Amazon Echo calling and messaging takes on Skype

first_imgAmazon’s Echo Show may be the retail behemoth’s biggest news today, but it’s also going after Skype and other internet calling services with a new Alexa feature. Debuting on the Echo Show, the new Alexa Calling and Messaging service will actually be available across all of the Echo devices, though not all will support the same features. At its core, though, the new service will turn your Echo gadgets into a hands-free calling system. Voice calls and messaging will work across Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. You’ll also be able to use it with the free Alexa app, available for iOS and Android. Initial setup is through the app too; that’s where you can turn the service on, along with see who else of your contacts has done the same.After that, though, everything can be done through the Echo itself. By saying “Alexa, call Dad” or similar, you can place a voice call without needing to touch anything. The person on the other end will see the green light on their Echo flash to show there’s an incoming call; they can answer it – or reject – it by voice command, too. There’s also support for sending voice messages, similar to leaving a voicemail but with no risk that the recipient will answer the call and force you to actually talk to them. By saying “Alexa, message Dad” you’ll be prompted to record a short snippet of audio that will be saved in their inbox; their Alexa will chime when a message arrives, and then blink green to show there’s something waiting. Saying “Alexa, play my messages” starts them playing back. Those with an Echo Show, meanwhile, the smart home device announced today complete with a 5-megapixel camera and the 7-inch touchscreen, can make video calls too. You’ll need to be calling another Echo Show owner, at least for now, in order for them to work. Otherwise, though, the process is much the same as for audio calling.People you really trust, meanwhile, can be added to your Drop In whitelist. That basically allows callers on Echo Show to not only place a call but have it instantly and automatically answered: basically, you show up on the screen straight away. Amazon suggests it’ll be useful for contacting elderly relatives, or checking in on a sleeping baby.NOW READ: This is Amazon Echo ShowWhile services like Skype clearly have an early-starter advantage, Amazon’s simple usage might give Alexa calling and messaging an edge. Echo has already demonstrated that a simple voice interface can be preferable to many, and throwing voice calls into that mixture is an obvious improvement we’d been waiting for. It’ll roll out from this morning. MORE Amazon Story TimelineAmazon Echo 7-Mic dev kit coming for 3rd-party manufacturersAmazon Lex opens Alexa AI’s bot smarts to everyoneAmazon’s Echo Look gives Alexa fashion-judging eyeslast_img read more

OnePlus 5 ads start spamming OnePlus 3 3T owners

first_imgOnePlus seems to love, nay, thrive in controversy. From its “Never Settle” battle cry, to its exclusive invite system, to its premature retirement of last year’s flagship, OnePlus seems to live out the phrase “bad publicity is still publicity”. Just when you thought it was over, with a more or less “normal” launch of the OnePlus 5, here comes another one. Apparently, OnePlus has started sending OnePlus owners, most of them on the OnePlus 3 or 3T, ads and promos to upgrade to the latest model. And said owners aren’t taking to kindly to the intrusion. This promotion is so wrong on many levels. Never mind that it paints an image of a company that’s desperate to meet sales targets. Never mind that the technical capability isn’t really new nor is it exclusive to OnePlus. OEMs are, in a way, capable of pushing out such ads but few do so. Even Samsung, notorious for its intrusive and bloated out of the box experience, barely goes down that road.OnePlus perhaps thinks it’s above reproach. Or whatever its reason, it’s obviously not something that users appreciate at all. Especially considering these are the very users that OnePlus has abandoned by discontinuing the OnePlus 3 and 3T on such short notice and well before their time, all for the sake of the OnePlus 5. Receiving unsolicited notifications to get that very same new model is rubbing salt on their wounds even before they’ve healed.Worse is the fact that users don’t have anyway to opt out of receiving these ads. They popup up any time and on any model, regardless of what region you are in. The latter should give OnePlus pause, as it is treading dangerously close to violating some laws.There is actually one way of stopping the ads, but it only works if you’re on the latest Beta 9 for the OnePlus 3T. You can go to the Apps section of the Settings app, look for the Push system app, and block all notifications. That, however, would also mean you might block out actually critical notifications that OnePlus does push out. If it ever will.VIA: Reddit (1), (2)last_img read more

Wells Fargo ATMs get support for Android Pay Apple Pay and others

first_imgWells Fargo has announced that it is upgrading more than 5,000 of its ATMs with support for NFC-based mobile payment systems including Android Pay and Apple Pay. The 5,000 figure represents only about 40-percent of the bank’s ATMs; Wells Fargo says it plans to bring the support to more than 13,000 of its ATMs by the 2019. This represents the latest evolution of Wells Fargo’s ‘cardless’ ATM usage, the first having arrived back in March and involving the company’s mobile app. This time around, the bank is equipping its ATMs with NFC hardware so that customers can use a related device, such as a phone or a smartwatch, with the automatic tellers. The system works by having users sign into their ‘mobile wallet features’ and then hold the smartwatch or smartphone up to the NFC spot on a supported ATM. These machines will be identifiable via a contactless symbol decal placed in an obvious spot on the front of the unit. After doing that, and instead of inserting a debit card, the user will enter their PIN and then use the ATM as usual.The move comes ahead of forecasts predicting that mobile wallets will become increasingly popular in coming years while traditional debit and credit cards will fall out of style. Though not all mobile devices have NFC at this time, the feature has made its way into many products, including easily acquired ones like certain fitness and activity bands.If you don’t have an NFC-enabled device, you still have an option for interacting with a Wells Fargo ATM without a debit card, though. This involves downloading the mobile app, which is used to generate a one-time code at the ATM. The user enters this code, then uses the ATM like usual, never having to insert a physical debit card.SOURCE: Wells Fargolast_img read more

