Then, the recommendation was to upgrade to a more recent version of Windows, which would still be eligible for regular updates. Of course that doesn’t always happen, and there are still plenty of PCs out there still running the old software. Now, that decision could be coming back to haunt them. In a statement today, Microsoft confirmed it was including Windows XP in the usual batch of Update Tuesday patches. That’s normally reserved for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 machines; indeed, users of systems with those installed don’t need to be concerned by today’s warning. They’ll already have the patch in question loaded automatically.Those running Windows XP, however, won’t. Though Microsoft released the patch last month, hoping to cut off the number of legacy PCs vulnerable to – and thus potentially helping the spread of – WannaCry malware, it was an optional installation. Without it, infected computers could hold users’ files to ransom.“In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyber attacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors or other copycat organizations,” Adrienne Hall, General Manager of Microsoft’s Cyber Defense Operations Center, wrote of the unusual update. “To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows.”“Due to the elevated risk for destructive cyber attacks at this time,” Hall continued, “we made the decision to take this action because applying these updates provides further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt.”The hope is that by including the software in the regularly scheduled update, there’ll be far greater uptake. However, Microsoft is clear that this shouldn’t be seen as a sign that those with older versions of its software are safe to stick with the outdated code. “Our decision today to release these security updates for platforms not in extended support should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies,” Eric Doerr, General Manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center, warned.MORE Microsoft Windows XP users are being warned to update their PC, after Microsoft spotted “elevated risk” of cyberattacks from WannaCrypt-style malware. The update, which is being pushed out today as part of the company’s regular Update Tuesday service, is unusual, because officially Windows XP falls outside of the currently active operating systems that Microsoft supports. In fact, Microsoft put Windows XP out to pasture back in April 2014.
According to eero they’re the most-requested features users currently have. The former promises to spot any potential malware, ransomware, or phishing attempts and block them automatically. The latter, meanwhile, can control what an individual device – or a family profile’s assigned devices – can view online, according to categories like “illegal”, “adult”, or “violent”. It can also force Google’s SafeSearch to be applied. eero Plus wasn’t available for me to test for this review. eero isn’t the only company trying this subscription-based model. On the one hand, there’s clearly an appetite for these features, and if you have kids the ability to control what they can and can’t access might be a valuable selling point. eero errs on the side of simplistic with its settings – there’s little more than an on/off switch – which, though lacking the complex whitelisting abilities rival systems promise, does at least have the advantage of cutting out the setup headache that might dissuade many from actually using filtering and malware protection.Compared to buying and installing software on every device in the home – which might be bypassed by sly kids, or even impossible on IoT devices – eero’s $9.99 subscription does make some financial sense. However, I could understand you opting to wait and see what else gets added to eero Plus: the company says it plans to treat it like Amazon Prime, adding extra talents over time, all for the same monthly fee. PerformanceLike an increasing number of people, I don’t have a particularly straightforward networking setup. First off there’s the sheer number of wireless devices each fighting for their connection: laptops, phones, tablets, smart TVs, and then the growing roster of WiFi-equipped gadgets like cameras, streaming speakers, home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and more. Then there’s the topography of the building itself, with a mixture of wood and concrete construction, spread over a couple of levels. No two houses are ever alike, of course. I opted to compare eero gen-two to its most likely competitor, Google Wifi. It’s the system which, when I first tested it late last year, out-performed the first-generation eero. I installed three eero units – one second-generation eero, and two eero Beacon – in the same locations as three Google Wifi units. One was central in the house, in the living room where the internet modem is; another was on the same floor, but on the other side of the house. Finally, the third was downstairs in the basement. I then performed multiple iperf3 speed tests with a computer plugged directly into either the living room eero or Google Wifi, and a client device in the same room, at the opposite side of the house, and downstairs in the basement. The results saw eero nudge slightly ahead of Google Wifi, at least when at a distance from the main unit. In the living room, the two systems were about equal in speed. At the intermediary distance, on the same floor but on the other side of the house, the new eero system was slightly faster. Down in the basement, though, eero was almost 50-percent faster than Google Wifi. Notably, that’s the location where the first-generation eero struggled most in my tests last year. In comparison, this time around the new eero proved to be more than twice as fast in the basement. Again, your results will undoubtedly vary given the different wireless environment, how many other routers at neighbors houses you’re near, and such, but overall it’s an impressive showing. Of course, a three-unit set of Google Wifi is $299, whereas the same amount only gets you a 2nd-gen eero and an eero Beacon. To see what difference that made, I unplugged the basement eero Beacon and re-ran the speed tests there. Interestingly, though it was slower than Google Wifi in that circumstance, it was only by around 20-percent. It was also still faster than the first-gen eero three-unit set had performed in the same location, with a third router in the basement. eero will also sell you a “Pro” system, with three full-sized 2nd-gen units, for $499.Wrap-UpLast year, I recommended Google Wifi over the first-generation eero, because it was both cheaper and faster in my testing. Now, the balance has shifted again. While performance is invariably dependent on the layout and construction of your home, an easy-to-install two eero system about matches a three-unit Google Wifi system, while a three eero system improves on its speeds. Those three units will set you back $399, mind, a not inconsiderable amount. Yet eero also offers content filtering – albeit with a subscription fee – that Google’s system, so far, has not. My original criticisms about a shortfall in physical ethernet ports on either company’s routers still stands, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend existing eero owners jump to make the upgrade: eero Plus will be an option on the first-gen hardware, eero is promising ongoing software updates, and right now Thread isn’t really used. Still, if you’re shopping for your first mesh router system, eero should probably be your first port of call. Since then, the mesh networking market has flourished. On the one hand, traditional router manufacturers like Netgear and Linksys have woken up to the idea that consumers will pay for more consistent coverage wherever they are in their home. At the same time, heavyweights like Google have weighed in with products like Google Wifi: with the bulk of their services residing in the cloud, it makes perfect sense to streamline how readily users can reach them. Where does eero go after all that? The answer is doubling-down on its mesh’s core strengths – coverage and speed – and boosting its practicality in ways the company believes will benefit everyday consumers. So, has it managed that? Hardware and eero Backward-CompatibilityWhere once there was a single eero unit, now there are two. The second-generation eero looks like its predecessor, a short, slightly bulging white box with two gigabit ethernet ports on the back. Unlike the bevy of flashing lights that can leave some routers resembling KITT from Knight Rider, there’s a single LED that glows white when everything is fine and red when it’s not. Power now comes courtesy of a USB-C port.It’s joined by the eero Beacon. Half the size of the regular model, it’s designed to plug directly into an outlet. You don’t get any ethernet ports, but you do get a nightlight that softly illuminates the ground underneath. It sounds like a gimmick – indeed, you can turn it off, or set a schedule for it to be active – but it’s actually a cunning plot to get you to leave the eero Beacon somewhere unblocked by furniture. That makes a significant impact on performance, after all.While the design language may be familiar, inside it’s all-change. More than twice as powerful as the original eero, the second-generation system supports WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO and beamforming. A third 5 GHz radio has been added, for dedicated backhaul between eero units without congesting the bands your wireless devices are using. There are also Bluetooth LE 4.2 and Thread radios. The latter paves the way for eero being a home hub for the broader Internet of Things, acting as a controller for smart locks, connected bulbs, thermostats, and other devices without needing to plug in the multitude of third-party hubs. For the moment, you’ll struggle to actually find devices that rely on low-power Thread – though recent hardware like the Nest Cam IQ has support for it – but eero argues that accessory makers have been collectively waiting for a compatible router before embracing it completely. eero Beacon isn’t quite as advanced as the full-size