Back on August 25th I wrote an article called This is Pixel 2’s secret weapon VS iPhone 8, centered on Google Lens. Not a whole lot has changed since then – Google Lens was introduced as a “new initiative” at this year at Google IO 2017. The following video shows how Google Lens works: Story TimelineNexus One update enables multitouch, Google Goggles, 3G fixesMicrosoft licenses GeoVector AR tech to challenge Google GogglesGoogle Goggles 1.6 for Android now scans photos in the backgroundGoogle Goggles now built in to Android (with Now On Tap)Behold, an “iPhone Edition” with Google Goggles inside The above demo was captured through a build based on the most recent version of the official Google app. The components are there, they just needed to be picked out and re-arranged a bit. Even if you take part in the Google app (Beta), this version of the Google Search bar might not appear for you – odd, isn’t it? Google Pixel 2’s main super secret feature seems to have spilled here days before the device is revealed with Google Lens. The feature’s been in Android before for more than a half-decade – in different forms, through different Google apps – but now’s the time. In an APK teardown of the most recent version of the Google app, a Google Bar has been discovered with an in-OS editor and a new icon – ready to roll for the new version of Google Lens. With Google Lens, your smartphone camera won’t just see what you see, but will also understand what you see to help you take action. #io17 pic.twitter.com/viOmWFjqk1— Google (@Google) May 17, 2017 The Google event on the 4th of this month will show the world how Google sees it – right through the Lens of the Google Pixel 2. Stick around as we get the full business straight from Google at said event, reported to you here on SlashGear in our main story feed. We’ll get up close and personal with everything from Pixel 2 to Pixel 2 XL to the displays, cameras, and Google Lens, too! Thanks to the intrepid APK explorers at 9to5Google we’ve got our first look at the Google Bar editor. Much like the average Android user is able to customize their wallpaper and (sometimes) their theme colors, here the Google Bar gets live. The Google Bar can be seen here in a brief demo of what’s coming to the Pixel 2 in very short order.
As with the Google Home, the iGV1 offers everything the Google Assistant can do. That means answering questions, playing streaming music services – like Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube Music – and delivering daily news briefings. If you’ve got connected lights, remotely-controlled outlets, or other smart home kit installed, the Google Assistant can likely control those by voice, too. What iHome’s model has that the Google Home does not, though, is a built-in clock and alarm. There’s a simple white display that glows through the side of the iGV1 – and which can be turned off altogether if you need absolute darkness to sleep – along with a smaller display to show the upcoming alarm. The time itself is set automatically, using NTP over the device’s WiFi connection, and there’s a snooze button for putting off getting up.Likely to prove more reassuring than the Echo Spot’s controversial camera – which has led to more than a few people deciding not to put the diminutive Alexa speaker on their nightstand – the iGV1 lacks the ability to see you. Also addressing a notable omission on the Echo Spot is iHome’s inclusion of a 1A USB port. That offers a way to charge up your smartphone while you sleep. AdChoices广告Google Cast support allows you to stream music from elsewhere in the home to the iGV1. There’s also Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone or other device. Along the top panel you get a manual launch button to start the Google Assistant listening, along with a microphone mute button to turn off the clock’s mic-array. There are volume keys too, together with play/pause and track skip buttons, and finally a button to start Bluetooth pairing. iHome says the iGV1 will be priced at $139.99, and should launch in the US soon. Considering the Google Home has a $129 price tag, you’re really not paying much more for the clock functionality and a charging port. One of the most useful spots for a smart speaker is arguably next to your bed, and that’s where the iHome iGV1 wants to be plugged in. Packaging the Google Assistant into an alarm clock body, it’s designed to replace your existing clock-radio with a much smarter version that gives control over your connected home before you’ve even lifted your head off the pillow.
Story TimelineBluesmart connected carry-on makes traveling smarterBluesmart Series 2 smart luggage features built-in GPS and a ‘supercharger’Airlines restrict smart bags over lithium-ion battery fire risk Late last year, many major airlines decided to ban smart bags that use non-removable lithium ion batteries. While there are some exceptions to that rule – for instance, you can still check a bag with a removable battery (as long as you remove the battery first) – it was clear that this would have an adverse effect on many smart luggage manufacturers. One of those manufacturers, Bluesmart, announced that it’s going out of business today. In a statement today, Bluesmart says that these new rules have “put our company in an irreverisbly difficult financial and business situation.” The company said that even though it has been exploring ways to pivot its core business and continue operating, in the end, it decided that it’s no longer able to keep the lights on with these restrictions in place.Bluesmart has been on the scene for a few years now, crafting battery-powered luggage that can do all sorts of things. Outfitting its bags with GPS tracking, Bluesmart attempted to make lost luggage a thing of the past. The company’s luggage could even charge your phone a few times over, giving you that ever-important juice at times when there wasn’t an accessible outlet around. Since the functionality of these bags was built around non-removable lithium ion batteries, its no surprise that Bluesmart’s business has suffered with these bans.So, what does this mean for customers? Bluesmart put together a bullet list of important information in today’s announcement, and it doesn’t sound good. The company will stop manufacturing and selling products immediately and, perhaps most importantly, the bags that are still available at retail or online are “no longer supported or warrantied in any way.” Bluesmart’s servers and apps will continue to be supported for a few months, but the company does warn that functionality will be reduced as time goes on.If you recently purchased a Bluesmart bag, it’s important to know that as of today, your warranty is void. Similarly, Bluesmart is no longer refunding or accepting returns for products it sold, and it sounds like replacements won’t be offered for defective products either. If you have a claim against the company – including those of you who have backed one of Bluesmart’s crowdfunding campaign but haven’t received a product yet – you can file one at the Proof of Claims page for Bluesmart. If you’d like to keep using your Bluesmart Series 2 bag, the company has put together a quick tutorial on how to remove the battery before you check your luggage, though that obviously removes the smart functionality of these products.In the end, it isn’t all bad news, as Bluesmart has found a buyer for its intangible assets in Travelpro. What Travelpro will do with these assets is anyone’s guess, as it probably won’t be using it to make smart luggage any time soon.
