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First up is Logitech’s Ultimate Ears portable Bluetooth speakers. If you are used to the kind of sound that comes out of a $129 Jambox, prepare to be blown away by sound that doesn’t seem like it could come from such a small, beautiful object. The $99 Logitech UE Mini Boombox upgrades everything I didn’t like about the previous version (Review). The top buttons are now hardware instead of capacitive, it charges via the more common Micro-USB instead of Mini, and the rubberized outer material doesn’t get scuffs and stays in one place—even when the base gets hot. And boy does it. This is loud enough to use while in the kitchen, office or even on the beach and lasts over 5 hours on a charge.

If you want to piss off the neighbors, Logitech has you covered as well with the re-designed (not Mini but also not big) UE Boombox. This one is a big step up from Logitech’s previous offering with a total update of the design. The new Blue+Aluminum design with a handle is excellent for taking outdoors and to parties. Big Volume buttons on the one side let you crank this thing as loud as its namesake from the 80s.

Mini BoomBox is available from Logitech or Amazon in a variety of colors for $99, while the full sized BoomBox is $249 at Amazon …and Logitech.

USB Batteries:

If you want more power (but not quite as huge as the HyperJuice battery we loved), Richard Solo sent us a great 11,000mAh Mobile Power Case that includes room for an iPad, an iPhone, and another USB device (camera, iPod, or another phone?). They are all charged with convenient smart-wrapped power cables. If I had one complaint, it is with the slow rate the battery was charged via USB. On the plus side, you can just plug it into your Mac.

Richard Solo offers 9to5mac readers a coupon code that is good for 30 percent off the Mobile Power Case, but it will not work on any other product. This is a limited time offer for the holiday season and brings the MPC to less than $70! The coupon code is 9to5.

Mini iPad Cases:

There are tons of iPad mini cases out there but these two come from vendors who had units available “early on” ;). Devicewear teased their iPad mini case back in July, months before Apple even announced the product and they sent us one when it was released. Result? Fantastic case that feels every bit as professional as it looks. It comes in a variety of colors (we liked the black) and is currently retailing for $27.

We also got the Gumdrop Drop series iPad mini case the day before the Mini was announced. What’s even more impressive is that when the iPad mini was finally announced and shipped, it fit perfectly. This is the type of case that you put over the Mini, give to your kid, and then challenge them to destroy it. My kids have dropped it in the bathtub (but Gumdrop makes no waterproof claims), drooled on it, dropped it out of the car, and they have stepped on it on multiple occasions. No issues. It comes in multiple colors for $50 to $60.

Zagg’s $129 ProPLUS iPad keyboard did something we didn’t think was possible: It replaced the Logitech ultrathin keyboard that we loved. What was the clincher? The ProPlus has seven different colors of backlit keys that are fantastic for typing in the dark, for instance, in an airplane on a red-eye. Also, while Logitech has a bunch of function keys, Zagg breaks these out over an additional row for easy access. The battery is charged by micro-USB, but it lasts weeks even with the backlighting, and the Bluetooth connectivity is very reliable.

Just like other Zagg keyboards, this one is also strong and the aluminum compliments the iPad and turns it into a Mini-MacBook Pro-looking device. Unlike Logitech’s offering, it doesn’t snap/wrap around the iPad like a Smart Cover, but it stays affixed pretty well with magnets. $129 with backlighting, or $99 without.

The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Small Adventure Kit is great, if not terribly quick at charging iOS devices. The idea is simple: you can keep a portable battery pack charged using the sun that in-turn charges your iOS devices when you need them. In practice, it takes awhile for the sun to charge the battery pack. In the New York City fall, I wasn’t able to charge it completely in a day but boy does it come in handy in a pinch. Our house was knocked out during Sandy for two weeks and this thing kept my iPhone charged. When not being used for hurricane relief, it sits in a sunny window and keeps a set of 4 AA batteries charged that in-turn add a convenient USB plug to an area of the house that doesn’t have an outlet. I suppose you could take this camping too…and it probably does wonders in third-world countries where access to power isn’t so great.

GoalZero’s Solar Charging kit: $120.

Remember, now is your last chance to get free shipping on products from Amazon and Best Buy for shipping before Christmas.



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Gift Guide: Smart Health/Fitness Devices For Beginners And Fanatics

Gifting smart health/fitness devices can be really thoughtful and helpful but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out which one to pick. Below we’ve got a roundup of great options for everyone from those just getting started to super fit family or friends.

