ZTE has introduced the ZTE Blade Spark, a budget-tier smartphone that offers a fingerprint sensor for added security. The handset is set to launch at AT&T for $99.99 USD, putting it next to the Moto E4 in terms of price and fingerprint sensor inclusion. There are some other things to like about this handset, too, including a large display and Dolby Audio. The ZTE Blade Spark has a design that is arguably beyond what you’d typically expect in a sub-$100 phone, with the back panel being the most notable part. This model sports a 5.5-inch 720p display alongside a rear 13MP camera with a flash and auto-focus. The front-facing camera is more modest at 5-megapixel; under the hood, meanwhile, lies an MSM8917 quad-core 1.4GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.If you need more than 16GB, good news: the phone also has a microSD card slot that supports cards with capacities up to 128GB. Connectivity, meanwhile, includes USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. The phone comes with a mobile hotspot feature, though keep in mind that your plan will dictate your usage. The phone also has a headphone jack and Dolby Audio.Notable features include a dedicated ‘selfie’ button on the side of the phone, making it easy to snap a quick pic with the front camera. The fingerprint feature, meanwhile, allows users to store up to five fingerprints for security and/or authorizing online transactions. There’s just one ‘catch,’ though, and it’s that you can only use the ZTE Blade Spark with AT&T’s prepaid plans.SOURCE: BusinessWire Story TimelineZTE Blade Max 3 phablet launches at US CellularZTE Axon 7 gets a minor update with major treatsZTE nubia Z17 comes bearing Quick Charge 4+, almost not bezels
Experian is being criticized for allowing consumers to get their credit freeze PINs through email after answering questions that mostly involve information already leaked by Equifax and others. The PINs are used to unfreeze one’s credit, making it possible to seek loans and other similar things. Many consumers have put a freeze on their credit in light of the massive Equifax data leak. Typically credit freeze PINs are mailed to a physical address, making it harder (or impossible) for a scammer or identity thief to remove a credit freeze and apply for credit in someone’s name. By offering the PINs online, Experian is making it possible for anyone with the required info to have the PIN sent directly to whatever email address they’d like.The PIN request system, at least at the time it was pointed out by Krebs on Security, requires someone to provide info such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number…data that was exposed by another major credit bureau, Equifax, as well to various degrees in past security breaches through other companies. The only barrier that may give scammers trouble are some easily answered personal questions.Those personal questions seek answers to a few personal questions, such as confirming a city where the person has lived in the past, what model of car they may have bought during a particular time period, and similar. Many of these answers can easily be found by searching public social networks and other public info.That leaves the credit unfreeze options vulnerable identity thieves who may go the extra step of using the online system to remove the freeze. Reverting to a physical PIN mailed to a physical address would largely remove this vulnerability.SOURCE: Krebs on Security
That prompted developer Steve Troughton-Smith to go hunting to see if he could change that, or if there was any practical reason Apple was not allowing it. Currently, you can take Portrait mode photos on the iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, and edit them with the new Portrait Lighting effects in the gallery app on those phones in iOS 11. However, even with the iOS 11 upgrade, you don’t get the same Portrait Lighting effect options on the iPhone 7 Plus. That’s despite Troughton-Smith discovering that in fact the depth data in the photos is the same. He found that by making a tweak to the metadata in the saved iPhone 7 Plus image, then using AirDrop to send it to an iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, he could unlock the Portrait Lighting options too. It has prompted questions as to why Apple might have elected to leave the feature out when it upgraded the iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 11. One of the key messages the Cupertino firm had about Portrait Lighting when it was announced earlier this year was that the beta effects are processor intensive. Rather than just applying filters, Apple says, it’s using an AI that was trained on professional lighting methods to modify each shot. As a result, it’s possible that the functionality was left out of the iPhone 7 Plus upgrade because it would’ve been frustratingly slow to process. However, that doesn’t explain why photos taken on the iPhone 7 Plus, and which have all the depth metadata those captured with the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X do, can’t be transferred to the newer, more powerful devices and edited there.MORE iPhone X ReviewThe good news is that, should Apple feel inclined, it could readily change that. With little in the way of technical difference between images from the different phones, it would simply be a matter of updating how the gallery app on the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus responds to the metadata on iPhone 7 Plus shots. Of course, whether it actually decides to do that, or opts to maintain an artificial barrier between the two generations, remains to be seen. Portrait mode photos taken on the iPhone 7 Plus could be edited with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, if only Apple felt inclined to enable the hidden feature. The new Portrait Lighting effects – which replicate the impact of different types of creative lighting on an image – were launched as a feature of the new 2017 iPhones, but left images taken with older models out in the cold. Story TimelineiPhone 7 Plus update: Portrait Mode enablediPhone 8 Plus Portrait Lighting puts selfies on noticeiPhone 8 Review I did it! So yeah you just need to hexedit the metadata in the HEIC. Not quite sure where, I copied a whole section from an iPhone X Portrait Mode photo and it worked. Original photo taken on 7 Plus on iOS 11. Someone could automate this pic.twitter.com/xGxKHdimM4— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) November 19, 2017
Your Bluetooth music experience could get a whole lot more rewarding, with Qualcomm promising wireless earbuds could last a lot longer with the arrival of the Snapdragon 845. The new chipset brings with it Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, opening the door to far broader adoption of Gigabit LTE and more. However, for many it’ll be more mundane improvements that could make the biggest difference day to day. That’s how Qualcomm is handling Bluetooth. The Snapdragon 845 obviously supports Bluetooth 5.0, the latest version of the wireless standard. That means faster data transfers, lower power consumption in general, and other advantages. However, Qualcomm couldn’t resist tinkering with it before packaging it up for its new system-on-chip (SoC). Perhaps most usefully is the ability for a single device, like your phone, to connect and send audio to multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously. That supports not only HD quality music streaming, but live audio, too.For instance, a tour guide could use their phone, transmitting information to multiple people in the group listening on Bluetooth headphones. With new wireless earbuds, though, it could deliver big improvements in how long you can listen before you recharge. Currently, most Bluetooth earbuds rely on transmission of stereo audio from your phone to one of the two earbuds. That’s then responsible for streaming to the other half of the earbud pair. What Qualcomm is doing is transmitting to both earbuds individually: that, the chip-maker says, could result in up to 50-percent lower power consumption. Of course, given it’s not a standard part of the Bluetooth 5.0 spec, it’ll need specific support from apps and devices. Qualcomm is providing new APIs to device-makers that will allow them add multi-device transmitting in their apps. Indeed, there’s no theoretical limit to how many devices can be receiving, Qualcomm says, and any such cap will be down to the manufacturers themselves. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Bluetooth tweaked to improve on usability, mind. Google, for instance, launched Android Bluetooth Fast Pair earlier this year, allowing Marshmallow 6.0 devices and later to connect more easily. It arrived first on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but is being pushed out to other phones to bypass having to punch in pairing codes or even actively scan for new devices. Meanwhile the Snapdragon 845 also takes advantage of the new Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec (WCD934x). That’s responsible for things like always-on keyword detection, and ultra-low-power voice processing, which will be instrumental in wearable devices particularly. You can also expect aptX, which Qualcomm acquired in mid-2015, for higher quality audio streaming on compatible headphones and speakers. Story TimelineQualcomm is preparing for warThis is Snapdragon 845: 2018’s AR, VR, and HDR super-chipQualcomm pushes Snapdragon 845 to steal Apple’s privacy crown
Now that Nest is closer to Google than ever before, it’s only right that Google’s next product be Nest-branded. Clues collected this week point toward Google’s rumored smart screen (with Google Assistant onboard) coming from the smart home brand Nest. Nest was never going to be satisfied just making thermostats, cameras, and doorbells – no way! The concept is not unlike what you’ll see in Amazon Echo Show. Word on the street is that the Google Home Smart Display’s been on the books for at least a month – and probably a lot longer in some form or another. In early February, Nest and Google’s hardware teams combined to bring Google Assistant into the future. They used the following words to describe the conglomeration:“The goal is to supercharge Nest’s mission: to create a more thoughtful home, one that takes care of the people inside it and the world around it,” said Marwan Fawaz, Nest CEO. “By working together, we’ll continue to combine hardware, software and services to create a home that’s safer, friendlier to the environment, smarter and even helps you save money—built with Google’s artificial intelligence and the Assistant at the core.”A Google jobs board published several positions this week with Nest in their title. One job was for a UX Design Manager, listing the following as essential pillars for the position: “visual design, interaction design, industrial design, writing, audio design, prototyping, and research.” Take special notice of the “audio design” item on that list. For now, that’d only really mean Google Assistant from Nest Cam IQ and Nest’s smart doorbell.AdChoices广告Amongst the job listings posted by Google this week:• Nest UX Design Manager• Nest Software Engineer – Predictions• Nest Machine Learning Software Engineer• Nest Video Embedded EngineerMost important of these is the last list item. Predictions could be attributed to Nest’s future work with Google Assistant in any device. Machine Learning, too, is an important – essential – part of Google Assistant. But the Nest Video Embedded Engineer – that’s pointing straight at a new product. Maybe something like what Lenovo’s got on the table. Particular to the video embedded engineer are requirements for skills in “hardware video encoders and decoders, video streaming, embedded systems, and network programming.” This person will probably work primarily with Nest Cameras, but the next generation’s localized smart home camera video feed action wouldn’t seem at all out of place in a future device release from Nest – Google Assistant included. Google already has a Google Assistant smart displays program and a few partners in the mix. It might just be time to bring the party home, Nest hardware style. Story TimelineLenovo Smart Display gives Google Assistant a touchscreen and cameraGoogle app 7.20: custom hotword, offline podcasts, Duo on smart displaysLG WK9 ThinQ Smart Display pre-order now available
This morning the real-deal Pixel Stand (model G019C) was leaked in a single massive photo. This is likely the device Google will use to show off its new desktop-based Google Assistant finesse, and it’s coming in white with an orange bottom. The bottom looks like it’s sorta rubbery, and the plug (USB-C) connects through the back and under the bottom. This wireless charging stand (aka Pixel Stand) has the address for Google’s home base at the bottom. That’s quite similar to what Google does with the SIM card tray in their Pixel smartphones. Almost as if it’s a “if lost, return to” sort of deal.WAIT A SEC: What’s this Pixel Stand do?We’ve had a peek at a few ways in which this Pixel Stand will be used this past week. In a series of leaked images of home screens for the stand, we see that Google’s going direct for Amazon’s throat. With a new Pixel device and the Pixel Stand, users will be able to skip the whole Amazon Echo business and stick with Google Assistant instead of Alexa. AdChoices广告This device and the Pixel 3 effectively negate the need for a Google Smart Screen, BUT, it also appeared in leaks this past week that there’s a new Google Home Hub coming to Google’s October 9th event. At that event, the screen, the phones, and the Pixel Stand will likely make their debut.This device was leaked by MySmartPrice, a blog / smartphone sales store. They also worked with OnLeaks to leak some of the earliest looks at the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. These devices will likely launch all at the same time at some point within the month of October. Don’t expect Amazon to flinch – but maybe they should? Story TimelinePixel 3 leaks again – here’s what we know nowYou can try a headline Pixel 3 feature right nowPixel 3 Live Wallpapers available for Android 6.0 and higherPixel 3 Live Wallpaper downloads: About that boat
Lotus has unveiled a new special edition version of the Exige 350 called the Exige 350 Special Edition. This special edition was whipped up to celebrate 50 years and Hethel. The Exige 350 special edition is based on the standard Exige Sport 350, but it has shed some weight in the effort to maximize performance. The special edition sheds 26kg compared to the normal Exige Sport 350 tipping the scales at 1099kg. The 345hp supercharged V6 engine makes 295 lb-ft torque and gives the car a power to weight ratio of 314hp/ton. That is enough power to push the car to 60mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 170mph. The Exige 350 Special Edition was able to lap the famed Lotus Hethel test track in 1 minute 29.8 seconds.“Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented, “The Lotus Exige is the quickest point-to-point sports car on the road; nothing can match its levels of accessible performance and grip. It’s lightweight, responsive and exceedingly fast, with the purity expected of a Lotus. It is a real beast that needs taming but it won’t bite back.” Inside the special edition car are carbon fiber sport seats, forged alloy wheels, and a lithium ion battery all to shed weight. The car is offered in four colors and the interior can be had in black leather or Alcantara upholstery with bespoke contrasting stitching. Only 50 examples of this car will be made, and you can guarantee the car will sell out. The Exige 350 Special Edition will sell for £61,900 and has the option of adding an in-car entertainment system with Bluetooth, full carpets, and enhanced sound insulation. Naturally, those options will add weight to the car.
