AIDark DataDark Data ReportfundingMarketing TechnologyNewsSplunkTRUE Global Intelligence Previous ArticleThe Trade Desk Partners with Samba TV to Unify Digital and TV Media Strategies for the World’s Largest AdvertisersNext ArticlePimcore Launches Data Hub To Strengthen Content-As-A-Service Capabilities For Enhanced Data Delivery and Consumption Survey Finds New Skill Sets and AI to Be the Future; Organizations Not Turning Massive Data Opportunity into Meaningful Business OutcomesSplunk Inc., delivering actions and outcomes from the world of data, released research that shows organizations are ignoring potentially valuable data and don’t have the resources they need to take advantage of it. The research reveals that although business executives recognize the value of using all of their data, more than half (55 percent) of an organization’s total data is “dark data,” meaning they either don’t know it exists or don’t know how to find, prepare, analyze or use it.“the organization that has the most data is going to win.”The State of Dark Data Report, built using research conducted by TRUE Global Intelligence and directed by Splunk, surveyed more than 1,300 global business managers and IT leaders about how their organizations collect, manage and use data. In an era where data is connecting devices, systems and people at unprecedented growth rates, the results show that while data is top of mind, action is often far behind.76 percent of respondents surveyed across the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, and Australia agree “the organization that has the most data is going to win.”60 percent of respondents said that more than half of their organizations’ data is dark, and one-third of respondents say more than 75 percent of their organization’s data is dark.Business leaders say their top three obstacles to recovering dark data is the volume of data, followed by the lack of necessary skill sets and resources.More than half (56 percent) admit that “data-driven” is just a slogan in their organization.82 percent say humans are and will always be at the heart of AI.Marketing Technology News: Snap Inc. Names Kenny Mitchell Chief Marketing Officer“Data is hard to work with because it’s growing at an alarming rate and is hard to structure and organize. So, it’s easy for organizations to feel helpless in this chaotic landscape,” says Tim Tully, chief technology officer, Splunk. “I was pleased to see the opportunity people around the world attach to dark data, even though fewer than a third of those surveyed say they have the skills to turn data into action. This presents a tremendous opportunity for motivated leaders, professionals and employers to learn new skills and reach a new level of results. Splunk can help those organizations feel empowered to take control of identifying and using dark data.”Respondents are Slow to Seize Career and Leadership OpportunitiesWhile respondents understand the value of dark data, they admit they don’t have the tools, expertise or staff to take advantage of it. Plus, the majority of senior leaders say they are close enough to retirement that they aren’t motivated to become data-literate. Data is the future of work, but only a small percentage of professionals seem to be taking it seriously. Respondents agree there is no single answer, though the top solutions having potential included training more employees in data science and analytics, increasing funding for data wrangling, and deploying software to enable less technical employees to analyze the data for themselves.92 percent say they are “willing” to learn new data skills but only 57 percent are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic to work more with data.69 percent said they were content to keep doing what they’re doing, regardless of the impact on the business or their career.More than half of respondents (53 percent) said they are too old to learn new data skills when asked what they were doing to educate themselves and their teams.66 percent cite lack of support from senior leaders as a challenge in gathering data and roughly one-in-five respondents (21 percent) cite lack of interest from organization leaders as a challenge.Marketing Technology News: Factual Launches Measurement Intelligence to Track Real-World Conversions and Optimize Campaigns Across New and Emerging Digital ChannelsAI is Believed to Be The Next Frontier for Data-Savvy OrganizationsGlobally, respondents believe AI will generally augment opportunities, rather than replace people. While the survey revealed that few organizations are using AI right now, a majority see its vast potential. For example, in a series of use cases including operational efficiency, strategic decision making, HR and customer experience, only 10 to 15 percent say their organizations are deploying AI for these use cases while roughly two-thirds see the potential value.A majority of respondents (71 percent) saw potential in employing AI to analyze data.73 percent think AI can make up for the skills gaps in IT.82 percent say humans are and will always be at the heart of AI and 72 percent say that AI is just a tool to solve business problems.Only 12 percent are using AI to guide business strategy and 61 percent expect their organization to increase its use of AI this way over the next five years.Regional Differences Fuel Range of Opinions: China Furthest Ahead in Understanding the Potential of Dark DataThe research also discovered some distinct differences in attitude and opinion between the seven countries polled. For example, French, German and Japanese respondents seem less concerned about the value of data skills to their careers, with affirmative answers roughly 25 percent lower on average, than their counterparts in other countries. Respondents in China overwhelmingly voice the most enthusiasm and confidence in AI but their current adoption is only slightly higher than the global average. (20 to 16 percent)Marketing Technology News: Mobile Is Key to Boosting Guest Experiences Say HoteliersAustralian respondents implied the lowest AI adoption rates among all countries surveyed with 43 percent saying AI is already – or will in the near future be – an important part of their organizations’ operations compared to the global average of 52 percent.Although China leads response rates on the value and impact of AI across the research, 93 percent of Chinese respondents also believe machines can never replace human qualities like curiosity, creativity and initiative – the highest of any country.Only 64 percent of French respondents think data is a central component of an organization’s success compared to 81 percent globally.Only 58 percent of German leaders think data will grow more valuable over the next decade compared to 71 percent globally.Nearly four out of ten people in Japan (38 percent) say they are excited about working with data, lagging behind the global response of 57 percent.39 percent of people in the United Kingdom strongly believe AI can make up for the skills gap versus only 27 percent globally. Dark Data Research Reveals Widespread Complacency in Driving Business Results and Career Growth PRNewswireMay 2, 2019, 6:31 pmMay 2, 2019
