HTC as we know it hasn’t always been so forward with its brand. The company began as an original design manufacturer (ODM) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM), building notebooks, phones, and tablets that carriers and other firms would put their brand on. It was only in 2006 when the first HTC-branded phones were launched, the TyTN and MTeoR.Since then, HTC carved itself a niche as the de-facto choice for early Android devices, then saw that prominence fade amid Samsung’s meteoric rise. Although a loyal cohort of fans remain, not all of HTC’s gambles have paid off: the Duo Camera of 2014’s One M8 pre-empted the dual-cameras popular today, but struggled to explain to buyers why they should want it. The 20-megapixels of the One M9 the subsequent year went completely counter to the company’s previous insistence on “quality not quantity” without delivering the visual goods in the process. For a company whose tagline is “quietly brilliant”, it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s taken some time for HTC to allow anyone behind the scenes of how its phones are designed and manufactured. That all changed this week, with two big milestones: the launch of the new HTC U11 flagship, and HTC’s 20th anniversary. To mark the double-occasion, HTC invited media to Taipei, Taiwan, to see where the U11 was born. Sometimes, HTC’s decisions have just seemed plain inscrutable. Now, it wants to explain exactly why the U11 is what it is. Invited out to Taipei, HTC offered to take me around three of its previously off-limits facilities. First, the factory where the U11 is made; then, to the Design Studio where – in tandem with its San Francisco, CA facility – the smartphone was designed; and finally, to the Research & Development facility where its core competencies in audio and photography are developed and then put through their paces. It’s the first time in two decades that anybody from the media has been taken on such a tour.AdChoices广告In each location, members of the on-site team talked us through each stage of the process. Unfortunately, HTC wasn’t quite willing to let me loose with my camera: the photos you see here were provided by the company. The upshot to that is you don’t have to see a picture of me in anti-static booties, coat, and hair net. There’s something hypnotic about a gadget production line. The U11 starts its life as a slab of substrate, onto which components are fed from reels like a monstrous Dymo label-printer. At one end, the smallest chips are fed in from rack-loaded spools; at the other, bales of Snapdragon 835 processors and gleaming SIM trays are among the largest items to be fitted. Through a soldering tunnel, and then out into stacked trays, each board gets its turn in a brace of testing machines. Robot arms pluck them from their cushioned platters and feed them into equipment that assesses things like wireless radio tuning. The testing process is repeated periodically along the production line, the slowly assembling phone getting reviewed after each major stage.From one robot-heavy floor, the completed boards meet up with the U11’s frame, display, and battery on another level of the building. There, human workers sit along a creeping conveyor, either assembling parts themselves or slotting them into the machines that will do the same. It’s a pragmatic process: if a human would be quicker, such as fitting in a single screw, then a human does the job. As soon as the task tips over a certain line, however – like screwing in four screws in a single plane – a robot is called upon.Glue is squirted in, chassis parts come together, and then the finished devices are fed into a long tunnel where everything from WiFi and Bluetooth, through to LED flash performance, are put through their paces. More robot arms pick up handsets and drop them into testing boxes, Bluetooth connecting to a custom OS to run the U11 through its programs. Assuming they pass, a worker stacks them in a bay on a huge easel, where they’re loaded with whatever localized version of Android their intended market demands. Not all of the testing is left to the robots, mind. 10-percent of each batch of devices gets shunted into the human-staffed testing room, where workers replicate the common tasks users will attempt. Connecting to a WiFi network, setting up accounts, making calls, and using the charger are all put through their paces; 99.99-percent of the phones tested pass the roughly 40 minute long process. Only when they do, is the whole batch cleared for shipment. It’s a long way from the gleaming white marble of HTC’s headquarters, where the company’s Taipei Design Studio is found. It’s a thoroughly modern building, too, designed to be LEED certified for its green credentials. At the top there’s a green roof; underground, a huge water tank which holds rainwater from Taipei’s periodic, heavy downpours and recycles it for use in the restrooms. A bank of gleaming glass elevators promise a third less energy use, thanks to the equivalent of regenerative braking when they’re descending through the twenty floors. In the studio, across an open atrium from the executive suites, two broad white tables are covered with a smorgasbord of HTC devices released and otherwise. There are plenty of One, Desire, and other lines in attendance, some recognizable as production phones, while others come in a rainbow of colors, samples that never got the green light to go into production. Teasingly, under each tabletop is a grid of broad, shallow drawers, within which hundreds of prototypes and design studies are lurking.Only one is deemed safe enough to open, and inside there’s HTC’s never-produced play on the gaming phone concept. What looks at first glance like a Legend with a D-pad on its chin is actually a portrait-slider, opening out with a satisfying click to reveal joypad buttons. Why wasn’t it made? That’s not for the designers to say, though given the general failure of any attempts to make a gaming phone – Nokia N-Gage, anybody? – I can’t really argue that it was a bad decision. Still, the studio team is more interested in the U11’s “Liquid Surface” design language. The product of several stages of heating, bending, and milling the Gorilla Glass 5 until complex 3D curves are created, it also uses Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition to layer refractive minerals across the back cover. As a result, each of the five colors – Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Solar Red – have a shimmering depth depending on how the light catches them. HTC’s silver, for instance, takes on ocean-like blue and teal green tones; its black borrows iridescent greens the designers say were inspired by the Aurora Borealis.In contrast to the marble and open-plan layout, HTC’s nearby Research & Development center feels more like a cube farm. Spread across a rented floor in building selected, the company tells me, for its proximity to a university, it’s where the sound and camera teams ply their trade. Given media and photography are now among the top reasons buyers choose a device, it’s an important part of the smartphone equation to get right.It’s also a hotbed of negotiation. Audio and camera may target different senses, but the one thing they have in common is that they each benefit from more space within your phone. That leads to a few fierce weeks of bartering between each team