2018 Acura TLX Acura promised last year that its Precision Concept would donate its distinctive styling to production models sooner rather than later, and the 2018 Acura TLX is next in line. The company’s luxury sports sedan is targeting younger, more eager drivers with its big revamp for the 2018 model year, complete with the marque’s new signature diamond pentagon grille. Inside, meanwhile, there’s more tech and gadgetry as standard. Next up is the 2018 TLX V6. That throws in a new rear fascia with exposed, rectangular dual-exhaust trim, along with a rear diffuser. It also upgrades to 18-inch wheels as standard. The V6 TLX with Technology Package throws on chrome side sill trim on the outside, while inside there are new seats with contrast piping and stitching; the driver’s seat gets a power-operated thigh extension. As for the V6 TLX with Advance Package, that introduces trapezoidal LED fog lights, a body-color deck lid spoiler, and power-folding side mirrors. Inside, there’s a surround view camera system, white LED ambient light piping in the cabin, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear outboard seats. You also get a wireless charging pad for your phone. New for the 2018 model year, Acura will offer its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system across all of the V6 TLX models. Previously only available on those with the Technology or Advance Packages, it combines AWD with torque vectoring. The big change, however, is an all-new TLX version. The 2018 TLX A-Spec will come with Acura’s V6 engine, in either 2WD or SH-AWD configurations. It differentiates itself visually courtesy of an exclusive front fascia, round LED fog lights, more aggressively-designed side sills, and a rear diffuser through which large, round dual-exhaust finishers are visible. A gloss black decklid spoiler and dark-finish 19-inch wheels with 245-series tires round out the visual changes.However, there’s also more aggressive damper settings and new tuning to the electric power steering for what Acura claims is more sporty on-road performance and more precise handling. The SH-AWD version gets a stiffer spring rate and rear stabilizer bar. Inside, exclusive A-Spec leather seats add extra bolstering, there’s red added to the instrumentation, brushed aluminum-look trim, and a thick-rimmed sport steering wheel. The seats are offered in red or black leather, with Alcantara seat and door inserts, and there’s the wireless charging pad, ventilated front seats, and ambient lighting from the Advance Package. Along with Google and Apple’s smartphone interfaces, the 2018 TLX also gets a new On Demand Multi-Use Display infotainment system. Spreading the UI across two displays, there’s a new 7-inch capacitive touchscreen which promise to be swifter in its response; the system as a whole is a claimed 30-percent faster than what was in the old TLX. Crash avoidance is standard, as part of AcuraWatch, with collision mitigation braking, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lan keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and road departure mitigation all available. Acura says the 2018 TLX will begin showing up at dealerships this June. Pricing will be announced closer to release. Having already shown up once before on the 2017 MDX SUV, the new grille takes pride of place on a massaged TLX body. In fact, there are now three distinct versions of the 2018 TLX, with the 4-cylinder and V6 cars joined by a new TLX A-Spec. That will slot in as the flagship car. The 2017 TLX 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gets a new fascia and bumper, more sculpting to the hood, new fenders, and a new Jewel Eye headlamp design. LED turn signals are now included, along with standard 17-inch alloy wheels. As standard it’ll get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, too. 2018 Acura TLX
Story TimelineInstagram fundraising stickers could come at the worst time possibleAll of Galaxy S10’s unique app features: Instagram, AdobeGalaxy S10 update brings Bixby button remap, Instagram Mode What would it take for you to delete all of the photos on your Instagram account? Is a chance at winning a year of free flights enough? If it is, then boy does JetBlue have a promotion aimed dimed at you. The airliner has announced an “All You Can Jet” sweepstakes that will give out a year of free flights to three different people, but before you can even get your name in the drawing, you’ll need to wipe your Instagram account clean. That’s a big ask of a lot of people, just like that time OnePlus asked fans to destroy their phones for a chance to get a free upgrade. That didn’t work out very well. In any case, once you’ve deleted the photos on your Instagram account, you’ll need to upload a customized image and keep it there until the entry period is over.You can customize your image to JetBlue’s specifications using a tool on the sweepstakes page, which is also where you can read the full rules. You have until 9 AM EST on Friday, March 8 to customize your image and upload it to your Instagram with “@JetBlue” and “#allyoucanjetsweepstakes” tags. In order to enter the sweepstakes, it’ll need to remain the only photo on your Instagram account until 11:59 PM EST on March 8.Once the entry period is over, JetBlue will pick three winners that will get a year of flights on the house – sort of. You’ll still be responsible for taxes and fees on each flight, so it sounds like your flights won’t be totally free. If you manage to win, bookings and flights made between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 will be eligible for the travel pass, though you can only book them by calling JetBlue’s 1-800 number.The rules don’t seem to mention any age requirements for the Instagram account you enter with, so if you don’t want to purge your entire account just to enter this sweepstakes, there apparently isn’t anything stopping you from creating a new account and entering with that one. You can only enter once, though, and attempting to skirt those rules will result in disqualification. So, how about it? Would you purge your Instagram account for a chance at winning a free year of flights? Head down to the comments section and let us know!
