lundi 31 août 2015

Bing can help you win your NFL fantasy football league


September is officially here. For students, this means the end of summer vacation. Luckily, the month is not all doom and gloom, as it also means American Football! Yes, fans of the NFL will finally have games to watch on Sundays.

For many people -- myself included -- this also means fantasy football is here. If you aren't familiar, this is a highly-competitive game where you select NFL players and have their performance ranked against an opponent's players. Whoever has the most points each week between the two people wins -- real money can be involved too. Today, Microsoft announces that Bing can help you win in fantasy football as well as provide other helpful NFL information. Will you leverage Bing to win?

"Bing has all your professional football needs covered this season. Whether you want to know the chances of your team winning in the upcoming week, the likelihood of your favorites making the playoffs, or key strategies to help your fantasy team get the edge, Bing boosts your confidence to compete. And of course, we help you discover all the information you need for schedules, score, standings, teams and players", says The Bing Team.

The team further explains, "for some of you, the success of your fantasy football team is as important as the record of your hometown franchise. That’s why we built two new features this year to help you get the competitive advantage in your fantasy league. Bing will help you decide who to start each week by position, and which free agents to pick up in order to help you optimize your weekly lineup".


Bing's sports data and predictions have largely been successful, so it is definitely a legit source for fantasy assistance. Anything to get an edge against your opponents is extremely valuable.

As you can see above, a search for "Week 1 running backs fantasy predictions" displays the players and Bing's projected fantasy points for week 1. This also works for other positions like quarterback, tight end and wide receiver. Unfortunately, Bing seems to exclude team defenses and kickers.

If you are interested in tracking my fantasy performance, you can check out my league here. My team is the unimaginatively named "Brian's Team".


Do you love the NFL, but aren't into the fantasy thing? Don'y worry, Bing's got you covered too. Fans of enjoying watching games and rooting for specific teams can get information about game dates and times, plus the TV channel on which the game can be seen. Microsoft's search engine will even predict the winners of all the games. If you are a gambler, this may help you with betting. With that said, Bing will not tell you if a team will cover the spread.

Will you use Bing for the upcoming NFL season? Tell me in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jeff Thrower/Shutterstock

Lenovo refreshes ThinkPad E Series laptops -- Windows 10, new AMD and Intel chips


When it comes to laptops, there is probably no name more prestigious than ThinkPad. That branding is a symbol of quality and durability. Just as Nokia phones have a reputation of being indestructible, so too are many Lenovo ThinkPad machines.

Today, Lenovo announces a refresh to the popular E Series of ThinkPad laptops. Not only are the machines attractive and competitively priced, but they offer incredible specs, like Intel Skylake, AMD FX and AMD A-Series APUs.

"The trustworthy and reliable ThinkPad E Series, available with 14-inch and 15.6-inch anti-glare displays, offers strong performance, mobility and features for small business users seeking leading edge technology that addresses their needs and offers incredible value", says Lenovo.

The famed manufacturer further says, "loaded with the latest technology and stylish designs, the ThinkPad E Series is designed for small and medium businesses who are looking for PC solutions to reduce IT headaches and increase efficiency and collaboration between employees in the office and on the road. They need to keep business data safe and ensure critical data protection as they look towards expanding their business information and services to the cloud".

E565_Hero_03 E560_Hero_011 E465_Hero_02 E465_Hero_01 E460_Hero_02 E460_Hero_01

If you prefer AMD processors, the company is offering many options, such as the AMD A10-8700P and AMD A8-8600P APUs. If you want more power, you can opt for the AMD FX-8800P. The AMD model numbers are E465 (14 inch screen) and E565 (15.6 inch screen). Pricing starts at $449.

Intel fans are in for a real treat, as most configurations offer 6th generation Skylake processors -- Intel Core i7 6500U, i5 6200U and i3 6100U. Only one configuration, the E560, has a lowly Celeron 3855U. The Intel model numbers are E460 (14 inch screen) and E560 (15.6 inch screen). Pricing starts at $549.

While Windows 10 is a wonderful operating system -- arguably the best Windows ever -- don't forget, these are business-focused notebooks. With that said, many companies are still using Windows 7. Don't worry, both operating systems are available.

