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In pictures: Swimmers take to the pool for Falkirk Rotary’s 2024 Swimarathon

Organised by The Rotary Club of Falkirk, it took place at Grangemouth Sports Complex on February 25. Those taking part aged from five to 78 years and were of all abilities. Teams of swimmers were entered, all hoping to complete as many lengths as possible within a 55 minute slot. A number of local schools took part and used the event as a valuable fundraising opportunity. A total of 2482 lengths were completed by all the teams with the Grangemouth Sports Complex group emerging as overall winners managing 212 lengths in the 55 minutes. They were closely followed by Dollar Academy on 200 lengths and they won the prize for the top school performers. The event is a valuable fundraiser for the Rotary Club and the funds raised will be disbursed over the coming year to local charities and good causes. Rotarian David Wheeler said: “It was a wonderful event. Thanks must go to event sponsors, Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants, as well as to all lane sponsors – Exmos IT, Hannigan Hotels, Vertus Mortgages, Antonine Investment Managers, Johnston Butchers, John Mitchell Haulage & Warehousing, Macdonald Henderson Solicitors and Principal & Prosper. “Morrisons, Lidl and Tesco were also very generous in their support through providing water and other sustenance to keep energy levels high in all of the swimmers, so many thanks to them too.”

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Heads on: Apple’s Vision Pro delivers a glimpse of the future

