AhmedabadAmit ShahBJPBJP gujarat office First Published: May 26, 2019, 10:39 PM IST Ahmedabad: After leading the BJP to a stupendous victory in the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening visited the Khanpur office of the party here and recalled how he “learnt a lot sitting in a small room” there.He spent around 20 minutes inside the office. He was accompanied by BJP national president Amit Shah, state president Jitu Vaghani, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja and other party leaders. Modi is visiting his home state after the Lok Sabha poll results were announced.During his speech earlier at JP Chowk outside the office, Modi recalled he spent his initial days in the party at the Khanpur office. The organisational skills he learnt sitting in a small room in this office prepared him for bigger responsibilities, he said.”I remember that in 2012, after winning the Assembly elections, I had visited this place for a victory rally. I am coming here after seven years,” he told the gathering.”My entire life was spent in the office. Ashokbhai (a veteran BJP leader) used to order ‘daal bara’ in the evening. And ‘sing-chana’ (peanuts) would always be there on my table. Journalists would visit and we would have tea. There was no representative of newspapers or TV (from those times) who had not visited this place,” he said.”From here, I got the ‘sanskar’ of (learnt about the ways of) the organisation, imbibed organisational skills…learnt a lot sitting in a small room. I kept taking responsibilities that people gave me,” he said.State education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama recalled how in 1987 Modi, as a party general secretary, scripted its victory in the Ahmedabad municipal election.”Narendra bhai managed to win the entire civic body election for the BJP for the first time in 1987. He single-handedly made BJP win the corporation election,” he said.As a general secretary of the BJP, Modi lived in the Khanpur office for years, party veterans recalled.Located in Khanpur in Ahmedabad, the BJP headquarters has witnessed many landmark events. It was from here that BJP grew rapidly across Gujarat and won people’s trust.My visit to the headquarters brought back many memories and gave an opportunity to interact with Karyakartas. pic.twitter.com/8T2qTlXcAe— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 26, 2019
Exploded view of the G-Shock GMW-B5000V watch. Andy Boxall/Digitaltrends.com Editors’ Recommendations Previous Andy Boxall/Digitaltrends.com Andy Boxall/Digitaltrends.com Stunning new G Shock is virtually indestructible in carbon fiber and titanium Fossil drops prices on smartwatches with these Father’s Day promo codes It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for July 2019 Father’s Day Smartwatch sale: Garmin, Samsung Gear, and Apple Watch deals Kate Spade, Fossil, and other women’s smartwatches get big price cuts Ryusuke Moriai, Casio’s Head of Watch Design, with the GMW-B5000V G-Shock watch. Andy Boxall/Digitaltrends.comA Casio G-Shock smartwatch is in development.That’s according to Casio’s head of watch design, Ryusuke Moriai, who told Digital Trends in an interview. The watch is not yet ready for release, and details are still strictly confidential, but we do know that when it’s released, the G-Shock smartwatch will meet the strict toughness standards essential to any timepiece bearing the G-Shock name.Work on the smartwatch comes at the same time design and materials used in the G-Shock range are also changing, but the principles that make a G-Shock a G-Shock watch — supreme toughness — are still at the heart of all that Casio does, along with the exacting attention to detail that attracts so many to the brand.Smartwatch developmentCasio already makes smartwatches and connected traditional watches, and they represent some of the best examples of both available today. So far, G-Shock watches have only featured basic Bluetooth connectivity. But as the Pro Trek smartwatch and Casio’s Connected app prove, the company knows what it’s doing in the connected space.I asked Moriai if a G-Shock smartwatch was coming:“Yes, we have started to develop a smartwatch,” he replied in his native Japanese language, which was translated for me. “I’m trying my best to make something really unique.”When pushed for details, Moriai said this was all he could say on the project, and would not confirm if the watch would have a touchscreen. But seeing as there are already non-touchscreen connected G-Shocks, it’s safe to presume he’s working on a touchscreen model.But will it be a real G-Shock if it does have a touchscreen? He continued to talk about the essential elements a G-Shock watch, including a smartwatch, must have:“There are three really important points for a G-Shock: Shock resistance, waterproof, and longer battery life,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be Tough Solar [the solar power system used on many existing G-Shock watches], but we are looking at longer battery life than other brands. We are not just going to launch anything with one of the functions, because we don’t want it to disappear from the market.”Casio’s Pro Trek WSD-F30 smartwatch effectively utilizes two screens for long battery life — up to a month in low-power mode — so we can speculate a version of this may also be used on the G-Shock smartwatch too. Regarding the water resistance, Moriai wants the G-Shock smartwatch to be able to handle a depth of 200 meters — he called this a “G-Shock rule.” For reference, most smartwatches today can withstand 50 meters. The requirements to meet such a criteria are very different, and a huge technical challenge for G-Shock.Attention to detailAndy Boxall/Digitaltrends.comMoriai has been driving the design direction of G-Shock watches since 2010, but has worked on G-Shock watches since the brand launched in 1983. He penned the original Casio F-91W, and is also responsible for many G-Shock models including the GA-100, and the iconic Frogman diver’s watch. He was in London to celebrate the second anniversary of the G-Shock store on Carnaby Street, and to show a new limited edition G-Shock — the GMW-B5000V.A new Full Metal 5000 Series watch, the V stands for Vintage and refers to the special ion-plating (IP) coating that has been artificially aged, giving the body a beautiful patina that’s part steampunk, and part homage to the longevity of this classic watch design. To achieve the aged look, each individual component is put in a barrel polishing machine — which looks like a washing machine for watch parts — containing specially-made abrasive particles that give the originally grey IP parts their new, distinctive grain, finish, and color. Andy Boxall/Digitaltrends.com Next The process isn’t an exact science and the finish can become too shiny, which isn’t the effect that’s desired. Casio is forced to discard those parts and only chooses the best components to build the final watch. It’s a strictly limited edition, and although a total number has not been revealed, there are only 300 made for the U.K.. It’s not just the IP coating that makes it special: Moriai pointed out the negative display and the black buttons as two of his other favorite aspects.The GMW-B5000V has Bluetooth connectivity and will connect to Casio’s Connected app — where multiple time zones and alarms can be set using your phone — plus it has Tough Solar for power, and uses Multi-band 6 radio waves for accurate global time-keeping.The time is right for a smartwatchCasio’s G-Shock Gravitymaster watch. Andy Boxall/Digital TrendsCasio understands the watch industry must evolve if it wants to survive, and new materials and production methods are helping it change the G-Shock range, so it appeals to more people. The new Gravitymaster, Mudmaster, and fashion-based GA-2000 models are all made using carbon fiber, with the Gravitymaster using a full carbon monocoque design. The slimmer, lighter construction makes them appeal to more people.