One of iOS 12’s headline features, Group FaceTime, will now no longer ship in the initial release of the iPhone update, Apple has confirmed. Announced at WWDC 2018, the feature allows FaceTime video calls to include up to 32 people simultaneously. Story TimelineThis new iOS 12 feature could save your lifeiOS 12 public beta released: 4 reasons to try itiOS 12 Shortcuts available in beta for developers Since that could get crowded on an iPhone display – or an iPad, for that matter – Apple uses some clever automatic layouts to accommodate everybody. Group FaceTime calls get a row of thumbnails along the bottom of the screen, which can be scrolled to navigate to choose a contact directly. However, iOS 12 automatically floats the participants of the call above that roster, in differently sized windows. As each person speaks, the size of their window increases automatically. If someone else talks, the layout is adjusted to fit both people on the display. Unfortunately, it now seems Group FaceTime won’t be included in the initial release of iOS12. In a note in the release notes alongside the latest iOS 12 beta, pushed out by Apple today, the company confirms the bad news. “Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will ship in a future software update later this fall,” Apple says in a note to developers shared by Guilherme Rambo.It’s unclear exactly what has prompted the delay. Group FaceTime certainly had the potential to be network-intensive, working over not only WiFi connections but cellular data too. Apple also integrated its live special effects and filters, which could be used to apply stickers and animations to each stream, overlay faces with Animoji, and use the new custom Memoji faces instead. Getting any of those features to work smoothly could have been a hiccup. Still, it’s a disappointment for both Apple and its users; the company had previously been said to be purposefully making conservative promises for iOS 12, in the hope of avoiding the slipped release dates that had taken some of the shine off iOS 11 and earlier. Messages in iCloud, for example, was a headline announcement at WWDC 2017, but only arrived as a public feature a few weeks before WWDC 2018.As a result, sources claimed, the strategy was to underpromise at WWDC 2018 and then over-deliver when iOS 12 is released this fall.
Google revealed a redesign and basic reboot of the Wear OS platform this week for smart watches of all sorts. This new version of Wear OS makes quicker use of Google Assistant and Google Fit, and makes the entire experience more intuitive. This new system is coming to “Wear OS by Google smartwatches” over the next month – presumably to every watch currently running the newest version of Wear OS. Three major points were made by the folks behind Wear OS by Google, at Google, in an announcement today. They’re bringing bigger focus to three areas. One, Google Fit, two, “more proactive help from your Google Assistant,” three, so-called “easier access to notifications and more.” This will make the most difference to those users that use all-Google apps, especially chat apps. Hangouts and Messages get quick replies – and there’s now “quicker access” to features like Google Pay. Sort of like how it’s super easy to get Samsung Pay up and ready on a Galaxy Watch.*If you head back to our recent feature on the redesign of Google Fit, you’ll see what was inevitable. This update brings more Google Assistant into the mix, too. You’ll have access to so much Google Assistant information, you’ll wonder how much of your life remains private. Very little, son. Very little. *Also, having used Android Wear, Wear OS, and Tizen (Samsung Galaxy Gear) smartwatches over the past few years, I must say: this newest version of Wear OS looks a whole lot like Tizen. Not that there’s a whole lot one can do with a display this small that’s not just a watch and a set of notification/app screens, but still. Even the gestures look the same now – imagine that!