eero, with dual-band WiFi but no ethernet ports, though it still gets Thread and Bluetooth support. Even so, the company claims that a two-unit combo of a 2nd-gen eero and an eero Beacon will outperform the first-gen three unit kit. Before you bemoan your original investment, though, don’t fret: both of the new models are backward compatible. If you have existing eero hardware you can merely add the new eero and eero Beacon into the mix. Just be aware that your Thread network coverage won’t be as good as your WiFi coverage, since the old routers lack the specific radio. Installation and SetupEase of setup was one of the original eero goals, and this new system is even easier. It’s all done through the eero app, which walks you through installing the first router – basically involving plugging it into your modem, powering it up, and then waiting 30 seconds or so until it’s recognized – and then telling it where in your home it is. eero asks what sort of layout the building follows, whether it’s tall or long, and how many levels, and you can name each router according to where you place it. After that, you plug in the eero Beacons one by one, and go through the same process. eero tests the connection speed between them at each stage, warning you if they need to be closer together. Over time, the promise is that the app will notify you if you could improve overall performance by changing their positions – there’s also a test you can run manually to check the efficiency of the interlink – but I didn’t get any advice. At that point, you can just start using eero as you would any other router. Both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands are identified as a single network, devices automatically switching according to the needs of range and speed. There’s no browser-based page to monitor setup, everything being done instead in eero’s app. That gives you a simple read on how many WiFi clients are connected, the results of the most recent internet speed test, and the current status of each eero unit. Dig in, though, and there are some extra settings you can play with. Most are shared with the original system, like guest access for a second network and family profiles for controlling permissions for groups of devices assigned to different individuals. You can put your kid’s phone, console, and tablet all in one group, for instance, and then cut them off from the internet teat with a single button press. Alternatively, you can schedule when their connectivity is paused. Newly added are two premium features, part of eero’s plan to evolve its system from merely routers to a full platform. Eventually that’ll mean APIs so third-party developers can run apps and services on eero, but for now there’s eero Plus, a $9.99 per month subscription that enables whole-home network security, and parental controls with content filtering. Story TimelineEero Wifi system update boosts speed with TrueMesh, enables Alexa skillsEero price cut as mesh routers prepare for platform play2nd-gen eero boosts WiFi, adds IoT and smart security No good idea in the tech world goes without replication, and while eero may have started the home mesh networking segment, it can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Throw open your doors, therefore, to the second-generation eero and the new eero Beacon, promising more flexibility, a more competitive price, and more speed. Indeed, performance is said be as much as twice that of the original eero, which launched back in 2015.
However, eventually it’s expected to spread to other countries. Adding a PayPal account will be arguably easier than registering a traditional credit or debit card with Samsung Pay. Once logged into the account on a Samsung Pay-compatible device, such as the Galaxy S8, any transactions will be made using the balance on that account.Of course, Samsung Pay will also continue to support switching between different cards, as long as they’re registered to the same account. When you swipe up on your Galaxy S8, for instance, to summon the virtual wallet, you can flip between each of the payment methods according to which you’d prefer to use. In the same way, Samsung Pay still supports gift cards and membership cards for participating retailers, along with loyalty cards for collecting points. On the flip side, meanwhile, it promises to expand where Samsung Pay is accepted. The company already uses so-called MST, or Magnetic Secure Transmission, technology to mimic the effect of swiping a traditional credit or debit card. In that way, it has been able to work around retailers who haven’t yet upgraded to NFC-compatible terminals and registers, even though Samsung Pay – like Apple Pay – also supports NFC transactions.However courtesy of Braintree Direct, PayPal’s system for retailers, Samsung Pay support will be far more easily added to existing systems. Indeed, Samsung claims, it’ll be a matter of a few lines of code to get the whole thing up and running. Currently Samsung Pay is offered in a total of eighteen markets. These include South Korea, the United States, China, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sweden, the UAE, Switzerland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.K. It’s almost certain to be a feature on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the flagship phablet which the South Korean device-maker is expected to launch later in the year. Meanwhile it’s not PayPal’s only recent attempt to keep its virtual wallet relevant. Back in April, the company announced a deal to integrate PayPal with Android Pay, Google’s version of the digital payments system. That was followed in July with PayPal support for Apple Pay. Story TimelineSamsung Gear S3 supports Samsung Pay on any Android phoneSamsung Pay tipped inbound for maker’s non-premium handsetsSamsung Pay finally arrives in the UKSamsung Pay adds Discover support: here’s how to add your card You’re now able to use your Samsung smartphone to make a payment through your PayPal account, with a new deal that sees Samsung Pay‘s digital wallet expand. Samsung has added PayPal as a payment option for both in-store and online transactions, in addition to in-app purchases. Initially, Samsung and PayPal say, the functionality will be available in the US.
It’s not quite the “battle of the billionaires” we were hoping for – that would involve more lasers – but Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are sparring over artificial intelligence. The Facebook founder started the spat by criticizing naysayers on AI, and though he didn’t mention Musk by name, the Tesla founder has become one of the most vocal advocates for caution on the topic. That, unsurprisingly, didn’t go down so well. I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2017 Story TimelineElon Musk donates $10M to Artificial Intelligence researchBill Gates isn’t so keen on artificial intelligenceApple joins Partnership on AI to explore “ethical” artificial intelligence Zuckerberg’s comments came in the aftermath of a video he shared over the weekend, slow-cooking a brisket on Facebook Live. While he faced several questions about his choice of meat – which, for this particular meal, he claims to have butchered himself – he was also asked for his opinion on artificial intelligence. Specifically, whether he felt some of the more ominous warnings we’ve heard recently are worth paying attention to.“I watched a recent interview with Elon Musk and his largest fear for future was AI,” viewer Scott Townend wrote. “What are your thoughts on AI & how it could affect networks in a “deep” way?”Turns out, Zuckerberg has plenty of thoughts on the topic. “I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic. And I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios – I just, I don’t understand it,” he replied. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”For instance, Zuckerberg pointed out, artificial intelligence could make a significant impact on things like road safety as autonomous cars begin to become mainstream. It’ll also be essential, he argued, for advancing medical research. “One of the top causes of death for people is car accidents still and if you can eliminate that with AI,” he highlighted, “that is going to be just a dramatic improvement.”Although you might assume a technologically-aggressive person like Elon Musk would be all for AI, in actual fact he’s been a conservative voice on the topic. Back in February, he suggested that humanity could face a “usefulness problem” as increasingly powerful artificial intelligences arise. While he’s actually invested in AI projects, such as the OpenAI non-profit, he’s also used that proximity to the latest research to speak out on the possibility that we won’t realize the dangers until it’s too late.“I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI,” Musk said recently, speaking at the National Governors Association summer meeting, “and I think people should be really concerned about it.” He went on to suggest that, because the concept of an AI without humanity’s interests at heart is so foreign to us, we may not spot the problem until the point where robots are roaming the streets, hunting us down.Back in 2014, Musk warned that AI could be “summoning the demon”. Speaking in mystical terms, his metaphor was one of finding yourself unable to control unexpectedly dark powers. “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water,” Musk explained, “it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out”Zuckerberg, though, believes the moral side is separate, and that the technology is effectively agnostic when it comes to good or evil. “Whenever I hear people saying AI is going to hurt people in the future, I think yeah, you know, technology can generally always be used for good and bad,” he said, “and you need to be careful about how you build it and you need to be careful about what you build, and how it is going to be used.”On Twitter today, Musk said that he and Zuckerberg have talked about AI. The Facebook exec’s “understanding of the subject is limited,” he countered, though it’s unclear whether he’s referring to a discussion since Zuckerberg’s live video or a prior meeting.
