Xiaomi Mi A2 review: Two steps forward, two steps back

first_imgThe Mi A1 launched by Xiaomi last year was revolutionary in many ways. Not only did it give Google’s Android One program a fresh start, it also inspired a number of brands to opt for stock Android as the de facto software inside their phones. And honestly, who doesn’t love stock Android?The Mi A1 was a cost-effective handset geared towards emerging markets like India with promised timely OS updates right from Google, with little help from Xiaomi that is. Although the Mi A1 was an Android One phone to boot, it was unlike any other Android One phone in the past. The Mi A1 was notably the most premium phone, both in terms of looks and build as well as in terms of hardware specs, to launch under Google’s Android One program. This was a stark departure from what Google’s Android One stood for, once upon a time. “Shut up and take my money,” is what I had said about it in my full review.Its successor, the Mi A2, has probably been one of the most awaited phones of the year. Much like a high-end Samsung Galaxy or an Apple iPhone. That’s saying a lot about Xiaomi and especially the Mi A1 that have built quite a reputation for themselves in a very short period of time. Fans, enthusiasts and critics were all waiting for Xiaomi to see what it would do next. With Android One. The Mi A2 is here now and now that I have spent sometime with it, I can say one thing with confidence. It was well worth the wait. But terms and conditions apply.advertisementDesign and build qualityThe Mi A2 looks a lot like the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A1 had a baby. The front is big and bezel-less and there’s a vertically aligned dual camera module on the back, reminiscent to how things are on-board the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The antenna placement is meanwhile more in line with how things were on the Mi A1 which means that the Mi A2 is also a metal unibody phone with its antennas located at the extreme ends of the device so you’re more likely to not notice them. In the case of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, these are placed right where you can see them, and also these result in the top and bottom ends being plastic.The Mi A2 essentially combines all the things I liked about the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A1, and presents it in a package that’s prettier to look and more premium to hold. It looks and feels like an expensive phone that isn’t expensive at all, much like any other Xiaomi phone in the market right now. So no surprises there. There are a couple of downsides though. The back of the phone, although it neatly wraps around the front, is as slippery as a fish. That could be a health hazard, especially since Xiaomi doesn’t explicitly mention the kind of metal that it is using in its construction. Also, the dual camera module on the back sticks out like a soar thumb, a little too much in fact which means the Mi A2 has a tendency to wobble when placed on a flat surface. Luckily for buyers, the Mi A2 will ship with a protective case in the box that helps negate both these drawbacks, at the expense of hiding its good looks though.If you’re someone who is nit-picky about build materials, the Mi A2 is the most affordable phone to ship with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front, which means technically it should hold its ground if you happen to drop it screen facing down. My review unit has been able to survive a couple of odd eerie drops so I’ll say I can bet my money on it.I really like how the Mi A2 looks and feels even though getting used to its slippery body could be challenging at least in the beginning. Once you do that you’ll start to appreciate its build quality, which in a nutshell is spot on. The power button and the volume rocker offer excellent tactile feedback and the always-on fingerprint scanner on the back is fast and accurate. The Mi A2, just to wrap things up, is a modern phone that will definitely attract lots of attention. Xiaomi will be offering the Mi A2 in as many as four different colours, black, blue, gold and rose gold, which means there will be a little something for everybody.advertisementDisplayThe Mi A2 comes with a 5.99-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display with a 2160x1080p resolution and 403ppi pixel density which is the same deal as the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Because