TIME fitness

4 Great Sports Headphones for Under $50

Getting active is always more fun with music, especially when you exercise solo. Normal headphones aren’t often up to the challenge, though, breaking when they’re covered in sweat and falling out when you move from a walk to a jog. So it’s important to use a pair of headphones made for sports.

Key features in sports headphones to look for include a stabilizer, like ear hooks, sweat resistance and different size eartips for you to choose from to get the perfect fit. Below are four top rated sports headphones that not only deliver a superior auditory experience, but also won’t break the bank.

Philips

1. Philips ActionFit Sports SHQ4200 ($35 on Amazon)

The flexible neckband auto-adjusts to your head for a perfect fit and you can choose from three eartip sizes for the best fit.

Sony

2. Sony MDR-AS200 ($16 on Amazon)

The Sony MDR-AS200 is built to stay in, with a loop hanger for stable fitting and angled earbuds that stay put.
 
 

Koss

3. Koss KSC 32 FitClips ($18 on Amazon)

Amazon reviewers rave about the fit as well as the sound quality of the FitClips earbuds. They come in five colors designed to appeal to women, including coral, purple and lime.
 

Philips

4. Philips ActionFit Sports SHQ1200 ($20 on Amazon)

Smaller and lighter than the SHQ4200 earbuds, these are coated in an anti-slip rubber to keep them in your ears while you run and sweat, even in the rain.

This article was written by Dan O’Halloran and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Advertising

This Is the New Stat Facebook Should Be Worrying About

A view of Facebook's "Like" button May 1
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Updated 6:08 p.m.

All those ads that are increasingly crowding into users’ Facebook and Twitter feeds apparently aren’t doing much to affect what people actually buy. According to a newly released Gallup poll, 62% of Americans say social media has no influence on their purchasing decisions. Just 5% of people polled said social media has a great deal of influence on their buying habits. Even tech-savvy Millennials say they are not swayed by social ads—48% of respondents in that cohort said that social media doesn’t influence their purchasing decisions.

“A solid majority of American adults say that social media have no influence at all on their purchasing decisions — suggesting that the advertising may be reaching smaller segments of the market, or that the influence on consumers is indirect or goes unnoticed,” Gallup concluded. The company said people are more likely to consult in-store displays, television commercials, mail catalogs and magazines than a brand’s Facebook or Twitter account when making a purchasing decision.

If believed, the results could be problematic for social media companies like Facebook, which has tried to convince both marketers and investors that online ads can improve brand recall and drive in-store sales. U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion on social media advertising in 2013, according to Gallup. Facebook alone generated $7 billion in ad revenue last year globally.

Since the poll measured people’s sentiment and not their behavior, it’s possible that people are being influenced by social ads and they just don’t know it or won’t acknowledge it. But respondents indicated that they’re not using social media to go shopping or engage in commerce. 94% of respondents said they primarily use social media to connect with friends and family, while just 40% use it to find out information about a company. Even fewer people, 29% of respondents, said they use social sites to find user reviews or product information.

Facebook dismissed the value of the findings outright. “The only thing this poll shows is that self-reported behavioral data is unreliable,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “For decades, studies that look at people’s actual, real-world behavior have shown that ads on all mediums, including social media, affect the things people buy. The most successful marketers in the world don’t just take our word for it when it comes to ad effectiveness, they’ve asked us to prove that our ads work. And we have.”

Gallup surveyed more than 18,000 American adults in December 2012 and January 2013 to derive the results.

 

TIME Tech

This Is Why France Is Fighting a .Wine Domain Tooth and Nail

France Opposes Wine Domain
The Ay commune in France's Champagne region, where grapes are harvested to make Moet et Chandon. Jean-Pierre Degas / hemis.fr—Getty Images/Hemis.fr RM

Champagne campaign? Not so fast

If the name “champagne” is legally reserved for sparkling wine from France’s Champagne region, then shouldn’t the domains .wine and .vin also be restricted?