MarTech Interview Series CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is the leading affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs that drive results for businesses around the world. The CJ Network helps to reach and connect with millions of online consumers every day by facilitating productive partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Drive more sales and expand your reach – experience the network effect with CJ. About CJ Affiliate About WaleedAbout CJ AffiliateAbout Waleed “Affiliate is constantly evolving, and if you look at its impact on customer value and incrementality, the channel is underrepresented in terms of advertising investment..” Waleed is a Entrepreneurial leader with a successive track record of growing companies at multiple stages. He is passionate about developing high-performance organizations, fostering collaborative and creative cultures, and building businesses that lead through innovation and dynamic growth strategies. The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. MarTech Interview with Waleed Al-Atraqchi, President at CJ Affiliate Sudipto GhoshJune 13, 2019, 3:30 pmJune 13, 2019 Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing. What inspired you to be part of CJ Affiliate?I always wanted to be in business since I was a kid. I was living in New York when I bought and ran a Bagel shop—it was doing well but I wanted to do more, so I eventually sold it. Running my own business taught me that success is driven by the products you sell and how you market them. I believe Product and Marketing are the core drivers of the business, so that’s what captured my imagination. A few years later, I did my MBA and was focusing on Marketing, before journeying into technology. I joined CJ Affiliate because Technology and Data are transforming the Marketing industry and I was inspired by the opportunity to lead the world’s largest affiliate network during this transformation.How does CJ Affiliate fit into a modern Marketing technology stack?From a Digital standpoint, Affiliate typically represents 15% of e-commerce sales for U.S. companies. The health of the Affiliate channel is strong and growing at a rate that’s similar or even higher than e-commerce growth in general.The success of the channel is largely due to the fact that Affiliate Marketing is highly effective at reaching customers wherever they are in their purchase journey and lifecycle. The variety of affiliates/publishers that exist today—from content to loyalty to coupon/deal—are a focus on meeting a myriad of customer needs and creating unique value. Whether a shopper is simply doing research and perusing product reviews or is ready to purchase from a deal site they trust, affiliate’s performance-based model is a low-risk, high-reward approach to reaching and converting customers.Not only that, but our data shows that affiliate is likely undervalued in the overall marketing mix. Affiliate is constantly evolving, and if you look at its impact on customer value and incrementality, the channel is underrepresented in terms of advertising investment.CJ Affiliate is particularly well-positioned in the space. We’re growing globally and making strategic investments to meet the evolving and ever-changing needs within the industry.What advice do you have for marketers to better prepare for automation and Data-driven Commerce?More aspects of the business are automating which, from a career perspective, means that Marketing jobs are becoming more about creativity, strategy, and interaction with people.Data is central to running an effective business. So, while you need the data, marketers also need to be able to analyze it. Analyticalskills and expertise are becoming a pre-requisite to any marketing position because it’s the actionable, smart decisions that derive from data that make the difference.How do your Affiliate Marketing services benefit marketing teams?Our goal is to deliver scalable growth for our clients, which requires having a deep understanding of their overall business needs—not just within the Affiliate channel.As a full-service affiliate network, CJ Affiliate is like a “swiss army knife” for Affiliate marketers. We either fill gaps in clients’ in-house resources or complement their existing marketing efforts. Regardless of the type of partnership, we build mutually beneficial, performance-based relationships between advertisers and publishers that drive measurable growth.While we tailor our approach based on clients’ growth KPIs, CJ’s philosophy is more about leading rather than pleasing. For example, an advertiser may want to drive new customers, but might be overlooking the fact that their return customers have a higher AOV (average order value). In that scenario, CJ Affiliate uses data to highlight the importance of focusing on both new and returning customers, along with the strategies and solutions to grow revenue in those areas.We also help our clients achieve greater efficiency in their marketing spend by making the most effective use of their investment in the Affiliate channel. What are the core principles driving your product roadmap?Our product roadmap is grounded in a commitment to innovation and excellence for the primary purpose of addressing client needs. We are focused on staying ahead of any industry headwinds of market pressures that may affect our clients and remain as agile as possible to address those dynamics. Recently, with the introduction of GDPR and ITP and an increased focus on consumer privacy, CJ Affiliate is the first-to-market with solutions to help clients navigate regulations and ensure compliance.CJ Affiliate’s Product and Engineering teams—and the company as a whole—believe in collaborative innovation. We bring clients in early and often to ensure we’re creating value in the solutions we develop.How do you identify the biggest advantages and challenges in Digital Commerce? What role does CJ Affiliate play in overcoming these challenges?It’s about paying attention to what our clients are saying. Digital is a quickly evolving space. It’s incredibly high stakes for everyone, so there’s no lack of ideas. We stay really close to our clients to get that fodder and understand the challenges they are facing.One of the biggest advantages – or you can argue, the biggest opportunities – is the use of data to make smarter decisions. CJ Affiliate has invested in building more data assets and making them available and actionable. Today, we can move beyond the simple notion of a making sale, to know what kind of customer it is (new, returning, lapsed, etc.), we can compare publisher performance, provide personalization within the channel, and we can measure incrementality of Affiliate compared to other channels. All because we were able to harness the challenge of big data and use it as an advantage.How do you help your customers scale and achieve their revenue goals?We do this in multiple ways, but one critical part of advertiser success is ongoing Strategic Publisher recruitment. We know that it is important to continue to nurture your true publishers, but long-term growth depends on continually recruiting new publishers into the mix. Our data shows that on average, 63% of advertiser program revenue comes from publishers who are recruited into an advertiser’s Affiliate program after the first year. In other words, while publishers that were in the program in the first year still contribute a meaningful percentage of advertiser program revenue, most program revenue comes directly from newly recruited publisher partnerships.What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions caused by Data Intelligence and Analytics technology for Affiliate Marketing in 2019-2020?I see disruption coming from a few areas.Multi-touch attribution and insights. We are at a point where marketers have the capability to match customers to their different devices, understand how customers shop and research their purchases, and ensure every interaction a customer has with an affiliate can be tied to their future purchases and decisions. Multi-touch insights, such as customer journey analysis and CRM insights, will change the game as they provide a more holistic view of customers and full transparency into all affiliates involved in a customer’s path to conversion. They will change how marketers think about investment, ROI and how to influence the customer journey.Personalization. Consumers are presented with an abundance of offers online, but not all of them are personally and individually relevant. According to Epsilon research, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. CJ recently introduced Affiliate Personalization to drive more personalized messaging in the affiliate channel. Whether the focus is on customer acquisition or retention, personalization is proving to improve conversion rates and bring more efficiency to the marketing spend.Global expansion. We’re seeing that online shoppers are increasingly buying from global e-commerce sites outside their own country. Nearly all of the retailers in our network have seen website visitors from other countries this year. The affiliate channel is a strategic way for advertisers to enter a new market and introduce their product or services to a new consumer, particularly through global affiliates who understand shoppers in different markets and can help engage them in the way they prefer.Privacy. Lastly, the ongoing evolution of the way businesses require to handle consumer data in light of privacy regulations will continue to have an effect across all of the marketing, not just affiliate. This is a key focus for our business and we’re invested in ensuring our clients are set up for long-term success.