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Opinion: Apple's Health app really needs a redesign

Apple is touting the Apple Watch using three main arguments. The first is that it keeps time, and is accurate to within 50 milliseconds. (I'm so relieved by the fact that a watch in 2015 can be accurate, aren't you?) The second is the "fun, spontaneous ways" you can communicate with "your favorite people." And the third is probably the best selling point, given the way people have used wearables up until now: it offers "a smarter way to look at fitness."

apple watch activity 100413684 medium

The watch's Activity app has a great design. Health on the iPhone, not so much.

I have to agree with that. The tricircular interface on the Apple Watch's Activity app, which shows how much you move, exercise, and stand, is a brilliant design.

However, much of the Apple Watch's data will be piped through to the Health app on your iPhone, and the interface of that app is sorely in need of a redesign, even if we do get a separate companion Activity app for iPhone too.

There is a huge disconnect between the simple, intuitive interface of the Apple Watch and the dry, archaic look of the Health app. With nothing but straight graphs lacking easy-to-spot dividers, the Health app displays data in ways that will put off even the most earnest of exercisers.

health app steps

Here is the weekly step graph from the Health app. The Y axis has arbitrary numbers, and the center line is probably the average, but it isn't labeled.

In addition, while it's not as obvious in this screenshot, it's very difficult to read the above numbers on an iPhone because the thin, white font doesn't offer much contrast. Depending on which type of metric you select, the Health app chooses colors for the dashboard cards. You can't opt for a more readable color, and the fonts are all white, against a variety of light-colored backgrounds.

Other apps make reading data much easier. Using Fitbit's app, I can see at a glance, in large, readable numbers, what my activity level is, with step counts, distance, calories burned and more. And if I tap on the Step count, I see a weekly view that is still more informative than Apple's.

fitbit duo

Here's what the Fitbit iOS app displays. First, the dashboard, with the current day's numbers. Second, when you tap Steps, you can see your step count for past days. (Click to enlarge.)

The Fitbit app also lets you set goals, something that is so far absent from the Health app. You can set daily goals, and the colors in the dashboard reflect whether or not you've met them. (The Apple Watch site mentions daily goals; presumably these will be rolled into the Health app in an update when the Apple Watch ships.)

The Health app also has an odd way of displaying raw data. For some metrics, this might work--think blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight for example. But for steps, it's simply incongruous. Look below at the way you view step data for a given day:

healh step data

Step data in the Health app is not very practical.

It would make sense for this to be grouped by, say, 15-minute intervals. I can't imagine that, for most people, seeing the number of steps per minute would be very useful. Compare the above with the way the Withings iOS app shows daily step counts:

withings steps

The Withings iOS app shows far more information, in a more understandable way.

You can see your activity in half-hour slices, see how it measures up to your daily goal, and also see distances, calories burned, and more.

In the absence of a usable dashboard in the Health app, you may want to go for a third-party tool. The $2 FitPort pulls in data from the Health app and displays it in a more readable manner. You can set daily goals for each of the metrics it displays, and circles will show you how close you are to those goals. FitPort also gives you much better views of data from past days than the Health app does.

fitport dashboard

FitPort is the dashboard that the Health app should have.

Apple's Health app records a lot of data, but presents it is the wrong way. Different data sources could benefit from different displays, and, at a minimum, they could offer more than just straight line graphs. In addition, the choice of white fonts on often light colored backgrounds makes it hard to read, and the lack of daily goals limits its use. I hope that Apple can reproduce the attractive interface on the Apple Watch in a new version of the Health app for the iPhone.

15 Mar 2015
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Stanford's ResearchKit app gained more users in 24 hours than most medical studies find in a year

Apple's attempt to revolutionize medical studies appears off to a strong start. Just one day after the company released the first five apps using the new ResearchKit framework, 11,000 iPhone users signed up for one of the studies.

Stanford Researchers were amazed at the response for the MyHeart Counts app that studies heart health by measuring a user's daily activity, fitness level, and other factors. "To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year," Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health, told Bloomberg Business.

ResearchKit is a new developer framework from Apple that seeks to harness the vast user base of the iPhone to help recruit people for medical studies. The framework allows developers to take advantage of the iPhone's various sensors to help monitor activity levels or collect information from Apple's HealthKit platform.