It’s fair to say that Microsoft’s smartphone efforts were generally in vain, but with AR/VR generally seen as the next big segment facing mobile growth, it has a chance to right some old wrongs. The first-generation HoloLens was Microsoft’s initial stab at that, a standalone Windows 10 computer, worn on the head, and paired with transparent displays. Microsoft has brought it out at pretty much every event and developer conference since putting the first HoloLens on sale, pitching its vision of collaborative augmented reality, gaming, and learning. Still, the initial HoloLens – targeted more at developers of AR experiences than a consumer audience – is expensive. It’s also fairly compromised in terms of hardware: the need for a reasonably potent processor meant that battery life is on the short side. Plus, the headset itself is hardly sleek and discreet. HoloLens 2, however, is expected to address much of that. Internally known as “Sydney,” according to sources speaking to Thurrott, the wearable will be released in Q1 next year, if Microsoft’s plans stick to schedule. It’s expected to be lighter and more comfortable to wear, along with featuring better holographic displays. One of the biggest criticisms the first-generation HoloLens has faced has been around the field of view of its screen technology. As they fall far short of covering the whole area visible through the visor, AR objects simply disappear from view when you’re not looking straight at them. Although it’ll be the second HoloLens to go on sale, the hardware is in fact believed to be Microsoft’s third version. HoloLens V2 was apparently abandoned mid-development, with Microsoft’s team getting more ambitious in the face of rival AR projects from Magic Leap, Google, Apple, Meta, and others. That’s also meant fast-tracking some special components. Whereas the original HoloLens used an off-the-shelf Intel processor, among other parts, the new HoloLens will be more reliant on custom chipsets. One is a special AI coprocessor – alongside the Holographic Processing Unit or HPU – which has been designed specifically by Microsoft for the wearable. It will be responsible for combining data from multiple sensors and other sources, and making neural network inferences and such. One such sensor array, meanwhile, will be the new Project Kinect for Azure. That was announced at Build 2018 back in May, a fourth-generation version of the depth-sensing, room-mapping, motion-tracking camera that Microsoft used in the first HoloLens. It’s expected to be cheaper and more power-efficient, too. That will be important, because one of Microsoft’s key goals with HoloLens 2, it’s suggested, is dramatically cutting the price. Exactly how much the new augmented reality headset will cost is unclear at this stage. The new HoloLens is on track for a Q1 2019 release, new leaks have suggested, as Microsoft prepares to skip a generation with its augmented reality headset. The company has been dropping hints about what we can expect from “HoloLens 2” for some months now, as it tries to avoid the mistakes it made in smartphones in the coming age of AR and VR. Story TimelineMicrosoft HoloLens powered by TSMC holographic processing unitMicrosoft HoloLens 2 will have these big changes
On the face of it, the iPhone XR knocks it out the park. The same style as an iPhone XS, a bigger display, a broader range of colors, and no real compromise on performance – and all for $250 less. It sounds too good to be true and, unfortunately, it maybe is. Story TimelineiPhone XR hands-on: A matter of balanceiPhone XR release: How to preorderiPhone XR Review round-up: A value win vs iPhone Xs My qualms are around the camera, not usually something Apple comes in for much criticism for. Moire specifically, it’s how the iPhone XR’s camera setup quietly dilutes a talent I’ve been enjoying on previous iOS devices. I use Portrait mode on the iPhone XS Max a lot, and I did on the iPhone X before it, and various Plus-sized iPhones prior to that. The results aren’t always perfect – even with improvements in the twin cameras, iOS isn’t always capable of differentiating which fine edge details should be in focus and which ought to be blurred – but when it gets it right, they can look incredible. Problem is, for the iPhone XR at least, I typically don’t shoot portraits of people. Instead, I most often use it on pets or objects. As most people with a beloved cat or dog (or rabbit, or hamster, or parrot; you get the idea) will know, your camera roll soon starts to fill up with photo after photo of them looking adorable, or doing something funny, or sleeping in a weird way, or generally being cute. I have more cat photos saved on my iPhone than I do pictures of me, my partner, and my family combined. Beyond that, Portrait mode can be great for those Instagram-worthy food photos. You want the focus to be on your perfect ice cream, not on the mass of people milling around in the background. Close-ups often look better with some faux-bokeh, too: sun-dappled flowers atop a dreamy backdrop, perhaps. Sadly if you have an iPhone XR, those sort of images will be out of reach. The third new iOS smartphone for 2018 is also the cheapest of the bunch, but Apple achieves that – in part – by dropping the second camera from the rear. Rather than using two, slightly-offset perspectives for Portrait mode, as it has since launching the feature on the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is instead using software. That doesn’t have to be a problem. Indeed, software-based background blurring can be even better than hardware-based: the Pixel 3 only has a single rear camera, and it can knock it out the park with the quality of its shots. Software can absolutely go toe-to-toe with hardware when it comes to Portrait mode. Not, though, on the iPhone XR. Frame your cat, or your cocktail, and the camera app will warn you that it can’t spot a face in the frame. It’s not that the software-based Portrait mode isn’t very adept: you simply can’t take a photo using it at all. If there’s a saving grace, it’s that software is much easier to update than hardware. The iPhone XR’s Portrait mode may not have support for anything other than people when the phone hits shelves on Friday, but that’s not to say it’ll stay that way forever. I suspect Apple is already hard at work on updating the camera software that the iPhone XR uses, so that Portrait mode can recognize and process a broader range of subjects. While keeping the most full-functioned system for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max might give people a reason to upgrade, the fact that Google and others can deliver a more capable software-based faux-bokeh system suggests buyers won’t be satisfied with any demurrals on Apple’s part that sound like marketing. Everybody uses their smartphone differently. For many, the shortcomings of the iPhone XR Portrait mode won’t really be an issue at all. And there’s nothing to say that Apple won’t deliver an update that enables broader subject support sooner rather than later. All the same, for all the bright colors of the iPhone XR – and the more affordable price tag – are appealing to me, the camera’s foibles are giving me paws, sorry, pause for thought.
