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Starry Internet reveals 2018 roadmap for 200Mbps wireless

first_imgStarry Internet aims to provide consumers with an alternative to their local Internet Service Provider. More often than not, most people only have one ISP through which to get Internet; sometimes you’ll get lucky and have two options, but that’s not a guarantee. Starry Internet could be that second option for you one day, though.The service costs $50/month flat rate and offers speeds up to 200Mbps. The Internet plan includes a home WiFi hub, plus the service is long-term contract-free. The big catch, though, is that you probably can’t get it where you’re located.That’ll be changing soon for people in Los Angeles and Washington DC, where Starry plans to expand into this year. The company hasn’t provided any additional details, unfortunately, such as when it will be offering the service in these places. Starry says it is doing all of this as a beta for now.Once Starry does arrive in those locations, customers will have access to wireless-based Internet service at speeds up to 200Mbps for the same price as elsewhere. If you’re in either region, you can check out coverage here. The company is also considering the following markets: New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, and Minneapolis.SOURCE: Starry Blog A couple years ago, Chet Kanojia, the founder of defunct Aereo, announced a startup called Starry Internet aimed at taking on the big broadband companies. Starry Internet has kicked off the new year with a big announcement, relatively speaking: it is bringing its Internet service to two new markets. That’s possibly just the start, though, as the company says it is currently eyeing more than a dozen other regions to expand into.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Galaxy S9 price leak is bad news for bargain hunters

first_imgThe Samsung Galaxy S9 will carry an unwelcome price premium over its predecessor, new rumors suggest, as the Android flagship apes the success of the iPhone X. Samsung is expected to take the wraps off the Galaxy S9 – and its larger sibling, the Galaxy S9+ – in just a few weeks time, bringing the smartphones to its latest “Unpacked” event at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. Story TimelineGalaxy S9: What we knowGalaxy S9, S9+ components leak, familiar batteries insideGalaxy S9 and S9+ official cases hint at new purple phone color While the handsets won’t make their official debut until February 25, courtesy of numerous leaks over the past few months we’ve already got a pretty solid idea of what to expect. Aesthetically, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are expected to stick fairly closely to the current Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, including using the same screen sizes. In keeping with Samsung’s Unpacked tagline of “The Camera. Reimagined” the selling point is expected to be a new sensor system.That’ll be based on a brand new camera design that allows the Galaxy S9 to physically switch between two apertures, it’s believed. As well as an f/2.4 aperture, it’s suggested, there’ll be an f/1.5 option too. That Galaxy S9+ is also expected to add a second camera on the back, as per the example already set by the Galaxy Note 8 in late 2017.The only big question still lingering has been what the Galaxy S9 – and its bigger S9+ sibling – might cost. Unfortunately, according to new rumors out of the UK, the answer to that question may well disappoint many would-be buyers. According to a cellphone industry source, speaking to Tech Radar, the Galaxy S9 is set to cost £100 more than the Galaxy S8 did at launch. In the UK, the S8 went on sale in early 2017 for £689, suggesting the Galaxy S9 will be £789. The source claims that Samsung’s premium comes down to the company observing that smartphone buyers are willing to pay a premium for high-end devices like the Note 8 and iPhone X.US pricing is still uncertain, but a $100 increase would seem likely based on this latest leak. With the unlocked S8 starting at around $725 in 2017, that would suggest the Galaxy S9 will be $825 when it goes on sale later this year. As for the Galaxy S9+, given the previous delta between the smaller and larger iterations of Samsung’s phones has been $100, that implies it will cost around $925. It’s a not-inconsiderable amount of money, though Samsung wouldn’t be alone in charging premium pricing. Apple’s strategy with the iPhone X last year was to raise the average selling price of each of its devices, offsetting any potential dip in actual sales numbers. That certainly paid off, too: the company’s recent financial results showed that while iPhone unit sales may have dropped, the amount each of those units actually sold for increased considerably. All the same, Samsung has had to do more price adjustment post-launch with its smartphones in recent years than Apple. Though the Galaxy S8 may have started fairly high – indeed, it launched with a higher sticker price than the Galaxy S7 twelve months before it – it wasn’t long before carrier promotions and Samsung’s own deals brought that pricing down significantly. There’s little to suggest that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ won’t face the same market pressures, once again underscoring that if you want a flagship smartphone bargain, patience is the key.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

iOS iBoot bootloader source code leaked on GitHub

first_imgThis actually isn’t the first time iBoot source code has been leaked. That happened already last year, but the source and venue (Reddit) lead many to doubt its veracity. Now even leading iOS developers and hackers such as Jonathan Levin confirm that what was made available for public eyes match their own reverse engineering results. In other words, this could very well be the real deal or at least close to it. The version of iBoot is explicitly for iOS 9, but parts of it could still be in use on iOS 11 today.This is a very big deal for the iOS hacking community. iBoot is pretty much the security guard at the front gate of iPhones. It is responsible for ensuring that a verified and secure version of iOS is loaded at boot. Getting access to its source code is the next best thing hackers and modders could get their hands on to get into iOS.Of course it’s not a sure deal yet. What the source code leak simply means is that developers and security researchers will now have a better idea of how iBoot works and, from there, discover the vulnerabilities that, in turn, could help them gain privileged, and unauthorized, access to iOS internals. It could eventually revive the once active and busy jailbreaking community that was just recently on the verge of extinction.AdChoices广告How long this favorable, at least for hackers, situation will last is anyone’s guess. For one, there is no assurance that this is even near the iOS 11 version of iBoot. Apple could also take swift action to plug up whatever holes there are left. Since everything is obscured behind a veil of secrecy, hackers and researchers will still be working in uncertainty. But at least that work may have now become just a bit easier.VIA: Vice Apple’s walled garden is partly made possible through its closed, proprietary software. While Microsoft has made a U-turn on its stance on Linux and open source in general, Apple remains steadfast in embracing a “security through obscurity” philosophy. That stance, however, will soon be put to the test now that a critical piece of software used to secure Apple’s devices has now been leaked on the Internet in a very big way. Source code for Apple’s iBoot bootloader has been posted on GitHub, potentially opening the doors for hackers and security researches to more easily break into iPhones.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Oculus Rift rolls out public Homes and Facebook livestreaming

first_imgStory TimelineYouTube VR for Oculus Go is finally hereOculus Go, Gear VR Virtual Desktop mirrors your Windows PC in VROculus Go gets Sling TV, ESPN, FOX NOW and a new holiday promo Oculus Rift owners have been able to invite friends to hang out in their Homes since last July, but with this update, you’ll be able to send your Home public. Should you choose to make your Home publicly accessible, it’ll have a chance of appearing as one of the recommended Homes to visit in Rift’s Places menu, allowing anyone to drop in and check out what your personal space looks like.The idea, obviously, is to make Home more of a social feature. Oculus also points out that if you’re struggling to come up with an interior design for your own Home, checking out other public Homes can be a good way to spark some inspiration. There are, of course, built-in privacy options for you to use, as you’ll be able to deny any visit requests from other users and make your Home private again whenever you want. Next up we’ve got Facebook livestreaming, which seems pretty straightforward in its implementation. All you need to do is select the “Livestream to Facebook” button from your headset’s Dash Menu and voila, you’re streaming on Facebook. Friends who watch will see whatever you see within your headset, though if you also want to include a camera capture so they can see you as you play, you’ll probably want to stream through something like Open Broadcaster Software.Oculus notes that developers can opt out of Facebook livestreaming, so you might encounter some apps and games that don’t give you the option to start a broadcast. In any case, both of these features are going live on the Rift’s Public Test Channel today, so for now, you’ll need to opt into that before you can check them out. They’ll be rolling out to all users later on in the month, so we’ll keep an eye out for that update. Stay tuned. Oculus Rift’s first platform update of the year is rolling into testing today, and it’s bringing a couple of interesting new features along with it. The first allows you to open your Home to any and all visitors who might want to drop in. The second is Facebook livestreaming, which – given the fact that Facebook is the parent company of Oculus – is something that we all assumed was coming at one point or another.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 pleases purists with stick shift option