Amazon was slow to launch its store of the future, Amazon Go, but that could change in a big way over the new few years. According to a new report, Amazon may open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go cashier-free stores by 2021, giving people all over the nation the opportunity to buy groceries without standing in a checkout lane. The information comes from Bloomberg, which reports that it got word from “people familiar with the matter.” Based on their claims, Amazon is looking into launching as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations, competing with other convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and gas station shops.Unlike those destinations, Amazon Go works in an entirely different way: customers enter the store with the Amazon app on their phone. A variety of technology monitors the items they acquire in the store, automatically charging it to their Amazon account. Customers don’t need to stand in line or pay the traditional way.The company has already launched a couple of these stores in Seattle with plans to open more in New York and Chicago. The Go shops won’t compete with traditional grocery stores, instead offering things like pre-made sandwiches and salads, as well as a small array of groceries.Sources tell Bloomberg that Amazon Go stores are particularly expensive for the company to launch, with one Seattle destination having cost more than $1 million in hardware. Focusing on convenience foods will reportedly help keep costs lower by reducing the amount of hardware needed, paving the way for profitability.SOURCE: Bloomberg
All the world is going turbo, but BMW decided to up the stakes with the 650i by giving its range-topping forced-induction engine a full eight cylinders. Increasingly a rarity on a landscape where six and even four-cylinder models vie for turbocharged supremacy, the 4.4-liter mill’s 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque are enough to scoot the convertible to 60-mph from a standing start in just a tick over four and a half seconds. It’s a very quick car for its size, and with the pedal down the V8 can definitely catch you by surprise. The 2017 BMW 6 Series xDrive Cabriolet combines both the all-wheel drive tenacity associated with crossovers and SUVs with the open top freedom that is the exclusive province of convertibles. That it manages to do so in a body style that combines sleek lines, above-average interior room (for those riding up front), and a hefty dose of horsepower is a bonus for anyone seeking an executive car that stands out from the all the sport-utilities at the country club valet stand.Let’s take a quick look at 5 things you need to know about the 2017 BMW 6 Series xDrive Cabriolet.1. The 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet Packs Twin-Turbo Power An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with the BMW 650i, and the xDrive in its name reflects the presence of an all-wheel drive system – one that has been tuned to divert the majority of engine torque to the rear wheels unless road conditions call for a more traction-friendly split. Keep in mind that AWD doesn’t necessarily translate into SUV-levels of winter stability: I found the powerful 6 Series to be skittish on icy roads, and in some cases unwilling to parse the deeper snow of the alley behind my garage when parking for the night.2. The 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet Toes The Line Between Luxury And SportAll that forward thrust is appreciated in a car that is as heavy as the BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet, because chopping off the roof (with the resultant need for extra under-chassis bracing) and adding all-wheel drive fatten up the 6er’s curb weight significantly. This is why it’s best to temper corner carving expectations when behind the wheel of the 650i, as the vehicle lends itself much better for relaxed top down cruising than it does full-throttle touge blasts down a mountain. This is not a failing in any sense of the word, but rather a conscious design decision: the 650i Cabriolet serves as a personal luxury car par excellence that counts on the beefy growl of its V8 as part of its personality, not its sole reason for being.3. The 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet Puts Safety Technology Front And CenterThe BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet offers a baffling number of options and standard features, which is befitting of its status as the brand’s flagship convertible. A great many of these focus on protecting passengers in the event of a collision (including a pop-up roll bar that deploys as soon as the vehicle detects a potential flip) or preventing an accident from occurring in the first place. Large premium cars like the 2017 BMW 6 Series have fallen victim to SUVs eating into their sales numbers, as luxury-seeking buyers increasingly transfer their affections to tall-riding, cargo-friendly options. Still, there’s one area where, with only a single exception, sport-utility vehicles haven’t been able to match their automobile equivalents in terms of appeal: convertibles. In the latter camp you’ll find features such as a lane departure and blind spot warning system, as well as the ability for the car to automatically keep itself between the lines on the road. Adaptive cruise control can maintain a steady separation between the 6 Series and traffic ahead and automatically brake the convertible should an impact be deemed imminent. The BMW also enhances driver vision by way of a top-down, 360-degree camera system, and there’s also a night vision feature that offers an unfettered view of the road ahead even under pitch black conditions.4. The 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet Is Huge, Except In The Back SeatAs I mentioned earlier when discussing its ponderous mass, the 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet is a plus-size car, and while you might not be completely aware of its tip-to-tail measurements while driving in the same way that you feel its weight, there’s no denying that the 6 Series dwarfs most other luxury convertibles on the market. Featuring size that’s in the same ballpark as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet, but priced closer to the smaller drop-top Porsche 911 (with a starting MSRP of $99,500), the 650i occupies a middle ground amongst its high end peers in terms of size and cost. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that its generous keel allows for adult-friendly rear accommodations: while smaller folk fit just fine in the back seat of the 6 Series convertible, full-size adults might want to avoid riding with the top down unless they’ve called shotgun.5. The 2017 BMW 650i xDrive Cabriolet Is But One Of Many 6 Series Choices BMW is well aware of the softening appeal of big coupes and, to a similar extent, equally large sedans, which is why it has diversified its 6 Series family across as many different market niches as possible. The same platform that underpins the 650i Cabriolet is also in part responsible for the two-door, fixed-roof version of the 6 Series and the four-door 6 Series Gran Coupe, which adopts a sloped roofline in a bid to mimic the sleek appearance of its true-coupe sibling. It’s also possible to order the 6 Series in rear-wheel drive trim, or with a 3.0-liter, 315 horsepower six-cylinder turbo calling the shots (in the 640i). As with the rest of the BMW line-up, the 6 Series family is a diverse lot aimed at snagging the attention of as many well-heeled buyers as can be squeeze through dealership doors.
