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Since the news broke that Apple is getting out of the router business, I’ve been looking to replace my AirPort Extreme. I wanted something with more power-user features, and the Synology RT2600ac stood out as a likely candidate. The $229.99 RT2600ac, which is the follow-up to last year’s popular RT1900ac, contains a wealth of new additions, and is considerably more power-user friendly than Apple’s AirPort Extreme.

Synology’s routers run the SRM operating system, which makes managing the RT2600ac similar to driving one of the company’s popular NAS boxes. But does this router make a good replacement for the easy-to-use AirPort Extreme? Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough as I showcase 15 of my favorite RT2600ac features.

Speed and power

As far as wireless coverage is concerned, I noticed that my iPhone was able to maintain full wireless signal strength anywhere in my house when connected to the RT2600ac. With the AirPort Extreme, I had a few areas where the signal would drop a bar when connected to either band.

Airport Extreme vs RT2600ac from the same spot in my office

I performed a speed test from my office, which happens to be one of the areas where the signal drops, and I noticed a moderate speed difference while on the 2.4 Ghz band. Granted, this is far from a scientific test, and more of a feature overview, but I’m quite happy with the RT2600ac’s wireless performance in various areas around my house. It even performs well out in the garage, a spot where I usually have trouble maintaining a decent connection.

That said, I live in a fairly modest house, so you might be better off checking out mesh network options like the eero or Google Wifi if you dwell in a large multi-floor abode.

Powering the RT2600ac is an unspecified 1.7 Ghz dual core chip, which is accompanied by a healthy 512 MB of RAM. Such a hardware investment proves to be worthwhile, as it ensures that the unit’s SRM web interface is responsive and snappy.

Video: Top 15 Synology RT2600ac features

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Update: Synology has pushed an update for the RT2600ac to fix the KRACK WPA2 exploit. You should update to SRM version 1.1.5-6542-3 as soon as possible.

Smart Connect

Synology’s RT2600ac ships with a feature called Smart Connect, which combines the unit’s SSID with the shared Wi-Fi settings for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

As you move a supported device closer to the router, it will automatically switch to the 5 Ghz radio, which is more effective at closer range. But as you venture further away from the router, the device is switched to 2.4 Ghz. Hence, Smart Connect affords compatible devices the best possible connection based on location, and the user doesn’t have to worry about manually connecting to a certain SSID.

DS Router app & SRM web interface

One of the best things about the AirPort Extreme is how easy it is to set up and manage using the AirPort Utility app. Synology, too, is known for its easy-to-use interfaces, and it doesn’t disappoint with its iOS app.

Simply entitled DS Router, the app allows users to manage router settings, monitor traffic, adjust parental controls, and see the status of all devices connected to the network.

SRM is the beautiful web interface that features much more fine-grained control over a sprawling suite features. You can use SRM from an iOS device, but for quick management, the DS Router app is the way to go while on mobile.

Parental controls

The RT2600ac can help parents manage what their children are allowed to view online, and is a major perk to owning this router. To set up content filtering, simply visit the Parental Control section of SRM to select a device on your network to filter. You can even use parental controls to schedule specific Internet access times.

NAS features w/ USB 3.0 port

Because it’s from Synology, it only makes sense that the RT2600ac contains built-in NAS features. Thanks to the router’s USB port and SD Card slot, users can connect an external drive or SD Card to transform the router into a basic NAS. Keep in mind, though, that USB 3.0 may cause interference with the 2.4 Ghz radio. Synology gives users the option of downgrading the port to USB 2.0 if desired.

Package Center

Synology’s Package Center on SRM is loosely synonymous with Apple’s App Store. There, you’ll find a handful of packages that can be used to enhance your experience and add new features to the router. And because the RT2600ac features external storage capabilities, users can download both router-specific and NAS-centric packages.

Smart WAN

It’s possible to use the LAN port closest to the WAN port as a secondary WAN port for failover and load balancing. Doing so will reduce the number of available LAN ports from four to three.

Advanced users can connect two outward-facing Internet interfaces, such as a cable modem and a DSL modem, and have them work together to help ensure stable connectivity at all times. When one interface goes down, the other will shoulder the Internet connectivity responsibility.