first_imgFor a start there’s 500 HP and 339 lb-ft. of torque to play with. The engine is carried over from Porsche’s 911 race cars – including the 911 GT3 R and the 911 RSR – which gives it some serious credibility. It’s dropped into a redesigned chassis, and has an overall power-to-weight ratio of 6.4 pounds per HP. As standard, it comes with Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s been specially constructed and tuned for the GT3. With it, the 3,153 pound car will do 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 197 mph. Porsche continues to give stick shift fans the manual transmissions they crave, and the good news is that the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is no different. The coupe, freshly announced at the Geneva Motor Show today, puts a 4.0-liter flat-six engine at its heart, and then offers it with either Porsche’s achingly-clever PDK transmission or, for those who want to row themselves, a six-speed manual. Of course, there’s more to the 911 GT3 than just what your right hand grabs. Opt for the 6-speed manual and you’ll get a weight cut and a slight improvement on top speed. Curb weight drops to 3,116 pounds and it’ll top out at 198 mph. However, there’s nothing like the efficiency of the PDK for actually getting you up to speed most rapidly: with the manual, 0-60 mph takes 3.8 seconds. Elsewhere, there’s rear axle steering which either turns the rear wheels in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels, depending on overall speed. A rear locking differential is standard, as are dynamic engine mounts. A carbon fiber rear wing helps keep both downforce in play and overall weight down. At the front, the fascia and spoiler are pared back to cut weight while still allow for maximum airflow, and there’s a new diffuser at the rear. In the cabin, there’s the same 14.1-inch GT Sport steering wheel from the 918 Spyder, together with Sport Seats Plus with extra bolstering and electric adjustment of both seat back and height. If you’d rather, you can specify Adaptive Sport Seats Plus, with 18-way electric adjustment and both a power steering column and seat memory. Full Bucket Seats, with electric height adjustment and a fixed carbon fiber reinforced backrest are an alternative option.Don’t plan on bringing the kids, mind. There are no back seats in the 911 GT3, though Porsche does fit its navigation-enabled infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay. The companion Porsche Track Precision App allows track data to be logged on a paired smartphone. If you can handle it, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is set to show up in dealerships in the US come fall 2017. It’ll be priced from $143,600 for the PDK, plus $1,050 destination. No word at this point what premium the manual gearbox will command. center_img Story Timeline2017 Porsche Panamera first drive: The 4-door Super Sedan to beatThe 911 RSR is Porsche’s first-ever mid-engine 911 race carA day at Porsche Experience Center LA: Disney World for gearheadsPorsche Panamera Sport Turismo Wagon coming really soonlast_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Chevy admits small number of Bolt EVs have faulty batteries

first_imgThe problem seems to be limited to some of the very first Bolt models that were manufactured, where a single defective cell in the battery causes them to hold less of a charge than they’re supposed to. The result is that the car displays an inaccurate range reading, meaning drivers may abruptly run out of power.The good news is that this issue truly is limited to a small number of Bolts. GM’s Chris Bonelli says that roughly 1% of the EVs on the road are affected, which only amounts to around 100 vehicles. The faulty batteries must be replaced entirely, and Chevy says it will be performing the repairs at no cost.GM notes that it’s in the process of notifying owners with potentially problematic batteries. The company says it can use OnStar data to identify which vehicles need servicing before they experience a loss of power.SOURCE PluginCars Many early Chevy Bolt drivers are probably excited to be among the first to own the compact all-electric vehicle, however it’s almost always these early buyers that experience the most problems. Unfortunately that seems to be the case with the Bolt, as Chevy has revealed that a very small number of the cars have battery issues that could result in drivers left unexpectedly stuck without a charge. Story Timeline2017 Chevy Bolt EV starts at $37,495 before federal tax creditFirst Chevy Bolt EVs will Land on the West Coast2017 Chevrolet BOLT EV first drive: The first electric car truly for the everyman2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review: Electric all-rounderChevrolet triples self-driving Bolt EV fleet amid accelerated roll-outlast_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Google Currents resurrected as G Suites Google replacement

first_imgGoogle’s habit of regularly and sometimes unceremoniously killing off its services and apps has become sort of a running joke that there are now websites dedicated to honoring those dearly and some not so dearly departed products. Some of those may have been forgotten after years of being buried and that may give Google a chance to recycle the name for something completely different. Just like Google Currents which is now the G Suite’s replacement for another dead product: Google+. https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/2019/04/currents-for-gsuite.htmlGoogle Currents launched way back in 2011 as yet another social service but one that was centered on news and online magazines. This was back when Google still didn’t have a consolidated “Google Play” branding strategy so when Google Play Newsstand was launched in 2013, Google Currents, as well as Google Play Magazines, were laid to rest. Coincidentally, Play Newsstand itself was retired just last year after Google News was launched in May.Now Currents is back but has nothing to do with magazines and little to do with Google+, at least as far as appearances go. In line with Google’s new Material Design, it looks more like an extremely bright and white Google Product Forums than the now-defunct social networking service. In fact, it acts pretty much like a forum private to organizations and G Suite customers.Google bills the new Currents as a way for people in an organization to have “meaningful discussions and interactions” in order to reserve email for more formal communication. Just like Google+, users can make posts with a variety of content, from text to images to attachments. All of these are displayed in chronological order in the “home stream”, pretty much like Google+ as well.AdChoices广告You could almost say it’s a new version of Google+ with a coating of the new Material Design. Of course, Google would prefer to bury that name in ignominy. But maybe after six years, it will reuse the Google+ name, perhaps for some future subscription service.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

