HTC U11 confirmed to support Bluetooth 5 with Android O

first_imgThe confirmation of Bluetooth 5.0 support coming to the U11 following the phone’s release means that it actually shipped with all the necessary hardware already inside. Unfortunately it won’t be activated until the device receives a software update, which will be included in the rollout of Android O over the coming weeks.Once Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility is active on the U11, users will have access to much faster Bluetooth speeds, which means better connections to things like smart watches and smart appliances. Sadly, there is one downside: the U11’s Bluetooth 5.0 support won’t include data transmission over greater distances, one of the other big features of the new standard. It turns out that not every aspect of Bluetooth 5.0 must be supported in order for a device to pass certification, so faster speeds are in, but increased distances aren’t.SOURCE: HTC Story TimelineHTC U11 Review: You won’t buy this, but you shouldHTC U11’s squeezable edges come at a terrible costHTC U11 Alexa hands-on: What works and what needs workHTC U11 to get Bluetooth 5 in a firmware updateThis HTC U11 app is a must-have for ownersHTC U11 Life could be a compelling mini flagship HTC’s latest flagship phone, the U11, has proven itself to be one of the top Android device releases of the year with impressive specs and design, useful features, and a great camera — and soon it’s going to get even better. HTC has revealed that U11 was just certified for the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, and that users will be able to take advantage of its improved speeds once Android O is released.last_img read more

Smartphone sales decline for the first time since 2004

first_img5.6%. That’s how much smartphone sales have declined in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same period the year before. It’s really minuscule if you consider how smartphone sales have always been on the rise since 2004, at least according to Gartner. The decline seems to have hit almost all manufacturers, including both Samsung and Apple. Despite that, they retain their top positions.Q4 2017, however, has been very favorable to two Chinese OEMs. Huawei experienced a 7.6% year-on-year growth while Xiaomi got an astounding 79%. Its spread to more markets in the Asia-Pacific region helped it climb its way to #4 among the world’s top 5. That said, taking into consideration 2017’s total sales, Xiaomi is nowhere to be found.Unless it becomes a trend in the coming quarters, which we won’t know until next year, it’s hardly a reason to worry about the smartphone market’s health. That said, it could give some insight into the shifting strategies of smartphone makers, especially with the increasing number of “ultra premium” models.Gartner cites the slow replacement of older models as one of the reasons for the lower sales last year. As prices of high-end smartphones go through the roof, buyers will prefer to hold on to them much longer. Companies might be selling more expensive models but they are also selling less of them in return. Cue the prophets of doom and gloom. According to Gartner, the vibrant and aggressive smartphone market has experienced its first-ever dip in sales ever since the market analyst started tracking smartphone sales more than a decade ago. It’s not a huge loss, mind, but one that could still get some people thinking if the market has indeed finally reached its peak. But while the smartphone market as a whole might count it as a loss, things seems to be looking up for Huawei and Xiaomi, in spite of mounting controversy around Chinese brands.last_img read more

Researchers create flying robot that mimics insect flight

first_imgAnyone who has ever tried to smack a fly that was annoying them knows how fast the little bugs can move and how agile they are. Scientists have been trying to create robots that can fly like insects and birds for a long time. A new flying robot has been created by researchers at TU Delft from the Micro Air Vehicle Laboratory (MAVLab). The scientists there are experimenting with the first autonomous, free-flying, and agile robot that moves by flapping wings. The robot was developed specifically to improve the understanding of how fruit flies control aggressive escape maneuvers of the sort deployed to avoid your swatter. Study of these capabilities is an important step to creating insect-size robots that can both power and control fight using wings with the agility needed to operate in the real world.The robot the team created can flap its wings 17 times per second to generate both lift and directional control using those wing motions. It’s able to do that by making minor adjustments to its wing motion while in flight. Those adjustments and rapid wing beating allow the robot to hover, fly in any direction, all while being very agile. The bot is programmable making it suited to studying insect flight. Already the team has been able to program the robot to mimic the flight patterns of a fruit fly. Those patterns include the highly aggressive maneuvers that a fruit fly uses to escape being squished by a person with a fly swatter in hand. This bot will be developed further and already has a flight time to make it practical in real-world applications.SOURCE: TUDELFTcenter_img The top speed for the robot is 25 km/h and it can perform aggressive maneuvers such as 360-degree flips that are like loops and barrel rolls. The wingspan of the robot is 33cm and it weighs 29 grams. That size and weight give power efficiency allowing for five minutes of hovering flight and more than 1km of range on a fully charged battery.AdChoices广告last_img read more