There is also load balancing + failover, which lets administrators distribute network traffic flow between two interfaces to ensure the best connection.

4G dongle compatibility

As if an extra WAN port for network interface failover wasn’t enough, the RT2600ac supports select 3G and 4G dongles for sharing cellular connectivity with the client devices connected to your network. This gives users a backup plan when the main Internet connection goes down.

Power and Wi-Fi button

This may sound like a simple feature, but I love the fact that the RT2600ac features a hardware power button for turning off the router, and a Wi-Fi button for disabling Wi-Fi. These are good features to have when you’re troubleshooting, and it makes it so that you don’t have to disconnect the power plug in order to turn it off, and you don’t have to venture into SRM to disable Wi-Fi.

Disable LEDs with custom LED schedule

QuickConnect and DDNS

QuickConnect is a Synology feature that affords easy communication with the router from outside of the network when using Synology apps. You can also use DDNS to access your router while away from your home network. Synology provides a free and easy-to-remember chúng tôi domain for those that wish to keep the process simple and straightforward.

2-step verification

The RT2600ac supports 2-step verification, which requires you to enter a code from a second device in order to log in to the router. I wholeheartedly recommend enabling 2-step verification, as it provides an extra layer of security.

Built-in VPN features

By installing the VPN Plus Server package, users can quickly use their RT2600ac to set up a VPN. Synology offers its own SSL VPN with corresponding iOS and Android apps for quick and easy VPN access from anywhere.

The RT2600ac also supports SSTP, OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP. If you often use Wi-Fi hotspots while on the go, Synology’s VPN features can help keep you safe and secure while away from home.

Traffic Control

Want to limit the amount of bandwidth or guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth for a particular device? SRM’s built-in Traffic Control feature lets you individually manage device bandwidth, and even outright ban a device from your network.

Monitoring and reporting

If you’re looking to monitor bandwidth usage on your network, then you’ll be happy to know that the RT2600ac features awesome monitoring and logging tools built right in. For basic device bandwidth monitoring and logging, you can look at the Monitor page under the Traffic Control section of the Network Center in SRM. This allows for live bandwidth monitoring, but also lets you see traffic over the last 24 hours, last week, etc.

For more in-depth statistics, you can generate traffic reports over certain periods of time. These traffic reports are extremely in-depth, and provide overall bandwidth usage, as well as individual device bandwidth activity. The reports are attractive and easy to read, which means that you don’t have to know a lot about networking in order to understand them.


If you’re moving from a device like the AirPort Extreme, then I recommend considering the Synology RT2600ac. Not only should its wireless tech serve you well into the foreseeable future, but it’s also extremely easy to use thanks to SRM and the DS Router app.

Ease of use is something that’s normally not associated with networking hardware, which is one of the things that made the AirPort Extreme and its companion AirPort Utility app so attractive. But Synology’s SRM offers a remarkably good-looking and easy-to-use interface that’s way more powerful.

SRM balances ease of use with power-user features in a way that I’ve never seen on a router, and while there is a slight learning curve involved, it’s well worth it for all of the features that you get.

If there’s one knock to make against the RT2600ac, it’s that it is nowhere near as good-looking as the latest generation AirPort Extreme. The slanted black plastic chassis with four antennas emerging from the body isn’t going to win it any design awards.

But the looks of the router are easy to forgive once you experience the variety of features and performance offered by this router. Chances are it’ll probably be hidden away from eyesight anyway.

You can purchase the RT2600ac right now from Amazon or from B&H Photo Video.

What router are you currently using? If you’re an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule‎ owner, do you have plans to move on to different hardware?

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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How A Quantum Computer Tackles A Surprisingly Difficult Airport Problem

At first glance, quantum computers seem like machines that only will exist in the far-off future. And in a way, they are. Currently, the processing power that these devices have are limited by the number of qubits they contain, which are the quantum equivalent of the 0-or-1 bits you’ve probably heard about with classical computers. 

The engineers behind the most ambitious quantum projects have said that they can orchestrate together hundreds of qubits, but because these qubits have unique yet ephemeral quantum properties, like superposition and entanglement, keeping them in the ideal state is a tough task. All this added together means that the problems that researchers have touted that quantum computers could be better at than classical machines have still not been fully realized.