2019 Lamborghini Urus First Drive The Supercar SUV

first_imgStory Timeline2018 Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster first drive: Fire and brimstone2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder first drive: Howling Corner KingLamborghini Urus ST-X Concept is a road course dominating SUV The 2019 Lamborghini Urus is, depending on your frame of reference, the natural evolution of an enthusiast’s performance car brand or a monstrous betrayal by yet another fan-favorite. With it, the Italian automaker joins the long – and growing – list of luxury car companies adding an SUV to their line-up. Entrusted with the keys to this $200k+ monster, I had one big question I hoped to answer: is the Urus a “proper” Lamborghini? Fitting seats for as many as five inside – and their luggage – meant the usual Lamborghini design language would have to adapt. This may not be the automaker’s first SUV, that being the military-focused LM002, but it’s far closer in aesthetic to the rest of the range than that ever was. Think Aventador or Huracan, but cranked up and stretched. The familiar squinting headlamps with their Y-shaped daytime running lights are present and correct, at the leading edge of a sharply creased hood. The grille underneath, though, is expanded considerably: it has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to keep cool, after all. Side-on, the sharp slope to the roofline epitomizes the push-pull between Lamborghini’s traditional design and the realities of a two-row car. By the time you reach the rear, you’re almost ready for the squat, meaty haunches and aggressive sculpting. Few cars look so planted as the Urus does from the back, the narrow glass perched atop bodywork that’s flared, gilled, slashed, and finally picked out in more LEDs. It’s a car that’s not only better in person than in photos, but also incredibly color-dependent. Darker hues flatter the bulk more, leaving the Urus channeling Tumbler-era Batmobile. Lighter colors, like the eye-searing yellows and greens Lamborghini’s other models are often graced with, make it far more noticeable but also pick out some of the busier detailing. I’m not a huge fan of the tendrils of grille framing in the front fascia that yellow or white make so obvious, and they can also make the panel cut-lines oddly conspicuous. Not that people will get much of a chance to examine them, unless you’re parked up. Making big SUVs go unexpectedly fast has been an obsession of the industry over the past couple of years, but Lamborghini is unsurprisingly confident that it has an edge over the competition. 641 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque will do that for you.0-62 mph arrives in 3.6 seconds. You can do 0-124 mph in just 12.8 seconds. Top speed, meanwhile, is a heady 190 mph. At that point you’re probably wondering just how good the Urus’ brakes are, considering they’re challenged with bringing around 4844 pounds of hurtling truck to a standstill.Lamborghini describes them as “the most powerful braking system in the world,” with a ridiculous 10-piston calipers at the front and single-piston at the rear. They clamp down on 17.32-inch carbon-ceramic discs a full 1.57-inches in thickness behind the front wheels; the rears come in at 14.57-inches diameter and 1.18-inches thick. 62-0 mph takes less than 111 feet. Even after you see those massive discs – big enough to serve a holiday turkey on – though, your brain rebels at the concept of pushing an SUV anywhere close to the limit, never mind taking it onto the track. That’s just what Lamborghini had planned, however, when it invited me out to the Thermal Race Club to put Urus through its paces. Helmet on, professional driver in a matching Urus ahead of me, and just enough time to be introduced to the Tamburo. Crouching at the base of the center console like a set of jet boat controls, its cluster of levers handle the transmission, drive modes, and off-road settings, all surrounding the caged starter button. Tug the Anima lever on the left, and you step through each of the six drive modes. Strada, Sport, and Corsa, run you through street all the way to track, just as you’d find in an Aventador. Sabbia, Terra, and Neve, though, cater for sand, snow/ice, rocks, and other off-road conditions most Lamborghinis would remain in the garage for. Buttons on the left allow specific control over traction, steering, and suspension settings; the Ego lever atop them is for you to save your own, custom configuration. Sport seemed the best place to begin, though you get all-wheel drive regardless of the modes. The Torsen central self-locking differential splits power 40/60 by default, but can push up to 70-percent to the front wheels, or up to 87-percent to the rear. Active torque vectoring, meanwhile, uses a rear differential to shift power to the left or right rear wheel depending on which has the most traction. Combined with rear-wheel steering – which can either turn the back wheels counter to the front at low speeds for a tighter turn, or in tandem at higher speeds for more stable maneuvering like lane-changes – and suddenly the Lamborghini DNA made itself noticeable. The growl from the quartet of tailpipes helps, but there’s no ignoring the way the Urus corners and the grip from the custom Pirelli rubber. The body roll you expect just doesn’t materialize, the standard air suspension keeping the SUV flat and steady. It drops the Urus from the 7-inch ride height of Strada mode to 6.2-inches in Sport or Corsa, still much higher than you’d be in the automaker’s other cars but enough to make a marked difference when you’re pushing hard. An active anti-roll bar plays a part, too, all coming together to browbeat physics into sulking in the background while you focus on nailing the entry and exit point of each corner. Snick the Anima lever into Corsa and that true Lamborghini soul awakens. More noise from the exhaust and much more aggression from the eight-speed automatic transmission. The redline arrives with a rapidity that’s hardly diluted compared to a Huracan Performante, each snap of the perforated paddle shifters provoking a grunt of satisfaction on upshifts or down. All too soon, though, it’s time to test what will undoubtedly be the Urus’ typical territory: public roads. Strada mode tames the SUV down to Audi Q8-levels of compliance, the sober thrum of the V8 and the exhausts almost subtle. Suddenly the idea of an “everyday Lamborghini” doesn’t seem so ridiculous. Sport mode strikes a more pleasant balance of entertainment with comfort.The cabin does the same, and while Lamborghini may not have a limited track record making two-row vehicles, you’d never think it from sitting in the Urus. Hand-finished leather, real carbon fiber and metal, and the best iteration of Lamborghini’s infotainment system so-far make it a deeply satisfying place to sit. About the biggest criticism I can level is that it can be a little busy, visually, though you can temper that with fewer contrasting colors and finishes. Two configurations are available in the rear, with either a bench for three or two individual seats. The former can fold flat, expanding the 21.8 cu.ft of trunk space to a healthy 56 cu.ft. The latter provide more lateral support and power adjustment, and are separated by a sizable console with plenty of storage. Either way, rear headroom surprisingly caters for those up to 6’3, despite the angle of the roof, though kids might find the sharply rising waistline cuts into their view. Three displays cater to infotainment, driver information, and cabin control. There’s virtual instrumentation with a range of layouts behind the meaty-rimmed steering wheel, while a pair of stacked touchscreens in the center console support Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and connected navigation. Twin removable Android tablets that mount in the headrests are available for the rear, as its a 1,700W Bang & Olufsen audio system that sounds tremendous.I turned it down, though, to focus on Lamborghini’s off-road course. As SUV trials go it was far from being the most challenging – I pushed the Mercedes G550 much further, for example – but it’s still aeons away from where you’d expect to take one of the automaker’s more familiar cars. Anyway, it doesn’t take a Baja rally stage to ruin a 23-inch alloy wheel, and that’s something I really didn’t want to do. Switch to one of the trio of off-road modes and the Urus suspension lifts to as much as 8.4-inches. After that it was a case of pointing the SUV’s nose around the ruts and grit of a chunk of the San Andreas fault line, quickly appreciating the tight turns that four-wheel steering allow for. Higher speed sections produced a satisfying spray of gravel but no shortage of traction. Honestly, finding a Urus on an off-road course seems about as likely as spotting one at a track day. Needless to say the SUV is over-qualified for the sort of driver that considers climbing a curb in the mall parking lot, or traversing an ill-maintained driveway to the local stables, as treacherous terrain. You could probably say the same for upwards of 90-percent of other luxury trucks, though, it’s just that seeing a tow hitch on a Lamborghini is more incongruous. VerdictBlasphemy can be lucrative. While the idea of a Lamborghini truck might thrust daggers of betrayal deep into your purist heart, market forces always have their way. Enough people want a super-sports SUV that can tow over 7,700 pounds as well as hit 190 mph that the automaker can’t say no.Upending that is the fact that the 2019 Urus is absolutely a Lamborghini first and foremost. Yes, it’s more practical than a Huracan, and not as fast as an Aventador, but we’re still talking about an SUV that can outperform a Gallardo on the track. It looks the part, sounds the part, and drives the part, and the fact that you can now entertain more people at once is the delicious Italian gravy on top. Even if that hasn’t convinced you, even if you’re still scandalized, consider this. Strong SUV sales will undoubtedly help subsidize Lamborghini’s future coupes and roadsters, the Urus effectively underwriting ever-more extreme machines for enthusiasts much in the way that the Cayenne did for the 911. Cynical? Maybe so, but as compromises go I’m not one to argue with 641 horsepower. The “why” is, of course, brutally rational: SUVs are big business. Sales of Lamborghini’s coupes and convertibles have been steadily rising, but there’s still a limited audience for extreme performance two-seaters. Breaking out of that segment worked wonders for Porsche with the Cayenne – now in it third generation and a lynchpin of the range – and there’s no reason to assume it wouldn’t do the same with Urus. Indeed though the brand purists may have howled, it looks like the strategy is already paying off. Lamborghini was aiming to double its annual sales with the SUV, which would mean around 1,100 Urus in the US. An order placed right now won’t arrive until Q3 2019 at the earliest.AdChoices广告More important still, Alessandro Farmesch, CEO of Lamborghini Americas, boasts to me, a hefty 70-percent of Urus customers are new to the brand. Turns out, there were plenty of people who wanted to bring not only a friend but a family along in their supercar. 2019 Lamborghini Urus Gallerylast_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Sony Xperia with eight cameras detailed in new leak

