5 super-useful Apps to get a real bang out of a Smart Watch

Thinking about buying a smartwatch, but don’t know what they can really do?

Whether you have the Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch, you’ve probably discovered that wearable devices do a pretty good job of showing you your phone notifications. But with a few apps, they can do a lot more so you can take out your phone less often.

Best for any Android Wear user

App: Wear Mini Launcher
Cost: Free

Similar to the Android operating system, Android Wear isn’t the most intuitive to use right out of box. In fact, it can be downright frustrating. One particular issue is launching third-party apps from the watch. Currently, your only options are to use a voice command, which isn’t ideal if, say, you’re in a meeting, or swiping through a long list of apps. But a third-party app called Wear Mini Launcher offers a better solution.

With it, you can swipe from the edge of your watch’s display to bring up a drawer of apps and quickly tap on the one you want. Swipe the screen again, and you get a menu where you can adjust various phone settings (volume, Wi-Fi, etc.), change the brightness of your watch’s display, and view battery life. It’s a simple and handy app that I’d recommend to any Android Wear user.

App: Wear App Manager for Wear
Cost: 99 cents

Another good app to have is Wear App Manager by Udell Enterprises. This app lives on your smartphone and shows you all your Android Wear apps in one place. It’s useful because it’s not always clear which apps have Android Wear compatibility. For example, the to-do-list app Wunderlist offers smartwatch functionality (push notifications and note creation), but it only shows up as a regular app on your phone and not as a dedicated app on your watch. Wear App Manager takes the guesswork out of the equation.

The app itself is rather basic. It shows you stats for each Android Wear app (storage, permissions) and gives you the option to uninstall it or open it on your phone. A company called Aggro makes a similar app called Wear Apps Manager. Its user interface isn’t as slick as Udell’s version, but it works, and it’s free.

Best for the forgetful

App: Find My Phone
Cost: Free with in-app purchases

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or just have a lot on my mind, but I’m becoming quite forgetful lately. Case in point: This past weekend, I spent three hours tracking down my smartphone because I left it at a restaurant after lunch. Find My Phone for Android Wear is designed to help prevent such situations.

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Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

If you’ve misplaced your mobile, you can press the “Tap to find!” button on your watch, and it will play a sound on your phone to help you locate it. Since your smartwatch requires a connection to your phone to work, Find My Phone can also alert you if you are out of range of your handset. For example, when I went to the laundry room located in the basement of my apartment building, my LG G Watch buzzed and alerted me that the connection was lost between my watch and phone. Some may find this annoying (you can disable this feature), but I’d rather do that than spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon looking under the couch cushions for my phone.

Best for the perpetually late

App: Glympse
Cost: Free

Running late for a meeting or trying to meet up with friends for a night out? Glympse can help by updating people of your whereabouts.

From your watch, and using your phone’s GPS capability, you can send your location to a friend with just a couple of taps. Your recipient receives a text message with a link they can open in a Web browser or the Glympse app that shows your location on a map and real-time tracking. The message expires after a user-specified time, so you don’t have to worry about Glympse constantly sharing your location.

The one downside of the Android Wear version of Glympse is that you can only send your location to contacts in your call log or your favorites list. Glympse says it made the decision to limit access to these lists because it would take too long to load an entire address book, and would require a lot of scrolling.

Best for the fitness fanatic

App: RunKeeper
Cost: Free

All Android Wear smartwatches keep track of how many steps you take in a day, but if you’re looking for deeper stats or want to log a specific activity (running or biking), use an app like RunKeeper. It displays information like distance, pace and duration as you go. Then, at the end of your workout, you get an activity summary, including the number of burned calories.

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Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Honorable Mention: Runtastic
Cost: Free

Runtastic is another fitness-tracking app that works with Android Wear. It, too, tracks data like distance, calories and duration. But I didn’t like it as much as RunKeeper, because its interface requires a little more attention. That said, it works well, and is another solid option, especially if you’re already a Runtastic user.

Best for city-dwellers looking for a ride

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Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

App: Lyft
Cost: Free

If you live in a city that’s served by the ride-sharing service Lyft, the company’s Android Wear app can make arranging a pickup easy. You can request a Lyft ride by using the voice command, “Okay Google, request a car,” or simply launch the app on your watch. The app also allows you to change the pickup address via voice, track how long till your car arrives, and rate your driver. Like many of these apps, it reduces the need to pull out your phone, and Lyft has done a nice job of fitting information onto a smaller screen.

Best for the mathematically challenged

App: Wear Tip Calculator
Cost: Free with in-app purchases

It’s embarrassing how bad I am at math (there’s a reason that I majored in English and journalism). So whenever the bill arrives after a meal, more often than not I have to fish my phone out of my purse so I can calculate the tip. But Wear Tip Calculator lets you do that right from your wrist.

