Dan Halldata-driven performanceFluentMarketing TechnologyMarketing Technology NewsNewsscalable infrastructure Previous ArticleSisense and Periscope Data Merge, Delivering a Unified, End-to-End Data Science and Business Intelligence PlatformNext ArticleSumo Logic Completes $110 Million Funding Round to Further Fuel Growth and Expansion Performance Marketing Company Continues to Strengthen Leadership Team with Former Infogroup ExecutiveFluent, Inc., a leading data-driven performance marketing company, announced the appointment of Dan Hall as its chief technology officer to help the Company continue to scale its business.In this role, Mr. Hall will support the Company’s continued focus on diversification of its products and driving best in class services for its clients. Additionally, he will help Fluent build a scalable infrastructure to support its rapid growth and lead high-performance technical teams to drive innovation and create efficiencies across the Company at large.“We’re thrilled to introduce our company’s first CTO and to have a leader of Dan’s stature join our Leadership team,” said Ryan Schulke, CEO of Fluent. “Dan’s appointment comes at a critical juncture, as we enhance and scale our technology, product and data infrastructures to support our aggressive business growth. Dan’s strong engineering background and outstanding record of accomplishment as a thought leader in crafting and evolving technological strategy, is further augmented by his ability to play a key architectural role with the product development teams.”Marketing Technology News: Confirmit Announces 2019 ACE Award WinnersA military veteran who specialized in electronic warfare, Mr. Hall brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in marketing technology and analytics after most recently serving as Chief Technology Officer of Infogroup, a leading provider of data and marketing solutions. Throughout his time there, he organized a highly distributed technology organization, updated technology solutions, and brought operational focus to the business.Marketing Technology News: Slalom and Amperity Partner to Help Brands Get More Value from Their Data“Fluent is on the forefront of the marketing technology boom, and there continue to be opportunities to foster innovation and adopt new solutions,” said Mr. Hall. “I’m honored to have been entrusted to lead our current and future technology initiatives and to begin working with Fluent’s team to continue to make an impact in the performance marketing space.”Mr. Hall earned his B.A. in Economics from Northern Michigan University. Prior to Infogroup, he held a role as senior director of analytics at Time Warner Cable, now Spectrum.Marketing Technology News: Google launches Grow my Store for Europe Fluent, Inc. Appoints Dan Hall as Chief Technology Officer PRNewswireMay 16, 2019, 3:48 pmMay 16, 2019
A majority of organizations already believe adopting Artificial Intelligence will be important to meeting their overall business goals – and as customer experience (CX) becomes increasingly important meeting those goals will require modernizing the contact center.As with any new technology, chatbots can take many forms — from a simple button-based option to a bot with advanced features such as sentiment analysis and Machine Learning, with each solution offering different business advantages. Deciding on the best fit to address business needs and customer needs is critical. With the potential for a strong ROI and improved consumer loyalty riding on great CX, there is a lot at stake. It’s not a question of whether or not businesses need a chatbot — 61% of consumers think chatbots are the future of customer service — but which type of chatbot is the best solution for an organization’s specific needs.Read More: Rethinking Site Navigation with ChatbotsThe simplest of chatbots are equipped with decision-tree capabilities that use a rigid framework to guide chat users through pre-defined options, presented through buttons. This kind of chatbot could be a good option for businesses looking to redirect visitors with simple or frequently asked questions away from human agents who quickly tire from the mundane.The power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) creates a more advanced chatbot with the ability to analyze human language to understand the user’s intent and respond accordingly. Unlike button-based bots, this chatbot responds to free-form text and can prompt users with clarifying questions as if it were a human agent. Brands can customize and program this chatbot with keyword recognition and integrations to allow for different actions within the chat window, including authentication, geo-location and completing transactions. Its machine learning abilities allow the chatbot to learn new concepts through data gleaned from conversations, which means the chatbot will improve its performance over time as it collects feedback from users and agents.Read More: How you Should be Using Chatbots in your BusinessThe most powerful form of chatbot adds even more advanced linguistic capabilities like sentiment analysis. While in both cases the bot can understand nuance to get to the heart of what a customer is asking, a more advanced model can determine if the customer seems upset and then escalate the conversation to a human agent.The path to better customer experience is through knowing what kind of support customers need and when they need it, CX strategies and contact center technology can be customized accordingly. Chatbots — rudimentary or advanced — offer significant opportunities to increase engagement, make human agent work more interesting, and answer customer questions more efficiently. It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “how.”Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing What Kind of Chatbot is Right for Your Business? Jeff EpsteinApril 29, 2019, 4:00 pmApril 30, 2019 Artificial IntelligencechatbotchatbotsComm100customer experienceMarketing TechnologyNatural Language Processing Previous ArticleWinning in the Era of Deep Contextual Personalization: It’s All About Human-Machine CollaborationNext ArticleVoice is the New Click: Why Voice Commands Will Replace the Click as the Standard Measure for Brands
Marketing TechnologyNewsNewStoreOmnichannelOutdoor Voices Previous ArticleOracle Moat to Measure Viewability for Samsung AdsNext ArticleInsightSquared Unveils New Revenue Intelligence Solutions to Drive Predictable Company Growth at Ramp 2019 Activewear brand now runs retail operations on iPhone, bringing joy to associates and customers #DoingThingsNewStore, the first to provide Omnichannel-as-a-Service, announced Outdoor Voices shops are now running on its platform. The activewear brand introduced the NewStore Omnichannel Platform, which runs exclusively on iOS, in its nine locations across the country to bridge online and in-store shopping experiences. Now, store associates are empowered with iPhone to ensure all customer touchpoints are secure, seamless and cohesive.Outdoor Voices, a digital-first brand, has grown exponentially since its founding in 2014. Its approachable call to action #DoingThings unites a nationwide community of Recreational enthusiasts who exercise for the joy of it. As the company’s retail operations continue to expand, it is reinvigorating its customer experience and prioritizing technology’s role in the shopping journey, specifically how iPhone can enable associates to securely provide the best customer experience. The NewStore platform’s integrated cloud OMS and mobile POS gives Outdoor Voices a single system of truth for its customers, orders and inventory. Data insights are made available to store associates on iPhone, allowing them to quickly and easily deploy omnichannel capabilities including endless aisle, mobile checkout, store fulfillment, inventory management and clienteling. Marketing Technology News: SRAX and The ALS Association Give BIGtoken Users a New Way to Donate Real Money with Their Data Earnings Outdoor Voices Activates The Future of Retail with NewStore Business WireJune 13, 2019, 10:20 pmJune 13, 2019 “We’ve been looking for the right partner that will make it easy to manage a 360 degree view into our retail shops and for us, that’s NewStore,” said Kevin Harwood, Vice President of Technology of Outdoor Voices. “The NewStore Omnichannel Platform creates a symbiotic relationship between our online and in-store transactions by ensuring that our shop teams have the data they need at their fingertips and our customers the technical apparel they’ve been looking for.”