Scientists say that in general, quantum machines could be better at solving problems involving optimization operations, nature simulations, and searching through unstructured databases. But without real-world applications, it can all seem very abstract. 

The flight gate assignment challenge

A group of researchers working with IBM have been crafting and testing special algorithms for specific problems that work with quantum circuits. That means the broad category of optimization tasks becomes a more specific problem, like finding the best gate to put connecting flights in at an airport. 

[Related: In photos: Journey to the center of a quantum computer]

Here are the requirements for the problem: The computer needs to find the most optimal gates to assign incoming and connecting flights to in an airport in order to minimize the passenger travel time. In this sense, travel time to and from gates, number of passengers, the presence of a flight at a gate or not—these all become variables in a complex series of math equations. 

Essentially, each qubit represents either the gate or the flight. So the number of qubits you need to solve this problem is the number of gates multiplied by the number of flights, explains Karl Jansen, a research physicist at DESY (a particle physics research center in Germany) and an author of the preprint paper on the algorithm. 

How a ‘Hamiltonian’ is involved

In order to perform the operation on a quantum device, first they have to integrate all of this information into something called a “Hamiltonian,” which is a quantum mechanical function that measures the total energy of a system. The system, in this case, would be the connections in the airport. “If you find the minimal energy, then this corresponds to the optimal path through the airport for all passengers to find the optimal connections,” says Jansen. “This energy function, this Hamiltonian, is horribly complicated and scales exponentially. There is no way to do this on a classical computer. However, you can translate this Hamiltonian into a quantum circuit.”

[Related: IBM’s latest quantum chip breaks the elusive 100-qubit barrier]

Superposition, entanglement and interference

It’s important to note that controlling these machines means that the best minds across a wide number of industries, from applied math to chemistry to physics, must work together to design clever quantum algorithms, or instructions that tell the quantum computer what operations to perform and how. These algorithms are by nature different from classical algorithms. They can involve higher-level math, like linear algebra and matrices. “The fundamental descriptions of the systems are different,” says Jeannette Garcia, senior research manager for quantum applications and software team at IBM Research. “Namely, we have superposition and entanglement and this concept of interference.”

Although it is still to be proven, many researchers think that by using superposition, they can pack more information into the problem, and with entanglement, they could find more correlations, such as if a certain flight is correlated with another flight and another gate because they’re both domestic.

Every answer that a quantum computer gives is basically a probability, Garcia explains. A lot of work goes into formulating ways to combine answers together in a creative way to come up with the most probable answer over many repeating trials. That is what interference is—adding up or subtracting waveforms. The entanglement piece in particular is promising for chemistry but also for machine learning. “In machine learning datasets, you might have data that’s super correlated, so in other words, they are not independent from each other,” Garcia says. “This is what entanglement is. We can put that in and program that into what we’re studying as a way to conserve resources in the end, and computational power.” 

And while the new algorithm from Jansen’s team can’t really be used to make airports more efficient today, it can be translated to a variety of other problems. “Once we found really good ways of solving the flight gate assignment problem, we transferred the algorithms and improvements to these problems we are looking at for particle tracking, both at CERN but also at DESY,” Jansen said. 

In addition, you can apply the same formulation to other logistics problems such as optimizing bus routes or traffic light placements in a city. You just have to modify the information of the problem and what numbers you put into the coefficients and the binary variables. “For me, this was a good attempt to find a solution for the flight gate assignment problem,” Jansen says. “Now I’m looking at other instances where I can use this mathematical formulation to solve other problems.”

Succession Planning Vs Replacement Planning

Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning

Ask the CEO of a company to define succession planning, and there’s a good chance that he/she will confuse it with replacement planning. But the fact is, they are different from each other.

Replacement planning assumes that the organization chart will remain unchanged over time and focuses on identifying “backups” for top positions within the company. The organization chart lists the backups for each top-level position, indicating their readiness to take over the role of the current incumbent. Typically, the organization identifies three individuals as backups for each top-level position.

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Head-to-Head Comparison Between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning (Infographics)

Following are some of the comparisons between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning.

Replacement Planning

All replacement planning activities are tactical in nature. But they are crucial for all organizations, regardless of their size. A replacement plan ensures continuity in operations and focuses on how vital positions can be filled quickly.