Vizio P Series Review

We enjoyed the SmartCast M65-D1 so much, that when Vizio offered SlashGear the Vizio P Series for free in exchange for the review, we happily accepted.DesignThe days of boxy, purely utilitarian TVs are so long gone, that kind of television set now only appears in period drama or science fiction. These days, TVs, whether smart or otherwise, are designed to blend with your living room decor. Some are even meant to disappear into walls! Vizio may be known for being a “budget-friendly” brand but that definitely doesn’t mean that it looks cheap. In fact, the 2018 Vizio P Series proves exactly that.The Vizio P was designed to deceive you into thinking the TV was floating. Or at least standing on thin, fragile-looking legs. As they say, looks can be deceiving and those metal caltrop legs are sturdy and stable. They are spaced wide apart, though, almost at the edges, which might be something to consider in planning where to place the TV. Those impossibly strong feet hold up the sleek silver bottom edge of the TV, perhaps the most noticeable part of the Vizio P’s face. That’s because the rest of the edges are practically thin black strips that contrast with the silver bottom, creating a floating illusion.In contrast to the fine-looking front, the profile and rear of the Vizio P seem best to be hidden from sight. The TV lies on the thick side, which makes the feet’s supporting role even more impressive. The edges at the back are curved, as if to compensate for what would have been a very blocky box. This part of the TV remains truly utilitarian and, fortunately, it does that rather perfectly as we’ll see later. Suffice it to say, the Vizio P TVs will feel no shame when put next to expensive furniture and decor.ColorOf course, a TV doesn’t only need to look good in terms of appearance, it also has to look good in terms of display. Unsurprisingly, the new Vizio P TVs make generous use of today’s industry buzzwords. Fortunately, Vizio isn’t just all talk. These days, 4K is almost a given for premium TVs. What’s more important that supporting that resolution is being able to make good use of those pixels. In practice, that often means supporting an extremely wide range of colors and HDR, often through UHD.There are actually two (or three) competing HDR standards today and, fortunately, the Vizio P supports all of them. That includes the more standard HDR10, Dolby’s proprietary Dolby Vision, and the new kid on the block, HLG or Hybrid Log-Gamma. That said, Vizio has a special preference for Dolby Vision, extolling its color fidelity and scene-to-scene dynamic range adjustments from camera to post-production. Add to that Vizio’s own “Ultra Color Spectrum” and you are promised a range of colors that even exceeds the industry standard DCI-P3.Brightness and ContrastColor, however, is only half the visual equation. The other half that can make or break the experience, no matter how vivid or expansive the colors might be, is brightness along with its twin, contrast. For the former, Vizio boasts that this year’s P series maxes out at 1,000 nits of brightness. Given that 2017’s P TVs only had up to 600 nits, that’s no small improvement. This year’s model averages at around 860 to 950 nits, which is an impressive leap forward. But turn on Vivid mode and you can even hit 1,000 nits or higher. Even more so when you consider it doesn’t have any fancy quantum dots tech to rely on.Just as or perhaps even more important is the darkness. Considering the technology used, it is easier to brighten up the screen than to make blacks really pop out. This is also the area where the Vizio P series stands out the most not just from its predecessors but also from its competitors. The LED-backed LCD’s use Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD) and it makes the feature available on all three Vizio P sizes, unlike other brands. So whether you get a 55-inch P55-F1, a 65-inch P65-F1, or a 75-inch P75-F1, you’re still assured of better dimming capabilities. That said, the smaller models do get fewer dimming zones, a critical metric in determining how dark the dimming can be. The P55-F1 has 56 dimming zones, the P65-F1 gets 100, and the top of the line F75-F1 boast 120. The only other non-Quantum non-OLED brand that can beat Vizio in this metric is TCL, which doesn’t offer a 75-inch option from its current stable of TVs.Theory and PracticeColor, brightness, and contrast all work together to produce vivid images that seem to come alive on the flat screen. Or at least they can make the darkest scenes decipherable and identifiable. In the Vizio P Series’ case, these three are delivered by Dolby Vision 4K HDR, 1,000 nits of brightness, and 120 FALD zones, 100 zones in the 65-inch model. At least that’s the theory. But how does it hold in practice? The good news is that it’s very good. The bad news? It might not exactly be the best.The Vizio P really delivers on its promises of precise dimming, even when there are fewer zones to assist. While it may be at a disadvantage against OLED TVs, it manages to hold its own against more expensive sets. The catch is that the same could be said of some more affordable LCD TVs, like those from TCL.For all its talk about colors, the 2018 Vizio P seems to produce less than vivid ones. SDR content, in particular, will look dull even if you switch on Calibrated Mode. The Vizio P also tends to lean heavily on blues and reds, making the colors a little less accurate than ideal, though that largely depends on the content as well. VIZIO tells us that, out of the box, the display should be fairly accurate as they have been calibrated right at the factory.The TVs overall performance, however, isn’t just measured by those factors, though they definitely take center stage. The 120 Hz refresh rate, available on all models, is a huge win for the TVs, putting them on the same level as more expensive sets from Samsung and Sony. That may, however, cause the so-called “soap opera effect” that some find a tad disconcerting. Fortunately, there’s an option to adjust the smoothing to comfortable levels. You can also avoid smoothing without giving up that sweet 120 Hz by setting Judder Reaction to 0 and turning on Clear Action. This will cause the image to cycle the backlight to reduce motion blur.As with any LCD panel, the Vizio P suffers from limited viewing angles. It does only start at around 45 degrees off-angle, but when it does, the quality drops quickly. Not a problem with small families sitting in front of the screen but could be an issue when it comes to group binge watching.SourcesA TV with a great screen won’t be of much use if you don’t have content to display on it. Fortunately, the Vizio P has tons of ways to get those content onto its LCD panel. There are, for example four HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2, a composite video input, and a USB port. Actually, it has five HDMI ports, but the fifth one is special. It’s the only one capable of 1080p/120Hz. This will matter most to gamers, who will appreciate the decreased input lag. That is, if they can live with the lower resolution.This year’s P TVs also witness the return of an old friend. The built-in TV tuner, absent from last year’s models, makes a comeback in 2018 and puts its again on the same level as its peers. With Vizio positioning the P series as the TV for cord cutters, being able to get free OTA TV without having to purchase a separate box or connector makes that claim all the more believable.Not so smart smartsThe Vizio P Series isn’t just a 4K HDR FALD LCD TV. It’s a 4K HDR FALD LCD Smart TV. That comes in two parts. One is from the “apps” that deliver content from the Internet or your mobile device. The other is with its integration with smart assistants,which we’ll get to later.Vizio uses its own SmartCast platform for its smart TVs rather than reuse something like Android TV. So when it talks about “apps”, don’t confuse it with your typical smartphone apps just running on a large display. They’re more like channels for video and music streaming services and sources. Vizio has quite a few of them but it also has its own free WatchFree service that gives access to over 100 streaming TV sources like CNET, IGN, The Onion, and more.But if you already have those “apps” on your phone or tablet or even have some that aren’t available from Vizio’s list, you can also just throw your content (not your phone) to the TV. The Vizio P does have Chromecast built-in. No AirPlay though. Conversely, you can also use your phone as the TVs remote control, in case you lose the latter.Not that it’s easy to lose, being the big wand that it is. Of course, remotes far bigger have suffered that fate as well. The Vizio P’s remote control is something of an oddity. In an age where remote controls are being simplified or even rendered redundant, Vizio is overloading its own. As if it there weren’t already enough buttons, Vizio added more. Without totally being biased, the P Series remote has dedicated buttons for Vudu, Netflix, Amazon, Xumo, Crackle, and iHeartRadio. Everything else will have to make do with multiple button presses or smartphone taps.Or they could simply call on Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. But don’t be deceived. The Vizio P Series doesn’t integrate Google Assistant nor Amazon Alexa. Instead, the TVs integrate with those assistants. Yes, you can control the TV with your voice using either of those two, but you’ll need to first have a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device, often a Google Home or Amazon Echo. Fortunately, your phone can probably do it too.Wrap-upIs the 2018 Vizio P Series 4K HDRD Smart TV any good? Based just on features and performance, it definitely proves that Vizio can offer almost similar image quality and performance as more expensive sets from the likes of Sony and Samsung, especially when it comes to dimming. The problem comes when you start comparing it to what else is available along that price range, particularly from TCL. While the Vizio P beats TCL in some metrics, there are times when the performance differences are almost negligible. The price difference might also be something to consider. Right Now the 2018 VIZIO P starts at $1,099 at Best Buy, which is only $50 more than an equivalent TCL. So if you have the money to spend on a 2018 TV but not enough for a high-end, and more expensive, Quantum Dot model, you can’t really go wrong with a Vizio P. Just be aware that there might be cheaper options available that might not be as bad as they sound.[This review has been updated to reflect that WatchFree is available now] What do you really need in a modern TV these days? Picture quality is, of course, a given, with terms like “4K”, “HDR”, “FALD”, and “Quantum Dots” being thrown around in marketing spiels and materials. With increasingly connected homes, Internet connection for streaming is almost expected as well. Maybe even some smart home control, too. And beyond being just functional, these “smart” TVs are expected to look just as nice as any decoration in your living room. In all but one of those, Vizio’s 2018 P Series promises to check all those dots. And so we take it for a spin to see, no pun intended, if it can deliver. read more

Tesla Semi Truck debut is officially set for November 16

first_imgTesla’s official unveiling of its semi truck has had a dubious date, with plans first indicating that it would be unveiled in September, then later being updated tentatively to October 26. That latter date wasn’t a guarantee based on Musk’s tweet at the time, and now it has changed again. In a recent tweet, Musk updated the unveiling to mid-November. Tesla Semi unveil now Nov 16. Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017 Tesla has been busy working on an electric semi truck rumored to have a range of between 200 and 300 miles. The trucks may prove an effective way to transport goods over long distances without using traditional fuel sources, and it marks a big milestone for electric vehicles. The Tesla semi truck hasn’t been revealed yet, however.center_img According to a tweet made by Musk this afternoon (above), Tesla has bumped the truck’s unveiling to November 16, as it is currently busy concentrating on ramping up battery production for places like Puerto Rico as well as correcting its current Model 3 bottlenecks. An official look at the truck hasn’t been provided yet, but a look at the vehicle may have leaked via Reddit. Earlier this week, a Reddit user posted an image of a futuristic-looking truck on a trailer. The vehicle in the image is speculated to be Tesla’s semi truck; the windshield display and headlight location seem to match the placement hinted at in Tesla’s teaser image above.Whether the leaked image actually shows the truck is anyone’s guess. We’ll know next month when Tesla unveils the vehicle in Hawthorne, California; a previous tweet by Musk indicated that the unveiling will include a demonstration of the truck in action, so it should be a fun event.last_img read more