“It’s so important for modern brands to balance technology with authentic experiences,” said Stephan Schambach, Founder & CEO of NewStore. “Mobile-powered store associates are what makes this possible. Outdoor Voices is changing the face of the athletic category, not only with its best-in-class apparel but also by committing to omnichannel. With intuitive iPhone apps, the brand can build customer relationships in all retail environments and expand its community far and wide.”Marketing Technology News: Merkle Named 2019 Pegasystems’ Partner Excellence in Digital Transformation RecipientBy running its stores on iPhone with NewStore, the Outdoor Voices brand experience now boasts the following omnichannel benefits and then some:Omnichannel OMS: Store associates can rely on automatic order routing to get apparel to customers quickly and cost-effectively.NewStore Checkout: Store associates can facilitate iPhone to iPhone checkout from anywhere on the store floor leveraging Apple Pay so customers can easily and securely pay using just their iPhone or Apple Watch. Mobile checkout can also be used to accept cash, credit card or gift card.Store Fulfillment: Customers can choose modern fulfillment options, including buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) and ship from store.Inventory Management: Store associates can leverage RFID technology and NewStore apps to access enterprise-wide real-time inventory, enabling endless aisle transactions.Clienteling: Store associates can deliver one-to-one customer experiences with access to the customer’s complete shopper profile, including purchase history and preferences.Marketing Technology News: Esri Software Powers Location Intelligence in Microsoft’s Defense System Demonstration
Marketing Technology NewsNewsRapid ExecutionSaasThor Johnson Previous ArticleBrave Expands Advertising Platform to Mobile Devices and Launches Brave Ads Certified Vendor ProgramNext ArticleAd Fraud to Cost North American Advertisers $100 Million a Day by 2023 Rapid PIM implementation enables inRiver partners to deliver unique time-to-value programs for customersinRiver, the leading SaaS product information management (PIM) company, announced its inRiver PIM Accelerators offering. The partner-driven program allows customers to deploy industry-specific PIM solutions to drive rapid results for immediate business impact.“The ever changing product and technical landscape in the retail furniture industry requires a faster PIM implementation than others, which makes companies like American Furniture Warehouse a perfect fit for the inRiver PIM Accelerator program,” said Alex Moss, President, Aperture Labs. “Because time to market can determine success or failure for a new product or marketplace, there is no time to waste in standing up a PIM solution. These tested and proven vertical solutions solve that challenge for customers like American Furniture.”Marketing Technology News: Community Management Is the Main Course for Hospitality SectorThe inRiver PIM Accelerators program is delivered exclusively through inRiver’s global partner network. Customers who select industry-focused solutions from the accelerator program will experience the benefits of PIM as quickly as possible through a streamlined and proven methodology. This process enables customers to add more features and functionality when they need to scale their business, saving resources and reducing time to value. Accelerator Program Verticals include: Construction and do-it-yourself (DIY) – Using a PIM system to communicate with industry databases significantly enhances product information quality, speeding up time-to-market and increases productivity within an organization. inRiver connects with product databases to reduce manual administration work and enable automatic population of standard data and digital assets.Food and beverage – With all product information in one place with built-in GS1 quality assurance, less resources are required for costly and time-consuming administration, allowing food and beverage companies to focus on developing their brands.Retail – The syndication and omnichannel needs for many retail products require accurate and consistent product information across the board; with inRiver PIM Accelerators, retail companies can get their PIM system up and running within 90 days, allowing them to turn a profit faster. Designed for success across highly-targeted industries, the new program has been piloted by 10 select partners across the US and Europe. Accelerators have already been successfully implemented by partners for over 25 customers around the globe. Marketing Technology News: British Gas Goes the Extra Mile to Improve Customer Experiences with Local“Customers in verticals like construction and DIY solutions and food and beverage have complex and specific product information management needs to meet the challenges of the highly-customized B2B buyer,” said Henrik Påhlsson, Director Information Management for Commerce, Avensia. “Pre-built templates and flexible data models drive PIM value quickly for Avensia customers across these verticals.” “inRiver and our partner network are committed to bringing efficiencies to the product information lifecycle, because agility and time-to-value are incredibly important to our customers and their business,” said Thor Johnson, CEO, inRiver. “inRiver PIM Accelerators provide the market with tested and pre-configured solutions suited for customers in key verticals that need to get their PIM up and running as soon as possible. Based on the results of our pilot program, we expect continued success and wider adoption of PIM solutions globally.” inRiver has a broad and talented partner ecosystem, as it is the backbone of the inRiver Community. This network of industry, e-commerce, technology, and marketing experts work closely with inRiver to market, sell, and support inRiver PIM and relevant technologies to customers.Marketing Technology News: Sponsorship Made Simple for Personal, College, Sports, Community Events etc. Accelerators Launched for Rapid Execution and Faster Time to Market MTS Staff WriterJuly 11, 2019, 7:39 pmJuly 11, 2019
CBS Interactive Partners with Unity Technologies to Provide Advertisers With an Innovative Augmented Reality Ad Solution MTS Staff WriterJuly 2, 2019, 5:44 pmJuly 2, 2019 Augmented RealityCBS InteractiveDavid LawendaMarketing TechnologyNewsUnity Technologies Previous ArticleAWeber Now Empowers Use of Dynamic & Interactive Content with AMP for EmailNext ArticleStepStone Acquires Majority of US Technology Provider Appcast AR Campaigns and Branded Content Can Now Integrate Within CBS Interactive Mobile Apps Including CBS Sports, CBS News, CNET, GameSpot and TV GuideCBS Interactive, the largest publisher of premium digital content, has partnered with Unity Technologies, creator of the world’s most widely-used real-time 3D development platform, to offer advertisers the ability to build and scale augmented reality campaigns across a wide range of CBS Interactive’s mobile apps, including CBS Sports, CBS News, CNET, GameSpot and TV Guide.“Through the introduction of new ad formats like AR, we are continuing to create meaningful moments for CBS advertisers to connect with audiences in innovative ways,” said David Lawenda, Executive Vice President, Digital Sales and Sales Strategy, CBS Corporation. “Together with Unity, we look forward to leveraging augmented reality to create more engaging branded content and ad experiences for our advertisers.”Marketing Technology News: Button Raises $30 Million in Series C Funding to Build the Future of Mobile CommerceAugmented reality technology is currently enabled on 1 million mobile devices and is expected to grow to more than 3.4 billion in 2020. Through this partnership with Unity Technologies, CBS Interactive will provide brands with a significant opportunity to reach audiences around the globe with immersive new ad formats and branded content.Marketing Technology News: New Competitive Report by BIA Advisory Services Shows Similarities and Differences Among Leading Call Tracking Platforms“CBS Interactive’s commitment to creating premium digital experiences has made them one of the leading innovators in media today,” said Julie Shumaker, Vice President, Advertiser Solutions at Unity Technologies. “With this partnership, CBS Interactive will be able to bring another innovative solution to their advertising partners. At Unity, we’re seeing brands use mobile augmented reality ads as a way to achieve high consumer engagement, positive brand association, and direct response from users.”Marketing Technology News: Say It Now and Booxscale win Amazon’s European Alexa Cup