All companies must have a replacement plan for all key positions and other single contributor roles to reduce talent risks.

Create a replacement plan with one to three identified individuals for key positions in case of emergencies. It must indicate each personnel’s readiness for assuming the role.

Include appropriate support measures for the person assuming the key role in the replacement plan.

In most companies, replacements are generally perceived as a temporary measure. A replacement candidate may or may not be considered a permanent final contender for the position unless he/she meets all the requirements. While a replacement system is crucial for ensuring organizational continuity, it primarily focuses on short-term needs.

Indications of Succession Planning

Several symptoms indicate the time has arrived to initiate a succession planning system in the organization. Succession planning is a more systematic approach that can be carried out through all verticals in a company.

Some of the common symptoms are as follows.

The organization conducted a retention risk analysis to estimate the projected departure dates for each person in the workforce or workgroup. This analysis helps identify potential reasons for departure, such as retirement or other factors.

If the organization experiences a sudden loss of key talent due to death, resignation, or disability, it may take a long time to find an appropriate replacement. The organization cannot respond promptly to such surprises.

Senior managers may lack awareness or perceive the time taken to fill vacant positions, known as the time-to-fill metric, as lengthy.

Managers at various levels may complain about finding people ready for promotion or willing to accept a promotion when a vacancy arises.

Staff members often express concerns that promotion decisions are made in an arbitrary or unfair manner.

The company may not adequately represent women employees, minorities, and other groups protected by law across all organizational levels and functions.

Critical turnover refers to the number of high-potential workers leaving the organization, which is higher than average workers.


There are three reasons to devise a succession plan in an organization. Identifying the replacement for a CEO or other top managers is only a part of the reasons. The reasons are as under.

Replacement of key employees

Supporting anticipated growth

Addressing and dealing with a talent shortage

Unfortunately, many organizations see succession planning as a task to be checked off and set aside, relegating it to other responsibilities. They see it as a means to an end and often perceive it as solely the responsibility of human resources. However, this is the wrong mindset to have. Succession planning should be seen as a talent and organizational improvement initiative that enables a business to thrive and grow. No matter what industry or sector a company operates in, it cannot grow or succeed without strong management talent. Developing, nurturing, and grooming the talent pipeline is not a simple task but essential for any organization’s long-term success and sustainability.

Whether bad or good economic situation, proper talent is hard to get because talent is a combination of behaviors, skills, organizational fit, motivation, and passion. That’s especially difficult to find if you have to hire fast.

Replacement of Key Employees

Most companies tend to believe that the only reason to implement a succession plan is to pick a replacement for the departing CEO or perhaps a couple of top-level executives. This is a major reason for a succession plan. But a complete reason is to identify proper replacements and, in the process, prepare to fill all major positions in the company and not just the CEO or top executives. This is often called “planning many levels deep”, i.e., mid-level executives to section managers and division. Succession planning includes all necessary roles to keep the business moving, even if unobvious. Keep in mind that while executives set the strategy, managers implement them. A company must have strength in both areas to succeed.

Managers and executives will leave a company. They may take up another job in a different organization or be axed. They may retire, become terminally ill, or leave town because of a spouse’s relocation. Whenever a company anticipates a vacancy of a manager or executive, a seamless transition can be possible simply because there’s time for taking care of the transition. It’s when the vacancy is unexpected that the challenge crops up. Maintaining continuity is important because it reduces service disruptions and costs. As the economy improves, growth will take place. A company can support and sustain growth only when it has a talent for managing growth.

Supporting Anticipated Growth

This strategy differs from a replacement strategy as it involves creating new positions to support growth initiatives. These positions may be required to expand current products and services into new markets, develop and introduce new products and services, and devise innovative selling methods such as viral marketing.

While identifying growth areas, identify the internal talent and set up and maintain a talent database comprising candidates currently working for other companies.

Addressing and Dealing with a Talent Shortage

In all organizations, succession planning is not an event but a process. Succession planning is a process that’s critical for all organizations, whether they are expecting vacancies and turnover, working to cope with a talent shortage, or planning for growth.

Assign the responsibility of succession planning to executive team members. Make the activity a part of their evaluation process.

Identify critical needs and key roles for the present and future, several layers deep.