All of the machines can be configured with fingerprint readers for added security. The E560, however, can be had with an Intel RealSense Technology 3D camera -- this is perfect for Windows Hello face detection security. Beyond security, Intel's camera technology has cool 3D applications too.

Will you buy a refreshed E Series ThinkPad for your business when they launch in November? Check out the full specs below and tell me in the comments.



Samsung Gear S2 is a beautifully circular Tizen-powered smartwatch


The wearable market is not very mature. We are only starting to scratch the surface of what the future holds. For the time being, however, we pretty much have alerts and fitness tracking. Let's be honest, many computer and gadget nerds don't bother with exercise (prove me wrong, people), making the wearables a glorified alert screen. In other words. as fun as Apple Watch and Android Wear can be, they are very much version 1.0 of smartwatches.

While Samsung embraces Android Wear, its Tizen-based models, such as Samsung Gear S, have more functionality. Today, the company officially announces the beautiful successor -- the Gear S2. Users can even opt for a 3G model so they do not need Wi-Fi or to be tethered to a phone. Android Wear and Apple Watch can't do that...yet.

"Introduced in two different options -- the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic -- Samsung designed the Gear S2 to appeal to two distinct consumer preferences. The Gear S2 classic is made for users who prefer a more timeless watch design, offering an elegant Black finish with a matching genuine leather band. The Gear S2 is ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for minimal and modern design", says Samsung.

The company further says, "for the ultimate convenience, the Samsung Gear S2 comes with NFC technology which will enable mobile payments without the need for a wallet. Samsung is working with a wide selection of partners across different industries to expand the usability of wearables and streamline consumers' mobile lives in a variety of ways, including smart car keys, residential room keys, and remote controls to manage a connected home".

Samsung shares the following specs.


1.2 inch, Circular Super AMOLED, 360x360, 302ppi
Dual core 1.0 GHz
Tizen based wearable platform
Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG
Storage: 4GB Internal Memory / RAM: 512MB
- Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Email, - Preset text, Voice Input, Emoticons, Keypads
Health & Fitness:
- S Health, Nike+ Running
- Schedule, News, Maps & Navigation, Weather
- Music Player, Gallery
- Voice, Voice Memo, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode, Safety assistance, Privacy lock
IP68 Certified Dust and Water Resistant
Samsung Services
Samsung Gear Apps
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer
Gear S2: 42.3x49.8x11.4mm (47g)
Gear S2 classic: 39.9x43.6x11.4mm (42g)
Gear S2 3G: 44.0 x 51.8 x 13.4mm (51g)
Battery (Gear S2 and S2 Classic)
Wireless Charging
250mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2~3days

Battery (Gear S2 3G)

Wireless Charging
300mAh Li-ion
Typical Usage 2 days


Understandably, Android fans may be hesitant to buy a smartwatch that isn't compatible Android Wear. With that said, there are arguably no game-changing apps for Google's young platform at the moment; Tizen OS is very promising. The Gear S2 offers some unique functionality, such as optional 3G compatibility and the ability to make voice calls.

I am particularly intrigued by the hardware-based navigation. A rotating bezel is genius, and physical home and back buttons are greatly appreciated. Android Wear, by comparison, is very swipe-heavy which can become laborious.

While I don't normally like watches with leather bands, the S2 Classic really appeals to me. I am OK with a smartwatch not looking like a traditional timepiece (like Microsoft's Band), but damn, the S2 Classic is just so smooth. It can be worn to work, when relaxing on the weekend, or to a fancy dinner. Versatile.

With all of that said, pricing is still a mystery (as is availability). The Samsung Gear S2 should be available in the Fall. If you want the 3G model ( like I do), both Verizon and T-Mobile have pledged to carry it.

Will you buy the Samsung Gear S2? Tell me in the comments.

What you need to know about cybersquatting [Infographic]


As the internet has expanded in recent years to become a vital part of practically everything, companies have been scrambling to get their hands on the best domains in order to leverage their business potential to the maximum.

But, this has been made tricky by a growing phenomenon known as cybersquatting, which is where companies of individuals register a particular domain with the sole intention of selling it on at a later date.

The domains usually contain a brand of company name, meaning the owners can charge astronomical amounts when the respective brand comes calling.

Cybersquatting really came into prominence in 2011 when the organization in charge of top-level domains (ICAAN) expanded the number of domains available. Over 500 have since been approved with a further 837 under process.