Apple Upgrade Program users get an early start on iPhone X preorders

first_imgStory TimelineiPhone Upgrade Program: 5 things to know ahead of iPhone XFirst iPhone X shipments could be extremely limitedAre you still excited about iPhone X?iPhone X release nightmare: Here’s the problemApple visiting Foxconn as iPhone X production strainsiPhone X anticipation may be slowing iPhone 8 sales Starting Monday, October 23rd, Apple will let members of its installment-based iPhone Upgrade Program complete their loan eligibility paperwork early. This allows them to save time and reduce the number of steps for the checkout process when placing their iPhone X pre-orders, which officially open at 12:01am Pacific on October 27th. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually fairly helpful for iPhone Upgrade Program users who hope to get their iPhone X as soon as possible, as customers who choose to pre-order through their carriers or without a contract already have fewer steps during checkout. The catch, however, is that users need to already be enrolled in the Upgrade Program; those joining the program now can’t take advantage of the head start period. Apple says that those already in the program can get started through the Apple Store app, and notes that iPhone X orders will be “determined on a first-come, first-served basis.”SOURCE Apple We’re less than a week away from when Apple opens pre-orders for the highly anticipated iPhone X. While there’s little you can do to guarantee a device on day one, Apple has revealed it’s allowing members of its iPhone Upgrade Program to “get a head start” on their upgrade, and in turn make the pre-order process a little smoother. These users don’t get to place a full pre-order earlier than everyone else, but they can reduce the number of steps to make a pre-order on Friday, October 27th.last_img read more

Moto X4 now available from more US retailers

first_imgThe Moto X4 is a smartphone with a strange tale to tell. Going beyond its pedigree, it’s release as the US’ first and so far only Android One model may have shown how US consumers might not be that too enthralled by the concept of a mid-range Nexus, especially one that is only available from Google’s Project Fi. Amazon came to the rescue, but it had quite a few strings attached. Now, however, the Moto X4 is finally available widely as a “pure” Moto X4, provided you’re willing to buy retailers instead of carriers. On paper, the Moto X4 is a decent mid-ranger. If you’re a fan of Google’s pure Android experience, then the Android One edition is near perfect. If you’re already a Project Fi subscriber, then you’ll almost be in heaven. Everyone else will have to settle for compromises.Amazon, for example, offers the standard Moto X4, unlocked, under its Prime Exclusives banner. While that does mean you can get it cheaper, $329.99 instead of the standard $399.99, it requires you to live with targeted ads on your lock screen. It also requires that you be an Amazon Prime member in the first place.Now all those restrictions are lifted, with the Moto X4 now available from Best Buy, B&H Photo, as well as Newegg. Yes, you do have to pay the full $400 tag, but that comes with the freedom of having an unlocked phone that works across all major carriers, including Verizon’s CDMA network.The difference between a standard Moto X4 and the Android One version is limited to the software and pretty minimal at best. The Moto X4 comes with hands-free Amazon Alexa voice control absent from Android One, though users are free to use Google Assistant as they please. Other than that, the Moto X4 remains a solid mid-range option for those who aren’t exactly keen on throwing $1,000 on an everyday driver.Be sure to check out our review of the Android One Moto X4 to see what you will be getting or missing out on, depending on which model you buy.BUY: Moto X4 from Best Buy, B&H Photo, Newegglast_img read more

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 introduces allnew DSSV suspension technology