Xiaomi has shaved off much of the bezels on the top and bottom and also on the sides, the Mi A2 feels much smaller than regular 6-inch phones. Also, it supports an unusual aspect ratio of 18:9, as against the more traditional 16:9. But sadly, the quality of the panel isn’t as good. Colours on-board appear muted or lacking in contrast and brightness levels are just about average. Xiaomi’s aggressive power saving software algorithms tend to further tone down the brightness levels — when set in auto — way below permissible limits at times. This means hampering screen legibility, even more so when you’re out in direct sunlight. You’ll be better off setting it to manual during such times. The viewing angles are quite good though.SoftwareWell until September 5, 2017, it was widely speculated that Android One was dead. Only Android One was never dead. You can say that it was on a sabbatical or something like it, but, dead it wasn’t. September 5, 2017 was the day when Android One was re-launched albeit under a slightly different set of rules and guidelines. At the helm of Android One’s second innings was the Xiaomi Mi A1.The Mi A2 carries the legacy forward which means that much like the Mi A1, the Mi A2 also runs pure unadulterated Google software and the promise of timely OS updates directly from Google with some help from Xiaomi.Although the Xiaomi Mi A2 runs a near 100 per cent version of stock Android like a Pixel phone, the phone also ships with the company’s Mi Feedback and Mi Remote apps. While the purpose of the Mi Feedback app is to let users report issues with the phone, the Mi Remote app allows users to use the Mi A2’s IR-blaster. While the Mi Remote app can be uninstalled, the Mi Feedback app can’t. There are three more apps: the Mi Drop, the File Manager and the Mi Store pre-installed on the Mi A2.The Mi A2 has probably been one of the most awaited phones of the year. Much like a high-end Samsung Galaxy or an Apple iPhoneAlso, the camera app in the case of the Mi A2 is again hallmark Xiaomi. The camera bit is understandable. Xiaomi wanted to add extra functionality considering that the Mi A2 is also a camera-focused device. The stock camera app from Google won’t be able to perform many of the things that Xiaomi would want the Mi A2 cameras to perform, and that’s alright. The same was true about the Mi A1 as well.But, in case if you’ve followed the Mi A1, you will realise that the number of extra apps has gone up in the Mi A2. Yes, you can uninstall many of these apps, but, there’s still a rise in the number of extra apps from last year and while Xiaomi may say that the apps that it is adding are popular among users, you can’t help but notice how Android One is changing yet again. For better or for worse, only time will tell.advertisement As for the software that is inside the Mi A2, the phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box which is again not the latest and greatest even if you’re a non Pixel phone. Google, this year, has partnered with a number of OEMs like OnePlus and Nokia to offer Android P developer preview on some of their phones so even third-party brands can jump onto the Android P bandwagon sooner than say last year. The Mi A1, even though it was an Android One device, did not make that cut. The Mi A2 is launching in India just a day after Google officially rolled out Android 9 Pie for Pixel devices. Will the Mi A2 get Android P soon? We do know that it will get Android P, but whether or not it will get it soon, is again something only time will tell.Performance and battery lifeThe Mi A2 is a big step-up from both the Mi A1 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro when it comes to core hardware. It is powered by a 2.2Ghz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. The Snapdragon 660 is notably Qualcomm’s most powerful mid-range processor in India right now since phones like the Mi 8 SE with the newly announced Snapdragon 710 are yet to make their way to the country. That doesn’t take away the fact that the Mi A2 with a Snapdragon 660 is still a very powerful mid-range device. But there’s a catch.Xiaomi is not bringing all the memory configurations of the Mi A2 to India. It is only bringing the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version of the Mi A2 to India at this point of time. Xiaomi has been quite vocal about how it likes to give India the option of a dedicated micro-SD card slot for storage