So goes French minister Axelle Lemaire’s argument to geographically protect the .wine and .vin generic top-level domains (known as gTLDs, such as .edu, .com, .gov) proposed by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), according to BBC. During an ICANN meeting on Monday, Lemaire insisted that assigning these gTLDs would threaten France’s desire to “preserve the cultural diversity” built on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne—wines endemic to various French regions.

Several European countries have mounted resistance against the .wine and .vin domains since Project dotVinum made a public effort to register .wine in 2010. When ICANN launched the New gTLD Program in 2012, a handful of private firms applied for .wine gTLDs, drawing the attention of Portugal, Spain, Brussels, Luxembourg, Italy and the U.S., among other countries concerned about safeguarding the quality, reputation and brands of their wines.

In 2013, the European Federation of Origin Wines issued a statement to ICANN arguing that the new gTLDs infringe on intellectual property rights. A year later, ICANN issued a 60 day deadline to resolve the debate by June 3, 2014, but its delegates failed to reach an agreement. As a result, ICANN has “continued processing of the .VIN and .WINE applications,” according to a statement.

The ICANN’s 50th session will be held in London from June 22 to June 26.

TIME Rumors

HTC’s Volantis Tablet May Be the Last Gasp for Nexus Hardware

Rumored tablet combines sharp design, high-end specs and some rather strange display proportions.

Google may be preparing to wind down the Nexus program and replace it with something better, but there’s reportedly at least one more Nexus tablet in the pipeline for this year.

Android Police claims that HTC is building the tablet, codenamed Volantis, in conjunction with Google. The site says it’s heard about Volantis from several unnamed sources, and has shared what appears to be a planning document with tech specs.

If the report is accurate, the tablet will have an 8.9-inch, 2048-by-1440 resolution display. This is probably the strangest part of the story, as it would result in an uncommon 64:45 aspect ratio. (The planning document claims, incorrectly, that Volantis’ aspect ratio will be 4:3, same as an iPad.) If the 2048-by-1440 figure isn’t a typo, Volantis will be wider in portrait mode than most other Android tablets, but not quite as wide as Apple’s iPad.

Aside from this one questionable detail, the rest of the spec sheet seems reasonable enough. The device will reportedly use an Nvidia K1 processor with 2 GB of RAM and a minimum 16 GB of storage. It may also include front-facing speakers, a 3-megapixel front camera, an 8-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and 4G LTE connectivity. The device will reportedly measure 0.31 inches thick and weigh 0.92 pounds, and come in an aluminum casing.

Google has not released a Nexus tablet larger than 7 inches since the Nexus 10 nearly two years ago. Volantis could be the company’s final effort as it works on a new program called “Android Silver.” According to Android Police, this program would include many Nexus-like features–including prompt software updates and minimal bloatware–but would add premium customer support and lots of marketing from Google. The idea is that hardware makers would offer Silver as a high-end option for discerning Android users, but it’s unclear when this program will launch, if ever.

TIME Big Picture

For Smartwatches to Hit It Big, Context Is Key

Samsung Gear 2
A Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch sits on display at the Samsung Electronics Co. pavilion on day two of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Simon Dawson--Bloomberg / Getty Images

A while back, I talked about health and fitness wearables and my failure to see how they appeal to a broader market. This week, I want to talk about the potentially lucrative category of smartwatches.

If we count Microsoft’s Smart Personal Object Technology (or SPOT) watches as smartwatches, then I have been using these kinds of devices for many years. However, even the current (or soon to be shipping) crop of smartwatches leaves me puzzled. I still question how big of a market the smartwatch category could be. Honestly, I’m on the fence.

To dive deeper, I think it would be helpful to look at a few current and future value propositions related to smartwatches. We have to start with this question: What is the value of a smart, easily viewed, small screen on my person? Answer this and we’re getting somewhere.