“We want to make more models that are suitable for lifestyle and fashion,” Moriai said.Is this a shift away from the familiar tough looks, and even the tough construction? Absolutely not — it’s a push in a new direction, enabled by evolving technology. The carbon monocoque Gravitymaster G-Shock watch represents the first time Casio has not used a resin shock-resistant body in its 35-year lifetime. Called Carbon Core Guard, it does away with button guards and tank-like shapes, yet still offers the same required degree of toughness. Advancements in construction mean the designs can also change, so is this the end of the iconic tough G-Shock look?“Both of the styles are very important,” he said. “We are not going to discontinue the iconic bulky G-Shock style. There is now a slimmer style that will attract more G-Shock fans.”Combine a sleek new carbon fiber monocoque design with Casio’s Connected app, its impressive dual-screen technology on the Pro Trek WSD-F30 smartwatch, overall attention to detail, and promise to make a smartwatch that adheres to the G-Shock principles, and it’s clear everything is coming together so it can build an exciting, genuine G-Shock smartwatch.At the time of writing there is no release date for the G-Shock connected watch, and Moriai said engineers and designers are currently deep in discussion about the watch and its features itself. When the prospect is this tantalizing, I’m prepared to wait. If you want the new GMW-B5000V, it’s yours for $1,000, or 900 British pounds, through G Shock’s online and retail stores. Just don’t wait too long, as numbers are limited. 1 of 4
Those of you who use Tinder on the regular will notice that the app looks quite a bit different today. Tinder has delivered a new redesign that aims to make the process of looking through another user’s profile even faster. Also on the docket are larger photos, putting them front and center when you’re swiping through profiles. When you’re viewing a user’s photos, three new tappable zones will let you navigate through the rest of the profile. Tap the right side of the image to see the next the photo, or tap on the left side to revisit the previous one. Tap on the bottom of the photo, on the other hand, and you’ll be able to view their full profile.This, of course, is where you’ll be able to see their user bio, shared connections, and Anthem, among other things. These changes were made to give photos more screen space while keeping profiles somewhat easy to navigate. “It’s all part of an ongoing effort to make our app as fun and attractive as the community it serves,” Tinder said, in a questionable bit of praise for its users.Jokes aside, the new app seems fairly clean, and that’s exactly what Tinder was going for. Naturally, you’ll still be able to swipe right or left on the screen to log your interest or disinterest, and since that’s such a big part of the Tinder brand, we’ll probably never see that go away. One has to wonder if these new tap controls will conflict with swipes, though.In any case, this redesign should be going live on the iOS and Android versions of Tinder shortly. The Android version was actually updated today, but there’s nothing in the “what’s new” section on Google Play to suggest that the redesign has gone live. While we wait for this redesign to officially land, tell us: what do you think of the new look?
The problem with baked apps is that you can’t easily update them without rolling out a firmware update. And a firmware update has to go through the entire process of testing that it won’t break user’s devices in a very bad. That seems like a ridiculous amount of work to put in just to display a gallery app.That is why OnePlus is divorcing its built-in apps from the ROM and putting them up on Google Play Store. These include the OnePlus Launcher, Community, Weather, and Gallery apps. This means that OnePlus can push updates to those four as fast as they can and users can update them without upgrading the whole system.It also hopefully means that OxygenOS rollouts should also be faster, now that they don’t have to include non-essential software in the firmware. This change affects only the OnePlus 3, 3T, and 5 and the apps, like most OEM custom apps, won’t be compatible with anything else.OnePlus is also giving its users a teaser of what’s coming in OnePlus Launcher version 2.1.5, its first separate release. That includes a folder icon that shows the first four apps inside it and double finger touch gestures to send an app to another page in the home screen.SOURCE: OnePlus With very few exceptions, like Nexus or Pixel or Essential, almost all Android smartphones come with some pre-loaded apps made by the OEM itself. It’s bad enough that these are baked into the firmware, making them impossible to uninstall and can only be disabled. What’s worse is that they can also slow down the development and rollout of updates. Joining the also few OEMs bucking that trend, OnePlus is extracting some of its custom apps for faster updates, both for the apps as well as OxygenOS itself.
Story TimelineApple acquires Gliimpse, a health data startupApple acquires facial recognition firm RealFaceApple acquires Workflow, the popular iOS automation toolApple acquires Beddit, a sleep tracking gadget and app Those camera bumps exist, essentially, because the phone has become too thin to hold the entire lens and sensor. InVisage’s key product, QuantumFilm, could help with that. As explained on InVisage’s website, QuantumFilm is meant to replace the photosensitive silicon layer found in conventional camera sensors. Since QuantumFilm is made up of nanoparticles that allow smartphone cameras to capture more light and reproduce colors more accurately, it helps produce better low-light shots.The benefits to low-light photography are only one part of the equation, though. InVisage says that QuantumFilm is 10 times thinner than conventional silicon, which potentially means a smaller camera. This, by extension, would mean that Apple can use similar components to make the overall footprint of the camera smaller, or use better, somewhat larger components while keeping the footprint similar to its current size.Of course, Apple isn’t going to spill any details on what it plans to do now that it has InVisage in its portfolio. Though it confirmed to TechCrunch that it did indeed purchase InVisage, it gave its typical response about how it doesn’t discuss purpose or plans. Apple probably won’t ever say directly what it’s doing with the technology from InVisage, but we can certainly take a few guesses.It wouldn’t be too shocking to see make Apple an attempt at making its own camera sensor for future iPhones and iPads. As is the case for most smart phones out there, iPhones typically rely on Sony image sensors, but lately we’ve seen Apple begin to produce more things in-house. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Apple’s efforts with in-house components will soon extend to image sensors, so stay tuned for more. As the competition to provide the best smartphone camera gets even more heated, Apple has made a key acquisition that could give it an edge in the battle. We’re learning today that Apple has acquired a company named InVisage Technologies. While that name may not be instantly familiar, the technology InVisage has been developed could not only give iPhone and iPad cameras a big boost in quality, but it could also get rid of those unsightly camera bumps we’ve been dealing with ever since the launch of the iPhone 6.