Bengaluru: A tweet by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tipu Sultan triggered a war of words between senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah and BJP’s Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday, with the former saying he was not the one to “eat biryani” with the premier of an enemy country.Siddaramaiah’s comment came in the wake of Khan’s tweet on Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom. Paying tribute to Tipu Sultan, Khan tweeted on Saturday, saying he admired him because “he preferred freedom and died fighting for it rather than live a life of enslavement”.Retweeting Khan’s message, BJP MP Chandrasekhar wrote, “Dear @siddaramaiah avare – time for u (you) to hug Imranji n (and) Bajwaji – @sherryontopp! Thts (That’s) quickest way to bcm (become) @RahulGandhi n (and) @priyankagandhi’s favourite! #JustDoIt.”His jibe was aimed at Siddaramaiah’s reverence for Tipu Sultan. The Congress leader had started the tradition of celebrating Tipu Jayanti as then chief minister of Karnataka three years ago.Slamming Chandrasekhar, Siddaramaiah tweeted, “Mr @rajeev_mp, Think before you tweet. I am not like your Chor @narendramodi to eat biryani with the PM of our enemy country & also not like you to compromise on ethics to please your bosses.”It is better to lead a life of Tipu Sultan than like a slave of your bosses like you.”The Congress leader’s attack was in reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister of Pakistan, in Lahore in 2017.Opposing Tipu Jayanti, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has held protests.The saffron party has been accusing the Congress of ignoring the “genocide” carried out by the erstwhile ruler of Mysuru, including the killings of Kodavas in Kodagu district and Mandyam Iyengars of Melukote. BJPcongressImran KhanRajeev Chandrashekhar First Published: May 5, 2019, 6:06 PM IST
Gaten MatarazzoGaten Matarazzo NetflixGaten Matarazzo Prank EncountersGaten Matarazzo Stranger Things First Published: June 15, 2019, 12:50 PM IST As if scaring the living daylights out of viewers with gargantuan creatures from alternate dimensions wasn’t enough, Netflix is now entering into prankster space with one actor from Stranger Things. Gaten Matarazzo will be hosting and executive producing a hidden-camera prank show, titled Prank Encounters. According to Netflix, each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares. The streaming giant has ordered eight episodes of the series, which will be released later this year, reported Deadline. Matarazzo will executive produce with Ben Silverman, Howard Owens for Propagate, and Rob Hyde. Anthony Gonzalez will be the director.Matarazzo is known for his portrayal of Dustin Henderson on Stranger Things, which premieres its third season on July 4. The 16-year-old, who began his professional career in the original Broadway production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as Benji, will return to the stage next month, leading the cast in Hollywood Bowl’s summer production of Into the Woods.The 16-year-old actor also devotes his time to raising awareness about cleidocranial dysplasia – a condition that aﬀects the development of bones and teeth. He has been open about living with the rare genetic disorder himself, and his Stranger Things character Dustin also has the condition.Matarazzo also formed a band called Work in Progress with his siblings Carmen and Sabrina. The six-piece rock band is about to embark on a tour across the US, where they’ll play a mix of original and cover songs.Follow @News18Movies for more
Atri BhattacharyaBarasatBashirhatBJP First Published: May 16, 2019, 7:37 PM IST Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Thursday that Election Commission (EC) has been sold out to the BJP and termed the poll panel as BJP’s brother.Addressing a public meeting at Mandirbazar (under Mathurapur Lok Sabha constituency) in South 24 Parganas district, she said, “Based on BJP’s complaint, the EC has curtailed the poll campaign in Bengal by a day. The EC has become BJP’s brother. Not just me but the entire country is saying that they (EC) have been sold out to the BJP. They can arrest me if they want. I am not afraid to speak the truth.” “This (Mandirbazar) meeting was originally scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). Since, the campaigning time has been curtailed, we had to reschedule the meeting. We are organising meetings with due permissions and following official procedures. But the PM is holding his rally on the ground owned by Kapil Mondal, who runs a chit fund. Is he giving a share to the BJP? We have all the records. We are submitting all proof to the police. Narendra Modi is attending a meeting organised by thieves and dacoits,” she said.“They (EC and BJP) may curtail my campaigning but they will not succeed in stopping me from speaking the truth. BJP is distributing money in exchange of votes. I would like to request you all, please stay alert and inform the police if you find anyone indulging in this malpractice. The people across the country have defeated Modi’s party,” she added.Banerjee’s statement on EC came after the poll panel on Wednesday curtailed the campaigning by a day, invoking Article 324 of the Constitution for the first time. It also removed Rajeev Kumar, West Bengal’s Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya with immediate effect. The seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls will be held on Sunday in Bengal’s Dum Dum, Barasat, Bashirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Kolkata South, Kolkata North and Jadavpur.
Bengaluru: Two Independent MLAs, who recently withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka and sided with the BJP, have written to the Assembly speaker requesting him to allot them seats on the opposition side in the House.In separate letters to the speaker, both H Nagesh (Mulabagilu MLA) and R Shankar (Ranebennur MLA) stated that they had withdrawn support to the ruling coalition and requested him to make seating arrangements for them on the opposition side in the Assembly. The monsoon session of the Karnataka Assembly began on Friday and is scheduled to end on July 26. Both the Independent legislators were absent on the first day of the session.According to sources, they are said to be camped at a hotel in Mumbai.Nagesh, who was the state small scale industries minister, and Shankar, the municipal administration minister, had met Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan, submitted their letters of resignation and conveyed their decision to withdraw support to the government to him.With 16 MLAs — 13 of the Congress and three of the Janata Dal (Secular) — resigning from the Assembly, the coalition government is facing a serious crisis in the southern state. On June 14, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had expanded his cabinet by inducting Nagesh and Shankar, apparently to provide stability to his 13-month-old wobbly government.It was seen as a move to ensure that the two Independent legislators did not jump the ship once again in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Shankar was inducted from the Congress’s share and Nagesh from the JD(S) quota in the ministry.Both had, in December last year, sided with the BJP on not being inducted into the ministry during a cabinet rejig and written to the governor informing him about their withdrawal of support to the government.As the BJP then failed in its alleged attempts to topple the coalition and form the government, the two lawmakers subsequently retraced their steps to be back in the ruling alliance. With Shankar and Nagesh withdrawing support to the government, the ruling coalition’s current strength in the Assembly is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the speaker.With the support of the two Independent legislators, the BJP now has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the halfway mark is 113. If the resignations of the 16 Congress-JD(S) MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition’s tally will be reduced to 100.In case of a trust vote in the Assembly, the speaker has a vote too. bengaluruBharatiya Janata PartyBJPcongress First Published: July 13, 2019, 6:20 PM IST