first_imgIf that sounds rather excessive, it probably is so. Sony has yet to prove that it can actually compete with the top smartphone cameras in the market. Asking users to pay extra for five lackluster cameras will be asking too much faith even from fans. As I mentioned last week there’s going to be a new Sony phone. Today I heard some things regarding it’s camera specs: The specs might be different in the final product do to this device still being in development. The images are based on imagination.Enjoy the specs!😜 pic.twitter.com/pKWR7L9dTT— Max J. (@Samsung_News_) June 18, 2019 Sony has been regularly criticized for its dismal cameras on its own phones while providing competitive imaging sensors to its competitors. Sony’s top brass has promised things will change now that its mobile and imaging businesses are under a single roof. It seems that the company might go to the opposite extreme and equip its next phone with not four but six different cameras. With dual front cameras, that makes a total of eight sensors in one phone.center_img One reason why phones resort to having multiple cameras is that a single sensor and lens are pretty much limited by space. Instead of interchangeable lenses on dedicated professional cameras, smartphones have a different camera for different purposes. In that context, Sony’s rumored strategy may make some sense but it still sounds ridiculous by smartphone standards and looks the part as well.According to Max J, a.k.a. @Samsung_News, a still unnamed Sony phone will bear two cameras on the front and six on the back. The front will have a 10 megapixel sensor and a 0.3 megapixel 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor. More interesting, however, are the sensors on the other side.Of the six, one is a 0.5 megapixel ToF sensor while the other five have 20, 8, 48, 12, and 16 megapixel sensors. All of those have f/2.4 aperture lenses but the 48 and 12 MP cameras have dual apertures, allowing them to switch between f/1.2 and f/2.4.AdChoices广告last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

BlackBerry wants to power your selfdriving car

first_imgAdding to the turmoil, companies considered non-traditional in the automotive world are also looking to make inroads. Google is inking deals with automakers like Audi and Volvo to build entire infotainment systems on Android, while Apple’s driverless car intentions were modified to instead position the Cupertino firm as a software, electronics, and active safety tech supplier instead. For BlackBerry QNX, then, there’s both an opportunity and a challenge ahead. “BlackBerry is trusted by automakers and Tier 1s around the world to protect hardware, software, applications, and end-to-end systems from cyberattacks,” John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of the company, said of today’s announcement. All the same, if it’s to maintain that position it’ll need to rise to the challenge laid down by newcomers in the space – and meet increasingly-demanding consumers – as the car tech world accelerates. It’s going to mean a significant expansion for BlackBerry QNX, the automotive-focused business unit of BlackBerry Limited. The aim is to add most than 800 new jobs in Canada over the next decade, BlackBerry says, along with maintaining a further 300. Those employees will be working on making BlackBerry QNX into a powerhouse in next-generation automotive technologies. For instance, the company will be working on new automated control systems for driverless and semi-driverless vehicles, along with new safety and security systems for driver-assistance technologies. That should have applications both in fully-autonomous driving, whenever that finally reaches the mass-market, but also before that point in production vehicles looking to ramp up active safety systems. As part of this new investment, BlackBerry QNX will be making even greater inroads into driving technologies. “BlackBerry QNX will also develop and use concept cars as labs for technology and software development,” the company said today. That doesn’t mean we can expect a BlackBerry car to reach dealerships, but it will expand the company’s footprint and could see it compete with Waymo, Cruise, Apple, and others on making autonomous vehicle prototypes. Back in early 2018, QNX announced it was working with China’s Baidu on a self-driving test fleet.Next-gen automotive systems are the new frontierIt’s fair to say the automotive industry is facing a number of disruptions, coming at it from several directions simultaneously. On the one hand, while most experts believe that Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving is still some way out from commercial feasibility, it’s a category automakers can’t afford to ignore. Well before that, vehicles that offset human driver involvement to some extent are an inevitability. At the same time, expectations among owners of vehicles as to updates to their cars are also evolving. Automakers like Tesla have encouraged more demanding drivers, familiar with over-the-air (OTA) updates and upgrades for their smartphones, and wanting the same for their vehicles. That has required a huge shift in automotive and infotainment architecture, since few in the industry designed such systems with the expectation of frequent updates, much less that process taking place outside of authorized service centers with specialist equipment. BlackBerry is aiming to reinvent itself as a heavyweight in autonomous and connected vehicles, announcing a huge investment into its QNX platform. The expansion will see BlackBerry invest more than $310m into the new project, while the Government of Canada will inject $40m more courtesy of its Strategic Innovation Fund. center_img Story TimelineQualcomm and QNX tag-team the dashboard of the futureBlackBerry pens deal with Ford to develop auto softwareBlackBerry unveils self-driving and connected car research center At the same time, BlackBerry QNX will also be exploring communications in vehicles. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) – also known as C2C or Car-to-Car – along with vehicle to infrastructure is expected to be a key component of autonomous driving, the interchange of data between vehicles and the roadways they use essential to giving driverless systems a full understanding of the environment around them. A key focus for BlackBerry QNX will be ensuring that communication is encrypted and secure, since it could likely present an alluring target for hackers. QNX is the big platform you’ve never heard ofWhile BlackBerry is most commonly associated with smartphones – and, more recently, its troubles making money from smartphones – the company actually has an established history in automotive. It acquired QNX in 2010, a real-time operating system focused on embedded devices. While the name may not be familiar to most, there’s a fair chance that they’ll have interacted with QNX in some form.That’s because it has been widely used as the basis of embedded systems in automotive, both for the underlying architecture of modern vehicles, and for the infotainment platforms they use. Indeed, BlackBerry says that more than forty automakers currently use QNX in their vehicles, along with seven Tier 1 automotive suppliers. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and numerous others all rely on QNX in some form. last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Obamas Budget Eyes Provider Cuts To Save Money