The roll out was announced on the Android Wear Developers Google Plus page by Hoi Lam. While the Oreo update for Android Wear may not be as extensive as Oreo was for phones, there are still a few noteworthy features launching here. The first feature Lam talks about it a new “Notification vibration strength setting.”However, that might be a mistake, as the image he shared shows as setting for “Vibration Pattern” which, obviously, allows you to pick from different types of vibrations alert. Aside from that little complication, everything else seems to be relatively straightforward – for instance, Android Wear users will find a new touch lock option to use when you find yourself in a wet environment.This update also brings support for seven new countries and their languages: Belgium (Dutch), Czech Republic (Czech), El Salvador (Spanish), Honduras (Spanish), Nigeria (English), Paraguay (Spanish), and Portugal (Portuguese). Finally, we’ll see some miscellaneous new features, such as “notification channels,” and “battery saving background limits.” Ultimately, Hoi Lam doesn’t share a whole lot about Oreo for Android Wear, so we’ll have to wait for more specific patch notes as manufacturers send this update out to their devices.When that will happen is up in the air and different for each watch. Looking over at a thread created over on the Android Wear subreddit, it seems like most manufacturers haven’t launched an update yet, and many are wondering if their watch with even get it. Though some users report that their LG-made watch is getting a notification to update, attempting to apply it results in failure. So, for now, we don’t seem to have any manufacturers pushing an update out the door, but that should change soon. Story TimelineAndroid Wear 1.0 will also get standalone appsAndroid Wear Oreo beta is available on only one smartwatchAndroid Wear gone from Google Store, only in-house hardwareAndroid Wear can get new features faster via Play Store Just as Android 8.1 Oreo is beginning to roll out to Android phones, Oreo is now coming to Android Wear devices as well. The roll out begins today, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that your watch will receive its Oreo update right away. That, as always, is dependent on your watch’s manufacturer.
Connectivity includes 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth BLE. The 10-inch model is finished in bamboo trim, while the 8-inch is grey. Of course, the big deal here is the addition of a touchscreen to Google’s Assistant functionality. For example, it can now show you a full weather report for the week, or stream YouTube videos having searched the catalog by voice. Request traffic updates, and you’ll get Google Maps on-screen; you can also ask for directions and points-of-interest search. For video calling, there’s support for both Smart Display to Smart Display calls and calls to and from Google Duo, the app available for iOS and Android. You can summon images from Google Photos, and while not in use the display scrolls through a slideshow. It can pull up Google Calendar schedules, to-do and shopping lists, and set reminders as well. Given Amazon has had touchscreen-enabled versions of its Echo smart speaker on the market for some time now, Google is playing catch-up with these Lenovo Smart Displays. That’ll be even more so the case when they actually arrive, which isn’t expected until around July 2018. Still, with Google playing hardball with features like YouTube streaming for the Echo Show and Echo Spot, it could still have a carrot to lure buyers when the Smart Display finally arrives. Lenovo Smart Display 8: The Google Assistant is getting its touchscreen and camera, with the new Lenovo Smart Display taking on Amazon’s Echo Show at CES 2018. Taking the same Assistant we know from the Google Home smart speaker, Lenovo‘s new Smart Displays give it an 8-inch or 10-inch housing for video calling and more. Both run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 chipset, an oct-core 1.8 GHz with 2 GB of RAM and 4 GB of flash storage. There are twin dual microphone arrays, and a 5-megapixel 720p wide angle camera; a switch on the side deactivates the camera for privacy. Other hardware controls include a microphone mute button and volume up/down. The Smart Display 8 gets a 1.75-inch 10W speaker with dual passive radiator, while the Smart Display 10 cranks that up to 2-inches instead. Lenovo Smart Display 10: Like the Google Home, you get all the usual voice control over smart home devices, the ability to search by voice, news reports, and streaming music. However, the addition of a display and camera add a whole other dimension. Lenovo has two versions. The $199 Smart Display 8 has an 8-inch, 1280 x 800 display, while the $249 Smart Display 10 has a 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200 panel. Each is designed to be used in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Indeed, the iPhone X will spawn not one but two high-end models, it’s believed. On the one hand there’ll be a new version of the current 5.8-inch iPhone X, with an OLED display with its distinctive top “notch” and dual cameras on the rear for Portrait mode. Like the existing flagship, it’ll be made of stainless steel.However it will be accompanied by a larger version, which will effectively replace the iPhone 8 Plus. Unofficially known as the iPhone X Plus, this 2018 flagship will have a 6.5-inch OLED screen, and effectively be a larger iteration of the 5.8-inch iPhone X 2018. That includes the stainless steel body. What KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is suggesting now, MacRumors reports, is how the third new iPhone for 2018 may differ from those high-end models. It’s arguably a tougher device for Apple to get right, since it’ll need to occupy a lower price point. The company was widely criticized for the $999 starting price of the current iPhone X, but is unlikely to modify that for the 2018 iPhone X, and the iPhone X Plus is likely to be more expensive still. In contrast, the analyst predicts, Apple is targeting a $700-800 price tag for the 6.1-inch iPhone. In order to achieve that, it’ll make some compromises, both on design and internal hardware. The screen will be a lower-resolution TFT LCD panel, though still with the minimal bezels of its more expensive OLED counterparts (and the distinctive notch at the top). However, it’ll be wrapped in a frame made of cheaper aluminum rather than stainless steel, it’s expected. Face ID will be included, using the TrueDepth camera in the notch, but the expectation is that the rear camera will be a single sensor, not the dual sensor. Unexpectedly, Kuo also says that Apple will leave out 3D Touch, the pressure-sensitivity that allows iOS to trigger contextual menus and more by measuring firmer pressure on the smartphone’s display.Inside, the architecture of the logic board will be more simplistic, eschewing the stacked layout that the iPhone X debuted in 2017. The 6.1-inch iPhone will also use a more simplistic, cheaper rectangular battery like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus; in contrast, the iPhone X – and indeed the iPhone X 2018 and iPhone X Plus – rely on an L-shaped battery that wraps around the logic board. Kuo also expects the cheaper iPhone to pack 3GB of RAM, whereas the higher-end models will offer 4GB. Despite the compromises, the combination of lower price and a distinctive styling change from the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are predicted to be strong motivators for buyers in late 2018. Indeed, Kuo believes around half of all 2018 iPhone model sales could be of this cheapest 6.1-inch iPhone version. Apple’s trio of new iPhone models for 2018 could see it sacrifice familiar features in order to offer a budget option, it’s been predicted, with the 6.1-inch iPhone tipped to compromise in unexpected ways in order to stay affordable. Though Apple has, unsurprisingly, not made any comment on its roadmap for iPhone launches this year, the Cupertino firm is widely expected to offer three new models, all more akin to the iPhone X than the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. Story TimelineiPhone 11 release tipped in 3 models (Take a peek!)2018’s new iPhone X battery may finally fix complaints