and the other engineers in the company, as they try to balance the “perfect” speaker assembly with whatever space can be liberated from circuitboards and battery.This year, it seems, the audio team has achieved something of a coup. The U11’s speaker assembly is comparatively huge, a driver roughly half the footprint of a US postage stamp, and attached to a large reverberation chamber to give it sufficient lungs to warrant the HTC BoomSound HiFi label. An anechoic chamber – lined with echo-absorbing foam – sits alongside a listening chamber, each with a microphone- and speaker-stuffed dummy to test out features like the U11’s active noise cancellation. That’s a key justification for why HTC left out the 3.5mm headphone jack, since its bundled USB-C headphones now promise to make your next flight or coffee shop workday more peaceful.Down the hall, the camera team dwells in a black-walled room that would make even the pickiest emo teen happy. There, the 12-megapixel camera on the U11 was tuned for auto-exposure, white balance, and color accuracy, HTC opting to skew the results to what the human eye might see rather than the chase the saturated hues some rivals prefer. Again, it’s a balancing act between available space and the size of your pixels, though fans of optical image stabilization will be happy to hear that room for that was secured. None of this is, in the grand scheme of smartphone design, particularly unusual. Apple, Samsung, LG, and all the others each go through their own testing and experimentation; each plays the human-robot hybrid game, attempting to coax out the maximum production efficiency by balancing the strengths of each worker. If there’s anything new it’s HTC’s willingness to draw back the curtain on its process. That’s important, because the “black box” approach to smartphone design has done the company no real favors in recent years. Playing your cards close to your corporate chest might work if you’re an OEM, building the devices your customers are requesting and making little comment on their virtues either way, but for a consumer-facing brand today there’s much more of a dialog expected. If you take away my headphone jack, for instance, you damn well better explain to me why.NOW READ: HTC U11 hands-onThe HTC U11 is shaping up to be a great phone; the most well-rounded the company has produced in some time, indeed. Yet what has hurt HTC in the past hasn’t so much been the decisions it makes about its devices, per se, but the way it communicates those decisions. A modern smartphone can’t exist in isolation, it needs to be part of a story, an ecosystem, which a user can buy into. At this most precarious point in HTC’s two decades, the time for quiet brilliance is past: now it needs to make its story heard. HTC U11 Gallery
Easy-to-fly drones are big business these days, and Parrot is looking to get novice pilots off the ground sooner with a pair of “Adventurer” packs. Combining two of Parrot‘s most popular models – one fixed-wing; one quadcopter – the bundles allow newbie pilots to get a drone’s-eye view courtesy of a head-mounted display. Meanwhile, there’s also potential for autonomous flight. Story TimelineParrot adds Mambo and Swing minidrones to its lineupParrot, Canonical make a S.L.A.M.dunk to make drones smarterParrot Bebop 2 has new follow-me features, but they’ll cost youParrot’s new prosumer drone division will kick off with three new models Those who want longer airtime might want to look to the Parrot Disco Adventurer pack, however. That’s based on the Disco fixed-wing drone, which has up to 45 minutes of airtime, and a top speed of up to 50 mph. It too comes bundled with the Skycontroller 2, for up to 1.2 miles of range. A 14-megapixel camera on the front also supports Full HD video capture, and the FPV goggles. Parrot bundles a second battery, too, for up to 90 miles of range. On the software side, a copy of the Flight Plan app can be used to set autonomous routes: pilots can set waypoints with heading, altitude, speed, and camera angle, and the Disco will automatically take off, follow that route, and then land at a preconfigured spot. It’s been a good few weeks for smarter drones. Back in May, DJI set its Spark drone loose in the skies, a fairly tiny sibling to the DJI Mavic, and which can be launched from the palm and controlled by hand-gestures. Both Parrot Adventurer bundles come with a backpack to carry the whole kit around: the Bebop 2 gets a smaller, ergonomic pack, while the Disco gets a larger, rigid hull bag for extra protection. The Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer bundle will be $579.99, while the Parrot Disco Adventurer bundle will be $999.99. Both will go on sale this month. The cheaper of the two bundles is built around the Parrot Bebop 2. That’s a quadcopter with a fixed camera at the front, and Parrot throws in a Skycontroller 2 for actually using it; alternatively, Parrot’s FreeFlight Pro smartphone app can be used for more casual flights. It’ll manage up to 25 minutes in the air on a single charge, and can reach speeds of up to 37 mph.The front camera is 14-megapixels, and has a fish-eye lens for wide-angle shots. It’ll capture Full HD video, too, and can beam back a live view to the Parrot Cockpitglasses: a “first-person view” headset. On the software side, there’s an app that allows the drone to follow your phone, keeping you in the center of the frame even as you walk, run, bike, or otherwise move around.
Following numerous leaks and renders, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active has been confirmed by AT&T itself, marking the first time we’ve seen near-official proof that this phone is indeed in the pipeline. A note about the phone briefly appeared on AT&T’s website as one of three eligible phones for a new promotion. Since gaining attention, it appears AT&T has removed the listing from its page. The ‘Active’ variant of Samsung’s Galaxy flagships has become a popular and expected option for those who need a rugged — but well made and top tier — smartphone. The Active line sports things like a more durable body, waterproof design, and overall construction that makes it better capable of handling usage in harsh conditions. Though the Galaxy S8 has been available for a while, some are still holding out for the anticipated Active version.Numerous leaks regarding the phone have made their way online, including both leaked tidbits of info and images supposedly showing what the phone will look like. Samsung is yet to confirm the phone’s existence, however, making AT&T’s recent mistake exciting. Mention of the phone briefly appeared on this page.Though it has since been removed, the phone was mentioned in the ‘What Samsung smartphones are eligible?’ section of the FAQ at the bottom of the page. Nestled alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ was the ‘Galaxy S8 Active.’ Unfortunately, the mention didn’t link to any sort of product page and info like launch date are still unknown.It is expected the phone’s features will largely be the same as the Galaxy S8, though there will be some necessary design changes to facilitate that aforementioned ruggedness. Notably, images show the curved edges disappearing from the Active variant of the handset, no doubt to replace them with more durable bumpers capable of handling drops.SOURCE: xda-developers