first_imgNeed proof that GM is serious about its mid-size pickup program? Look no further than the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, the first real counter-punch to Toyota‘s popular Tacoma TRD Off-Road truck to have been produced by the domestic brand. The Colorado ZR2, which will hit showrooms as a 2017 model, goes beyond merely butching up the suspension and adding fender flares – it actually introduces brand new technology under the chassis that has yet to see the light of day in a pickup platform. Enter dynamic suspension spool valve technology, or DSSV. Conceived and designed by Multimatic, DSSV is a technology that has been adapted from the world of high performance driving that moves beyond monotube / twintube shock designs and the traditional external reservoirs added to accommodate off-road driving.Whereas standard shock absorbers make use of a set of shims to control the flow of fluid inside a shock absorber and dampen the force of the piston, DSSV employs spool valves. What’s the difference? A spool valve chamber features customizable ports for controlling fluid flow, rather than relying on shim deflection, which is a far less precise method of controlling the movement inside a shock absorber. By changing the shape and the location of the ports, it’s possible to tune shock response in a highly predictable manner. Even more important is how consistently DSSV tech responds, which minimizes variations in performance, keeps fluid flow from becoming turbulent, and provides no real drop off in capability even as temperatures inside the shock begin to rise.Chevrolet and Multimatic have worked together on DSSV suspension systems before with the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, which was the first affordably-priced street car to offer the technology. Applied to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, however, DSSV opens a new frontier in off-road driving that no one else – even the aftermarket – has so far attempted to conquer.The difference, as always, is in the details. The shocks used by the Colorado ZR2 feature not one, but three spool valves. Unlike the Z28, which offered piston-mounted valves, the first two found in the are located in a remote block attached to an external reservoir, and allow Chevrolet to tune the rebound and compression of the damper. The third valve is designed for position sensitivity – that is to say, to react when the shock is undergoing extreme extension and compression – and is found inside the shock cylinder itself.Why is this important? The remote spool valves provide exceptional control and comfort when driving on the street, while the third valve’s ability to intervene when hitting the trail hard (jumping, rock crawling, bouncing through ruts) adds the extra stiffness and damping required without infringing on road manners. Contrast this against a standard external reservoir shock, which offers no such additional control, and the difference between the two is repeatable, day-long performance in harsh conditions with no squishy, disconnected feeling on the drive home.Why not simply use the excellent Magnetic Ride Control system that’s outfitted to so many high performance GM cars and trucks, and avoid the development costs of an all-new design? I asked the same question. Chevrolet’s answer was that magride isn’t designed to tackle the same heat and abuse that’s generated during off-road driving, whereas the Multimatic solution has years of testing in some of the most toxic racing environments found all over the world.It’s a simplified explanation of a very complex technology to be sure – but the take-away is that the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 offers truck fans something no other manufacturer is currently building. The same technology that sticks an F1 car through the corners now keeps the Colorado ZR2 from bouncing uncontrollably down a rough desert trail. Specifically, when it rolls into dealerships next year the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 will be the first truck on the market to feature Multimatic-built off-road shock absorbers. You might recognize that name from the string of Formula One championships and constructor’s titles that the Canadian engineering firm has enjoyed over the past several years, or from its status as the suspension supplier for supercars like the upcoming Ford GT and the Aston Martin One-77. I had the chance to sit down with the brain trust at Multimatic at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Nevada this past month and find out more about what the ZR2 brings to the off-road argument.All-terrain driving requires an entirely different chassis setup as compared to what works on the street, which can make it particularly challenging to design a vehicle that’s competent in both worlds. In the end, most factory-built off-road trucks and SUVs end up compromising on-road handling and suspension response in favor of being able to handle the extreme loads and compressions that come with bounding from rock to dune to trail.center_img Story TimelineChevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept showcased at LA Auto ShowGM pins diesel redemption on meaty 2016 Chevrolet ColoradoGM scrambles to build more Colorado and Canyon truckslast_img read more

2019 Chevrolet Blazer priced from 30k for punchy crossover

first_imgChevrolet has priced up the 2019 Blazer, bringing its its all-new midsize SUV for under $30k as it counts on sharp styling and a familiar name buoying sales. Three trims will be offered on the crossover, all of which will target drivers with an eagerness to stand out. Entry-level is the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer L, which will start at $29,995 including destination. It has HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps as standard, along with LED taillamps. On the front, there’s a black finish grille with a gold Chevy bowtie.At the rear, meanwhile, there are dual exhausts, finished with round, bright-finish tailpipe tips. The Blazer L rides on 18-inch wheels as standard, though 20-inch versions will be offered as an option. Standard is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 193 horsepower, that includes stop/start and is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet’s 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s 4G LTE and WiFi hotspot support – a 3GB/one month trial is included, after which you have to pay – and an HD reversing camera. Options include a panoramic dual-pane power sunroof, AWD, Hitch View, heating and ventilation for the front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated outboard rear seats, and Rear Camera Mirror. You can also have adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging, up to six USB ports, and extra active safety tech. A hands-free power lift gage is also available. Chevrolet says the 2019 Blazer is expected to show up in dealerships from early next year. Final pricing for each trim and option hasn’t been confirmed, but expect top-spec cars to top $40k. The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer features standard LED-illuminated Chevy signature dual-element taillamps.center_img Optional will be the 3.6-liter V6, with a nine-speed automatic, stop/start, and a far more rewarding 305 horsepower. That’s standard on the 2019 Blazer RS and Blazer Premier trims, in fact. The RS swaps the regular grille for hexagon-shaped black mesh with special RS badging and a black bowtie, while the tailpipes are rectangular rather than round. It rides on 20-inch dark machine-face wheels as standard, though 21-inch gloss black wheels are available. The 2019 Blazer Premier, meanwhile, gets a black grille with chrome accents and a gold bowtie, dual exhausts with through-fascia exits and bright tips, and 20-inch machine-face wheels as standard. 21-inch pearl nickel wheels are optional. AdChoices广告Standard regardless of trim is keyless open and start, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, and a six-way manual driver’s seat. The trunk offers up to 64.2 cubic feet of space, with the second row – that’s split 60/40 – folded flat. Alternatively you can slide the rear bench forward and back. Story Timeline2019 Chevrolet Blazer revealed as bold tech-savvy crossover2019 Chevrolet Blazer: 5 things to knowDoes the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer deserve its name?last_img read more