The first three smart health/fitness devices I wanted to highlight below range from a few smart scale options, blood pressure monitor, to a pocket-sized metabolic analyzer – all of which work with iPhone and Apple Health.

If you’re considering gifting a wearable, we’ll finish up by covering some tips to help you decide whether a smartwatch or more basic and affordable fitness band is a better fit (as well as how something like Apple Watch compares with Garmin/Suunto and even Google’s Wear OS).

Best smart health/fitness devices 2023 gift guide Withings Smart Scales

I’ve been using a Withings Smart Scale for going on seven years and it’s been really reliable and useful. The reason I recommend going for Withings over other options is it’s a company with a solid track record, a good iOS app with Apple Health integration, and durable/good looking build quality. Withings currently has three models for pretty much any budget and need.

Withings Body Smart Scale

For those just getting started on a health and fitness journey, the Body Withings Smart Scale is a great choice. It offers weight and BMI, automatic syncing with the iOS app, and automatically recognizes up to 8 users. It usually goes for around $60.

Body+ Smart Scale

If the person you’re looking to buy for is further along in their fitness journey or would enjoy more data, the Withings Body+ Smart Scale adds body composition measurements. That includes fat, muscle, and bone mass, as well as water percentage. Body+ goes for around $99.

Body Cardio

If you want to go for the top of the line option, the Withings Body Cardio offers all of the features of Body+ like full body composition and adds in heart rate monitoring. It usually sells for around $150.

You can check out the full Withings Smart Scale lineup here.

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor

I have an old version of Withings Blood Pressure Monitor that still works great and the current model is even more impressive. You’re getting a wireless experience, rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 6 months, it’s FDA cleared as medically accurate and you can easily send results to your doctor.

Since it works with the Withings Health Mate app like the smart scale above, you get Apple Health integration and can see all your other data in one place.

The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor retails for $99.

Lumen metabolic analyzer

This will be a neat option for someone in your life that already has most of the smart health/fitness devices on the market. While those really into fitness may be the most likely to appreciate a metabolic analyzer, Lumen is a really useful tool that anyone can use to achieve goals like losing weight, building muscle, or maintaining weight.

I did a full review of Lumen earlier this year and think it’s a really innovative device that offers super actionable data. What you’re getting is a pocket-sized metabolic analyzer that can tell you if you’re burning fat or carbs based on your breath. From there, the Lumen app gives meal planning/macro recommendations to meet your specific weight loss or fitness goals.

Another big aspect of Lumen is measuring and building metabolic flexibility. And research shows there are a wide variety of health benefits beyond just changing your body composition. They include better sleep, stronger immune system, more consistent blood sugar levels, improved workout performance, and more.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who enjoys the quantified self, this is a killer gift.

Lumen is normally priced at $349 but is going for $279 during the holidays.

Smartwatch comparison overview Apple Watch, Wear OS, Garmin, fitness bands compared

If you’re thinking of picking up a smartwatch or fitness band for someone for the holidays, there are lots of choices, so here are some TL;DR tips to narrow down what to look at for each type:

Lots of functionality (e.g. Messages, Maps, email, fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, ECG, much much more

Completely integrated with iPhone

Single-day battery life (rated for 18 hours can be more or less depending on use)

Many finishes to choose from especially when considering Apple Watch bands/straps

Solid for general some specific fitness tracking, not as ideal for marathons, ultra runners, and other multi-day fitness events

Price: Usually $199 and up

Be sure to check out my colleague Chance’s comparison here for more on the differences between Apple Watch models:

Garmin and Suunto: Dedicated GPS, long battery life, more

If you’re looking for a gift for an endurance athlete or someone who values dedicated GPS, a Suunto or Garmin smartwatch may be the best fit.

Usually, full smartwatches from these companies include battery life of 7 days or more

Dedicated GPS for tracking workouts, bikes, runs, etc. without cellular data or an iPhone in your pocket

Ideal for marathons, ultra runners, triathletes, and other endurance athletes

Durable build quality

Keep in mind these often are running on Google’s Wear OS

If the person you’re gifting is an Android user, it will probably be best to go for Wear OS (or a band-style fitness tracker).

Very wide selection of styles

Made to work with Android smartphones

Wide range of price points

Check out our sister site 9to5Google’s round ups of best Wear OS smartwatches:

These are a good option if you’re looking for something more affordable and basic in overall functionality.