Neither Logitech nor Plantronics have commented on the news, but the report comes from Reuters, citing unnamed sources. Logitech’s bid is said to be valued at $2.2 billion, making it the company’s largest acquisition to date. While the acquisition isn’t yet set in stone, it’s expected to be finalized by as early as next week.According to the sources familiar with the negotiations, both Swiss-based Logitech and California-based Plantronics are eager to reduce manufacturing costs following the recent introduction of tariffs on imports from China to the US. This would make the acquisition beneficial to both companies, as well as help Logitech keep up with increasing competition in the wireless headphone market.Just earlier this year Plantronics made its own $2 billion acquisition of Polycom, a manufacturer of video-conferencing equipment. The last year has also seen Logitech increasing its efforts to expand its umbrella of products, including July’s purchase of Blue Microphones for $117 million, and last year’s $85 million acquisition of Astro, the maker of gaming-focused headsets.AdChoices广告Story TimelineReview: Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 headphones with bass boost buttonLogitech shells out some serious cash to acquire Blue MicrophonesLogitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse review: Precision comes at a priceLogitech K600 is a keyboard for your smart TV With the holiday season now in full-swing, it looks like Logitech has been doing a little shopping of its own. In what’s likely a bid to diversify its products, Logitech, widely known for making computer accessories like keyboards and mice, is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to acquire Plantronics, a manufacturer of Bluetooth earpieces and headsets.
The camouflaging does little to hide the signature Rolls-Royce grille and headlights in these latest photos from Motor Authority, but they also offer a decent look at the Cullinan’s side and rear as it drives along a closed track and European roads. It’s also clear the SUV is borrowing heavily from the latest Phantom’s design, not to mention the car maker’s new aluminum space-frame architecture underneath.Back when Rolls-Royce first confirmed it was going ahead with the Cullinan project, it said it was developing the SUV’s underpinnings to be used on all its vehicles starting from 2018. This means that the Cullinan seen here shares its platform with the recently revealed Phantom, albeit with a shorter and higher ride.Of course, if the Cullinan wants to challenge Bentley’s Bentayga for space in millionaires’ garages, it needs an engine to impress. That’s where the Phantom’s 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 will come in, delivering a similar 563 hp and 664 lb-feet of torque experience. SOURCE Motor Authority Rolls-Royce is keeping busy lately, notably by unveiling the new eighth-generation Phantom for 2018, but the luxury car maker is continuing to make progress on its upcoming SUV, the Cullinan. A new series of spy photos have turned up, offering the first look at the Cullinan since the prototype shown back in December. With a debut coming sometime in 2018, it looks like Rolls-Royce’s first “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle” will soon be ready to challenge the rest of the luxury SUVs on the market. Story TimelineRolls-Royce unveils Project Cullinan SUV engineering muleThis is the Rolls-Royce SUV: Project Cullinan prototype previewedRolls-Royce Sweptail is a jaw-dropping one-off coupe5 things you need to know about the 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII gives opulence a high-tech reboot
Story 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 “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. 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. 2019 Lamborghini Urus Gallery
The MacBooks that are affected by this recall were primarily sold between September 2015 and February 2017, so that’s a pretty large period of time. To see if your MacBook is included in the recall, you’ll first want to pull up the “About This Mac” panel from the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your display and confirm that your model is listed as “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).”If you’ve got one of those models, you’ll then want to head over to Apple’s support site and enter your serial number in the field there. The serial number for your MacBook Pro will be on the underside of the machine near the regulatory markings. It’s also on the MacBook’s original packaging near the barcode label, but at this point, we’re guessing there aren’t many Mid 2015 MacBook owners who still have the box it came in.In any case, if you’ve got the MacBook model listed above, it’s probably worth checking the serial number even if you didn’t buy it during the stated window of September 2015 to February 2017. To get your battery repaired, you ultimately have three options: You can take it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, set an appointment at an Apple Store, or get in touch with Apple Support and request a mail-in repair.Apple says that service may take as long as 1-2 weeks in some cases, but in the end, parting with your laptop for a week or two is infinitely better than having the battery catch fire. More information can be found at the support site article linked above, so if you’re a MacBook Pro is a few years old, be sure to have a look at it. Apple announced today that it’s voluntarily recalling a number of 15-inch Mid 2015 MacBook Pros. The company says that the batteries in these units have the potential to overheat and may start a fire as a result. If you’ve got one of the affected units, Apple will replace the battery free of charge. Story Timeline2018 MacBook Pros may have secretly addressed flexgate issuesApple launches backlight service program for 2016 13-inch MacBook Pros2019 MacBook Pro teardown shows just how Apple changed its keys
First Edition: July 24, 2012 Today’s headlines include news from the campaign season as well as reports from the international AIDS conference currently taking place in Washington, D.C.Kaiser Health News: Lisa Fitzpatrick: Routine Testing For HIV Needed (Video)In this Kaiser Health News video, Lisa Fitzpatrick, the medical director of infectious diseases at United Medical Center, tells Joanne Silberner that in addition to more frequent testing, more attention needs to be paid to keeping people with HIV under the care of a doctor (7/23). Read the transcript or watch the video.Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Forget The Company Plan – The Boss Wants You On Your Dad’s InsuranceIn this Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: “Young adults who need health insurance have more options than before under the health-care overhaul, which generally allows them to stay on their parents’ plans until they reach age 26. But the provision gives employers new options, too: They can encourage their young employees to join Mom and Dad’s plan rather than sign up for the company policy” (Andrews, 7/23). Read the column.The Wall Street Journal: Deloitte: One In 10 U.S. Employers To Drop Health Coverage Around one in 10 employers in the U.S. plans to drop health coverage for workers in the next few years as the bulk of the federal health-care law begins, and more indicated they may do so over time, according to a study to be released Tuesday by consulting company Deloitte (Radnofsky, 7/24).NPR: Budget Hawk Ryan Offers Romney Risk, RewardAmong those on Mitt Romney’s list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he’s a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up. But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices. … The budget plan he introduced in 2010, or the “road map,” as he called it, ignited a major debate within Congress. … Ryan’s budget was instantly controversial. It called for sweeping cuts to social programs, and, most troubling for seniors, would have changed Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a voucher program (Seabrook, 7/24).The Associated Press/Washington Post: His Tea Party Defused, One-Time Kennedy Partner Hatch Wants To Be Dealmaker On TaxesThe type of real, red-faced debate that delighted Hatch and Kennedy also produced landmark laws like the American Disabilities Act and children’s health insurance. With former Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, the bellowing begat federally subsidized child care. Tense talks with no less a partisan than Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., produced a patent exemption that cleared the way for the generic drug industry (7/23).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Insurer WellPoint Reports On 2nd Quarter Performance ThursdayWellPoint Inc., the nation’s second-largest health insurer, will report second-quarter results on Wednesday, nearly a week after competitor UnitedHealth Group Inc. saw its stock price slip despite posting a 5 percent increase in quarterly profit (7/23).The Washington Post: Politicians Praise AIDS Investment, But Urge More Spending And SupportSome of Washington’s most powerful people delivered to the 19th International AIDS Conference pretty much the same message: Fighting AIDS is a good investment that is getting better every year, but current spending isn’t enough to end the epidemic. Whether the world’s richer countries, and especially the United States, will decide to increase spending or alternatively wring more from current investment is a matter of much discussion among the 25,000 researchers, clinicians and activists here through Friday (Brown and Botelho, 7/23).Los Angeles Times: Scientists Make Curing HIV A PriorityAn influential group of scientists gathered this week at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., is committing to a goal that just five years ago would have seemed ludicrous: to cure HIV. After studying the virus for more than 30 years and developing potent drugs that transformed the disease from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition, a growing number of researchers now say the search for a cure should be a major research priority (Loury, 7/23).The Associated Press/Washington Post: US Adds Another $150 Million To Global AIDS Fight, Aims At High-Risk Groups Hit By StigmaThe U.S. is adding an extra $150 million to the global AIDS fight, taking a first step toward reaching some stigmatized populations. Despite tough fiscal times, “I am here today to make it absolutely clear the U.S. is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the International AIDS Conference on Monday (7/23).The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Pledges More Funding To Fight AIDS World-WideSecretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday pledged new funding from the U.S. to curb the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and said the administration has significantly accelerated the