expansion, because that’s what buyers in India want. Many of its popular phones come with dedicated slots for two SIM cards and a micro-SD. The Mi A2, on the contrary, does not support expandable storage. You can say that the Mi A2 will give you unlimited high-quality storage through Google Photos. There’s also Google Drive and Google Docs. All these features will come bundled with the Mi A2 because it’s an Android One phone. But all of this comes at the expense of expandable storage. The Mi A1, although it came with the same RAM and ROM configurations, gave you that option.It’s safe to say that the Mi A1 offers the best dual camera implementation on a mid-level budget phone right nowPerformance-wise the Mi A2 is still at par with the best in business which isn’t surprising considering the hardware (and stock Android software) that is inside the phone. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is, in fact, one of the most powerful phones that you can buy at its price point. But do note that things are changing rapidly in India’s smartphone scene. Only recently, Honor launched the Honor Play in India at a starting price of Rs 19,999 with very powerful — Huawei’s top-of-the-line Kirin 970 — innards. So competition is mounting and there are now multiple options to pick and choose from, even at affordable prices.Good thing is that the Mi A2 does not disappoint in terms of all-round usage, much like any other Xiaomi phone, and of course stock Android adds another dimension to it. It can handle all kinds of tasks that you throw at it, both basic and hard-grinding, without breaking a sweat. And also, without loosing its cool. All kinds of games, including the graphically demanding ones like PUBG and Asphalt 9 Legends, are handled well by the Mi A2, even during times of extended gameplay.The only concern is battery life. While the 3,000mAh battery inside the Mi A2 holds well for the most part, it’s not in the same league as other Xiaomi phones like the Redmi Note 5 Pro or even the Mi A1. The Mi A2 is a step-down in this regard which is a little disappointing considering how Xiaomi phones are known for outstanding battery life. Our battery loop test gave us just 10 hours on the Mi A2, which isn’t encouraging but not too shabby either. Most users with generalized usage will be able to pull one day on the Mi A2, but that’s all that you’re going to get out of it. Xiaomi packs in an extra surprise for India in that the Mi A2 India variant will support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 technology as opposed to the European variant that supports Quick Charge 3.0. But there’s also a catch. Xiaomi will not be bundling a Quick Charge 4.0 compliant charger in the box in India. The Mi A2 India variant will instead ship with a 10W charger and Xiaomi has confirmed that it has no plans to launch a certified Quick Charge 4.0 charger in India through its Mi.com/in online store. Now Xiaomi has stressed time and again not to use third-party chargers to charge its phones, so it is highly likely that not many people in India will be able to take the full advantage of Quick Charge 4.0 in the Mi A2. The bundled charger charges the phone from 0-100 per cent in almost 2 hours.The bottom-firing mono speaker on-board the Mi A2 can get really loud, with little or no distortion at peak volume. Phone calls made with the phone are of excellent quality and we did not encounter any odd call drop issues with our review unit. The dual-SIM phone supports 4G LTE and VoLTE connectivity.CameraWhile the Mi A2’s main USP is arguably its Android One software, that isn’t its most killer feature. This is because the Mi A1, although it was an Android One phone, has had trouble keeping up with stable software updates. The one thing that it do just right was the cameras. The Mi A1 came with class-leading cameras. The Mi A2 is even better although I do have a small problem with it.Let’s start with the specs, because, say what you may, hardware matters. The Mi A2 has good camera hardware. It comes with two cameras on the back. One uses a 12-megapixel sensor (Sony IMX 486 sensor) and another a 20-megapixel sensor (Sony IMX 376 sensor). Both the sensors have an f/1.75 aperture.The main sensor has large pixels while the secondary sensor supports pixel binning that technically results in all-round good low-light photos.The dual camera setup is further assisted by a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. But the