Unlike some, I’m not ready to dismiss HomePod out of the gate. Still, I do believe that its success hinges on more than just Apple’s (admittedly invariably good) marketing skills. At $349 it finds itself facing strong competition in both the smart speaker and streaming music arenas, after all. On the one hand, Sonos has built itself a deserved reputation for its connected speakers. By price, HomePod finds itself somewhere in-between the PLAY:3 and PLAY:5, but since Sonos supports stereo pairing – which Apple won’t add to its speaker until later in 2018 – you could also combine two Sonos One speakers and get, for under $400, what I suspect will be better audio than the HomePod can manage. Meanwhile, although Google’s Home Max is a $399 alternative to HomePod, it’s also an outlier in the smart speaker category. Instead, it’s models like Amazon’s Echo Dot – which stormed the retailer’s holiday 2017 sales with its near-perpetual discount to $30 – and the $49 Google Home Mini that are giving people their first taste of what a voice-powered assistant could do. If you want significantly better audio quality, a $199 Sonos One is a more affordable and – since it supports Alexa now, and will add the Google Assistant sometime this year – flexible upgrade route. AdChoices广告Apple’s strategy here seems almost obstinate in its determination to put music quality at the fore. If the smart speaker line-up is a continuum, then HomePod prioritizes “speaker” first and “smart” only after that. Siri’s presence feels more like simply a way to navigate music than a desire to challenge Alexa for her role as virtual PA. Those responsible for HomePod would, undoubtedly, argue it differently. Yet the decision to launch the speaker as a $349 play for audiophiles – and, from a very limited audition with a prototype last year, I concede that It Sounds Good – rather than a “HomePod Nano” with a price tag a fraction of that, is going to give many potential buyers pause. Siri on the iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch doesn’t, it’s reasonable to say, have the best reputation for helpfulness beyond the basics. Factor in the absence of Spotify and other third-party music services – which need to be streamed over AirPlay since HomePod only has native support for Apple Music – and you need to be a clear devotee of Apple’s hardware, software, and services in order for HomePod to make the most sense. There are a few signs that Apple recognizes the scale of the challenge ahead. The reveal of iOS 11.3’s key new features today may have made HomeKit’s updates almost a footnote, but the decision to allow for software authentication instead of demanding third-party manufacturers add hardware to their connected devices before it can hook up with Apple’s smart home system is a significant one. It’s likely to mean an avalanche of compatible products, which will only benefit HomePod as the gateway to controlling the smart home. Similarly, SiriKit will hopefully extend Siri’s usefulness, by inviting third-party talents. Being able to trigger messages, lists, and notes handled by apps outside of Apple’s own ecosystem by voice will certainly improve the smart speaker’s usefulness. All the same, Apple’s strict controls – SiriKit on HomePod doesn’t even support the full extent of extensions SiriKit itself can handle, and those it does will be passed to your iPhone to run rather than completed on the speaker itself – will undoubtedly prevent it from accruing the wealth of “Skills” Amazon’s Alexa has garnered from developers over the past few years. There is, of course, the chance that HomePod-in-person will charm in ways that HomePod-in-theory could not communicate. That’s certainly been the case with AirPods: Apple’s Bluetooth headphones seemed, on paper at least, to be fairly expensive wireless earbuds with fewer controls than existing rivals. In practice, though, the tight integration with iOS and macOS, along with their “they just work” nature leave AirPods as arguably Apple’s best product of 2017. The hope in Cupertino, therefore, is almost certainly that the HomePod experience is transformative in-person in much the same way. Problem is, whereas for many headphones are an essential accessory, a speaker – even a smart one – is not. There, the $349 price tag and restrictions around third-party services will undoubtedly leave many waiting it out to see whether Apple, and others willing to navigate the HomePod’s hurdles, will truly commit. Apple’s HomePod was delayed, and all we got when it finally showed up was a new release date. Surprise bubbled around the announcement of the smart speaker’s February 9 launch earlier this week, after Apple failed to use its extra time to address some of the more frequent criticisms HomePod faced when it debuted roughly eight months ago. No multi-room playback at release, no expansion to grudgingly accommodate third-party music services, and no price change from $349. Story TimelineApple HomePod can recognize multiple voices, mute SiriApple HomePod release date revealed at long lastiOS 11.2.5 release adds HomePod support and Siri NewsThis is how the HomePod will win according to Tim Cook
While primarily known for being a processor manufacturer, Intel has dipped its toes into all things silicon. Optane is its relatively new attempt at leaving a mark in the data storage market. Of course, Intel is keeping its secret sauce secret, but Optane is primarily built on Intel’s and Micron’s 3D Xpoint storage technology.The problem with these high-speed storage options is that they are often priced and packaged beyond consumers’ reach. Intel changed that with the 900P last year, which came in a U.2 15 mm (2.5-inch) drive as well as a larger add-in card. The 800P, in comparison, comes in a more familiar M.2 2280 SSD form.The SSD slots into an NVMe PCI 3.0 slot but only uses an x2 connection instead of the x4 of the 900P. Presuming you have more than one M.2 slot, this means you can RAID two Optane 800Ps together. That is also presuming you can afford more than one stick at all.The Intel Optane 800P comes in two capacities. There’s a 58 GB one for $130 and a 118 GB for $200. That’s a slightly higher per-gigabyte cost than the even the 900P, which might discourage some from opting for an Optane solution. With improvements in processors and volatile memory (RAM) technologies, data storage has become the bottle neck in computing performance, be it in mobile devices or, especially, in PCs. While there are still a lot of factors going in favor of HDDs, SSDs have become the go to solution for fast data access. Intel, however, has been boasting that it could do better with its Optane SSDs. Aimed initially at data centers and enterprise customers, Intel brought that technology to consumers with last year’s 900P and now with the more compact 800P M.2 Optane SSD.
Though the robot isn’t quite at the level of human activities, Boston Dynamics has made great strides over the last couple years. The company has published many videos of the robot, which used to lumber stiffly and be tethered to its controller with a large bundle of cables. The latest video shows the robot quickly climbing three steps, using one leg and a quick hop for each elevation change. Boston Dynamics points out that Atlas is using its whole body, this including the arms and torso, to perform the jumps. The step height was 40cm / 15in, according to the company, which says Atlas never lost its pace when climbing the steps. After ascending them, the robot breaks into a fast sprint, doing so on two legs without anything external to stabilize it.AdChoices广告Atlas is only one of many robots developed by Boston Dynamics, which demonstrated a version of its SpotMini with an arm attachment earlier this year. The dog-like robot, which walks on four legs, was shown opening a closed door on its own, as well as breaking free of an aggressive human. Boston Dynamics has published another video showcasing its Atlas robot and the new skills it has acquired. This video, simply called “Parkour Atlas,” shows the company’s Atlas robot perform a fairly basic parkour activity — quickly ascending three large steps — with a level of agility that is life-like.