pace at which it is getting lifesaving AIDS drugs to developing countries. The initiatives are part of a priority the administration set late last year for what Mrs. Clinton calls an “AIDS-free generation”—in which HIV infections are virtually eliminated in newborns, risk of infection in adults is far lower than it is today, and treatment is readily available (McKay, 7/23).Politico: Hillary Clinton Vows ‘AIDS-Free Generation’ At ConferenceClinton spoke of leveraging public-private partnerships, in addition to coordinating with The Global Fund, which receives major support from The Gates Foundation to fund its efforts against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. She noted that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief, known as PEPFAR, is now providing anti-retroviral treatment to almost 4.5 million people worldwide and is on pace to reach its goal of 6 million by the end of next year (Norman, 7/23).NPR: AIDS Returns To The U.S. SpotlightMore than 20,000 people are attending the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington this week. The meeting features speeches from U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, health ministers from many countries around the world, Bill Gates, NIH scientists Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins and hundreds more (Neel, 7/23).NPR: U.S. AIDS Cases Come Into ViewThe HIV epidemic in the U.S. started in 1981, mainly in major cities along the East and West Coasts. The first reports were from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco among gay and bisexual men. Within months, it was clear that injecting drug users were also getting the virus. Even now, you can see the lingering geographic contours of how the epidemic unfolded (Neel, 7/23).The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog: Challenge To Arizona Abortion Law Finds Prosecutors Taking Opposite SidesA recent set of Arizona laws restricting abortion has gotten the kinds of responses you’d expect from various groups – Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit last Monday – but also has state prosecutors taking opposite positions on whether enforcement should be delayed (Favate, 7/23). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Today’s headlines include reports about the questions about fundraising phone calls faced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a Capitol Hill hearing. Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Sebelius Faces Questions About Fundraising CallsKaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about news from a Capitol Hill hearing in which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended herself against criticism from congressional Republicans about calls she made to outside organizations in support of a group promoting implementation of the health care law (6/4). Read the transcript or listen to the audio.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: GOP Lawmakers Press Sebelius To Help Child Awaiting TransplantNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Mary Agnes Carey reports: “A child in desperate need of a lung transplant clinging to life. Long waiting lists of patients who need organs and too few donors to meet the demand. Rules that govern who gets what life-saving organs – and when. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had to confront all those issues on Tuesday when Republican lawmakers asked her repeatedly why she would not use her authority to make sure a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl gets a lung transplant that could save her life” (Carey, 6/4). Check out what else is on the blog.The New York Times: Critics Of Health Care Law Outspending Its Supporters On AdsSeven months before the core provisions of President Obama’s health care law are to take effect, most television advertising that mentions the law continues to come from its opponents. Since the law’s passage in March 2010, critics have spent a total of about $400 million on television ads that refer to it, according to a new analysis by the Campaign Media Analysis Group at Kantar Media, which tracks such spending (Goodnough, 6/4).The New York Times: Sebelius Asked Companies To Support Health Care LawKathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, disclosed on Tuesday that she had made telephone calls to three companies regulated by her department and urged them to help a nonprofit group promote President Obama’s health care law. … At a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Ms. Sebelius said she did not explicitly ask the companies for money, but urged them to support the work of the nonprofit group, Enroll America (Pear, 6/4).The Washington Post: Sebelius Defends Obamacare FundraisingSebelius told members of Congress that she has made five outreach calls on behalf of Enroll America, a new organization that aims to increase public participation in the Affordable Care Act. … The secretary’s outreach on behalf of the nonprofit came after Congress repeatedly denied requests from her agency to increase funding for the health care law. Without those additional funds, the department has said it lacks the resources to run a full-fledged campaign explaining the law to the public and promoting enrollment (Kliff, 6/4).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Sebelius Pressed On Health-Law DiscussionsMs. Sebelius said she only discussed funding with the tax-preparation firm H&R Block and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two organizations that are not regulated by HHS. HHS acknowledged seeking funds from the two entities last month and has said the secretary hasn’t asked for any money from companies or entities the HHS regulates. Johnson & Johnson’s drugs and medical devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which is part of HHS (Dooren, 6/4).Politico: Kathleen Sebelius Defends Her Fundraising For ObamacareAppearing before Congress for the first time since news broke about her calls to drum up support from outside groups, Sebelius on Tuesday had a slew of defenses ready to go. She said her calls were legal, appropriate and no different than what her Republican predecessors had done in similar situations. … Sebelius pointed to similar efforts by Mike Leavitt and Tommy Thompson, who are former heads of HHS and Republicans, to publicize the prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part D and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And she said she had not solicited funds from groups regulated by HHS — but maintained that the Public Health Service Act allows her to if she wishes (Cunningham, 6/5).Politico: Kathleen Sebelius At Center Of Storm Over Child’s Lung TransplantThe plight of a dying 10-year-old girl in urgent need of a lung transplant has been taken up by some GOP lawmakers, and it’s shining a light on what critics say is a questionable policy that puts children further down the waiting list (Norman, 6/4).Politico: Ex-Lawmaker Who Opposed ACA Now Supports ItFormer Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) voted against the Democrats’ health reform law in 2010 amid intense pressure to support it. Now that he’s left Congress, he’s the public face of a Florida insurance company that is trying to put the law into place. As a senior vice president at Florida Blue, a Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurer, Altmire travels around Florida explaining how the law will operate and works with business partners on how to implement it. He’s particularly focused on the exchanges — the web portals where Florida Blue and other health insurers hope that customers will buy their health plans beginning in October (Haberkorn, 6/5).Politico: Obama To Deliver Health Care Speech In CaliforniaPresident Obama is scheduled to deliver an address in California Friday touting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. “He’ll highlight the promising news that despite dire predictions, early data on insurance competition and premiums in the state show that ACA — the Affordable Care Act — is creating quality affordable choices for Californians who plan to buy insurance this fall,” press secretary Jay Carney said (Slack, 6/4).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Md. Attorney General Requests Freeze On Health Insurance Rates Above 5 PercentAttorney General Doug Gansler is urging Maryland insurance regulators to freeze any health insurance rate increases above 5 percent. Gansler made the request to the Maryland Insurance Administration on Tuesday (6/4).The Washington Post: D.C. Council Backs Small-Business Health Exchange MandateThe D.C. Council has voted to put the District on a path toward becoming one of the few places to require small-business owners to purchase employee health insurance through a government-run exchange. The mandate has been controversial, generating strong opinions pro and con among business and activist groups, but the council voted unanimously Tuesday on a package of temporary exchange legislation, with little debate over the wisdom of the mandate (DeBonis, 6/4).The Wall Street Journal: Group Seeks Pregnancy Coverage For DependentsA women’s advocacy group has filed complaints with a federal agency against Auburn University, Gonzaga University and three other employers over health-insurance plans it says don’t pay pregnancy costs for employees’ dependent daughters. The five administrative complaints, filed Tuesday with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, say the 2010 Affordable Care Act requires the pregnancy coverage. The complaints appear to be among the first instances in which a group is using specific provisions of the federal health-care law to challenge the design of an insurance policy (Trottman and Radnofsky, 6/4).NPR: That Employee Who Smokes Costs The Boss $5,800 A YearSmoking is expensive, and not just for the person buying the cigs. Employers are taking hard looks at the cost of employing smokers as they try to cut health insurance costs, with some refusing to hire people who say they smoke (Shute, 6/4).The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Debates Measure Boosting Veterans’ Programs, But Cuts Loom To Other Domestic SpendingThe GOP-controlled House advanced the first of 12 spending bills for the budget year beginning Oct. 1, a popular measure providing more money for veterans’ programs, including health care. The measure was likely to pass Tuesday. The boost for veterans came even as the House marched ahead with a plan that would require most other domestic programs to absorb even deeper cuts next year than those in place now after the imposition of across-the-board spending cuts (6/4).The New York Times: Cuomo Women’s Rights Plan May Hinge On Abortion ProposalGov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday unveiled his long-promised Women’s Equality Act, a 10-point plan whose controversial final element, which includes codifying federal abortion rights into state law, could determine the fate of various other antidiscrimination provisions included in the bill (McKinley, 6/5).The Wall Street Journal: Backlash At Abortion PlankNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced legislation Tuesday targeting a laundry list of women’s-rights issues, including pay equity, human trafficking, domestic violence and abortion rights, the last point prompting immediate backlash from state Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos and the Roman Catholic Church (Orden, 6/4).The Wall Street Journal: Medical Spas Get A CheckupStates are tightening regulations on medical spas—and wading into some ugly disputes over where beauty treatments stop and the practice of medicine begins. Medical spas are fast-growing hybrids between day spas and doctors’ offices. They typically offer Botox injections, facial peels, laser skin treatments and other minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Some add breast implants, tummy tucks and chin, face, brow and eyelid lifts as well (Beck, 6/4). Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: June 5, 2013 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Obama’s Health Law Speech: The Politics In Play News outlets analyze the strategic, political and public opinion dynamics that are currently in play — and offer some fact-checking — as the White House works to inspire public enthusiasm for the measure’s implementation. The Washington Post: With Legacy On The Line, Obama Touts Health-Care ImplementationTransforming the nation’s health-care system stands as Barack Obama’s most crucial piece of unfinished business, with much of his presidential legacy riding on whether it is deemed to have succeeded or failed. While other presidents have managed to overcome intense opposition to major new social initiatives, Obama faces a degree of difficulty with health care that has no historic parallel. So there was a certain urgency in the speech that Obama gave Thursday, the morning after the Republican-led House voted for the 38th and 39th times to dismantle all or part of the Affordable Care Act (Tumulty, 7/18).Politico: On Health Law, Obama Sells Big By Talking SmallPresident Barack Obama’s got a strategy for Obamacare: make the big sell by talking small. In a speech on Thursday, Obama got deep into the specifics of the sweeping health care law, from a rule that forces insurers to send rebate checks to some consumers to the price competition in its new health insurance marketplaces— all provisions designed to save Americans money (Nather, 7/18).NPR: White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — AgainThis summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, earlier this month, the Obama administration decided to delay some key pieces of the law, most notably the requirement for larger employers to provide coverage or risk fines, because they couldn’t have reporting regulations ready in time for next year’s rollout. Then this week, the Republican-led House voted to delay the so-called individual mandate for a year to match. … And now some are starting to worry that the White House is getting dangerously off-message (Rovner, 7/19).USA Today: Public Relations Battle Over Health Care Heats UpThe public relations battle over President Obama’s signature health care law has simmered long past the point when it became law more than three years ago. But in the days and weeks ahead, a critical deadline looms for implementation of the law, and the battle for public opinion is heating to a boil (Madhani, 7/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: Obama Injects Misleading Advertising In Claims About Health Insurance RebatesAnother year, another round of exaggeration from President Barack Obama and his administration about health insurance rebates. In his speech defending his health care law Thursday, Obama said rebates averaging $100 are coming from insurance companies to 8.5 million Americans. In fact, most of the money is going straight to employers who provide health insurance, not to their workers, who benefit indirectly (7/19).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: President Obama’s Claim That Americans Saved $3.4 Billion In Health-Care PremiumsWith the House of Representatives yet again voting to scale back President Obama’s signature health-care law, the president made a case for the law in an East Room ceremony. The rebates the president refers to stem from the “80/20 rule” or “Medical Loss Ratio rule” in the law, in which insurance companies must rebate a portion of the premiums if they spent less than 80 percent of the premium on medical care and efforts to improve care. In 2012, insurance companies shipped about $500 million in rebates to American families, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (Kessler, 7/19).
Media outlets look at the impact of the two-year extension of nonconforming plans, as well as of other regulatory changes that will affect unions and insurers.Marketplace: Who Foots The Bill For An Obamacare Delay?The latest delay in the Affordable Care Act means people enrolled in plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s stricter coverage standards can keep them for another two years. It could create a two-tiered system, because states will get to decide whether to allow the delay, says former Senator Ben Nelson, who now heads the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. And because people in the plans that don’t comply with Obamacare tend to be healthier, not having them in the broader insurance pool means insurers have to shell out more money, and that cost will be passed to consumers. How much more? Nelson says it’s too soon to pin down a figure … (Gorenstein, 3/6). The Wall Street Journal: Obama Says Delays Don’t Mean Health Law Was A MistakePresident Barack Obama on Thursday responded to criticism of his latest change to the Affordable Care Act, saying fixes to the program should be expected and don’t amount to an implicit acknowledgment of the law’s flaws. “No, No, No,” Mr. Obama said when asked whether the delays and changes to the law suggest it was a mistake. “On a program like this that has so many people involved, and millions of people who are trying to find health insurance or get better health insurance, there are always going to be some smoothing out of the process” (Favole, 3/6).The Seattle Times: Washington Won’t Revive Canceled Insurance Plans Washington residents are not affected by President Obama’s announcement that canceled health insurance plans will be extended by an additional two years. Plans that expired at the end of 2013 will stay dead in Washington, the state’s insurance commissioner confirmed Wednesday (Stiffler, 3/6).The CT Mirror: Latest Obamacare Tweak Could Revive CT Debate On Extending Health PlansThousands of Connecticut residents whose health insurance plans didn’t meet the requirements of the federal health law managed to keep their policies by renewing them in late 2013, before the new Obamacare regulations kicked in.The expectation was that they’d have to buy new, Obamacare-compliant health plans when their policies expire late this year. But now the federal government says those people could continue their noncompliant plans for another two years — if their states and insurers allow it (Becker, 3/7). The San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare Extension Of Nonconforming Health Plans Won’t Affect Many CaliforniansThe Obama administration’s announcement Wednesday that allows a two-year extension for individual health insurance policies that don’t conform to the health care law applies nationwide — but only to states that agree to the plan, according to a spokeswoman with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In California, even if the state Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown approve the extension by changing current law, most of the 1.1 million Californians whose nonconforming plans were canceled last year wouldn’t likely benefit, a state Insurance Department official said Thursday. Janice Rocco, deputy commissioner of health care policy, said there are “very few people left” with pre-2014 policies who would be able to take advantage of Wednesday’s decision because state law says that after Jan. 1, 2014, insurance plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act cannot be sold or renewed (Seipel, 3/6). Kaiser Health News: What Will Obamacare Really Cost? They Might Be First To KnowNow that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? How will they affect coverage prices for 2015 and beyond? Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law (Hancock, 3/7).The size of the potential tax penalties facing consumers who go without health insurance, and how the latest regulatory changes affect unions and insurers also draw scrutiny -The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obamacare Penalty To Exceed $95 For Many AmericansFor many individuals and families, the penalty for not having health-insurance coverage will run a lot higher than the $95 figure often cited — and it could run into the five figures in some cases. That’s according to the Tax Policy Center, which has just rolled out a tax penalty calculator — the ACA Tax Penalty Calculator. The calculator helps people figure out how large their tax penalty will be if they fail to obtain required health-insurance coverage (McKinnon, 3/6).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Some Unions Get Break From Health Law’s ‘Belly Button Tax’The slew of regulations released by the Obama administration Wednesday to implement the federal health law included confirmation that some labor unions and businesses would get a break from the law’s so-called belly button tax. Federal officials signaled in November they were planning to let some organizations that offer health insurance off paying a reinsurance fee on each person they cover, which goes into a fund to compensate insurance carriers that end up paying big medical bills now they can no longer charge riskier people more (Radnofsky, 3/6).CQ HealthBeat: Additional Funds For Insurers Through Risk Corridors Could Cost $8 BillionHealth plans could be eligible for $8 billion in extra funds to offset unexpectedly high claims this year under regulations finalized this week, a top federal official said after speaking to an insurer trade group on Thursday. The additional funds were provided because of the problems insurers have faced this year offering coverage to individuals and small businesses through health law exchanges. The money is intended to compensate insurers who may have greater-than-expected losses, in part because President Barack Obama said consumers could continue getting coverage through insurance policies that do not meet the benefit requirements of the health care law (Adams, 3/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Who Wins And Who Loses From Latest ACA Delays?