real star attraction here is how the two cameras can literally sense the ambient surroundings and intelligently switch with the 12-megapixel sensor better suited for ideal lighting, and the 20-megapixel sensor better suited for low light scenarios. Although the two can switch alternatively depending on the available light, it is also possible to manually pick and choose the sensor you deem fit for an occasion. The option is available in manual mode, and it’s quite a convenient option to have. But it’s better not to go down that road because the Mi A2 is in itself quite an outstanding camera phone in auto. It does point-and-shoot just right. Better than the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Better than the Mi A1. Better than any other phone in and around its price point.Not only does the Mi A2 offer a complete package with respect to paper specs, it’s the closest that you can get as far as realizing them in actual usage is concerned. In fact, it’s safe to say that the Mi A2 offers the best dual camera implementation on a mid-level budget phone right now although I do miss the added functionality the 2X zoom lens brought to the table in the case of the Mi A1.The phone captures good-looking photos in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on (if a little oversaturated) colours. Dynamic range is mostly spot on too. What really sets the Mi A2 apart from other phones in its price category are its blazing fast focus locking and shutter speed. It is quite fast in HDR mode, which is a welcome change for a Xiaomi phone. The same is true about photos taken in tricky light situations. If that wasn’t enough, the Mi A2 cameras also manage to pack quite a punch in low light. Although there’s noise associated with these photos, the amount of detail captured in some of them easily surpasses expectations. Photos taken in such situations also manage to hold on to colours quite well.The Mi A2 also literally excels at portrait shots when the lighting is ideal, offering crisp and detailed shots and a creamy background, with little or no blurry edges. The same is true about indoor shots under good artificial lighting as well. The Mi A2’s dual cameras will, in fact, surprise you at how good they can be at their low price.IMAGE SAMPLESOn the front, the Mi A2 sports a 20-megapixel camera with LED flash which is the same deal inside the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It’s quite good and manages to capture enough detail in selfies with colours that are mostly true to source. The front camera, on-board the Mi A2, is also capable of shooting portraits, although portrait mode courtesy the front cam, is software-based. It’s a hit or miss, but again, it’s nice to have the option available. Moreover, the Mi A2 is also set to get face unlock in the days to come.Should you buy it?I am sure you’re probably wondering why the headline of this review says that the Mi A2 is two steps forward and two steps back, even though, in the review you’ll find mostly good things about it. And the Mi A2 is a good phone with the best in-class cameras (both front and back) that you can get at its price point. But somehow it did not wow me the way the Mi A1 did last year. For me, the Mi A2, did not turn out to be as value for money as the Mi A1 did back in the day, and no, the lack of a headphone jack or expandable storage has got nothing to do with it. Although, I will also like to point out that, these could be deal breakers for some buyers. The Mi A2 is two steps forward, in cameras and all-round performance, in comparison to the Mi A1. But it takes two steps back in display and battery departments. While in isolation, the Mi A2, is a great package deal, when placed next to its predecessor, it does not shine as bright and that makes all the difference. You can say that the Mi A1 had it all, and it cost even less. The Mi A2, not so much. Also, it comes at a time when a Xiaomi phone like the Redmi Note 5 Pro exists and that phone is quite good too and also more affordable.But as mentioned earlier, the Mi A2, is still quite the deal as a stand-alone device and if you’re someone who takes performance seriously and likes to click many good-quality photos then the Mi A2 is definitely the phone to buy.Xiaomi Mi A2 review8/10Good stuffSolid build qualityFast performanceStock AndroidGreat camerasBad stuffDim displayNo headphone jackNo expandable storageBattery life could be betterlast_img read more