The key is that the smartwatch screen is always in view. Unlike other screens – my smartphone, tablet, PC, TV and others – this smart object on my wrist is easily viewable throughout the day as long as I’m wearing it. To answer my question, we have to look at some things I may personally care to be notified of, regardless of whether I’m looking at any other screen. The key to this is context.

When am I not looking at my smartphone, PC, tablet or TV? When I am driving, at a lunch or dinner meeting, or walking around the mall, for instance. These are the times a smartwatch must deliver value beyond keeping time.

Currently, the proposed value is in notifications. The smartwatch will notify me of an email, text or Facebook message, Twitter mention, incoming call, and more. Any app that pushes a notification to my phone can and does push a notification to my wrist.

More often than not, I find this more distracting than helpful. I get a lot of email, text messages, Twitter mentions, and calls throughout the day. My wrist buzzes quite a bit, mostly with notifications that aren’t useful to me. The reason? The watch (and even my phone, for that matter) doesn’t understand context.

I may not want to see all my emails, but if I’m waiting for an important response from a client, it would be useful to see certain messages. I don’t want to be notified of all phone calls; only ones that are urgent – say, from my wife.

This goes beyond a filter. It is all about context. The device needs to know more about me and my situation to be useful. Smartwatches and notifications need to get a lot smarter if they are to be useful on the wrist.

For example, when I’m in a meeting, I don’t want to look rude as I check my watch 15 times over the course of an hour every time it buzzes. But what if my phone or watch knew where my next meeting was and would alert me of any traffic issues I should be aware of that may change the time I need to leave in order to not be late for my next appointment?

This is what makes some of the proposed use cases of Android Wear somewhat interesting. Google Now does a decent job of focusing on contextual data that’s useful at a glance. This could be location data, traffic data, and a host of other things that can equip us to take action and make decisions. Ultimately, this type of contextual data that’s useful in helping us make choices is where the value of a wrist-worn smart screen may lie.

My biggest misgiving is that we will experience notification overload. Even though I test some smartwatches that have useful filters for which apps notify the watch and which don’t, I still suffer from notification overload. My concern is that if we open the wrist screen to notification from solicitors – trying to get our attention with deals, discounts, and coupons – we again suffer from notification overload. There will have to be an intelligent way for much smarter notifications to reveal themselves if the smartwatch category is to go mainstream.

Part of me feels that the smartwatch is still a solution in search of a problem. But another part of me feels that there’s value to be found on a screen that’s more easily viewed than a screen in a pocket or a purse. Many seem to believe that smartwatches may be the next hot category. I still have my doubts. Mass market appeal and convenience is what the smartwatch needs to find. Until then, it will be a niche market.

Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology-industry-analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to the Big Picture opinion column that appears here every week.

TIME Video Games

20 Video Games to Watch for Summer 2014

Here's our summertime list of PC, console and handheld video games to keep an eye on.

  • Resogun: Heroes

    Resogun was just about the best thing on PS4 at launch, a wonderful little wraparound side-scrolling shoot-em-up, and on June 24, it’ll get an update that adds local cooperative play and lets you create your own ships. Everyone who owns Resogun gets that stuff, but if you want the separate Heroes expansion’s two new game modes — Survival (infinite play like Arcade, but humans now have parachutes and there’s a day/night cycle) and Demolition (described as “Arkanoid meets Resogun” by way of a wrecking ball) — it’ll run you $4.99.

    June 24 / PS4

  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War

    Another side-scrolling puzzle/adventure game from Ubisoft, Valiant Hearts: The Great War uses a bleak cartoonish aesthetic (“The Great War” meaning World War I) to tell an adventure story “inspired by actual letters from the time.” The story itself concerns three strangers united through war in their attempt to help a young German soldier find love “in a story about survival, sacrifice and friendship.” (In other words, bring tissues.)