RHA Wireless Flight Adapter grants Bluetooth audio to anything with a 35mm

first_imgIf you’re the owner of a quality pair of Bluetooth headphones but you own devices that don’t support wireless connections through Bluetooth, then RHA has the perfect device for you. Today the company introduced its Wireless Flight Adapter, which takes any device with a 3.5mm jack and makes it compatible with your Bluetooth headphones. Not only is this adapter good for people with devices that don’t support Bluetooth, but it’s also good for people who often find themselves on long-haul flights, just as the name suggests it is. The Wireless Flight Adapter comes with dual 3.5mm inputs that are modular, so they can be used with in-flight entertainment systems. When you’re using a device that only has a single 3.5mm jack, you can retract one of those inputs in the housing so it doesn’t get in the way.RHA’s Wireless Flight Adapter is charged via USB-C and with a full battery can support up to 16 hours of playback. With that in mind, it should have enough battery life for all but the longest possible direct flights, but it’s worth pointing out that the adapter can also be used while it’s plugged in and charging.The adapter supports Bluetooth 5.0, aptX, and aptX low latency, and can broadcast simultaneously to two pairs of headphones at once. It has a 10 meter range as well, so you can get pretty far away from it before the connection begins to cut out. In addition to folks who make a habit of taking long flights, the Wireless Flight Adapter could be a good buy for those who own a Nintendo Switch, as that doesn’t support Bluetooth headphones despite the fact that Joy-Cons connect to the console via Bluetooth.In fact, one of the images on RHA’s listing for the Wireless Flight Adapter show it being used to connect wireless headphones to a Switch, so it’s clear that the company understands where it can fill a need. The Wireless Flight Adapter is available today from RHA’s website for $49.95. Story TimelineRHA SA-850, SA-500 and MA-350 ReviewRHA Dacamp L1 portable DAC headphone amp launches at IFA 2016last_img read more

State Roundup Okla Gov Pushes Funding Fix To Cover 9000 On Medicaid

first_imgA selection of health policy stories from Oklahoma, Texas, California and Massachusetts.The Associated Press: Fallin Urges Last-Minute Health Care FixGov. Mary Fallin proposed a last-minute legislative change Friday to the state’s Insure Oklahoma program that would direct $50 million in state tobacco taxes to pay for more than 9,000 people who are expected to lose their health insurance under the program. Insure Oklahoma currently uses federal Medicaid funding, state tobacco tax revenue and payments from workers and employers to provide health insurance to about 30,000 low-income Oklahomans, but the federal government notified Oklahoma last week that the program must change in order to qualify for federal funding (Murphy, 5/18).The Associated Press: Legislators Devote New Funding To Mental HealthFor the first time since (Texas) state lawmakers made historic budget cuts a decade ago, legislators are dedicating hundreds of millions more dollars to mental health care. (Haven for Hope in Bexar County) serves as a model of the services and success they aim to accomplish. … As Republicans and Democrats in the Texas House and Senate hash out the details of the state’s 2014-15 budget — there are fights over water, roads and education — one issue they are not arguing about is support for mental health. “One thing we could all agree on was mental health was, to a large extent, a driver of crime,” said state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton (Grissom and Rocha, 5/19).The Texas Tribune: House OKs Bill To Expand Mental Health In Managed CareManaged care plans would be required to offer more mental health services to Medicaid recipients under a bill tentatively approved by the House on Friday. … The majority of mental health services — such as medication management and counseling — are already provided to Medicaid recipients through managed care (Aaronson, 5/17).Los Angeles Times: City Of San Francisco, Worker Unions Protest Kaiser Premium HikeIt’s a trend many public employees can relate to: Health insurance premiums climb year after year, while at the bargaining table workers have agreed to kick in more for pensions, take salary cuts and sign on to furlough days. But when Kaiser Permanente — which insures 45,000 public workers here — proposed another hike for 2014, San Francisco’s Health Service System teamed up with labor unions to say “no more” (Romney, 5/19).Los Angeles Times: St. John’s Picks Providence Health & Services In Bidding WarAfter months of controversy, the owner of St. John’s Health Center said it plans to sell the landmark Santa Monica hospital to Catholic chain Providence Health & Services. The hospital has been at the center of an intense competition that featured bids from UCLA Health System, other Catholic hospital chains and Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong (Terhune, 5/17).The Texas Tribune: Texas On Track To Restore Cancer Research FundingThe Legislature is on track to restore financing for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. In an effort to restore public trust in the beleaguered agency, budget negotiators made the agency’s financing for 2014-15 biennium — $595 million — contingent upon the passage of Senate Bill 149, which the House tentatively approved on Friday (Aaronson, 5/17).Medpage Today: No Hike In Mass. Hospital Use Post Health ReformHealth care reform in Massachusetts did not increase overall use of inpatient resources, but other states may not be so lucky, researchers found. Before and after a reform, the average number of quarterly admissions per hospital was 1,502 and 1,557, respectively — translating into a nonsignificant net change of 0.3 percent when compared with controls, according to Amresh D. Hanchate, PhD, an economist at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and colleagues (Kaiser, 5/17).California Healthline: Assembly Approves Race, Ethnicity In Quality ReportingThe Assembly yesterday passed a bill that requires state officials to include race and ethnicity when compiling health care quality data. AB 411 by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) would not create any kind of difficulty for state officials, since that data already exists, according to Pan. The point is to make state officials use it, Pan said. … The information is already being collected by the state Department of Health Care Services so it’s not really much more work to mine that data for health disparities by race or ethnicity, Pan said (Gorn, 5/17). State Roundup: Okla. Gov. Pushes Funding Fix To Cover 9,000 On Medicaid 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

Prescription Drug Deaths Drop In Fla After Crackdown On Doctors

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Deaths involving narcotic painkillers dropped 26 percent over two years in Florida after stricter doctor scrutiny, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The New York Times: Prescription Overdose Deaths in Florida Plunge After Tougher Measures, Report SaysPrescription drug overdose deaths in Florida fell sharply after the state began strengthening its prescribing laws and stepping up enforcement. Federal researchers said Tuesday that it was the first significant documented decline in the nation since the epidemic of prescription drug abuse took hold more than a decade ago (Tavernise, 7/1).Los Angeles Times: Crackdown On Florida Clinics Leads To Decline In Deaths, Report Finds Public health officials have identified a sharp decline in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers for the first time in a decade. Deaths involving OxyContin, Vicodin and other narcotic painkillers dropped by 26 percent over two years in Florida after a crackdown on pain clinics that dispensed high volumes of the medications, according to a government study released Tuesday. Lawmakers there barred doctors in these “pill mills” from selling the drugs they prescribed (Girion, 7/1).The Associated Press: The South Prescribes More Painkillers, CDC Says Powerful painkillers have been driving the nation’s rising rate of overdose deaths, and now the government is singling out the states where doctors write the most prescriptions. A second report released Tuesday spotlights how a crackdown in Florida led to hundreds fewer overdose deaths from prescription painkillers in just a few years. The reports are part of a campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat deaths from prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. In 2011, drug overdose deaths reached 41,000 and 41 percent of them involved prescription painkillers (Stobbe, 7/1).The Boston Globe: Mass. Ranks Low Overall In Prescribing OpioidsMassachusetts physicians rank among the top 10 nationally in prescribing OxyContin and other long-acting painkillers, according to a government report released Tuesday that highlighted wide state-by-state variation in the rates of use of addictive opioid medications. But the state ranked low, 41st nationally, for overall prescribing of opioids, which have become a major concern because of rising rates of abuse and overdose deaths. Long-acting pain medications such as OxyContin are only one of several types of opioids, which also include methadone, codeine, and hydrocodone (Abutaleb, 7/1). Prescription Drug Deaths Drop In Fla. After Crackdown On Doctorslast_img read more