In the news today Aug 13

first_imgFive stories in the news for Friday, Aug. 13———NEW DETAILS EMERGE OF ALLEGED FREDERICTON SHOOTERA Fredericton business owner who knew the suspect in Friday’s deadly shooting described him as a “lonely person” who played a lot of first-person shooter video games. Brendan Doyle, former owner of recently closed Read’s Newsstand & Cafe, says he asked Matthew Raymond to stop coming to his coffee shop after he allegedly expressed Islamophobic views and shared his dislike for Syrian refugees with patrons. Raymond is facing four counts of first-degree murder in deaths of police officers Robb Costello and Sara Burns, as well as Bobbie Lee Wright and her boyfriend, Donnie Robichaud.———OFFICERS MAY FACE STRESS INJURIES AFTER SHOOTING: EXPERTSFour years after Justin Bourque’s Moncton shooting rampage that killed three Mounties, police in New Brunswick are facing a new traumatic event that may have long-lasting psychological consequences. On Friday morning in Fredericton, two city police officers were shot and killed while responding to a call. One expert says that in the aftermath of such traumatic events, police officers can develop operational stress injuries, especially those who’ve seen both colleagues and friends killed in the line of duty.———TWELVE-YEAR-OLD RECORDS TRIBUTE FOR SHOOTING VICTIMSAs 12-year-old Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth, N.S., watched the news of the shooting in Fredericton, he thought of the fear the responding officers must have felt, and the children of the victims whose parents wouldn’t be there to tuck them in at night. Cochrane wanted to do something to help comfort the grieving community, so he wrote and recorded a tribute song, to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” called “A Police Hallelujah.” In the two days since his mom posted his song to Facebook, the video has been viewed more than 300,000 times.———EVACUATION ALERTS EXPANDED IN NORTHERN B.C.Residents near the north-central B.C. communities of Fort Saint James and Vanderhoof are being urged to prepare for evacuation as forest fires surround the area. A 300 square kilometre blaze is raging just 35 kilometres away from the communities. An expanded evacuation alert was issued Sunday, and with no rain in the forecast for another 10 days, it will be a challenge to keep the flames from spreading. There are nearly 600 wildfires burning across British Columbia.———TORONTO SEWAGE SPILL SYMBOL OF WIDER PROBLEMLast Wednesday, a team of environmentalists descended on Toronto’s harbourfront looking for signs the previous night’s flash-flood rainfall had caused the city’s sewer system to overflow into Lake Ontario. And there, in plain sight, floating on the surface was a toxic stew of refuse that had gushed from the sewer lines. Toronto, like most Canadian cities, doesn’t monitor real-time data of sewage leaks into lakes, rivers or oceans. As a result, it’s unknown how much raw sewage entered overflow pipes when the storm overwhelmed the city’s treatment facilities.———ALSO IN THE NEWS— The 42nd annual conference of eastern Canadian premiers and New England governors takes place in Stowe, Vermont.— Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor will make a research-related announcement in Montreal.— Syncrude Canada to appear in court in Fort McMurray, Alta., on charges related to the deaths of blue herons at one of its mine sites in 2015.— Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in Yellowknife to begin his tour of Northern Canadian Armed Forces locations with an announcement.———last_img read more

Ancelotti urges UEFA to introduce VAR

first_imgThe Italian manager wants the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology available at the Champions League this seasonThe Video Assistant Referee Technology (VAR) is being used in the top leagues in the world or will be introduced soon.It was also used during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with successful results.And Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has urged UEFA to introduce it as soon as possible in the Champions League.“I think they are already late in bringing it in,” Ancelotti told Radio Kiss Kiss as quoted by Football Italia.Sacchi explains Sarri, Conte, and Ancelotti Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Arrigo Sacchi talked about how Sarri has a tougher time at Juventus than Conte at Inter; while Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.Arrigo Sacchi…“Now they say it’s an issue of referees without much experience dealing with VAR, but if you get to the Champions League Round of 16, the officials are going to be experienced and VAR could help them.”“There have been too many errors recently. If there’s an error in the league, you have time to make up for it, but in the Champions League you’re just out,” he added.“The system hasn’t started badly in Serie A, there were a few negative incidents, but at the end of the day it is still the referee who makes the decision.”“All VAR does is show the referee what he hasn’t been able to see live. The decision will always be subjective,” he commented.“I say that VAR ought to be used more.”last_img read more

HASC Gears up for Authorization Markup even as Topline Spending Remains Uncertain