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?The true potential of AI will only unleash by hiring the types of people who know how to apply it to solve problems. It’s not something that happens magically overnight. As a business leader, you need to invest in those competencies.How do you inspire your people to work with technology?I believe in creating an environment where people can be open and honest and empowered to work together to solve problems. We want every role across the organization to feel valued and impactful.One word that best describes how you work. Collaborative.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?Microsoft Excel.What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?Go talk to people instead of sending an email, especially if it’s something that can be easily discussed in person.What are you currently reading?How-to material related to architecture and design.What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?If you work hard and don’t give up, you can achieve anything.Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?Optimism and Persistence. I also hire really smart people.Thank you, Waleed! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. AIAOVCJ Affiliatecrminterviewsmarketing industryMarTech InterviewWaleed Al-Atraqchi Previous ArticleGenpact Artificial Intelligence Engines Help Companies Accelerate AI AdoptionNext ArticleZilliant Announces New Partnership with SAP and Major Expansion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Web Data Integration leader brings on tenured team leads to drive Import.io’s market share in burgeoning industryImport.io, the leading Web Data Integration solution provider, announced the hiring of three key team members to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding Web Data Integration market. The company brought on a new VP of engineering, VP of worldwide sales and a VP of delivery and managed services to drive annual recurring revenue (ARR) in this multi-billion-dollar market.Import.io hired Masa Karahashi as its new VP of engineering. Previously, Karahashi has led engineering efforts for a variety of start-ups, such as Human API, 3VR and Promptu. He has also spent more than a decade in various executive positions running worldwide enterprise engineering organizations at Oracle and Siebel where he was instrumental in ensuring the successful production launches of some of the world’s largest CRM deployments.Marketing Technology News: Flipboard Appoints Advertising Industry Veteran David Bell As New Board MemberDixon Fiske has joined the Import.io team as VP of worldwide sales. Fiske has been in technology sales for more than 30 years, most recently with SOASTA (acquired by Akamai), Boundary (acquired by BMC), and Nimsoft (acquired by CA Technologies). Now at his ninth startup, Fiske looks to continue his track record of building successful sales organizations and driving company growth.Kevin Zachary has joined Import.io as its new VP of delivery and managed services. Zachary previously led professional services and customer success at Cloudera. Prior to joining Cloudera, Zachary spent 14 years at IBM where he led various strategic delivery initiatives focused on data management and emerging technologies for open source big data, machine learning, and AI.Marketing Technology News: Introducing Acoustic: A New Marketing Cloud Bringing Humanity to AI-Powered Marketing“The Web Data Integration market is growing exponentially and will require top industry talent to meet the heightened demand from customers,” said Gary Read, CEO of Import.io. “These roles are especially critical to fill with the expansion of our managed service business. We now have best-in-class sales leaders, a delivery team that can manage massive data projects and an engineering team that can streamline the development and delivery of vital WDI solutions that meet the needs of a demanding market.”“I’m looking forward to building a world-class sales organization here at Import.io to serve its billion-dollar market,” said Fiske. “We are transforming the way we do business to respond to prospect needs in an agile manner, expanding and closing deals quickly and efficiently. I’m eager to drive a companywide sales-focused culture to continue delivering solutions at scale.”Marketing Technology News: New TimeTrade Schedule-A-Demo Solution Helps B2B Software Companies Increase Inbound Lead-to-Meeting Conversion by 4X AIClouderacrmData Integration MarketGary ReadImport.ioNewsSales and Delivery Previous ArticleWalmart and Etsy Integrations Receive Major Upgrades in SureDone’s Multichannel E-Commerce PlatformNext ArticleRelationship Marketing Hub Optimove Hires New VP of R&D Import.io Hires Industry Leaders to Meet Web Data Integration Market Expansion with Enhanced Engineering, Sales and Delivery Globe Newswire5 days agoJuly 18, 2019
Tellius and Snowflake Customers Benefit from Modern AI-Powered Analytics Leveraging the Data Warehouse Built for the CloudTellius, a leading provider of AI-powered augmented analytics software, today announced a partnership with Snowflake, Inc, the data warehouse built for the cloud. Through the partnership, the Tellius Search and AI-Powered Analytics platform is certified to natively connect to the Snowflake data warehouse, allowing customers to discover insights at scale without worrying about analytics performance.Organizations leverage Tellius as a fast, simplified, and collaborative approach for business users, data analysts, citizen data scientists, and data engineers to visualize enterprise data using natural language and voice, discover insights assisted by AI, and automate machine learning across all their business data.“With our partners at Snowflake, we are delivering cloud-native data analytics to accelerate business impact from AI and machine learning,” said Ajay Khanna, Founder and CEO of Tellius. “Business users and data professionals can now focus on deriving insights across their multiple data sources and enterprise applications and on taking action based on automated recommendations without compromising on analytics performance.”The Snowflake Data Warehouse is a modern cloud data-warehouse-as-a-service offering. Snowflake’s ability to analyze data from diverse sources along with automatic tuning and scaling removes the headache of monitoring and fine-tuning data warehouse manually. By integrating Tellius natively with Snowflake, users can now get exceptional performance on data insights of any scale without worrying about maintaining the data warehouse infrastructure.“Our customers need cutting-edge analytics to get meaningful insights to their critical data questions,” said Hardik Chheda, Head of Product at Tellius. “With our integration with Snowflake, they can now build modern business intelligence and predictive analytics applications at scale.”Tellius + Snowflake advantages:In-database Augmented Analytics – Analyze petabytes of live data securely without moving it out of Snowflake’s data warehouse.Insights Across Data Sources – Discover insights from a multitude of sources on Snowflake data warehouse by analyzing disparate structured and unstructured data.Blazing Fast Data Collaboration – Democratize data access across your analytics team without any worrying about performance or IT maintenance.Tellius for Snowflake is now available. To learn more, schedule a demonstration of the Tellius Search and AI-Powered Analytics Platform. Tellius and Snowflake Partner to Deliver Cloud-Native Augmented Analytics at Scale PRNewswire4 days agoJuly 22, 2019 Augmented AnalyticscloudNewsSnowflakeTellius Previous ArticleThe Wild Releases Oculus Quest Support, Opening The Door To Team-Wide VR Collaboration For Architecture and DesignNext ArticleDods Group Plc Acquires Meritgroup Limited, a B2B Data and Technology Specialist