Netflix captured lightning in a bottle with GLOW, its unexpectedly successful series inspired by the 1980s women’s wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting. The series is about to kick off its third season on the streaming service, and the first trailer for season 3 of GLOW has finally arrived.After building up both the show and its roster of colorful wrestlers across the first two seasons, the third season sends everyone off to Las Vegas where they will deal with the perils of success and all of the expensive distractions the city offers.Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie reprise their roles as former friends Debbie and Ruth, respectively, who each have their own set of problems that manifest during the wrestling show’s Las Vegas run. Marc Maron also returns as the dour show director and co-producer Sam, along with Chris Lowell as charismatic creator and producer “Bash” Howard.Along with the aforementioned returning cast members, Geena Davis joins GLOW in its third season as a Las Vegas casino owner who might not have the wrestlers’ best interests in mind.“As their residency wears on, the lines blur between performance and reality,” according to ot the synopsis for the third season, “and the cast find themselves struggling with their own identities both in and outside of the ring.”The ensemble cast is filled out by Sydelle Noel as Cherry, Britney Young as Carmen, Britt Baron as Justine, Kate Nash as Rhonda, Gayle Rankin as Sheila, Kia Stevens as Tammé, and Jackie Tohn as Melanie. The series has also featured cameos from various professional wrestlers, and several past and present wrestlers have served as consultants on the show.Over the course of its first two seasons, GLOW was nominated for 10 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning twice for its production design and stunt coordination. It was also nominated for seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, winning once for its stunt ensemble. The series continues to be one of the highest-rated original comedy series on Netflix, with 95% positive reviews from professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes.Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the series was renewed on August 20, 2018, for a third season. Season 3 of GLOW is scheduled to debut August 9 on Netflix. Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far Stranger Things season 4: Here’s everything we know so far The first Umbrella Academy season 2 video brings the whole family together HBO’s hit comedy Silicon Valley will end after a seven-episode sixth season The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 trailer takes you inside the resistance Editors’ Recommendations
Story TimelineDownload OnePlus 5 stock wallpapers hereOnePlus 5 has a lot to prove in next week’s launchOnePlus 5 Price : is it worth more than 3T? [UPDATE]OnePlus 5 release details and pre-order live todayIs the OnePlus 5 price worth the risk?OnePlus 5 vs everyone else: where the upstart stands These bird photos aren’t necessarily masterpieces of composition, but they do serve to show the potential for shutter speediness in action. Notice how well the camera did noticing that there was something worth capturing in the photo, seeming to capture that bit automatically. I did not tap the screen to tell the device to focus on any one thing in any of these images. UPDATE: Above I’ve added a set of photos chopped together here to show the speed of the shutter once more. This sort of breaks the rules I set out at the start of the article since these are cropped, but they’re not edited in any other way. These images are all cropped at the same size, then the final image was resized independently, all at once.Digital and Optical ZoomAbove is a photo of a highway with a couple of construction vehicles at its side. The above photo is taken without any zoom going on. The next photo is captured with 8x zoom – and it should be clear that we’ve gone terribly deep into digital zoom, which is disgusting. Unlike some smartphones in the past, the OnePlus 5 does not restrict zoom to optical zoom.Next is another photo – not just a cropped version of what’s above – showing 2X zoom. This is what OnePlus suggests is the max lossless zoom for the device, and it looks pretty nice. In general I and we recommend avoiding using any sort of zoom feature on a smartphone since there’s so little room for lenses to move closer or further away from one another.The CEO of the company Carl Pei clarified early mix-ups between “lossless zoom” and “optical zoom” in a set of Tweets earlier today. He suggests that while the device doesn’t have 2x optical zoom, it does have the ability to look and feel like it does. In reality it’s working with 1.6x optical zoom, if we really want to get technical about it.Indoors, Low LightFirst is an image captured with incandescent bulb light lighting the room. Up close, about a 3-4 inches away from the LEGO doctor minifigure, we get lots and lots of detail. Far too much detail, if you’re aiming to go without any sort of editing before uploading to the likes of Instagram or Facebook. Notice the tiny dog hairs appearing here and there — stuff shows up you don’t always notice with the naked eye.The next image is in almost the exact same spot, this time in total darkness. I’ve left the back-facing LED flash set to Auto for this photo so that the camera can prove itself without aid of outside light. This camera system is smart, shining the LED light before snapping the photo, allowing its auto-zoom to do its job before the shutter snaps – resulting in another sharp photo.Below you’ll see a photo of my hand captured with the Depth Effect. As it turned out, the camera uses a tiny indicator bar to show whether or not the Depth Effect is, indeed, in effect when in Depth Effect mode. If the camera does not see a situation where it can make the Depth Effect work, it won’t attempt to force it. Of note: the filename of a photo taken with Depth Effect in effect will have the word “bokeh” in it. The camera seems to struggle JUST a bit when it comes to sharp focus on a subject when in Depth Effect mode. This photo above was captured without stabilizing my arm, and without stabilizing the camera – just like a real life non-test setup would be. This sort of thing could be tweaked in the future with a software update, but for now it’s slightly imperfect.The fur that comes below this paragraph is my dog again, this time in partial sunlight reflected off a white blanket in an otherwise unlit room. Look at all the little hairs – so many hairs – all the hair in the world to get mixed up with LEGO bricks. What a nightmare.A photo of three hard drives here shows some more macro action, this time in light similar to that of the dog fur above. This photo gives a slightly better idea of what kind of sharp focus range the camera setup is capable of.What I’ve been most impressed about with this camera is its ability to capture photos quickly and accurately. Also its ability to capture subjects very, very close up – both of these situations aided by the backside double-camera setup. Next we’re going to need to compare these features to the device that’s one of the best in the field today – Google’s Pixel XL. In addition to what’s above, more pieces of this OnePlus 5 Review puzzle are coming this week. We’ll have a full review for you soon. Until then, stick around our Android hub for more news, hands-on experiences, and software updates. This afternoon I took the OnePlus 5 on a walk to take a set of photos. I walked the dog with the phone, took a few photos of birds, then came back home to take some photos of oddities around the house. What you’re about to see is a set of photos I captured this afternoon, resized but not edited at all in any other way. This is the first part of our camera judgement, part of our OnePlus 5 review, extended through this week. Outdoor PhotographyThe photos I took today were captured in the afternoon with sporadic cloud cover and a fully uncovered sun. In other words – these are just about the most ideal conditions I could have found. As such, I expect that the camera is going to perform at its peak. There’s no reason for any photo in this first set to turn out badly.The image above shows the inside of a tree – light blasts it from the outside and the inside is largely shade save the bits where the needles of the tree let the light shine in. I didn’t tap the screen in this photo to focus on any particular spot, so this is just the OnePlus 5 deciding what it wanted to focus on. Below is a photo of my dog.I used the Depth Effect mode with this photo and I’m not entirely sure that it made that big of a difference. The focus is, indeed, on the dog, but the Depth Effect doesn’t seem to have taken effect. The Good news is that the photo turned out well anyway. See below for a Depth Effect photo of my hand that I got working later in the day. Next is a series of photos of birds captured nearly in flight or just having taken off from the ground.