first_imgThe House Armed Services Committee is slated to mark up the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill in two weeks, but because the Republican conference has failed to coalesce around a budget resolution the committee still doesn’t know exactly how much money is available for defense programs next year.While the annual policy bill does not actually allocate funding, the House Armed Services Committee tries to align its funding levels with the chamber’s budget resolution so the measure can serve as a guideline for defense appropriators, reported CQ Roll Call.Up to $18 billion in available funding is in question as the budget resolution approved by the House Budget Committee provides an extra $18 billion in base defense spending beyond the Obama administration’s budget request. The resolution, however, still adheres to the FY 2017 spending levels agreed to in October’s two-year budget deal, limiting base spending on national security to $551 billion and providing $59 billion in DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.In contrast to the administration’s request, the House framework would shift $23 billion from the OCO account to the base defense budget for a total of $574 billion in base defense spending in FY 2017. The Pentagon’s request only proposed shifting $5 billion to the base budget.If the House Armed Services Committee relies on the OCO account to augment the Pentagon’s base budget, it could lose the support of fiscal conservatives needed to advance the authorization bill to the floor, according to the story.The House Armed Services subcommittees are scheduled to mark up their portions of the authorization bill from April 20-21, with the full committee taking up the legislation on April 27. The Readiness Subcommittee will mark up its section on April 21 at 9:30 a.m. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Bar to entering Dhaka before BNP rally

first_imgProthom Alo file photo The commuters of Narayanganj district are facing immense sufferings as a very few public transports were reportedly leaving the district for the capital since Sunday morning ahead of the BNP’s rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, reports UNB.Hundreds of commuters, mostly students and working people, were seen waiting for public transports at several bus stoppages to go to the capital city.Only the buses of Shital Paribahan were plying the roads while all the buses of other Dhaka-bound transport organisations, including Bandhan Paribahan and Utsab Paribahan, stayed off the streets since the morning, alleged many commuters.M Zakir Hossain Majumder, a private organisation employee, said he fortunately got into a bus of Shital Paribahan after competing with a good number of commuters.Apart from Narayanganj, few public transports left Savar for Dhaka since the morning amid the transport owners’ association’s allegation that they were asked to ‘keep all their transports’ off the streets.In Gazipur, commuters got stuck at several bus stoppages due to the scarcity of public transports.Many of the commuters were seen walking to reach their destinations, reports our Gazipur correspondent.Meanwhile, police arrested 48 leaders and activists of district and upazilas’ unit of BNP and its associate bodies, alleged the party leaders.Thousands of city dwellers are also reportedly facing sufferings as the presence of public transports on the roads has been very thin since the morning.last_img read more

Jewish Community Center In Houston Responds To NonCredible Bomb Threat

first_imgwikimediaThe Jewish Community Center in Southwest Houston is one of the latest Jewish centers threatened with violence.Early Monday, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston received a threatening phone call. The center reported the threat as “non-credible” but staff enacted their emergency plan and police are checking the facilities.“We want to assure you that the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston and our staff are completely committed and trained to ensure the safety of our members and community,” the center wrote in a security update. “The security of our families, our community and the staff remains of the utmost importance to us.”In recent weeks, there’s been a wave of false bomb threats made to Jewish community centers across the United States, including centers in Alabama, Kansas and Minnesota.The JCC in Houston said that in response to these threats, it’s been working closely with its own security officers, local law enforcement and national security agencies to understand the situation and keep the facility and community members safe. Sharelast_img read more