For the duration of this promotion – if that’s what we want to call it – Apple discounted the price of out-of-warranty battery replacement to $29 regardless of iPhone model. It was a good deal, considering that Apple typically charged at least $79 for those same battery replacements. Millions of people took advantage of Apple’s offer, to the point where the company actually said that sales of new iPhones suffered because of it.Apple’s cheap battery replacement deal ended as the calendar turned over to January 1, 2019, and now the cost of those replacements ranges from $49 to $69. iFixit, however, has decided that not enough people took advantage of Apple’s deal while it was still available, announcing today that it will keep the price of its iPhone battery replacement kits at $29.99 for the rest of 2019.So, if you didn’t get your battery replaced by Apple when you had the chance, you can use one of iFixit’s kits to do it yourself. The kits come with all the tools you need to open up your iPhone, including a replacement battery you can install in place of your old one. iFixit’s kits cover everything from the iPhone 8 Plus all the way back to the iPhone 4S, so as long as you’re not looking to replace the battery in something like an iPhone X or an ancient 3GS, these should have you covered.Of course, the intimidating thing about iFixit’s kits was never their price, but the fact that you have to swap the battery yourself. iFixit has you covered there too, as it has guides on replacing the battery for each of those phones as well. If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, you can use one of these kits to breathe new life into your iPhone, just keep in mind that opening up the phone and installing new parts will void whatever warranty you may have left on the device. By now, most iPhone users (and those who follow the tech industry in general) are probably very familiar with Apple’s battery woes last year. After it became clear that Apple was intentionally slowing iPhones with older batteries, the company was at the center of a lot of controversy. So much controversy, in fact, that Apple decided to offer cheaper battery replacements for pretty much anyone with an out-of-warranty iPhone. Story TimelinePixel 3 XL iFixit teardown confirms Samsung display and lots of glueMac mini 2018 iFixit teardown is one surprise after another11-inch iPad Pro iFixit teardown is a must-read for glue lovers
What do you do when nobody is buying expensive plasma TVs any more? If you’re Samsung, you reboot your plasma panel plant into a market that’s far more lucrative: electric vehicle batteries. That’s just what Samsung SDI, the South Korean behemoth’s battery manufacturing arm, has done in Europe. The EV battery plant is in Goed, just outside Budapest in Hungary. The 330,000 square-meter facility was formerly responsible for churning out panels for Samsung’s plasma TVs, but now it’s expected to produce batteries for up to 50,000 electric vehicles every year. When the lines start running in the second quarter of 2017, it’ll be the third such plant the company will have in operation. It joins existing production in Ulsan, South Korea, and Xian, China. According to Samsung SDI, the decision to reuse the Goed facility isn’t just down to sensible recycling, either. In fact, it argues, it’s perfectly placed to capitalize on a growing market.Europe, the company points out, is leading the global EV drive, courtesy of environmentally-focused policies that are encouraging more hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. That has boosted battery demand significantly, and Samsung SDI is counting on it making sense to build those batteries nearer to where the cars themselves are being made and subsequently sold. EVs are expected to be a growing proportion of Samsung SDI’s business in the years ahead. The company is already responsible for producing small-sized lithium-ion batteries used by Samsung Electronics and others for smartphones and tablets, though the same technology also crops up in electric bikes, rechargeable vacuums, and cordless power tools. At the same time, its ESS – or Energy Storage System – division is pushing batteries for domestic and commercial power backup. Indeed, Samsung SDI recently showed off its new ESS for household use, which the company envisages being paired, Tesla PowerWall-style, with solar panels. The technology is modular, combining 4.8 kWh battery modules into units of different size. A fully-packed unit could have 188 kWh courtesy of 39 modules, though that would probably be overkill for an individual home. In Europe, Samsung SDI says, the typical home needs 10 kWh each day. Of course, Samsung isn’t the only company looking to battery production to earn a spot inside the cars and homes of tomorrow. Earlier this month, Tesla announced that its power cell, module, and battery pack equipment installation was already underway at its Gigafactory 1 facility, part of a $553m investment in Q1 2017 into paving the way for the Model 3 and the company’s upcoming solar roof tiles. Story TimelineSamsung SDI flexible solid state battery development underwaySamsung and Ford reveal next-gen car batteries
Instead, it’ll only be available at AT&T’s flagship stores, of which there are three. It’ll arrive at the Boston store on Boylston Street first on April 1st, then on April 3rd it’ll launch at the Chicago location on Michigan Avenue. Finally, it’ll be available at the San Francisco location at 1 Powell Street on April 5th, the day it’ll also be available through AT&T’s website.The Magic Leap One will cost $2,295 from AT&T, which is a significant sum of money. AT&T is offering the Magic Leap One with monthly financing, so if you’re looking to buy one but you don’t have $2,300 to drop all at once, that may be a good purchase option assuming you can afford the monthly payments.In tandem with this launch, AT&T has also announced a number of Game of Thrones tie-ins that will be available in stores. The biggest is likely “The Dead Must Die,” a Magic Leap experience that tasks users with confronting a White Walker and also allows them to visit locations like King’s Landing and the land beyond The Wall. The encounter will be