What good would space tourism be if you had to make a new rocket for each and every launch? Imagine if passenger planes were the same. That was the reasoning behind both Blue Origin’s and SpaceX’s race to build reusable rockets.But what good would space tourism be if you didn’t get a glimpse of that beautiful space? For that, you’ll need huge windows, which is exactly what the Crew Capsule 2.0 offers. The capsule’s windows measure 2.4 feet wide and 3.6 feet tall (0.73 x 1.10 meters). Those large windows might be inviting disaster when it comes to pressure and impact. Fortunately for the test dummy inside and for future space tourists, they survived just fine. It’s a successful first try but still a first try. Blue Origin still has ways to go if it plans to start bringing tourists to space in two years. That is, presuming it passes all the legal hurdles that might be harder to defy than gravity. While Elon Musk’s SpaceX has its sights on the grand colonization of Mars, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin’s ambitions are a bit more down to Earth, almost literally. While both have reusable rockets in their crosshair, Blue Origin has space tourism as its intermediate goal. And it has just taken one step closer to that dream. Not only did it launch the New Shephard for the seventh time, and successfully landed it, Blue Origin also launched, and landed, its Crew Capsule 2.0, touted to have the largest windows in space. Story TimelineBlue Origin successfully lands 4th rocket, crew capsule survives crashBlue Origin’s New Shepard successfully performs in-flight escape testBlue Origin may start taking tourists to space in early 2019
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is available for pre-order straight from Samsung at the same time as it is available everywhere else. It’ll be delivered to users from Samsung at the same time as everywhere else. Best of all, the version available from Samsung is unlocked, meaning users can take it to whichever carrier they like, whenever they like.SEE TOO: Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus hands-on actionThe Samsung Galaxy S9 is available from Samsung on a payment plan or in one big lump sum. This is relatively new to the smartphone scene, as most manufacturers generally leave this payment process to the carriers. But gone, now, is one of the last holdout reasons why massive amounts of users stuck with carrier sales. AdChoices广告Total Pricing Rundown, Galaxy S9 / S9+:• Verizon: $800 and $930• Sprint: $792 and $912 (leased, not bought)• AT&T: $790.20 and $915• T-Mobile: $720 and $840• Samsung: $720 and $840Payment plans from Samsung are $30 a month for 24 months (for the S9) or $35 a month for 24 months (for the S9 Plus.) Sprint has the devices for $33 or $38 a month on LEASE – so you don’t own them, ever. Verizon’s payment plans are $33.33 or $38.74. T-Mobile has the devices for the same prices (payments too) as Samsung. “It’s not worth the difference.”AT&T’s phones are cheaper per month, but users have to pay for MORE months than other carriers. As such, AT&T’s phones are more expensive in the end. AT&T’s plans are $26.34 and $30.50 a month for 30 months. Don’t get tripped up on that $4 – it’s not worth the difference.The final remaining reason one might still want to buy a Galaxy S9 from a carrier is the convenience. One must order from the website or head into a store, and the whole buying process – including the SIM card and data and such – all happens at once. However – for those willing to take one TINY extra step, the Samsung direct route has the potential to save one a significant amount of cash in the long run.For more information on the state of the Samsung phone and carrier sales, have a peek at our feature “The best Galaxy S9 deal isn’t with a carrier.” And stay tuned for our full Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus reviews – coming up soon! Story TimelineGalaxy S9 vs Xperia XZ2 feature showdownGalaxy S9 camera hands-on: 5 things to knowGalaxy S9 DxOMark score is the highest so far Today thousands of users will pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S9 for a price that’ll have them overcharged for no good reason. The folks at Samsung have changed the game this year, selling their device themselves at the same time as carriers in the USA. In the past, the company didn’t have the device on sale until several weeks after the device was already available at carriers across the nation.
Story TimelineApple’s new emojis are accessibility-centricGoogle Chrome is testing a right-click shortcut for emojiTwitter’s pistol emoji replaced with squirt gun in new update Today Google bent the knee to the Emoji overlords, changing their people-killing-pistol into a lovely classic water gun. In the past, Google was seen as a bastion of gun-related freedom, keeping their 6-shooter at their side while the WEAK companies – only Apple, that is /s – went from gun to water gun. But let’s not get too excited about how the world runs its typed-images databanks, shall we? Back in 2013, Google had the best gun emoji of them all. Where most other companies chose pathetic standard 6-shooters, Google’s gun emoji was a blunderbuss. Yes! The most insane name for a gun ever conceived of – and a major part of one of the greatest films ever made: Looper (2012). The blunderbuss, complete with a horn barrel for ultimate unique blasting at very short range.Also back in 2013, Microsoft had a laser pistol for their gun emoji. That laser had gray gear, a red barrel, and a yellow body with a white lightning bolt. It was a Marvin the Martian special, basically. Microsoft towed the line until the year 2016, when they switched to an off-the-wall cartoon 6-shooter with big fat black outline around it.Facebook, Samsung, and Twitter didn’t have any qualm with keeping a really recognizable 6-shooter pistol for their gun emoji for the past half-decade. It was only in 2018 that Samsung and Twitter moved to green toy pistols (Samsung’s an unidentifiable toy sort of gun, and Twitter’s a squirt gun). But why then, and why green? Because the world’s most popular smartphone, iPhone, began rolling with a green water pistol in 2016. Apple’s kept with the green water pistol with orange tip through today, here in April of 2018, and they show no signs of changing. Before 2016, Apple too had a really recognizable 6-shooter pistol for their gun emoji – most extremely similar to that of Samsung’s gun emoji.NOTE: You can copy-paste the gun (or pistol) emoji here: 🔫🔫🔫 – isn’t it lovely? The gun will appear as any one of several emoji in this paragraph based solely on the operating system with which you’re enjoying SlashGear.Image Above: Google / Emojipedia Composite. Google wins for most changes made to this single emoji in the past 6 years – and beyond that, too. In 2012 they had a gun silhouette, then they had the blunderbuss. In 2014 Google switched to one sort of 6-shooter (or 4-shooter? weird!), then switched to another 6-shooter in 2017. Now, here in 2018, Google’s moved to a sort of defiantly-styled and anti-Apple-colored water pistol. Google’s water pistol does not pretend to attempt to match that of Apple’s. In fact they’ve gone sort of opposite, perhaps to make a point of it, with an orange body and a green tip. They’re also using a Super Soaker sort of setup (without the pump) where Apple’s is more of an original single-squirt sort of pea-shooter.