The US is currently the country filing the most domain name cases, with the top five industries consisting of retail (13 percent), banking and finance (11 percent), fashion (10.3 percent), internet and IT (7 percent) and heavy industry and machinery (6.3 percent)

To delve a little deeper into the cybersquatting phenomenon, mobile app development firm IrishApps has created an infographic, which can be found below.


Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Tomislav Pinter / Shutterstock

Sling TV comes to Amazon Fire tablets

sling-tvSling TV has become the un-subscription model, bringing you TV over an internet connection and eliminating contracts. You'll need a box -- both Roku 3 Amazon Fire TV will work just fine and put video on the big screen just like cable or satellite. The company motto is "take back TV", and it does so. You can get channels ranging from ESPN to HBO to Food Network.

But what about on the go? Well, you can use your phone, but now the screen gets a bit bigger. Sling is announcing the debut of it service on Amazon Fire tablets

"Available now, the Sling TV app can be downloaded from the Amazon Appstore onto your Amazon Fire HD or HDX tablet. Get ready to bring your favorite live and on-demand programming with you, wherever you and your tablet may go", Sling states.

This will work on the HDX 7 or 8.9, as well as the HD 6 and 7. Users will also get a free trial of 14 days to try out the service.

With Sling TV you can cancel anytime, there's no obligation. You can also add other packages of channels that will net you extra sports channels, news or even foreign language. The base price will set you back $20, and packages run $5 extra, while HBO will take $15 from your wallet.

The common user experience mistakes on mobile

business mobile

Since the infamous mobilegeddon -- the latest update from Google that means websites are now penalized for failing to be mobile friendly -- many businesses have been rushing to improve the experience of their mobile website for their users, and avoid being penalized in SERPS (search engine results page).

With a lot of information out there about all of the things you can be doing to make a user’s journey better, what about the things that you really should be avoiding? Below are the top five things NOT to do when it comes to UX on mobile:

1. Treat Your Mobile and Desktop Sites the Same

Mobile and tablet devices rely on touch or voice, not a mouse or keyboard like a desktop, so why would you treat these two entities the same?

Consider the device and its screen size. A user on a mobile is likely to be on the move, and elements such as lighting conditions could vary. Simple things like ensuring your user interface has a sufficient color contrast will make your site much easier to read on the go.

Interaction designs should also be completely different when it comes to a site on mobile and one on desktop. Hover tools, for example, aren’t an option on mobile or tablet, which is one of the biggest differences between these two technologies. Swipe gestures should be considered, too. On mobile or tablet, users tend to swipe with their finger, but on desktop an arrow or button needs to be clicked. You can click and drag on a desktop if you wish, but it’s not common. Bearing these elements in mind when designing your mobile site can only improve a user’s experience of it.

2. Create Small Target/Touch Areas

Having touch and target areas smaller than the smallest average fingers can be incredibly frustrating for a user, and could lead them to abandon your site early on if they can’t use it properly.

The recommended range for touch targets is 7-10mm, so it’s best to keep in line with this to avoid users leaving your site before they’ve converted.

3. Not Using HTML5 Form Inputs

Forms on any site are key to conversions, so the process should be made as easy as possible. Using HTML5 form inputs will generate an appropriate keyboard on certain devices.

For instance, selecting email as the input will populate the "@" button ensuring it’s easily accessible. The majority of internet browsers now support HTML5 so it’s best that you start incorporating this as soon as you can if you haven’t already. HTML5 is also backed by Google, so you can’t go wrong by integrating this into your website.

4. Think All Users Are Experts

Although tempting, it’s best to avoid following all trends. The burger icon for example -- the three dashes often found on mobile sites where the menu drops down from -- is increasingly popular, but those inexperienced in mobile internet might struggle to find the menu to begin with.

To make your website easy to use for the majority, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible to ensure ease of use.

5. Think All Users Expect the Same From Your Mobile Site

If you have developed a native app, it’s really important that you don’t assume users are looking for the same from a mobile site. Customers that are already invested in your brand might download, and sometimes even pay for, your native app -- and these apps often focus on making a personal experience for each user.

For example, a photo-printing retailer app can access a device’s camera to download the images for printing. However, mobile sites don’t have this function, and often those using your mobile site are just browsing anyway, so a more straightforward experience is key.