I’ve seen the future of computing; I wear it every day on my head. I’m talking, of course, about the Apple Vision Pro, the first “spatial computing” headset on the market. Though it’s not perfect — and at $3499, it’s not cheap — I can tell you after four weeks of testing and use that this augmented reality (AR) device lives up to the pre-release hype. With a blend of well-executed features and even magical moments it’s the kind of paradigm-shifting creation we haven’t seen since the original iPhone. For that reason alone, it should be on corporate radars everywhere. Your company might not yet need Vision Pro or have the exact use case in mind to make it worthwhile. But that day is coming. What exactly is the Vision Pro? The Vision Pro represents an entirely new way of computing, encompassed in what’s essentially a large set of ski goggles made from glass, aluminum, and soft fabric. You wear it on your face, the interface floats around you, you navigate with your eyes (the precision of which is one of those aforementioned magical moments) and you control on-screen elements with mid-air gestures (such as a pinch of your fingers). Forget desktop computing, where all your application windows and data are on a screen; once wearing the headset, your entire environment is your “screen” where apps, icons and windows float before you. The Vision Pro feels like the futuristic hologram technology envisioned in Minority Report and Star Trek, albeit within the limits of current technology. (More about those limitations in a bit.) First introduced last year, Vision Pro went on sale on Jan. 19, and rolled out to customers and store shelves on Feb. 2. I pre-ordered and had my own Vision Pro the first day of availability. Even the pre-ordering process felt futuristic, beginning with a face scan (using the iPhone) to determine individual face size. This was followed by a brief questionnaire about any vision correction needs. (Each device is personalized depending on those needs, but not all vision types are supported.) I opted for the 512GB model, which added $200 to the base cost for an out-the-door price of $3,699 plus tax. While a significant investment, I didn’t want to be hampered by storage limitations. The Vision Pro box included the headset, a battery and cord, a 30-watt power supply, two versions of the head band, a goggles cover, a micro-cleaning cloth, two light seal cushions (one thin and one a little thicker), and a set up brochure. In fact, set up was a breeze, thanks to Apple’s robust ecosystem. With minimal configuration — including the hand- and eye-tracking setup, which took a few seconds — the device seamlessly integrated with my iCloud account, providing instant access to the data already stored on my iPhone, Mac, and various Apple devices. Inside the curved glass display is the lone configuration: it uses an 8-core M2 processor (4 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores), a 16-core Neural Engine (for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and image processing), and 16GB of unified system memory. There is also a custom R1 unit that processes all of the sensor data in real-time as well as powering the extremely low-latency display. Not my first VR rodeo Some context: I’m no stranger to virtual reality headsets. I’ve used the Oculus and Sony VR and VR2 in the past. The Vision Pro feels entirely next-level in quality compared to those (and other rivals) because of the materials used: laminated glass on an aluminum frame feels better than the plastic alternatives. The downside, as well noted already, is that the Vision Pro, while smaller and sleeker, is heavier. And that weight is noticeable after a few hours. While 1.3 pounds, depending on configuration, might not sound like much weight, having it pressed against your sinuses for a couple of hours tells a different story. (Pro tip: there’s another band included with the Vision Pro that offers better weight distribution than the default band. Use it.) The goggles themselves are a technological tour-de-force: twelve cameras track the environment, your eye movements, and gesture recognition with pass-through-video featuring precision positioning of digital elements; there are six microphones and a lidar sensor system; an accurate eye tracking system with Optic ID (Face ID for your eyes); a very much under-rated spatial surround sound system; and two 3.6cm micro-OLED displays that have to be used to be believed. The two 3660×3200 HDR panels pack so many pixels in front of your eyes that you simply accept graphics and data as just there. After setting up the Vision Pro, you look around and see your surroundings. If there’s enough ambient light, the video in front of your eyes will pass for a good approximation of what you’d normally see in stereovision with full depth perception, albeit with a narrower field of view. You press the digital crown on the upper right of the headset to bring up an application list, a la the Apple Watch and this is when you get the first taste of spatial computing: that application list floats in front of you, casting shadows on real-world objects from real-world light sources. This is the strength — and hook — of spatial computing: the seamless blending of reality with your data and content. It’s a new era of computing, where the traditional elements of a MacBook Pro — CPU, display, and input — are reimagined for your face. Gone are the limits of displays; apps and data can be everywhere around you. Business-worthy or business-bust? So, in its first incarnation, is the Vision Pro a consumer-focused, ultra-expensive game-playing, movie-watching gadget, or could it become the most personal business computer to date? Yes. And maybe. There are benefits to the form factor. Because the entire computer is strapped to your face, privacy is unmatched. Unless you’re sharing what you see via the built-in Airplay mirroring, the data on display is completely private to you. The Vision Pro can also replicate a Mac’s display, with the Mac screen projected into the Vision Pro and the actual laptop screen showing nothing. The inherent privacy means that sensitive corporate information — say, HR data — could be viewed in complete confidentiality in a crowded room. The Vision Pro’s form factor is particularly useful in situations where you need a computer while also using your hands to interact with tools and the environment. Vision Pro offers a hands-free, immersive interface which allows users to stay engaged while accessing data and information in line-of-sight. For instance, I can type on my MacBook Pro’s keyboard in Microsoft Word while keeping an eye on my daughter via a floating video feed just below my Outlook and Teams windows. A surgeon might need to see an overlay of a CT scan or MRI directly on a patient during a procedure. An architect could visualize blueprints or CAD models in real space, where adjustments to designs can be made in real-time. Front-line logistics and warehouse workers could have real-time access to important data (such as inventory levels) at-a-glance; and trainers (military? astronauts? athletes?) could practice lessons in a virtual world more forgiving of mistakes than the real world. That’s the promise what Vision Pro can, in theory do. The reality right now for the business world is less certain — and depends in large part on software developers and applications. A device is only useful as a tool if you’re productive with it in ways you wouldn’t be with some other combination of hardware and services. While spatial computing is a cutting-edge framework to use, real productivity will depend on software. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Vision Pro had more than 1,000 native and compatible apps within a couple of weeks of launch, including corporate mainstays from the likes of Microsoft. These include Teams, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. (And the company’s Outlook app for the iPad works well enough that it might as well be native.) That library of apps will only grow. And the ever-evolving App Store already offers apps that are groundbreaking. One of them, A Magic Room, uses Lidar to map your immediate surroundings, adding basic geometry textures to a local environment’s walls, ceilings, floors, and objects in real time. This, effectively, allows you to “see” in the dark. Or you can download a Wi-Fi connection tool, AR WiFi&5G, that lets you place markers in specific locations in your environment indicating the network latency of that exact spot. (Handy at home, it would also be useful in large factories or even outdoor areas where consistent Wi-Fi connectivity is a must.) There are medical apps that allow you to manipulate a beating heart; presentation apps that allow you to disassemble jet engines; Keynote lets you practice a presentation as if you’re on stage at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple; and a TeamViewer app can remotely control other devices for those in IT support. Beyond the collection of specific apps, there’s a Trojan horse app that is already built in: Safari, Apple’s web browser. With the Vision Pro, it’s a powerful gateway to a slew of enterprise uses. Think of it this way: most enterprise device, data, or user management systems are accessible through a web portal. That means Jamf Pro, Citrix Endpoint Management, Microsoft Intune, Adobe user management console, and many others — along with a variety of IT help desk solutions -— can be accessed using a browser. A solid web browser like Safari opens the door to a lot of enterprise uses for Vision Pro (and the ability to access existing systems, privately, might be a compelling case for business). But there are limitations… It’s hard not to appreciate the engineering that went into developing this device, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The virtual keyboard is hard to use – you’ll need a real one for speedy typing. You’re tethered to a battery about the size and weight of two iPhones — and that battery only lasts about two-and-a-half hours (three, max). And as already noted, the headset is heavy. No software updates can fix that. It was also immediately apparent that the outward-facing cameras aren’t great in low-light conditions, displaying noise and compression artifacts. I was originally disappointed by their performance, but the extremely low latency proved more critical to the overall experience than visual clarity. This is an area Apple is no doubt working to improve in future versions. There are many issues that can be fixed with software, however. For example: the Vision Pro would fit better into the enterprise if VisionOS already supported MDM options such as Jamf Pro or Microsoft Intune. While that support is coming, it wasn’t there at launch. Other “missing” features include basic customization such as home screen management; users can’t (yet) modify app icon placement, create folders, or place widgets on the app screen. And there’s no doubt that using Vision Pro is isolating. (For some, that might well be the point.) But the headset needs more collaborative features, such as seeing what others on the same team see with their Vision Pros. The ability to share workspaces and content within apps among Vision Pro users would greatly enhance collaboration. Beyond those specifics, the long-term prospects of success lie with support from heavy-hitter app developers. Right now, Vision Pro apps that are “just as good as an iPad” might be enough to compel die-hard Apple users and deep-pocketed tech enthusiasts to spend $3500. But if this device is to attract a wider audience, the software written for it needs to integrate features that can only be performed on the Vision Pro. Final thoughts on the Vision Pro’s future As is, the Vision Pro is a first-generation product running 1.x software: there are good aspects and bad, baffling decisions, and missing features. It’s also amazing. The execution of the concept is surprisingly strong. And that’s what works the best with Vision Pro — learning that spatial computing is a realistic way of working day to day, not just a sci-fi dream. The way the apps and windows stay locked in, and the way Vision Pro blends reality with content and data, really do make it a paradigm shift in how people use computers. Despite its nascent technology, the Vision Pro sets a high foundation for future iterations. And while it sounds trite, it’s a device that really needs to be experienced to be truly understood. That very experience — life-size floating app windows and virtual environments — is the killer application. What about right now, though, as business users ponder the Vision Pro and try to measure the return on investment. Can the apps you use run on the device? Is the rationale for owning one (or 10, or 100) worth bringing in another device to support? Is the ROI worth at least the initial investment in hardware, software, warranty, training, and support? In limited cases…perhaps. The Vision Pro works well where privacy is imperative and could be a godsend where real-time data access and real-world interaction is key, enabling users to stay engaged with their environment while accessing layers of visual information that complements their tasks. Vision Pro, as is, won’t be the correct fit for everyone. As is, there are as many reasons to hold off buying as there are to buy. That said, think of the first iPhone in 2007, before cut, copy, paste was possible, before there was an App Store, and before it even used a modern cell network. “Too expensive,” critics said. “Doesn’t do enough.” “Touch screen gestures are weird.” Like that original iPhone, the Vision Pro is the start of something big — not the ending. Its ability to blend digital and physical worlds is nothing short of revolutionary. It does have a place in the working world. It just needs time to mature.