Next-Generation Yext Platform Enables Businesses to Capitalize on Paradigm Shift in Search From Results to AnswersYext, Inc., the platform for Brand Verified Answers in search, kicked off a new era in the world of search today with the next generation of the Yext platform. New enhancements to Yext enable businesses to answer the questions consumers ask about them: in search, using voice assistants and chatbots, and on their own websites. Brand reputations are increasingly at stake with what consumers find online, and so businesses need to be able to provide verified answers to their questions. Now any business can deliver an authoritative, brand-verified answer.“There’s a massive paradigm shift going on in the world of search from chaotic results to brand verified answers. Today’s customer journey starts with a question, and consumers expect answers,” said Howard Lerman, Founder and CEO of Yext. “Today’s expansion of Yext allows companies to build their complete knowledge graph, which is the foundation of meeting the consumer at the precise moment of intent.”Marketing Technology News: Alorica Taps Business Transformation Veteran Colson Hillier to Be Chief Marketing OfficerYext allows businesses to create and connect all the facts about themselves in an answers-ready knowledge graph, so they can power their own sites and services and sync with search, voice assistants, and chatbots. New custom entities and fields make Yext adaptable to any business, so brands can connect any type of fact to the information about it consumers want to know, from a store location and open jobs there, to a menu item and its nutritional information, to a doctor and her specialty and educational background. This allows a consumer asking something like “Who is a wealth advisor in San Francisco who speaks Mandarin?” to get an accurate, direct answer.Marketing Technology News: Alpha Software Launches Alpha TransForm, Cuts Build Time for Robust Offline Enterprise Mobile Apps from Months to Hours“The customer journey starts with a question. It’s up to every business to provide the brand verified answer,” said Marc Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer of Yext. “Yext’s comprehensive fact platform contains hundreds of millions of connected facts about our clients’ businesses. Facts in Yext are structured for search so that businesses can meet their customers in the moment of intent. Today marks the first step toward a world of perfect answers everywhere.”Yext’s founding principle is that the ultimate authority on a business should be the business itself. Businesses need a platform to provide verified answers to drive digital discovery, customer engagement, and reputation enhancement. Yext leads brands into the future of search, bringing the world one step closer to perfect answers everywhere.Marketing Technology News: StarfishETL Partners with PeopleSense, Inc. customer engagementdigital discoveryHoward LermanMarc FerrentinoNewsreputation enhancementYext Previous ArticleSnapLogic Announces Strategic Partnership with Solita in the NordicsNext ArticleWorld’s First Crowd Promotion App Set to Shake up the Sharing Economy – by Allowing Anyone to Monetise Their Social Media Profiles Yext Transforms Search with Brand Verified Answers MTS Staff WriterJune 4, 2019, 5:00 pmJune 3, 2019
Acharya Pramod KrishnamBJPcongressindore-s12p26 First Published: April 16, 2019, 10:26 PM IST New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday released a list of three more candidates for Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, pitting Acharya Pramod Krishnam against Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Lucknow.With this, the party has so far announced 407 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. Besides Krishnam, the Congress fielded Vinay Kumar Pandey from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh and Pankaj Sanghvi from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Indore is currently represented by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.Speculation is rife about Shatrughan Sinha’s wife Poonam Sinha being the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow. Poonam Sinha joined the SP earlier on Tuesday.
accidentcar crashRajasthanroad accident First Published: July 11, 2019, 4:39 PM IST Jaipur: A speeding car rammed into a group of people doing yoga by the roadside in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district Thursday morning, killing six men, police said.The accident occurred on Kumher-Dhanwada state highway early morning when the car driver lost control over the vehicle. The group was taking a morning walk and stopped on the way for a yoga session, SHO Kumher police station Raghbeer Singh said. Four men died on the spot while two succumbed to the injuries later, Singh said. The victims were identified as Raghubar Baghel (62), Nirotilal Saini (65), Makhan Lal Kathik (60), Harishankar Tamboli (65), Prem Singh Baghel (55) and Rameshwar Baghel (45), the SHO said.Rajasthan Tourism minister and Deeg-Kumher MLA Vishvendra Singh has offered his condolences to the families of the victims.”Have received the sad news that the 5th victim of the hit-and-run case has just passed on and could not make it to Jaipur SMS hospital. This one has hit me hard and left me in tears; I was personally monitoring the movement of the ambulance and the critical care being provided,” he said.The minister also announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the families of each victim.The bodies were handed over to their family members after post-mortem.
The new Wonder Woman movie is about to launch in theaters, and ahead of its release comes a new educational product from Google based on the movie. Released as part of its Made with Code initiative, Google has released a Wonder Woman-themed educational coding project that teaches kids (and adults!) the basics of coding using fun, interactive tools with instant results. Google has many versions of its coding projects; anyone who has used a past project will have a general idea of what to expect in the new Made with Code Wonder Woman project. Open the interactive environment here and you’ll be greeted with a picture under a grid, a character, and some actions. The goal is to choose the character and ‘code’ it to perform a specific action.In the first step, this action is running forward two blocks, jumping the distance of two blocks, then landing in a final block. The coding is achieved by piecing together blocks with pre-set actions, then clicking ‘Play’ to run the code. Users get to see the on-screen character react according to their code blocks.It’s all very intuitive, something a child could pick up easily and perform on their own. The Wonder Woman project has a total of three levels, the total duration of which is only a few minutes each. If you enjoy this project, you can find a bunch of others like it on the Made with Code Projects page, including others based on movies.SOURCE: Google Blog Story TimelineEssential Home revealed to take on Amazon Echo and Google’s assistantUber just fired the ex-Googler accused of Waymo autonomous tech theftGoogle figured out the most misspelled word in every US state
Gaming headsets typically come with a certain design flavor: sharp angles, a black foundation color, and bright, bold, highly saturated colored accents. This is fine if that’s what you like, but maybe you’re looking for something a tad less flashy. That’s where Sennheiser‘s new GSP 301 and GSP 302 gaming headsets come in. If you’re familiar with Sennheiser’s GSP 300 gaming headset, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from the new 301 and 302 models. Both of these are, according to Sennheiser, identical to the GSP 300 model in every technical aspect. The changes are purely cosmetic, and particularly revolve around the headset’s color design.The black foundation color is still present, as is common on both headphones and gaming headsets. Rather than making the headsets stick out with brightly colored accents, though, Sennheiser has chosen a more minimalist, monochromatic palette. The GSP 301 has a white satin finish, whereas the GSP 302 is matte black. This is compared to the GSP 300’s black-and-blue duo-tone design.Not familiar with the GSP 300 headset? It is designed for gamers, and features a microphone on an armature alongside a pair of over-ear speakers. The headsets likewise boast noice cancellation that Sennheiser describes as producing ‘broadcast grade’ clarity. They also feature enhanced bass, which isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but is popular when it comes to video game audio.The headsets can be used with the PCV 05 adapter, which offers compatibility with the Xbox One, Mac, PC, and PlayStation 4. The new GSP 301 and GSP 302 headsets are both available through Sennheiser’s own website exclusively for $99.95 USD / $129.99 CAD.