first_imgThe president’s proposal would save $402 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years, mostly from lower reimbursements to health care providers and drugmakers.Reuters: Obama Budget Sets Medicare Savings, Hospitals Seek ReprievePresident Barack Obama’s budget plan for 2015 would save $402 billion from the Medicare and Medicaid government health care programs for the elderly and poor over the next 10 years, primarily due to reduced reimbursement to health care providers and drugmakers. A White House budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning October 1, released on Tuesday, would save more than $350 billion by pursuing a familiar menu of options that range from increased drug rebates to more efficient post-acute care, reduced hospital admissions and new means testing for Medicare (Morgan, 3/4).Modern Healthcare: Health Care Providers Oppose Medicare Cuts In Obama’s 2025 BudgetPresident Barack Obama is proposing more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade in his fiscal 2015 budget, an almost identical amount to what he recommended last year. But those cuts are heavily weighted toward future years, with only $3.5 billion occurring in 2015 (Demko and Zigmond, 3/4).CQ HealthBeat: White House Shies Away From Major Change In Medicare, MedicaidPresident Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget would fully fund ongoing implementation of his health care overhaul, while again calling on Medicare beneficiaries and providers to pay more to extend the program’s solvency. Obama’s budget proposal draws on familiar ideas for revamping Medicare and Medicaid and avoids major structural changes to the programs. The proposal’s changes to federal health programs would save approximately $402 billion over 10 years, including $354.1 billion in cuts to Medicare providers and $8.9 billion in savings from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Ethridge, 3/4).The Hill: Obama Budget Hits Post-Acute Care, DrugmakersPresident Obama’s latest budget proposal would hit post-acute-care providers, drug companies and wealthier seniors on Medicare as part of $402 billion in estimated health care savings over the next decade. Familiar from previous White House budgets, the proposals appeared in a document notable for its continuity on health care spending for 2015 (Easley, 3/4). Obama’s Budget Eyes Provider Cuts To Save Money This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Another Shortfall In The Doctor Payment Database Revealed

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Federal officials report that the Open Payments database, which seeks to make drug and medical device company payments to doctors and hospitals available to consumers, is missing $1.1 billion in payments made between August and December 2013.ProPublica: $1.1B In Drug, Device Payments To Docs Not In Federal DatabaseThe federal government’s new database of drug and device industry payments to doctors is even more incomplete than has been reported previously. In a fact sheet posted online, federal officials disclosed that the database, dubbed Open Payments, is missing more than $1 billion in payments made between August and December 2013. These omissions are in addition to information the government has redacted from the payments it has disclosed, citing inconsistencies. Open Payments was unveiled last week and included data on 4.4 million payments valued at $3.5 billion. More than half a million doctors and about 1,360 teaching hospitals received at least one payment (Ornstein, 10/6). Meanwhile, a study looks at efforts to make doctor training less hazardous.Reuters: Shorter Doc Training Not Tied To Worse Outcomes A 2003 rule restricting the number of hours doctors-in-training can work each week didn’t affect the quality of care they provided once they were practicing independently, suggests a new study. Restricting the hours doctors-in-training (commonly called “residents”) worked each week may, in fact, have improved the outcomes for their high-risk patients, the researchers write in the journal Health Affairs. “I think there are two issues that are very hotly debated in the field of medical education and workforce training,” said Dr. Anupam Jena, the study’s lead author from Harvard Medical School in Boston. The first issue is about the quality of care patients receive from exhausted residents, he told Reuters Health. The second is about whether residents are being trained as well as before the rule took effect (Seaman, 10/6). Another Shortfall In The Doctor Payment Database Revealedlast_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

Medical Marketing In The US Has Boomed Over Past Two Decades–With Meager

first_img The study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was co-authored by Dr. Steven Woloshin and his late wife, Dr. Lisa Schwartz.Here’s our conversation with Dr. Woloshin on Radio Boston, lightly edited. (Borchers and Alston, 1/8) “Marketing drives more testing. It drives more treatments. It’s a big part of why health care is so expensive, because it’s the fancy, high-tech stuff things that get marketed,” said Steven Woloshin, co-director of the Center for Medicine and Media at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. His study captured only a portion of the many ways that drug companies, hospitals and labs promote themselves. (Szabo, 1/8) A sweeping analysis of medical marketing in the U.S. — from drug promotions aimed at consumers and physicians to disease awareness campaigns, hospital services, and laboratory testing — found a 69 percent increase, to $29.9 billion, over a recent 20-year period. But despite policies designed to limit industry influence over the health care system, there appeared to be insufficient regulatory oversight. The fastest rise in industry marketing was spent on direct-to-consumer ads, which increased from $2.1 billion, or 12 percent, of all marketing expenditures in 1997, to $9.6 billion, or 32 percent of total spending in 2016, according to the analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Silverman, 1/8) The Associated Press: US Medical Marketing Reaches $30 Billion, Drug Ads Top Surge Kaiser Health News: Health Care Industry Spends $30B A Year Pushing Its Wares, From Drugs To Stem Cell Treatment WBUR: Study Shows Spending For Drug Marketing Skyrocketed Over Past 2 Decades center_img Medical Marketing In The U.S. Has Boomed Over Past Two Decades–With Meager Oversight To Keep It In Check A new analysis of marketing data from the FDA, Medicare, other federal and state agencies, private companies and medical research finds a 69 percent increase, to $29.9 billion, over a recent 20-year period. “Marketing drives more treatments, more testing” that patients don’t always need, said Dr. Steven Woloshin, a Dartmouth College health policy expert. Ads for prescription drugs appeared 5 million times in just one year, capping a recent surge in U.S. medical marketing, a new analysis found. The advertisements for various medicines showed up on TV, newspapers, online sites and elsewhere in 2016. Their numbers soared over 20 years as part of broad health industry efforts to promote drugs, devices, lab tests and even hospitals. (Tanner, 1/8) Stat: Medical Marketing Exploded Since 1997, Raising Questions On Industry Influence This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

New Ads Accuse Trump Of Wanting To Slash Our Health Care To

first_img Dayton Daily News: What You Need To Know About Ohio Medicaid Work Requirements Officials confirmed the TennCare Connect system – designed to quickly process applications online or by phone – went live Saturday morning. This application system, which has been federally mandated since 2014, is built upon a computer infrastructure that cost about $400 million, mostly covered by the federal government.TennCare officials were coy about the launch of new system as recently as Friday, refusing to say when it would function statewide. TennCare Director Gabe Roberts said much of the new system has worked behind the scenes for months and the final milestone was to roll out the TennCare Connect web portal to the entire state. (Kelman, 3/18) Nashville Tennessean: TennCare Launches New Application System The Associated Press: Republican Introduces New Bill Placing Work Requirements On Medicaid Expansion Federal health officials are reviewing a Georgia request for a new enrollment period for insurance exchange members who use WellStar Health System doctors and hospitals. Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck, in his request to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, cited what he called “misleading, inaccurate and unusual presentations’’ by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for its Pathways exchange plan. (Miller, 3/18) The Hill: Dem Group Launches Ads Attacking Trump’s ‘Hypocrisy On Medicare And Medicaid Cuts’  New Ads Accuse Trump Of Wanting To ‘Slash Our Health Care To The Bone’ With Proposed Medicaid, Medicare Cuts The ad is the latest example of Democratic attacks on the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020. Democrats saw health care as a winning issue in the midterms, and are hoping to repeat that success in upcoming elections. Other Medicaid news comes out of Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia and Idaho.center_img A leading Democratic health group is launching a national ad campaign against vulnerable 2020 lawmakers for supporting what the group calls President Trump’s “blatant hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts.” The five-figure ad from Protect Our Care targets four senators and six House members and calls Trump a hypocrite for proposing massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, despite his repeated promises on the campaign trail to save those programs. (Weixel, 3/18) Ohio now has approval to create work requirements for those covered by Medicaid expansion. On Friday, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted Ohio Department of Medicaid’s request to require those covered through the expansion to have a job or perform community service for at least 20 hours per week, unless given an exemption. Here’s five things to know about the work requirements. (Schroeder, 3/18) Georgia Health News: State Seeks New Enrollment For Patients Caught In Contract Rift This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Legislation that would limit Medicaid expansion in Idaho by requiring some recipients to work and others to keep private insurance was introduced Monday. Nampa Republican Rep. John Vander Woude introduced the bill in the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee. A hearing on the measure is expected Wednesday. In addition to a 20-hour-per-week work minimum, the bill would require people who are between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level to continue paying for private insurance on the state-run health exchange. (Boone, 3/18) last_img read more