Apple's ResearchKit is set for a public release in April. Until then there are only five apps that are using the new framework including studies on Parkinson's disease, Asthma, diabetes, and breast cancer--as well as the aforementioned heart health study.

Why this matters: You could chalk up this first ResearchKit success to excitement and curiosity about a new way to use the iPhone and maybe it is. But longer term, ResearchKit could still be a big help to medical researchers even if it only helps recruit people in direct contact with the research institution. It's not that hard, after all, to download an app. Given that ResearchKit is open source it could also be forked to work on other platforms, further expanding ResearchKit's reach.

12 Mar 2015
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Natural treatments For Glowing pores And Skin - Tips To Get Amazing Results

Chest: Personal choice, even though you may want to consider trimming rather of shaving. Numerous partners like their guy to have some hair on the upper body.

Don't throw up your hands and give in yet. There are a number of ways that will flip back the clock on your mitts, be it house pampering or the latest improvement in Asian plastic surgery remedies.

Several natural skin care products are available in our houses and we may not even realize it. For occasion, if having puffy pores and skin around your eyes concerns you, then try placing previous black or chamomile tea bags on it. The anti-inflammatory elements of chamomile will help reduce the swollenness.

If you have cellulite on your booty and no lengthier wish for it to be there, then you have to make a choice. You could both, A: Go for an expensive and uncomfortable beauty surgery such as mesotherapy, laser skin care firming, or perhaps liposuction. Or, you can opt for option B: Utilize natural cures for cellulite which will not consume your entire life financial savings and are considerably much more effective than cosmetic surgical procedure.

Are you comfy with the clinic? Is it thoroughly clean? Do you believe that it is operate efficiently? You received the sensation that they are just following your cash or really treatment that you solve your problems of unwanted hair? (Not usually easy to say but if that puts you below stress to signal before being offered the chance to make your thoughts has the solution), even small issues, this kind of as appointments are accessible when you need might influence choice in between a clinic and an additional.

The next method you may try is waxing. It is fairly inexpensive. This hair removal method is much more comprehensive and it can be done at home at any time. Get a hot wax kit and do waxing at house.

Make use of a dry-skin brush each day. A brush such as this will not literally eliminate the cellulite from your base, but it will assist to lessen the general appearance of cellulite inside that region.

scar treatments, top skin care brands

12 Mar 2015
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Hello Ceres! NASA spacecraft on first visit to dwarf planet

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After a nearly eight-year journey, a NASA spacecraft on Friday flawlessly slipped into orbit around Ceres in the first visit to a dwarf planet.The robotic Dawn craft will circle the dwarf planet for more than a year, exploring its surface and unraveling its mysteries."It went exactly the way we expected. Dawn gently, elegantly slid into Ceres' gravitational embrace," said Marc Rayman, chief engineer for the $473 million mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.Ceres is the second and final stop for Dawn, which launched in 2007 on a voyage to the main asteroid belt, a zone between Mars and Jupiter that's littered with rocky leftovers from the formation of the sun and planets some 4 1/2 billion years ago.Dawn will spend 16 months photographing the icy surface. It previously spent a year at Vesta exploring the asteroid and sending back stunning close-ups of its lumpy surface before cruising onto Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt.The 3-billion mile trip was made possible by Dawn's ion propulsion engines, which provide gentle yet constant acceleration and are more efficient than conventional thrusters.As Dawn approached Ceres, it beamed back the best pictures ever taken of the dwarf planet. Some puzzling images revealed a pair of shiny patches inside a crater - signs of possible ice or salt.Scientists hope to get a better glimpse of the spots when the spacecraft spirals closer to the surface. It'll also study whether previously spotted plumes of water vapor continue to vent."There are a lot of secrets that will be revealed," said mission scientist Lucy McFadden at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.The spacecraft glided into place at 4:39 a.m. Friday and flight controllers received confirmation about an hour later. The maneuver occurred without a tense moment, unlike other captures that require braking to slow down."The real drama is exploring this alien, exotic world," Rayman said.Dawn is currently in Ceres' shadows and won't take new pictures until it emerges in April, he said.Discovered in 1801, Ceres measures 600 miles across - as wide as Texas - and has a rocky core. It's named after the Roman goddess of agriculture and harvest. It was initially called a planet before it was demoted to an asteroid and later classified as a dwarf planet. Like planets, dwarf planets are spherical in shape, but they share the same celestial neighborhood with other similar-sized bodies.With its massive solar wings spread out, Dawn is about the size of a tractor-trailer, measuring 65 feet from tip to tip. It carries an infrared spectrometer and a gamma ray and neutron detector to study the surface of Ceres from orbit.The spacecraft was about 38,000 miles from Ceres when it began orbiting. In the coming months, it will spiral down to within 235 miles of Ceres' surface where it will remain long after the mission is over."Every time we get closer, we see more things that make us scratch our heads," said mission scientist Mark Sykes, who heads the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona.Dawn almost never made it out to the inner solar system. The mission endured funding-related project cancellations and launch delays before it received the green light to fly.Dwarf planets lately have become the focus of exploration.This summer, another NASA spacecraft - New Horizons - is set to make the first visit to Pluto, which was downgraded to dwarf planet.---Online:Dawn mission: the reporter on Twitter:

10 Mar 2015
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Exclusive: China's international payments system ready, could launch by end-2015 - sources

By Michelle Chen and Koh Gui Qing

HONG KONG/BEIJING Mon Mar 9, 2015 6:37am EDT

A clerk counts Chinese 100 yuan banknotes at a branch of China Construction Bank in Nantong, Jiangsu province December 2, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

A clerk counts Chinese 100 yuan banknotes at a branch of China Construction Bank in Nantong, Jiangsu province December 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's long-awaited international payment system to process cross-border yuan transactions is ready, and may be launched as early as September or October, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The launch of the China International Payment System (CIPS) will remove one of the biggest hurdles to internationalizing the yuan and should greatly increase global usage of the Chinese currency by cutting transaction costs and processing times.

It will also put the yuan on a more even footing with other major global currencies like the U.S. dollar, as CIPS is expected to use the same messaging format as other international payment systems, making transactions smoother.

CIPS, which would be a worldwide payments superhighway for the yuan CHN= CNY=CFXS, will replace a patchwork of existing networks that make processing renminbi payments a more cumbersome process.

"The CIPS is ready now and China has selected 20 banks to do the testing, among which 13 banks are Chinese banks and the rest are subsidiaries of foreign banks," said a senior banking source who is involved in the matter.

The official launch will be in September or October, depending on the results of the testings and preparation, the source said.

A second source with direct knowledge of the matter said authorities want to launch the first phase of CIPS before December.

"If it's all smooth, (the launch) will be in September or October. If there is a need for a bit more time, we are still confident about (rolling it out) before the year-end," said the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The system was expected to be launched in 2014 but was delayed by technical problems, with most market participants anticipating it would not come on stream before 2016.


Currently, cross-border yuan clearing has to be done either through one of the offshore yuan clearing banks in the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore and London, or else with the help of a correspondent bank in mainland China.

"Misunderstandings under the current clearing system happen from time-to-time due to different languages and codings. The CIPS is a breakthrough since it will offer a united platform and enhance efficiency," said Raymond Yeung, an analyst at ANZ in Hong Kong.

The launch of CIPS will enable companies outside China to clear yuan transactions with their Chinese counterparts directly, reducing the number of stages a payment has to go through.

"This is a big development for the small and medium enterprise sector operating in China as their correspondent banks can now access a wider network for settling payments in yuan, leading to lower costs," said the head of treasury solutions at a large European multinational company based in Hong Kong.

For large international companies, CIPS will remove operational inefficiencies as companies will no longer have to worry about ensuring yuan transactions are processed at certain times of day, as they do now, he added.

China's yuan became one of the world's top five payment currencies in November 2014, overtaking the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar, according to global transaction services organization SWIFT.

Global yuan payments increased by 20.3 percent in value in December compared to a year earlier, while the growth for payments across all currencies was 14.9 percent for the same period, SWIFT said.

China has accelerated the pace of yuan internationalization in recent years. The central bank assigned 10 official yuan clearing banks last year, bringing the total number to 14 globally that can clear yuan transactions with China.

The People's Bank of China was not immediately available for comment when contacted.

(Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Rachel Armstrong)

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09 Mar 2015
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