Google hasn’t done a mid-range phone yet, bet it for the dearly departed Nexus line or the younger Pixel brand. It has indeed put some premium specs in not so premium designs, like the Nexus 5X but it still counted as a flagship phone. It will be interesting to see Google’s interpretation of this tier.Judging by some of the more persistent leaks, it might not differ that much after all. The biggest difference internally is the expected Snapdragon 670 and 64 GB storage in the Pixel 3a. Considering that the Pixel 3 has the same 4 GB of RAM, that could be considered almost high-end. The 3,000 mAh battery is only slightly better than the Pixel 3 even.If the tip is correct, then the Pixel 3a will also have an OLED screen instead of a cheaper LCD. With a 5.6-inch size and 2220×1080 resolution, that is almost on par with the Pixel 3. The Pixel 3a will also have a 12 megapixel camera but will supposedly have lower quality than the more expensive phone. Details for the Pixel 3a XL are still incomplete in comparison.On the outside, the most telling difference, at least when you hold it, would be the use of a polycarbonate (plastic) body instead of metal and glass. The phones will supposedly come in Clearly White and Just Black colors as well as a mystery new option. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are expected to launch in Spring and, just like any other Pixel, will be on Verizon exclusively for carrier-locked models. Story TimelinePixel 3 Lite XL shows up as Pixel 3a XL in benchmarkPixel 3 Lite release with Pixel Watch leads rumored Google strategy shiftPixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL are the still MIA Pixel Lite phones The Pixel 4 is already generating some discussion thanks to some unofficial renders but Google still has one last hurrah to give before it closes the Pixel 3 chapter. Yes, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, formerly Pixel 3 Lite and 3 Lite XL, have yet to break cover but that might not be long now. And when they do, there might not be much left in the way of unexpected features thanks to a few key details that have leaked about this mid-range phones.
Had enough of Windows 10’s hassles? Unless you plan to install Windows 7, which is going to lose support from Microsoft on January 14, 2020, or have the cash to spare for an Apple device, there aren’t many other options for a computer operating system except some flavor of Linux. Although you can expect a learning curve when changing platforms, Windows users who are curious about the state of Linux for mainstream computing might come away surprisingly satisfied after finding a suitable distribution for their machine and spending time getting familiar with the new environment.Here are five-plus reasons why you could easily wind up preferring Linux instead of Windows as the default operating system on your desktop or laptop:A curated software catalog like mobile platformsSoftware known to be compatible with a specific version of Linux is maintained in a central catalog or “repository” akin to mobile platforms such as iOS or Android. Although you can download individual applications from websites and install them with a package manager that automates the process similar to Windows, finding new programs on Linux is generally as simple as searching for it in the software repository and clicking install. Deleting that application is also a single click.Smoother update process for the OS and softwareWhereas Windows updates are often laggy and frequently require reboots, updates on Linux are fast and rarely call for a restart. Updates are typically downloaded through a “Software Updater” application that not only checks for operating system patches, but also includes updates for the programs that you’ve installed from the repository. This is easier and inherently more secure than having to individually seek and install the latest version of each application on your machine.Highly customizable, especially the desktop interfaceBeyond the wildly different configurations that each copy of Linux comes with, their interfaces are highly customizable and can resemble a Windows or Mac environment – or some combination of the two. For instance, Ubuntu MATE (the Linux distribution pictured in this article) has a “MATE Tweak” utility that lets you choose between several interfaces which are similar to Windows, OS X and others. These can be further adjusted to your liking – more so than any other operating system.More lightweight than Windows & less data extractionWindows is increasingly bloated as Microsoft tries to serve a variety of markets with the same platform. Besides cramming in a scattered array of features, the company has gradually implemented monetization schemes and methods for extracting user data. This is less of a concern on Linux, which is available in sizes spanning from well under 1GB to more feature-packed builds of 4GB and beyond. Of note, I get more laptop battery life on Ubuntu MATE than Windows 10.(Pro tip: You can trim Windows 10 ISOs to as little as 700MB with NTLite)Linux is generally more secure & free foreverUnless you buy a Windows 10 key from eBay or got in during the free upgrade (the license from which isn’t as easily transferred to new machines), Microsoft’s operating system costs upwards of $100. While some copies Linux cost money for premium software and support, most of them are free. Additionally, because less people use Linux, the platform is less targeted by malware and tends to be more secure than Windows. And again, Windows 7 will lose support in January 2020.Some final thoughts about switching from Windows to LinuxWhile relearning a new operating system can be daunting, switching from Windows to Linux is more than doable with some dedication. In most cases, major Windows programs have already been developed for Linux. If not, equivalents to Windows applications are generally available, such as LibreOffice being a stand-in for Microsoft Office.Folks who depend on a lot of Windows-exclusive software or who are in the middle of a hectic project may not want to make the switch. However, beyond software availability and compatibility concerns, the main reason to feel like returning to Microsoft’s operating system is simply that you’re already used to that platform and don’t want to endure the process of learning a new environment.No software is perfect of course and Linux has plenty of its own quirks, but if you’re concerned about Windows becoming more bloated and less privacy-centric, this situation is bound to get worse over time and will only present more of a case for making the switch to Linux.To provide you with a light at the end of the tunnel if you recently installed Linux and are questioning the move, keep in mind that besides the software being free forever, you can install some variant of the operating system on virtually any device, which should make your efforts worthwhile over the long haul.
Volvo has inked a deal with LIDAR-maker Luminar, that will see the car company take a stake in the sensor maker for autonomous vehicles. The investment is the first from the newly-founded Volvo Cars Tech Fund, which the Swedish automaker plans to use to to give its upcoming vehicles an edge when it comes to things like driverless technology. Volvo already uses Luminar sensors, on its test fleet of autonomous cars. The LIDAR firm isn’t just developing laser range-finders, but a so-called “perception development platform” that actually tries to interpret that data. Volvo will be the first company to get its hands on that platform, which is designed to handle labeling and annotating objects spotted in the LIDAR field. LIDAR – or Light Detection and Ranging – builds a 3D map of the environment by reflecting a laser off anything within line-of-sight of the car. Those points of reflection build a so-called point cloud: a mesh of dots that are typically color coded to show distance and other factors. From that point cloud, and with the right software, it’s possible to figure out what each cluster of dots represents. That’s harder than it sounds, however. LIDAR data in and of itself doesn’t have any inherent understanding of what each cluster is: while humans looking at the point cloud might be able to differentiate cars, pedestrians, trees, and other objects, an autonomous vehicle’s AI needs to be trained to identify those things. Otherwise, for example, while it can be confident there’s an obstacle in the roadway ahead, it won’t be able to infer what the likely behaviors of that obstacle might be. LIDAR’s challenge has always been cost and complexity. Luminar’s big claim is that its homegrown technology is not only better at seeing fully reflective objects at range, but dark objects too. Rather than a spinning array, it has a single laser and a single receiver, that rapidly scans across the field of view. It leaves the company’s sensors much smaller, but Luminar claims they’re also 40x more powerful, 50x higher in resolution, and exhibit 10x the range of current rivals. The first sensor using the technology was announced back in April 2018, with Luminar hoping to scale production to 5,000 units per quarter by the end of the year. In addition to Volvo, it’s also working with the Toyota Research Institute, and two other as-yet-unannounced partners.Volvo hasn’t said how much it has pumped into Luminar for the Cars Tech Fund’s stake, nor when it might begin fitting the sensor to production vehicles. The automaker announced its Vision 2020 project four years ago, a commitment that “by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car,” according to company president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson. Story TimelineVolvo and auto safety firm team on self-driving car tech spin-offThe limits of semi-autonomous driving tech: We go Volvo Pilot Assist II winter testingVolvo cars and trucks to share live vehicle data for safety