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Vaccination bus offering Covid and flu jabs in Moray

JABS are set to be offered to people in Moray when a vaccination bus tours the area this week. The mobile vaccination bus is set to visit Tomintoul, Dufftown, Keith, Buckie, Lossiemouth, Fochabers and Forres between Monday and Friday. People looking to get a flu or Covid-19 vaccination can do so without an appointment. NHS Grampian confirmed that appoints would, however, be needed for a shingles or pneumococcal vaccination. But people who have appointments in Elgin can change those to one of the aforementioned towns if it’s convenient for them. This can be done by calling 01224 555 333. Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

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People awaiting surgery left ‘in absolutely severe pain’ for years: Derry & Strabane Council call for cross-border health funding reinstatement

At a recent Full Council meeting, Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy proposed that the Council write to Health Minister, Robin Swann, to request the release of funding for the Directive, which was closed in 2020. The proposal noted that there were a “growing number of patients currently on waiting lists for surgical procedures right across the North”, with patients facing long waits for acute care and developing more complex medical conditions. Councillor Duffy said: “Unfortunately, an all-too-often call we’re receiving in our constituency offices is from people on long waiting lists for hip and knee replacements, cataract removals and even cardiac services. “These are people in absolutely severe pain, elderly people who have been told that they will have to wait up to seven years for vital surgery. “While the Health Service is facing many challenges, this is one that could have been avoided. It is the outworking of a disastrous Brexit, where people in the North have been unfairly disadvantaged. “People have been forced to live with pain and sight loss to appease a Tory-DUP agenda and the Directive closed in 2020, as Brexit took hold. “It’s imperative that we impress the importance of reopening this scheme upon the Health Minister. Give people back hope, give them back their lives, and give them back a pain-free, independent existence.” SDLP Councillor Catherine McDaid said reducing healthcare times were a “top priority” for the Executive, with one in three people in Northern Ireland on hospital waiting lists. Councillor McDaid added: “When you think about how many people have been living in pain, being cared for by families burnt out by carers’ fatigue, and how many have died while sitting on a waiting list for surgery, it’s just not acceptable. “When the Directive was in place thousands of people accessed it and could get the care they required, while reducing waiting lists at the same time.” DUP Alderman Chelsea Cooke said people were “stressed and quite frankly fed up” waiting for treatment, leading to a migration to private healthcare and a two-tiered system. Alderman Cooke concluded: “Northern Ireland’s patient population shouldn’t be in a position where some can afford treatment and others can’t.” Andrew Balfour, Local Democracy Reporter

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Newly Enlarged NATO Starts Drill in Finland, Norway, and Sweden in Defense of Its Nordic Turf

More Must-Reads From TIME Inside the White House Program to Share America’s Secrets Meet the 2024 Women of the Year East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The 13 Best New Books to Read in March Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Contact us at letters@time.com

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Three family members are killed in a tower block fire on Spain’s Costa Blanca 

THREE members of the same family died in an apartment block fire in the early hours of Monday morning in Villajoyosa. The blaze started in an eleventh-floor home on Avenida dels Mariners at around 2.15am and was brought under control by fire crews 75 minutes later. Authorities said that a five-year-old boy, his father, and grandmother were killed, with up to 15 people needing treatment for smoke inhalation. All of them- barring a Policia Local officer-were taken to the Marina Baixa Hospital in Villajoyosa. Unlike the tragic fire in Valencia on February 28 that claimed 10 lives as it quickly spread through the housing complex, the Villajoyosa blaze was confined to just the 11th floor in the 24-storey building. Around 120 people were evacuated as a precaution. The Guardia Civil is investigating the cause of the fire but there is no clear indication so far as to how it started. The blaze created a lot of smoke which spread to common areas on the 11th floor. The Alicante Provincial Council president, Toni Perez, and Villajoyosa mayor. Marcos Zaragoza visited the scene on Monday morning. Perez expressed at his sorry about the deaths and praised the work of firefighters who kept the blaze confined to just one home. Mayor Zaragoza said he was relieved that the death toll wasn’t higher and emphasised that good procedures and the concrete facade prevented a tragedy on the scale of Campanar. The block was constructed in 2008 and contained ventilated concrete facades that stopped the fire spreading. Three days of official mourning have been declared in Villajoyosa. READ MORE: Valencia fire: Death toll of ‘Spain’s Grenfell’ reaches 10 – including a mother and her children King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain meet victims of the deadly Valencia fire