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Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Simply use the slider to enter the bill amount and select the percentage of tip you want to leave. The app then takes care of all the calculations for you. To exit the app, just hold down the little percentage icon.

For 99 cents, you can also unlock a feature where Wear Tip Calculator can figure out per-person cost if you’re splitting the bill with friends.

It’s still early days for smartwatches, and for many consumers, these devices remain nice-to-have items and not must-haves. But apps like the ones above offer a promising look at their potential and what’s to come.

Your Jacket Says A lot About You

 From classic pea coats to leather motorcycle jackets and parkas, take a look at the whet best men’s coats of the season say about you.

THE SOPHISTICATE GUY

The Wool Coat

The Wool Coat

NordstromTopman Double Breasted Wool Blend Trench Coat

The details: A wool coat is timeless and sophisticated. Though it’s available in a variety of styles, from a classic pea coat or trench to a simple zip-up, there are a few consistent characteristics of a wool coat  — it’s always extremely warm and won’t go out of style. Throw down a few extra bucks and a nice wool coat will last you a lifetime.

When to wear it: Perfect for the office or a formal event.

Where to buy it:

Uniqlo Men’s Wool Blended Duffle Coat ($100)

Topman Double Breasted Wool Blend Trench Coat ($180)

John Varvatos Star USA ‘Perkins’ Peacoat ($395)

Paul Smith Check Alpaca And Wool-Blend Overcoat ($2,495)

THE SMART GUY

The Bomber

The Bomber

J.CrewJ.Crew Wallace & Barnes Bomber

The details: Depending on the fabric, a bomber jacket may not fare well in winter’s coldest temperatures, but with its athletic fit, easy zip, and range of styles, it’s one of this season’s trendier coat options.

When to wear it: A dinner date

Where to buy it:

Gap Wool Bomber Jacket ($98)

Black Rivet Wool Blend Bomber Jacket ($135)

J.Crew Wallace & Barnes Bomber ($298)

Burberry Brit Quilted Jersey Bomber Jacket ($350)

THE I’M READY FOR ANYTHING GUY

The Vest

The Vest

GapGap Puffer Vest

The details: Simply put, a vest is perfect for days when it’s not cold enough for a heavy jacket, but not warm enough to forgo an extra layer.

When to wear it: A Friday night with the guys or catching your favorite sports team play.

Where to buy it:

Gap Puffer Vest ($70)

Scotch & Soda Reversible Quilted Vest ($129)

Moncler Tib Puffer Vest ($550)

Theory Printed Quilted Puffer Vest ($375)

THE SERIOUS GUY

Leather

Leather

DieselDiesel L-Ranseur

The details: Leather is in guys, and while these jackets tend to be heavier than others, leather is on the warmer end of fabrics, especially when it comes to facing the wind (hence why biker dudes opt for leather). Plus, you’ll earn major cool points.

When to wear it: Out on the town … or out on your Harley.

Where to buy it:

Banana Republic Brown Leather Bomber Jacket ($398)

Asos Nudie Leather Jacket Jonny Biker ($623)

Michael Kors Leather Racer Jacket ($895)

Diesel L-Ranseur ($1,500)

THE INTELLIGENT GUY

The Quilted Jacket

The Quilted Jacket

NordstromBarbour Tinford Jacket

The details: Quilted jackets won’t offer you much protection against a bitter cold January, but for milder temperatures, they’ll definitely do the trick. Lightweight, fitted, and altogether sleek, a quilted jacket is both comfortable and pretty darn dapper.

When to wear it: To the office, or out to dinner.

Where to buy it:

Barbour Tinford Jacket ($179)

Banana Republic Mixed-Media Quilted Jacket ($225)

Polo Ralph Lauren Brooks Quilted Car Coat ($495)

Belstaff Pathfield Tech Quilted Jacket ($695)

THE PREPARED GUY

The Parka

The Parka

ZaraZara Parka

The details: Parkas tend to be longer than your average waist coat, and while they can vary in weight, fabric, and style, parkas are great for layering. Throw it over a cozy sweater and you’ll have both warmth and wind protection. For extra insulation, choose a down-lined parka over a cotton one.

When to wear it: Any and all weekend activities.

Where to buy it:

Lands’ End Classic Squall Parka ($55)

Topman Black Heavyweight Parka Coat ($200)

Zara Parka ($239)

The North Face McMurdo Parka ($330-$370)

THE COMFORTABLE GUY

The Down Coat

The Down Coat

Neiman MarcusMontcler Daniel Lightweight Puffer Jacket

The details: A down coat is pretty much a necessity come snowstorms and bone-chilling temps. With various types of feather lining, even winter’s harshest winds can’t get through. A nice down coat will cost you, but it’s worth the splurge.

When to wear it: If you plan to be outside for awhile.