Slim profile

Usually include step and activity tracking, some include sleep tracking

Overall less functionally than Apple Watch or other smartwatches

Often Long 7 days+ battery life

Most are $100 or less

Smart health/fitness devices wrap-up

Hopefully, you’ve now got some great ideas on what you’d like to gift the person (or people) who could use a smart health/fitness device.

If you’re interested in diving more into Apple Watch and health/fitness, be sure to check out 9to5Mac’s Watch Time podcast.

More 9to5Mac 2023 Holiday Gift Guides

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How Apple Saved Taiwan And Turns On Tomorrow’S People

Nokia’s move to slam a lawsuit down against the Apple juggernaut’s profit phone hasn’t dented iPhone enthusiasm one little bit.

The device is impacting everywhere right now, with Apple’s iPhone component partners in particularly jubilant mood as millions of the devices shift every 13 weeks.

Don’t believe us? Just take a look at a gaggle of small Taiwanese firms – Yageo, Cyntec, Polytronics Technology, Mag.Layers Scientific-Technics, Thinking Electronic and TXC – all of whom faced steep revenue decline in the current quarter in the generally depressed tech market.

As we know, Apple isn’t part of the “generally depressed tech market”, which is why those small firms are breathing a little easier following this week’s Apple results call, as they now know they’re going to see, “narrower revenue declines or flat revenues in the fourth quarter of 2009 thanks to the popularity of Apple’s iPhone”.

DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole thinks the worldwide mobile and portable games market will reach $11.7 billion by 2014, which includes the PSP and DS, with Apple’s devices pushing 24 percent of software sales. He does expect Nintendo and Sony to lead the pack, but what’s not to love about Apple’s elegant and simple direct route to consumers through the App Store.

Happy consumers equate to happy developers (particularly since they can now get creative with in-app purchasing), happy carriers (just swoon at AT&T’s recent turn-on of 3.2 million iPhones in the US in its last quarter) and happy hardware and component manufacturers.

All this success is creating its own brand awareness mindwave, with a generation of US computer users now seeing Apple as the company which offers the solutions they can most relate to.

Think about what came out of this week’s Web 2.0 Summit, where Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy sat down with five US teens to find out what tomorrow’s people think about all this pervasive internet-connected social network-driven apps and taps milawakey…the upshot, of course, is “Teens love Facebook and Apple…and are confused by Twitter.”

“The kids also had good things to say about Apple. One said Apple had “won” with it’s “I’m a Mac vs. I’m a PC” television commercials, while another declared, “Windows would be a good prison guard, because it always locks up.””

Interestingly, the teens remarked that “all the hot girls use Hotmail”, and none of them owned an iPhone, which just goes to reinforce the notion that despite our excitement at the hottest and newest technologies, most human beings take time getting down to drink at the new tech pond.

So, where’s all this going? Quite plainly put – while Apple’s competitors seem engaged in an endless race just to catch up on where the company was yesterday, Apple is already in poll position to take on another apparition once today’s teens turn twenty and begin to invest in the gadgets they love once they start to pull in some of their own money.

And Microsoft? Microsoft, for all its anti-Apple-seeming ad campaign, is really engaged on a mission to convince Windows XP users (who let’s face it are customarily an older bunch of consumers than tomorrow’s people) that Win 7 (which has a few set-up problems in MediaCentre, we’re hearing) is as cutting-edge and cool as the Mac Redmond really really wants its existing veteran customers to avoid defection too.

No sense underestimating Ballmer’s boys and girls, however, they have succeeded in breaking some sales records with their new OS – but while Apple’s partners are currently seeing success, Microsoft’s wide collective PC industry continues to attempt to manage its way through a shrinking market, praying the software firm will make it rain with it’s all-new OS release.

Apple’s betting that rain falls over to the California coastline too, and so are those small and large component manufacturers way over there in China and Taiwan…

Hope you enjoyed this spattering of news, fact, and opinionated speculation.

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Complete Guide On Tensorflow Federated

Introduction to TensorFlow Federated

Hadoop, Data Science, Statistics & others

This article will try to understand tensorflow federated, how we can use it, its Model, characteristics, computation API, and finally conclude our view.

What is TensorFlow federated?

The framework helps you perform machine learning on completely decentralized data. We train the models that are shared globally and include the clients participating in placing their data for training locally. One of the examples which will be helpful to understand where we make the use of tensorflow federation is for the training of keyboard prediction model on mobile phones and making sure at the same time that the sensitive and secured data is not being uploaded on the data server.