Oculus has announced the upcoming arrival of Rift Core 2.0, its biggest Rift software update ever, according to the company. The update will bring a new Oculus Dash to the company’s VR headset software, as well as a new Home user interface that enables customization with things like artwork, toys, and furniture. Oculus describes Rift Core 2.0 as being a total overhaul of the headset’s core experience, ultimately enabling users to have more freedom within the bounds of VR than previously available. The company designed this big update from the ground up, says Oculus, increasing personalization while making it more intuitive. Chief among Rift Core 2.0’s changes is Dash, the system interface that has been been ‘radically resigned,’ says Oculus, to facilitate a more immersive and capable VR experience. A centralized hub becomes home for Oculus Rift’s existing menus, and it was built to work natively with the Touch controllers. Dash can be accessed from anywhere within the VR environment.Dash works as an overlay onto whatever you’re doing in VR when you summon it. Through it, you can access important things like your PC, the content library, connect with your friends, or toggle between apps. Multitasking is a big benefit of this new Dash offering, and is made largely possible via a series of virtual displays; these can be plucked from Dash, moved anywhere you’d like, and resized. Joining Dash is the aforementioned redesigned Home user interface, one that opens the door for personalization to make things feel more like home. Have a recent game achievement? You can put it up on display in your Home, put up retro cartridges that link to the game library so that each launch the related apps, and more. The changes are persistent, and others can be invited to visit the home and see what it looks like.If you have an Oculus Rift, you’ll get the Rift Core 2.0 update this December for free.SOURCE: Oculus Blog
This isn’t exactly like the palm scanners of science fiction, where you place your hand on top of some plate. Instead, you hover your hand over a sensor the size of a postage stamp or smaller. The effects are, in theory, the same: speedy, accurate, and secure authentication.Unlike the common misconception, Fujitsu’s PalmSecure isn’t simply reading palms the way fingerprint sensors read fingerprints. To be more precise, it’s “palm vein recognition”, not simply palm recognition. It works on the principle that the veins underneath are palm are so complex that they can be used to uniquely identify individuals. But unlike the usual fingerprint and even face scanning, these veins can easily be photographed or duplicated since they lie beneath the skin, adding a level of security to the process.Palm vein recognition, using Fujitsu’s software and components, is already being used by a few businesses, but nothing widespread yet for consumers. Microsoft wants to change that by integrating the technology into Windows 10 Pro, the same way it has integrated face/iris recognition and fingerprint sensors. Of course, that will still require dedicated hardware, which is also still a rare thing in the consumer PC market. Move over 3D face recognition, Microsoft wants your palm instead. The biometric security industry has exploded thanks to the popularity of fingerprint scanners and the whole drama around face recognition on phones. Tech companies are now racing to find the next big thing, and the next body part, for securing devices and files. Microsoft, who already supports face and fingerprint recognition via Windows Hello, has teamed up with Fujitsu to integrate the latter’s PalmSecure technology into Windows 10 Pro. SOURCE: Microsoft
The Sprint-carried LG V40 ThinQ, as its called in its full-name form, is part of a deal right now. Both new and existing Sprint users can get an LG V40 ThinQ on a Sprint Flex lease for $10 a month. They’ll need to add a new line of service to get this deal to work, and they’ll need to do the deal online.SEE: Our LG V40 ThinQ hands-on galleryThat’s $10 a month for a pretty gosh-darned sweet piece of hardware. But here’s the thing… Actually there are several things. The first thing is that the deal is running from October 26th through November 1st, and after that it’ll no longer be available.Next is the fact that you need to pay extra close attention to what you’re getting when you sign up for a Sprint Flex lease deal. Included is the following fine print: “LG V40 ThinQ $10/month $30/month credit, applied within two bills. Requires 18-month lease and new line with approved credit. If you cancel early remaining balance due. Excludes tax.”That $30/month credit applies to the actual amount you’ll be paying per month, so that’s still $40 a month. But $30 of that amount will be applied to your credit with Sprint. Then there’s the part where the word “lease” comes into play. You’re dealing with an 18-month lease, which means you don’t actually own the device. Not at first. You’re going through 18 months of payments of what would be $40 a month, which would come up to $720 at the end of the 18-month period. At that point you’ll get a choice. Either return the phone (to Sprint) and choose a new phone and start a new lease, or buy the phone for either one lump sum or over the course of 6 more months.In 6 months of $40, that’ll equal $960, which is the total cost of the phone if purchased off-contract. Or you can pay the full remaining amount, $240, just the same. Once you’ve paid the full amount, a total of $960, you’ll own the phone. That’ll have been either 18 months or 24 months later.There’s also a deal over at LGV40launchpromo dot com where you’ll be able to get a free SanDisk Ultra 256GB microSCXC card when you’ve purchased an LG V40. That deal goes from October 19th until November 8th. Also note: If at any point you decide to cancel your service with Sprint before the 18 or 24 months is up, the remainder of the $960 will be due immediately. Even after all that, this deal won’t last. Literally, it won’t last beyond the end-date. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more deals, at Sprint, but this one’s not going to last beyond November 1st. Story TimelineWatch the LG V40 ThinQ Cine Shot mode in actionLG V40 ThinQ squeezes in 5 cameras and some surprisesWhy the LG V40 ThinQ’s five cameras aren’t overkillLG V40 ThinQ pre-orders start earlyLG V40 ThinQ has a sweet deal on B&H Photo If you’re the sort of person that would consider using Sprint as your wireless service carrier, read on. If you’re all about whatever phone will get the job done, but wouldn’t mind a smartphone that goes above and beyond the call of duty, there’s a chance you’ll find the following device interesting. There’s an interesting situation going on right this minute with the LG V40 as carried by Sprint here in the USA.
Story Timeline2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Review – Turbo all the things2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid packs 462HP and 31 mile EV rangeA day at Porsche Experience Center LA: Disney World for gearheadsSurprise: Porsche’s fastest Panamera is a hybrid2018 Porsche 911 GT3 pleases purists with stick shift option Lest you think me swayed entirely by looks, it’s also Porsche’s most practical Panamera, too. It may not have gone full-boxy with its trunk, but the Sport Turismo does have more space in the rear for luggage. A lower loading edge and larger tailgate mean getting things in and out should be easier, too. Meanwhile, there’s now space for three in the rear, unlike the twin seats of the regular Panamera. Four different versions of the car will be offered, kicking off with the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. It’ll do 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds with its 330 HP.NOW READ: 2017 Porsche Panamera First DriveNext comes the Panamera 4S Sport Turismo, with a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and 440 HP. That cuts the 0-60 time to 4.0 seconds. A Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo packs the same engine, but throws in a 136 HP electric motor, for a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Finally, the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo has Porsche’s beefy 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. Good for 550 HP, it’ll do 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, and is priced from $154,000 plus $1,050 destination. If you don’t need all that power, the range starts from $96,200 when it goes on sale in the US from the end of the year. Glance at the name and you’d never think this was going to be a wagon. In the metal, though, it’s not only deeply handsome, it’s arguably the best-looking Panamera to-date. Porsche’s designers have aced the rear three-quarter angle, with the athletic tail giving the four-door a swagger against which its hunched-hatch sibling can’t compete. Like the Volvo V90 Cross Country it’s not only flattered by brown paint, it frankly demands it. Porsche’s second-generation Panamera already tidied up the front end of the car, too, but really it’s the back that we’re most excited about. And, with a 3.4 second 0-60 mph time from the most potent Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, that’s the angle most people on the road will be seeing. It’s an oddity of American automotive taste: people who write about cars invariably love wagons, while the public which actually buys cars does not. Automakers have been forced to try all manner of tricks and sleight of hand – witness the trend of jacked-up crossovers – to try to get the US to warm to the wagon, but if all else fails you can call it something different and hope nobody notice. Audi did it with the “Avant”, and it’s just what Porsche has done with the 2018 Panamera Sport Turismo.