When you get the opportunity to drive a concept car, and to be ahead of a superhero like Tony Stark, you don’t say no. No, I’m not the genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist I wanted to be growing up – I’m still working on that – but getting to try out the Audi e-tron GT Concept is perhaps the next best thing. Now, Tony Stark already drove this car in the filming of the upcoming Avengers 4 movie, but when Audi brought it out from fresh under the LA Auto Show 2018 spotlights and onto the streets of downtown Los Angeles, it was still well ahead of the release of the movie, not to mention years before the production model arrives in dealerships. Concept cars – as I’ve found before – can be fickle things, and it was touch and go for a couple of days since Mother Nature was determined to “rain” on our parade. Luckily, come the afternoon I was due to take the wheel, the skies cleared for that all-important 90-minute window.I can’t blame the excess of caution. Audi told me that the e-tron GT Concept is simply that right now, a concept car, and it won’t do well on wet roads. With only one in existence, I wasn’t keen on breaking it. AdChoices广告All the same, Audi’s kid-glove treatment is at odds with your first impression of the car, outside and in. As with most other EVS, the silence inside the cabin is deafening. There’s very little noise from outside, if any: the electric motors are hushed to begin with, and then Audi lavishes special foam insulation inside the firewall. In the Audi e-tron GT, the foam is more than double in thickness compared to a regular road-car. Since there’s no engine sound to think about, this feature is more oriented towards isolating the cabin from road noise. So no, this first drive experience is not about judging the performance of the car in high-speed, pedal-to-the-metal driving. If the low seating position and girth of the e-tron GT Concept is any indication, though, Audi is pulling out all the stops to ensure its Grand Tourer EV won’t be shamed on twisty mountain roads by the Tesla Model S or indeed anything else that shows up between now and market launch.Few changes will occur – or are needed, in my opinion – to the design before that point. I’d say it’s one of the most gorgeous 4-door GT cruisers I’ve ever laid eyes on, simply oozing the aura of a proper sports car. “It took us three-quarters of the year to really nail the design,” Parys Cybulski, of Audi Exterior Design, told me. And by that, Cybulski is mainly referring to the rear quarter panels. In a conventional car, the shoulder line and the quarter panels are two different elements. In the Audi e-tron GT, however, the those two elements come together in a single fusion, creating a smooth, flowing, and muscular stance. “But the front of the e-tron GT is also difficult to design,” Cybulski added. “We had to integrate the sensors and air intakes with the overall theme in the front.”That theme required a change in perspective, given the traditional design focus of internal combustion cars.”We visualize Quattro with a blister on top of all four wheels,” Marc Lichte, Audi Head of Design, explained. That explains the wide, low, prominent stance of the e-tron GT. “The heart of every car is the engine, which is emphasized with the power dome hood,” Lichte continues. “But since the Audi e-tron GT has no engine in the front, we found no need to design a powerful hood.” Instead the car plays to other strengths. “Much of the detail is focused on the lower panel in the doors,” Lichte points out. “The batteries are the heart of an electric car, so we focused our attention in accentuating the three-dimensional shape in the lower part of the vehicle, which suggests something powerful is going on behind the lines.”Even the design of the door handles received the royal treatment. “We discussed the door handles a lot,” added Lichte. “The door handles in the production model will be more tapered to match the curves in the doors.”The Audi e-tron GT Concept sits low in the ground. And I mean really low. The car itself is sculpted to be as low as possible to improve the center of gravity, ending up only a tad higher than the Audi R8, though longer and wider to accommodate four in comfort. This got me thinking: could the new Audi e-tron GT aesthetic also be the reinterpretation of the new R8? “It’s too early to talk about a new R8, but we have many ideas,” Lichte said, gently but firmly shutting me down. No matter. If Audi can do for its supercar what it is doing for its super-GT EV, I won’t be disappointed. The dashboard flows from the center console to the front door panels, which gives the car an elegant feeling of expansiveness. There are no straight lines inside the cabin. Everything is rounded, slanted, and angled. In other words, it feels supremely high-tech and purposeful. It’ll be paired with systems that perform as well as they look. Audi says a new version of its MMI infotainment is currently in development, which will be strictly for the e-tron GT only. When the production car arrives at Audi showrooms come 2020, you can expect better graphics, simpler menus, and a more intuitive user experience. Audi says the e-tron GT Concept is 90- to 99-percent ready for production. They still need to finalize a couple of things, like the energy recuperation system and the suspension configuration, before relaying the go-signal for production. As I closed the door behind me, though, I couldn’t help but think how the vehicle is not the “Tesla killer” that many people are touting it to be. Instead, driving the Audi e-tron GT Concept made it clear that this isn’t only seriously threatening Tesla, but putting conventional gasoline-powered vehicles on life support. Welcome to the future. Story TimelineAudi E-Tron GT all-electric super sedan previewedAudi e-tron GT Concept is a drop-dead gorgeous 4-door EVThe Audi e-tron GT is capable and covetable2019 Audi e-tron SUV First Drive Review Things do get more aurally interesting once you’re underway, with the e-tron GT Concept sounding much like a spaceship. The twin electric motors provide instant torque from the get-go. I didn’t get the chance to push it – again, Audi was preaching caution, and there was a chaperone alongside me and even a motorcycle escort to make sure I didn’t go rogue – and the combination of low-profile show-floor tires, potholed roads, and priceless prototype meant testing the 590 horsepower and 3.5 second 0-60 mph time would’ve been ill-advised anyway. The LA traffic instead gave me time to appreciate the beauty and careful ergonomics of the cabin. Audi e-tron GT Concept Gallery