July 22, 2019 0

The FLO Home is a sleek allaluminum indooroutdoor EV charging station

Sponsored by FLOThere’s a new home charging station on the market, the FLO Home.The charger is made by FLO, Canada’s largest EV charging network and manufacturer. The company has delivered thousands of units to Canadian customers.FLO Home charges five times faster than a standard wall outlet and is compatible with all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road. It provides a full charge in four to five hours.There are two versions of the FLO Home charging station, the G5 and the X5. The G5 is the basic version while the X5 is connected through the FLO app or secure online portal. Smart charging features include charging schedule, real-time session progress, tracking energy consumption and the ability to participate in demand response programs.The X5 is available in Tungsten (gray) or Carbon (black), while the G5 is only available in Carbon.Installation is simple and safe. FLO Home can be installed with a hardwire set-up or with a NEMA 6-50 plug. It works with the existing electrical panel without the need for a junction box. The interior provides ample space for neat, uncluttered electrical connections.Installation is also cost-effective. The G5 maximum output current can be adjusted by a rotary switch to adapt to the available capacity of the existing electrical box. The X5 is equipped with power sharing so that two X5 charging stations can be connected to the same electrical circuit to eliminate the need to upgrade the home’s electrical box if a second EV is purchased.FLO Home is designed to provide continued safe and reliable operation. It is CSA certified and meets all applicable UL requirements.While most charging stations are made of plastic or sheet metal, FLO Home is encased in 100% NEMA 4X aluminum. It resists corrosion, dust, rain and ice. It can be installed indoors or outdoors and can even be safely hosed down for cleaning.FLO Home is backed by a five-year warranty.“It’s probably the most solid unit we’ve ever tested… FLO obviously has confidence in their product, as all FLO EVSEs come with a five-year warranty, which is the best in the business as far as we know.”– InsideEVsThey come standard with a 25-foot cable that stays flexible in all weather conditions. The stations are certified to operate between -40°F to 122°F.FLO Home is a sleek, elegant companion to any EV. The built-in cable management system provides a clean and uncluttered installation, without ugly brackets, cables or junction boxes.“The focus on quality is also important and a welcomed change compared to some other offerings on the market.”– Electrek The X5 version is connected using IEEE 1901 Power Line Communications (PLC) technology. The PLC connection provides a more reliable data exchange between systems and appliances connected to the home electrical system. PLC is a simple set-up and can easily reach the distance required to connect the charging station in a larger home or detached garage.FLO Home G5 is available for $795. The X5 with Carbon casing is $995, and the X5 with Tungsten casing is $1,095. Chargers can be purchased at flo.com. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine About FLOFLO operates a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network for drivers to plug in wherever they are – at home, at work or on the go. For nearly a decade, the FLO Family of Companies has manufactured high-quality durable charging stations and developed network management software for all markets – residential, commercial and public infrastructure. We are dedicated to supporting the movement toward electric mobility, and have extensive experience helping utilities, municipalities, businesses and employers deploy charging projects of all sizes. Our commitment to quality and reliability is what makes our charging solutions a preferred choice and the largest EV charging network in Canada. read more


July 21, 2019 0

LA Auto Show 2019 Toyota Prius AWD Debuts

first_imgLet It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It SnowThere may be some Toyota Prius owners in Japan who are chuckling about the announcement at the LA Auto Show that the U.S. 2019 Prius will be available with an electric all-wheel drive system called AWD-e. The reason? Since December 2015, the Prius with AWD, called F-Four, has been available in their home country.There are some differences between the two systems and here’s what we know about the U.S. 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e.The New All-Wheel Drive SystemThe AWD-e system revolves around a new rear-mounted independent electric motor that engages from launch until six mph, and then as needed for traction at speeds up to 43 mph. Like some other AWD systems, it doesn’t require a center differential or front-to-rear driveshaft. The motor features magnet-less induction technology, just like the front motor in the new dual-motor Tesla Model 3. The advantage of this design is that, when the motor is not needed, there are no spinning magnets to generate stray current that might otherwise create drag. Toyota has revealed specifications for the motor.The Prius will soon be ready to hit the slopesInstead of the lithium-ion battery used in other Priuses, it uses a small nickel-metal-hydride battery that Toyota says is specifically designed to perform well in cold weather. Like the motor, there is little information about the battery. However, neither the motor nor the new battery intrude on cabin space; the AWD and non-AWD cars both get 65.5 cubic feet of cargo room.The Prius and Prius AWD-e still use the familiar Atkinson cycle 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, two electric motors and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).The 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e is rated at 52-mpg city/48 highway/50 combined. For comparison, the front-drive-only 2019 Prius is expected to get 58/53/56 mpg in L Eco trim, and 54/50/52 mpg across the rest of the range.Other 2019 Prius ChangesToyota has moved away from the numeric nomenclature for the various trim levels of the Prius, and adopted the more common Toyota trim labels of L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. If you want the full-meal deal Limited, or the hyper eco L Eco, you can’t have AWD. The AWD-e will only be available in LE and XLE trims.Added traction comes with a redesign of the Prius packageThe current Prius exterior design stymied some buyers, so Toyota made some changes. The big differences are up front where the lighting gets streamlined, and is more subtly integrated into the surrounding bodywork. The rear lighting is all new, ditching the wild angles for a more conservative shape, with a more rectangular element underscored by a swooping, horizontal brake light extending onto the trunk. The new look makes it much more approachable.Inside there are some color and trim revisions, too, and on AWD-e models the 4.2-inch dual multifunction display will offer screens portraying things such as the front and rear torque distribution. The 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e XLE gets a heated steering wheel and unique heated cloth front seats.Toyota expects the AWD-e feature to account for up to 25 percent of Prius sales in the U.S. Pricing for the 2019 Prius when it arrives early in 2019 has not yet been announced, but in Japan the all-wheel-drive system costs around $1,700 extra.Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Old Prius NewsRoad Test: 2016 Toyota Prius (Larry’s view)Road Test: 2016 Toyota Prius (Steve’s view)First Drive: 2016 Toyota PriusThe post LA Auto Show: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD Debuts appeared first on Clean Fleet Report. Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicleslast_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

Tesla Dashcam Captures Unsafe Towing Flying Debris Hits Semi Video

first_imgIt’s a bird. It’s a plane. No wait, that’s just a flying hood or maybe a front fender.Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img