Story TimelineLogitech MX Master Review – The ambitious mouseLogitech G305 review: A LIGHTSPEED gaming mouse for the mainstreamLogitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse review: Precision comes at a price The G502 has been one of Logitech’s most successful mice throughout the years, and because of that, it’s enjoyed a few different upgrades. Last year we saw Logitech outfit the G502 with its HERO sensor, but that version kept the cord and, by extension, kept you tethered to your PC. Given the G502’s popularity among gamers, it was only a matter of time before we saw a version that supported both Lightspeed and Powerplay, two of Logitech’s wireless technologies. How does the finished product perform? If you’ve used any of Logitech’s Lightspeed mice in recent years, you can probably already guess.First, a small confession before we dig in: I’ve never actually used the G502 before receiving the Lightspeed model. It’s one of those mice that I often saw mentioned whenever someone was looking for recommendations online, but up until this point, I’ve never used one myself. The status behind the G502, then, isn’t exactly something I’m familiar with first-hand.With that being said, it was immediately clear why people seem to think so highly of the G502. From an aesthetic standpoint, the G502 Lightspeed looks more or less the same as the G502 HERO and its predecessor the G502 Proteus Spectrum. There aren’t a ton of differences to be found between all three mice, except for some branding on the bottom.I’ve reviewed a number of Logitech G Lightspeed mice now, and to me at least, the G502 feels the best out of all of them. That might have something to do with the fact that it’s a right-handed mouse – a fair number of Lightspeed mice are ambidextrous in their design, and while that’s certainly a nice touch for our left-handed brothers and sisters, it can prevent a primary focus on comfort. The G502 certainly looks more like a gaming mouse than some of the other Lightspeed mice out there, save for maybe the G903. It has a very sharp, almost polygonal look to it, with buttons jutting out of the sides, a little wing at the bottom that serves as a thumb rest, and of course, two main mouse buttons that each end in a point and look like a pair of fangs or claws. The G502 certainly isn’t discreet in its design, but on the other side of that coin, it’s nowhere near as outrageous as some other gaming mice are.In all, there are 11 different buttons on the G502. We’ve got the aforementioned right and left main buttons and a scroll wheel that can act as a button by pushing down, to the left, or to the right. There are forward and back buttons positioned just above where your thumb sits, and a sniper toggle that drops your DPI to 400 when you hold it. For changing your DPI settings in all other circumstances, you’ll use the two buttons next to the main mouse button. Then, there are two buttons in the center – one that lights up a trio of bars on the left side of the mouse as a battery readout, and one to change the wheel between free scrolling and notched scrolling modes. I’d like to take a moment to point out that the free scrolling mode feels super smooth. I hate using the I word “silky” to describe things like this, but it’s silky. It feels really good, it’s just a shame that I’m not going to use the free scrolling mode more often because I definitely prefer the more precise control of notched mode. In any case, most of these buttons can be customized within G Hub, which can also be used to set macros and customize what few RGB lights are on this mouse. Though we expect Logitech to use RGB lighting to some degree in most of its G-series products, it’s usually never too much, at least as far as the mice are concerned. Here, the only thing that’s illuminated is the “G” logo, though again, there are also those three bars along the left side of the mouse that light up whenever you check the battery or change your DPI settings. There are no buttons on the right side of the mouse, but there is that distinctive, textured rubber grip that the G502 is known for. It feels great, but I don’t know how much it actually helps during some good old-fashioned high intensity gaming. I can’t imagine it’s hindering my ability to perform in the games I play, but when my performance in any game is typically below average at best, it’s hard to blame anything on the hardware with a clear conscience. So, the G502 looks great and feels good in the hand. That was already common knowledge going into this release, so how does it perform? In short, it performs like most of the other Lightspeed mice in the Logitech G line: Very well. It’s a relatively lightweight mouse – in fact, it’s lighter than its predecessor by 7 grams, even with the addition of all this wireless technology. That reduction in weight is thanks to Logitech’s endoskeleton design within the mouse, which has featured in pretty much every modern mouse from the company. If you find it’s too light, you can make the mouse heavier by using the four included 2 gram weights or two 4 gram weights. I have no qualms with the way the G502 Lightspeed performs, and in fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s a joy to use. The G502 is outfitted with the second-generation Hero 16K sensor that made its debut in the G Pro Wireless, and the benefits of Lightspeed are great, with its 1ms report times and low latency. Keep in mind, of course, that latency will still be present in any wireless mouse, but I think for the average gamer, using the G502 wirelessly will be almost indistinguishable from using a wired mouse.When I first encountered Lightspeed, I said it made a very good argument for going wireless, and I still believe that. The benefits of Lightspeed are compounded by the presence of Powerplay, which is Logitech’s wireless charging mousepad.With this, you can use the G502 wirelessly all the time, as the mat trickle charges your mouse whenever it’s placed on it. It’s a great system, assuming you can afford both the mat and a Powerplay-compatible mousepad.READ MORE: Logitech Powerplay ReviewTherein lies the only problem I have with Logitech’s top-of-the-line wireless mice, including the G502: price. As great as it may be to have a Powerplay pad and a mouse to go along with it (and it is great), it’s expensive to get to that point. The Powerplay pad costs $100 on its own, and then the G502 costs a further $150, for a grand total of $250 if you want to take advantage of everything the G502 has to offer.Granted, Powerplay has been around for a while now, which means that some probably already have the mouse pad and simply need to pick up the G502, making everything a little more palatable. If you’re just starting out, though, there’s no getting around the fact that you’ll be dropping a lot of money to get completely outfitted.Wrap-UpDo I think Powerplay is great? Yes. Is the G502 Lightspeed great? Yes, without question. Are they worth $250? That’s up to you. If you’ve got the money for both and you don’t mind spending it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s worth pointing out that you can use the G502 without the Powerplay mat and still get the benefits of Lightspeed thanks to the wireless USB adapter that comes packed with the mouse, so you can cut out a rather expensive accessory and still get most of the benefit.Ultimately, I’d recommend the G502 and the Powerplay mat to anyone for whom price isn’t a limiting factor. It’s an absolutely stellar mouse in pretty much every way, and knowing how nice it is to never have to charge a wireless mouse (along with the fact that Lightspeed functionality is baked into the mousepad itself, which means no need for the wireless adapter), I’d be comfortable spending this much on the whole kit – though maybe over time instead of all at once. That isn’t true for everyone though, so regardless of how good this mouse is, it all comes down to whether or not you can afford it. Over the past couple of years, Logitech has delivered a string of quality G-series releases, particularly when it comes to mice. Recently, the company has started to turn its attention toward its more popular models from the past, updating them with wireless sensors and Lightspeed support to turn them into wireless gaming mice for the modern era. First we saw Logitech give the G Pro a wireless makeover, and now it’s the G502’s turn.