AdChoices广告 Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. And sometimes, Apple giveth back. Apple has just released version 4.3 of watchOS, in line with the release of iOS 11.3 and it returns one of the most common uses for a smartwatch: controlling your music playing on your iPhone. In fact, it even goes beyond that and can now control even the music playing on your HomePod. The update also includes other bits and pieces of functionality that make Apple’s wearable a more useful accessory all around. Smartwatches are often used as remote controls for other devices, whether a paired smartphone or smart home products. That comes in handy when, for example, your iPhone is out of reach and you want to pause, play, or skip the music that’s playing on it. Strangely, Apple removed the ability to do that, something that was available since the earliest watchOS versions, in favor of playing music directly on the Apple Watch.In watchOS 4.3, that feature makes a return and it didn’t come along. Now you can control the music playing on your iPhone but also the music playing on your fancy new HomePod smart speaker. It’s probably no coincidence that those two actually arrived on the same update.Another usability fix is that the Apple Watch is now more usable no matter which way you charge it on the Nightstand. The screen orientation will automatically adjust so that you can still use the smartwatch while charging without having to break your neck. Apple watchOS 4.3 also brings in a couple of fixes, including not working Siri music commands, incorrectly awarded Activity achievements, and a couple of security patches as well.
For starters, all three watches in the Fenix 5 Plus family will offer Garmin Pay and onboard storage for music, which are two of the marquee features of the recently refreshed Vivoactive 3. Garmin seems to be rotating through its product lineup to update its watches with onboard storage, and with each of the three Fenix 5 Plus watches – the Fenix 5S Plus, Fenix 5 Plus, and Fenix 5X Plus – you can store up to 500 songs by either downloading them through services like iHeartRadio and Deezer or uploading them directly from your PC.All three watches also feature built-in map data that can help you track your walks, hikes, or climbs. Garmin’s Trendline is making an appearance here, allowing you to enter a distance you would like to run and ride or then creating a round-trip route based on data from other users. Story TimelineGarmin rolls out Fenix 3, Epix wearables with new software platformGarmin goes luxury with Fenix Chronos GPS smartwatchGarmin Fenix 5 smartwatch comes in small and ultra-rugged styles Last week, Garmin made a round of updates to its Vivoactive 3 fitness tracker, and today, it’s taking a pass at the Vivoactive’s big brother. The Fenix 5 series is the next in line to get some updates, with Garmin today announcing three new watches that will comprise the Fenix 5 Plus line. The watches boast some significant upgrades over their predecessors, but be prepared to shell out a lot of cash if you want to own one. Speaking of climbing, the Fenix 5X Plus comes packing some extra hardware that the other two do not: a wrist-based pulse oximeter. This will allow you to measure your blood oxygen levels, and while most owners probably won’t have much reason to actually use that, it can certainly come in handy when you’re making a big climb. Of course, each watch also comes equipped with the standard suite of fitness tracking apps we’ve come to expect from these health-focused smartwatches, meaning that oximeter is just icing on the cake.AdChoices广告If you’re looking for a watch that boasts a big display, the 5S Plus is probably the one for you, as its 1.2-inch display is 20% bigger than the original 5S. You’ll even have satellite navigation features through Galileo, which can help you figure out where you are even GPS is spotty. In short, these watches attempt to do a little bit of everything, despite some features that may be targeted at specific niches.Of course, if you want a smartwatch that does it all, you’re going to need to put up some serious cash. Specific pricing hasn’t be announced yet, but Garmin has said that pricing will start at $699.99 and max out at $1,149.99. We’ll see all three Fenix 5 Plus watches launch in Q2 2018.
The Xperia XZ3 is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it has just enough new features to make it a slight upgrade from the Xperia XZ2 earlier this year. On the other hand, that might not be enough to actually make it that tempting to buy. Good thing that there’s a deal going on for Xperia fans.The Xperia XZ3 marks the company’s first smartphone with a P-OLED, not just plain OLED, screen. And compared to its predecessor, it steps up to a 1440×2880 QHD+ resolution, though still not as pixel-dense as the XZ2 Premium’s 4K. That could probably come in an XZ3 Premium later if that ever comes.That said, it retains many of the Xperia XZ2’s specs, like the 64 GB storage and the 19 megapixel camera. Fortunately, the front camera did get upgraded to 13 megapixels and the battery is slightly larger at 3,300 mAh. Despite that, the Xperia XZ3 is actually thinner and lighter than its predecessor.As always, the only way you can get your hands on one in the US is through Amazon, which sells the Xperia XZ3 unlocked and compatible with GSM networks only. For the pre-order period, Sony is throwing in the $280 Xperia Ear Duo for the same price of $899.99. Shipping is noted to start October 17. Given the flood surrounding Apple’s new iPhones and the subsequent rollout of iOS 12, it’s easy enough to forget some of the recent flagship phones that came just days before it. Especially when said flagship phone is a Sony. The Xperia XZ3 debuted last month without much fuss or fanfare, typical of Sony, and it is now finally being made available to US consumers. But while the $900 price tag remains, Sony is throwing it in a bundle to at least soften the blow.
Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ Gallery That happened back at the Detroit Auto Show, earlier this year. Then, the I.D. BUZZ was intended to demonstrate the flexibility of the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). Previously that had been used as the underpinnings of the first VW I.D. concept, a Golf-sized hatchback, but the automaker wanted to show that its brand new architecture was flexible enough to suit a variety of cars. Whereas the concept car promised full autonomous driving, VW says the production model will have Level 3 support. That, defined as “conditional automation,” will be mostly self-driving but expect the human driver to step in as a fallback should issues arise. The automaker says that the “I.D. Pilot” Level 4/5 autonomy won’t be ready until 2025 at the earliest; similarly, the high-tech and minimalistic cabin is unlikely to make it through to production unscathed. Still, this is a welcome decision for a car which has possibly generated the most enthusiasm among VW fans in recent years. Pricing isn’t known at this point, unsurprisingly, but VW’s Diess says the I.D. BUZZ will be “much more affordable” than the competition. The I.D. will still be the first car to get a production version, mind, currently scheduled for around 2019 when it will launch as a model year 2020 vehicle. The I.D. BUZZ production version will follow on in 2022, VW said today. It’ll be targeting drivers in the US, Europe, and China. To do that, it’ll combine a brand new, emissions-free platform with a healthy dose of nostalgia. Though clearly a modern concept, the I.D. BUZZ is unmistakably related to the original Volkswagen Microbus that epitomized the Sixties. “After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva,” Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess said of the decision, “we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car’.” The result will be a zero-emissions vehicle intended for flexibility. Its iteration of the MEB will have all-wheel drive as an option, VW has suggested, with final power, range, and other specifications yet to be confirmed. The concept Microbus had AWD, 369 HP, and a 111 kWh battery pack that is said to be good for close to 300 miles of range. A 150 kW fast-charging system would get it from 0- to 80-percent in 30 minutes. Inside, meanwhile, VW is promising full-size SUV capacity on a midsize SUV footprint. That’s helped by the drivetrain and batteries being low down, under the floor. For the concept there was seating for eight or 162.5 cubic feet of cargo with the seats folded. The production version will come in minibus and I.D. BUZZ CARGO forms for work hauling. Volkswagen has given the green-light to its I.D. BUZZ concept, with plans to put the electric VW Microbus into production. The decision, announced at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance today, will deliver one of the automaker’s most well-received concepts to dealerships, atop its brand new electrified platform. According to VW, the demands to build a production version of the I.D. BUZZ have been frequent and vocal since the concept bus was first shown off.