Research Roundup Insurance Coverage And Access To Care In Massachusetts

first_imgResearch Roundup: Insurance Coverage And Access To Care In Massachusetts Each week, KHN reporter Alvin Tran compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.Health Affairs: Survey Finds Public Support For Legal Interventions Directed At Health Behavior To Fight Noncommunicable Disease – With increasing interest in public health problems such as obesity and alcohol and tobacco use, lawmakers are increasingly considering using policy to modify behavior. According to the authors, little is currently known about the public’s willingness to accept such policies.  The researchers surveyed more than 1,800 adults to assess their attitudes toward government interventions aimed at these issues. They found that strong support, especially among African Americans and Hispanics. “There was much support for strategies that enable people to exercise healthful choices—for example, menu labeling and improving access to nicotine patches—but considerably less for more coercive measures, such as insurance premium surcharges,” the authors write. Policy makers “should involve the public in priority-setting activities in public health” and “seek to understand the values held by different segments of the population and incorporate those values in to policy decisions,” the authors suggest (Morain and Mello, 3/2013). Health Affairs: Insurance Expansion In Massachusetts Did Not Reduce Access Among Previously Insured Medicare Patients – In 2006 Massachusetts passed health overhaul legislation that sought to get universal coverage in the state. Opponents suggested it could have a negative impact on people who already had insurance. They said that the sudden increase in the number of people with insurance might overwhelm doctors and other health care providers, creating shortages and poor health care for some people who were already in the system, especially Medicare beneficiaries who are older and often need more medical care. In this study, researchers analyzed Medicare data from 2004 to 2009 to determine how insurance expansion under the Massachusetts’ health reform law affected beneficiaries. “We found no evidence that Massachusetts’ health care reform, with its resulting insurance expansion and consequent threat of negative spillover on the previously insured, led to an increase in preventable hospitalization among Medicare patients,” the authors write. Their study found that preventable hospitalizations among beneficiaries in Massachusetts dropped slightly more than rates in comparison New England states (Joynt, Chan, Orav, and Jha, 3/2013).  The Kaiser Family Foundation/The Urban Institute: Reversing The Trend? Understanding The Recent Increase In Health Insurance Coverage Among The Nonelderly Population — According to the authors of this brief, the number of uninsured people in the U.S. decreased by 1.2 million in 2011. They suggest that this decrease was the result of an increase in coverage through public programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “Most of the growth in public coverage, and the attendant reduction in the nonelderly uninsured, was concentrated among adults, while the number of uninsured children was largely unchanged between 2010 and 2011,” the synopsis of the study notes. This brief includes discussions of trends in coverage by work status, race and ethnicity and region, and of the impact of the Affordable Care Act (Holahan and McGrath, 3/1).Journal Of General Internal Medicine: Access, Interest, and Attitudes Toward Electronic Communication For Health Care Among Patients In The Medical Safety Net – According to the authors, e-mail communication between patients and clinicians “is a promising application of health information technology.” There are disparities, however, in adoption of the tool. The researchers surveyed a group of patients from a large urban safety net clinic network to assess their level of access to and attitudes toward using e-mails to communicate with their doctors. “In our study of ethnically diverse, low-income patients, we found that the majority use email; nearly three out of every four patients were interested in using email for health communication with their medical providers,” the authors write, although less than 20 percent of patients had used e-mail to communicate with their providers. “This demonstrates and unmet interest in health-related electronic communication among patients in the safety net,” the researchers said (Schickedanz et al., 2/20). Here is a selection of news coverage of other recent research:Reuters: Study Results Take Almost Two Years To Be Released Results from the average clinical trial take almost two years to be published, according to a new study, despite U.S. regulations calling for a 12-month maximum lag time on the release of most research findings. That’s concerning, researchers said, because publication delays hinder doctors’ ability to make the most well-informed treatment choices with their patients and slow progress within the scientific community (Pittman, 3/6). Reuters: Doctors Don’t Often Tell Patients Of CT Scan Risks Only about a third of patients surveyed at one U.S. medical center said their doctors told them about the possible risks of a CT scan, such as radiation exposure, a new study finds. Researchers, who published their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, also found that most patients thought their doctors made the final decision to have the scans (Seaman, 3/4). Reuters: Is Enrolling In A Clinical Trial Tied To Survival? People with certain cancers enrolled in clinical trials survive longer, not necessarily from the treatment itself but potentially because those enrolled are better off to begin with, according to new research. “The survival benefits for an individual to be on a cancer trial are not necessarily to be on a trial itself. Cancer trials select patients who are healthier and are able to tolerate treatments,” said senior study author Dr. Waddah Al-Refaie, chief of surgical oncology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. (Stokes, 2/28). MedPage Today: Dissatisfaction With EHRs Rising, Survey Finds Physician satisfaction and usability ratings for certified electronic health records (EHRs) have fallen since 2010, a survey of more than 4,200 doctors found. The number of physicians who said they would not recommend their EHR to a colleague rose to 39% in 2012 from 24 percent 3 years ago, the survey found. It was released Tuesday by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and AmericanEHR Partners, the web-based resource arm that ACP helped create. Much of the physicians’ dissatisfaction was due to EHRs’ failure to increase productivity (Pittman, 3/7).  This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