available at those three flagship stores listed above, which will also house memorabilia and costumes from the show during this promotion.HBO and AT&T’s partnership doesn’t stop with that Magic Leap experience, as AT&T will also launch a trivia game called Game of Thrones Challenge as a DIRECTV interactive app. AT&T will also offer an HBO preview through DIRECTV that allows customers to check out Game of Thrones for the first time. As far as Magic Leap One sales are concerned, we’ll see the headset land at other retail stores in the months to come, so we’ll keep an ear to the ground for more details on that roll out. Early adopters have been able to purchase the Magic Leap One headset for a few months now, but beginning next week, you’ll have another option when it comes to acquiring one. AT&T has announced that it will begin carrying the Magic Leap One next week, and it’ll have various Game of Thrones tie-ins to go along with it, just in time for the start of the final season. Unfortunately, Magic Leap One isn’t going to be available at all AT&T stores right away – not even close to all of them, in fact. Story TimelineMagic Leap One will get DirecTV NOW live TV app in 2019Magic Leap mixed reality headset expands US availabilityMagic Leap NBA app puts up multiple virtual screens in your room
The updates seemed innocuous enough. They contained the usual bug fixes, including security patches for known vulnerabilities. One of those, however, involves the flaw described in CVE-2019-2102 where Bluetooth Low Energy connections can be used to remotely send arbitrary keystrokes, all without any user interaction.Windows 10 cumulative updates dating June 11, 2019 and later fixes this but has a rather inconvenient side effect. According to Microsoft’s own bulletin, Bluetooth devices deemed unsecure will not be able to connect to Windows 10. There is no one specific class of devices affected and Microsoft even mentions key fobs as potential candidates.Unfortunately for users, the only recourse Microsoft can give them is to tell them to contact their Bluetooth device vendor. To be fair, it has no choice but to close that security hole or risk exposing Windows users. It doesn’t make it less convenient for them though.It might be possible for users to hold off on installing the said updates but that also opens a different can of worms. For one, users won’t know which devices are affected until after the update is applied anyway. Just as important, not installing those updates could leave them vulnerable to other bugs as well. Windows 10 updates have become a game of chance. You almost never know when an update will break something and make your PC unusable. While Microsoft does try to fix things after the fact, often the damage is already done. Now Microsoft is taking the initiative to warn users that an upcoming update may cause Bluetooth devices to lose their connection to Windows PCs. And, no, isn’t a bug but a feature.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A selection of health policy stories from California, Kansas, Oregon, Virginia, Georgia and Illinois.Los Angeles Times: California’s State Hospitals Mostly Released From U.S. OversightA U.S. District Court judge Monday released the state’s mental hospitals from federal oversight on all but one issue — a significant step in ending a costly six-year reform effort. The extensive court-supervised changes were imposed on four hospitals in 2006 as part of a settlement to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department alleged that the state was violating patients’ civil rights by heavily drugging and improperly restraining them and failing to provide appropriate treatment (Kim and Romney, 9/25). San Francisco Chronicle: Adult Day Care Rejection Rate QuestionedCalifornia health officials fielded pointed questions Monday from legislators angry over the way the state has handled the transition from Adult Day Health Care into a new, smaller version of the program for the elderly and disabled, with one East Bay lawmaker saying that Bay Area seniors are being turned away at far higher rates than in other regions. Adult Day Health Care and its new incarnation, Community-Based Adult Services, are meant to keep low-income elderly, disabled and frail adults out of nursing homes and hospitals by offering medical care, physical therapy, counseling and exercise at hundreds of centers (Lagos, 9/24).Chicago Sun-Times: Mercy Hospital To Open Clinic Inside New CHA DevelopmentWhen CHA’s Oakwood Shores Terraces is complete next year, its residents won’t have to go far to get a checkup. Mercy Hospital and Medical Center will run a 21,000-square-foot family clinic inside the new Oakland development, a six-story building that will house 48 units of mixed-income residential units. … it will be the first CHA housing property to include a medical facility when it opens next spring (Thomas, 9/24).Kansas Health Institute News: Hospitals Pool Resources To Recruit Docs Practicing medicine on the frontier in Kansas doesn’t have a whole lot in common with big city medicine — so why would small town hospitals use big city physician recruiters? Kiley Floyd said it’s clear to her now that they shouldn’t, but the chief executive of Osborne County Memorial Hospital learned the hard way (Cauthon, 9/24). Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare To Allow Self-Directed CareUnder KanCare, frail elders and the physically disabled will continue to have a say in who cares for them in their home. … In recent weeks, advocates for the disabled have wondered if the processes for choosing a caregiver would be taken over by the KanCare managed care companies. … KanCare is Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for letting three insurance companies – UnitedHealthcare, Amerigroup, and Sunflower — manage virtually all of the state’s $2.9 billion Medicaid program (Ranney, 9/24).The Lund Report: CCOs Braced To Deal With Information-Sharing HurdlesTechnology-based information sharing and data gathering will be key tools for Oregon’s newly minted coordinated care organizations (CCOs) as they work to improve the health of the state’s vulnerable population while reducing costs. Anticipating the challenges of information sharing, representatives of the partners who make up Health Share Oregon — Portland area’s largest CCO — formed a technology committee that meets several times a month to discuss the road ahead (Rubin, 9/24).Richmond Times-Dispatch: McDonnell Expects To Review Abortion Clinic Rules Within 2 MonthsGov. Bob McDonnell said he expects the state’s abortion clinic regulations to reach his desk for review in the next couple of months and that his goal is to “simply see … do they follow the law or not?” … He disagreed with the contention by critics that the proposed regulations, which require current abortion clinics in Virginia to be regulated like new hospitals, could put the facilities out of business (Meola, 9/24).Georgia Health News: Lighthouse Helps Low-Income Georgians Hear And See Better Winda and Tim Perdue ran into rough times when the economy faltered a few years ago. … About a year ago, the Douglasville couple were referred to Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, a Chamblee-based nonprofit organization that helps uninsured, low-income Georgians get new glasses at a very low price. … Nearly one-fifth of all Georgians live in poverty, and a similar number have no health insurance. For many poor adults, regular medical care can be difficult to afford, and eyeglasses and hearing aids can seem almost like luxuries (Miller, 9/24).California Healthline: Can Health Policy Contribute To Drop In Crime Rate?We asked experts to explain: Can realignment of county and state health care responsibilities help improve public safety and reduce crime either in the short term or long term? How? Does the Affordable Care Act offer opportunities to make changes that could contribute to increased public safety and/or a reduction in crime in California? How? We got responses from: Lenore Anderson, Director, Californians for Safety and Justice, Nadine Burke-Harris, Founder, CEO, Center for Youth Wellness, Jessica Cruz, Executive director, National Alliance on Mental Illness California (9/24). State Roundup: Calif. Mental Hospitals Released From Fed Oversight
The Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal: HIPAA Impedes the Sharing of Medical InformationThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was a well-intentioned law designed to protect patients from having their health information disseminated without their approval, but it also impedes the sharing of information among those with the same health afflictions (DiPietro, 10/17). HIPAA, Meant To Protect, Can Also Impede Information Sharing This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Both Sides In The Health Law Battle Spin Insurance Sign-Up Figures Health law advocates offered positive messages about the enrollment numbers released Wednesday by the Obama administration while the measure’s critics pounced on the low figures and renewed calls for action.Los Angeles Times: New Obamacare Numbers Give Incomplete Picture, Advocates SaySome figures released Wednesday on the enrollment of Californians in insurance programs under President Obama’s healthcare overhaul exclude many low-income applicants and fail to present a complete picture of those receiving coverage, experts said. Many Californians who qualify for newly expanded government insurance for the poor have been enrolling directly with county health systems. Those enrollees are not included in the preliminary Obamacare participation numbers released Wednesday, officials said (Brown, 11/13).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare: Critics Seize On Low Enrollment NumbersImmediately after the numbers were released, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) renewed his call for legislation that would change the law to prevent Americans from losing access to the healthcare plans they currently have. Obama has been looking for ways to make such changes without involving Congress, where Republicans are looking for any opportunity to repeal the entire law (Levey, 11/13).NBC News: GOP Pounces On Obamacare Enrollment Figure Republicans hammered the White House on Wednesday for low October Obamacare enrollment, saying the paltry number of Americans who have bought insurance through the new health care exchanges demonstrates that the legislation, as a whole, has failed. The Department of Health and Human Services released data showing that fewer than 27,000 signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan through the federal website Healthcare.gov between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. Including those who signed up through state-based exchanges, just over 100,000 Americans have picked health plans through the program (Dann, 11/13). The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: The White House’s Happy Tweet About ‘Obamacare’ EnrollmentThis tweet from the White House is a great example of trying to make lemonade out of lemons. Let’s explain what these numbers mean — and how the administration has shifted its goals (Kessler, 11/14). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
JAMA Internal Medicine: Ensuring Access To Health Care For Patients With Disabilities USA Today: CBO Vs. Dynamic Scoring: Our View 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 New York Times’ The Upshot: Health Care Law Is Not One-Size-Fits-All, And Here’s Why USA Today: CBO Needs New Blood: Opposing View One criticism of the Affordable Care Act is that it imposes a costly, one-size-fits-all standard, drastically increasing premiums by requiring everyone to buy health insurance that covers the same mandated benefits. This is not so. (Austin Frakt, 12/8) Many Senate hearings are mere theater, but one that took place on July 16, 2009, mattered. With Congress in the midst of writing the bill that became Obamacare, senators asked Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, to evaluate their efforts. (David Leonhardt, 12/9) Mary Landrieu ’s defeat in Saturday’s Louisiana Senate runoff was no surprise, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored as inevitable. Ms. Landrieu was a widely liked three-term incumbent, and her GOP foe was hardly a juggernaut, yet she lost by 14 points after Washington Democrats