Where to buy it:

Selected Down Parka Jacket ($356)

Canada Goose Chateau Parka ($695)

Ralph Lauren Black Label Ski Down Jacket ($995)

Moncler Daniel Lightweight Puffer Jacket ($835)

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-mens-coats-2013-11?op=1#ixzz3J4cphKYm

Take some photos over the holidays and win some money

2015 Wildbird Photo Competition

2015 Wildbird Photo Competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories:

  • a) Bird in landscape
  • b) Bird portrait
  • c) “Mrs. and Mr.”
  • d) Funny birds
  • e) Artistic vision of birds
  • Special theme for young photographers: Wildbird

Prizes:

  • A Grand Prix to the overall winner awarded with a sum of € 1 500,
  • A First Prizein each category awarded with a sum of € 800,
  • A Public Prizeawarded to the picture which has totalized the more votes from the visitors of the exhibition endowed by the Festival’s partners.

The winners will be notified by e-mail after January, 16

Image requirements: JPEG format and 3:2 ratio. Exactly 3 500 pixels on its longest side, the shortest side should be of about 2 333 pixels. Reframing is only accepted within the limits of 20% of the photo surface. The modification must limit itself only to the cleaning of dusts and to the global improvement of the picture (balance of whites, color level, brightness and contrast…).

10 photos maximum per entrants. Online submission of digital photographs via the website.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

17 DAYS LEFT
  • Copyright: Copyright attached to all images will remain with the copyright holder who will be credited. All winners and selected photographers allow the Festival to use their name and photograph without profit through the promoting, advertising and any communication related to the competition, exhibition or the event as a whole without receiving additional compensation.
  • Eligibility: Open to all photographers, worldwide.
  • Entry fee: 2 €/ picture
  • Entry deadline: 1 December 2014

The Nature’s Colors Photo Contest

The Natures Colors Photo Contest

Prizes:

First Place Prize Package:

  • $500 gift certificate to Ilford paper products
  • One year of PhotoShelter Pro Account service for free
  • Publication of the winning photo in Outdoor Photographer
  • Tamrac’s Apache 6 Camera/Tablet Bag
  • A 32GB Professional 600x SDHC UHS-1 media card from Lexar
  • A Compact HoodLoupe from Hoodman USA
  • A Ready For Anything lighting kit from LumiQuest
  • A 16×20 print of the winning photo from Duggal Visual Solutions
  • Online publication of the winning photo in the Winners Gallery

Second Place Prize Package:

  • Tamrac’s Mirage 4 Photo/Tablet Backpack
  • A Strobist® lighting kit from LumiQuest
  • A 16GB microSDHC UHS-1 memory card from Lexar
  • A 16×20 print of the winning photo from Duggal Visual Solutions
  • Online publication of the winning photo in the Winners Gallery

Online submission of digital photographs via the website. You can enter up to 5 photos. Judging criteria: Adherence to Theme, Composition and Creativity/Originality

Image requirements: .JPG or .GIF format; up to 4mb in size.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

17 DAYS LEFT
  • Copyright: Entrant grants Sponsors a license to use the entry for credit purposes in Sponsors’ online galleries and for promotion purposes
  • Eligibility: Open to all photographers, worldwide.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Entry deadline: 1 December 2014

 

Share the View Photography Competition

Share the View Photography Competition

 

 

 

ASGD’s competition aims to increase the appreciation of the natural world by highlighting images from outstanding nature and wildlife photographers.

Subjects must be in keeping with the theme of nature and wildlife. All entries should accurately reflect the subject matter and scene as it actually appeared when captured with the camera. Images accepted in theShare the View contest can feature nature or wildlife subjects from anywhere in the world. Landscapes, flora, fauna, macro, aerial, behavior, portrait, underwater, urban wildlife, abstract, black & white, and atmospherics are among the subjects and styles that are acceptable.

Prizes:

  • 1 Grand Prize of $1000
  • 4 First Prizes $250
  • 5 Second Prizes $100
  • The top 250 finalist images will be displayed on the contest website during 2015. One finalist image will be featured on the home page each day and all 250 will be accompanied by the photographer’s name, contact information and link to website if desired.

All photographers will be notified with their judging results by the end of December, 2014.

Judging criteria: originality, quality and impact. You may enter as many photos as you wish. Online submission of digital photographs via the website.

Image requirements: JPEG format, RGB or Grayscale mode, 72ppi. Images and captions may not include watermarks, text, logos, borders or other identifying marks. Color space should be sRGB. The longer side of your image must be 900 pixels. Up to 800KB in file size

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

17 DAYS LEFT
  • Copyright: Copyright remains with the photographer. The photographer agrees to allow ASGD to publish their top 250 images on the website and to use them in promotions for future contests.
  • Eligibility: Open to all photographers, worldwide 18+
  • Entry fee: $10 per image or 6 images for $50.
  • Entry deadline: 1 December 2014