Ex-UB football player hopes he set world box jump record

Personal trainer Chris Spell, left, and architect Herb Guenther authenticate one of the two jumps Spell made April 19 at Catalyst Fitness in Cheektowaga in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record box jump of attempt of 63.6 inches. He cleared 64 inches on each of the jumps. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Chris Spell is on a dual track toward two lofty goals.

Play football in the NFL.

Set the world record for the highest standing jump.

Spell will try out next weekend for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, a step that could bring him closer to his biggest goal.

He’s much closer to a Guinness World Record listing.

“I wanted to time the tryout with this box jump record, to kind of springboard my career,” said Spell, a former University at Buffalo football player who has spent the last several months training intensively for both.

Last weekend, the 23-year-old Westchester County native twice leaped more than 64 inches high, atop a collection of mats stacked in the Turf Room at Catalyst Fitness in Cheektowaga.

The world record is 63.6 inches, set in May 2016 by Evan Ungar in Oakville, Ont.

Spell arranged to have both of his jumps videotaped, and observed by three sworn witnesses: a member of the Air Force and two police officers. Clarence architect Herb Guenther measured and confirmed each of the heights.

That Guinness-sanctioned arrangement allowed him to save several thousand dollars it would have cost to bring in world record company representatives to handle those duties, said Spell, who works in a Buffalo youth soccer program.

He expects to hear from Guinness this week if either of his two successful jumps is official.

One measured 64.5 inches; the other, 64.625 inches — nearly 5 feet, 4 inches high.

A crowd gathered behind cones to watch both attempts, and erupted in cheers after Spell stuck the landing on each one.

“He’s in here almost every day,” Catalyst branch manager Antoinette Todaro said. “He’s in good shape.”

It was the second stab the nearly 5-foot-10 Spell took at the record. Several weeks ago, Guinness officials told him the mats in an earlier attempt had too much give, and suggested he better stabilize them.

Spell began box jumping in earnest last August, when he discovered he could do it well.

“People were impressed by what I was doing in the gym,” he said, “and I wondered what the record was. I decided to look on Guinness World Record and it was 63.6 inches. I was getting 61 inches comfortably back then, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s pretty close. It would be really cool to say I’m the best in the world at something.’ So I started training.”

Cleaner eating — adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to a protein-rich diet — and six-day-a-week workouts have steeled him in his efforts. Spell focuses on legs twice a week, once doing squats, deadlifts and other strengthening exercises, the other drop-down jumps and box jumping drills.

Spell played football at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., then at Hartwick College in Oneonta, before transferring to UB and walking onto the Division 1 football program. The wide receiver — who never caught a pass in a game but was a regular on special teams — played on scholarship his last semester before graduating in late 2017 with a bachelor’s in sociology.

During his school pro day in 2018, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds and broad jumped 10 feet, 10 inches.

Spell credited UB football coach Lance Leipold and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Cidzik for inspiring him to get into the physical condition he hopes will give him a shot at both of his goals.

“All of my training from University of Buffalo really helped even outside of the weight room,” he said.

If pro football doesn’t work out, he and his high school sweetheart, Anna Kelley, a hospitality major at SUNY Buffalo State, plan to return to Westchester County after she graduates next year. Spell, now a certified personal trainer, looks to teach other young athletes how to improve their physical performance.

“I’m super excited about this record,” he said, “but football is my true love, and that’s where my training and my head and all my effort is going to go to after I officially get this.”

He also may look to set other world records. The most obvious? The running vertical jump, which now stands at 73 inches.

[“source=buffalonews”]

Angry Birds Maker Posts Loss Despite Jump in Sales

Angry Birds Maker Posts Loss Despite Jump in Sales

Finland’s Rovio Entertainment, creator of the popular smartphone game Angry Birds, on Thursday posted a loss for the third quarter despite rising sales, as it increased its investments with a view to boost its winnings in future.

Sales reached EUR 70.7 million (nearly $84 million) in the third quarter compared to 50 million the previous year, but year-on-year the company lost EUR 800,000.

Rovio posted a profit of EUR 3.9 million in the third quarter of 2016.

The company said this quarter’s negative result was expected as it invested EUR 22 million in top performing games, hoping this would boost its profits in future.

“In line with our growth strategy, we significantly increased our investments in user acquisition, which predictably led to a decline in profitability,” Rovio chief executive Kati Levoranta said in a statement.

“We expect the payback time for these investments to be 8 to 10 months,” Levoranta said, adding the launch of the new Angry Birds Match game could become one of the company’s “best performing”.