UPDATE Lobbyist confirms he was at meeting With Donald Trump Jr And

first_imgRichard Drew/APDonald Trump Jr. met with two Russians in an effort to gather opposition research into Hillary Clinton last June. The Latest on President Donald Trump and the investigation into his campaign’s potential ties to Russia (all times local):12:05 p.m.The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says reports that a second Russian person was in a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last summer “adds another deeply disturbing fact about this secret meeting.”Rep. Adam Schiff of California says Trump Jr.’s shifting explanations “paint a portrait of consistent dissembling and deceit.”A Russian-American lobbyist says he attended the June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump’s son. The detail marks another shift in the account of the meeting, which was described as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican’s White House campaign. Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press on Friday.Akhmetshin has been reported to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies, though he denies ever working as an intelligence agent.___9:50 a.m.House Democrats are renewing calls for a vote on an independent commission to investigate Russia’s election meddling and ties to the Trump administration.Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California also says that presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance should be revoked.Pelosi and other top House Democrats spoke at a news conference Friday insisting they would try to force votes on the issue on the House floor — although their ability to do so is limited.Pelosi said that “House Democrats are not going to let the Republicans off the hook for their complicity, … They have become enablers of the violations of our Constitution, the attack on the integrity of our elections.”She added that “House Republicans will have to answer for their actions.”___9:40 a.m.A Russian-American lobbyist says he attended a June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump’s son that was billed as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican campaign.Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press Friday. His disclosure marks another shift in the account of the meeting.Donald Trump Jr. did not disclose Akhmetshin’s presence in statements and emails he released on the meeting earlier this week.Emails posted by Trump Jr. show that he was told by an associate that the meeting was part of a Russian government effort to help Donald Trump in the election. The associate who helped arrange the meeting told Trump Jr. that the lawyer had damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and current White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting.—9 a.m.President Donald Trump’s campaign data and digital director says he will speak with the House intelligence committee later this month as part of its Russia probe.Brad Parscale says in a statement to The Associated Press he’s “unaware of any Russian involvement” in the data and digital operations of Trump’s campaign. He says he will appear voluntarily before the panel.Rep. Adam Schiff is the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. Schiff says lawmakers are reviewing whether the campaign worked with Russians in any way, including distributing “fake news.”Parscale says the campaign “used the exact same digital marketing strategies that are used every day by corporate America.”Trump’s campaign paid Parscale’s firm more than $90 million to advertise on social media, analyze data and perform other functions. Sharelast_img read more

Balurghat to get Passport Seva Kendra courtesy Arpita Ghosh

first_imgBALURGHAT: Following Trinamool leader and Balurghat MP Arpita Ghosh’s initiative, Ministry of External Affairs will introduce a new Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Balurghat shortly. It has been decided that the PSK will start functioning through the Post Office in Balurghat. It was a long-standing demand of the Balurghat residents.Notably, the city people had urged Ghosh to raise the issue in Parliament and to talk to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, so that the demand could be materialised. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIn a recent letter to Ghosh, Swaraj had delivered the news of introducing the service in Balurghat.Meanwhile, a similar service has already been introduced in the neighbouring Raiganj and Malda.PSKs are extended arms of Passport Offices and they can cover the tasks of receiving application from the applicant for the issuance of passport and related services. It has been a part of e-governance for the betterment of public services, while MEA had launched Passport Seva Project in 2010, with best in class amenities throughout the country in PPP mode.Ghosh said: “I received information from MEA that Balurghat will soon get a Passport Seva Kendra, thus getting a long-pending demand from the locals, fulfilled. I had raised the issue in Parliament too and talked to the concerned minister for introducing a PSK in my Parliamentary constituency.”last_img read more

One killed 17 injured in two road accidents

first_imgKolkata: One person was killed and seventeen others injured in two separate road accidents in two districts. The first incident took place at Belpahari block in Jhragram on Tuesday morning. The deceased has been identified as Md Basir (26). He was a resident of Madhubani district in Bihar. The victim along with some others were going to Jhargram from Bihar in a bus which overturned. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained by the district police. Around 10 other passengers received injuries in the accident. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment. In a separate incident, seven persons, who were travelling in a matador, received injuries when the vehicle overturned on Kachkal-Rajarhat road in North 24-Parganas on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the injured passengers are stated serious.last_img read more

