Fitbit's new fitness trackers are all about personalization


***MON 8/29 9AM ET***

Fitbit is updating two of its most popular fitness trackers.

The new waterproof Flex 2 and heart rate-tracking Charge 2 are available now as pre-orders and will officially go on sale in the coming weeks.

With the Charge 2, Fitbit has redesigned its Charge HR with a larger display that makes the tracker look and feel more like a fitness-focused smartwatch. It has the same heart rate monitoring capabilities and smartwatch-style notifications (for incoming calls and texts) as its predecessor, but the bigger display combined with the overall slimmer band make the tracker feel a lot less clunky.  Read more…

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Opera sync system hacked, passwords of 1.7 million users reset


Opera says the sync feature on its browsers was recently hacked, and data of some of its users was compromised. As a security measure, the Norway-based software firm is forcing all sync users to reset their passwords. 

Opera’s synchronization feature allows people to work seamlessly across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. The company said that its servers were attacked recently and while it “quickly blocked” those attacks, it believes passwords and account information of some of its sync users may still have been compromised.  

The company has reset password for all the Opera sync accounts and is urging users to change the password on third-party services if they were linked to Opera sync. The feature allows people to save login information of other services across devices.  Read more…

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Philips' motion sensor turns on your smart lights when you walk into a room


Using voice commands via the Amazon Echo’s Alexa voice assistant or your smartphone to turn on your Philips smart light bulbs is convenient, but even better is just walking into a room and ta-daa!

Philips’ new motion sensor does just that. The $39.95 wireless sensor measures roughly 2- x 2-inches and launches in early October. 

There’s really not much to the motion sensor. The sensor shoots out an invisible light field that spans 100 degrees horizontally and 100 degrees vertically. Its blind spot is 180-degrees to its sides.  Read more…

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Crew of simulated Mars mission 'returns' to Earth after one year


After spending an entire year living in the isolation of a simulated mission to Mars, the crew of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation (HI-SEAS) project finally emerged on Sunday, and they looked very relieved. 

Although high-profile space professionals like Elon Musk often talk about sending a manned mission to Mars, the reality is that such a mission would put the astronauts to the ultimate test of endurance on both a physical and psychological level.  

Image: HI-Seas

Matt Damon made it look like a relative rough day of camping in The Martian, but intense, extended simulations like HI-SEAS are, for now, one of the best ways to give us a real clue as to just how tough such a mission might really be.  Read more…

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This gadget was the key to the best steak I've ever cooked


I love steak. That’s why, for most of my adult life, I’ve tried to hone my skills at cooking it. Grilling, pan-frying, broiling — I’ve done it all, with all kinds of cuts. But a new kind of cooking gadget has taken my steaks to the next level.

It’s called the Joule, and when I first saw its promise of cooking perfectly done steaks (via a Facebook ad), I was intrigued, but skeptical. A white cylinder roughly the size of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber handle would supposedly cook steaks better than any grill master. And it used the newly popular (some might say faddish) technique of sous vide.

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14 apps to help you shop, cook, and eat better


So you’ve made the decision to reboot your diet: Eat healthier, cook more, and — once you download all the necessary apps — live your best food life. But choosing which app is worth your phone’s precious memory is harder than it looks. With new options appearing daily and each one claiming to solve every conceivable dietary challenge, the process can be daunting.

“We don’t know of any healthy eating apps that have undergone rigorous evaluation and been demonstrated to have evidence of health benefit,” says David Goldberg, vice president for communications at Healthy Food America, a nonprofit dedicated to using science to build a healthier food environment. While his group doesn’t recommend anyone rely on apps alone, he says, “We have seen a couple of tools that have useful features.” Read more…

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