July 21, 2019 0

It was just bad timing that the ball hit my head

first_imgCaroline Hall, a Wimbledon ball girl, was collecting a ball from the net when another hit her in the side of the face Wimbledon The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Reuse this content Fri 27 Jun 2008 19.01 EDT Wimbledon Share on LinkedIn The Guardian First published on Fri 27 Jun 2008 19.01 EDT Since you’re here… It was my second year as a Wimbledon ball girl. You’re only supposed to do one but sometimes they call you back as a junior supervisor, which means you get brought in when someone else is sick or if the match is going on late or to do any of the other jobs that crop up – getting a racket restrung, say. I was asked to cut Martina Navratilova’s hair once because her fringe was getting in her eyes.Tim Henman was playing a doubles game, with Jeremy Bates, and I was there because it was late in the evening. He wasn’t that famous at the time – it was right at the start of his career – but he’d played quite well against Pete Sampras in the singles and got a bit of attention. I was at the net and I think I’d been on court about 10 minutes when Henman lost a point during a tie-break, hit a ball in anger and I got in the way. ‘It was just bad timing that the ball hit my head’ Shares22 … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Wimbledon 2008 Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Topics Tennis You’re trained to just carry on no matter what, so that’s what I did. I didn’t feel that bad and besides I was 16 and I didn’t want to lose face. I didn’t think any more of it until Bates came over, then all of a sudden the tournament referee, Alan Mills, was on court and it was chaos.I was sat down and got an ice pack on my face. Apparently the ball was clocked at 92mph, and it did hurt a bit, but I’d have carried on if I could. No one asked my opinion but I was saying “No, no, don’t disqualify him.” Nothing was meant by it at all, it was just bad timing that meant the ball hit my head instead of going into the net. Alan Mills was really quite angry with him, which didn’t seem very fair. After a few minutes the umpire announced that the match was over. The crowd was booing; it was really terrible.Henman was supposed to come to my house the next day to say sorry but there were loads of photographers outside, so we did a press conference at Wimbledon instead and he gave me some flowers. I was back on court the next day. I’ve not spoken to him since but, if I got the chance, I’d say I’m sorry and I don’t mean to keep cropping up.He was the first person who’d ever been defaulted at Wimbledon but a few days later Jeff Tarango – who’d been playing in the doubles against Henman and Bates – was thrown out too for arguing with the umpire. I was on court for that as well because I’d been asked to bring him some bananas. It was quite a bizarre Wimbledon, really.Then what happened Henman, now 33, retired last year without ever winning Wimbledon. Hall has donated her fee for writing this article to the Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Share via Email Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Read morelast_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