Health Law Challenges Leave Some Democrats Complaining — In Public, Even Some challenges associated with implementing the health law have some Democrats complaining about the law in public — something once unthinkable. In the meantime, California runs into problems using the law to enroll the uninsured, and physicians who treat Medicaid patients have yet to see a raise the health law promised.Politico: With Obamacare Entrenched, Democrats Feel Free To GripeA funny thing happened once Democrats grew confident that Obamacare is truly the “law of the land.” They started complaining about pieces of it in public. Democrats aren’t walking away from the overall law and its sweeping goals; they still see it as a historic achievement they had sought for generations (Haberkorn, 3/11). Roll Call: Signing Up Uninsured For Health Care A Big ChallengeWhen a California county wanted to encourage residents to buy health insurance earlier this year, officials employed a time-tested tactic for generating interest: nudity. The Alameda County Social Services Agency’s ad campaign featured bare-skinned people who held up signs in strategic spots that read, “Cover your family.” The use of naked people in ads about health care underscores the desperation felt by organizations and government entities that want to encourage enrollment as the launch of new coverage under the 2010 health care law approaches. On Oct. 1, people all over the nation can start signing up for coverage, which kicks in on Jan. 1, 2014 (Adams, 3/11).Medscape: Check Is Not in the Mail for Medicaid Primary Care RaiseA Medicaid raise for primary care physicians in 2013 is a “slow train coming,” in the words of a Bob Dylan song. As in months and months behind schedule. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) boosted Medicaid rates for evaluation and management (E/M) services and vaccine administration to far more generous Medicare levels for primary care physicians effective January 1. By all accounts, however, eligible physicians have yet to see the pay hike, thanks to the grinding wheels of state and federal bureaucracy. The extra money may not materialize until spring or summer, depending on the state (Lowes, 3/11). The Washington Post fact-checks a claim on the health law’s tax hikes –The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Does ‘Obamacare’ Have $1 Trillion In Tax Hikes, Aimed At The Middle Class?The argument over President Obama’s health-care law, aka Obamacare, never seems to end, as witnessed by the fact that House Republicans on Tuesday will unveil a budget that yet again seeks to eliminate it. This exchange on one of the Sunday shows caught our attention, as the battling lawmakers appear to be completely at odds. Are there $1 trillion in taxes in the law, which Wasserman Schultz denies? And are these “middle-income” tax increases, as Johnson asserts? (Kessler, 3/12).In other health law news –The Associated Press: Health Care Law To Create Gap For 21K In HawaiiRoughly 21,000 people in Hawaii who were previously covered under Medicaid will need to buy their own health insurance once President Barack Obama’s sweeping federal health care overhaul takes effect next year, the chief executive of the Hawaii Primary Care Association told a state Senate committee Monday. Robert Hirokawa, of the Hawaii Primary Care Association, said during an informational briefing of the Senate Health Committee that the group represents a so-called “gray” zone that lawmakers should consider as they approach implementing the law (Garcia, 3/11).CQ HealthBeat: Health Law Provisions To Spur Shared Decision-Making Neglected, Some Analysts SayA strategy designed to give patients a deeper understanding of their treatment options for certain serious medical conditions isn’t getting the boost it was intended to under the health law, some analysts say. Shared decision-making, which the chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission late last week described as an ethical imperative, is an approach designed to better incorporate patient preferences when it comes to treating such diseases as prostate and breast cancer and other serious medical conditions where the medical evidence is unclear about which of several treatment options is best (Reichard, 3/12). 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: Administration ‘Finally’ Comes Around On Plan B; ‘Legal Loophole’ Creates Another Compounded Drug Scare The New York Times: An Important Victory On Morning-After Pills Reluctantly yielding to a federal-court decision, the Obama administration announced on Monday that it will take steps to allow a version of the so-called morning-after pill, known as Plan B One-Step, to be sold over the counter to girls and women of all ages. They will not need a prescription, nor will they be required to show any identification to obtain the emergency contraceptive. There will be no restrictions on where the drug can be sold; it will be up to the manufacturer to propose appropriate venues (6/11). Los Angeles Times: On Plan B Contraceptive, The White House Gets It Right – Finally The White House has smartly reversed its opposition to allowing girls of all ages to buy the Plan B One-Step contraceptive pill over-the-counter. The Obama administration still resists the sale of cheaper, more generic versions of the emergency contraception drug. That’s unfortunate, but at least the White House has stopped its long, drawn-out court battle over availability of a drug that scientific research and the Food and Drug Administration have found to be safe and effective for girls and women of all ages (Carla Hall, 6/11).CNN: A Victory For The Morning-After Pill The Obama administration finally got it right when it decided to stop fighting to put age limits on who can buy morning-after pill Plan B without a prescription. The fight started a year and a half ago, when apparently for the first time in history, the secretary of health and human services overruled a Food and Drug Administration decision. The FDA said Plan B should be sold the way aspirin is sold — with no restrictions. The Obama administration wanted age limits; a coalition of reproductive rights groups sued the government, and on Monday, the Justice Department backed down and ended the legal wrangling (Aaron Carroll, 6/11).The New York Times’ Economix: The New Subsidy For Layoffs Employers may also offer to help laid-off workers continue with their health insurance during the unemployment spell. (Indeed, a laid-off worker who intended to spend some severance pay on health insurance premiums would save money on taxes if the former employer were paying those premiums, even if it meant lower severance.) Severance pay and health insurance costs for former employees are significant expenses that employers presumably take into account when they decide the number and timing of their layoffs. During 2009 and 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had the federal government pay some costs of layoffs, especially with its premium-assistance program, which paid 65 percent of the premiums that a laid-off employee would pay to stay on the former employer’s health plan. People who could join a spouse’s employer health plan and people without health insurance on their previous job were ineligible for the program (Casey B. Mulligan, 6/12). The New York Times: Healing The Overwhelmed Physician We physicians are susceptible to a kind of medical Stendhal syndrome as we confront the voluminous evidence about the clinical choices we face every day. It would take dozens of hours each week for a conscientious primary care doctor to read everything he or she needed in order to stay current — a dizzying and impractical prospect. To remedy the problem, many medical groups issue clinical-practice guidelines: experts in a field sort through the reams of clinical research on a medical condition and pore over drug studies, then publish summaries about what treatments work best so that physicians everywhere can offer the most appropriate, up-to-date care to their patients. While this sounds straightforward, the process can go astray (Jerry Avorn, 6/11). Politico: Legal Loopholes Compound Drug Safety Problems The Food and Drug Administration is sounding alarm bells, warning health care providers that an injectible drug produced by a compounding pharmacy in Tennessee has been implicated in more than a dozen illnesses. If the story sounds eerily familiar, that’s because it is. … American consumers expect that the medications they take are not only effective but safe. There’s a good reason for that. As a country, we have made a commitment to rigorous oversight by the FDA. And while the rigor of this process requires a substantial financial investment and is time consuming, the result is a high level of safety and confidence in our nation’s drug supply. But when compounded medications are mass