Fitbit Charge HR Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Comments Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Mentioned Above Fitbit Charge HR (black, large) The 17 best health and fitness apps for Apple Watch Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Review • One year later, Fitbit Charge HR stands out as the best Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier 3:49 Now playing: Watch this: Fitness trackers could have a flaw, according to Stat. Sarah Tew/CNET Since their debut, fitness trackers and smartwatches have become a common sight on people’s wrists. As of February, Apple, Samsung and Fitbit made up 88% of smartwatch unit sales in 2018, the Smartwatch Total Market Report said. However, the gadgets might not work as effectively for people of color or those with tattoos, according to findings published Wednesday by Stat, a health and medicine publication. Users have complained on Fitbit forums and on Reddit about the smartwatches having trouble giving readings on people with darker skin. Fitbit replied in the community forum and said the Charge HR tracks “heart rate on every complexion” and directed users to a support article. “Fitbit takes accuracy very seriously and continuously performs studies to rigorously test the accuracy of our products among diverse groups of users,” a Fitbit spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.The company said its PurePulse technology performs to industry-standard expectations for optical heart rate on the wrist. The company said it designed its optical system to emit green light at a sufficient strength to effectively penetrate darker skin and its detector is sensitive enough to accurately detect the heart rate signal.Fitbit, Samsung watches, Garmin devices and other wearables use green lights, which are cheaper than infrared lights, to take readings. Stat’s report said that green light has a shorter wavelength and is “more readily absorbed by melanin.” This makes it harder for people with darker skin tones to get accurate readings. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple told Stat that it also uses green lights to continuously monitor, but uses infrared light to take readings every five minutes. The company’s support page says its watch measures a user’s heart rate using photoplethysmography. PPG is a low-cost optical technique that illuminates the skin and measures changes in light absorption, according to the US Library of Medicine. Apple’s support page says this works because your blood reflects the red light and absorbs the green light. Samsung and Garmin didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. Tags Share your voice Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Premium promise to revamp my… reading • Fitbits might not track your heart rate right if you’re a person of color • Originally published July 24.Update, July 25: Adds comments from Fitbit and more background information on the Apple Watch. See it Wellness Gadgets Mobile Apps Mobile 18 Photos 8 Fitbit Garmin Samsung Apple $94 Apple See All
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South Korean electronics giant Samsung on Monday announced that it will acquire Harman International, a US-based car and audio systems supplier. The all-cash deal is valued at $8 billion.The electronics company will buy Harman for $112 per share and is the company’s biggest acquisition to date. The deal, which is subjected to approval from Harman’s shareholders and regulators, is expected to be completed by mid next year. After the deal, Harman will be a standalone Samsung subsidiary. It has said that the automotive electronics segment is likely to grow to more than $100 billion in the next nine years and the deal is a strategic priority for the company making it a single major player in the world of automotive technology. “Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” Oh-Hyun Kwon, Samsung Electronics vice chairman and CEO, said. Harman International, which describes itself as a global leader in connected car technology, lifestyle audio innovations, design and analytics, cloud services and IoT solutions, has in the recent years pushed aggressively in the automotive world. The company has also earned billions in new businesses in addition to winning contracts with General Motors Co and Fiat Chryslers Automobiles NV, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company has projected an order backlog of $24 billion, which is roughly three-folds the size of its annual revenue.
Share AP imagesFILE – In this July 17, 2016 file photo, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland as Rick Gates listens at back left. Emails obtained by The Associated Press shed new light on the activities of a firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman. They show it directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests. Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work. “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.” Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear. The disclosure comes as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided, and said he never worked for Russian interests. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort’s ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed. In a statement to the AP, Manafort confirmed that he worked for Deripaska in various countries but said the work was being unfairly cast as “inappropriate or nefarious” as part of a “smear campaign.” “I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia’s political interests.” Deripaska became one of Russia’s wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin’s interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad.” In response to questions about Manafort’s consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 — at least three years after they began working together — said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP’s questions. When asked Wednesday about Manafort’s work for Deripaska, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “we do not feel it’s appropriate to comment on someone who is not an employee at the White House.” Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party. The newly obtained business records link Manafort more directly to Putin’s interests in the region. According to those records and people with direct knowledge of Manafort’s work for Deripaska, Manafort made plans to open an office in Moscow, and at least some of Manafort’s work in Ukraine was directed by Deripaska, not local political interests there. The Moscow office never opened. Manafort has been a leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a U.S. official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation were confidential. Meanwhile, federal criminal prosecutors became interested in Manafort’s activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukraine assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have ever been filed in the case. FBI Director James Comey, in confirming to Congress the federal intelligence investigation this week, declined to say whether Manafort was a target. Manafort’s name was mentioned 28 times during the hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, mostly about his work in Ukraine. No one mentioned Deripaska. On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had singled out Manafort when asked about possible campaign contacts with Russia. He said Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign, even though