Today we’re taking a brief, momentary, tiny peek at a couple of lists that show how Google and Amazon own our daily lives. When I say “daily lives” I don’t mean Google and Amazon own our bodies and control our actions and have all of our personal information stored safely on their many hard drives – but two out of three ain’t bad. I’m referring instead to the servers Google and Amazon run, the servers on which many or most of the services we use every day rely on and run. Story TimelineGoogle services blocked by Chinese governmentGmail is down, it’s not just you: Google+ as well [UPDATES]Amazon AWS DeepLens camera brings local deep learning to the smart homeAlexa goes silent as Amazon downtime mutes assistant To see the current server status of Google’s side of the equation, head over to Google Cloud Platform. There you’ll find that Google’s “Google Cloud Global Load balancers” had issues earlier today. Those issues nudged me toward creating the article you’re reading now.SOME Apps/Services reliant on Google’s servers and cloud computing:• Snapchat• Pokemon GO• Spotify• Discord chat• Faceit• Drudge Report (publication)• Instapage• Pivotal Tracker• Sourcegraph• Airbnb• Costco• TiVo• Zillo• Citrix• Khan Academy• Wix• Ubisoft• Zagat• HSBC (bank)Every Google service also – obviously – runs on a Google server. That includes Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Assistant, Google Play, Google Drive, and others. ALSO OF NOTE: Apps and services listed above and below do not necessarily rely on Google or Amazon services for any cloud computing or server service 100%. Some do, as evidenced by today’s outage. But not all. For Amazon there are too many companies to list. Amazon AWS all but corners this market for multiple services, working with everyone from Expedia to General Electric and back again. I picked some of the companies most readers will recognize for the following list. A WHOLE lot more can be found at Amazon AWS case studies.Amazon AWS also provides IT and server support for some small cities. The city of Asheville, North Carolina relies on Amazon for its disaster recovery (DR) solution. “By using AWS, the city no longer worries about the risk of not having the necessary IT infrastructure available to support data recovery and critical IT systems during an event such as a hurricane.”The city of McKinney, Texas relies on Amazon to host and run land-management and records-management systems. As Amazon suggests in their case study, “the city’s IT department is going all-in on AWS and uses the platform to run a wide range of services and applications.” Amazon’s got these cities rolling right.It would appear that Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform have their ducks in a row, for now. But when these servers go down, they go down hard, and they take big hunks of internet down with them. Have a peek at Amazon AWS outage means the internet is down. And if you need any convincing that Google and Amazon, but mostly Amazon AWS run the world, think about the following.If Amazon AWS went down completely, right now, we could potentially lose access to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video all at once. No more streaming video for ANY of us. Oh and Alexa would be down too, obviously. It could be absolute chaos – cross your fingers it’ll never come to be.
We have just barely reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-driving cars but researcher’s from MIT’s “Senseable City Lab” are already preparing the theoretical ground work for one of that technology’s biggest implications. Cars are slowly getting more independent of their human drivers and more interconnected with each other as well as other connected devices. In the future, this could translate to a sophisticated system that directs and manages the flow of cars at an intersection, without the use of traffic lights. Considering how many accidents happen at those intersections, the proposal almost sounds too horrific to be real. However, it could be argued that many if not all of those accidents happen because of lapses in human judgment. Traffic lights are installed to remove some element of human error to some extent. It is, however, hardly the most efficient system.MIT researchers are proposing a slot-based intersection traffic system instead, where cars cross not based on a timed traffic light but by the availability of a slot across the intersection. The system results in a more consistent flow of traffic instead of one that is predicated on vehicles trying to move as fast as they can. While almost ideal, it is a system that requires technologies that are not yet in place today.For one, it will, of course require that self-driving cars, or at least those with very intelligent systems, are the most common form of transportation on the road. Relying on humans to know when to stop and go on a slot-based system is, perhaps, next to impossible. But more than that, it also requires structures that communicate wirelessly with vehicles, relaying traffic situations and informations and controlling when and if they should stop at intersections.It’s going to take more than a few years for these technologies to be in place, not to mention more common, but the seeds have already been planted. Aside from self-driving car efforts from the likes of Google, various companies, both tech and car makers, have started the road towards fitting traffic structures and nearby buildings with wireless technology that would one day talk with these cars and help direct traffic while their human cargo sit back and enjoy the safe, flowing ride.VIA: Computer World
In all other aspects, the Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 is, fortunately an impressive armored phone. Probably just not for everyone’s aesthetic tastes. Or for anyone outside of Verizon, for that matter. Naturally, the DuraForce Pro 2 isn’t going to win a y beauty contest. Unless its a tank beauty contest, in which case it’s right up there. It’s surrounded on all sides with thick plastic, a break from the glass and metal of today’s phones. Its3not scratch proof but that might not matter much in terms of weathering the elements.The real key feature of the phone is its screen. Or rather the claimed use of sapphire glass. After being continually bitten by what the YouTuber calls “Apple Junk Sapphire”, the rugged Kyocera phone offers some welcome relief. Not only does the screen does use sapphire all over, so do the dual cameras.The DuraForce Pro 2 would have been almost perfect in terms of ruggedness except for one thing: the fingerprint sensor underneath the side power button. Many optical sensors scratch and still function normally but this phone’s accuracy takes a nosedive after some heavy damage. Not exactly durable under force. Premium smartphones these days, especially the more expensive ones, promote all sorts of rugged features, partly to reassure consumers about their rather costly investment. Those, of course, have nothing on actually rugged smartphones designed to be used in places no Galaxy or iPhone would dare go. But some companies claim features that often don’t hold up to semi-scientific tests, so JerryRigEverything set out to test if the Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 really does what it claims to do.
Story TimelineB&N Nook Tablet 10.1″ offers Google Play and keyboard supportAmazon Music app for Android TV appears on Google Play StoreGoogle Play Store names its best apps of 2018 The holiday season is a time of giving for many, and the new donation option on Google Play makes it exceedingly simple for Android users to donate to charities. The new support is rolling out now for a number of participating charities, which include the following options:– American Red Cross– charity:water– Girls Who Code– Doctors Without Borders USA– Room to Read– International Rescue Committee– UNICEF– Save the Children– World Wildlife Fund US– World Food Program USAThe charities cover a number of categories, including improving education, supporting children, improving access to food and clean water, offering medical treatment, and more. Google says that 100-percent of the donated funds go to the user’s chosen charity. In addition to accessing the donation option using Android devices, users with a supported Chromebook and other devices that offer the Google Play Store can also make donations; desktop web browsers are also supported. A direct link to the donation page can be found here, though it still says “coming soon” at this time. Google has made it possible to make donations to certain charities using the Google Play Store. The support has arrived for users in North America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Indonesia, and Taiwan, though it’ll take a few days for everyone to get access to the donation option. Supported charities include the American Red Cross and charity:water.