Honda says that it is the first automaker to introduce this sort of program and that it will rollout first to Honda Fit EV owners. Honda says that normally an EV owner plugs their car in as soon as they get home from work. The problem is that is when electricity use is the highest and the most expensive.SmartCharge will let the Fit EV owner charge when electricity demand is low and when the availability of renewable energy is high. SmartCharge will use the vehicle telematics system and eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet software platform to calculate the best time to charge a vehicle from the electric grid considering the driver’s daily schedule, renewable energy being generated, and the CO2 emitted from power plants. The system records those variables and ensures that the vehicle is fully charged when the driver needs it next.AdChoices广告Honda says that it will study the use of the app among its beta testers and will possibly roll it out to other electrified vehicles. Honda says that after the user receives utility approval from eMotorWerks and completes five charge session the owner will earn a monetary sign-up reward. Other rewards will be calculated based on participation rate over each two-month period.In California, that monetary reward would be $50 for the sign up once approved, and $50 for every two months for the duration the user is in the program. The rewards are subject to change.SOURCE: Honda Honda has announced something called the SmartCharge Beta Program. This is an app that is used to help EV owners to reduce the environmental footprint associated with charging their car. While the user reduces their charging footprint, they can earn rewards via the app.
With all the focus on Huawei’s fate vis-a-vis the US ban, there has been less attention on other phones that are just coming out of the woodwork. Even less on phones that exist only in rumors and speculation. The Galaxy Note 10 belongs in the latter and now that the dust around Huawei has settled down a bit, there is a bit more room to talk about what could be Samsung’s oddest Galaxy Note yet in a long time. Perhaps nothing still beats the Galaxy Note Edge. Although curved edge screens are now Samsung’s mark for premium phones, a one-sided slope that is actually a separate display is still a pretty odd design. The Galaxy Note 10 could come second, changing the way Samsung has designed its phones for years.Other OEMs have switched designs every so often but Samsung’s phones have always had a few consistent elements. The rear cameras, for example, are always in the center, whether horizontal or vertical. The front camera is also off to the side, with or without a punch-hole cutout.According to Ice universe, the Galaxy Note 10 will change those and it will have a vertical camera array off to the side and its front camera hole will be dead center. Admittedly, it used the vertical corner camera setup on the Galaxy A9 2019 already. But given the other design change and its position in the market, you can bet it will be more easily compared with the iPhone XS generation or even a Huawei P30 Pro.Ice universe also claims that Samsung will market the Galaxy Note as its “stable and mature” line, in lieu of the Galaxy A series carrying its “radical innovation”. Like the Galaxy S10, it’s expected to have the same three cameras, four on the Pro model. That, however, does suggest it would perform on the same level, which is still a few points short of getting to the top. Story TimelineGalaxy Note 10 might not get Samsung’s new 64MP cameraGalaxy Note 10 screen aspect ratio grows just a little bitGalaxy Note 10 preview guide: New specs and feature expectations
Like many of Logitech’s gaming accessories, the G Pro X was made in collaboration with eSports players, with the goal of creating a headset that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time. From an aesthetic standpoint, the G Pro X looks like what you’d expect from a gaming headset, with memory foam padding on the cups that’s covered in leatherette, a steel headband, and a relatively simplistic looking mic attached.It seems the G Pro X’s edge will come in its software, which was created with the Blue. Dubbed Blue VO!CE, this software is making its debut with the G Pro X, and it’s intended to help you sound your best while playing games. PC players will often tell you that headset mics pale in comparison to standalone microphones, but Logitech and Blue think that Blue VO!CE will make it so the difference between the two isn’t quite so great.Logitech explains that right away, you’ll be able to select from a collection of preset filters to enhance the sound of your voice. However, those who want a deeper level of customization will have it, as Blue VO!CE offers a number of advanced effects including a compressor, de-esser, and de-popper. On the sound side of things, Logitech says that the G Pro X will be able to deliver “deep bass and a round sound profile for highly cinematic audio” with its Pro-G 50mm driver.AdChoices广告Blue VO!CE is found in Logitech’s G Hub software, which Logitech users are likely already familiar with. We’ll see the Logitech G Pro X launch later this month for $129.99, with a less expensive version called simply the Logitech G Pro headset that doesn’t seem to be compatible with Blue VO!CE available for $99.99. Last week, Logitech G began teasing a new gaming headset, indicating that it would team up with Blue to produce it. Those teases told us that we’d learn more on July 9th, and with that date now here, Logitech has pulled the veil back entirely, revealing the Logitech G Pro X headset. If you often find yourself frustrated by the audio quality of headset mics, it sounds like this might be worth checking out. Story TimelineLogitech’s newest accessory is a weird VR stylusThree Logitech G mice get HERO 16K upgrades todayLogitech teases a gaming headphone team up with Blue
Roush has been building hopped up cars and trucks with more style and performance for years. The company is mostly known for making already fast Mustangs faster, but that isn’t all it does. Roush has a full line of modifications for the Ford F-150 truck, and the Roush Nitemare F-150 is a good example. Like most Roush products, the Nitemare F-150 truck isn’t cheap. The package is a $20,000 upgrade on top of the purchase price of the truck. Roush would build your Nitemare on either the SuperCrew 4-door F-150 4×4 truck or the regular cab 2-door F-150.Both base trucks will need to be optioned with the 5.0-liter V8 engine. The major upgrade that lets these trucks grab the title of fastest accelerating production pickups is the Roush supercharger bolted to the V8 engine. The result is a truck with 650hp.Roush set out to test the trucks for acceleration, and with three different people driving, the Nitemare F-150, the results were very good. The 4-door version of the truck was able to accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds. The 2-door Nitemare F-150 did the same feat in 3.9-seconds. Both acceleration runs are well into sports car territory.AdChoices广告Roush’s Nitemare package also includes a lowering kit, new exhaust, 22-inch wheels, new front fascia, and Roush graphics. The truck includes a 3-year or 36k mile warranty as standard. If you are wondering, you can just buy the supercharger and have it installed by an authorized service person and save some money compared to the Nitemare package. The acceleration runs were performed with the differential locked in the rear. These trucks are as close as we can get to a modern Lightning truck.