    June 25 / PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

  • Shovel Knight

    A horn-helmed knight, a weaponized spade, bona fide chiptunes and visuals designed to make you feel like you nodded off and woke up in 1985 8-bit-land. Shovel Knight‘s Kickstarter was so successful it blew past its $75,000 funding goal to reach over $311,000. Fingers crossed all that extra cash helps this platformer pay out gameplay dividends when it arrives (after a few delays) in late June.

    June 26 / 3DS, Wii U, PC, Mac, Linux

  • Divinity: Original Sin

    Divinity: Original Sin, a prequel to 2002’s sleeper roleplaying gem Divine Divinity, is a Kickstarter-funded left turn of sorts for developer Larian. It’s a shift from Divinity II‘s third-person action-angled approach back to a high-in-the-sky camera overview, and includes — all series firsts here — cooperative play, turn-based combat and mod tool support.

    June 30 / PC, Mac

  • Sunless Sea

    Heard of a browser-based text adventure called Fallen London? Me neither — until game chat/scribe luminaries Tom Chick and Bruce Geryk (Quarter to Three) put together this podcast of podcasts about that game and its imminent spiritual sequel in which you captain a (possibly doomed) steamship through lightness depths. The game’s billing: “Lose your mind. Eat your crew. Survive.” You want to play this. You really do.

    July 1 / PC, Mac

  • MouseCraft

    In MouseCraft, you have to stack blocks shaped like tetrominoes — shapes made out of four squares — to forge “safe” paths for on-the-move mice, guiding them through puzzle-based levels. No surprise: Poland-based studio Crunching Koalas calls it “Tetris meets Lemmings.”

    July 8 / PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, PS Vita

  • Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition

    I adored French designer Eric Chachi’s Out of This World (its right proper name in the States, by the way) when I first played it back in 1992 on a 16MHz CompuAdd 386sx. I missed its souped-up reemergence in 2011 on smartphones and tablets, but I won’t make that mistake — and if you’ve never played it, neither should you — when it arrives this summer for PS4.

    July 8 / PS4, PS3, PS Vita

  • Quest for Infamy

    Fans of classic Sierra adventures games, rejoice, or at least get your hopes slightly up at the prospect of a new Quest for Glory-inspired romp through roleplaying-as-burlesque. Developer Infamous Adventures has been working up to this, its first non-remake adventure game, since the warmly received fan-remakes of the King’s Quest and Space Quest series.

    July 10 / PC, Mac

  • Abyss Odyssey

    Game genres have the strangest names. “Roguelike.” I suppose it’s more efficient than typing out “action-roleplaying fantasy hack-and-slash with randomly generated levels.” Abyss Odyssey sounds like that with a dash of Street Fighter (it’s a 2D side-scroller with platforming bits) set in 19th century Chile (another game with an unusual-to-gaming backdrop) where you’re fighting a slumbering warlock’s nightmares made real.

    July 15 / PC, PS3, Xbox 360

  • Unrest

    Unrest is a roleplaying game staged in ancient India, which instantly earns it backdrop street cred (name the last game you played set in ancient India). Other hypothetically cool-sounding points: combat is possible but discouraged, the game’s impetus hinges largely on storytelling through dialogue choices that interact with character “values,” and if you die, the game simply shifts to another character, your previous one’s death impacting how the story unfolds.

    July 23 / PC, Mac, Linux

  • The Last of Us Remastered

    Watching comparison videos, you realize just how much Naughty Dog managed to pull out of the PS3’s hat with The Last of Us (less than a year ago). The PS4 version looks better, in other words, but not dramatically so. That said, if you want to play what’ll surely be the definitive version of this award-winning tromp through an end-of-days, story-twisting zombie shooter, make some space on your midsummer calendar.

    July 29 / PS4

  • Sacred 3

    Newcomer Keen Games tries its hand at the third in this Diablo-like fantasy about racing around a giant map, whacking enemies and vacuuming loot. Expect multi-classing, of course, but also “always on” cooperative play for up to four that’ll either draw on fellow players, or — if you’re playing offline — sub in computer A.I. ones.