The Boeing 737 Max’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS is believed to have been the cause of a Lion Air crash that killed 189 people last October as well as a similar Ethiopian Airlines crash just this month. In the case of the Lion Air incident, investigators believed that the new automated system erroneously detected stalling conditions, forcing the plane’s nose to dive despite the pilots’ attempts to manually override it.The 737 Max has been grounded across the world but reports indicate that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has tentatively approved Boeing’s proposed changes to prevent future accidents. Those include a software update that will make it gentler and allow pilots to overpower it instead of the other way around. The update will also require MCAS to take into consideration data from two sensors rather than just one, in case one sensor becomes faulty like the Lion Air incident.Changes also include additional pilot training, something that was not initially required when the 737 Max planes were first rolled out. The FAA reportedly determined that the 737 Max had the same handling features as earlier 737 planes and didn’t require pilots to get additional training. The FAA has been accused of lapses that has led to the 737 Max’s unchecked rollout.AdChoices广告Even if these changes do get officially approved, it will take weeks to apply the software fixes to all planes and months for it to be reviewed. And that’s just on the US side. The FAA’s counterparts in Canada and the European Union will also conduct their own investigations, including how and why the FAA certified the problematic plane. You’d think that, after all this time, we’d get the flying thing down to a “T”. The Boeing 737 Max proved that isn’t the case. The development of new aviation technologies might be a natural part of progress but it’s not something that can be taken lightly considering the hundreds of lives involved. Sources claim that Boeing is ready to roll out sweeping changes to correct flaws in the stall-prevention system of the grounded new fleet but questions remain on why they passed certification in the first place. Story TimelineAll Boeing 737 Max flights suspended in Europe, but not USA (yet)A key Boeing 737 Max safety option will now reportedly be made standard
Bose has revealed a new set of noise-cancelling headphones, the first of a three-product launch aiming to claw back the “traveler’s favorite” crown from upstart rivals like Sony. The new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the first step of the trio, building on the well-esteemed tech inside the QuietComfort range, and integrating smart assistants and more. At their core, there’s an all-new acoustic and electronics package, Bose says, together with new digital signal processing. Eight microphones have been squeezed into the headphones, six of which are focused on noice cancellation. Two of those microphones combine with two others for beam-forming, to better isolate the wearer’s speech. Then there’s a rejection-array, which Bose says should be able to block even the most intrusive background chatter. That includes other conversations through to loud mechanical noises, like coffee grinders. As you’d expect, it all adjusts in real-time to the angle of your head and where the extraneous noise is coming from. Bose’s noise cancellation is adjustable, with multiple levels offered to support different degrees of ambient noise being passed through to the wearer. At one extreme, for example, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 do everything they can to silence the outside world; at the other, there’s full pass-through of external noise. Conversation Mode pauses both whatever music and video is currently playing and shuts off the noise cancellation, so that you can quickly hear and respond to somebody, then resumes it all when turned off again. For music, there’s the promise of Bose’s proprietary active equalization. That, the audio company says, should mean less listener fatigue over time. The Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are integrated into the headphones themselves, and Alexa can be summoned using the familiar wake-word from Echo smart speakers. Amazon Siri support is also included, if the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are paired with an iOS device. Bose AR is included, with support for audio-based augmented reality apps, and down the line the company says that users will be able to install noise-masking tracks that add “a layer of soothing sounds” over the noise-canceled silence within the headphones. Foldable, the headphones are made of stainless-steel and Bose says they’ve been designed to have fewer visible screws and seams than is typical. More important, there’s up to 20 hours of battery life, along with capacitive touch controls for things like navigating your music, adjusting volume, and answering or ending calls. Three buttons handle power, setting the noise cancellation level, and triggering the wearer’s voice assistant of choice; that can be set through the Bose companion app. Bose will be supplying the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with a thin hard-sided case, which is designed to slot more easily into a bag or an airplane seat-back pocket. They’re available to preorder in black and silver from today, priced at $399, and will ship June 30, joining rather than replacing the QuietComfort 35 II headphones. The first of three new noise-cancelling productsBose doesn’t plan on letting rivals like the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones steal all of its thunder, at least not without a fight. The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the first of a trio of products in the pipeline for this year and next, therefore. Next to come will be the Bose Earbuds 500, which will be a set of fully wireless earbuds from the company. They’re expected to launch later in 2019. Next year, meanwhile, will come the Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700, another fully wireless set but with enhanced capabilities. Bose isn’t sharing any more details on the specifications of either set of earbuds at this stage, promising only that we’ll know more on that front closer to their respective release dates. However it’s not hard to imagine that features like integrated smart assistants, adjustable noise cancellation levels, and smart control over media playback through Conversation Mode will all likely be core to the ‘buds.
Stanford says that the autonomous systems in both cars performed “about as well as an existing autonomous controls system” the team says that the system also performed as well as an experienced racecar driver. Stanford as a stated goal of making its autonomous control systems as good or better than the best, skilled drivers.The systems can learn from past driving maneuvers. The team says that control systems for autonomous cars need access to information about road-tire friction. That info dictates limits of how hard the car can brake, accelerate, or steer and still stay on the road during emergency maneuvers. The challenge is that friction in the real world is difficult to predict and variable.The team has developed a neural network integrating data from past driving experiences at Thunderhill along with information from a winter driving test facility to provide foundation knowledge consisting of 200,000 physics-based trajectories. The team is trying to blend data-driven methods and approaches that are grounded in fundamental physics to utilize the strengths of the individual techniques.AdChoices广告In testing, Shelley went around the track controlled by the physics-based autonomous system pre-loaded with data about the course and conditions. The team says that using that data, Shelley and a skilled amateur driver generated comparable lap times. Niki drove using the new neural network and performed similarly to the physics-based system. This is despite the fact that Niki lacked explicit information about road friction. The team has stressed that the neural network doesn’t perform well in conditions outside those it has experienced. Stanford University researchers have been working on developing autonomous cars to make them safer and better able to cope with unknown conditions. To do this, they have taken the Stanford autonomous VW GTI, known as Niki, and the autonomous Audi TTS, known as Shelley, to Thunderhill Raceway Park. The goal was to help the autonomous autos to perform safely in extreme and unknown circumstances.