Longer Looks ACOs And Job Shifts Abortions Racial Gap Having A Stroke

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Longer Looks: ACOs And Job Shifts; Abortion’s Racial Gap; Having A Stroke At 33 Each week, KHN’s Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.The Economist: How To Fix ObamacareIt is now nearly a year since the roll-out of Obamacare. The launch was a shambles, and Obamacare is a totem for every American who hates big government. Republicans will deride it, yet again, in the mid-term elections. Obamacare is indeed costly and overcomplicated. Yet it is not to blame for America’s health mess, and it could just contain the beginnings of a partial solution to it. But that will only happen if politicians treat health care like a patient: first, diagnose the disease, then examine whether Barack Obama’s treatment helped, and then ask what will make the patient better (9/20).Vox: How Much Money Do We Waste On Useless Health Care?It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Dartmouth Atlas, a research project begun in the mid-1990s by health-care researchers at (unsurprisingly) Dartmouth College. The 18-year study has shown the incredible variation in American health spending. What Medicare spends on a single patient’s hospital care ranges from $5,371 in Utah to $8,937 in Maryland (Sarah Kliff, 9/18).The Atlantic: Abortion’s Racial GapIn 2005, Renee Bracey Sherman, then 19, sat in the abortion clinic alone. A jumble of concerns ran through her mind. She didn’t feel ready for a baby, but still, she worried that her parents would be disappointed in her choice. More than anything, though, she didn’t want to be a statistic, another pregnant black teen. “In the moment, you never know who your allies are,” Sherman said. “You don’t want to take the chance of everyone judging you at a moment when you’re so vulnerable. There’s a very unfortunate stereotype of women of color, and black women in particular, that we are promiscuous and just have babies. You don’t want that to be you.” An African-American woman is almost five times likelier to have an abortion than a white woman, and a Latina more than twice as likely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Zoe Dutton, 9/22).The New York Times: A Mother In Jail For Helping Her Daughter Have An Abortion On Sept. 12th, Jennifer Whalen, a 39-year-old mother of three in the rural town of Washingtonville, Pa., went to jail to begin serving a 9-to-18-month sentence. Whalen’s crime was, in effect, ordering pills online that her older daughter took in the first several weeks of an unplanned pregnancy, when she was 16, to induce a miscarriage. The medication was a combination of mifepristone (formerly called RU-486) and misoprostol. The drugs have been available from a doctor with a prescription in the United States since 2000 and are used around the world to induce miscarriage. Recent research increasingly suggests that early in a pregnancy, women can safely use mifepristone and misoprostol to miscarry at home. But if the medical risk of this kind of do-it-yourself abortion is relatively small, the legal risk still looms large (Emily Bazelon, 9/22).The New York Times: A Drug Mule For The Medicare SetMy mother has many attributes, but athleticism has never been one of them. She always hesitates before stepping onto an escalator and rarely walks beyond our circular driveway. So when her physician ordered her onto a treadmill last winter, it hardly seemed surprising that her heartbeat jumped dramatically, even when the pace was not brisk. She is 80, after all. To temper her tempo, she was soon prescribed a very expensive heart medication. “I have to take it or I might have a stroke,” she told me (a problem for me, as her future caregiver, as well as for her). Luckily, Medicare and her supplemental insurance picked up most of the cost, so a 90-day prescription’s worth of pills came to just $135 — a good rate to pay, I thought, for a good heart rate. But in July, her discount suddenly ended (Jennifer Conlin, 9/19).Modern Healthcare: ACOs, Other Delivery Reforms Shift Job Roles At HospitalsPhoenix obstetrician Megan Cheney no longer makes hours of telephone calls on Thursday nights to report routine results of laboratory tests to waiting patients. The calls, however, still get made every week. A medical assistant with experience in obstetrics and gynecology now handles calls involving routine findings. That has freed time for Cheney to draft the lectures she delivers twice a week to her medical resident trainees. The shift in responsibilities may be minor, a matter of hours in a lengthy work week. But it is one of many underway at Banner Health, where the drive to cut costs has triggered an extensive overhaul of employees’ roles and patient care (Melanie Evans, 9/20).The New York Times: To Gather Drug Data, A Health Start-Up Turns To ConsumersFor years, Thomas Goetz had been a spirited armchair advocate of the use of digital technology and data to improve health care. At Wired magazine, where he was executive editor, Mr. Goetz assigned and wrote articles on the subject. He organized conferences, lectured and wrote a book in 2010, “The Decision Tree,” which hailed a technology-led path toward personalized health care and better treatment decisions (Steve Lohr, 9/23).BuzzFeed: I Had A Stroke At 33There was a cascade of input — triangles and sky and gravel sound and music on the radio and wind and the feeling of rough cloth near my hands. I could not make sense of it all; I did not know the small triangles were trees, the larger ones mountains, the sound tires crunching snow and Snow Patrol, the jacket Gore-Tex, and that my wrists were the things attached to things called my hands. They were colors and shapes and sound and touch and sensation and my brain was no longer sorting these things out. But when I saw the red snowblowers in the parking lot turned 90 degrees and doubled, I finally had a complete thought. I comprehended what I was seeing. Red snowblowers. Sideways. Strange. That was what my stroke felt like: like I was separating from myself. It was Dec. 31, 2006. I was 33 (Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, 9/21).Pacific Standard: Why Science Won’t Defeat EbolaOn Tuesday President Obama announced that the U.S. government will step up its efforts to help fight Ebola in West Africa. Coming six months into the crisis, and more than a month after the World Health Organization said that the outbreak was getting out of control, this major commitment of supplies and personnel by the world’s wealthiest country is long past due. The biomedical community also seems to be lagging. Ebola vaccines and drugs exist but are only available in limited quantities thanks to their experimental state. Reading the headlines, it sounds like the researchers and regulators have moved too slowly. The drugs are “still stuck in the lab.” There is a new way to quickly make enough drugs to halt the outbreak, “if only the U.S. had the boldness to try it.” The most promising vaccine was recently put on an accelerated testing schedule, but it’s too little too late (Michael White, 9/19).last_img read more