LG boats of its lead in the telematics market, since 2013 even, providing access to key communications and location technologies, like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. LG is also one of the key proponents for 5G, which has recently been ratified in a large part.HERE, on the other hand, at one point nearly rivaled Google Maps in the market. Since its acquisition by a consortium comprised of Audi, BMW, and Daimler, it has steered its ship towards more automotive applications rather than consumer products.Its latest product is HD Live Map, a cloud-based map service that can integrate with existing driver assistance systems and self-driving solutions rather than develop an entire autonomous vehicle system by itself. Being cloud-based, however, HD Live Map is naturally at the mercy of network communications technologies, which is where LG comes in.AdChoices广告While a car gathers data from cameras, radars, lidars, and other sensors, LG’s network communication technologies will send that data to HERE’s HD Live Map system. That, in turn, will combine data from other nearby vehicles via V2X (vehicle-to-everything) technologies in order to provide accurate and customized driving information to each vehicle. Neither company has revealed any timeline, let alone car maker partners for this new telematics solution.SOURCE: LG No, LG isn’t making autonomous vehicles. It isn’t even making its own in-vehicle unit itself. Instead, it is hooking up with HERE, formerly owned by Nokia, to provide car and head unit makers with a new telematics platform that will leverage the two companies’ key strengths in order to give self-driving cars a better picture of the world around them. Basically, it’s a partnership that bundles HERE’s navigation technology and LG’s communication expertise for the cars of the future.
They say that all good things must come to an end. What they often fail to say is that what follows may not exactly be better or even just as good. After a disastrous Windows Vista release, Microsoft was able to salvage its reputation with Windows 7. Given how Windows 8, 8.1, and now 10 have substantially changed things, not many users were keen to move on from Windows 7. They soon won’t have any choice if they still want to receive critical updates and Microsoft will start repeatedly reminding them of that. Microsoft pushed out a simple update to Windows 7, named KB4493132, that did one and one thing only. It added and enabled notices of Windows 7’s upcoming end of life and to “encourage” them to upgrade to Windows 10, not even Windows 8.1. It might bring up nightmares of Microsoft’s last update reminder fiasco, but it seems that it at least offers the option not to be reminded again.Windows 7 support formally end on January 14, 2020. Released in October 2009, Windows 7 has had a good run and is one of the few versions of Windows that may actually be fondly remembered. Users can opt not to update at all but they’ll be on their own with unpatched systems that could be exploited more easily without any updates.Ironically, Microsoft has given some users fewer reasons to jump ship immediately. It has just announced that it is making available parts of DirectX 12, exclusive to Windows 10 only, available for games like World of Warcraft on Windows 7. It is also offering a paid extension for Enterprise customers for another year.Users who do want safe and secure systems will have no choice but to upgrade to Windows 10. Their worries, however, won’t be coming from external actors but from within. For all the good that Windows 10 brings, it will probably go down in history as having the worst track record of updates that break users’ PCs or, worse, delete their files. Story TimelineWindows 7 support is ending next year, Microsoft urges Windows 10 upgradesGoogle reports Windows 7 exploit, urges upgrade to Windows 10Microsoft’s hated desktop notifications are coming back to Windows 7
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. High Court Turns Away Challenge To Obama Administration Stem Cell Policy Meanwhile, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving Medicaid and malpractice awards. In addition, the justices rejected an appeal from Social Security recipients who don’t want Medicare benefits.Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Obama Stem Cell PolicyThe Supreme Court has turned away a challenge to President Obama’s policy of expanding government-funded research using embryonic stem cells that scientists say may offer hope for new treatments for spinal injuries and Parkinson’s disease (Savage, 1/7).McClatchy: Supreme Court Case Involves Medical Malpractice Awards, MedicaidSandra and William E. Armstrong’s 12-year-old daughter will never learn of the Supreme Court’s deliberations Tuesday, though the results could change her life. The young Taylorsville, N.C., resident is deaf and blind. She cannot sit, crawl, walk or converse. She’s the victim, her parents say, of negligence by the troubled doctor who delivered her. She’s at the center of a high-level legal case that pits state governments against the Obama administration and afflicted families. What the high court ultimately decides, after the hourlong oral argument Tuesday, could shape how states stake claims on medical malpractice awards that Medicaid beneficiaries win (Doyle, 1/7). The Associated Press/Washington Post: Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal From Social Security Recipients Who Don’t Want MedicareThe Supreme Court has turned away a challenge from former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and other Social Security recipients who say they have the right to reject Medicare in favor of continuing health coverage from private insurers (1/7).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Cancellation Notices, Uncertainty Over Doctors In New Plans Spur Concerns News outlets report on a range of policy issues related to the health law’s implementation. Kaiser Health News: Thousands Of Consumers Get Insurance Cancellation Notices Due To Health Law ChangesHealth plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies (Gorman and Appleby, 10/21). The Texas Tribune: Uncertainty In Marketplace Health Plans Concerns DoctorsAs consumers weigh coverage options available in the newly launched federal health insurance marketplace, three of the largest medical associations in Texas have raised concerns about the uncertainty of provider networks offered by health plans in the marketplace (Aaronson, 10/18).Los Angeles Times: Insurer Health Net Overhauls Its Operations Preparing For ObamacareHealth Net Inc. sees a big opportunity in Obamacare. Although some insurers have taken a cautious approach to the Affordable Care Act, the Woodland Hills managed care company is actively seeking to cover thousands of previously uninsured people under the new healthcare system (Pfeifer, 10/20).In addition, fresh legal tests to the health law will be heard this week –The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Faces New Legal ChallengesThe health law championed by President Barack Obama survived one major legal challenge in last year’s Supreme Court ruling, but it will face fresh legal tests starting this week. Federal judges in Washington, D.C., and Virginia will consider whether the text of the statute prevents the administration from offering subsidized health insurance to millions of low- and middle-income Americans (Palazzolo, 10/20).