State Decisions Impact How Residents Fare Under Obamacare

first_imgState Decisions Impact How Residents Fare Under Obamacare This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The report by a Yale University economist found it difficult to generalize about the health law’s impact because it varies greatly state by state.The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Measuring The Impact Of States’ Obamacare DecisionsThe early story of the Affordable Care Act can be challenging to generalize sometimes because so much of it depends on decisions made at the state level — both before and during implementation of the ACA. Did states defer to a federal-run exchange, or did they set up their own? In the states that built their own insurance marketplaces, did the Web site actually work? Did they expand Medicaid programs to low-income adults? Did they temporarily let people keep their old health plans? (Millman, 9/11).The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics: Obamacare Participants Worse Off, But Don’t Blame Washington — Blame States, Paper SaysThe president’s health-care law has made participants in most states worse off, but the result may reflect decisions made in state capitals, not the broader policy, a new study from a Yale University economist found. The average enrollee in a health plan made available under the Affordable Care Act saw individual welfare decline in 35 states, according to the study Amanda Kowalski presented Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The report found the majority of those states either handed over at least part of the rollout to the federal government or were crippled by technology glitches (Morath, 9/11).last_img read more

Hospitals Save 74 Billion Due to Fewer Unpaid Bills

first_img A massive expansion of insurance programs like Medicaid and a drop in emergency room visits saved hospitals at least $7.4 billion over the last year, the Obama administration announced Monday. (Ferris, 3/23) Fonseca and his colleagues wondered whether Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which became law five years ago Monday, has improved the detection of diabetes. That possibility seemed likely because more poor people now have insurance. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA. In January 2014, about half the states, including Ohio, expanded and about half did not. This created what Fonseca calls a natural experiment — an opportunity to compare the impact of Medicaid programs on diabetes care. (Kelto, 3/23) The Philadelphia Inquirer: Medicaid Expansion Spotted Many Undiagnosed Diabetes Cases The costs of caring for the uninsured at U.S. hospitals fell by an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014 due to the expansion of healthcare to millions of people under Obamacare, according to a government report released on Monday. (Abutaleb, 3/23) NPR: States That Expand Medicaid Detect More Cases Of Diabetes The Hill: HHS: Hospitals Saved Billions Under ObamaCare Hospitals Save $7.4 Billion Due to Fewer Unpaid Bills Hospitals in the U.S. benefited from a $7.4 billion reduction in uncompensated care costs last year, according to a government report. Hospitals in the 28 states, plus D.C., that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare saw $5 billion of that savings, while the cost of unpaid bills declined by $2.4 million in states that did not expand. The number of people with newly diagnosed diabetes increased by 23 percent in states that expanded the number of low-income people who are eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study reports. (3/23) Hospitals’ uncompensated-care costs in Medicaid expansion states were reduced by $5 billion in 2014, according to an HHS report published Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. The costs of uncompensated care declined $2.4 billion in states that did not expand the program, resulting in a total drop of $7.4 billion, down 21% from 2013. (Dickson, 3/23) USA Today: Medicaid Expansion Slashes Hospitals’ Unpaid Bills Modern Healthcare: Affordable Care Act Credited $7.4B Drop In Uncompensated Care Reuters: U.S. Hospitals Uncompensated Care Fell By $7.4B In 2014 Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid to their poorest residents faced about $5 billion less in unpaid bills last year — about twice the reduction as those that did not expand this health care coverage, according to a new federal report. The Department of Health and Human Services released the report at a Virginia event marking the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA expanded Medicaid, but a Supreme Court decision gave states the option of offering Medicaid to all of their citizens or not, and 22 states have not done so. (O’Donnell, 3/23) The number of newly-diagnosed cases of diabetes has surged by 23 percent in states that accepted the expansion of Medicaid eligibility that was made available under the Affordable Care Act, compared to an increase of less than one percent in some states that declined the expansion. (Garver, 3/23) The Fiscal Times: Diabetes Detection Up In Pro-Obamacare States Medicaid-expansion states also saw a 23 percent rise in newly diagnosed cases of diabetes, according to a new study – This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

MITs found a way to make smartphones laptops cars and fridges way

first_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. MIT has invented a nifty new polymer that could revolutionise the way everyday devices including, phones, white goods and cars are cooled.The clever folks at MIT reported uncovering the new tech on Monday (US time). The discovery came when the research team – which included researchers from MIT, the US department of Energy EERE Manufacturing Program and DoE Basic Energy Science programs – found a way to manufacture a custom polymer that can conduct rather than contain heat.The polymer is reportedly thinner than most consumer grade plastic wrapping and could potentially replace ceramic and steel parts used in most cooling systems.Related: Best smartphoneImage credit: MITGang Chen, the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering at MIT, and a senior co-author on the paper said the development could have huge ramifications if applied to consumer products, such as laptops, smartphones and cars.“We think this result is a step to stimulate the field. Our bigger vision is, these properties of polymers can create new applications and perhaps new industries, and may replace metals as heat exchangers.”If applied correctly, this in theory could help reduce the upfront cost of numerous consumer devices as the polymer is significantly cheaper to make than ceramic and metal.The researchers first reported some success developing the polymer in 2010. Since then the team has been working on ways to refine the manufacturing process and make it more effective at key things, like directing heat in a particular direction.Related: Best laptopResearch paper co-author Jiawei Zhou said the researchers still have more work to do before the polymer is ready for commercial use, but that it is already finding ways to make it more effective at general heat dissipation.“If we have an isotropic polymer with good heat conductivity, then we can easily blend this material into a composite, and we can potentially replace a lot of conductive materials,” Zhou says. “So we’re looking into better heat conduction in all three dimensions.”Excited about MIT’s research? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviewslast_img read more