State Highlights Judge Skeptical Over Partners Deal In Mass SC Gets New

first_img California Healthline: Fragile, Rural Population About To Be Moved Into Medi-Cal Managed Care Boston Globe: Judge, Coakley Tangle Over Partners Deal In a packed courtroom on the 10th floor of Suffolk Superior Courthouse, the question on the docket appeared to be a simple matter: Should a judge in the Business Litigation Division say yes or no to a deal negotiated between Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley? In any standard consent judgment, the judge would default to the attorney general. But again Monday, as she did in September, Judge Janet Sanders made clear she will not say yes, no, or come back with a revised deal until she understands the details and possible consequences. (Bebinger, 11/10) The Associated Press: Haley Names New Leader For S.C.’s Medicaid Agency On a rainy Wednesday morning in the thick of fall allergy season, Brian Forrest disappears into one of the plain yet cheerful exam rooms at Access Healthcare with longtime patient Winston Goodwin. Half an hour later, the primary care physician emerges, heads to his office and types up a detailed treatment plan that includes specific meal suggestions – leafy greens and salmon – and other health tips. All told, Forrest spends around 40 minutes on the patient. Most primary care physicians would go bankrupt if they spent that kind of time on routine visits, yet Forrest said he’s making two to three times the income of his colleagues while seeing only 16 patients a day. All Goodwin pays when he checks out is $64 for the visit, $10 for the flu shot. And even though he has Medicare, neither the patient nor the practice will file a claim. Goodwin can’t afford the monthly charge that Forrest offers his patients in lieu of accepting insurance, instead paying full cost for his visits. Even though he has Medicare, which he uses for hospital visits, Goodwin would rather pay out of pocket. (Ferris, 11/11) Next month, state health officials will launch a transition of rural Medi-Cal beneficiaries into Medi-Cal managed care health plans. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. The transition involves about 20,000 of the most frail and elderly segment of the rural Medi-Cal population — seniors and persons with disabilities, known as SPDs. (Gorn, 11/10) The Ohio Department of Health on Monday got a new medical director, a former state epidemiologist who was in charge of the state’s response to the Ebola crisis. Dr. Mary DiOrio was appointed by Republican Gov. John Kasich. DiOrio has been with the agency for 13 years and will make $150,000 annually. She’ll work under state Health Director Rich Hodges, whose appointment to the post by Kasich had been criticized because he is not a physician. (11/10) The (Columbia, S.C.) State: Aide To S.C. Gov. Haley To Take Over State’s Medicaid Agency During Keck’s four-year tenure, the Medicaid program in South Carolina has steadily grown. According to data provided by the agency, the program will cost nearly $7 billion to administer this fiscal year, compared to $5.7 billion in 2012. In August, more than 1.1 million adults and children were enrolled in the Medicaid program, up from about 850,000 people four years ago. … Keck, who is considered by health care experts around the country as a progressive leader in a red state, streamlined the process for signing children up by culling information from other state agencies so that they may be automatically enrolled. … Despite these broadly popular initiatives, he may be best remembered for his uncompromising opposition to the new federal health care law. Keck has been adamant that South Carolina should not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. (Sausser, 11/10) A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Monday suggested that Attorney General Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial ambitions may have played a role in the expansion plan negotiated with Partners HealthCare, and said she might consult with the incoming attorney general, Maura Healey, before ruling. The comments from Judge Janet L. Sanders, near the end of a daylong hearing, provoked a tense exchange with Coakley, a Democrat, who just lost a tight election to Charlie Baker, the Republican governor-elect. (McCluskey, 11/10) Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday nominated her former deputy chief of staff to replace the outgoing director of South Carolina’s Medicaid agency. Christian Soura will take over from Tony Keck at the state Department of Health and Human Services starting Nov. 20. The Senate still must confirm his appointment. DHHS provides health care coverage to nearly 1.2 million of the state’s poor, disabled and elderly residents, about a quarter of the state’s population. (Adcox, 11/10) The Associated Press: Former Jindal Health Secretary Pleads Not Guilty In Perjury Case Tied To Medicaid center_img WBUR: Judge Appears Skeptical About Partners HealthCare Deal North Carolina Health News: Wake County Doc Believes He Has A Cure for ‘Dysfunctional Medicine’ The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier: Gov. Nikki Haley Names Insider Christian Soura As New Medicaid Director The Oregonian: State Manager Who Sought No-Bid Contract For Well-Connected Firm Is Moving On Cathy Kaufmann, the manager who tried to award a $150,000 no-bid contract to the wife of a then-adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber, is leaving state service for another job. Kaufmann will go to work for Families USA, an influential liberal health care advocacy group, as enrollment program director. Previously, she headed the Oregon Health Authority’s Transformation Center, a federally funded $45-million project to foster innovations in reforms to the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan. (Budnick, 11/10) Five days after saying changes were coming to her cabinet and senior staff, Gov. Nikki Haley announced the first shakeup – a change at the agency that oversees the state’s Medicaid program. Health and Human Services director Tony Keck, who helped increase the number of South Carolinians with health insurance while opposing the federal law to expand coverage, is returning to the private sector, Haley said Monday. Christian Soura, the governor’s budget expert, will take over the $7 billion-a-year agency if confirmed by the state Senate. (Shain, 11/10) Gov. Bobby Jindal’s former health secretary entered a not guilty plea Monday on charges that he lied when questioned about the award of a now-canceled $200 million Medicaid contract. Bruce Greenstein was indicted on nine counts of perjury, charges tied to his sworn testimony during a state Senate confirmation hearing and to a grand jury reviewing the state’s contract with Maryland-based Client Network Services Inc., known as CNSI. (DeSlatte, 11/10) State Highlights: Judge Skeptical Over Partners Deal In Mass.; S.C. Gets New Medicaid Director A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oregon, Ohio, South Carolina and California. The Associated Press: Ohio Gov. Kasich Appoints New Medical Director 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

Patients With High Deductible Plans Sometimes Face EpiPen Cost Issues

first_imgPatients With High Deductible Plans Sometimes Face EpiPen Cost Issues News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical drug pricing. KPBS Public Media: Criticism Continues Over High-Priced EpiPen Congress is starting to get some answers on EpiPen pricing. And though, so far, Mylan’s not offering much beyond what’s readily available via Google search, that could change later this week. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which demanded answers earlier this month, is expecting documents late this week, sources close to the investigation said. The committee had set a deadline for initial word from the company Monday. (Staton, 9/13) Anyone who has watched college football on TV or played the game Words with Friends on their phone in recent days may have seen the ad featuring Stephanie Haney, Bill Remak and Ryan Dant, all of whom were beneficiaries of biotechnology treatments. The ad, called “Innovation Saves,” suggests that money spent by biotech companies on research and development ultimately saves healthcare costs, because drugs lessen the need for hospital stays, reduce the number of surgeries performed and, in some cases, cure costly diseases. The group behind the ad is the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), which is running it as part of a larger campaign to counter all the negative publicity surrounding drug companies of late, much of which has been fueled by pricing controversies surrounding drugs like Mylan’s EpiPen and Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Daraprim. (Weintraub, 9/13) Generic drug prices in Medicare Part D decreased significantly in recent years, a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says. So why the worry about price hikes? Hundreds of products saw “extraordinary price increases,” that’s why. For a group of 2,378 generic drugs–including those that entered or exited the market from 2010 to 2015–Medicare Part D prices fell overall by 59%. But “established generics”–the 1,441 drugs that stayed on the market the entire time–fell by just 22%. More than 300 cases of “extraordinary price increases” kept prices from falling further, the GAO said. (Sagonowsky, 9/13) Drugmakers have been under scrutiny since Mylan’s EpiPen price hike, but government involvement in controlling costs is not necessarily the answer, Wells Fargo Securities analyst David Maris said Thursday. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said if elected, she would create an oversight panel to monitor price increases and impose penalties for unjustified hikes. “I don’t think that having government run that process is really the right way, because it’s a Trojan horse for price controls. Once they start controlling a little bit of price, then the temptation is to control all of price, and if you do that, you really get fewer drugs invented,” he said. (Fox, 9/8) Stat: Feds Probe Drug Maker For Prices Of Generic Dermatology Meds Stat: Pharma Suffers A Setback In Battle Over Ohio Drug Pricing Ballot Measure When Isa Traverso, of Morrison, Col., went to fill her son’s EpiPen prescription in early September 2016, the pharmacy said it would cost her $1,500 for a pair of the life-saving devices—despite having health insurance coverage. That’s because her family’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan requires that they meet a $5,200 deductible before insurance coverage kicks in, a figure they haven’t reached yet for the year. That left Traverso on the hook for the full price—and she couldn’t afford to fill the prescription. “I’m angry. This is not something you want to have. It’s something you have to have,” says Traverso. She says she’ll consider not using her insurance and switching to the cheaper EpiPen alternative, generic Adrenaclick ($140 at Walmart using a GoodRx.com coupon). (Skinner, 9/12) Consumer Reports: EpiPen Costs Add To High-Deductible Insurance Woes The popular furor over rising drug prices has led to increased scrutiny of the patent protections that can allow drugmakers to sell medicines exclusively for many years. A new study helps quantify just how much a generic competitor can drive down the price of a brand name drug. The price of brand name drugs falls steeply in the first year after the loss of exclusivity and continues to fall over the next three years, according to a study published by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics with numbers from IMS Health, a medical data wholesaler. (9/12) Forbes: BIO’s CEO On The Drug-Price Brouhaha And New Ads Touting Pharma Innovation Stat: Food Allergy Group Says No To New Donations From EpiPen Manufacturer FiercePharma: ‘Extraordinary’ Generics Price Hikes Hit Medicare Part D Amid Big Reduction Overall California Healthline: How Generics Lower Drug Prices FiercePharma: After Grassley Decries ‘Incomplete Response,’ Mylan Agrees To Pony Up EpiPen Docs center_img It’s easy to see why EpiPen has become the focus of America’s fury over drug prices. It treats potentially deadly allergic reactions — for example, in a child who is stung by a bee — and its price has spiked by over 500% in a few years. While it’s easy to jump all over drugmakers, like EpiPen’s maker, Mylan, other actors in the healthcare system ought to draw as much scrutiny.One group of companies, called pharmaceutical-benefit managers, or PBMs, serve as middlemen, and they touch every part of the purchase of a prescription drug. (Lopez, 9/12) European Commission court upheld an antitrust fine that was imposed three years ago against Lundbeck and four other drug makers for allegedly conspiring to delay the availability of a lower-cost generic version of an antidepressant. The ruling by the General Court of the European Union came in response to an appeal of a 2013 decision that found Lundbeck and the generic drug makers pursued a pay-to-delay deal that violated European Union anticompetition regulations. The European Commission had fined the companies a total of $165 million with Lundbeck ordered to pay the bulk of the fine, or about $105 million. (Silverman, 9/8) Stat: Drug Maker Loses Appeal Of Antitrust Pay-To-Delay Case In Europe An Ohio court has given a significant boost to a controversial ballot measure that is designed to lower the cost of medicines. In a ruling last Friday, the state Supreme Court decided that thousands of contested signatures on petitions submitted to the General Assembly were valid. And the court also ordered the Secretary of State to permit consumer activists to submit yet another petition that is required for final approval by county officials so the measure can go before voters in November 2017. (Silverman, 9/12) Yet another drug maker is under scrutiny for its pricing. The US Department of Justice last Thursday sent grand jury subpoenas to Taro Pharmaceuticals and two of its senior commercial officers in its US unit seeking documents about generic pharmaceuticals and pricing, according to a filing that Taro made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. (Silverman, 9/12) The Desert Sun: Woman Says She’ll Go Without Her EpiPen Because Of Price Business Insider: Scrutiny Of PBMs, Express Scripts Grows With Drug-Price Fury Mylan, the company that makes the EpiPen, has been under fire for making the drug too expensive for many consumers. EpiPen is an auto-injector form of ephedrine that can stop a severe allergic reaction. It’s only sold in pairs, retailing for about $600. But it’s not the only prescription drug with an exorbitant price. (Goldberg, 9/12) Stat: FDA Slams Drug Maker For Touting Unapproved Leukemia Treatment To Docs Last June, Celator Pharmaceuticals proudly displayed a large poster touting its experimental Vyxeos medication as an effective salve for treating acute myeloid leukemia. The poster was, in fact, one of countless placards featured prominently on the exhibit floor at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, a sort of Woodstock for cancer doctors and eager investors. Despite the numerous displays, however, the Celator poster managed to stick out.That’s because Vyxeos has not yet been approved to treat AML. (Silverman, 9/7) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. CNBC: Government Involvement In Drug Pricing Is A Trojan Horse, Analyst Says A bee sting while swimming one year ago prompted Donna Myrowto start carrying a life-saving EpiPen. When a pharmacy recently called to say her cost for a new pen had jumped $100, the Palm Springs retiree felt stung all over again…Myrow’s pharmacy told her in August she would be responsible for roughly $300, or about half of the total price for her EpiPen renewal. Medicare and supplemental insurance would cover the rest. A year ago she paid $200. (Newkirk, 9/12) A major food allergy advocacy group said this week that it would stop accepting donations immediately from drug companies selling epinephrine auto-injectors until there is “meaningful competition” in the market. While not mentioning Mylan by name, the statement from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) implies that the EpiPen manufacturer is one of the targets. (Swetlitz and Silverman, 9/9) last_img read more