First Edition: October 25, 2013 Today’s headlines include reports and analyses of yesterday’s Capitol Hill hearing, which featured website contractors talking about the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov. Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Lawmakers Challenge Healthcare.gov Contractors On Website ProblemsKaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and Politico Pro’s Jennifer Haberkorn discuss recent events on Capitol Hill. For more than four hours in a hearing Thursday, House Energy and Commerce Committee members grilled contractors who helped build the health law’s problem-plagued online insurance marketplace (10/24). Read the transcript or listen to the conversation.Kaiser Health News: A Reader Asks: I Don’t Have Children, So Why Do I Have To Buy Pediatric Dental Insurance?Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers a question about pediatric dental insurance (10/25). Read the exchange.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Administration Says 700,000 Have Applied For Coverage; Medical Schools See Record Numbers Of EnrolleesNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Phil Galewitz reports on administration estimates about how many people have sought insurance coverage: “The Obama administration said Thursday that 700,000 people have completed applications for coverage in the health law’s new marketplaces — a key step before people can begin shopping for insurance plans” (Galewitz, 10/24).Also on Capsules, Ankita Rao reports that medical schools are experiencing a record level of enrollees: “About 20,000 students enrolled in medical school in 2013, around 2.8 percent more than the year before, according to the data distributed by the Association of American Medical Colleges on Thursday. First-time applications were also up by almost 6 percent” (Rao, 10/24). Check out what else is on the blog.The Washington Post: Full Testing Of Healthcare.gov Began Too Late, Contractors SayPrivate contractors in charge of building the federal online health insurance marketplace testified Thursday that the administration went ahead with the Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov despite insufficient testing. In their first public remarks since the debut of the problem-ridden insurance exchange, executives of the main IT companies told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that full tests of the Web site that should have been carried out months in advance, but began just two weeks before its rollout (Somashekhar and Goldstein, 10/24).The New York Times: Contractors Describe Limited Testing of Insurance Web SiteFederal officials did not fully test the online health insurance marketplace until two weeks before it opened to the public on Oct. 1, contractors told Congress on Thursday. While individual components of the system were tested earlier, they said, the government did not conduct “end-to-end-testing” of the system until late September (Pear, 10/24).Los Angeles Times: Health Website Contractors Acknowledge Late Changes, Limited TestsDevelopers of the troubled Obamacare website confirmed Thursday that a last-minute decision requiring users to sign up before shopping for insurance caused the system to bottleneck and acknowledged they did not conduct an “end to end” test until just before this month’s botched rollout. The federal contractors sought to shift responsibility for the more than $400-million project to the Obama administration, providing fuel for Republicans who want to kill the Affordable Care Act (Mascaro and Hennessey, 10/24).The Wall Street Journal: Botched Launch Of Health Site Blamed On Poor CoordinationNo one in the government made sure the many complex parts of the federal health-insurance website worked together properly, and testing of the complete site didn’t take place until two weeks before its Oct. 1 launch, contractors said at the first congressional hearings into the matter. The website’s botched launch has become the biggest threat to the success of President Barack Obama’s health law, just days after Democrats beat back a Republican bid to defund it. More Democrats said Thursday that penalties on those who lack health insurance—a linchpin of the law—should be delayed because of the difficulties many people have had in navigating the site (Schatz, 10/25).Politico: Contractors Grilled On The Hill Top Obamacare contractors said Thursday they never recommended that the Obama administration delay the Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov — even though some of them harbored doubts about a website that would crash shortly after it went live. Republicans pressed four contractors appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on why they had told Congress in September that Obamacare’s online enrollment system was on track, only to go off the rails in October (Haberkorn and Millman, 10/24).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Contractors: Obama Admin. Left Little Time For Testing Health Care Site And Made Late ChangesWho’s to blame? The first congressional hearing into what went wrong dug into issues of website architecture and testing protocols — but also re-stoked the partisan battle over President Barack Obama’s signature expansion of health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. Republicans who’ve been trying to kill the program the past three years sounded outraged that it is being poorly carried out, while Democrats jeered them as political hypocrites (10/24).Politico: Obamacare Website Hearing Takeaways: Missing Word Was ‘Sorry’So now we know the contractors’ side of the Obamacare website debacle: They did a great job, the bad decisions weren’t their fault, and they’re fixing it. Thursday’s standing-room-only hearing on the snakebit federal Obamacare enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, saw a parade of witnesses who weren’t about to take responsibility for the disaster. We just do what the client asks, they said — and in this case, the client was the Obama administration (Nather, 10/24).The Washington Post’s Post Politics: Pallone: House Health-Care Hearing A ‘Monkey Court’Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) derided today’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing as a “monkey court,” accusing Republicans of exhibiting false concern during testimony and chastising them for raising security concerns that he said were specious. “You are trying to scare people so they won’t apply,” he said, adding that he believes the Republicans’ true purpose is to undermine people’s trust in the new health-care law so that it has to be delayed or repealed. His outburst came after two Republicans alleged that the federal marketplace does not adequately protect people’s medical privacy (Somashekhar and Eilperin, 10/24).USA Today/The Arizona Republic: Sebelius Promises Fixes To Health Care SiteAs a congressional panel probed her agency’s oversight of the federal health care website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday during a visit to Arizona that a team of government and private-sector technology experts are working around the clock to fix the problem-filled website. Following a tour of a Phoenix call center that handles enrollment and a community health center, Sebelius acknowledged that the website, Healthcare.gov, has not operated as seamlessly as she had hoped when it launched Oct. 1 (Alltucker, 10/25).Politico: Kathleen Sebelius Hits Back At CriticsHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took a swipe at those calling for her resignation over the troubled launch of the Obamacare enrollment site, saying she doesn’t work for them. “The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don’t work for and do not want this program to work in the first place,” Sebelius said Thursday during a press availability, according to the Associated Press (McCalmont, 10/25).Politico: CMS Obamacare Briefing Day One: It’s Getting BetterThe Obama administration’s tech “surge” to repair the Obamacare enrollment system may be more of a slow crawl — but a senior official said Thursday she’s confident the system will be running smoothly for consumers by mid-December. The agency quarterbacking the repair process told reporters Thursday that any fixes to HealthCare.gov would be “incremental.” Consumers may not even detect them (Cheney, 10/24).Los Angeles Times: Nearly 700,000 Applications Completed At Heatlhcare.Gov, Officials SayNearly 700,000 applications for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been completed, administration officials said Thursday, although they would not release data on how many people successfully enrolled in insurance plans despite problems with the online marketplace. The updated figure comes as administration officials tried to respond to complaints and finger-pointing from the contractors who built the troubled website, www.healthcare.gov (Hennessey, 10/24).