Price and availabilityMoment’s launching Moment Air on Kickstarter, and it’s expecting the new products to ship by November — if the campaign has been successfully funded. The Drone Anamorphic Lens costs $300, but Kickstarter backers can grab it for $200. The Airlight Drone Filters will set you back $120, but it’s just $100 on Kickstarter. The Ultra Thin Photo Case costs $30, but it’s $25 on Kickstarter. Editors’ Recommendations Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsThe Drone Anamorphic Lens uses a proprietary “Lock and Balance Mounting System,” which allows you to attach the lens over the drone’s camera, and add a counterweight to the other side so as to not impact the gimbal. It also makes sure the lens stays firmly in place, meaning you don’t need to worry about the lens falling off the drone in midair.Moment also has a set of filters you can buy for the camera on the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom. You can use an ND (neutral-density) filter to help control exposure and achieve a “cinematic blur,” or a CPL (circular polarizer/linear) filter, which helps reduce glare and bounces light away in different angles. These filters are made with aerospace-grade aluminum, and Moment claims they are the lightest available for Mavic 2 drones. They also sport hydrophobic coatings, and have scratch-resistant glass and “shatter-proof construction.” You can buy them for the anamorphic lens or for the camera on the drones — the filters aren’t interchangeable, though, as the ones for the lens have a different mounting mechanism over the ones for the Mavic 2’s camera. Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsMoment, the company that makes high-quality lenses for smartphones, is expanding its expertise to drones — specifically the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. The platform is called Moment Air and it doesn’t just include lenses, but also filters, a new mounting system, as well as an iPhone case.The anamorphic lens returnsThere’s only one lens available at the moment, and it’s the Drone Anamorphic Lens. Moment released its cinematography-focused anamorphic lens for smartphones last year, which offers a cinema-wide aspect ratio as well as neat lens-flare effects. This lens delivers the same results, but it has been redesigned with “aerospace-grade composites and metals” — Moment is calling this “Featherlight” construction — to ensure it isn’t too heavy for the drone. A thin Moment case Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsYou need a Moment case on your smartphone to be able to use Moment lenses, but they’ve usually been a little bulky. That means there’s better protection, but the downside is it can be tough to squeeze a phone into a drone controller, gimbal, or tripod without removing the case. The new Moment iPhone case resolves this, and it’s cheekily called the “fits in your drone controller iPhone case.”It’s only available for the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max at the moment, but it retains the same M-series mounting system so you can attach the latest Moment lenses to the case. It’s made of a polycarbonate composite and TPU material, and it’s only 0.75mm thick; it should be able to fit into any drone controller, gimbal, or mobile tripod without any issues. There’s even a wider cutout at the bottom so the case doesn’t interfere with any connected microphones. Take to the skies with DJI’s best drone deals, including $120 off Mavic Air The best iPhone camera lenses The best drones of 2019 Moment’s new camera bags are small, but fashionable and functional Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art review
Paying Providers More In Some Parts Of Country Won’t Solve Access Issues This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In a new report, the Institute of Medicine concludes that raising Medicare reimbursements for some areas of the country will not necessarily address the physician shortage. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Higher Payments Are No Cure For Doctor ShortageMedicare should not try to address the shortages of doctors and health care providers in some areas of the country by raising reimbursements to lure practitioners there, the Institute of Medicine recommended Tuesday (Rau, 7/17).CQ Healthbeat: IOM: Changes in Medicare Geographic Adjustment May Not Improve AccessThe geographic adjustments in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and doctors have historically received plenty of criticism from rural advocates. But changing them may not do much to meet such national policy goals as increasing access and quality for patients, an Institute of Medicine committee said Tuesday(Norman, 7/17).Santa Cruz Sentinel/Sacramento Bee: Doctors Who Receive Among Lowest Medicare Payments In Nation Optimistic About New FindingsSanta Cruz County in California has the highest hospital wage index in the nation, higher than San Francisco, Los Angeles and Manhattan, but Medicare payments to Santa Cruz County doctors are among the lowest. It’s more difficult to attract physicians here when they can get higher reimbursements practicing over the county line in Los Gatos or San Jose. The Institute of Medicine produced the new report after analyzing the impact of adjusting payments based on the regional variations in the costs of providing health care, such as rents and wages. Federal law requires geographic adjustments to be budget neutral, so any increase in the amount paid to one hospital or practitioner must be offset by a decrease to others (Gumz, 7/17).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. State Highlights: Report: Mass. Medicaid Managed Care Doesn’t Reduce Fees A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Maryland, Vermont, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon.Boston Globe: Medicaid Managed Care Program Doesn’t Reduce Fees, Report SaysInsurers that contract with the state to manage the care of low-income Medicaid patients are expected to save money, in part by negotiating lower prices with health providers. But a new report by the state inspector general found that the plans pay higher fees to many hospitals and doctors than the traditional Medicaid program pays for the same services. In the 2011 fiscal year, the higher payments cost taxpayers $328 million, the report said (Conaboy, 8/3).California Healthline: State Delays Not-For-Profit Requirement For Adult Day CentersThe Department of Health Care Services extended the not-for-profit deadline for potential providers of the Community Based Adult Services program. Organizations providing adult day health care services now have until Jan. 1, 2013 to become not-for-profit, a new stipulation by the state to be eligible to receive Medi-Cal funding. The previous deadline was July 1, 2012. The six-month delay in establishing not-for-profit status was done, in part, because the state will need a substantial number of former Adult Day Health Care providers to become CBAS providers. The department has granted eligibility to approximately 80% of former ADHC beneficiaries — roughly 28,000 frail and elderly Californians (Gorn, 8/3).USA Today: Colorado Theater Shooting Victims Face Bills With WoundsLike many victims, Moser, whose daughter was killed in the shooting and who suffered a miscarriage from her injuries, will face mental and physical trauma that will lead to a lifetime of medical costs. Her family and others will have to sort through dozens of victim funds and find their way through a maze of medical bills (Alcindor and Welch, 8/2).Kaiser Health News: Baltimore Center Brings Hope To Homeless Struggling With Mental IllnessCatering to mentally ill homeless individuals and staffed by workers who have struggled with the same problems, the HOPE Wellness and Recovery Center is providing a critical safety net in Baltimore (Birchenough, Gulin and Jackson, 8/2). Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Vermont Wields New Power Over Hospital Budgets Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board, established by state law in May 2011 and given new powers last spring, is taking over responsibility for virtually every aspect of health care in the state. This month’s project for the new regulatory board: How much hospital budgets should go up on an annual basis (Kinzel, 8/2). The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: More Budget Cuts Ahead For State UniversitiesGov. Nathan Deal is making it clear that the era of state budget cutting isn’t over, asking state agencies to find another $553 million in reductions through June 2014. About half of that would come from higher education and from public health — $108 million from the University System of Georgia and $170 million from the Department Community Health, which handles Medicaid and PeachCare — while most k-12 school funding is exempt. Agencies are still weighing their responses to the order, issued last week, but some will consider layoffs (Salzer, 8/2).(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Mayo Clinic Pays $1.26 M To Settle Federal Lawsuit The Mayo Clinic and three related entities have agreed to a $1.26 million settlement of a federal whistleblower lawsuit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota. Originally filed in 2007, the lawsuit claimed that the Rochester, Minn.-based clinic submitted false claims for payment to the government for pathology services that Mayo did not provide, according to a news release Thursday, August 2 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. … Karl Oestreich, a spokesman for the clinic, said Mayo corrected the error before it knew of the Justice Department’s lawsuit and voluntarily refunded $262,975 to the government. Mayo Clinic then agreed to settle with the Justice Department for an additional $1 million “because we believe the prolonged legal process would have been more costly than the settlement itself,” Oestreich said in a statement (Snowbeck, 8/2).The Oregonian: Doctors, Lawyers Join At Oregon Medical Liability Reform MeetingThe Aug. 2 meeting was the first of three by a state advisory group Gov. John Kitzhaber has asked to present a recommendation to the 2013 Legislature. Kitzhaber outlined a potential compromise last month requiring earlier notification of injuries and the potential for a confidential apology as well as pretrial mediation before a lawsuit may proceed. The proposal calls for better sharing of medical error information as well. Key leaders of Oregon Medical Association as well as Richard Lane, a frequent representative of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, presented the Kitzhaber-backed proposal jointly at the meeting, held in Portland. OMA generally supports the effort; a trial lawyer spokeswoman said her organization is withholding judgment until details are worked out (Budnick, 8/2).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Romney Says Health Law Isn’t ‘All Bad’ In Sunday news appearances, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that if elected, he would dismantle the health care law, but retain some of the more popular provisions, including coverage of pre-existing conditions for those who had had continuous health insurance.The Washington Post: Romney Says He Would Keep Some Parts Of Obama’s Health-Care LawRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that while he intends to dismantle the Obama administration’s health-care law if elected, he will retain several key provisions, including coverage for preexisting conditions. In an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said his health-care overhaul will also allow families to cover adult children with their policies through age 26 and include access to coverage for unemployed people seeking insurance. Both are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Obama in 2010 (Turque, 9/9).Politico: Romney Says He Likes Some Parts Of ObamacareMitt Romney has vowed to repeal and replace the new health care law, but that doesn’t mean he hates all of it. In an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Republican presidential nominee said his replacement health care plan would include a way for people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, and also allow children to be covered “up to whatever age they might like.” Providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care plan until the age of 26 are among the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Kim, 9/9).Bloomberg: Romney Says He Would Keep Parts Of Obama Health Care LawRepublican Mitt Romney said he would keep parts of President Barack Obama’s health care law, shifting his focus to independent voters as polls showed the president gained support after the Democratic convention. Both candidates focused on health care yesterday as Obama wrapped up a two-day bus tour across the swing state of Florida by attacking Romney’s proposal to change Medicare. Romney, speaking in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he would replace Obama’s health care law with his own plan while keeping some popular provisions including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (Lerer and Talev, 9/10).The Boston Globe: Romney Says He Would Keep Parts Of Obama Health Care LawMitt Romney has called for wholesale repeal of President Obama’s national health care law, but in a TV interview that aired Sunday he said he is “not getting rid of all of health care reform.” In a two-part interview, filmed Friday aboard his campaign bus and Saturday at his Boston headquarters, Romney sought to fend off a charge by Obama’s reelection campaign that repealing the 2010 health care law would leave young adults and people with preexisting health conditions without insurance (Borchers, 9/9). ABC News: Mitt Romney ‘Not Getting Rid of All of Health Care Reform’ Mitt Romney raised some eyebrows today when he said, “I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform.” That sounded quite different from the mantra he has repeated for months, that he would “repeal Obamacare.” Though the Romney campaign quickly said there has been no change in position, it’s clear that despite the rhetoric, the Republican nominee would keep some of the popular elements of President Obama’s healthcare reform act (Kerley, 9/9).Also during his weekend television appearances, Romney also said the ‘sequester deal’ which includes a number of automatic cuts in military spending is a mistake -The New York Times: Romney, Easing, Says Health Law Isn’t All BadAdopting a new tone, Mitt Romney on Sunday said he would retain elements of President Obama’s health care overhaul, blamed Republicans as much as Democrats for the “mistake” of agreeing to automatic cuts in military spending and said Mr. Obama’s national security strategy had made America in “some ways safer” (Barbaro, 9/9).Politico: Romney Slams Sequester Deal As A ‘Big Mistake’Mitt Romney is slamming the 2011 deal that ended the protracted congressional fight to raise the debt limit – a vote that his own vice presidential pick backed. “That’s a big mistake,” the Republican presidential nominee said of the agreement in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it.” The Budget Control Act raised the debt ceiling in exchange for more than $2 trillion in federal budget cuts. The first round of about $917 billion has been enacted, but a so-called supercommittee failed to find an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures. That set in motion a round of automatic, across-the-board cuts to domestic and defense programs called a sequester that will go into effect Jan. 2 unless Congress passes legislation to avoid it (Kim, 9/9).Meanwhile, Romney continues to face difficulties in the battleground states – The Wall Street Journal: Romney Struggles To Gain Traction In BattlegroundsWith two months to Election Day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces the disconcerting reality that he isn’t winning most of the states he would need to beat President Barack Obama. … Mr. Obama in Florida over the weekend repeated his stipulation that any new deficit-reduction deal include tax increases and argued that seniors would pay more for their health care under the Medicare plan offered by Mr. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. He also critiqued Mr. Romney’s plan for not being specific about how it would balance the budget (Murray and Meckler, 9/9).
McClatchy asks the central question: “Will it be smooth sailing or a ‘train wreck’?” Meanwhile, other news outlets report on issues such as how experts view the possibility of rate shock when consumers shop for coverage from these online marketplaces, as well as other related developments in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Georgia, Ohio and Colorado. McClatchy: Will Obamacare Rollout Be Smooth Sailing Or A ‘Train Wreck’?Just seven weeks before the new state insurance marketplaces are set to open under the Affordable Care Act, it’s unclear whether the long-anticipated October rollout will be a smooth operation or the “train wreck” that some have predicted. Systems testing for the marketplaces is months behind schedule, according to recent government reports (Pugh, 8/13).CQ HealthBeat: Experts Say Rate Shock Not Likely Under State ExchangesThe assumption by some insurers, state officials and Americans shopping for coverage that premiums under the health care law will skyrocket compared to current prices is unfair, some experts said Tuesday. Insurance rates under the state exchanges that open for enrollment on Oct. 1 will not necessarily result in a rate shock, Uwe Reinhardt, an economics and health policy professor at Princeton University, said during a webinar hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform on Tuesday (Khatami, 8/13).The Washington Post: D.C. Groups Receive $6.4 Million To Help Uninsured Sign Up For Health InsuranceDistrict officials awarded $6.4 million in grants Tuesday to community organizations to hire more than 150 trained experts to help uninsured residents learn about and enroll in health insurance this fall on the District’s new insurance marketplace. The marketplace, known as DC Health Link, is the Web site where people can compare and shop for health insurance (Sun, 8/13).Baltimore Sun: State Opens Health Reform Call CenterMaryland has opened the first call center where people can take their questions about health reform. The center that opened last week at 1 South Street in Baltimore has staff that can help Maryland residents and small businesses understand their insurance options and explain tax credits and other financial incentives in which they may be eligible under health reform (Walker, 8/13).Georgia Health News: Sebelius, Hudgens Spar Over ExchangesU.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday criticized Georgia officials for what she characterized as a passive approach to the state’s upcoming health insurance exchange. Exchanges, also called marketplaces, will begin enrolling consumers Oct. 1. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes called Obamacare, provides for an exchange in each state (Miller, 8/13).The Associated Press: Advocates Question Ohio Health ‘Navigators’ RulesAn Ohio legislative panel on Monday cleared new state rules for professionals guiding people through the insurance marketplaces created by the federal health care law, despite concerns from some consumer groups that the regulations create confusion. The rules stem from a new state law that governs who can be a so-called insurance navigator and what duties they can perform (Sanner, 8/13).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Colorado Approves 242 Health Plans For ExchangeColorado’s Division of Insurance has approved 242 plans from 13 carriers for the state’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, which is slated to open on Oct. 1. … Most of the plans are mid-level products that would cover between 60 and 80 percent of health costs. Only two plans would provide the highest level of coverage, known as the platinum level that would pay about 90 percent of costs. If consumers want only catastrophic coverage, individuals will be able to choose from 13 different plans (Kerwin McCrimmon, 8/13).Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Tech Errors Prompt Red Light Warning For ExchangeJust seven weeks before the Oct. 1 launch of Colorado’s health exchange, managers said that their IT systems are not getting accurate data from state Medicaid systems, prompting a warning to board members Monday. Adele Work, the project manager who leads technology for Connect for Health Colorado, shifted her readiness estimate for synching with state systems from yellow, meaning cautiously moving forward, to red, meaning not ready. She highlighted her concerns Monday that state IT systems may not properly communicate with the exchange systems by Oct. 1. Work said she’s prepared to shift to contingency plans on Sept. 15 if necessary. At that point, the exchange would “freeze and deploy,” meaning halt the planned system and deploy an emergency Band-aid fix (Kerwin McCrimmon, 8/13).On the Medicaid expansion front – Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Could Save And Expand Medicaid, Study SaysThe state could expand its Medicaid program to cover more poor Ohioans and save money over the long haul, according to a new study presented yesterday to a Senate subcommittee. The savings could be big, too: $200 million next year and nearly $4 billion by 2025, according to the study done by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs (Varden, 8/14).The Associated Press: State Lawmakers Hear New Medicaid ProjectionsProjections showing that Ohio could save state and federal dollars by expanding Medicaid are just one part of a fact-finding process for state lawmakers debating changes to the health program, a key Republican lawmaker said Tuesday. State Sen. Dave Burke, who chairs a Senate Medicaid subcommittee, said the recent analysis indicates that curbing the cost growth of Medicaid to a certain rate is feasible, even when more people are enrolled (8/13). Anticipation Leads To Questions — Will The Health Exchanges Work? 