HHS Sees Boost In Spending Levels Partly Thanks To Congress Pledge To

first_img HHS would receive approximately $98.7 billion, compared to the $87.1 billion enacted for fiscal 2017, according to the bill, explanatory language and a Senate summary. That includes $5.1 billion for the Food and Drug Administration and $5.5 billion for the Indian Health Service, whose funds are provided respectively in the bill’s Agriculture and Interior titles. (Siddons, 3/21) CQ: Labor-HHS-Education: Health Programs Get A Boost Politico Pro: Spending Deal Boosts HHS Budget By $10B HHS Sees Boost In Spending Levels Partly Thanks To Congress’ Pledge To Fight Opioid Epidemic Media outlets take a look at how the spending bill breaks down for health-related agencies. Congress is adding a several billion dollar boost to the omnibus in order to combat the opioid epidemic — an effort to bolster prevention, treatment and law enforcement initiatives to combat the crisis killing thousands of people each year. The $1.3 trillion spending package allocates around $4 billion to the opioid epidemic, much of which is new money appropriated this year.  (Roubein, 3/21) The Hill: Funding Bill Gives $3 Billion Boost For NIH Medical Research  This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.center_img FDA received just a small boost to its taxpayer dollars — $134 million — bringing its total taxpayer money for fiscal 2018 to $2.9 billion. When combined with industry user fees, FDA’s total funding would stand at $5.2 billion, or nearly $500 million more than the previous year. (Cancryn, 3/21) CQ: Military Construction-VA: Boost For Health Care, Housing The government funding bill unveiled Wednesday night boosts funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $3 billion, an investment touted by both parties. The increase, which brings total funding for the fiscal year to $37 billion, is a reflection of the bipartisan support for the NIH. (Sullivan, 3/21) VA medical care accounts would receive $68.8 billion of the new money allotted in the omnibus. In the final bargaining, appropriators provided a $2 billion increase for VA hospital maintenance and construction to help fix aging infrastructure and shore up in-house facilities so veterans don’t need to make as much use of the existing private care alternative, known as the Veterans Choice Program. Choice, as it is known, has perennially run short of cash since its inception in 2014. The fiscal 2018 spending bill doesn’t provide any additional funds for the program. For fiscal 2019, the administration is asking for $85.5 billion for the VA, which would amount to a $4 billion increase over this year’s proposed funding, which is nearly six months late. (Mejdrich, 3/21) The Hill: Congress To Boost Opioid Treatment, Prevention Dollars last_img read more

Medicare Advantage Plans To Get 34 Pay Hike In 2019 Well Over

first_img That’ll be a boon for insurers such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. that have big businesses selling the private plans, known as Medicare Advantage. Including changes based on how sick or healthy people are, the total increase in payments to insurers is estimated to be about 6.5 percent, on average, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement Monday. (Tracer, 4/2) One area where insurers didn’t get their way: encounter data. CMS will boost the share of the payment formula that is based on encounter data — essentially paid claims records — from 15 to 25 percent. Insurers have argued the records are inaccurate and shouldn’t be relied on to determine payments. (Demko, 4/2) Politico Pro: CMS Boosts Medicare Advantage Payments By 3.4 Percent In 2019 Medicare Advantage Plans To Get 3.4% Pay Hike In 2019, Well Over Initial Proposal CMS Administrator Seema Verma says the payment bump reflects higher projections for how much Medicare spending will increase next year. Modern Healthcare: CMS Gives Medicare Advantage Plans A Raise  Bloomberg: Medicare To Boost Private Plan Payments By 3.4% Next Year  center_img Stat: Medicare Puts Off Decision On Lowering Drug Prices Patients Pay 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 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services laid out a bevy of initiatives Monday that officials said would reduce drug prices for patients covered by the Medicare Part D prescription drug program — but they have made no decisions yet on an issue that has confounded lawmakers and patients alike. That issue is whether the discounts that pharmacy benefit managers negotiate for drugs — the “rebates” that lawmakers have been raising questions about in recent months — as well as other fees, should go toward lowering the price that a patient pays at the pharmacy. (Swetlitz, 4/2) The CMS finalized a rule Monday giving Medicare Advantage plans a 3.4% pay hike in 2019. That’s well above the 1.84% bump the agency initially proposed and higher that the 2.95% increase for 2018. The CMS is also moving forward with plans to increase the use of encounter data to determine risk scores for plans. As a result of the finalized rule, 75% of Medicare Advantage risk scores will be based on traditional fee-for-service data, and 25% based on encounter data. That differs from 2018, when the agency used a risk score blend of 85% fee-for-service data and 15% encounter data. (Dickson, 4/2) last_img read more