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Health-Insurance Applications Near 700,000Nearly 700,000 Americans have completed applications for health insurance using federal and state insurance marketplaces, an Obama administration spokeswoman said Thursday, trying to parry characterizations of the health-law rollout as a failure and a disaster. Thursday was the first of what the administration says will be daily briefings by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, the agency in charge of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website (Dooren, 10/24).The Washington Post: State Insurance Boards Frustrated With Obamacare Technical GlitchesCommissioners responsible for overseeing insurance industries in states relying on the federal government to run health-care exchanges are hearing from consumers who can’t log into Web sites, and some aren’t hearing back when they call Washington for answers. At the same time, the Department of Health and Human Services says its Web site, HealthCare.gov, is working better every day. More than 700,000 applications have been completed, many through the Web site, according to a department spokeswoman (Wilson, 10/25).The New York Times: In White House Pitches, Rosy View Of Health Care SiteJust days before HealthCare.gov went live with disastrous results, top White House officials were excitedly briefing lawmakers, reporters, Capitol Hill staff members and Washington pundits on their expectations for the government’s new health care Web site. … In fact, the rosy presentations set President Obama up for even more criticism when the portal was swamped by millions of people who quickly found out they could not log on. The technical problems that emerged have raised questions — still not entirely answered — about how much the president’s aides knew, or should have known, about the site’s troubles (Shear and Stolberg, 10/24).The Washington Post: Maryland Shelves Educational Workshops For Small-Business Health Insurance ExchangeIt isn’t just the federal health insurance exchange that is running into problems. Some of the state-run exchanges are facing their own setbacks — including the one in Maryland. State health officials, who already missed the federal government’s deadline to launch an insurance exchange for small businesses, have quietly nixed plans to hold informational sessions this month to educate employers about their soon-to-open insurance marketplace (Harrison, 10/24).Politico: Democrats’ United Front CracksThe great Democratic unity of 2013 held for five-and-a-half days. For weeks leading up to the shutdown — and over the 16 days it dragged on — President Barack Obama did the unthinkable: he held every Democrat in the House and Senate together. There weren’t any defectors. There wasn’t even anyone running to reporters to question his strategy. The man who’d disappointed them so many times was suddenly exciting them, with his newly apparent backbone and successful resistance to Republicans. They were rushing to do whatever they could to stand by him, next to him, with him (Dovere, 10/25).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: More Democrats Seek Delay In Health-Law PenaltyMore Democrats called for a delay in a core element of the federal health law, with two senators blasting the Obama administration’s rollout of a health-insurance website and its response to public criticism. Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), who is up for re-election in 2014, said in a Thursday statement that the $95 penalty on individuals who fail to enroll in a health insurance plan should be waived for two months. That penalty starts at $95 for 2014 tax returns. A few hours earlier, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said in a television interview that the U.S. needs to consider delaying the penalty, which as at the heart of the 2010 law designed to prod Americans without health insurance into buying coverage (Hughes, 10/24). Politico: Senate Leaders Consider Health ExchangesSenate leaders are beginning to make the tough choice about whether to put their staffers on Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. Three members of Senate leadership all plan to place their aides on the health exchanges, they confirmed to POLITICO. They are: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 in GOP leadership; Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 4 among Senate Republicans; and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), No. 4 in Senate Democratic leadership and the Senate Budget Committee chairwoman (Everett, 10/24).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Both Sides Agree: No ‘Grand Bargain’ Budget Agreement In Upcoming Congressional NegotiationsLong-standing, entrenched differences over taxes make a large-scale budget pact virtually impossible, according to lawmakers, their aides and observers who will be monitoring the talks. Republicans say they simply won’t agree to any further taxes atop the 10-year, $600 billion-plus tax increase on upper-income earners that President Barack Obama and Democrats muscled through Congress in January. Without higher taxes, Democrats say they won’t yield to cuts in benefit programs like Medicare (10/25).The Washington Post: Lawmakers Now Focusing On Replacing Sequester Spending CutsBut the two parties remain far apart on the question of how to replace the sequester cuts, which are scheduled to slice about $100 billion a year out of agency budgets through 2021. Democrats are insisting that even a partial replacement of the cuts — which are set to hit the Pentagon particularly hard next year — must include new revenue raised by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy. Republicans want to replace the agency cuts by trimming spending on Medicare and other long-term expenses, such as pensions for federal workers. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and on Thursday, Ryan, have ruled out new taxes, saying they would rather stick with the sequester (Montgomery, 10/24).The Associated Press/Washington Post: CBO: Raising Medicare Eligibility Age Produces Smaller Savings Than Previously ThoughtRaising the eligibility age for enrolling in Medicare won’t produce nearly the cost savings that had been assumed previously, said a new report issued Thursday. The Congressional Budget Office analysis says that phasing in an increase in the eligibility age from 65 to 67 years old would lower the budget deficit by just $19 billion over the coming decade. Savings would rise more in future years, however (10/24).NPR: Clinics Close As Texas Abortion Fight ContinuesThe fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law. The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can’t comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29 (Lohr, 10/25).The New York Times: Visiting Nurse Service Cuts 500 WorkersThe move is new evidence of the turbulence in the home-care industry under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s sweeping redesign of Medicaid, which has transferred tens of thousands of people receiving long-term help from a fee-for-service system to managed care, in an effort to save money and reduce nursing home use (Bernstein, 10/24).The Wall Street Journal: Fight Against HIV Hits A Roadblock, New Study ShowsNew research has dealt a setback to scientists’ quest for a cure for HIV, finding that the virus might be harder to eliminate from the human body than previously thought. The study, published Thursday, found that the amount of potentially active HIV that lurks in infected immune-system cells could be up to 60 times as large as previously observed. That poses a major hurdle for a promising strategy researchers have hoped might one day eradicate the virus and enable HIV patients to go off therapy (Winslow and McKay, 10/24).The Wall Street Journal: FDA Recommends New Limits On Pain DrugsThe Food and Drug Administration Thursday recommended imposing far more severe restrictions on the prescribing of the most commonly used narcotic painkilling drugs in the U.S., an effort to combat their widespread abuse. The move will fundamentally change the use of medicines taken by millions of Americans to alleviate acute pain, such as broken bones or following dental surgery (Burton and Martin, 10/24). 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.