as Trump’s presidential campaign chairman he led it during the crucial run-up to the Republican National Convention. Manafort and his associates remain in Trump’s orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort’s former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions. Gates has since helped plan Trump’s inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda. Gates, whose name does not appear in the documents, told the AP that he joined Manafort’s firm in 2006 and was aware Manafort had a relationship with Deripaska, but he was not aware of the work described in the memos. Gates said his work was focused on domestic U.S. lobbying and political consulting in Ukraine at the time. He said he stopped working for Manafort’s firm in March 2016 when he joined Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort told Deripaska in 2005 that he was pushing policies as part of his work in Ukraine “at the highest levels of the U.S. government — the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department,” according to the documents. He also said he had hired a “leading international law firm with close ties to President Bush to support our client’s interests,” but he did not identify the firm. Manafort also said he was employing unidentified legal experts for the effort at leading universities and think tanks, including Duke University, New York University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place. Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges. Deripaska owns Basic Element Co., which employs 200,000 people worldwide in the agriculture, aviation, construction, energy, financial services, insurance and manufacturing industries, and he runs one of the world’s largest aluminum companies. Forbes estimated his net worth at $5.2 billion. How much Deripaska paid Manafort in total is not clear, but people familiar with the relationship said money transfers to Manafort amounted to tens of millions of dollars and continued through at least 2009. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret payments publicly. In strategy memos, Manafort proposed that Deripaska and Putin would benefit from lobbying Western governments, especially the U.S., to allow oligarchs to keep possession of formerly state-owned assets in Ukraine. He proposed building “long term relationships” with Western journalists and a variety of measures to improve recruitment, communications and financial planning by pro-Russian parties in the region. Manafort proposed extending his existing work in eastern Europe to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia, where he pledged to bolster the legitimacy of governments friendly to Putin and undercut anti-Russian figures through political campaigns, nonprofit front groups and media operations. For the $10 million contract, Manafort did not use his public-facing consulting firm, Davis Manafort. Instead, he used a company, LOAV Ltd., that he had registered in Delaware in 1992. He listed LOAV as having the same address of his lobbying and consulting firms in Alexandria, Virginia. In other records, LOAV’s address was listed as Manafort’s home, also in Alexandria. Manafort sold the home in July 2015 for $1.4 million. He now owns an apartment in Trump Tower in New York, as well as other properties in Florida and New York. One strategy memo to Deripaska was written by Manafort and Rick Davis, his business partner at the time. In written responses to the AP, Davis said he did not know that his firm had proposed a plan to covertly promote the interests of the Russian government. Davis said he believes Manafort used his name without his permission on the strategy memo. “My name was on every piece of stationery used by the company and in every memo prior to 2006. It does not mean I had anything to do with the memo described,” Davis said. He took a leave of absence from the firm in late 2006 to work on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Manafort’s work with Deripaska continued for years, though they had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The billionaire gave Manafort nearly $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska’s representatives. It said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska’s queries about how the funds had been used. Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska’s representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, Deripaska’s representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Correctional officers at Maryland’s largest state prison for years helped scores of inmates smuggle narcotics, tobacco, pornography and cellphones into the facility in exchange for money and sex, according to a pair of sweeping federal indictments against 35 inmates, 18 jail guards and 27 “outside facilitators” unsealed Wednesday.In this 2012 photo, correctional officers watch inmates as they walk the yard of the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, M.D. Correctional officers at Maryland’s largest state prison for years helped scores of inmates smuggle narcotics, tobacco, pornography and cellphones into the facility in exchange for money and sex, according to a pair of sweeping federal indictments unsealed Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. (Todd Dudek/The Daily Times via AP)The indictments allege a racketeering scheme at the East and West compounds of the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, that involved smuggling heroin, cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy and Suboxone, among other narcotics, into the jail in exchange for cash, money orders and in some cases, sexual favors. The indictments say guards were able to sneak the contraband past security screenings and deliver it to inmates in their cells or at pre-arranged “stash” locations, laundry rooms, staff bathrooms and other areas.“Prison corruption is a longstanding, deeply-rooted systemic problem that can only be solved by a combination of criminal prosecutions and policy changes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement.Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen Moyer said he assigned eight investigators to work with the FBI and other federal agencies to crack the case. The indictments, he said, “send a strong message that we will no longer tolerate corruption committed by a few tarnishing the good work of our 10,500 dedicated and committed department employees.”According to the indictment, defendant correctional officers routinely warned inmates when prison administrators were planning to conduct cellphone raids. In some cases, when participating prison guards learned that inmates were supplying administrators with information, or “snitching,” they would alert other inmates and encourage them to retaliate, often using violence. Twice in July, prison guards encouraged inmates to stab other prisoners.The indictments come on the heels of a high-profile prison contraband scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center in 2014 in which 44 people were federally indicted. The racketeering scheme’s ringleader, Tavon White, who was also a known member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang, impregnated several prison guards and on a recorded telephone line famously told a friend on the outside, “This is my jail.”According to this indictment, prisoners and guards were very much aware of the Baltimore case, as evidenced by telephone calls that were recorded with them discussing it.Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.