the iPad 3).
To some, it looked interim at the time, and it became the first iPad to not last a year, punted out of the line-up after six months to make way for a faster successor. Tough luck if you bought one in spring 2012.
3. Lawsuits everywhere
We suspect for every engineer working at Apple there must be several hundred lawyers, if ongoing lawsuits are anything to go by.
To be fair to Apple, it's been the industry's R&D department too often, but even if Apple's sometimes in the right, legal action's never anything but a low.
4. Crazy stock swings
Given how profitable Apple is, its gargantuan cash reserves, and that people clamour for whatever device the company releases, 2012's stock swings were barmy.
AAPL crashed several times, and although it will probably end the year up on 2011, constant worry from an investment standpoint is troubling. (Note: we could say something nasty at this point about analysts regularly getting things wrong and in part causing said crashes, but we won't.)
5. Missing launch windows
iTunes 11: it'll be out in October! Or November! And that new iMac? Pre-order soon, and we'll get it to you, uh, sometime!
Given that Apple's now run by Tim 'clockwork' Cook, that launch-window screw-ups have occurred at all is a nasty surprise and really isn't very 'Apple'.
The competition would be delighted it if wasn't busy being far worse.
6. Increasingly buggy software
Long time Apple users are wondering if Apple's 2012 software slogan is 'fire and forget'.
A lot of software seems almost abandoned, with former iWork and iLife apps becoming increasingly sluggish.
Even new products like Game Center and iTunes 11 are surprisingly buggy coming from a company that prides itself on detail and polish.
7. Web service problems
Apple's never gotten the hang of web services, and 2012 found the company flailing.
Regular outages for iCloud, iTunes Match, the App Store and more caused untold problems for users.
Things didn't get 'MobileMe bad', but Apple hardly covered itself in glory online.
When Apple's online services work, they can be great. When they work
8. Losing Scott Forstall
We hear Forstall was a pain to work with and liked welding textures to iOS and OS X apps.
And, yes, Tim Cook's new system of organising Apple's senior staff could pay dividends. But it's worth remembering that Forstall was much of the brains behind iOS and the system having third-party apps.
He will be missed.
9. Send in the clones
This one's not Apple's fault, but a low for the company this year has beenthe continuation of rivals cloning its products; not least the MacBook Air.
No, it's not 'obvious' a laptop should look exactly like that - think of your own ideas!
10. Apple pilfering
Of course, Apple comes off as a touch hypocritical when it nicks designs itself, as per the Swiss national rail company's clock, which was more or less copied verbatim for the iPad Clock app.
Apple reportedly subsequently coughed up a cool £13 million for a license. That's an expensive clock-up.