Australian consumer watchdog sues Samsung over Galaxy ads

first_img Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend. We use industry standard tests to evaluate products in order to assess them properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. Trusted Reviews may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tell us what you think. We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today announced plans to take Samsung to court over its advertising of Samsung Galaxy phones in the country since 2016.The problem is with water resistance, a high-end feature of the Galaxy range for three years. While the documentation for Samsung handsets says the handsets are resistant up to 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes, the ACCC contends that the adverts – which show people riding through waves and taking their phones in swimming pools – are not representative of the kind of use the phones are actually protected against.  The Samsung website even states that the newly-released Galaxy S10 is “not advised for beach or pool use.” The ACCC believes that Samsung has also “denied warranty claims from consumers whose phones were damaged when used in water.”Related: Best Android phones“The ACCC alleges Samsung’s advertisements falsely and misleadingly represented Galaxy phones would be suitable for use in, or for exposure to, all types of water, including in ocean water and swimming pools, and would not be affected by such exposure to water for the life of the phone, when this was not the case,” said Rod Sims, the ACCC Chair.The ACCC case focuses on 15 handsets manufactured in the last three years: the S10e, S10, S10 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, S8, S8 Plus, S7, S7 Edge, Note 9, Note 8, Note 7, A8, A7, and A5. The commission states that Samsung has sold more than four million Galaxy handsets in the country.Related: Best phones“Samsung itself has acknowledged that water resistance is an important factor influencing Australian consumer decisions when they choose what mobile phone to purchase,” Sims continued. “Samsung showed the Galaxy phones used in situations they shouldn’t be to attract customers. Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses cannot mislead consumers about their products’ capabilities. Any attempt to do so will risk court action from the ACCC.”For its part, Samsung Australia believes it has done nothing wrong, and intends to defend itself. “Samsung stands by its marketing and advertising of the water resistancy of its smartphones,” the company said in a statement. “We are also confident that we provide customers with free-of-charge remedies in a manner consistent with Samsung’s obligations under its manufacturer warranty and the Australian Consumer Law.”The whole thing is faintly reminiscent of Sony’s troubles with the Xperia Z3. Back in 2014, Sony released the handset along with promises that users could take photos underwater thanks to its advanced waterproofing. Months later, Sony removed the claim and advised customers against doing exactly what the marketing suggested was possible.Is water resistance an important feature for you? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.last_img read more

Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe dead at 40

first_img Facebook January 21, 20193:33 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing More Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe dead at 40 Deciem’s chief operating officer confirmed Truaxe died over the weekend but did not disclose the cause of death Join the conversation → The Canadian Press Twitter Share this storyDeciem founder Brandon Truaxe dead at 40 Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn center_img Email 2 Comments Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe is shown in this undated handout photo posted to Instagram. Truaxe has passed away at age 40.Handout/The Canadian Press TORONTO — The chief operating officer of Toronto beauty brand Deciem says the company’s founder Brandon Truaxe has died.In an email to The Canadian Press, Stephen Kaplan confirmed that 40-year-old Truaxe, who created the company that is known for selling products at more affordable prices than other luxury brands in 2013, died over the weekend. He did not disclose the cause of death.Truaxe’s relationship with Deciem had become strained in recent months after he closed its roughly 30 stores, citing alleged employee involvement in a “major criminal activity.” The inside story of how Deciem, the Abnormal Beauty Company, lived up to its name Deciem founder ordered to stay away from Estee Lauder offices, workers after ’harassing and menacing’ communications Deciem CEO Brandon Truaxe removed by court, after bizarre Instagram post closing beauty chain In two Oct. court proceedings prompted by Deciem investor Estee Lauder Companies Inc., Truaxe was removed as the company’s chief executive officer and ordered to stay away from Deciem stores and employees.Prior to Deciem, he studied computer programming and founded skin treatment companies Euoko Inc. and Indeed Laboratories, software development firm Schematte Corporation and nutritional supplements company Organic Senses Ltd.Deciem was by far his biggest success, reportedly earning $300 million last year and catching the attention of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West. Reddit Commentlast_img read more

Dyson Dumps SolidState Battery Developer Sakti3

Dyson Working On Three Electric Cars, Not Just One Dyson news Dyson Trademarks New Digital Motor For On-Road Use Dyson To Build 10 Miles Of Electric Car Test Track Dyson writes off investment in Sakti3.It’s been quite some time since British manufacturer Dyson acquired Michigan-based battery startup Sakti3 in 2015 for $90 million,But now, according to the latest media reports, Dyson reviewed the investment (reportedly back in December 2017) and recorded an impairment charge of £46 million (over $60 million).“During the year, management have undertaken an impairment review of the group’s investment in Sakti 3 and have subsequently taken an impairment charge to the P&L [profit and loss statement], the accounts said.” Source: Electric Vehicle News Does this mean that Sakti3’s lithium solid-state batteries are unsuitable for commercialization, especially for electric vehicles?Anyways, Dyson’s automotive project still seems to be progressing, although in stealth mode, so we don’t have any solid updates to share at this time.Source: cityam.com Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 27, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News read more