It can sound a little complicated to get UX on mobile right, and it can be. But there’s no point in investing a lot of resources into something that is difficult to use, as it will radically reduce chances of conversions. Taking these five things into consideration when designing -- or redesigning -- a mobile site should put you in good stead. And teamed with testing and customer feedback, it’s easier to make tweaks at a later stage.

Mobile websites should always be treated as a work in progress, and amendments made regularly to keep them fresh, updated, and in-line with user needs.

Chris Bush is the head of user experience (UX) at Sigma.

Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

Android Wear now supports iPhones -- is Apple Watch's dominance threatened?

Android Wear for iOS

With just 11.3 percent market share, Android Wear is not exactly a strong competitor for Apple Watch, which dominates the smartwatch space with 75.5 percent of all shipments. One of the reasons why Android Wear adoption is not as strong has been the lack of support for iPhones. This, however, should not be a problem any more.

Google today announces that Android Wear devices are now finally, and officially, compatible with iPhones, releasing the much-awaited iOS companion app on Apple's App Store. Here is what you need to know about it.

First of all, let's talk about iPhone compatibility. To use an Android Wear device, you will need an iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus that is running iOS 8.2 or newer. Basically, this list is identical to the one for Apple Watch, so, in this regard, there is a level playing field between the two platforms.

Google notes that Android Wear for iOS, the companion app which unlocks the iPhone compatibility, today works with LG Watch Urbane, suggesting that other Android Wear smartwatches are not supported at the moment.

"All future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei [pictured at the top], Asus, and Motorola will also support iOS, so stay tuned for more", adds the search giant. Hopefully, it will not take long for more, current Android Wear devices to be supported by the Android Wear for iOS companion app.

Since I do not have an Android Wear smartwatch to test the integration with my iPhone 6 Plus, I cannot comment on whether anything is missing in terms of features. But, those who plan on using an Android Wear devices with an iPhone will seemingly have access to the same feature set as when using an Android smartphone. That means, among other things, access to phone calls, messages, notifications, fitness tracking, Google Now integration, and more.

Now, on to the big question: How does this affect Apple Watch? Apple's smartwatch leads the market, accounting for the vast majority of shipments in the second quarter of the year, as mentioned in the first paragraph. It is more expensive than quite a few well-known Android Wear rivals, with a few exceptions -- LG's premium, $1,200 Watch Urbane Luxe springs to mind -- and it only works with iPhones.

Android Wear will surely get the attention of some iPhone users who are interested in buying a smartwatch, but given that it has not managed to really take on while compatible with the most-popular smartphone operating system it seems unlikely that Google's platform will become a real threat to Apple Watch any time soon.

However, iPhone users seem more willing to embrace smartwatches, so perhaps they will also be more open to the idea of getting an Android Wear device compared to fellow Android users. But one thing is for sure: Google has to open up support for lots more Android Wear smartwatches first.

Android Wear for iOS is available to download from Apple App Store.

Microsoft announces Xbox One Elite Bundle -- should existing owners be angry?


When the Xbox One launched, many people -- myself included -- chose to wait before purchasing. I finally jumped into ownership this year when I bought the white 500GB model for $349. Soon after, Microsoft released a 1TB model, which bummed me out.

Now, I am even more disappointed. Why? Today, the company announces yet another model, the Xbox One Elite Bundle, and it looks amazing. This console features a 1TB SSHD -- a combination solid state drive and hard disk drive -- plus the all-new Elite controller. Since this drive will provide faster load times, the experience will be better than on previous models. Should existing owners be angry?

"Today we're thrilled to unveil the Xbox One Elite Bundle, the ultimate gaming experience. In addition to a matte finish, the Xbox One Elite Bundle includes a 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive, which stores frequently-accessed files on a solid state partition and optimizes system performance so you can get to the action up to 20 percent faster from energy-saving mode", says Major Nelson, Microsoft.

Nelson further says, "even better, every Xbox One Elite Bundle comes with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, a new, performance-class controller to meet the needs of today's competitive gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller offers fully customizable features, interchangeable paddles, further customization with the Xbox Accessories app, Hair Trigger Locks and high-performance construction to provide an unparalleled experience every time you game".