The Rev-1 delivery robot is fast enough to hit the bike laneCloseAs many folks continue to look skyward in expectation of drone delivery services, they’re missing the development of an increasingly popular delivery technology back on terra firma.Wheel-based delivery robots may not be quite as sexy as their flying counterparts, but with fewer regulatory hoops to jump through than drone services, the technology is likely to become more widely used sooner rather than later by companies looking to make their delivery operations more efficient.The latest outfit to join the race is U.S. startup Refraction A.I. with its autonomous Rev-1 machine.The brainchild of University of Michigan professors Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan, the Rev-1 tootles along on three wheels instead of the four or six that we see with most of the competition. The wheels and storage compartment mean the look of the Rev-1 is similar to efforts from dominant player Starship Technologies, as well as delivery robots from FedEx and Amazon. Meanwhile, more extreme variations include the Digit from Oregon-based Agility Robotics, which has created a bipedal robot capable of tackling steps and other obstacles that cause problems for most — though not all — wheel-based bots.The Rev-1 tips the scales at about 100 pounds and can reach a speed of up to 15 mph, making it 5 mph faster than Starship’s machine. Its storage compartment offers 16 cubic feet of space, which the company says is good for around four or five grocery bags.As with similar machines, when the Rev-1 arrives at its destination, the recipient can unlock the storage box by entering a one-time code into the robot’s keypad.The self-driving robot uses 12 cameras as its main sensor system though it receives extra situational data via radar and ultrasound sensors. Similar robots also use lidar and fewer cameras, but Johnson-Roberson said that its system is reliable enough to eliminate the need for pricey lidar technology — a decision that’s enabled it to keep costs down and price the Rev-1 at $5,000.Johnson-Roberson describes the Rev-1 as “lightweight, nimble, and fast enough to operate in the bike lane and on the roadway,” adding that it can also handle rough weather conditions that have the potential to slow down or hinder competing machines.Refraction A.I. says its first test application is with restaurant partners, with the company hoping to expand to other areas of last-mile delivery over time. Walmart Grocery challenges Amazon with a new $98-a-year delivery option Uber Eats’ drone delivery service could see Big Macs hit speeds of 70 mph This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas Meatballs and pastries offered by Wing’s first European drone delivery service The rise and reign of Starship, the world’s first robotic delivery provider Editors’ Recommendations
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 a range of stories related to the implementation of the health law, and the politics surrounding it. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Advocates Say California Is Rejecting ‘Free Money’ To Renew Poor People’s InsuranceNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Anna Gorman reports: “Consumer advocates and some legislators were surprised and frustrated when California health officials recently refused a $6 million donation to help people re-up their Medi-Cal health coverage. Now two senators have proposed an unusual solution: a bill to force the state to accept the offer from The California Endowment” (Gorman, 7/4). Check out what else is on the blog.Politico: Obamacare’s Next Threat: A September SurpriseObamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not. Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms. The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again (Dovere, 7/7).Politico: Why Liberals Are Abandoning The Obamacare Employer MandateMore and more liberal activists and policy experts who help shape Democratic thinking on health care have concluded that penalizing businesses if they don’t offer health insurance is an unnecessary element of the Affordable Care Act that may do more harm than good. Among them are experts at the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund and prominent academics like legal scholar Tim Jost. … Leading Democrats in Congress aren’t bolting from the employer mandate, at least not before the November election (Winfield Cunningham and Cheney, 7/6).The Washington Post: Restaurant-Specific Insurance Exchange Debuts In D.C. As a former Matchbox employee married to a Graffiato bartender, Alisia Kleinmann knows a thing or two about the lack of health insurance in the restaurant industry. “My husband is 35 years old. We have two kids. He never had insurance,” said Kleinmann, president of the hospitality trade organization Industree. “I just kept thinking, something has to change. Something has to get better.” Last week Kleinmann, 33, rolled out Industree Exchange, a private insurance exchange geared at Washington-area restaurants and bars with more than 100 employees (Bhattarai, 7/6).USA Today: Rise In Part-Time Workers Worries Some ExpertsAmong the few worrisome signs in Friday’s generally encouraging employment report was a sharp rise in the number of part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs. The total jumped by 275,000 to 7.5 million, the Labor Department said. … The Affordable Care Act, which requires firms with at least 50 employees to provide health insurance to those working at least 30 hours, also could be prompting some businesses to hire more part-time workers, [Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics] (Davidson, 7/6).The Wall Street Journal: Sign-Ups Not the Only Way To Gauge Health Law’s SuccessIn April, after enrollment for Obamacare had closed, the president announced that 8 million people had signed up … While sign-ups exceeded expectations, other measures are more important and, at this point, uncertain. For example, relatively few young people signed up. Significantly more females, who are pricier to insure, enrolled than males. And little is known about the overall health of the sign-up group, although early studies suggest they are older and sicker than other insured Americans. To keep up with enrollment projections, twice as many people must sign up next year (McGinty, 7/4).The Washington Post: What Obamacare Means For Your Investment Portfolio[The Affordable Care Act s] overhauling the business of health care — for hospitals and insurers, doctors and patients. For investors, that means tracking a new roster of winners and losers across the industry. The nearly $3 trillion industry, long considered a recession-proof holding for investors looking to play it safe, now also exhibits the kind of growth that appeals to investors looking for a hot new stock. Health-care spending in the U.S. accounts for a whopping 18 percent of GDP (Marte, 7/4).USA Today/The Tennessean: Couple Splits Up To Stay InsuredThe day Linda Drain put baby’s breath in her hair and said “I do,” she had no idea that government policies would tear her apart from her husband. But 33 years later, she and her husband, Larry Drain, separated so she could keep her health insurance. Six months into the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Drains are among 162,000 Tennesseans who got caught in a coverage gap. Their household income is too little to qualify for a government subsidy to buy health insurance, and they live in a state not expanding Medicaid (Wilemon, 7/6).The Associated Press: Judge To Mull Senator’s Suit Over Health ExchangesA federal judge will hear arguments this week on whether to toss a U.S. senator’s lawsuit challenging rules that force congressional members and their staffs to obtain government-subsidized health insurance through small business exchanges. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin contends that senators, representatives and their employees aren’t eligible for the exchanges under the federal health care law because they work for a government that employs millions. Government attorneys have asked U.S. District Judge William Griesbach to throw the case out of court. They argue Johnson hasn’t shown how the rules hurt him or his staff (Richmond, 7/6).The Associated Press: Senate Democrats Try To Pull Focus From ObamacareNorth Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has her Republican opponent right where she wants him geographically — and, therefore, politically. Thom Tillis is stuck at the state capitol trying to resolve a budget quarrel as speaker of the North Carolina House. It’s a spot that helps Hagan emphasize Tillis’ role leading a Republican-controlled state government that Democrats contend has gone overboard with conservative zeal by restricting access to abortion and the voting booth while cutting corporate taxes and slashing spending on schools (Babington, 7/6).The Wall Street Journal: House Centrists In Both Parties Are Under AttackRep. Collin Peterson plays in a rock band named the Second Amendments. His staff includes a former GOP state legislator. He voted against the Affordable Care Act, and he worked with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) to hash out part of this year’s farm bill. For more than two decades, Mr. Peterson’s conservative bent and focus on agricultural policy has helped him maintain his hold on the western Minnesota district he flies himself around in a Beechcraft Bonanza single-engine plane. But as one of just seven Democrats running for re-election in districts lost by President Barack Obama in 2012, he faces a new level of scrutiny this election cycle as he seeks his 13th term in the House. As the ranks of centrist lawmakers in both parties have thinned, political operatives’ efforts to oust them have intensified (Peterson, 7/6).The New York Times: The Health Care Waiting GameOne small consolation of our high-priced health care system — our $2.7 trillion collective medical bill — has been the notion that at least we get medical attention quickly. … Yet there is emerging evidence that lengthy waits to get a doctor’s