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Project Scorpio: Microsoft’s 4K Ready XBox

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At E3 2016, Microsoft officially announced
Project Scorpio, a 4K ready upgrade to the existing Xbox One console. Project Scorpio was rumored to be much more powerful than the existing Xbox One and competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro, which is also a more powerful iteration on the PS4. Up until recently, the only real information Microsoft released was that Scorpio would be capable of native 4K gaming (versus the upscaling that PS4 Pro does) and that all Xbox One games would still work on it. In early April, Digital Foundry was given an exclusive look at Scorpio and finally released some major tech specifications and details about the new console. Many people (including Microsoft itself) have speculated that perhaps this is the end of traditional console generations. Traditionally in the console gaming world, a new console has been released every 7-8 years. For example, the original PlayStation was released in 1995, the PS2 was released in 2000, the PS3 was released in 2006, and finally the PS4 was released in 2013. However, with both Xbox One and PS4 switching to generally off the shelf PC components instead of customized chipsets, both consoles seem to be obviating the need for a complete redesign. The trend seems to be leaning towards the PC gaming model where hardware is simply upgraded to more powerful components to run newer games while still being backwards compatible with older games. The ongoing effort by Microsoft to make Xbox 360 games playable on the Xbox One and Sony’s streaming gaming service PlayStation Now show that backwards compatibility is definitely a need. Along with Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere program, Microsoft is clearly trying to use Project Scorpio to leverage the strengths of their Windows platform and the PC gaming community. Here are three things you need to know about Project Scorpio:forza

It’s Powerful

To say that Project Scorpio is the most powerful gaming console ever is an understatement. First, let’s get all of the techie stuff out of the way. According to Eurogamer (who owns Digital Foundry): The central processor (CPU) has eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz. The graphics processor (GPU) has 40 customized compute units clocked at 1172MHz - a very high clock speed for a console - and it does achieve Microsoft's stated six-teraflop performance figure. There's 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, with a memory bandwidth of 326GB/s. There's a faster 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive, and a UHD Blu-ray drive. Like Xbox One S, it has an integrated power supply, so no external power brick. In terms of input/output ports, it is identical to Xbox One S (so, no Kinect port, but HDMI in is retained). What all that techie jargon means is that Scorpio is about 31% faster than the current gen Xbox One and can most certainly play all or most games at native 4K resolution. Microsoft showed Digital Foundry a stress test on the Scorpio using the Forza Motorsport game engine. The Scorpio was able to breeze through the test. Microsoft then upped the graphics settings to the PC equivalent of “Ultra” settings and it still smashed the test with performance to spare. It even kept a steady 60 frames per second which is the holy grail of performance.

Backwards Compatible

All current and future Xbox One games will be compatible with Scorpio. The increasing library of backwards compatible Xbox 360 games will also work on Scorpio. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft is envisioning the future of Xbox One similar to PC gaming. Any modern gaming PC can play every single game that has ever come out for PC (on Windows at least). Microsoft is aiming for that level of backwards compatibility in the future. Imagine it’s the year 2030 and you really want some old school Gears of War action. Theoretically you should be able to pop in a copy of Gears of War Remastered and play it just fine. Nintendo has shown with the recently discontinued NES Classic that people love playing older games.

Is It Better Than PS4 Pro?

Yes. Yes it is. Now to be fair, the PS4 Pro is a powerful machine in its own right and many games such as Horizon Zero Dawn can take advantage of the more extra power to improve performance or graphics. However, as far as console gaming, the Scorpio is in a league of its own. While the PS4 Pro can *technically* output games at 4K, it uses upscaling techniques such as checkerboard rendering to output games to 4K. The Scorpio is capable of native 4K gaming which is much more impressive. As a point of comparison, native 4K gaming on PC requires a high end graphics card such as the NVIDIA GTX 1080. Therefore, the fact that a console is able to produce this much performance is amazing.

The Elephant In The Room

Obviously, all of that power means nothing if there aren’t any good games to play on the Scorpio. In fact, the cancellation of several Xbox One exclusive titles such as Scalebound and Fable Legends have hampered Microsoft’s ability to secure exclusive games. Meanwhile, Sony has been killing it with titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, Gravity Rush 2, Uncharted 4, and Nioh. Even with multiplatform franchises such as Call of Duty are releasing downloadable content (DLC) first on PS4. Microsoft is hoping that developers will see the performance potential of Scorpio and develop optimized games for it. Time will tell if the Xbox One will catch up to PS4 in the exclusives but the power of Scorpio combined with Microsoft’s push in the PC gaming scene may be the incentive developers are looking for. Microsoft hasn’t yet released pricing or even the actual name of Project Scorpio. That information will most likely be announced at E3 in June or perhaps an event ahead of E3.

Business

Tips On Tracking Business Miles

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Are you one of those people who scramble around for auto deductions every time tax season comes along or do you avoid auto deductions because you think they are not worth the hassle?
Believe it or not, many businesses miss significant tax deductions simply because they do not keep up with tracking business miles. The good news is that tracking business miles is not a big chore. You just need a good system in place and tracking business miles is easy. Here are some tips to consider.