The developers can use and include Federated learning algorithms in their data and models. At the same time, the novel algorithms are available and open for any experimentation for the developers. Therefore, the people performing the research on this can find ample examples and the point where they can start for various experiment topics. Federated analytics is the computation that is non-learning based and can be implemented using the interface of tensorflow federated.

How and where to use TensorFlow federated?

We can make the use of federated learning in various ways that include –

By using FC API, design and create new federated learning algorithms.

Assisting the development and optimization of computation structures that are generated.

Apply the APIs of the federated learning to the models of TensorFlow that exist currently.

Integrate the Tensorflow Federated framework with other environments of development.

You can make use of it by following the below steps –

Installation of TFF –

This can be done by opening the terminal or command prompt and typing in the following command for execution –

pip install tensorflow-federated –upgrade

Create a notebook and import the package and other dependencies.

Prepare the dataset for simulation.

The data should be of NIST or MNIST format and is by default provided when you go for creating a leaf project.

Make the use of federated data to train the Model.

After that, you can train the Model and make it aware of various functionalities that it should perform and be aware as you do with any of the TensorFlow models.

Print the summarized information about the implementation of tensorflow federated.

Finally, you can print out the machine learning tensorflow federated model results.

TensorFlow federated Model

The two models used in TensorFlow federated FL API are tff.learning.Model and create_keras_model().

TensorFlow federated characteristics

The main characteristics are listed below –

Effort saving – Whenever any developer approaches to create a learning system of federated, the pain points where the developers mostly face the problem are targeted here, and the platform of tensorflow federated is designed keeping the mitigations of those points in mind for the convenience of developers. The challenges faced by most of the developers include local and global communication perspectives, logic interleaving of various types, and execution and construction order tension.

Architecture agnostic – It can compile the whole code and provide the representation of the same in an abstract way, which facilitates the developer to deploy its Model acrModel diverse environment.

Availability of many extensions – Quantization, compression, and differential privacy are some of the extensions available in Tensorflow Federated.

TensorFlow federated Computation API

There are two types of computation APIs, which are described below –

Federated Core API, also known as FC –

The low-level interface used at the system’s core part is included in this API. Federated algorithms can be concisely expressed along with the combination of TensorFlow using this API. It also consists of a functional programming environment that is typed strongly and includes the distributed operators for communication. This API layer is the base over which we have created the building of federated learning.

Federated Learning API, referred to as FL –

The developers can include the evaluation and federated training models to the existing models of TensorFlow by using the high-level interfaces provided in this federated learning API layer.

Conclusion Recommended Articles

This is a guide to TensorFlow Federated. Here we discuss the Introduction, How and where to use TensorFlow federated, and Examples with code implementation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Fix: Steam Gift Card Not Working

Steam gift cards are one of the most in-demand gift cards to purchase games and other in-game items. But what if your Steam gift card is not working?

Many factors are responsible when a Steam gift card does not work. Let us now see what to do if the Steam gift cards are not working.

You get a digital card when the receiver approves the gift. The digital Steam wallet of the recipient will be credited with the equivalent amount value written on the Steam card. After this, they can buy games, in-game items, etc using the credited amount on the Steam Wallet.

Now let us see what to do when your Steam Gift Card is not working.

Check the steps described below and follow the instructions given when the Steam gift card not working.

Also check: How To Refund DLC On Steam?

When your Steam code is not working, wait for some time before moving on to other solutions.

Though Steam updates the account balance immediately after you redeem a code, it may take some time to show up.

So, log out of your steam account and then log in back and check. If you encounter the same issue after an hour, then try to redeem the Steam code again. If this step does not work, then go to the next solution.

Steam wallet code won’t redeem if it is incorrect. So, check the validity of your Steam code. It is recommended to double-check the characters. Sometimes the letters get replaced with identical numbers and vice-versa which creates problems.

Here is a list of probable pairings that you should check:

Alphabet O for number 0

Alphabet G for number 6

Alphabet B for number 8

Alphabet I & L for number 1

Alphabet S for number 5

So, make sure that you maintain accuracy while using a Steam gift card code. It is better to copy and paste the code instead of typing it.

Steam gift cards won’t work if the currency is invalid for that particular region.

So, make sure that you have got the key for the proper region. You may receive an error message saying that the gift card cannot be redeemed to your account as the currency code is different than your region.

Check the region tag from the title of the product. It will disclose for which region it is meant. You are not allowed to activate it elsewhere.

It is also very important to check that you are redeeming your Steam gift card for a proper product.

Like the retail copies of games like Sims 4, will get activated to Origin and not to Steam. So, make sure that you use your Steam gift card for what it is meant for.