Nintendo brings Donkey Kong Jr and Vs Excitebike to SwitchOnline

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. If you were getting a little tired of the library of games in your NES app for Switch, then good news: Nintendo is adding three new titles for May. Donkey Kong Jr., Vs. Excitebike and Clu Clu Land will be coming to Nintendo Switch on Wednesday May 15, and will be a perk to subscribing to the company’s £20 per year subscription service, like the other 38 titles already available.Related: Best Switch gamesDonkey Kong Jr., as the name suggests, is a follow up to Donkey Kong starring Kong’s son. Unlike the original, however, this time you play the gorilla with Mario the villain. Otherwise, the gameplay will feel pretty familiar, although vines to swing on offer a little bit more depth over the original.Vs. Excitebike is a side-scrolling motocross expansion of Excitebike, which is already on the service. If you haven’t tried the original yet, you probably should as it’s a bit of Nintendo heritage that the company is pretty proud of with references in more modern titles. There’s a Mario Kart 8 course based on the jumps, for example, and you may remember the spiritual successor: Excite Truck for Wii.  Related: Upcoming Switch gamesClu Clu Land is less well remembered, but should still prove pretty diverting. You play a balloonfish called Bubbles, looking for golden ingots hidden in mazes. If you don’t yet have a Switch Online account and want to find out what all the fuss is about, remember that you can currently get a year’s free access if you’re an Amazon Prime member. As well as the NES games, being a member unlocks online multiplayer and means your saved games are backed up in the cloud.What games do you want to see added to the NES Arcade? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews. 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. 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 Editorlast_img read more

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 release date We just learned a key detail

first_imgThe launch date for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 in South Korea has been ‘revealed’, and if it’s accurate we haven’t got long to wait before we get our hands on the phablet.The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 will become available in South Korea from August 23, according to the Korea Times. Pre-orders will be taken from August 9, after its launch in New York on August 7. If accurate we’d expect the dates to correspond very closely (or exactly) to its release here in the UK, which means that there’s just over a month to wait until you can get your hands on the fabled flagship.Related: Best PhonesIt’s good news that the Note 10 will be released soon, because the recent flurry of leaks and rumours has left us struggling to contain our excitement! Firstly it seems there will be several variants of the device, including the standard model, a premium-spec Pro version and possibly even a more-affordable ‘e’ device similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10e.Related: Best Android PhonesFor the Pro version, we’re expecting the very best that Samsung has loaded in its arsenal: a 6.75-inch display, an Exynos 9825 chip, a 4500mAh battery, and possibly even fast-charging as powerful as 50W. These would represent big upgrades over the Galaxy S10 series, so we can’t wait to test out how it would perform in our rigorous review.When we put the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to the test, we were very impressed overall. The battery had great endurance, the huge display was very immersive, and the S Pen is a unique selling point for a more versatile device. We had very few gripes to make at all, but one of them would be the eye-watering high price; unfortunately from what we’ve heard so far there are no expectations for the Note 10 to cut down on cost, but you can be reassured at least that you still tend to get what you pay for from Samsung flagships. 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. 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. 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.last_img read more

Drop in auto production leads surprise decline in Canadas factory output

first_img Reddit Share this storyDrop in auto production leads surprise decline in Canada’s factory output Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Facebook What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Featured Stories advertisement Comment Twitter Factory production unexpectedly fell in Canada on a temporary slowdown in the auto sector.Manufacturing sales fell 0.6% in April, Statistics Canada said Thursday from Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting factory output to increase 0.4 per cent.The pullback follows a revised 2.6 per cent gain in March, which was the largest since the end of 2017. In volume terms, sales fell 0.8 per cent.Slowing output in the transportation sector was the primary drag, declining 6.7 per cent. Motor vehicle production fell 8.9 per cent, mostly due to “temporary plant shutdowns and fewer units assembled,” according to Statistics Canada.The nation’s economy is emerging from two quarters of stagnant growth, but Tuesday’s report may shake confidence in a quick return to form. The Bank of Canada, which has indicated interest rates are on hold even as the Federal Reserve weighs a cut, expects output to pick up in the second half of this year.April’s sales drop, however, was somewhat isolated. Output fell in just 8 of 21 industries, and excluding the auto sector factory production rose 0.5 per cent. Inventories increased 1.3 per cent, led by petroleum and coal, bringing the inventory to sales ratio to 1.53 — the highest since 2009.Bloomberg.com Sponsored By: Drop in auto production leads surprise decline in Canada’s factory output Motor vehicle production fell 8.9% Recommended For YouMarkets mostly recover from deep losses on Trump tweet about ChinaYields little changed by jump in U.S. consumer pricesPosthaste: The unsinkable Canadian dollar, Brexit risk rising and CannTrust’s stock meltdownTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know it Join the conversation → June 18, 20191:24 PM EDT Filed under News Economy Email ← Previous Next → More 0 Comments Bloomberg News Erik Hertzberg Motor vehicle production fell 8.9 per cent, mostly due to “temporary plant shutdowns and fewer units assembled,” according to Statistics Canada.Aaron Lynett / National Post last_img read more