manufactured and distributed all over the country without FDA oversight, public health is compromised (Tommy Thompson, 6/11). The Washington Post: Welcome Disclosure About Medicare Payments Information can be efficiency’s best friend. The more that participants in the marketplace know about the true costs and benefits of various goods and services, and about the behavior of other individuals and firms, the easier it is for them to get the most for their money. The U.S. health-care system notoriously lacks transparency, which may be a reason why it produces poorer results at higher cost than do systems elsewhere. So one of the more encouraging recent developments in health care has been the Obama administration’s disclosure of data about how Medicare spends roughly $500 billion each year (6/11). The Washington Post: IRS Taxing Of Tanning Beds And Other Obamacare Absurdities It is reassuring that amid so much government dysfunction, the Internal Revenue Service has resolved the question of when and whether to tax tanning beds under the Affordable Care Act. Do not be concerned about that giddiness you feel. You are not having a nervous breakdown but are suffering a symptom commonly associated with recognition that the absurd has become the accepted norm — and that you are, in fact, alone (Kathleen Parker, 6/11). Bloomberg: Retirement Will Kill You Teddy Roosevelt once said “the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Recent research suggests he may have been more right than he knew: Life’s “best prize” might actually extend life itself. Our common perception is that retirement is a time when we can relax and take better care of ourselves after stressful careers. But what if work itself is beneficial to our health, as several recent studies suggest? (Peter Orszag, 6/11). St. Louis Beacon-Journal: Achieving Middle Ground On Medicaid Is Still PossibleThe Missouri legislature closed its 2013 legislative session without resolving what was likely the most important question facing it: whether to adopt the proposal put forward by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to expand the Medicaid program to a projected 260,000 uninsured people in Missouri. While a bipartisan solution did not pass, the legislature appointed a committee to consider this question further. Recent signals suggest that a compromise solution could be found in the 2014 session (Timothy McBride, 6/11). The Medicare NewsGroup: Medicare Trustees Report Presents A Fuzzy, Moving Target Due to the moving-target nature of the ACA reforms and the SGR, though, the underlying tone of the trustees report is far from sanguine. There’s a huge gap between implementing the SGR cuts (which won’t happen soon) and alternatives, as illustrated in a chart in the report. That could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in additional spending if Medicare can’t reel in costs. The best-case scenario savings are “an illustration of the very favorable financial outcomes” outlined in the report (John Wasik, 6/11).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Consumer Revolutions Needed For Real Health Care Reform If we want to flatten the cost curve in health care, maybe we should shift our focus to hospitals and doctors. All of us know that their prices are outrageous and ever rising. But, when you inspect financial statements and cost reports of health providers, you reach the same conclusion you reached when you looked at insurance company profitability (Francis Miller, 6/11). Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Access To Health Care Major Issue For LGBT Coloradans In addition, the Division of Insurance made changes to current regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month this June, there are now many new opportunities for Colorado’s LGBT community than in years past. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that LGBT Coloradans have access to the care they need to get and stay healthy (Sarah Mapes, 6/11). San Francisco Chronicle: Breast Cancer Treatments Less Disruptive Early in my practice, it became clear to me that breast cancer treatment was not just a health issue, but a family and work disruption issue for busy women. This was frankly pointed out by a patient who presented me with the book she had written after her treatment called “Breast Cancer? Let Me Check My Schedule.” Cancer remains a disruption, but not nearly as much as three decades ago (Nima Grissom, 6/11).
State Highlights: Maine To Allow Foreign Mail-Order Rx Drug Orders A selection of health policy stories from Maine, North Carolina, Missouri, California, Washington, Kansas and Florida.The Wall Street Journal: Maine to Allow Prescription-Drug ImportsThe hunt for cheaper prescription drugs long has led consumers to reach beyond U.S. borders, but under a Maine law set to take effect Wednesday, their search now will have the state’s blessing. The law, the first of its kind, sanctions the direct purchase of mail-order drugs from some foreign pharmacies. It has ignited a court battle with the pharmaceutical industry and set the stage for a broader fight over access to less-costly medication (Levitz and Martin, 10/8).The Associated Press: Lawmakers Want Quicker Fix To NC Medicaid BillingNorth Carolina state lawmakers and medical workers on Tuesday demanded quicker resolution of problems within the state’s new Medicaid billing system as complaints mount about overdue claims payments and unhelpful call center workers (Robertson, 10/8).North Carolina Health News: Audit Edits Eliminated Defense Of Medicaid ProgramAs last year’s audit of the Medicaid program widened in scope, the state auditor critiqued the performance of a highly regarded program that manages low-income patients. Those criticisms stood, uncontested, in the final report (Hoban, 10/9).The Kansas City Star: Missouri Just Says ‘No’ To Tracking Drug PrescriptionsThe anti-drug movement’s slogan used to be “Just say no.” Missouri lawmakers have managed to give it a new twist by repeatedly saying no to tracking prescriptions of controlled drugs. Missouri is now the only state in the nation that doesn’t have such a system (Bavley, 10/8).Los Angeles Times: Loyola Marymount Drops Health Coverage For ‘Elective’ AbortionsAmid a debate about the role of Catholic colleges in a secular society, Loyola Marymount University this week decided to drop staff health insurance coverage for “elective” abortions and instead offer employees a separate, unsubsidized plan to cover those procedures. The move was seen on campus as a compromise between traditionalist alumni and faculty — who think the university should have nothing to do with abortion — and a more liberal group who contend LMU should not impose religious doctrine on the large number of non-Catholics it enrolls and employs (Gordon, 10/8).The Seattle Times: ‘Boarding’ Mentally Ill Becoming Epidemic In StateMatthew Jones stripped off his clothes, kicked over a trash can and ran into Kirkland’s Juanita Beach Park. He wanted to swim across Lake Washington, find Bill Gates and kill him. Police intercepted the distraught 35-year-old on a dock and brought him to nearby EvergreenHealth hospital, where officials classified him as dangerously mentally ill and ordered he be detained, against his will, to be treated (Rosenthal, 10/8).Kansas Health Institute: Kansas’ Drug Monitoring Program Credited With Helping Keep Overdoses LowKansas has among the lowest rates of drug overdose in the country, likely due in part to its prescription drug monitoring program, according to a new report. Less than 1 per 10,000 Kansans died of overdoses in 2010 — the majority of which nationwide are from prescription drugs — ranking eighth lowest among states, according to a report released this week by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health (Cauthon, 10/8).Miami Herald: University Of Miami Hospital Overbilled Medicare $3.7 Million, Audit SaysThe University of Miami Hospital will have to refund $3.7 million to Medicare after a federal audit of the hospital’s billing practices found the hospital overbilled in 2009 and 2010, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (Chang, 10/8).California Healthline: Governor Signs Physical Therapy BillThe long-standing requirement that patients must get a physician’s referral first to receive treatment from a physical therapist was eliminated Monday in a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D). Assembly member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said his bill, AB 1000, allows patients to get treatment without unnecessary delay. “With this historic compromise, we are putting patients first,” Wieckowski said in a statement. The new law allows a patient to see a physical therapist for 12 visits or 45 days before having to go to a physician for an examination (Norberg, 10/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.