The beauty of console gaming, for the most part, is that the experience is the same for all owners. Elite Bundle buyers will get faster load times and a superior controller. This bundle creates an uneven playing field.

Load times won't really impact online competitive gaming where the match typically doesn't start until the game loads for all, but a different controller does. Ideally, in competitive console gaming, the hardware should be as identical as possible so that only skill impacts the outcome.

If you don't already own an Xbox One, this is clearly the one to buy, although it is pricier at $499. The Elite controller will cost around $150 on its own, so if you want that controller, this is the way to go. Please note, it will only be available from GameStop and the Microsoft Store.


In addition to this new Elite console, Microsoft is also selling a new slightly-upgraded standard controller, which it calls "Limited Edition Lunar White Wireless Controller". While the white and gold color scheme is the most noticeable change, there is some substance too. This controller features improved grips thanks to better texture. This will be a GameStop exclusive on September 22 and will cost $64.99

Will you buy the Xbox One Elite Bundle on November 3rd? Tell me in the comments.

CloudPhysics helps manage virtual environments

Businessman Connected Virtual Touch Button

In the modern world of virtual servers, infrastructure can be complex and changes come fast. This also means that the potential for change-related risk to applications is greater than ever before.

IT administrators don't always have the ability or time to study all the known or unknown configuration issues in their vSphere infrastructure. They can therefore struggle to understand whether changes -- intended or accidental -- result in performance disruptions and availability issues in waiting.

Smart IT solutions provider CloudPhysics is launching a new release of its SaaS offering, expanding its analytics solution so that VMware users can spot and eliminate operational hazards that threaten to disrupt IT operations and applications.

CloudPhysics reduces disruption and incidents with always-on diagnostics that show up hot spots and emerging problems via configurable dashboards, enabling admins to get ahead of developing performance problems. It also improves mean-time-to-resolution with directed exploration, enabling admins to home in on the root cause and resolve application disruptions more quickly.

By generating insights that allow admins to spot misconfigured infrastructure CloudPhysics can help make corrections to prevent future performance and availability issues and improve efficiency. It uses a library of 'cards' to assist with managing health and pre-empting hazards.

"Dealing with unforeseen system disruptions kills IT productivity, and the most common 'cure' -- to add more hardware -- simply adds costs and masks the underlying problem", says John Blumenthal, CloudPhysics' vice president of product management. "Our unique insights and exploration capabilities are the fastest, easiest way for IT to get ahead of potential risk in their infrastructure, using an intuitive solution that uses predictive analytics to spot trouble early, guide to the root cause, and ultimately tune your infrastructure to prevent recurring hazards".

CloudPhysics is sold on a subscription model, it will be on display at VMworld and users can try it out with a Free Edition available to download from the company’s website.

Photo Credit: leedsn/Shutterstock

Are consumers starting to lose interest in wearables?


The wearables market in the US from 2014 through the first half of 2015 has shown fast growth in year-over-year volume of consumer feedback, however after peaking post-holidays in January 2015, demand growth has slowed significantly, according to a new report from Argus Insights.

Over the last 18 months, the wearables market has started to mature and has grown considerably with new players entering the market with numerous products such as fitness bands, smartwatches, smart glasses, and other sensor-enabled devices.

Using data compiled from approximately 328,000 consumer reviews since January 2014, the report reveals that after the holiday season of 2013, consumers briefly lost interest in wearables before steadily increasing demand reached its high point in January of this year where it was four times the level of a year earlier. Since then demand has slowed.

According to the report, the Apple Watch stole consumer interest from Fitbit and other wearables at the time of its announcement in September 2014, as potential buyers waited to determine whether they wanted the Apple Watch. Interest in Fitbit devices resumed and grew once the Apple Watch details were announced, as Fitbit and other wearable manufacturers saw a strong 2014 holiday period. Since its IPO, Fitbit has continued to gain mindshare with consumers.

Consumer delight, measured from the volume and the content of consumer reviews, showed that Fitbit was achieving a very high level of buzz, though the satisfaction of their consumers is dropping while Apple is quickly gaining in delight. Other surprising insights include high consumer delight scores for smartwatch manufacturers Motorola and LG, as consumers are reporting more satisfaction from smartwatches than from fitness bands.

Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: JMicic/Shutterstock