Come up with and use tools, techniques, and methods to identify employee aspirations and competencies.

Put in place a structure to develop potential successors.

Implement a structure to transition the successors to and in the new roles.

Identify an interim or emergency process to fill up a vacant position if, for whatever reason, the identified successor doesn’t work out.

Align recruitment initiatives for succession planning by predicting the core needs and interviewing for adaptability and growth orientation.

Evaluate all plan effectiveness and update plans as required, at least annually.

Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning- Talent pools

One approach to resolving staff-filling problems could be to develop a talent pool. It’s a group of people prepared to take up more challenging responsibilities.

People in a talent pool can be drafted in several ways. One popular approach is to ask managers to assess and nominate people from their teams. A second approach could be to apply an objective assessment method, like multi-rater full-circle tests, for identifying personnel who could be worthwhile to take up future responsibilities.

A talent pool dramatizes the difference between succession and replacement planning. Personnel is identified as “backups” to specific positions in the latter.

Replacement planning encourages promotions only in a field of specialization. On the other hand, succession planning encourages managers across all verticals to consider talent, irrespective of the department, as a possible successor to all positions immediately above them. Talent pools, thus, can be identified beneath every “level” of the organization chart. However, they aren’t tied to any specific position at the immediately following level.

If the talent pool implementation succeeds, the company will have multiple internal candidates ready and equipped to take up new challenges and responsibilities.


Both replacement and succession planning are important for any company. But while succession planning is a more systematic way to fill open positions, replacement planning addresses the more ad-hoc needs. Building up a talent pool is the most important part of replacement planning, where there are many to choose from. But at the same time, a temporary or non-permanent filling up can be of a long-term nature. However, that happens only by chance. A company is unlikely to ask a person to vacate the position after he/she has been appointed to it.

Companies, irrespective of their size, are slowly shifting to succession planning from replacement planning. The former involves envisioning all the vacancies that may arise in the future and over the long term. It pays for a company to have such a system where the internal pool can be kept ready for promotions.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning. Here we have discussed the basic concept, head-to-head comparison, and infographics. You may look at the following articles to learn more –

Oneplus 3 Teardown Part I: Battery Replacement

OnePlus 3 Teardown Part I: Battery Replacement

Today we’re aiming to give you a glimpse inside the OnePlus 3 in the first of a couple of teardown articles for the device. In the past we’ve done teardowns of odd devices such as the first version of the Samsung Gear VR. Now, with so many of our readers asking for a simple look at the insides of the OnePlus 3, it’s time we did it again! As such, we asked our good friend Anonymous Contributor to work with us on some teardown action.Fair Warning: We do not recommend you do any of the following unless you’re excited about never getting tech support from OnePlus or whatever place you purchased your device from again. The following images have been provided to us by a skilled, experienced gear fiddler. Do not attempt this with your own OnePlus 3 unless you KNOW what you are doing.

If you’d like to turn back now and instead have a peek at our OnePlus 3 Review Series, feel free to do so.

The OnePlus 3 is held together by a number of plastic clips, pressure around the rim of the device, and a couple of very, very tiny screws. You’re going to need a Torx T2-sized bit – that’s super teeny, and it does not come in your standard screwdriver bit collection.

On the bright side, they aren’t Pentalobes.

Next you need to take out your SIM card tray. Do not forget to do this. Bad things will happen if you forget to do this next.

From there you’re going to be doing some jabbing and prying. You’ll want to separate the back panel from the rest of this device using plastic tools wherever necessary, because the plastic and the metal around the edge of this device is very thin, and prone to bending – easily.

Once you’ve popped off the back of the OnePlus 3, you’ve got a few very simple steps left before removing the battery.

At this point you’ll want to look at two seemingly contradictory messages on this device. One suggests that the battery is not removable, while the other says that it is.

Basically what OnePlus seems to be saying here is “you can do this, but you’re going to be on your own if you do.”

Your next step is to disconnect the two longer connectors that span the back of the battery.

To do this, you’ll need to remove one metal piece held down by a single philips screw, then you’ll lift up both connectors with your fingernail.

Once you’ve done that, you’re going to want to make sure the battery’s connector is unplugged – that’s another fingernail lift-up job.

Easy as pie.