all but wrote her off. Think of Ms. Landrieu as one more Democrat who has sacrificed her career to ObamaCare. It’s hard to find another vote in modern history that has laid waste to so many political careers. Sixty Democrats cast the deciding 60th vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, but come January only 30 will be left in the Senate. (12/8) Viewpoints: The Health Law’s Impact On CBO’s Future And On Democratic Senators A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. Patients with disabilities face barriers when they attempt to access health care. These barriers include physical barriers to entering health care establishments, lack of accessible equipment, lack of a safe method for transferring the patient to an examination table, and the lack of policies that facilitate access. … Many patients with disabilities receive their health care through government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. How is it that the federal government does not adequately enforce the federal laws to protect patients with disabilities? (Tara Lagu, Christine Griffin and Peter K. Lindenauer, 12/8) The New York Times’ The Upshot: The Battle Over Douglas Elmendorf — And The Inability To See Good News JAMA Pediatrics: Teens And Gun Trafficking Most Americans have never heard of the Congressional Budget Office, so it may come as a surprise that an intense debate is occurring in Washington about the agency and its director, Doug Elmendorf. While some are urging the new, Republican-controlled Congress to keep the Democratic appointee, the better approach would be to bring in new blood. CBO scores have an outsized impact on the workings of Capitol Hill; unfavorable scores often end legislative debates before they begin. Elmendorf’s CBO is widely respected as a supposedly neutral arbiter of legislative costs. But on several occasions its rulings — rosy estimates of job gains from the stimulus and predictions downplaying job losses from Obamacare, for example — have done the policy debate a disservice. (Michael A. Needham, 12/8) Homicides account for close to two-thirds of all gun deaths of young people 19 years and younger. Gunshots (from both suicide and homicide) are the second biggest killer of teens and the top killer of black teens. Yet, stories like Jorge’s garner far less attention in the popular press than do the unintentional shooting deaths of children. Unintentional shootings—which sometimes involve very young children who find a gun in a parent’s or friend’s home—account for only 4% of pediatric gun deaths. … pediatricians can enrich the conversation about pediatric gun safety so that urban teens are not left out. While acknowledging obvious risk factors for gun homicide, such as poverty and gang involvement, we cannot ignore the connection between unfettered access to guns and high rates of gun death. (Nancy A. Dodson and David Hemenway, 12/8) The CBO has long enjoyed a reputation for objectivity, but now some conservatives are clamoring for changes that would undermine the CBO’s independence and lead to bigger, hidden federal deficits. The critics are pushing to dump the current director, Doug Elmendorf. Elmendorf, first appointed in 2009 when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and reappointed in 2011 when control was split, has a well-earned reputation for facing down political pressure from both parties. (12/8) The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare’s Casualty List
Four hospitals in the Charlotte region will be docked 1 percent of Medicare payments in 2016 because they exceeded federal standards for infections and other safety factors. The penalty, in its second year, is part of the Affordable Care Act’s punishment-and-reward system created to keep down unnecessary medical spending and control health care costs. (Garloch, 12/14) Nineteen groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter Monday to drugstore chain Walgreens expressing concerns about the company’s plans for a Catholic hospital to run its in-store health clinics in Washington state and Oregon. In the letter, the organizations asked if the clinics would allow access to contraception, abortion drugs and prescriptions to help terminally ill patients end their own lives, which is legal in both states. (Blankinship, 12/15) Daughters Of Charity Finalizes Deal With East Coast Hedge Fund To Keep Calif. Hospital Chain Afloat The $260 million investment will keep the health system up and running in the Bay Area for at least three years. Also, the American Civil Liberties Union raises concerns about Walgreens’ plan to have Providence Health run the drug chain’s in-store health clinics in Washington state and Oregon. The Associated Press: Groups Concerned About Walgreens’ Ties To Catholic Hospital The Charlotte Observer: Four Hospitals In Charlotte Region Face Penalties For Lax Safety Performance In other hospital news – The San Jose Mercury News: Daughters Of Charity Health System Closes Deal With Hedge Fund Ending almost two years in limbo, the financially beleaguered Daughters of Charity Health System on Monday announced it has closed a $260 million investment deal with an East Coast hedge fund that will keep one of the Bay Area’s oldest hospital chains afloat for at least three more years. The news came 11 days after California Attorney General Kamala Harris gave her conditional approval for the largest nonprofit hospital transaction in state history, and the first to involve a hedge fund. (Seipel, 12/14) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Sales of plug-in electric cars increased to record levels.In September 2018, sales of plug-in electric cars in France amounted to 4,561, which is some 10.8% more than a year ago.Passenger BEVs: 2,681 registrations (up 10.2%) at 1.8% market sharePassenger PHEVs: 1,023 registrations (up 9.0%) at 0.7% market shareLight commercial BEVs: 857 registrations (up 53.0%)Total: 4,561The market share in the passenger car category hit an all-time record of almost 2.5%, partially thanks to the general car sales slow down in September by almost 13%More sales reports from September Passenger plug-in car sales in France – September 2018 US Plug-In Electric Car Sales Charted: September 2018 After nine months of 2018, sales exceed 36,000, including well over 20,000 all-electric passenger cars.The top selling passenger models were Renault ZOE (1,482, up 17%), Nissan LEAF (390, up 66%) and Renault Kangoo Z.E. (492, up 63%) among vans.Plug-in car sales in France – September 2018 Tesla Sales Surge In The Netherlands In September In Norway, 60% Of New Vehicle Sales Were Plug-In Electric Cars Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 12, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Plug-in car sales in France (Source: L’Avere-France)Source: L’Avere-France