For example, if you have an iTunes gift card, you can only redeem them in the iTunes Store only and so on.

If nothing helps and the Steam code is not working, then contact the Steam Customer care unit. Make sure to send the image of the error and mention the details. Wait till the customer support unit reverts you and solves the problem.

Now here I am mentioning the process to redeem a Steam gift card properly. Check the following steps:

Follow the on-screen prompts properly to finish the process.

This will redeem your Steam wallet code successfully. Enjoy your favorite games now!

So that is what to do when the Steam gift card is not working.

Return The First And Last Values In A Range

I’ve been asked many times how to find either the cell reference of the first or last value in a range, or even return the values from those cells, and there are many ways to do it.

As usual I’m going to share the methods I think are the best.

Note: The difference between returning the value or cell reference is subtle yet significant. You’ll see later.

Here’s our range. You can see that column C contains numbers and column D contains both numbers and text, and both columns contain blanks.

Find the First Value in a Range

Like I said, I’ve seen many ways to find the first value in a range but one formula stands out from the rest for its simplicity.

Drum roll…..

Entered with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER as it’s an array formula.

Why it’s so special:

The INDEX function returns a reference to a cell and when used on its own, like the above example, it returns the value in that cell.

This formula works with text or numbers.

How it Works

If you’re new to the INDEX & MATCH dynamic duo take a few moments to read this tutorial first. These are two ‘must know’ power functions.

The MATCH function is the star in this formula:

If we look at how the MATCH function evaluates it looks like this:

Step 1: Evaluate the logical test and return an array of TRUE and FALSE values:








Step 2: Return the position number of the first ‘TRUE’ result in the array:


That is the first TRUE is the 3rd item in the array returned by the logical test.

If we give this result to the INDEX formula we get:




Which evaluates to cell C4 and coincidently the value in C4 is 3.

That is cell C4 is the 3rd cell in the range C2:C13 and it contains the number 3.

That’s it! Done.

Find the Last Value in a Range

Unfortunately finding the last value in a range isn’t quite as straight forward as finding the first, but it’s not too tricky.

Again entered with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER as it’s an array formula.

Let’s zoom in on the MAX(IF part of the formula:

In English:

Test the cells in the range C2:C13 for blanks, if they’re not blank i.e. TRUE then return the corresponding number from the array of values returned by the ROW function, now just tell me the MAX value.

It evaluates like so:

Step 1 – evaluate the logical test:






Step 2 – evaluate the ROW function:






Step 3 – complete the IF formula by replacing the TRUE’s with the corresponding numbers returned by the ROW function:














Step 4 – find the MAX of the values:


Now we can give that 10 to INDEX and we get this:




=C11, and the value in C11 is 4.

This formula works for both text and numbers.

Find the Last Number in a Range

If your range contains only numbers, you can use this formula to find the last cell containing a number in the range:


Note: for a change this isn’t an array formula.

The trick with this formula is the 1E+100.

1E+100 is just a really big number. You can use any number here as long as it is bigger than any number in your range.

Side note: You might have seen 9.99999999999999E+307 used in formulas before and that’s because it’s the biggest number you can enter into Excel.

The problem with 9.999 blah, blah, blah is that I find it really hard to remember how many 9’s to enter. Whilst 1E+100 is not the biggest number, it is still big enough to work in most scenarios and comes with the bonus that it’s a whole load easier to remember.

Ok, sorry I digress… when you ask MATCH  to find a number that is bigger than any of the numbers in your range it will return the position of the last value in the range when you use 1 (for less than) as the ‘match_type’ argument.

Remember the syntax for MATCH is








Lookup the biggest number you can imagine, in the range C2:C13, if you can’t find it then return the position of the last number you find.

Remember this formula only works with numbers, not text.

Using INDEX to Return a Reference

“The difference between returning the value from a cell or a reference to a cell is subtle yet significant”

Well, since we know that the INDEX function returns a reference to a cell we can use the above formulas to return a range that starts with the first occupied cell and ends with the last.

To do this we simply join the two formulas together with a colon, which is the range operator:

Remember the first INDEX formula returns a reference of C4 and the second returns C11 so the above formula returns the following range:




What’s the point when you could just enter C4:C11? Well, because using INDEX gives us a dynamic range that will grow or shrink with your data.

Don’t forget if your range contains text you need to use the MAX(IF version:

In most cases you’ll need to enter a formula containing either of the above dynamic ranges using CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER, or you can set it up as a dynamic named range for use in your formulas.

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