The recall involves the catalyst converter located on these vehicles, according to the EPA, which says the recall will take place in phases in order to give the automaker enough time to supply the large quantity of replacement parts. The recall’s first phase will begin this year and focus on the oldest vehicles covered by the alert.A total of 862,520 vehicles are covered by this recall, including the 2011 to 2016 Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and Dodge Journey, the 2011 and 2012 Dodge Caliber, and the 2011 to 2014 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. Impacted vehicle owners will be notified about the recall; the EPA says appointments to get these vehicles repaired should not be made until the owner receives their notice. The impacted 2011 model year vehicles will get the first round of alerts in Q1 2019. Following that, 2012 model year vehicles will be covered by the alerts in Q2. Starting in Q3, recall notices will be sent to owners of 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles, and the last round of alerts for 2015 and 2016 vehicles will be sent in Q4.AdChoices广告Talking about the new recall is EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who explained:EPA welcomes the action by Fiat Chrysler to voluntarily recall its vehicles that do not meet U.S. emissions standards. We will provide assistance to consumers navigating the recall and continue to ensure that auto manufacturers abide by our nation’s laws designed to protect human health and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced the voluntary recall of nearly 900,000 Fiat Chrysler vehicles located in the United States. The recall follows an in-use emissions investigation by the EPA, as well as in-use testing Fiat Chrysler conducted under EPA regulations. The recall concerns vehicles that fail to meet emissions standards, according to the agency, which will help consumers deal with the recall. Story TimelineFiat Chrysler recalls 1M Ram pickups over airbag software errorFiat Chrysler to axe controversial diesel cars report claims4.8m vehicle Fiat Chrysler recall after cruise control refuses to turn off
A selection of health policy stories from Wisconsin, Mississippi, the District of Columbia, Nevada, New York, Florida and Oregon.The Associated Press/Washington Post: Wis. Judge Rejects Request To Reinstate Union Bargaining Rights Law While Appeal Is PendingA Wisconsin judge refused Monday to put on hold his earlier decision repealing major parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers. … The ruling last month overturned the law as it pertained to school and local government workers. The law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 applied to all public employees except police, firefighters, local transit workers and emergency medical service employees. It limits collective bargaining on wage increases to the rate of inflation. Other issues, such as workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, were excluded from collective bargaining (10/22).The Associated Press: Mississippi Medicaid Expansion Costly In 2017-25, Study SaysExpanding Medicaid would bring Mississippi more federal money from 2014 through 2016 but could cost the state millions of dollars from 2017 through 2025, according to a study released Monday by the state’s University Research Center. The study examines the economic impact of adding hundreds of thousands of people to the federal-state health insurance program for the needy, aged, blind and disabled — an option under the federal health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 (10/22).Bloomberg: Doctor Shortage Spreading In U.S. Presaged In Las Vegas Mary Berg is paying the price for a shortage of U.S. doctors that by most accounts is about to get much worse. … In the Las Vegas area, with about 2 million people, patients and doctors said it can take six months to see a primary-care doctor for a simple check-up. For more serious matters, the waits are far longer — more than a year, for example, to get an appointment with a neurologist who specializes in autism. … Once a problem limited to rural areas, the doctor shortage is now hitting large population centers such as Las Vegas and Detroit where people are forced to wait weeks or months or travel hundreds of miles for care (Pettypiece, 10/22). The Washington Post: Health Plan Takeover In D.C. Eases Concerns But Doesn’t Erase ThemThe District government’s takeover of its largest health contractor has eased concerns among care providers, but anxieties remain about the effects on the city’s half-billion-dollar system of providing health care to the needy (DeBonis, 10/22).The New York Times: 2 Women In Queens And Many Others Find A Sick Day Could Mean They’re FiredThere is now a Dickensian feel to New York City. You walk below the El on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona and find so many hard-fought-for laws — against overcrowded tenements, and wage violations and sanitary conditions — winked at. In this Upstairs, Downstairs city, those at the bottom of the pile learn the virtues of silence. Of late, however, a coalition of community groups has taken up the cudgel in support of paid sick days. This is a luxury denied to 700,000 to 1.2 million New Yorkers (Powell, 10/22).The Miami Herald: Miami-Dade Commission Inches Closer To Health Care Deal With UnionsWith three votes scheduled for Tuesday, Miami-Dade County government will be closer to reaching contract agreements with all 10 of its employee unions. Commissioners are expected to ratify contracts with transportation workers, as well as general services employees and supervisors. Both unions have agreed to accept the restoration of a 4 percent health care concession and pay higher health insurance co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs (Rabin, 10/22).The Oregonian: Walden Wants Details As Thousands Of Oregon Military Retirees Face Higher CopaysThe Pentagon’s health care program is poised to cut back its low-cost HMO-style plan across five Western states, meaning either longer drives or higher copays and additional hassle for thousands of Oregonian military retirees and their families. Officials say details aren’t final; and the changes for Tricare, the Pentagon’s health care program, won’t go into effect until April. But the outlines of the changes were reported in Army Times, a military newspaper, late last week. Congressman Greg Walden, R-Ore., has asked the Pentagon to release more information immediately, noting that the people most affected are in the dark (Budnick, 10/22).Health News Florida: State Awards $35 Million For Primary CareTwenty-eight health-care organizations in Florida will receive a total of $35 million in state grants to enhance primary care for low-income people, officials announced Monday. Winners include hospitals, county health departments and federally qualified health centers. Lakeland Regional Medical Center received the single largest award, $4 million. In July, LRMC set up a primary-care clinic across the street to divert patients who didn’t need emergency-room care to a less-intensive setting (10/22).Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Nurses Object To Abele’s Proposed Health Benefits CutbackMilwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s plan to deny health benefits to part-time workers unless they work at least 30 hours a week would result in an exodus of part-time nurses at the county’s Mental Health Complex, nurses and their supporters said Monday. The change would trigger an immediate staffing crisis at the complex, nurses’ union president Candice Owley said at a news conference at the courthouse. Many of the 75 part-time nurses at the complex work part-time primarily for the health insurance, she said (Schultze, 10/22).The Lund Report: Oregon Public Education Employees Drop Thousands Of PoundsOregon public education employees have lost nearly 200,000 pounds in a 20-month period that began in October 2010 after the state added free Weight Watchers classes as a benefit, an administrator for the Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB) told The Lund Report. Joan M. Kapowich, who also administers the Public Employees’ Benefit Board, said those workers lost over 175,000 pounds since the free weight loss classes became part of their benefits in 2009. Some 20 percent or 12,181 of OEBB employees participated in the Weight Watchers classes, meaning they achieved an average 16-pound weight loss. Kapowich said participation was “a much higher percentage than expected” (Widman, 10/22). State Roundup: Wis. Judge Keeps Law Barring Most Collective Bargaining On Shelf This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Viewpoints: Health Law’s ‘Premium Joy;’ John Kerry’s Hidden Surprise; The Heartbreak Of Abortion The New York Times: Economix: ‘Premium Shock’ and ‘Premium Joy’ Under the Affordable Care Act Starting on Oct. 1, Americans can purchase individual health insurance in what