Source: Electric Vehicle News Can’t say we’re surprised by this.After last week’s announcement by General Motors that they would be closing 5 plants and discontinuing some of their cars including the Chevy Volt, President Trump went to Twitter to respond to the news. His response was both expected, but also a little puzzling, as his message didn’t appear to really make sense.President Trump’s Tweet:Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including….for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!The puzzling part is the threat of eliminating subsidies “for electric cars” as a punishment to GM for plant closures and potential layoffs. General Motors is on the verge of surpassing the 200,000th electric vehicle sold, and will most likely pass it before the end of this year. Therefore, GM will begin their tax credit draw-down in the 2nd quarter of 2019, at which time the tax credit is cut in half to a maximum of $3,750. Then, in the fourth quarter, it is halved again to $1,875 for two quarters before it’s gone completely.The Chevrolet Volt, along with other low-selling vehicles, will be discontinued as GM shutters plants and restructures.So, in less than four months, GM, along with Tesla who already surpassed their threshold, will be at a competitive disadvantage against all of the other OEMs with regards to their electric vehicles. The electric vehicles from the companies will qualify for the full tax credit ($7,500) while GM and Tesla’s customers qualify for half ($3,750) of the full credit for 6 months, and then one-quarter ($1,875) for another six months. No other company is expected to hit their 200,000th electric vehicle threshold for at least another two years.Therefore, if the Trump administration were to eliminate the electric vehicle tax credit, it would actually help GM (and Tesla) be more competitive, not punish them, as the President implied.Then today, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration will seek to end subsidies for electric cars and also for renewable energy sources.As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies, Kudlow said. And by the way, other subsidies that were imposed during the Obama administration, we are ending, whether it’s for renewables and so forth.Kudlow recognized that it may not be too easy to do this, and said he doesn’t expect to end electric vehicle subsidies for another year or two, probably in 2020 or 2021.One wonders if GM’s plant closure announcement just gave the President an excuse to attack the EV Federal tax credit, something he’s never really supported, and it really had nothing to do with GM. That would actually make more sense since GM will no longer benefit from it by the time the White House does move to have it eliminated.Back in June, a polar opposite proposal was made in the House of Representatives. Democrat Peter Welch of Vermont introduced a bill to remove the 200,000 vehicle trigger, extend tax credits for all automakers for 10 years, and create a time of purchase rebate (H.R.6274). There’s been very little to report on this, and given the latest remarks from the White House, we find it difficult to imagine it ever being approved. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 3, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
For those who may be unfamiliar, the “100” models are Tesla’s top dogs. This means they offer the most range, along with compelling performance depending on which variant you choose.Previously, Tesla offered P100D models and 100D models, among other options. The “P” stands for Performance, while the “D” simply denotes dual-motor, all-wheel drive. While the “P” models offer the whole Ludicrous acceleration situation, the non-P’s don’t jump off the line quite as quickly, hence more efficiency is directed toward extra miles of range.Fast-forward to today and Tesla has made an attempt to make things a bit more clear. Now, the automaker only offers two variants of the Model S and X. One is called the Long Range (previously 100D), while the other is the Performance model (previously the P100D).With all of that being said, interestingly, AutoTopNL is not actually driving and assessing the top-performance variants, but rather the Long Range editions.Check out the video above to see the publication’s overall review, as well as Autobahn footage and road tests of Tesla’s flagship, long-range offerings.Video Description via AutoTopNL on YouTube:2019 Tesla Model S 100D vs Model X 100D REVIEW POV Test Drive on AUTOBAHN & ROAD by AutoTopNL Enjoy This Relaxing Drive Experience In A Tesla Model S 100D: Video Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 2, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News How do Tesla’s long-range flagships compare?We should note up front that AutoTopNL isn’t altogether interested in EVs. The YouTube channel admits that it doesn’t care much about “eco & green.” However, if it’s crazy fast like Tesla vehicles, then that’s another story.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know whether the Model S will beat the Model X, at least in terms of acceleration. C’mon, one is a sporty sedan and the other a more practical, minivan-esque crossover. But, if you’re looking to take the plunge and buy a Tesla, it’s nice to know how these all-electric, American-made, Silicon Valley stablemates compare.More Tesla Content: 2019 Tesla Model X 100D POV Test Drive: Video Source: Electric Vehicle News Watch This Tesla Model S 100D Trying To Play On Ice
Video games were at least part of the reason Elon Musk got interested in tech.Source: Electric Vehicle News