You’ll be lifting up and pushing back several pieces of electrical tape here, two layers of it in two of the corners.

This is what they call “Position 1” on the battery. Pull em all up, but don’t rip them out! You’ll want to use them again when you put your new battery back in.

You’ll then pull the battery up by the transparent strip you saw earlier, and bang! It’s out.

This battery will need a fairly strong set of tugs to pull out because it is held down by a bit of glue, but nothing you wont be able to muscle out by pulling that transparent strip.


Mind the glue!

We’re not going to make any recommendations on where to buy a replacement battery right this minute because they pretty much don’t exist at the point at which this article is being published.

OnePlus manufactures their own batteries, and until we find a suitable replacement, you’re on your own! Let us know if you find one first!

Next we’ll be continuing to pull apart the OnePlus 3 to analyze which parts it actually contains.

Look like a part you recognize? Stay tuned!

Is It Possible To Isolate The Internal Pectoral Muscle?

Throughout the fitness industry, it is widely believed that performing certain body exercises will help you lose weight in certain areas of your body. For instance, doing a combination of different ab exercises will get you that six-pack you’ve always wanted. Countless personal coaches claim that doing their specific set of exercises can tone different parts of your body.

Unfortunately, most of these people are trying to sell you something. It has been conclusively proven that it is impossible to isolate specific muscles for definition. This means that an exercise that claims to work the upper pectoral will also work the lower pectoral and vice versa. There is no exercise that will work one area but leave every other area alone.

Anatomy of the Pectoral Muscle Group

There are three different sections to your pectoral muscles that all need to be worked on in order to build a strong and sculpted chest.

Pectoralis Minor

Many who are looking to grow their chest can focus on isolated exercises that don’t move the shoulder blades. These movements may seem effective, but they actually neglect the most important muscle, the Pectoralis Minor. This muscle is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder blades and promoting fluid arm movement and range of motion.

Pectoralis Major

On top of the pectoralis minor lays the Pectoralis Major. As mentioned above, this is the muscle that most weightlifters target when they want to grow their chest. It is responsible for moving arms in toward the body and rotating your elbows out.

Serratus Anterior

The Serratus Anterior muscle is another that can be neglected by those who are only focusing on visible growth. It lies directly under the Pectoralis Major and is essential for stabilization and movement. It helps the Pectoralis Minor stabilize the shoulder blades during movement and holds the rib cage up so your lungs have more room to expand.

Can You Isolate Your Inner Pectoral Muscle?

The answer to the question of muscle isolation is a complicated one. The answer is both “yes” and “no”.


It’s been proven that you can perform certain exercises that only target one muscle group in your body such as your arms, chest, or buttocks. Performing these exercises repetitively over time will break down that muscle and build it back stronger and more toned, thus aesthetically growing the area.


While you can perform isolation exercises that target a specific muscle group, you cannot target specific muscles within that muscle group while neglecting the others. If you are doing an exercise that targets your Pectoralis Major, it is impossible for both the Pectoralis Minor and Serratus Anterior to not be activated to an equal or lesser degree.

The human body is a complex system of interconnected muscles that are all required to perform certain movements. While you can target specific muscle groups, you cannot turn specific muscles on and off within that group.

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Isolation vs Compound Exercises

We’ve learned that it is physically impossible to isolate the internal pectoral muscle for strength and growth. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t intentionally incorporate movements that target it as part of the larger pectoral muscle group. To do that, you need a combination of compound and isolation exercises.

Compound exercises are exercises that mimic realistic movements in everyday life and target entire muscle groups at one time. Squats, presses, deadlifts, and rows are all examples of compound exercises that strengthen entire muscle groups with one fluid motion.

Isolation exercises are exercises that are meant to target one specific muscle rather than an entire group. Bicep curls, Russian twists, and leg extensions are popular examples of isolation exercises. These exercises can be effective for aesthetics and strength training if integrated properly. For instance, focusing on chest workouts will build strength and increase your ability to do compound lifts like rows, overhead lifts, and presses.

However, isolation exercises can become dangerous if you focus on only one group while neglecting other areas. For instance, if you want to grow your upper body and only focus on your chest and arms, you may unintentionally neglect your core. This strength imbalance could lead to severe injuries and even permanent damage down the road.