Use An App

Most businessmen use a smartphone and they have apps you can download to keep track of business miles. MileIQ, TripLog and TrackMyDrive are available for iOS and Android. Every time you take a trip, the app records the miles using GPS tracking and then allows you to classify the trips as business, personal, medical and other custom categories. You can also add additional details or purpose for the trips.

Daily Log

You can also use the old paper and pencil method by using a daily log you can keep in your glove compartment. The IRS wants detailed documentation so your logs need to contain date of travel, purpose (client name, meeting with supplier, banking, meeting with accountant, etc) and starting point and destination of every trip. You can also record the actual mileage if you want by taking note of the odometer meeting from the starting point to the end point.If you are only using 1 car for business and personal use, record the odometer reading at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year so that you can compute business use percentage.

Sampling Method

This method assumes that you travel almost the same amount for business every year. It also entails the use of detailed appointment books. Under this method, you keep track of your business mileage using a sample figure for a period and then use it to extrapolate your mileage for the whole year. You must keep a record of your mileage for the first three months for example and back it up with appointment books. You don’t have to use three months. You can use 1 week, 2 months or any time duration you think that best represents your business mileage for the year.

GPS Mileage Tracker

There are tracking devices you can install in your car so that it can keep track of business and personal miles. Using a Wifi system, the GPS device records driving and then uploads it to the internet so that mileage logs are created automatically. Some of them have business buttons you can push so that trips are set automatically to business. The IRS trusts GPS mileage trackers because they are usually tamper proof and backed up so that they can protect information in the case of an audit.Keep good records to maximize tax deductions that you are entitled to with the IRS. This way, you won't pay more than you owe and won’t get slaughtered by the IRS auditor.
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Sleep Better With Tomorrow Sleep To Improve Work Performance

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Our working life consists of long office hours to various days of sleepless nights. Tomorrow Sleep is a hybrid between traditional mattresses and new modern technology to help you through those rough nights. Tomorrow products are designed to help improve your wellness by fulfilling your sleeping experience. To ensure comfort and support, Tomorrow has enabled a combination between the temperature regulating memory foam with a stabilizing coil system to enhance your night’s sleep. With the additional sleep reports, bed warmer, smart alarm, and more, this mattress company has changed the sleeping industry for the better.
During busy hours, hard workers tend to forget about their well being once their mind is set to work. That alone may be desirable to entrepreneurs since it can boost productivity, however, it can be counted as the negative opposite. Sleep deprivation undergo all of these unhealthy habits. The average amount of sleep hours an adult needs in a day is in close proximity to 8 hours a night. The cost of poor sleep is not in the increase of productivity, but in the lack of quality. A lost in sleep reduces brain function, leaving you unable to produce decent work. The effects of lack of sleep on productivity is well recorded, negatively affecting work performance - productivity and quality. Without proper sleep, you will have more issues in concentrating, learning, and communicating. This can result in slower reaction times on problem solving due to memory lapses, or more noticeably, the moody and intolerant behavior. In an interview with Bryan Murphy, Founder and President of Tomorrow Sleep, he explains how with Tomorrow Sleep, the smart mattress can properly get you the sleep you need in order to be productive the next day. tomorrow sleep

What is Tomorrow Sleep?

Tomorrow, which launched in June, is a new sleep company that combines a direct-to-consumer ethos with 100 years of American manufacturing expertise. Leveraging the knowledge and research of industry leader Serta Simmons Bedding, Tomorrow created the first truly connected sleep system with smart technology designed to help you transform your sleep and achieve your deepest, most restorative rest, offered at an incredible value that wouldn’t be possible in traditional brick and mortar stores.

What is the company passionate about?

Tomorrow was founded on the principles of a well-balanced, healthy life. We believe overall wellness requires truly restorative sleep, and having the right tools makes all the difference and that sleep is a fundamental pillar of wellness. We’re dedicated to offering our customers a better tomorrow and our mission is to provide a holistic system of products that allows people to achieve their best sleep night after night, so they can be anything they want to be in the morning.

How is Tomorrow Sleep different from other mattresses?

It really boils down to experience, control and scale.  We have over a century of experience designing and engineering sleep products. Our own manufacturing, supply and quality operations here in the US produce millions of beds per year. Having this experience, control and scale allows us to invest in cutting edge, premium materials that deliver real benefits directly to our customer at a great price. As a result, we offer a premium hybrid mattress that’s designed with temperature regulating memory foam and a gently stabilizing, wrapped coil system, available at a direct to consumer price.

What started Tomorrow Sleep?

We saw that people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of sleep as a cornerstone of wellness, however there wasn't a great solution to address that need in the direct-to-consumer space. We set out to solve two problems. First, by and large, most direct-to-consumer mattresses are made up of all foam and as such people complain that they lack support and sleep hot. Second, the bedding microclimate largely governs your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay in deep sleep. So, we set out to design a truly integrated sleep system that would help keep you comfortable, and give you the most restorative sleep possible.  We then paired that system with smart technology that allows you to learn how you sleep and help improve it.