Boston Globe: Transgender People Say Hostility, Ignorance Common In Doctors’ Offices, Emergency Rooms This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A new study on Medicare patients dying soon after emergency department discharges raises questions about staffing and treatment at rural hospitals and other providers who are under pressure to reduce health care costs. More than 10,000 Medicare patients who do not have life-threatening illnesses die each year in the US within seven days of being released from emergency departments, according to the study, published in the BMJ. Those hospitals with the lowest inpatient admission rates, often hospitals in rural areas, had much higher rates of unexpected deaths. (Ross, 2/1) In other news on the quality of patient care — In Era Where Cost Cuts Are King, Death Rates Following ER Discharges Raise Concerns A study reveals that a possible lack of resources and funding to rural hospitals and underserved areas could be fatal to patients. Massachusetts prides itself on being a medical mecca, but transgender people say they regularly encounter ignorance, discrimination, and even hostility in the doctor’s office. Mason Dunn, a 31-year-old transgender man, painfully recalls being turned away from a specialist’s practice. While he has transitioned to male, he still requires routine pap smears and other gynecological care. (Kolwalczyk, 2/1) Stat: Medicare Patients Dying Shortly After Leaving Emergency Room, Study Finds
Email Crypto Crow / YouTube More December 14, 20186:42 PM ESTLast UpdatedDecember 17, 20188:43 AM EST Filed under News Related Stories In the Youtube video, in which Manor was interviewed by a BCT advisor using the moniker Crypto Crow, Manor also addressed the Portus collapse more than a decade ago. In his view, the trigger for that hedge fund’s collapse was a newspaper article that caused a panic among the fund’s investors. He said his mistakes were limited to trying to continue managing funds offshore once he left Portus, thinking he was outside the purview of regulators.At its peak, Portus had $730 million under management and 26,000 clients, mostly in Ontario. The investors got most of their money back. But Manor fuelled further controversy by leaving for Israel as the company fell apart.He returned in 2007, the year he and Portus co-founder Michael Mendelson were charged by the RCMP with fraud. Both ultimately entered pleas, with Manor pleading guilty to breach of trust and disobeying a court order. Mendelson pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud and was released from jail in 2008 after serving the mandated portion of his two-year sentence.In 2012, the Ontario Securities Commission ordered Manor to disgorge $8.8 million, part of a negotiated settlement that related to Manor’s alleged purchase of diamonds with Portus money. At the OSC settlement that year, Manor’s lawyer said he had neither the diamonds nor the money to pay the regulator’s disgorgement order.Araya, the former BCT employee, said he felt “terror, like, horrified,” when he found the photos of Manor online and connected him to the Portus story, his guilty plea, the jail time, and the capital markets ban imposed by the Ontario Securities Commission.“I thought: maybe this is a criminal scam, a fraudulent company,” the 47-year-old said of the blockchain venture.He says there was no evidence of this, and the technology seemed sound and attractive to potential clients. But Araya says he did report that Shaun MacDonald was Boaz Manor to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.“We didn’t have any evidence but we were concerned and we had a feeling that something fraudulent could be going on because we raised $31 million,” he explained. “We don’t know where the money is. And a lot of us haven’t been paid, you know, none of us have been fully paid up.”He says he left his name with authorities, but has not heard back and is very curious about whether the blockchain company will make a go of it.“To this day I don’t know. I do know that Shaun MacDonald doesn’t exist,” said Araya, who has a PhD in public policy and went back to other work as a consultant when he left BCT.… we had a feeling something fraudulent could be going on because we raised $31 million. We don’t know where the money is. And a lot of us haven’t been … fully paid up.Daniel Araya, contractor who worked at CG Blockchain Cryptoassets will revolutionize financial services — for those who play the long game Reddit Comment Sponsored By: Manor did not respond to messages left by the Post at his mother’s home in Toronto and on his Facebook page, nor was the Post able to contact him through either company.On Wednesday, however, he appeared in a YouTube video to address an article that appeared this week on the website theblockcrypto.com, which was the first published report to reveal he was using the name Shaun MacDonald.The article also quoted anonymous sources who suggested MacDonald/Manor led the blockchain businesses and questioned the terminal’s viability.In the Youtube video, a clean-shaven Manor characterized himself as consultant who had done some product design for BCT. As for the name he used, Manor responded that he thinks people are entitled to a certain level of privacy.“People don’t have to disclose any kind of embarrassing or painful situations that they’ve encountered in the past, so long as it does not relate to their current job,” he said on the video. “I’m in a profession right now as a product designer, and as a management consultant in a minor role. Product design is my major focus — that doesn’t require me talking about my past.”Manor said he was speaking out because he didn’t want the company he was doing the work for to be hurt by things he had been involved in many years ago.“I typically go these days under the name Shaun MacDonald, and if anybody needs to know that my given name is Boaz Manor, I disclose it,” Manor said. “In this case I was working in a role that did not require that.”Bonomo said through a spokesman that he didn’t learn MacDonald’s “true identity” until about two months after he stopped working for CG Blockchain, where he had been brought on as a contractor.He also said that while he was “directed” to use the title of President externally, he was not a key decision-maker.“The President title was in name only…. I had no exposure to, and no decision-making authority for, the management of any of the company’s finances, internal operations or personnel,” Bonomo said in a statement sent by his communications handler Bill Fallon of Keating Co. in New York. “That was Shaun MacDonald’s role during the entire tenure of my consulting engagement, a fact which was generally known.”He said the man he knew as Shaun “effected decisions made by Edith Pardo, Asif Hamid, and himself.”Pardo, who is named on documents associated with the coin offering, said in an email that she is the founder and director of BCT and CG Blockchain. She said she was aware of Manor’s past and said it actually “helped” in the development of the company’s compliance product.“Because Mr. Manor had experienced first-hand the absolute devastation that can be wrought within any financial company by the levying of mere accusations, his background helped make ComplianceGuard a product that could help companies prevent such situations,” she wrote.