is known as the nongroup market on the newly established electronic health-insurance exchanges that were called for in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. That coverage will take effect on Jan. 1. In the meantime, Americans will be bombarded with information on the premiums they will pay for coverage on the exchanges. Much of that information will be pure speculation, and a good part of it will be strategic misinformation (a topic that I will explore more fully in a future post). So let’s review what the new arrangement seeks to accomplish (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 6/21). The Wall Street Journal’s Potomac Watch: John Kerry’s ObamaCare Boondoggle A bipartisan backlash is growing against another section of President Obama’s health-care law. … The change has allowed Massachusetts to raise its Medicare payout by $257 million, forcing cuts to hospitals in 40 other states. The National Rural Health Association and 20 state hospital associations in January sent a panicked letter to President Obama, noting that the Massachusetts manipulation of the program would hand that state $3.5 billion over the next 10 years at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries everywhere. They quoted Mr. Obama’s former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick, admitting that “What Massachusetts gets comes from everybody else” (Kimberley Strassel, 6/20).Bloomberg: Obamacare Is For Republicans, Too Three months from now, Americans will get their first look at whether Obamacare works. The answer will depend a lot on Republican governors and legislatures — and they should want the law’s exchanges to be successful as much as the president does (6/20).The Wall Street Journal: Here Comes ObamaCare’s ‘Workplace Wellness’ During the congressional debate over ObamaCare, few provisions stirred less controversy than an amendment providing incentives for companies to encourage their workers to stay healthy. It’s a turbocharged version of “workplace wellness” programs: If employees fall short of their targets—on blood pressure or weight, for example—employers are allowed to make them contribute more to their health insurance. The idea is to rein in medical costs by reducing worker illness (Al Lewis and Vik Khanna, 6/20).Politico: Competition Is Rx To Slow Health Costs Three years into the Affordable Care Act, America’s employers are still looking for the affordable part. Despite a recent slowdown, health care inflation remains two to three times the rate of general inflation. Health insurance is expected to cost a family $16,000 this year, double what it cost a decade ago. … Congress must focus on cost containment, the unfinished business of health reform, as it works to tame entitlement spending and the deficit. Congress can tackle the cost issue head-on by making both public and private-sector payment for care dependent on delivering the high-quality care every hardworking American deserves (David Lansky and Sally Welborn, 6/19). Detroit Free Press: Snyder Shows Leadership; Senate Shows Partisanship On Thursday, Snyder was in rare form. The normally genial Snyder laid into his fellow Republicans, lambasting the GOP-led state Senate for its refusal to vote on the expansion before its summer recess. “Take a vote, not a vacation,” Snyder told legislators. … There was determination in Snyder’s eyes as he urged the Senate to vote. Not voting is saying no, he said. It was clear the governor was on a mission, as he encouraged residents to tell their state senators to vote to expand Medicaid. It’s the right thing to do, and we’re heartened by his leadership on this issue (6/21). Arizona Republic: Will Medicaid Referendum Make It?Gov. Jan Brewer says that opponents to her Medicaid expansion won’t get the signatures to refer it to the 2014 general election ballot. Her lawyers say that, even if they do, the courts will strike it down. Brewer has a much better chance of being right than her lawyers. The Arizona Constitution allows virtually any law passed by the Legislature, or any part of a law, to be referred. If enough signatures are gathered, the law doesn’t go into effect until the electorate gets a chance to vote on it. Opponents are circulating petitions to refer both the expansion and the hospital assessment to pay for it and some of the state’s existing Medicaid obligations (Robert Robb, 6/20). Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): The Pot Calling The Kettle Black On ObamacareDuring the past month several reports have been published on cost variations in the health care system. Among medical providers, there is clear evidence of wide differences in costs and utilization both across geographic regions and institutions. When the Colorado 208 Commission studied the issue, it also found that there were great variations among what insurers, the government and individuals pay. And, recently, the Colorado Division of Insurance analyzed insurance proposals for the health exchange. Again, wide variations in insurance premiums are being proposed (Francis M. Miller, 6/20).The New York Times: My Abortion, At 23 Weeks My world stopped. I loved being pregnant with twins and trying to figure out which one was where in my uterus. Sometimes it felt like a party in there, with eight limbs moving. The thought of losing one child was unbearable. The M.R.I., at Seattle Children’s Hospital, confirmed our fears: the organs were pushed up into our boy’s chest and not developing properly. We were in the 22nd week. In Washington State, abortion is legal until the 24th week. After 10 more days of tests and meetings, we were in the 23rd week and had to make a decision. My husband is more conservative than I am. He also is a Catholic. I am an old-school liberal, and I am not religious. But from the start, and through this ordeal, we were in complete agreement. We desperately wanted this child and would do whatever we could to save him, if his hernia was fixable and he could have a good quality of life (Judy Nicastro, 6/20). Bloomberg: Other Nations Don’t Compare To U.S. Health CareIt’s a simple truism, often repeated, that other developed nations achieve better health outcomes than the U.S. does despite spending less money on care. … It’s all so obvious, simple, widely agreed upon among health-care experts — and completely irrelevant. (Economist Robert) Frank’s comparison reflects a common misunderstanding of the real relationships between health, health care and government policy in the U.S (David Goldhill, 6/20).Star Tribune: Move Forward On Medical Device TrackingYou may not yet depend on a pacemaker, defibrillator, stent, joint implant or any of the other life-changing, potentially lifesaving products made by the medical device industry. But chances are you or a family member will be a patient some day. The number of knee replacements performed annually is projected to soar 673 percent by 2030, for example, with hip replacements increasing by 174 percent in the same time frame. That’s why it isn’t just the medical device industry that has a stake in the timely rollout of a long-overdue national system to better track the safety and whereabouts of devices once they’re on the market or in use. The millions of people in Minnesota and elsewhere who already rely on medical devices, and the millions more who will do so in the future, deserve to have this important new public health protection in place as soon as possible (6/21). Sacramento Bee: Physician Shortage Raises QuestionsRight now, we simply don’t have enough doctors to deliver high-quality primary care. Add to this the 25 million uninsured Americans who will have access to care in January when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect and we have the makings of a disaster. Medical schools across the country are doing an exceptionally poor job of addressing this shortage. Their press releases tout large numbers of medical students going into residencies that produce primary care doctors, yet these numbers are grossly misleading (Dr. Michael Wilkes, 6/20). Kansas City Star: OK, Call Obesity A Sickness If It Leads To WellnessUp until now, the medical establishment has described obesity as “a major public health problem.” That’s a soothingly impersonal way to put it. Collectively, too many obese people constitute a problem. But people don’t normally wake up in the morning and think, “Hey, I am part of a major health problem.” Now the ground has shifted. The American Medical Association this week officially recognized obesity as a disease. That strikes a lot closer to home. One could conceivably look in the mirror and say, “I have an illness.” Would that help or harm? Obesity is a scourge (Barbara Shelly, 6/20). Medpage Today: What’s Wrong With What We’ve Got Now?Creating a Patient-Centered Medical Home within our existing system seems, at times, like a Herculean task. Getting all the pieces in place so that we can make the needed changes sometimes seems too vast to get it all right. We find ourselves asking: Why bother? Is our healthcare system that broken? Is the way we take care of patients now failing, satisfactory, or outstanding? If we just continue on the path we are on, is there anything wrong with that? Americans receive endless amounts of healthcare, but, we also have to ask, is it healthcare of endless value? (Dr. Fred Pelzman, 6/20).Politico: Pathway Shouldn’t Exclude Safety Net The Congressional Budget Office estimates the (Senate immigration) bill will raise $451 billion of new revenue over 2014-2023 and another $1.5 trillion in the decade after that, mostly from income and payroll taxes paid by immigrants. Immigrants on the pathway to citizenship contribute to the funding of all federal programs with their tax dollars, but nearly all of them will be barred from using federal safety net programs for at least 13 years. … The 13-year-long pathway to citizenship will be hard enough without these restrictions. Work hard to save up money not just for your kids’ school supplies, but to pay the penalties in the bill. Lose your job and you risk losing your legal status and being deported. The restrictions in the bill make the pathway even more treacherous. Pay your taxes, but don’t get sick. Pay your taxes, but don’t come to us for help (Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, 6/20).