Apps

3 fitness apps for people who travel a lot

No excuses!

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Traveling makes sticking to a workout routine difficult; but in an era with apps that cater to just about everyone’s needs, it’s now easier to achieve your fitness goals.

If you’re committed to making health and fitness a priority this year or simply feel bad about not having a go-to workout, here are three apps that can help no matter how busy you are, wherever in the world you may be:

FlexIt

Work out whenever your schedule allows it, wherever you may be — sans the contract. That’s the idea behind FlexIt, a pay-by-the-minute app that gives you access to thousands of gyms.

You simply scan a QR code at the front desk before and after a workout so you only pay for the time you spend at the gym. The app also lets you see which gyms offer the best per-minute rate in your area, and which times are off peak hours so you can get an even better deal.

FlexIt is currently available across the US, and will soon be expanding to Canada, Europe, and Australia.

ClassPass

Finding a workout that you enjoy can be daunting. With ClassPass, you get to try different physical activities for as little as US$ 19 per month. It’s also perfect for people who get bored with sticking to just one type of workout.

With the app, you can search classes offered by the different gyms around you. Whether it’s indoor cycling, yoga, HIIT, or boxing — booking a class that you feel like taking that day is one tap away. Can’t find a gym in your area? A ClassPass membership also gives you access to on-demand workout videos.

ClassPass is available across the North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania although monthly subscriptions vary per country.

J&J Official 7 Minute Workout

If time constraints and the lack of gyms in the area are what’s stopping you, try J&J Official 7 Minute Workout app. It’s completely free and it gives you access to a virtual coach and a video library of workouts that you can do in 7 minutes.

If you have a little bit more time to spare, there’s a Smart Workout mode that creates a variety of workouts based on your fitness and motivation level.

The best part is none of the workouts require weights or machines, just your own body weight, making it easier to get your heart pumping whether you’re in an airport lounge or an Airbnb.

Committing to a one-year gym membership can be too much — not just for people who travel a lot like me, but also for beginners. These three apps don’t require contracts, but a self-commitment to make working out not just a New Year’s resolution but also a lifetime habit. With everything accessible with a few taps on your smartphone, there are just simply no excuses.

Apps

Google’s Emoji Kitchen will mash-up your favorite emojis

Rolling out on Gboard

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Do you know that Merriam-Webster adds new words to the dictionary every year? Do you also know that the Unicode Consortium adds new emojis to everyone’s devices every year? Such is the way of language. New ways to communicate will always emerge out of nowhere. Usually, they form whenever two things combine into an all-new form. It’s easy enough to combine words together, but how do you do that with emojis?

Google is developing a way to fuse emojis into new ones. In an official blog post, the Android developer announced the new feature called Emoji Kitchen. A feature of Gboard, Emoji Kitchen unlocks a plethora of new emojis. How about a cowboy ghost? Or a crying robot? Or a kissing poop face?

Prior to the Emoji Kitchen, users already received access to emoji variants in the past. Today, you can select different skin tones for human emojis. With the Emoji Kitchen, you can mix existing ones with each other. Likewise, users can access the feature automatically by opening compatible emojis. Opening the cowboy emoji sub-menu, for example, will open up its different variants.

Naturally, Emoji Kitchen will combine only existing emojis. In other words, you can’t create an all-new emoji from nothing. All new emojis come from Google’s own designers. Still, the feature’s new combinations will come in handy. Especially when I feel like a… monkey cactus?

Emoji Kitchen is slowly rolling out to Gboard users starting today. If you don’t want to wait for an official version, you can sign up for the Gboard Beta program for instant access.

SEE ALSO: Emoji documentary to show at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival

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Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo joins Huawei’s effort to build a Play Store alternative

Preparing for a Google-less future

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Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo recently collaborated with Huawei to build the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). GDSA aims to create a single app store aimed at simplifying app uploads and downloads for developers and consumers.

At first glance, GDSA seems like a competitor for Google’s Play Store. Over the years, the rising hostility of the US towards Chinese tech companies led to tariffs and outright ban from using its technologies. For example, Huawei suffered an entity ban last 2018 due to suspicions of spying for the Chinese government.

Such precedence may have stoked fear among other Chinese companies that a ban could be leveraged by the US in the future. Dependence on Western technologies is crucial for these companies. As such, a ban would represent a great loss, considering that most of these companies have established markets in many countries.

To counter this scenario, these tech companies are slowly building their own alternatives to established apps and services. Huawei, for its part, had already pushed out AppGallery as an alternative to Google’s Play Store. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have their own app stores in China due to a continuing ban on Google’s services in the country.

A unified app store

A unified app store will greatly simplify the process for developers who have to deal with these multiple app stores. GDSA will unify the backend of these app stores so developers can publish once and have their apps appear on the brands’ respective app stores.

For now, details about GDSA are scarce. Pilot countries for its deployment include 9 key regions including India, Russia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. A prototype website has been set up, but developers cannot sign up for it yet.

But if GDSA really pushes through, Google will face some serious competition on Android app distribution. Furthermore, the issue of fragmentation will only deepen in the ecosystem as companies build their own version of Google apps.

Xiaomi’s statement

Xiaomi already responded with a statement stating that they have no plans to position GDSA as a Play Store competitor. The company reiterated GDSA’s function to simplify the app uploading process. Furthermore, there was no mention of Huawei in their statement.

Huawei and Google have yet to release a statement. However, it is clear that Google will not welcome this development. Considering that Google has an iron grip on app store distribution outside China, a viable competitor will only compel the American company to further control the Android ecosystem.

With a tightening grip on Android, other tech companies will only intensify their efforts to build an alternative OS. Huawei, as an example, launched HarmonyOS for its devices in the future.

An alternative app store will also open up another potential avenue for hackers targeting users with malware. This will only contribute to security and privacy problems in Android, which has long been dealing with notorious malware and data breaches.

Source: Reuters

 

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Grab Philippines ordered to suspend in-car recording and selfie verification

Due to violations in the Data Privacy Act of 2012

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Last year, Grab Philippines tested new features to ensure passenger and driver safety. These new features are in-car audio and video recording, as well as selfie verification.

However, the country’s National Privacy Commission (NPC) ordered Grab to halt the rollout of these features. The commission stated that those features pose a privacy risk to passengers. A cease and desist order released by NPC cites violations within the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which governs the privacy and security of all digital data on the country.

NPC also stated in its Notice of Deficiencies that the ride-sharing company failed to assess the new features’ risk to passengers, taking only into account “the risk faced by the company”.

The notice also noted that there is no clear mechanism for informing passengers when recorded data gets sent to authorities. It also found out that there is ambiguity in opting out of recording.

As such, NPC gave Grab 15 days to address the deficiencies it found for both in-car recording and selfie verification. This is surely a welcome move for ensuring passengers’ privacy. However, the question remains on what measures Grab will implement in the future to protect its passengers’ safety.

Source: Top Gear Philippines

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