Amazon embroiled in Ontario labour relations board complaint over couriers

first_imgAmazon embroiled in Ontario labour relations board complaint over couriers Union representing couriers alleges unfair labour practices resulting in termination of employees, closure of one company and the bankruptcy of another Documents say All Canadian Final Mile’s employees began a union drive in November 2017 and shortly after Amazon reduced the company’s five shifts per day to three, its 12-hour shifts to 10 hour shifts and its number of routes from 25 to about 12. From December 2017 to February 2017, the documents allege couriers were receiving emails from All Canadian Final Mile saying the company had “fewer routes than usual” and a “really low” volume of work.The documents also explain the reductions were initially blamed on the Christmas rush being over and the start of the year’s slow period, but by June, couriers got an email announcing the immediate closure of the company’s Mississauga operation due to “unstable and declining volumes.” The workers were allegedly placed on permanent layoff.DEC’s union drive began in June 2017 and resulted in the company’s owners allegedly warning employees that if they did things Amazon did not like, Amazon would take work away from DEC.Later DEC allegedly terminated about 15 courier drivers, including the union organizer and a handful of supporters. Courier drivers then allegedly received an email saying DEC would be shutting down immediately because it could not afford to operate. A bankruptcy order was allegedly filed against the company soon after.At Stedfasts Inc., documents allege the company has terminated or stopped assigning work to three employees because of their support for the union. Documents say the company pointed at Amazon for the reason it terminated specific employees and is claiming it cannot reinstate the workers.The union refused to comment to The Canadian Press about the incidents and its application, but in its filing says “Amazon has sent an unequivocal message to the courier drivers at its Scarborough and Mississauga distribution terminals that unionization equates to job loss.”In an email to the Canadian Press, Amazon spokesperson Amanda Ip said, “We are fully co-operating with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and will relentlessly fight to disprove these accusations.”In labour board filings the company also maintained that it “has not committed any unfair labour practice.”“Not only did Amazon Canada Fulfillment Services Inc. not discriminate against delivery service providers on the basis of their union or non-union status, but the data is clear that the unionized delivery service providers did not experience any form of differential treatment from non-unionized delivery service providers.”Amazon said that unionization or attempts at unionizations do not factor into what delivery area, routes and shift cancellations its courier companies receive.DEC, Stedfasts Inc. and All Canadian Final Mile’s parent company TFI International also did not respond to The Canadian Press’s requests for comments.In their own filings Stedfasts Inc. and All Canadian Final Mile said they had no knowledge of most of the allegations put forward by the union and denied most of the remaining claims.The matter will be headed back to the labour relations board on Wednesday and Thursday. Tara Deschamps 0 Comments Reddit Comment Email More January 30, 201911:14 AM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 30, 20191:56 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing center_img TORONTO — A union representing Ontario couriers delivering packages for Amazon.com Inc. are alleging the e-commerce giant engaged in unfair labour practices that resulted in the termination of employees, the closure of one courier company’s Mississauga operations and the bankruptcy of another.In a series of applications filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board in July initially reported on by The Logic, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada Local 175 accused Amazon subsidiary Amazon Canada Fulfillment Services Inc. of using its control over sub-contractors to create a “chilling effect” meant to influence them to not “support, assist or co-operate with” the organization of a union.The union is seeking a declaration that Amazon violated the Employment Standards Act and is demanding it reinstate and compensate laid-off courier drivers from two subcontracted companies for lost wages. Amazon gains on report it plans to expand Whole Foods stores When it comes to buying last-minute gifts online, shoppers increasingly trust only Amazon to deliver Amazon says it mistakenly shared customer emails and names due to technical error Amazon, which has expanded its network of warehouses across Canada in recent years, said in documents it filed that it “categorically denies” the allegations and that the claims have “no basis in fact.”The Seattle-based company took issue with the anti-union tactic allegations and with the union’s descriptions of work conditions it says couriers working for companies sub-contracted by Amazon face across North America.The union alleges the couriers are typically paid within Amazon’s suggested wage rate range — between $15 and $17.50 an hour — and work 12 hour days, but can see those shifts reduced or extended depending on the number of deliveries assigned, weather, the time of year and traffic.Every hour a driver must deliver between 15 and 25 packages and if they fall behind, they’ll be texted about their deficiency and directed to catch up, the union alleges. Drivers must work until all their packages are delivered and Amazon has the authority — and allegedly often exercises it — to send couriers back on the road to complete deliveries that were not successful during the day, the union says.It is amid these conditions that the union alleges Amazon acted against workers at Burlington-based transportation company DEC Fleet Services, national courier service All Canadian Final Mile and Richmond Hill, Ont.,-based Stedfasts Inc., which each employed workers providing delivery services to Amazon for their Scarborough and Mississauga warehouses. These businesses and a handful of others are named as respondents in the labour board case.Amazon has sent an unequivocal message to the courier drivers at its Scarborough and Mississauga distribution terminals that unionization equates to job lossunion filing The Canadian Press Twitter Share this storyAmazon embroiled in Ontario labour relations board complaint over couriers Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn A union representing Ontario couriers delivering packages for Amazon.com Inc. are alleging the e-commerce giant engaged in unfair labour practices.Jim Young/Bloomberg Facebook Join the conversation →last_img read more

Bjørn Nyland Takes First Look At Audi etron Video

first_img Audi e-tron 55 quattro: Videos Galore From Paris Motor Show Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 29, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News Audi e-tron All-Wheel Drive Capabilities Tested: Video Audi e-tron Launch Delayed Over Software Issue Audi e-tron can tow a lot more than the I-PACE (750 kg), but slightly less than Tesla Model X (1,800 kg ve 2,250 kg). However, the e-tron can be equipped with roof racks. There is also an easy system to fold the back seats from the trunk or fold the middle seat for things like skis. Overall, the Tesla Model X seems to be more spacious inside though.Audi brings a lot of features that Tesla lacks like a 3D view of the car, paddles for regenerative braking settings, optional cameras instead of side mirrors, illuminated seatbelt latches, headlight washers, seats with massage, etc. Navigation / infotainment is solid (though not as good as in the case of Tesla), with a cool keyboard on the lower touch screen for typing destination and an instrument cluster with navigation behind the wheel.Surprisingly Bjørn noticed that materials in the e-tron could be better (here he gives the advantage to I-PACE and Tesla).Overall, Audi e-tron wins the practicality award, but Bjørn will stick with Tesla as it has stronger performance (speed, acceleration), towing capability, space, Supercharging network and remains better fit for his driving profile.Audi e-tron specs:0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds or 0-100 km/h  in 5.7 secondsTop speed – 124 mphover 400 km (250 miles) expected under WLTP test cycle95 kWh battery (36 cell modules, each module is equipped with 12 pouch cells, nominal voltage of 396 volts)battery pack weight: 700 kilograms (1543.2 lb)dual-motor all-wheel drive – up to 300 kW and 664 Nm in S mode (boost) or up to 265 kW and 561 Nm in D mode. Front motor is 135 kW, the rear is 165 kW (S mode).Maximum tow rating – 1,800 kg (4,000 pounds) when properly equipped9.6 kW on-board charger (240 V, 40 A) in U.S. and 11 kW or 22 kW three-phase in EuropeDC fast charging up to 150 kW: 0-80% in 30 minutes Audi e-tron seems like a very practical electric car.Bjørn Nyland recently had his first opportunity to spend some time with the Audi e-tron. It was not yet a test drive, but a quick stationary overview and comparison to the Jaguar I-PACE and Tesla Model X (or even Tesla Model S).First impressions are very positive as e-tron turns out to be a well-designed, solid EV. It’s large, spacious (besides the fast that the middle seat has compromised legroom), with a huge trunk (little too high of a loading height) and 2nd largest front trunk (after Tesla).Audi did its homework with charging (DC up to 150 kW) and AC up to 22 kW (3-phase), as well as an optional additional AC charging inlet on the passenger side. The charging inlet also doesn’t have those cover caps. The e-tron still will fall short of the Tesla Supercharging network until IONITY and Electrify America expand networks, but the on-board charger is way more capable than in the case of I-PACE (7.4 kW).Audi e-tron newslast_img read more

Bus batteries get second life as solar energy warehouse

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicles Magazine What happens to electric bus batteries when they retire? A new research project in Sweden is resurrecting old bus batteries for a new purpose: storing solar energy in apartment buildings.An “energy warehouse” at an apartment complex in Gothenburg consists of 14 batteries that previously served the city’s electric buses. When linked together, they create a 200 kWh stationary pack that stores energy from solar panels on the complex’s roof. The use of storage helps cut down the facility’s power consumption peaks, and allows the apartment complex to sell excess energy back to the national grid. Furthermore, energy can be bought from the grid at its cheapest price and stored for later use.“We know that electric bus batteries have good potential for other applications such as energy storage after the end of their life in public transport,” said Ylva Olofsson, Project Coordinator at Volvo, one of the companies conducting the research project. “What we are examining here is exactly how good that potential is. Use of the batteries in an energy warehouse gives them an extended service life which in turn means better resource utilisation and less environmental impact.”Source: Volvo Buseslast_img read more

NDC Technologies announces new sensors for LiIon battery manufacturers

first_imgMeasurement technology provider NDC Technologies has announced its next generation of sensors for lithium-ion battery cell manufacturers. NDC claims that its four new devices will allow manufacturers to produce more consistent, higher-quality electrode components.The new Photon Sensor measures the weight of coatings applied to anode/cathode copper and aluminum foil substrates. According to NDC, the measurement accuracy is 10 times better for the cathode and 4 times better for the anode than traditional Beta (nuclear) sensors.The new Micro-Caliper Thickness Sensor provides thickness measurements for press line calendering applications. The system provides accuracy better than 0.3 microns and can report thickness variations less than 1 mm in width.The new Web Surface Inspection System is a camera-based defect inspection tool. It can detect and classify optical defects of the coating on calender/press lines across a range of materials.Finally, the new Beta LaserMike LaserSpeed Pro is a non-contact length and speed gauge designed to monitor the speed of battery coating and press lines. The laser-based gauge offers accuracy better than +/-0.03% and provides connectivity, communication, and control capabilities. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Source: NDC Technologieslast_img read more