Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

Jewelry Shopping

My cousin who I hardly see maybe about once a year wants jewelery from me for her sixteenth birthday. We've got a quirky little relationship. Unlike my sister, who I've been at war with since she was born, the dynamic with my younger cousin is more affable. We get on. I'd never get my sister jewelry – far too weird. But somehow for a cousin like her, it feels both big brotherly and friendly.

So I'm working through mental pictures to try and remember what kind of jewelry she wears, as I figure there could be some sort of theme, color, and material concurrent to her tastes. Or are they just random? Would anything do? Buying jewelry I am discovering taking takes reasonable time and mental effort, not to mention empathy (or is it sympathy?) And some other types of emotional engagement that I do not know the words for.

Ok, so a diamond ring might be a bit too much, but then again I do not want to just get some plain accessories. A bracelet perhaps? A sparkly bracelet? I'm trying to think how many different types of jewelry there actually are out there. I guess it's limited by the imagination. There's so many innovations in design and beauty wear it's hard to keep track unless you read the fashion supplements in Sunday newspapers.

Though even fashion is hardly a guide. I guess looking at what jewelry to buy online may help. Some of the jewelry shopping web sites are overwhelming with regard to the range of jewelry to buy on the Internet.

It's hard to tell what's retro and what's just new anyway. What's in one week can be out the next and then the week after it's back in again but on a white gold chain or something.

I try a new tack on choosing what jewelry to buy online for my cousin. I guess she'd be happy whatever I bought as she's the type who appreciates the 'thought that counts.' But she'll probably also want something nice; some kind of awkward politeness is not the response that would encourage me to buy jewelry online for friends or family again.

What's her favorite color? I'm not sure if she has a favorite color – at least one that does not change week to week. Maybe a multi-colored necklace? Then again, I quite fancy that she'd love a brooch. Brooches look great. I think. Yes she'd quite like a brooch.

It's so easy to look at brooches online, or bracelets, necklaces, rings. Prices, sizes and types all in convenient little lists that you can scroll through. Given that in jewelry shop most of the stuff is sealed behind reinforced security glass it is not much different to looking at jewelry on a web page.

I see a nice looking brooch online. Studded with green and blue gems. It's not too loud but looks both quirky and timeless, in a modest kind of way. It's subtle. Not quite like my cousin but they do say opposites attract.

Whip Yourself into Shape with Boxing Fitness

Everyone seems to be concerned with their health these days. And with good reason, since the advent of processed foods and the degree of pollution in our cities, people's health can really be in danger. To help combat these problems, health improvement facilities like gyms and spas have popped up on every street. But since traditional exercises are not really enjoyable many people prefer activities that allow them to have fun while keeping fit.

Hiking, ballroom dancing, rock climbing, and cycling are just a few examples of recreational activities that can also be enjoyable. Sports, weight training, and martial arts have also become popular ways of trimming down. One type of martial art type of exercise program which you might want to try is boxing fitness.

You might think of boxing as a violent sport. Professional boxing as seen in television is a dangerous sport reserved for athletes who train extensively to get in shape for their bouts. But unknown to most it can also be a satisfying and effective form of workout.

Boxing fitness involves hours of diligent training, cardio workout out and can even teach you additional self-defense. Boxing fitness improves your flexibility, agility, stamina and coordination. You do not need to have to go as far as fighting in the ring but a little sparring mixed in your routine can make for a fantastic workout.

Besides being a lot of fun boxing fitness also improves your self-defense skills. One look at professional boxers shows you that training allows you to withstand punishment and give back as much as well. Today's world can be quite dangerous and learning a practical martial art like boxing can really be useful. While you might not turn into the next Mike Tyson you can be good enough to keep your self safe on the street.

If you want to try it you can try local gyms to see if they have a boxing fitness program. If none are available you can hop online and do a search for "boxing fitness" to find a program and gym that are convenient for you. Put on those boxing gloves now and punch your way into an exciting way to be healthy.

Fashion Jewelry Facts and Care Tips

Why we love fashion jewelry?