8 Great TimeTracking Apps for Freelancers

first_img Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. January 27, 2016 If you’re trying to pick a time-tracking app to help you stay organized, focused, and on task, you’ve probably noticed the multitude of options out there. A new option pops up every day, and they all seem to do the same thing.But not all time-tracking apps are created equal. Some are created with remote teams in mind, while others prioritize individual freelancers. Some adopt the mindset of the freelance worker, while others focus on making life easier for managers. Many are even downright creepy and seem to offer little to no privacy for those who install them.Those who try to find the best time-tracking app are often left with a lot of questions. That’s why we’re breaking through all of these questions and barriers to create a list of the top 8 tracking apps, specifically for freelancers.Here are the best time tracking apps for freelancers to help boost your productivity and track your work:1. Due Time TrackingPrice: Free for LifeDue is an extremely unobtrusive app that allows you to track time with automatic idle time detection. Simply start the timer, and a new session will start immediately. As you proceed with a project, you can use Due time tracking to generate invoices based on the hourly rates you set. This time tracking app also makes it easy to organize clients’ information by name, address, hourly rates, or even different currencies.2. CalendarPrice: Free / $10 per month for automated meeting transcriptions and calendar analyticsCalendar is the next generation of the calendar app. With easy to use time tracking, schedule management, and meeting scheduling, Calendar offers desktop and mobile (iOS and Android) platforms that allows you to sync and share multiple digital calendars as well as leverage machine-learning algorithms that serve as a virtual assistant. You’ll be able to track and manage how you spend your time and become more efficient at scheduling meetings and events with easy to use calendar analytics.Related: 7 Ways to Follow and Measure Your Content Engagement3. HarvestPrice: $12/month for Solo; $49/month for Basic; $99/month for BusinessHarvest is another great time-tracking option for freelancers, since you can use it to track a number of different projects at the same time, even if they contain different tasks and charge different rates. If you’re working with a team, you can even assign various tasks within a project to specific team members. Additionally, it’s extremely easy to integrate if you’re working with other apps that help with remote work, like Basecamp.Besides the hefty pricing, Harvest’s only other major downside is that the app doesn’t include desktop monitoring options like active application or URL tracking.4. TopTrackerPrice: FreeTopTracker earns the number one spot on this list, since it was built by a top freelancing network specifically with freelancers in mind, and isn’t tied to any job platform. Unlike other time-tracking apps, TopTracker is completely free (without any version limitations) and gives freelancers complete control over what gets tracked and how often.TopTracker makes use of all the normal time-tracking tools like timers, screenshots, and webcam shots, but freelancers are able to take total control by deciding how often things get tracked and adding options like tracking written task descriptions only or picture blurs. The free, standalone app is available across all devices and works on OS X and Windows, with Linux coming soon.5. TickPrice: $0-$149/monthIf you’re confused by the wide price range, Tick’s price depends on the number projects you have open at any given time. So if you’re a one-project-at-a-time freelancer, you can probably get away with using it free. But let’s be honest: If you were working on one project at a time, would you really need a time-tracking app? (And would you really make a livable salary?) Tick is simple, straightforward, and can be used across devices, but be wary of pricing if you’re the kind of freelancer who keeps a large number of projects open at once.Related: 6 Companies That Give All Year Long6. RescueTimePrice: Free for RescueTime Lite; $9/month for PremiumRescueTime is great for individual freelancers who want to know how they’re spending their time but don’t necessarily need to report back to any manager. Like other time-tracking apps on this list, RescueTime will give you detailed reports and an accurate picture of how you spend your days, but only to quench your own personal curiosity. The app does not send information to managers or clients.7. TogglPrice: Free for Basic; $5/month for Pro; $49/month for BusinessThe makers of Toggl created this time-tracking tool with speed and usability in mind, so even the busiest freelancer can make use of it. Reports generated with Toggl are easy on the eyes, and it tracks your work in real time, as long as you remember to turn it on. For the forgetful freelancers out there, Toggl also allows you to input work time after the fact. The app was built with team productivity in mind, so individual freelancers might run into some extraneous features.Related: 20 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work From Home8. Klok Desktop ApplicationPrice: $19.99Unless you want to use Klok to do a lot of team-based work, freelancers can get great results from its (cheaper) desktop application compared with its team console. This time-tracking app uses the data collected from past projects to help you estimate the amount of time you’ll need for projects in the future. The app also helps you divide your work into categories, so you can see how much time you spend in meetings versus on the phone versus self-marketing. 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