… his background helped make ComplianceGuard a product that could help companies prevent such situationsEdith Pardo, founder, BCT and CG Blockchain What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Boaz Manor leaves Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto, on Nov. 13, 2007. Manor received a four-year jail sentence in 2011 for his role in the collapse of the hedge fund Portus Alternative Asset Management Inc.Tyler Anderson / National Post file photo Pardo, who is also chief executive and managing director of New York-based communications company Estey-Hoover, said Manor was a consultant for CG Blockchain and never an employee, officer, director or shareholder of either of the blockchain companies.As for why people working at the firms thought he was in charge, Pardo said: “In his capacity, he had broad discretion to bring together the most talented team possible and then guide them toward development of the product…. Manor does have a very direct and single-minded determination, so it’s not surprising that some people looked upon him as an authority figure, even though he never had any official capacity.”She acknowledged that some people haven’t been paid for their work at CG Blockchain and BCT.“It is true that some payments have lapsed to some contractors and consultants” of the blockchain startup, Pardo said in the email.“Unfortunately, this is not a simple cut-and-dried conversation and there are several aspects to this that we cannot discuss for legal reasons.”She said the firm’s “intention has always been and remains to honor our commitments to our vendors, contractors, consultants, and token purchasers.”The blockchain venture lost “considerable headway” after Bonomo left during the summer, said Pardo, who characterized his departure as being for personal reasons. She added that the startup “managed to struggle through the tough times” it faced.“He took us from an unorganized startup working out of a one-bedroom apartment to a fully functional company in a very short time,” Pardo said.Bonomo said he chose to end his consulting arrangement, which had put him on the road for weeks at a time attending cyptocurrency conferences and events, in early July because the company needed to secure additional financing to complete its product development and introduce the product to the market.“There was no realistic prospect at that time for my moving into an operational decision-making role, and the company had also gotten into arrears in paying my consulting fees for the work I had completed,” Bonomo said.The Post was not able to reach Hamid, although one former worker said he and MacDonald/Manor worked closely together.Boaz Manor addressed his use of the name Shaun MacDonald in a video posted on YouTube on Wed., Dec. 12, 2018. Bitcoin at a crossroads: Here are three things you need to know A former Canadian hedge fund manager whose high-profile downfall culminated in a four-year jail sentence is again at the centre of a controversy after turning up under a new identity at a New York-based blockchain startup.People who worked at Blockchain Terminal (BCT Inc.) and a related company, CG Blockchain, told the Financial Post that their reactions ranged from “horrified” to “embarrassed” when they realized the red-haired, bearded man they knew as Shaun MacDonald, whom they described as a key player at the firm, was actually Boaz Manor, co-founder of Toronto-based Portus Alternative Asset Management Inc., a $730 million hedge fund that collapsed in 2005 amid a flurry of allegations about offshore accounts, diamonds and missing investor money.Manor had lighter hair and was clean-shaven when Ontario securities regulators banned him from the province’s capital markets in August 2012. He was already out on day parole at that time, having been sentenced the previous year.OSC bans Boaz Manor from capital markets activity, orders him to pay $8.8-millionOSC fines key figure in Portus financial scandalBoaz Manor seeks to settle Portus allegationsIn interviews with the Financial Post this week, two people who worked at the new companies Manor was associated with — which were developing and marketing a terminal for hedge funds and other institutional traders to trade cyptocurrency, as well as compliance systems using the blockchain — said they left after learning Manor’s true identity, and took their concerns over his past brushes with the law and regulators to U.S. authorities.“None of us knew his real identity. We knew him as Shaun MacDonald,” said Daniel Araya, who says he left the blockchain startup in September after doing government policy work there. “When we did find out that it wasn’t his real name, it wasn’t his real identity, we more or less quit.”Araya said he and a small group of CG Blockchain workers, primarily in Hong Kong, began poking around for more information on MacDonald, the man they viewed as their boss, after reports from the New York office that Bob Bonomo, a tech and wealth management veteran brought in and billed as president or chief executive, wasn’t coming into the office.Araya, who was identified as vice-president of government policy in company presentations, also said workers were not getting their full pay, even though the company had raised about $31 million in an initial coin offering in the spring.While information on Shaun MacDonald was scarce, the former employees did a “triangulation” of information they knew about the man they perceived to be their boss — such as that he said he was Canadian and had spoken Hebrew in the office when Israeli visitors were there — which led to finding pictures of Manor, including on a Facebook page.“We did our own sort of investigation and we came across the pictures online of Boaz,” said Araya, who is Canadian but spoke to the Post by telephone from Illinois. “He’s thinner, he looks a little more aristocratic, but it’s the same guy as Shaun MacDonald.”None of us knew his real identity. We knew him as Shaun MacDonaldDaniel Araya, contractor who worked at CG Blockchain 0 Comments ← Previous Next → advertisement Blockchain has come to Bay Street, but will Bay Street get on board? Facebook Ryan White, a spokesperson for the SEC, declined to comment on the reports the blockchain firm’s former workers say they made about MacDonald/Manor.Al Leong, who worked for BCT and CG Blockchain out of Vancouver, said in an interview that he also spoke to U.S. authorities about Boaz Manor after Araya showed him what he had found online.Leong says he also left the company and is embarrassed that he did marketing for it without digging “deeper.”He also said he’s hopeful that the technology can be successful, given that the company appeared to spend “a ton” of money on it and, as far as he knew “it worked.”Pardo said “BCT is a viable, operational company with a legitimate, viable product,” and added that she is “saddened” by “rumours and innuendo” to the contrary, which she said are being spread “via social media and inaccurate reporting” by competitors.“When your realize that many of the ICO’s that have raised similar amounts of money as us, if not more, have only a whitepaper to show to their token purchasers, I feel saddened for our team by the rumors and innuendo floating around that we are a scam,” she said. “We are one of the few companies that are actually fulfilling our promise to our token purchasers and that is something to be very proud of.”Pardo said “all funds” raised through the token sale were used for research and development of the product, operational expenses and maintaining a comprehensive marketing campaign to build brand identity.“We are currently in our 10th month of development and are delivering a functional trading tool that could very well revolutionize the cryptocurrency marketplace,” she said. “That type of accomplishment takes serious expenditure in both money and manpower.”— with files from Jake Edmiston Join the conversation → Featured Stories Share this storyThe return of Boaz Manor: Co-founder of failed hedge fund Portus turns up at U.S. blockchain startup under new identity Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Twitter Barbara Shecter The return of Boaz Manor: Co-founder of failed hedge fund Portus turns up at U.S. blockchain startup under new identity ‘I typically go these days under the name Shaun MacDonald, and if anybody needs to know that my given name is Boaz Manor, I disclose it’