Fashion jewelry, also referred to as costume jewelry, is a fun and inexpensive way to express your individual style. Its low cost composition means that it is easy to get your moneys worth of use out of it and allows for a much greater variety of bolder, attention grabbing styles and colors that can be mixed and matched according to your mood or wardrobe.

Caring for your fashion jewelry

Although fashion jewelry doesn’t require much of an investment, it is still important to get the most bang for your buck by taking proper care of your costume jewelry by following a few simple steps:

- NEVER allow fashion jewelry to come in contact with oils, soaps, perfumes, or any harsh chemicals which can fade or even ruin the item.

- ALWAYS remove jewelry before sports, swimming, exercising, washing hands, showering, cleaning, doing laundry, or applying lotions or creams.

- NEVER store jewelry wet. Always dry with a soft cloth before storing.

- When cleaning, be gentle! Use a soft toothbrush and jewelry cleaner that specifically states that it is safe for costume jewelry. Make sure it does not contain acid, alcohol, or ammonia. Only use jewelry cleaner as directed. DO NOT over scrub.

- Store jewelry in a plastic ziploc bag or soft jewelry pouch away from other objects and jewelry items to avoid scratching.

- Store jewelry in a clean, dry, cool, not cold place away from heat and dust.

- Use a jewelry cloth for buffing.

- Regularly check for loose stones.

Fashion jewelry typically consists of three elements:

1. A base alloy such as brass, nickel, aluminum, tin or a combination of metals that has been altered to resemble more precious metals such as silver, gold, or platinum. This is achieved by a variety of methods including:

· tone: Have you ever heard of fashion jewelry that is referred to as silver or gold tone? This means just what the name implies. Tone refers to the color of the metal only. Gold and silver tone jewelry are silver and gold in color but contain no actual gold or silver.

· electroplating: This is probably the most common method. In this process an electric current is used to deposit a thin layer, as little as 2 micro inches (a micro inch is one millionth of an inch) onto the base alloy metal which is immersed in a salt bath solution of the precious metal that will be used to plate the object.

· layering: This method also utilizes the process of electroplating. However, the plated object is immersed for a longer period of time allowing for a much thicker layer of precious metal to be deposited. Layered gold or silver consists of approximately 20-50 micro inches of gold or silver. Although it doesn’t sound like much. This thicker layer results in a much more durable, longer lasting jewelry piece.

· overlay: This method utilizes heat rather than electricity to combine the base metal with the precious metal to form a new alloy. This creates a permanent bond between the metals which creates jewelry that can be as durable and long lasting as the real thing with proper care. Gold overlay jewelry is also sometimes referred to as gold filled. It is generally safer for sensitive skin than costume jewelry made by other methods.

· Technibond: This is considered to be one of the most desirable methods of gold plating because it uses a full 40 micro inches of 14kt gold over .925 sterling silver rather than a typical base alloy. It is the best of both worlds.

· vermeil: This is the top of the line in gold plating. This method uses as much as 100 micro inches of gold over .925 sterling silver and as you can expect is also a bit pricier. It may be worth it for someone looking for something closer to the real thing without paying the exorbitant price for solid gold.

2. Man made stones such as cubic zirconia, crystals, rhinestone, glass, or epoxy are the second component of most fashion jewelry The most popular of which is cubic zirconia because of its physical characteristics. It is used to create simulated versions of precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Its sparkly appeal and inexpensive price tag allow for much larger, more glitzy fashion pieces that instantly attract attention. Colored glass can also be used to simulate precious stones and faux pearls. Rhinestone and crystal jewelry is also popular because of its glitzy appeal and color choices. Epoxy and acrylic are plastics that is often used to make inexpensive bead jewelry.

Although typical fashion jewelry consists of man made stones sometimes natural crystals and semiprecious stones such as pearls, topaz, black opal, amethyst, or peridot is used to provide a more fine jewelry appeal.

3. Fashion jewelry may also consist of unusual materials such as wood, stone, and shell which can be either natural or colored.