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 are designed to avoid expensive and often time-consuming patient transfers. Meanwhile, telemedicine bolsters intensive care services in rural Maryland, and a hospital system in Camden, N.J. overhauls the way it cares for the poorest and sickest patients.The California Health Report: New Trauma Centers For Rural CountiesIn rural California, traumatic injuries often happen hours away from medical services. Rescuers scramble helicopters or ground ambulances to rush victims of car crashes, major accidents or violence to hospitals outside of the region. Occasionally, those expensive trips to life saving aid are waylaid by weather or traffic. It can take as long as three hours to get the injured to a trauma center, even by air. Access to centers along the north and central coasts and the East Sierra is most limited. Over the past two years, communities long without trauma centers began to fill the void – designating regional hospitals as resources for those suffering from traumatic injuries (Griffy, 2/12). Kaiser Health News: Telemedicine Bolsters ICU Care In Rural Maryland HospitalsA critical care doctor 125 miles away was monitoring the patient’s health via voice, video and high-speed data lines constantly streaming information about vital signs, medications, test results and X-rays, a telemedicine service known as Maryland eCare. The physician quickly verified that the patient had the deadly infection and arranged immediate transfer to another hospital with a surgeon who could remove the infected tissue (Rubin, 2/12).Marketplace: Healthcare Teams ‘Wrapped Around’ PatientsWhen you strip away all the bells and whistles at the Cooper Advanced Care Center, you see a massive effort to make primary and specialty care for the poorest and sickest patients – who for years have cost hospitals money – as easy to get as just showing up at the ER, says the clinic’s executive director, Kathy Stillo. “I think we are figuring out how to redo this whole thing, how to deliver this care in a much smarter and more efficient way,” she says. Transforming the whole practice has taken a financial investment and a leap of faith (Gorenstein, 2/11). Related, earlier KHN story: New Jersey Program Finds Alternatives for ER ‘Super Users’ (Campbell, 3/9/2009). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Rural California Plans New Trauma Centers
State Highlights: Supreme Court To Hear N.C. Scope-Of-Practice Case A selection of health policy stories from North Carolina, Alaska, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and North Dakota. Politico Pro: Dentistry Case Could Influence Scope-Of-PracticeThe Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider who can whiten teeth in North Carolina, a seemingly small decision that could have major implications for scope-of-practice throughout the country. In North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, the justices will weigh whether the state dental board’s decisions — in this case, a decision to not allow anyone but a dentist to whiten teeth — are immune from antitrust protections typically granted to state agencies (Haberkorn, 10/13).Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot: Will ‘Son Of Sovaldi’ Cause State Medicaid Programs To Erect High Hurdles?How might state Medicaid programs cope with a new and equally expensive hepatitis C treatment from Gilead Sciences A new report released just as the FDA late last week approved Harvoni, which will cost $94,500 for a 12-week regimen, may offer some insights, at least according to a trade group for the state programs (Silverman, 10/13).The Associated Press: Report Details Rural Health ChallengesAn aging workforce is among challenges of delivering health care to rural communities in Alaska, according to a new report. The study concludes there is a lack of professional expertise in the state’s smaller communities, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. The report — called “Alaska’s Community Capacity Review: A Statewide Public Health System Assessment” — was released Oct. 1. It is based on a performance review the public health system earlier this year. “A lot of our leadership is aging out,” said state health promotion manager Jayne Andreen, who worked on the report. “We need to be very aware of the need to mentor and build the capacity.” Northern and southwest regions of the state are most lacking in health care providers, the report states. The report notes a need to address root causes of health issues, such as alcohol and substance use. It also says there is a need to improve information and data sharing (10/13). Modern Healthcare: GOP Questions Medicaid Oversight In Mass., Puerto RicoSenior congressional Republicans have given CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner until Nov. 24 to answer questions about whether her agency is applying proper oversight of Medicaid spending in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico. … In Massachusetts, because of multiple technical woes with its insurance exchange, the state has allowed residents who think they are eligible for Medicaid based on their income to enroll temporarily until their eligibility can be confirmed. … Unlike the states, as a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico operates under a cap for Medicaid funds. The Republican lawmakers want the CMS to confirm that Puerto Rico hasn’t exceeded its cap (Dickson, 10/13). The Bismarck Tribune: 16-Bed Substance Abuse Clinic To Open In Bismarck In 2016The Bismarck, North Dakota-based Heartview Foundation plans to open a facility near Cando following a three-year gap in substance abuse services available in the area. Heartview Foundation Cando is slated to open by January 2016 and will offer 16 beds for patients with substance abuse and co-occurring mental and physical disorders. The state’s booming population and the rise in drug overdose deaths nationally have led to an increased demand for substance abuse services, Heartview executive director Kurt Snyder said. The Center for Solutions occupied the facility until 2011, when a reduction in benefits for low-intensity residential treatment forced it to shut its doors, he said. Though the original Cando facility had 24 beds, the new one will have only 16 so that people on Medicaid are eligible for treatment, he said. A federal law prohibits Medicaid reimbursement for facilities like the one in Cando if they contain more than 16 beds (Sisk, 10/13). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.