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Speaking Tuesday to the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, President Barack Obama talked about the challenges his administration has faced recently — and still faces in the future — regarding the roll-out of the health overhaul. Meanwhile, another poll indicated the president’s approval ratings are sinking. The Washington Post: Obama Says Republicans Share Some Blame For Health-Care Law’s FailuresPresident Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure. Addressing a gathering of business executives, Obama acknowledged that the health-care rollout “has been rough, to say the least,” and he lamented the government’s archaic information-technology procurement system (Rucker and Somashekhar, 11/19).ABC News: Obama: Rebranding Obamacare Will Be A ChallengePresident Obama admitted that, even once the health care website is working properly, he faces an uphill battle to “remarket and rebrand” his signature law in the face of political opposition. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Tuesday, the president said Republican resistance contributed to the rocky Obamacare rollout (Bruce, 11/20).NBC News: Obama: We ‘Underestimated’ Difficulty Of Launching Obamacare PortalPresident Barack Obama said Tuesday that his administration “underestimated” the difficulty of launching the troubled HealthCare.gov web site but that political partisanship is also to blame for the law’s poor rollout. “I think that we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,” Obama said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib as part of its “CEO Summit.” (Dann, 11/19).CBS News: Poll: Obamacare Support, Obama Approval Sink To New LowsPresident Obama’s job approval rating has plunged to the lowest of his presidency, according to a new CBS News poll released Wednesday, and Americans’ approval of the Affordable Care Act has dropped it’s lowest since CBS News started polling on the law. Thirty-seven percent now approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, down from 46 percent in October — a nine point drop in just a month. Mr. Obama’s disapproval rating is 57 percent — the highest level for this president in CBS News Polls ( Dutton, De Pinto, Salvanto and Backus, 11/20).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Secretary Says Website Will Improve, But Still Be A Work In Progress Come DecemberThe HealthCare.gov website will still be a work in progress beyond the end of the month, Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday, appearing to soften a promise that the site will be working by then for the vast majority of users. “The 30th of November is not a magic go, no go date. It is a work of constant improvement. We have some very specific things we know we need to complete by the 30th and that punch list is getting knocked out every week,” Sebelius told The Associated Press (11/19).The Washington Post: Carney Says Obama Was Told About Healthcare.gov Review In AprilWhite House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama was told in April about a review of HealthCare.gov’s problems, but Carney declined to specify the details of the briefing. A federally-commissioned review by McKinsey & Co. concluded in late March that the online enrollment system was risky because the design process was flawed, The Washington Post first reported Monday night (Eilperin, 11/19). Obama Seeks To Redirect Some Of The Blame For Health Law Difficulties Toward Republicans
Lost In Translation: Small, Rural Providers Struggle Under ‘Burdensome’ Language Rule The aim of federal rules requiring hospitals, doctors and dentists to provide free interpretation and translation services for people who don’t speak English is to avoid fatal tragedies that can occur when important medical information isn’t communicated correctly. But many providers find the rule unnecessary. The Dallas Morning News: Are Medical Mistakes Really The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The U.S.? New federal rules requiring thousands of hospitals, doctors and dentists to provide free interpretation and translation services for people who don’t speak English aim to prevent tragedies like these, which were among those included in a study of interpretation-related malpractice cases in four states. (Ollove, 10/12) Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said a quarter of a million Americans die each year because of medical errors. That put medical mistakes as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. second only to heart disease and cancer. The study generated some scary headlines. But before you put off that trip to the doctor, here are some problems with the study. (Yasmin, 10/11) Stateline: Preventing Vital Health Care Information From Being Lost In Translation In other news about the quality of health care services — This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Featured Stories Reuters Twitter Facebook Sponsored By: Sears Holdings Corp chairman Eddie Lampert won the bankruptcy auction with an improved takeover bid of US$5.2 billion, allowing the 126-year-old retailer to keep its doors open.AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Reddit Recommended For YouIMF’s Lagarde to resign on Tuesday -sourcesFather whose family died in Ethiopian plane crash to brief CongressIrish finance minister says no-deal Brexit more likelyICE Futures Canada quotes and cash pricesWall Street muted after mixed bank earnings Sears saved by chairman’s $5.2 billion bid, last-minute reprieve for up to 45,000 workers Eddie Lampert wins bankruptcy auction More 2 Comments Join the conversation → Share this storySears saved by chairman’s $5.2 billion bid, last-minute reprieve for up to 45,000 workers Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert won a bankruptcy auction to buy the once iconic U.S. retailer after presenting an improved offer of US$5.2 billion, Sears said on Thursday, allowing it to keep its more than 400 stores running.Sears picked Lampert’s hedge fund ESL Investments Inc as the winner at a bankruptcy court-supervised auction after his latest bid topped an earlier US$5 billion proposal following weeks of talks.The deal would preserve up to 45,000 jobs and ESL would acquire substantially all of the company, including its “Go Forward Stores” on a going-concern basis, Sears said.“We are pleased to have reached a deal that would provide a path for Sears to emerge from the chapter 11 process,” the restructuring committee of Sears’ board of directors said in a statement.There remains a chance the deal could fall apart, as it still must be documented and approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge. A hearing to approve the sale is currently scheduled for Feb. 1 and, if successful, the transaction is expected to close on or about Feb. 8, Sears said.Lampert’s only challenger in the auction was Sears itself, and how much it would reap in a sale of its businesses and assets in pieces, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.Sears had believed Lampert’s earlier bids fell short of covering the bills the retailer has racked up since filing for bankruptcy protection in October.More than 20 U.S. retailers, including Sears and Toys ‘R’ US, have filed for bankruptcy since the start of 2017, succumbing to the onslaught of fierce e-commerce competition from companies like Amazon.com Inc.Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP provided legal counsel to Sears during the auction. © Thomson Reuters 2019 January 17, 20193:19 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing advertisement Comment Email ← Previous Next →