    August 5 / PC, PS3, Xbox 360

  • Risen 3: Titan Lords

    Developer Piranha Bytes’ Risen series — generally lauded for its thoughtful world-building but plagued by technical issues — has struggled to find its footing after the studio’s acclaimed Gothic games (1 and 2, anyway). Risen 3: Titan Lords marks the studio’s third post-Gothic roleplaying outing, this time promising that “every decision changes the course of the story” (a promise easily made, but perhaps most consistently delivered by this studio).

    August 12 / PC, PS3, Xbox 360

  • Tales of Xillia 2

    If you haven’t played Tales of Xillia, you’ll probably just find Tales of Xillia 2 confusing. If you have played Tales of Xillia (and you enjoyed it), this direct sequel is aimed squarely at you, transpiring a year later and resurrecting the series’ real-time battle system, that — unique to this duology — allows characters to combine their attacks in linked mode.

    August 19 / PS3

     

  • Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

    What else is there to say about this two-year-old dark fantasy monster-masher? It’s Diablo III (plus the Reaper of Souls expansion), arguably as it ought to have been from the start: sans real money or gold auction houses.

    August 19 / PS4, Xbox One

  • Madden NFL 15

    I won’t pretend to love football, but ignoring Madden is like standing next to a speeding freight train with your fingers in your ears, so let’s run through the feature list: improved defensive play, further refined natural-sounding broadcasts, a “player lock” camera, an indicator to help you tell whether you can make a non-aggressive tackle, jumbotrons that now use dynamic camera footage, and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is this year’s cover athlete.

    August 26 / PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

  • The Sims 4

    The Sims 4 continues longtime developer Maxis’ evolution of EA’s mega-bestselling franchise, sprucing up the visuals and nipping and tucking classic world-building features. You’re still essentially babysitting a bunch of babbling sims through a cartoonish approximation of village life, though the character building tools are more granular, and Maxis says its emphasis on emotional states will lend character story arcs more depth.

    September 2 / PC

  • Stronghold: Crusader II

     

    Long before the “tower defense” genre existed, developer Firefly Studios was building games about constructing actual towers and ramparts with elaborate fortifications, then hurling waves of attackers at you to test your architectural mettle. Stronghold: Crusader II is 12 years coming, replete with new units and real-time 3D physics, and this time sporting the option to manage your castle with another player cooperatively.

    September 2 / PC

  • Destiny

    Destiny is the summer’s (and perhaps even the year’s) biggest kahuna, the game everyone’s been hearing about for ages, the implication being that it’ll revolutionize gaming as we know it. It probably won’t, but it’s by Bungie, it feels distinctly Halo-like, and it showed well enough when I demoed it at E3: a highly polished, open-world, quasi-solo-multiplayer shooter that’ll work to keep your attention by dropping you onto Guild Wars 2-like playgrounds, routinely trotting out new and varied things to do.

    September 9 / PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

  • NHL 15

    For NHL 15, EA’s souping-up the notion of hockey as a full-contact sport. If you’re playing next-gen, the new “collision physics” system support secondary collisions, player pileups (involving all 12 players here) and scrambles for the net. That emphasis on improved physics extends to puck play, which EA’s touting as substantially more granular. The rest is mostly next-gen window dressing: all 30 NHL arenas meticulously rendered, thousands of models making up arena crowds and more realistic physics-impactive clothing.

    September 9 / PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

TIME Law

WATCH: What Aereo’s Supreme Court Case Means For You

The way you watch television could hang in the balance

Television streaming startup Aereo could revolutionize the way we watch our favorite programming, but its future is in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is set to decide in the coming days whether Aereo’s streaming methods are legal.

Want to know more about Aereo and what the case will mean for you? Watch TIME’s explainer video above.

TIME Social Media

This Company Will Help Job Seekers Erase Unseemly Facebook Photos

Pretend your frat-star days never existed — at least on the Internet — with Social Sweepster

By the time this year’s college graduates grab their diplomas, they’ll likely have heard countless warnings about what not to post on social media.