What kind of special features are included to the products?

Tomorrow provides a totally new kind of hybrid mattress, combining premium temperature regulating memory foam with a gently stabilizing, wrapped coil system that offers the perfect balance of comfort and support. Our mattress has been expertly designed and tirelessly tested to ensure every coil in our mattress flexes separately to give you unparalleled head-to-toe support and the freedom to move, while our patented ventilated rail system helps maintain a well-balanced climate all night long.Additionally, our holistic system - which includes pillows, sheet set, comforter, mattress protector and Sleeptracker® monitor - was designed to work together with the Tomorrow mattress in order to help our customers go from restless to ready for a better tomorrow. Our sleep products are made from premium materials to create the ideal sleep environment.

Is Tomorrow Sleep trying to improve? If so, how?

We’re the first sleep company to combine a holistic approach with over 100 years of sleep experience, so we’re doing things differently from the start. We’re working to improve the mattress market as a whole by offering innovative products designed to help customers transform their sleep and achieve their deepest, most restorative rest.

How is Tomorrow Sleep supporting their customers?

Customer first is a core value. We’re giving our customers the tools to transform their sleep and achieve their deepest, most restorative rest. Having a direct and personal relationship to our customer through our direct-to-consumer model allows us to make sure they are happy with our products and helps us to innovate better and more quickly.

What should people look forward to when buying your products?

With Tomorrow’s products, customers will have everything they need to sleep to their full potential.

How important is sleep?

We believe that sleep is an essential and critical component of overall wellness, just as important as nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. Sleep has unparalleled restorative powers and when we get a quality night’s rest with the proper climate and conditions, we’re able to perform better.

Why do others need to be more aware about how they sleep?

Sleep keeps our daily performance at peak condition, and we feel it’s important to enlighten consumers on the benefits of getting truly restorative rest. The more aware people are of how they’re sleeping, the easier it is to improve and achieve the best sleep possible. Our Tomorrow Sleeptracker® monitor uses bio sensors to peacefully monitor and record sleep cycles, body movements and heart rate, and delivers personalized suggestions for better sleep.  Whether you’re in light sleep, deep sleep or REM, our Sleeptracker® monitor knows how much time you spend in each stage and offers feedback and tips to help you understand and directly improve your sleep.

What message are you trying to pass with your company?

Our goal for Tomorrow is to educate people on sleep’s role in overall wellness, and provide people with a holistic system of tools designed to help them live a better life, which we believe starts with a good night’s rest.
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Business

How to Build Your Own Startup

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Ever wonder how to build your own startup? The startup world is full of entrepreneurs who want to take their dream business from Point A to point B. Getting your business off its feet can be hard because many people are not equipped with basic business skills. In the startup culture, getting your idea to become profitable is the dream, and it's always a race to set it up. If you're thinking about starting a business, here are some tips to consider to get yourself going.

Network to build your own startup

Look for people who have "been there and done that". These people know what they are doing and can provide you with practical tips and advice on how to start. Also ask about mistakes to avoid and things to watch out for so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

Research Your Market

Market research can tell you if your idea is worth pursuing. Start your research by stating the problem and see if your business idea is the solution. Figure out how many people have this problem, and talk to them to see what they can say through a survey. Check out the competition to see how you are different and figure out how you can beat them.

Find A Mentor to help build your own startup

One of the best ways to start a startup is by finding a mentor that can guide you along the way.  Your mentor can be somebody whom you can bounce ideas off of. Mentors are some of the most important and valuable resource you can tap into. They can help you take your business from idea to success through their guidance and coaching.

Brand Your Business

Branding is not only about choosing a name for your business. It is about your business identity. Choose a name that conveys the idea of your startup or the problem it solves. By this time you should also have a domain name and have marketing materials ready.

Business Plan

A business plan is like a blueprint for your business that tells you what you are going to do and how you’re going to do it. Your business plan should also have an "attack" on how you can "battle" the competition. Determine what you want to accomplish with your business and steps on how you can get there.

Your Workplace

Where you decide to work has an impact on your startup. Some people choose to work at home to save money, while others rent space or share an office with other businesses. Don’t be afraid to experiment on locations for your workplace.

Accelerator Program to help build your own startup

Think about applying for an accelerator program. These are programs that provide startups with coaching, network or small investment to help the business take off quickly.  Take accelerator programs with a  grain of salt, because some of them will require you to part with equity.

Raise Capital

Capital for startups usually comes from the founders. Other startups get capital from venture capitalists, angel investors or loans. These investments can be a big help to startups. However, you should only take capital from sources that they understand. If you are raising capital from outside sources, figure out how much you need to raise and how it will affect your business.Having an idea for a start up is easy. The hard part is in-between the idea and success. For startups, it is crucial that their idea become reality as quickly as possible, since delays can kill the idea. While there is no wrong or right way to start a startup, following the above steps can help save time.
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