Canadian EV Demand Is So Strong That Customers Wait Months On Lists

Volkswagen Establishes Electrify Canada Plug-In Electric Car Sales Up 245% In Canada In August The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports that, according to a study by Clean Energy Canada appropriately titled “Batteries Not Included,” some would-be buyers in the Western-most Province of British Colombia are facing wait times as long as 18 months for electric vehicles. In fact, as many as 60 percent of dealers there don’t have a single EV on their lots. The problem seems to be more exacerbated the further north you go.We’ve seen some of this problem highlighted on the InsideEVs Forum. One very popular thread focuses on Canadians waiting for their Clarity Plug-In Hybrid to become available. The demand is also reflected there by another thread full of folks who have pre-ordered the Hyundai Kona Electric.The demand for electric vehicles north of the border is understandable. Despite the longer distances Canadians might drive and the deleterious effect of cold weather on range, gas prices in the Provinces are higher there than in the U.S., and many come across the border regularly to fill up their tanks. Some Provinces also have incentive programs which has helped fuel demand.To help convince automakers to send more EVs their way, the B.C. government is considering joining Quebec in adopting a California-like program that would require them to sell a minimum amount of electric vehicles. Proposed sales targets for EVs are 5 percent by 2020, 10 percent by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.That should, eventually, help the nearly half of the population who, a couple years ago, said they would consider going electric for their next vehicle purchase.Source: CBC So, what’s this all aboot?Right now, uncounted toque-wearing Canadians are staring despondently into their double-double Timmies (that’s coffee with lots of cream and sugar from the Tim Hortons coffee and donut chain) wondering when they’ll ever be able to buy an electric vehicle. You see, folks in the Great White North like electric cars, but demand is so strong would-be buyers are sitting on waiting lists instead of behind steering wheels of electric vehicles.More about electric vehicles in Canada, eh? Tesla Model 3 #1 Selling Plug-In Electric Car In Canada For September Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 18, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News read more

Nikola Announces AllElectric Semi Truck Up To 1000kWh Battery

first_img2) Fuel cell 80 kg H2 gets 7-10 miles per kg and uses same 2.25 kWh per mile as BEV. Fuel cell weight 15k -17k so about 3k – 5k pounds less than BEV. Fuel Cell can’t be beat long haul and BEV is good option for short haul. World needs both. ICE is enemy, not hydrogen or BEV— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019 Breaking: Our CEO, @nikolatrevor will announce Nikola Two and Nikola Tre in both Hydrogen and BEV at Nikola World. You will be able to order both trucks in 500kWh, 750kWh and 1mWh options BEV. Don’t miss Nikola World 2019. Hydrogen long haul, BEV short haul. #emissionsgameover— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 9, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Nikola Presents European Version Of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Nikola recognizes the advantages of BEVs. Will skip FCVs at some point?Nikola Motor Company surprisingly announced that it intends to offer also an all-electric version of its hydrogen fuel cell trucks – Nikola Two and Nikola Tre (European version), while the biggest Nikola One will remain FCV only.Those new BEVs are to be presented at the Nikola World even later this year with three battery options:500 kWh750 kWh1,000 kWh (1 MWh) Nikola explains that it’s still bullish about hydrogen for long hauls, but in case of short hauls, it sees the advantage of BEVs. At least in theory, it seems that the all-electric version will be in a competitive position to the Tesla Semi.The main question is whether Nikola doubts in its hydrogen concept (as many of us do)? It’s not too late to switch to BEVs.“H2 is 5,000 lbs lighter than BEV and is cheaper for long haul applications even with H2 costs. BEV is for inner cities and non weight sensitive applications. Nikola is not phasing our hydrogen at all, we will see 50:1 more hydrogen orders but some applications BEV works great.”The 1 MWh battery pack is expected to give Nikola Two a range of 400 miles (640 km) or 300 miles (480 km) in cold weather. Nikola says also that such a big battery will weight half of the truck’s weight.“1) BEV @ 80,000 lbs. uses ~ 2.25 kWh per mile in real weather and normal hills on routes. 1MWh gets about 400 miles. Only 90% battery is useable. In cold weather, you get 300 miles / 1Mwh. Takes 69,000 “21700” cells @ 68grams = 1MWh. 10.5k weight in cells. 20k truck weight2) Fuel cell 80 kg H2 gets 7-10 miles per kg and uses same 2.25 kWh per mile as BEV. Fuel cell weight 15k -17k so about 3k – 5k pounds less than BEV. Fuel Cell can’t be beat long haul and BEV is good option for short haul. World needs both. ICE is enemy, not hydrogen or BEV” Nikola Motors Achieves $200 Million Fundraising Goalcenter_img Source: Electric Vehicle News 1) BEV @ 80,000 lbs. uses ~ 2.25 kWh per mile in real weather and normal hills on routes. 1MWh gets about 400 miles. Only 90% battery is useable. In cold weather, you get 300 miles / 1Mwh. Takes 69,000 “21700” cells @ 68grams = 1MWh. 10.5k weight in cells. 20k truck weight— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019 Nikola Motors Boldly Claims It Will Become U.S. Largest Energy Consumer H2 is 5,000 lbs lighter than BEV and is cheaper for long haul applications even with H2 costs. BEV is for inner cities and non weight sensitive applications. Nikola is not phasing our hydrogen at all, we will see 50:1 more hydrogen orders but some applications BEV works great.— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019 Nikola newslast_img read more