But in case they never listened—and are only just starting to grasp what four years of keg stands and Solo cups might do to their employment prospects—Social Sweepster wants to help. The service goes through Facebook and Twitter accounts to find photos and posts that might make hiring managers think twice, the New York Times reports.

Similar services include SimpleWash, which searches profiles for “undesirable content” based on certain keywords, and Socially Clean, which identifies regrettable Facebook posts on both users’ profiles and those left on their friends’ profiles.

But Social Sweepster, founded by a 2013 graduate of Indiana University, has an emphasis on scanning images, looking through postings from as far back as 2005 to identify objects like beer cans and red Solo cups. Once those are found, users have options to untag, delete or ask a friend to remove the offending photos.

The image identification technology isn’t perfect yet, but founder Tom McGrath believes young job seekers, wanting to be safe rather than sorry, will still want to pay for the service, which is currently in beta.

“If you spent all this money on a college education and you’ll spend $5 on a coffee, why not prevent the slightest chance that a potential employer will be upset?” he said.

[NYT]

TIME technology

Park Your Drones, Say National Parks

Drone Restrictions
A drone is flown during a demonstration, in Brigham City, Utah, on Feb. 13, 2014 Rick Bowmer—AP

Drones spoil national parks and they should be banned, the National Park Service says

Calling unmanned drones a dangerous harassment, the National Park Service is moving to ban them from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways across the country. A policy memorandum signed Friday instructs the National Park Service’s 401 park superintendents to prohibit the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft in their park.

Jonathan Jarvis, the park service’s director, said that drones can disturb birds’ nesting patterns, distract climbers, disturb hikers and harass visitors to locations from Yosemite to Mount Rushmore, the Associated Press reports.

“Imagine you’re a big wall climber in Yosemite working on a four-day climb up El Capitan, and you’re hanging off a bulb ready to make a (difficult) move, and an unmanned aircraft flies up beside you and is hovering a few feet from your head with its GoPro camera running,” Jarvis said. “Think about what that does to your experience and your safety.”

Officials in Utah’s Zion National Park already banned drones after noticing unmanned aircraft harassing youngster bighorn sheep, causing them to become separated from their herd. Other incidents in parks around the country have also led to drones being banned.

Many drone operators say unmanned aircraft flights can be made with respect for other park users and wildlife. Jarvis says he wants to regulate drones before their use becomes even more widespread, as unmanned aircraft get cheaper and more high-tech.

[AP]

TIME Companies

Google’s Nest Is Buying a Home-Monitoring Camera Company

Dropcam Camera
The Dropcam HD Wi-Fi home video-monitoring camera is displayed for a photograph in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg—Getty Images

Dropcam will fall under Nest's privacy policy

Google-owned smart home company Nest is acquiring home-monitoring startup Dropcam for $555 million, in a move that expands the Google-owned Nest’s smart home repertoire from thermostats and smoke detectors into cameras.

Nest, which was acquired by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion, makes a thermostat that learns your daily schedule and adjusts your house’s temperature based on your behavior. Nest also makes a smart smoke detector. Dropcam, meanwhile, makes cameras that allow users to remotely monitor their homes, keeping tabs on pets, kids and valuables.

Matt Rogers, Nest’s founder and head of engineering, said in a statement that Dropcam and Nest will eventually expand their product offering to “help shape the future of the conscious home.”

“Our companies actually have a lot in common,” Rogers said. Dropcam’s “team has managed to create products that change how people interact with their homes,” he added.

While some privacy-minded users may be reluctant to put a camera system indirectly owned by Google in their homes, Dropcam will fall under Nest’s business model and privacy policy, Rogers said, meaning user data won’t be shared with Google. Current Dropcam customers will continue to use their regular accounts, he added.

The $555-million deal was signed Friday but has yet to close, re/code reported.

 

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