Huawei’s got another low-end smartwatch in the works

Huawei hasn’t even launched its first Android smartwatch yet and it’s already talking-up the following entry into the wearables business. As Engadget Chinese reports, the company revealed that it’s working on the Band Zero, a watch-style device for cheapie sub-brand Honor. We’ve only got rendered images to go on, but it’s believed that the device will tell the time, offer fitness tracking and some basic smartphone notifications. In addition, Leiphone is reporting that the hardware will have a battery life for four days and be both dust and water resistant to IP68 standards. That’s all that there is to say right now, but perhaps it might be wise if Huawei concentrated on getting its products out of the door instead of teasing us with what’s coming up in the future.

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Taylor: All-or-nothing free-agency period for Mark Cuban, Mavericks

  • Let’s remove any and all ambiguity as it pertains to the Dallas Mavericks and free agency, which now is open.

    This is an all-or-nothing free-agency period for the Mavs.


    The Mavs either persuade DeAndre Jordan or LaMarcus Aldridge — both ridiculous to even dream about — to join the team this season, or we all need to accept that the end is upon us.

    Understand, the Mavs have had a glorious run over the past 15 years, especially considering they were the NBA’s worst franchise in the early 1990s.

    The Mavs have been among the league’s model franchises since Mark Cuban bought the team in 2000. They’ve had nine 50-win seasons, three 60-win seasons and an NBA championship in 2011.

    Dirk Nowitzki has provided too many fantastic moments to list and will end his career as one of the all-time greats.

    Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has milked every ounce of potential out of this team each season.

    Cuban has spent money.

    And overall, the Mavs have made considerably more good decisions than bad decisions.

    That said, they’ve never recovered from Cuban outsmarting himself in his quest to position the Mavs to add a key free agent and blowing up the championship team in the process.

    It’s really the only promise he hasn’t kept.

    Oh he has tried, but Cuban hasn’t delivered the big prize.

    During the past few years, the Mavs have whiffed on Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony.

    They’ve had good chances to get some of those players and virtually no chance to acquire others. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is they haven’t added the “big fish” Cuban figured they would eventually land when he dismantled the title team.

    Well, this is probably his last chance to get the elite player the Mavs need to help Dirk finish his career on a championship contender instead of a fringe playoff team.

    Aldridge is the long shot. No one really expects the hometown kid from Seagoville High School to sign with the Mavs, because he has a litany of teams vying for his services and most of them have better supporting casts than Dallas’.

    The Portland Trail Blazers are a fine, young squad, so it’s hard to see him leaving them for a team that isn’t as good.

    And he would have more help in Portland with Damian Lillard than he would in Dallas with an aging Dirk, who also would have to come off the bench if Aldridge signed.

    Aldridge is set to meet with the Mavs on Wednesday, according to sources.

    The Mavs seem to have a much better shot at signing Jordan, who is good friends with Chandler Parsons and yearns to be more than the third option on the Los Angeles Clippers, behind Paul and Blake Griffin.

    League sources said the Mavs met with Jordan and Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews in Los Angeles as free agency opened at midnight ET on Wednesday.

    The Mavs will always be a solid offensive team under Carlisle, but Jordan would give them a legitimate rim-protector and rebounder. He would give them the kind of nastiness they’ve often lacked, as well as an infusion of youth.

    He doesn’t make them a championship team, but he makes them a solid playoff team.

    Frankly, the surprise over the years is how Cuban has been unable to persuade big-time free agents to join the Mavs. Don’t forget, that was supposed to be one of his strengths.

    He was an excitable dude, a player’s owner who could and would connect with his team. He had PlayStations installed in every player’s locker along with other amenities that were supposed to give the Mavs an edge in recruiting.

    There is no state income tax in Texas, and the cost of living in Dallas-Fort Worth is great compared to most of the country’s other big cities. Either coast is just three hours away, the weather is usually terrific, and there are plenty of wonderful golf courses.

    Still, none of that has translated into the Mavs’ getting the best free agents to sign on the dotted line.

    Cuban has one more opportunity to get it done. Or we’ll bid adieu to a wonderful era of basketball.