The group entered the Helsinki Stock Exchange at the end of September and was valued at 950 million euros.

On Thursday morning, the company’s share price was down by 19 percent.

Rovio has accelerated its diversification in recent years.

The release of the Angry Birds movie (2016), produced by Sony Entertainment, was a huge success that grossed $350 million worldwide, and is expected to help bolster Rovio profits in 2017 and 2018.

The company also runs Angry Birds theme parks in several countries, including Finland, China and Spain.

It oversees the publication of children’s books in a dozen languages, while boasting an average of 80 million active players per month and 11 million per day.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Alexa and AWS Star as Amazon Reports Jump in Quarterly Profit

Alexa and AWS Star as Amazon Reports Jump in Quarterly Profit
Amazon reported on Thursday that profit leapt during the year-end holiday shopping season, but the tech giant saw shares sink as revenue fell shy of high expectations.

While revenue rose to $43.7 billion (roughly Rs. 2,94,481 crores) from $35.7 billion (roughly Rs. 2,40,572 crores) in a similar year-over-year comparison, Wall Street had expected Amazon to take in more cash during the key holiday shopping season.

“Amazon is usually a retailer that operates at full volume, the noise of its sales growth a clarion call in an often muted retail sector,” said GlobalData Retail analyst Anthony Riva.

“However, this quarter that volume seems to have been turned down a couple of notches.”

Amazon shares were down more than four percent to $805.40 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings report.

Net income for the quarter was $749 million (roughly Rs. 5,047 crores), compared with $482 in the same period a year earlier, according to earnings figures.

While Amazon is known for its huge online retail operations, it is also a major provider of cloud computing, and is a rival to Netflix in streaming video. It has been ramping up efforts in artificial intelligence with its Alexa-powered speakers and partnerships with makers of connected devices.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company is looking for growth via its “Prime” subscription service, which gives customers access to video, music and other services and free two-day shipping.

Bezos said in a statement that Prime Video was now available in some 200 countries and territories.

Its retail operations took in $26 billion in North America and $14 billion in the rest of the world.
‘Super Cloud’
Amazon Web Services and rival Microsoft Azure will be the “only two super clouds” where businesses rent storage or computing power for online operations, but that value is already built into the share price, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said in a note to investors.

The earnings report said the cloud unit known as Amazon Web Services saw revenue jump 47 percent in the quarter to $3.5 billion.

Echo resounding
Devices infused with Alexa artificial intelligence were top selling products at Amazon.com during the holiday season, according to the company.

Sales of Echo home virtual assistant devices, which are built with internal machine smarts, jumped nine times higher than during the same quarter a year earlier, Amazon said.

Alexa was one of the big winners at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, cropping up in TVs, cars, fridges – you name it – in what appeared to be a breakthrough moment for the smart technology.

Out to deliver
Amazon continues to invest in its core retail network. This week Amazon announced plans to strengthen its distribution muscle by building its first air freight hub – an investment of nearly $1.5 billion.

A hub for the company’s growing fleet of Prime Air cargo planes will be built at an airport in northern Kentucky, adding more than 2,000 US workers to the approximately 10,000 people it already employs at fulfillment centers in that state.

Low cost and fast delivery are a fundamental part of Amazon’s appeal to consumers, but are also its “Achilles’ heel” because speedy shipping can be most costly, said analyst Riva.

“As much as this quarter has been more subdued, Amazon remains firmly on the front foot in terms of innovation,” Riva said.

“This alone will continue to make it a retail out-performer, at least in sales terms, over the next year and beyond.”

Tags: Amazon, US, Jeff Bezos, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Prime Air, Amazon Prime, Internet, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Will You Jump at the Chance? BlackBerry Leap Pre-orders Begin

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On Monday, March 30, BlackBerry announced the new BlackBerry Leap will be open for pre-orders. Pre-orders will be available in five regions but supplies will be limited. Blackberry did not announce just how many phones are available so if you are interested you might not want to wait.

Currently availability is only offered for the US, UK, Germany, France, and Canada. For buyers in France pre-orders already started on March 26. Pre-orders will begin in the US, UK, and Germany starting on March 30. Unfortunately for interested parties in Canada a pre-order date has yet to be announced.

The Blackberry Leap features a 5-inch HD display that is all-touch instead of the more common keyboard that Blackberry phones typically feature.

With a listed pre-order price of $275 the Blackberry Leap falls under the affordable smartphone category. However carriers will be limited. The Leap will not work on Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular networks.

Image: Blackberry

[“source-smallbiztrends”]