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Delhi Police arrest 2 shooters from Goa in Nafe Singh Rathee’s murder case

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of a number of development projects worth Rs 56000 crore in Telangana’s Adilabad. The projects are related to road and rail sector with major focus on power sector. Speaking at the event, PM Modi said for many years, Telangana was a victim of ignorance. But in the last 10 years, the government spent a lot of money for the development of Telangana. He said the whole world is talking about India’s growth rate. The Prime Minister said India is the only country in the world which continues to grow at 8.4% in the last quarter. He said soon India will become the third largest economy in the world. He said the contribution made by the people of Telangana was never given due respect even after many decades after India became independent. PM Modi said the BJP government at the Centre gave great importance to the development of Telangana and has honoured the tribal community in the state. He pointed out that nobody would have imagined that a tribal woman will become the president of the country. He said nobody would have imagined that the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda would be celebrated as a national festival. PM Modi said the government of India has formed a separate ministry for the development of the tribals. He also inaugurated NTPC’s 800 MW (Unit-2) of Telangana Super Thermal Power Project in Peddapalli. The project will supply 85% power to Telangana and will have the highest power generation efficiency of approximately 42% among all power sectors of NTPC in India. The newly electrified Ambari-Adilabad Pimpalkhuti rail line was also inaugurated during the event. PM Modi also laid down the foundation stone for 2 major national highway projects connecting Telangana with Maharashtra and Telangana with Chattisgarh through NH-353B and NH -163.

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Georgia Passes Bill to Allow Arrest of Suspected Illegal Immigrants After Laken Riley Murder

The Georgia state House has passed a bill that would allow police officers to arrest anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally, following the murder of university nursing student Laken Riley on Feb. 22. The bill requires sheriffs to report the detention of illegal immigrants to federal authorities. Failure to do so may result in local governments losing state funding or state-administered federal funding. The bill would also establish new requirements for how jailers must consult with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to determine whether individuals are known to be in the country illegally. Republican state Rep. Jesse Petrea of Savannah said that clause is needed to enforce existing state law requiring sheriffs to check with ICE on people who don’t appear to be American citizens. Her body was discovered along her usual route later that day after a friend reported her missing when she failed to return to campus. The suspect in her murder is Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old man from Venezuela who entered the country just 18 months ago. It is unclear whether or not he has applied for asylum. He was paroled and released for further processing. Mr. Ibara was arrested by New York police roughly a year later and charged with “acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17” and a motor vehicle license violation, ICE said. “Fixing policy in the face of unspeakable tragedy is not politics,” Rep. Houston Gaines, an Athens Republican, said on Feb. 29. “It’s doing the right thing to ensure something like this never occurs again.” The bill would bring Georgia more in line with states that have aggressive immigration laws, such as Texas. Starting in March, Texas will allow police to arrest illegal immigrants and will give local judges the authority to order their deportation. Georgia passed a law in 2011 designed to crack down on illegal immigration, although it later backed away from parts of it.

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Job Vacancy: Sea Fisheries Protection Officer opportunity in Greencastle

Job Vacancy: Sea Fisheries Protection Officer (Greencastle, Co. Donegal) Oifigeach Cosanta Iascaigh Mhara (An Caisleán Nua, Co. Dhún na nGall) The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) will hold a competition to establish a panel of suitably qualified candidates to fill Sea Fisheries Protection Officer (SFPO) vacancies which may arise in our office in Greencastle, Co. Donegal. Reáchtálfaidh an tÚdarás um Chosaint Iascaigh Mhara (SFPA) comórtas chun painéal d’iarrthóirí atá cáilithe go cuí a bhunú chun folúntais d’Oifigeach Cosanta Iascaigh Mhara (OCIM) a líonadh a d’fhéadfadh teacht chun cinn inár n-oifig sa Chaisleán Nua i gCo. Dhún na nGall. Click here to find out more and apply / Faigh amach tuilleadh agus déan iarratas Closing Date / An Dáta Deiridh a nGlacfar le hIarratais: Tuesday 19 March 2024 – 5pm / Dé Máirt an 19 Márta 2024 – 5pm The SFPA is an equal opportunities employer Is fostóir comhdheiseanna é SFPA Tags

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