A hospital ER charges an afterhours fee Who has to pay it

first_imgMichelle Andrews: @mandrews110 Jun 5 2018This week, I responded to readers who were unhappy with their health plan’s decision not to pay an emergency department surcharge for after-hours care and concerned about difficulties getting Medicare to cover claims unrelated to a workers’ compensation injury. Another reader asked about a recently announced hardship exemption from the requirement to have health insurance.Q: I visited a local emergency room one night after I had a severe allergic reaction that caused intense itching, hives, swelling and blistering. Now I received an “explanation of benefits” notice from my insurer that I will be billed by the in-network hospital for “after-hours” service. My insurer does not cover that charge. I am so enraged. Is there anything I can do to get the hospital to remove the charge?Tacking on an after-hours surcharge to an emergency department bill strikes some consumers as unfair, since the facilities are open 24 hours a day.The practice is “pretty rare” but defensible, said Dr. Paul Kivela, an emergency physician in Napa, Calif., who is president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He noted that the cost to staff an emergency department at night is higher than by day. The surcharge is typically modest, often less than $100, experts say.But that’s neither here nor there. The extra charge should have been built into the overall rate, said Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumers Union, an advocacy group. “It’s infuriating,” she said. “I don’t blame [the patient] for being annoyed.”Just because your health plan is balking now at paying the surcharge, that may not be the final word. Hospitals and insurers frequently sort out these surcharges between themselves, without holding patients responsible, said Richard Gundling, a senior vice president at the Healthcare Financial Management Association, an industry group.”If it’s an in-network provider, an insurer is generally responsible for addressing the billing of that code under its negotiated contract with the providers,” Gundling said.Medicare beneficiaries are not responsible for paying the surcharge.If the hospital pursues the patient to pay the charge, Imholz recommended that consumers file an appeal with their health plan, noting that appeals on many issues are frequently successful.Q: I fell in 2015 and my injuries are being covered by the workers’ compensation program. It pays only the claims that are related to my back and neck injuries. But Medicare has been refusing all the claims it receives, including a hospital stay for an acute asthma attack as well as routine visits to my primary care physician. The program states that these claims are the responsibility of workers’ comp. What can I do?Your workers’ compensation insurer is the “primary payer” for medical bills that are related to your work-related injury. Medicare is responsible for your other medical care.Without more information, it’s impossible to know exactly why Medicare is denying your claims for medical care that’s not related to your work injury.However, the problem may be rooted in the mandatory data-reporting requirements that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services put in place about a decade ago, said Darrell Brown, an executive vice president and chief claims officer at Sedgwick Claims Management Services.Under the federal rules, insurers and plan administrators have to report claims data about Medicare beneficiaries who are also covered by a group health plan or who receive payments under workers’ compensation, among other things. The aim is to ensure that the Medicare program isn’t acting as a primary payer on some claims when another health plan or program should be doing so.Related Stories’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryHave cancer, must travel: Patients left in lurch after hospital closes”My guess is that there’s something that went wrong with that reporting,” Brown said. “There’s so much data that they’re getting, and there’s so much room for error as well.”Start by contacting the number or person on the notice you received from the Medicare program denying your claim, Brown said. You may also have to contact the workers’ compensation carrier. But your first step should be to find out why the Medicare program mistakenly believes that your asthma hospitalization and other care is related to your workers’ comp injury.Q: Why is there a new exemption from the penalty for not having health insurance if you live in a bare county with no marketplace insurers? There aren’t any of those and next year there’s no penalty, so what’s the point? As you note, starting next year, people will no longer owe a penalty for not meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirement of having health insurance.People will, however, be able to apply to the marketplace for a hardship exemption if they live somewhere where there are no marketplace insurers. That may give them another option for coverage.People who qualify for a hardship or affordability exemption can receive an “exemption certificate number,” often referred to as an ECN, which will allow them to buy a catastrophic plan that meets health law standards and is typically available only to people under age 30, said Tara Straw, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.These ACA-compliant plans may be purchased off the exchange, even if no insurers are selling marketplace plans in a particular area.Catastrophic plans cover the essential health benefits. They often have lower premiums than plans on the health law’s marketplace, but their deductibles are comparatively very high and people can’t receive premium tax credits to pay for them. The high out-of-pocket costs may explain why they haven’t been popular. Fewer than 1 percent of marketplace enrollees picked one in 2018.Please visit khn.org/columnists to send comments or ideas for future topics for the Insuring Your Health column. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Porvair Sciences produces informative catalog on easytouse DNA kits

first_imgRelated StoriesPorvair Sciences offers new ultra-flat quartz bottom microplatesPorvair Sciences to improve the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancerPorvair Sciences’ ultra-flat Krystal glass bottom microplates for imaging applicationsObtaining DNA from biological samples is the first and most crucial step in molecular biology. Eluting both high quality and high yield of DNA from a wide range of biological samples can be challenging and can impact the success of downstream applications.Comprehensive technical information is provided for each of the kits which are proven to provide high quality DNA free from contaminants, inhibitors, salts and degrading enzymes. Employing these kits – lab scientists can quickly recover high quality DNA from a myriad of source materials including stubborn, difficult-to-lyse biological samples.Integrating Porvair’s proprietary high-performance filtration material, the kits allows researchers to effortlessly and efficiently extract, purify and size select DNA. Source:https://www.porvair-sciences.com/ Jun 29 2018Porvair Sciences has produced an informative catalog that describes its growing range of easy-to-use kits for DNA extraction, purification and size selection.last_img read more