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    Apple’s GarageBand uses trackpad pressure to control your tunes

    GarageBand on a MacBook Pro

    Apple’s Force Touch trackpads haven’t done a whole lot in official apps besides fast scrolling and shortcuts, but they’ll do considerably more if you grab the latest version of GarageBand. As of the 10.1 update, you can use the pressure-sensitive pad on newer MacBooks and MacBook Pros to vary the strength of certain tools — if you want to subtly finesse a track using only your finger, you can. This is also a big upgrade if you’re an aspiring DJ, since there’s both a virtual morph pad as well as gobs of new dance- and hip-hop-friendly audio kits. You can check out all of GarageBand’s new tricks for free if you already have GarageBand (not hard if you bought a relatively modern Mac), and it’ll cost $5 if you’re completely new.

    a href=””


    OS X Yosemite


    Apple OS X Yosemite thumbnail image

    Apple OS X Yosemite

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        What happened to the menu bars?

        What happened to the menu bars?

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        Are you running the OSX Yosemite Public Beta? Share your thoughts!

        Are you running the OSX Yosemite Public Beta? Share your thoughts!

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        Best desktop chat client for OSX?

        Best desktop chat client for OSX?

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      Looking at how Aldridge fits with his potential new teams

      Free agent LaMarcus Aldridge is scheduled to meet with seven teams as he considers where he will sign, and reports are he is likely to leave the Portland Trail Blazers.

      Here’s a statistical look at how Aldridge fits with each of the seven teams, presented in the order he is meeting with them:

      Los Angeles Lakers

      Aldridge is a devastating force on the offensive block, ranking second in the NBA last season in points per game on post-ups.

      He would give the Lakers a sorely needed post scorer; they ranked 12th in post-up scoring last season. Aldridge alone nearly averaged as many post-up points per game (8.4) as the entire Lakers team (8.7).

      The Lakers’ numbers likely would have been higher had they had the services of Julius Randle, the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA draft, who broke a leg in the season opener.

      Should Aldridge sign with the Lakers, he arguably would be the best big man Kobe Bryant has played with since an in-his-prime Pau Gasol.

      Last season, Aldridge was the same age as Gasol was in the 2009-10 season, when the Lakers last won the NBA title. Their player efficiency ratings from those seasons were nearly identical.

      Although Aldridge posted gaudier scoring numbers, he did it while shouldering a heavier burden as evidenced by a usage percentage nearly nine points higher than Gasol’s. Aldridge averaged more points per play in both post-up and pick-and pop situations last season than Gasol did in 2009-10.

      Houston Rockets

      Aldridge is not only a monster on the block, but he’s also the NBA’s most dangerous midrange player and one of the best pick-and-pop big men in the NBA.

      He’s one of three players – DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin are the other two – in the top 10 in points per game on post-up plays and pick-and-pops a season ago.

      The Rockets had essentially zero pick-and-pop presence last season, averaging less than one attempt per game. Twenty-eight of the other 29 NBA teams had at least twice as many pick-and-pop attempts in 2014-15. Aldridge would provide James Harden a different type of pick-and-roll partner than the rim-crashing Dwight Howard.

      Thanks in part to an analytics-informed front office, Houston has essentially shunned midrange shots. The Rockets averaged fewer than nine midrange shots and scored fewer than six points on midrange shots, both last in the NBA by a considerable amount.

      Over the past 20 years, two teams have averaged fewer than 10 midrange shots per game. Those teams? The 2013-14 Rockets and 2014-15 Rockets.

      Signing Aldridge would be a shift in philosophy. He has led the NBA in points on midrange shots each of the past three seasons and has outscored the next-closest player, Dirk Nowitzki, by 360 points over that span.

      San Antonio Spurs

      Aldridge is the only player in the NBA who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last two seasons. Aldridge would be the best big man Tim Duncan has played with since David Robinson, who was the last teammate of Duncan’s to average 20 points and 10 rebounds, doing so in Duncan’s rookie season in 1997-98.

      Although Duncan was an All-NBA selection at the age of 38 — something only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has achieved — Duncan can’t do it every night. On the second night of back-to-back games last season, Duncan averaged 12.5 points and 8.1 rebounds and played just less than 27 minutes.

      Aldridge averaged 22 points and almost 10 rebounds in 35 minutes a game on no day’s rest. Signing Aldridge would allow the Spurs to rest Duncan more, keeping him fresher for a postseason run while suffering no drop-off in production.