DOJ Highlights 11 Factors Relevant In Evaluating A Corporate Compliance Program

first_img Learn More & Register 3. Autonomy and ResourcesCompliance Role – Was compliance involved in training and decisions relevant to the misconduct? Did the compliance or relevant control functions (e.g., Legal, Finance, or Audit) ever raise a concern in the area where the misconduct occurred?Stature – How has the compliance function compared with other strategic functions in the company in terms of stature, compensation levels, rank/title, reporting line, resources, and access to key decision-makers? What has been the turnover rate for compliance and relevant control function personnel? What role has compliance played in the company’s strategic and operational decisions?Experience and Qualifications – Have the compliance and control personnel had the appropriate experience and qualifications for their roles and responsibilities? Autonomy – Have the compliance and relevant control functions had direct reporting lines to anyone on the board of directors? How often do they meet with the board of directors? Are members of the senior management present for these meetings? Who reviewed the performance of the compliance function and what was the review process? Who has determined compensation/bonuses/raises/hiring/termination of compliance officers? Do the compliance and relevant control personnel in the field have reporting lines to headquarters? If not, how has the company ensured their independence?Empowerment – Have there been specific instances where compliance raised concerns or objections in the area in which the wrongdoing occurred? How has the company responded to such compliance concerns? Have there been specific transactions or deals that were stopped, modified, or more closely examined as a result of compliance concerns?Funding and Resources – How have decisions been made about the allocation of personnel and resources for the compliance and relevant control functions in light of the company’s risk profile? Have there been times when requests for resources by the compliance and relevant control functions have been denied? If so, how have those decisions been made?Outsourced Compliance Functions – Has the company outsourced all or parts of its compliance functions to an external firm or consultant? What has been the rationale for doing so? Who has been involved in the decision to outsource? How has that process been managed (including who oversaw and/or liaised with the external firm/consultant)? What access level does the external firm or consultant have to company information? How has the effectiveness of the outsourced process been assessed?4. Policies and Procedures a. Design and Accessibility Designing Compliance Policies and Procedures – What has been the company’s process for designing and implementing new policies and procedures? Who has been involved in the design of policies and procedures? Have business units/divisions been consulted prior to rolling them out?Applicable Policies and Procedures – Has the company had policies and procedures that prohibited the misconduct? How has the company assessed whether these policies and procedures have been effectively implemented? How have the functions that had ownership of these policies and procedures been held accountable for supervisory oversight?Gatekeepers – Has there been clear guidance and/or training for the key gatekeepers (e.g., the persons who issue payments or review approvals) in the control processes relevant to the misconduct? What has been the process for them to raise concerns?Accessibility – How has the company communicated the policies and procedures relevant to the misconduct to relevant employees and third parties? How has the company evaluated the usefulness of these policies and procedures?b. Operational Integration Responsibility for Integration – Who has been responsible for integrating policies and procedures? With whom have they consulted (e.g., officers, business segments)? How have they been rolled out (e.g., do compliance personnel assess whether employees understand the policies)?Controls – What controls failed or were absent that would have detected or prevented the misconduct? Are they there now?Payment Systems – How was the misconduct in question funded (e.g., purchase orders, employee reimbursements, discounts, petty cash)? What processes could have prevented or detected improper access to these funds? Have those processes been improved?Approval/Certification Process – How have those with approval authority or certification responsibilities in the processes relevant to the misconduct known what to look for, and when and how to escalate concerns? What steps have been taken to remedy any failures identified in this process?Vendor Management – If vendors had been involved in the misconduct, what was the process for vendor selection and did the vendor in question go through that process? See further questions below under Item 9, “Third Party Due Diligence and Payments.”5. Risk Assessment Risk Management Process – What methodology has the company used to identify, analyze, and address the particular risks it faced?Information Gathering and Analysis – What information or metrics has the company collected and used to help detect the type of misconduct in question? How has the information or metrics informed the company’s compliance program?Manifested Risks – How has the company’s risk assessment process accounted for manifested risks?6. Training and Communications Risk-Based Training – What training have employees in relevant control functions received? Has the company provided tailored training for high-risk and control employees that addressed the risks in the area where the misconduct occurred? What analysis has the company undertaken to determine who should be trained and on what subjects?Form/Content/Effectiveness of Training – Has the training been offered in the form and language appropriate for the intended audience? How has the company measured the effectiveness of the training?Communications about Misconduct – What has senior management done to let employees know the company’s position on the misconduct that occurred? What communications have there been generally when an employee is terminated for failure to comply with the company’s policies, procedures, and controls (e.g., anonymized descriptions of the type of misconduct that leads to discipline)?Availability of Guidance – What resources have been available to employees to provide guidance relating to compliance policies? How has the company assessed whether its employees know when to seek advice and whether they would be willing to do so?7. Confidential Reporting and Investigation Effectiveness of the Reporting Mechanism – How has the company collected, analyzed, and used information from its reporting mechanisms? How has the company assessed the seriousness of the allegations it received? Has the compliance function had full access to reporting and investigative information?Properly Scoped Investigation by Qualified Personnel – How has the company ensured that the investigations have been properly scoped, and were independent, objective, appropriately conducted, and properly documented? Response to Investigations – Has the company’s investigation been used to identify root causes, system vulnerabilities, and accountability lapses, including among supervisory manager and senior executives? What has been the process for responding to investigative findings? How high up in the company do investigative findings go?8. Incentives and Disciplinary MeasuresAccountability – What disciplinary actions did the company take in response to the misconduct and when did they occur? Were managers held accountable for misconduct that occurred under their supervision? Did the company’s response consider disciplinary actions for supervisors’ failure in oversight? What is the company’s record (e.g., number and types of disciplinary actions) on employee discipline relating to the type(s) of conduct at issue? Has the company ever terminated or otherwise disciplined anyone (reduced or eliminated bonuses, issued a warning letter, etc.) for the type of misconduct at issue?Human Resources Process – Who participated in making disciplinary decisions for the type of misconduct at issue?Consistent Application – Have the disciplinary actions and incentives been fairly and consistently applied across the organization?Incentive System – How has the company incentivized compliance and ethical behavior? How has the company considered the potential negative compliance implications of its incentives and rewards? Have there been specific examples of actions taken (e.g., promotions or awards denied) as a result of compliance and ethics considerations?9. Continuous Improvement, Periodic Testing and ReviewInternal Audit – What types of audits would have identified issues relevant to the misconduct? Did those audits occur and what were the findings? What types of relevant audit findings and remediation progress have been reported to management and the board on a regular basis? How have management and the board followed up? How often has internal audit generally conducted assessments in high-risk areas?Control Testing – Has the company reviewed and audited its compliance program in the area relating to the misconduct, including testing of relevant controls, collection and analysis of compliance data, and interviews of employees and third-parties? How are the results reported and action items tracked? What control testing has the company generally undertaken?Evolving Updates – How often has the company updated its risk assessments and reviewed its compliance policies, procedures, and practices? What steps has the company taken to determine whether policies/procedures/practices make sense for particular business segments/subsidiaries?10. Third Party ManagementRisk-Based and Integrated Processes – How has the company’s third-party management process corresponded to the nature and level of the enterprise risk identified by the company? How has this process been integrated into the relevant procurement and vendor management processes?Appropriate Controls – What was the business rationale for the use of the third parties in question? What mechanisms have existed to ensure that the contract terms specifically described the services to be performed, that the payment terms are appropriate, that the described contractual work is performed, and that compensation is commensurate with the services rendered?Management of Relationships – How has the company considered and analyzed the third party’s incentive model against compliance risks? How has the company monitored the third parties in question? How has the company trained the relationship managers about what the compliance risks are and how to manage them? How has the company incentivized compliance and ethical behavior by third parties?Real Actions and Consequences – Were red flags identified from the due diligence of the third parties involved in the misconduct and how were they resolved? Has a similar third party been suspended, terminated, or audited as a result of compliance issues? How has the company monitored these actions (e.g., ensuring that the vendor is not used again in case of termination)?11. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)Due Diligence Process – Was the misconduct or the risk of misconduct identified during due diligence? Who conducted the risk review for the acquired/merged entities and how was it done? What has been the M&A due diligence process generally?Integration in the M&A Process – How has the compliance function been integrated into the merger, acquisition, and integration process?Process Connecting Due Diligence to Implementation – What has been the company’s process for tracking and remediating misconduct or misconduct risks identified during the due diligence process? What has been the company’s process for implementing compliance policies and procedures at new entities? Last week the DOJ released this document highlighting 11 factors relevant in evaluating a corporate compliance program.The factors should be familiar to compliance professionals well-versed on best-practices policies and procedures (whether in the FCPA context or otherwise) and there is really nothing new about the document (indeed the document cites to sources long in the public domain). Yet the document, the origins and purpose of which are not known, was released by a “new” DOJ with new leadership and is thus worthy of highlighting.Organizing the existing body of best practices in one document is all fine and dandy. The more important question however is what should happen if a business organization acts consistent with the factors but an employee nevertheless exposes the entity to legal liability. Consistent with the FCPA-like laws of many peer countries, this should be relevant as a matter of law and not merely in the opaque, inconsistent, and unpredictable world of DOJ decision making. (See here).The 8-page document begins as follows.“[This document] provides some important topics and sample questions that the Fraud Section has frequently found relevant in evaluating a corporate compliance program. The topics and questions … form neither a checklist nor a formula. In any particular case, the topics and questions set forth … may not all be relevant, and others may be more salient given the particular facts at issue.”From there the document sets forth the following 11 factors.1. Analysis and Remediation of Underlying Misconduct Root Cause Analysis –  What is the company’s root cause analysis of the misconduct at issue? What systemic issues were identified? Who in the company was involved in making the analysis?Prior Indications – Were there prior opportunities to detect the misconduct in question, such as audit reports identifying relevant control failures or allegations, complaints, or investigations involving similar issues? What is the company’s analysis of why such opportunities were missed?Remediation – What specific changes has the company made to reduce the risk that the same or similar issues will not occur in the future? What specific remediation has addressed the issues identified in the root cause and missed opportunity analysis?2. Senior and Middle ManagementConduct at the Top – How have senior leaders, through their words and actions, encouraged or discouraged the type of misconduct in question? What concrete actions have they taken to demonstrate leadership in the company’s compliance and remediation efforts? How does the company monitor its senior leadership’s behavior? How has senior leadership modelled proper behavior to subordinates?Shared Commitment – What specific actions have senior leaders and other stakeholders (e.g., business and operational managers, Finance, Procurement, Legal, Human Resources) taken to demonstrate their commitment to compliance, including their remediation efforts? How is information shared among different components of the company?Oversight – What compliance expertise has been available on the board of directors? Have the board of directors and/or external auditors held executive or private sessions with the compliance and control functions? What types of information have the board of directors and senior management examined in their exercise of oversight in the area in which the misconduct occurred?center_img FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available.last_img read more


July 21, 2019 0

FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Judge Shira Scheindlin The FCPAs Most

first_imgThe FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Judge Shira Scheindlin. Judge Scheindlin served as a federal trial court judge in the Southern District of New York for 20+ years until May 2016.  Most federal court judges go their entire career without an FCPA case being placed on their docket. However, Judge Scheindlin is an exception and during her time on the bench she refereed more disputed FCPA issues than any other federal court judge in FCPA history. During the podcast, Judge Scheindlin describes how she was generally on a judicial island when interpreting the FCPA and the difficulty of interpreting the “ambiguous” FCPA. The podcast is a must listen for anyone interested in FCPA jurisprudence.FCPA Flash is sponsored by Kreller Group.For the past 30 years, Kreller has distinguished itself as a best-in-class enhanced due diligence provider. It’s investigative network leverages the talent and integrity of some of the best law-enforcement, military specialists, business correspondents, and government contacts worldwide.  With firsthand knowledge of the language, laws, regulations, political and economic climates and data availability in each country, Kreller provides reliable, compliant, and accurate information.  A licensed private investigations firm, Kreller’s competitive advantage is experience, quality, commitment, and customer service.last_img read more


July 21, 2019 0