Find the Perfect Angle

The only way to target specific muscles within a muscle group is to find out what angle activates that muscle. Joints can only move in so many directions, but each of those directions requires a different muscle within that group. This means that, while you won’t be able to ONLY target that muscle, you can choose an exercise that puts stress on a specific muscle more than the rest in the muscle group.

Results Come from Having the Right Mindset

Combining functional fitness with your aesthetic goals is a journey that can sometimes take a lifetime. The key is being intentional about becoming familiar with your body and how it moves. If you prioritize overall strength, power, and flexibility, the aesthetics will begin to show naturally.

If you are trying to grow your pectoral muscles and are frustrated because you aren’t seeing the results you want, try changing your perspective. Isolation exercises will only show results if you combine them with compound exercises that increase overall strength and stability.

The primary reason for exercise is to keep your body strong and healthy as you age. Without that mindset, it can be very difficult to remain consistent enough to achieve your aesthetic goals. However, once you have that solid foundation, you will find it that much easier to stay healthy and strong.

Samsung Galaxy Note Ii Hands

Samsung Galaxy Note II hands-on

Take the DNA of the original Galaxy Note, add the style of the Galaxy S III, and throw in a more comprehensive understanding of what digital pen-users want, and you’d come up with the Galaxy Note II. Samsung’s second-gen “phablet” manages to deliver a larger screen in a more pocketable form-factor than its trail-blazing predecessor, including making the digital S Pen itself easier to wield. We caught up with Samsung and the Note II ahead of its official launch at IFA 2012 to see if one of our favorite devices could really have been so improved.

Make no mistake, it’s still a big phone. Samsung has trimmed the top and bottom bezels and so managed to fit 5.5-inch screen into a space where previously a 5.3-inch one resided, without making significant changes to the overall bulk of the handset, but it still dominates the hand. Happily the blunt edges of the original Note are gone, replaced by the softer curves and glossy plastic we saw previewed in the Galaxy S III. It’s a visual trick, but it does make the Note II appear smaller.

The other big physical change is to the S Pen, which still gets a silo in the body of the phone itself, but is both longer and thicker than the first-gen version. It also has a new, rubber tip, which does make tapping and writing on the touchscreen feel less like you’re scratching away at your phone with a toothpick. The new stylus is compatible with the old Note, though of course it won’t stow away inside.

When it comes to the display, Samsung giveth and Samsung taketh away. The panel itself is bigger – and just as bright, color saturated and generally delicious as we’re used to from AMOLED technology – but you actually lose out on some pixels. The Note II runs at 1280 x 720, just like the Galaxy S III, whereas its predecessor ran at 1280 x 800. You don’t really notice the difference, but it does mean that some of the apps and changes Samsung has made for the Note II won’t be rolled back to the original Note, because of hardware differences that include the new resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Note II video demo:

Float the nib of the stylus above a gallery folder, for instance, and it will bloom up to show thumbnails of what’s in that folder (up to nine pictures at once, with the previews scrolling to show more for as long as you keep hovering). S Note gets its own homescreen pane appended onto the default list of seven, for browsing your folders of existing notes or starting a new one; alternatively, as soon as you pull the S Pen out, a blank note is brought up onscreen.

Officially, the Note II should run faster than before – indeed, we had no problems using Samsung’s Popup Play video picture-in-picture with an HD video clip, while simultaneously browsing full webpages – though we’ll need to get our hands on a review unit (and final software) to see how it holds up under true everyday stress. The 2GB of RAM is a welcome addition, though, and generally moving between apps proved lag-free.

The Galaxy Note II promises to build on that. It’s an evolutionary change, not revolutionary, but it’s further evidence of how Samsung’s “a device for every sub-segment” strategy with phones and tablets can deliver some highly appealing products, especially when you take the Korean company’s very capable supply chain into account. You can’t really argue with the Note II’s display, or its processor, or indeed its 8-megapixel camera.

What you can argue over is whether the Note II is still too big. If you felt that about the original, then this new version is unlikely to change your mind. Still, we can see the new phablet finding a similarly enthusiastic audience as its predecessor, and in a marketplace filled with me-too phone slabs, its S Pen functionality remains a welcome diversion from the norm.

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