      Phoenix Suns

      If the Suns were to sign Aldridge, he would give them a post presence they’ve lacked since Amar’e Stoudemire left for the New York Knicks.

      Phoenix ranked among the bottom 10 last season in post-up points and attempts. Aldridge wouldn’t have to play center, as the Suns have 7-foot-1 Alex Len, the fifth pick in the 2013 draft, whose block rate and defensive rebound rate jumped last season.

      For a team that’s likely to deploy two point guards at once in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, the Suns lack big men who can help in the pick-and-roll game. Phoenix ranked 26th last season in points per game by big men in the pick-and-roll. Among teams that missed the playoffs, only the Philadelphia 76ers received less production from its big men in the pick-and-roll department.

      Dallas Mavericks

      In San Antonio, Aldridge would be going to a team where, it could be argued, Kawhi Leonard has been given the reins as the franchise’s next cornerstorne.

      In Dallas, Aldridge would be that guy as Nowitzki enters his 18th season and has hinted as recently as this past spring that he would be willing to accept a sixth-man role.

      Although not the three-point shooter that Nowitzki has been throughout his career, Aldridge would step into a system that has featured a player (Nowitzki) who has made his bread and butter in that midrange, where Aldridge excels.

      Since Rick Carlisle took over as coach in 2008-09, three teams have scored more points on midrange shots than the Mavericks. Over that same span, no player has averaged more points per game on midrange shots than Nowitzki. Next on that list? Aldrige.

      With Nowitzki’s help, could Aldridge continue to add the 3-pointer to his arsenal? After taking no more than 15 3-point shots in any of the previous three seasons, Aldridge last season took 105 of them and shot 35 percent, a career high.

      As Nowitzki has climbed in age, the Mavericks have dropped in post scoring. Four seasons removed from ranking eighth in points per game on post-ups, the Mavericks ranked 22nd this past season. Adding Aldridge would certainly provide a boost on the block.

      Toronto Raptors

      The Raptors, driven by an All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan along with reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, would be an interesting fit. Lowry and DeRozan are on the books for at least another two seasons, whereas Williams is an unrestricted free agent.

      Toronto’s starting power forwards combined to average 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season, and they have struggled since Chris Bosh left for Miami in the summer of 2010. The 9.6 points per game ranked 26th in the NBA, last among all playoff teams.

      Like in Phoenix, Aldridge wouldn’t have to play center, as the Raptors have Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 draft selection in 2011. Toronto is similar to Houston in that it could use Aldridge’s help in the pick-and-pop game. Only the Rockets scored fewer points in pick-and-pop situations than the Raptors last season.

      New York Knicks

      The final team Aldridge is scheduled to meet with is the Knicks. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose listed the Knicks’ team needs as “everything.”

      An accomplished low-post scorer would be a great place to start as the Knicks averaged 33.4 points in the paint, last in the NBA and the fewest the Knicks have averaged in a season in more than a decade. New York shot 50.2 percent on shots in the paint, better than only the 76ers, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.

      The Knicks didn’t get much help on the glass from their front line, either, as their starting power forwards and centers combined for 11.3 rebounds per game, last in the NBA.

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      The ‘father of SMS,’ Matti Makkonen, dies at 63

      SMS pioneer Matti Makkonen

      It’s a sad day in the cellphone world. Matti Makkonen, widely considered the “father of SMS,” has died from illness at the age of 63. The Finnish creator pitched the concept of text messaging over cellular networks in 1984 and helped get the ball rolling on the technology in its earliest days. He was quick to downplay his involvement and saw SMS as a “joint effort” between many people (Friedham Hillebrand developed the 160-character format in 1985, for example), but much of the initial credit belongs to him.

      Suffice it to say that Makkonen’s work has spread far and wide. SMS is starting to decline as instant messaging apps take over, but it’s still ubiquitous — how many people do you know who would much rather get a text message than a phone call? Twitter’s roots are in SMS (hence that 140-character limit), and the tech is still considered vital for communication in areas where mobile internet access is too expensive, heavily censored or both. We’ll miss you, Matti.

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      Sources: Aldridge to meet Lakers, Rockets first

      Lakers think they have a good shot at landing Aldridge

      Ramona Shelburne lists the potential free agents, including LaMarcus Aldridge and Jimmy Butler, the Lakers could pursue this offseason.

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