appointment have become the norm in many parts of American medicine, particularly for general doctors but also for specialists. And that includes patients with private insurance as well as those with Medicaid or Medicare (Rosenthal, 7/5).NPR: For Many Americans, Stress Takes A Toll On Health And FamilyStress is part of the human condition, unavoidable and even necessary to a degree. But too much stress can be toxic – even disabling. And there’s a lot of toxic stress out there. A national poll done by NPR with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that more than one in every four Americans say they had a great deal of stress in the previous month (Knox and Neighmond, 7/7). USA Today: Feds Push Electronic Records That Make Fraud EasierThe federal government is rewarding doctors and hospitals for moving to electronic health records — and will soon punish them if they don’t — even though these records currently make it easier for health care providers to defraud government-paid health programs, fraud experts say (O’Donnell, 7/6).The Wall Street Journal: House Attorneys Seek Dismissal Of SEC SuitLawyers for the U.S. House of Representatives asked a federal judge to reject a lawsuit the Securities and Exchange Commission filed against Congress in June, saying the suit amounts to “a remarkable fishing expedition for congressional records.” The move late Friday is the latest in a power struggle between two branches of government in a possible insider-trading case (Ackerman, 7/4).The New York Times: Obama Weighs Steps To Cover ContraceptionThe Obama administration, reeling from back-to-back blows from the Supreme Court this week, is weighing options that would provide contraceptive coverage to thousands of women who are about to lose it or never had it because of their employers’ religious objections. … One proposal the White House is studying would put companies’ insurers or health plan administrators on the spot for contraceptive coverage, with details of reimbursement to be worked out later (Pear and Liptak, 7/4).The Associated Press: Nonprofits’ Contraceptive Cases Next For JusticesHow much distance from an immoral act is enough? That’s the difficult question behind the next legal dispute over religion, birth control and the health law that is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court. The issue in more than four dozen lawsuits from faith-affiliated charities, colleges and hospitals that oppose some or all contraception as immoral is how far the Obama administration must go to accommodate them (7/6).The Washington Post: High Court’s College Birth-Control Ruling May Further Outrage Democrats, Mobilize ThemDemocrats have crafted much of their strategy in 2014 — a midterm year in which securing a House majority seems improbable and they may lose control of the Senate — around the imperative of turning out women voters, especially unmarried women. … Within hours of the Hobby Lobby decision, progressive and left-leaning groups that focus on women’s issues, such as Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List, were using it for midterm fundraising. On the right, the Hobby Lobby decision galvanized groups that saw it as an opportunity to file many more lawsuits such as Wheaton’s (Lowery, 7/4).The Wall Street Journal: Christian School’s Relief On Contraception Coverage Could Embolden OthersThursday’s order, which sets no legal precedent and applies only to Wheaton, allows the school to avoid covering birth control without filing a form with its insurer asserting religious objections to emergency contraception—which would trigger the third-party coverage. The order will expire once a federal appeals court rules in the school’s case. Dozens of religious nonprofit schools, organizations and business owners have pursued legal challenges to the health care law’s birth-control-coverage requirements. … But entities could request arrangements like the one spelled out in the Wheaton injunction while their cases are pending in federal courts (Bravin, 7/4).Kaiser Health News also tracked headlines over the weekend related to this development (7/4).The Associated Press: Free Birth Control Is Emerging Standard For WomenMore than half of privately insured women are getting free birth control under President Barack Obama’s health law, a major coverage shift that’s likely to advance. This week the Supreme Court allowed some employers with religious scruples to opt out, but most companies appear to be going in the opposite direction. Recent data from the IMS Institute document a sharp change during 2013. The share of privately insured women who got their birth control pills without a copayment jumped to 56 percent, from 14 percent in 2012. The law’s requirement that most health plans cover birth control as prevention, at no additional cost to women, took full effect in 2013 (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/6).The Wall Street Journal: Illinois Supreme Court Rules Against Cuts In Retiree Health BenefitsA ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court Thursday is casting new doubts on an overhaul of the public employee retirement system that passed last year to prop up the state’s deeply underfunded pensions. The court ruled health-insurance subsidies for retired state workers are protected under the Illinois Constitution, siding with public-sector unions who challenged cuts to the benefits passed by lawmakers two years ago. The decision set off renewed debate over the constitutionality of a larger overhaul of the retirement system, which passed last fall and is being challenged by state workers and retirees on similar grounds (Peters, 7/3).Los Angeles Times: San Francisco Is Likely To Approve Laura’s Law Mental Health ProgramFamily members of those who have suffered multiple mental health crises and refuse help or fail to stick with it are begging for a Laura’s Law program — which could court-order the intractably ill into outpatient treatment. Police officers and firefighters who see the same people cycle through hospitalizations and jail want it too. Then there are the mental health consumers who are well enough to speak of the trauma inflicted by coercive care. It doesn’t work, they say. It drives people from treatment (Romney, 7/6).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: July 7, 2014
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 23, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Evans officially claimed Jaguar’s first and so far only FE podium finish with third place at the second Hong Kong race in season four, but did not get to stand on the rostrum as he finished fourth on the road and was promoted when race winner Daniel Abt was disqualified for a technical passport infringement.More From Formula E At the launch of Jaguar’s I-TYPE 3 Gen2 car on Wednesday, team principal James Barclay stated that the squad’s goal for its third FE season is to be “in the points in every race and fighting for podiums”.Evans explained that achieving regular podiums was his driving motivation ahead of the new season.“I’ve gone over a year now, in terms of spraying champagne and getting consistent silverware, and for me, that’s my main drive and that’s everyone else’s motive here as well, to be succeeding,” he told Motorsport.com.“It does hurt when you finish a race and you’re not on the podium and I really want to end that.“That’s literally what drives me every day to make sure we are in good shape for next year.“Podiums consistently would be a good thing, but if we get a win or two, that’d be nice as well.”After finishing last in the FE teams’ championship in its debut campaign in 2016/17, Jaguar improved to sixth in season four, with Evans also taking its first FE pole at the Zurich round.When asked by Motorsport.com if there was extra pressure on Jaguar to produce big results in its third FE season, Barclay said: “There’s always pressure – pressure from ourselves most importantly.“We are a team of people that are here because we want to be successful, and none of us ever go home happy at night unless we’re on the podium or on the top step, that’s kind of what it’s about for us.“We have a business that really supports why we are here, it’s a key objective for Jaguar to be leading at the forefront of electrification technology, and we all want to do well for the company that we represent.“Jaguar has an illustrious history in this sport – I’d like us to write that next successful chapter in that history, so that’s what we’re all pushing to achieve.”Source: Motorsport Source: Electric Vehicle News Jaguar Unveils Gen2 Formula E Car, Confirms Line-Up Formula 1 Going All-Electric Claims Are Nonsense, Says FIA President Nissan Buys Stake In e.dams Formula E Team Jaguar Formula E driver Mitch Evans says he is driven “every day” to end the “hurt” over the British team’s lack of consistent podium finishes in the electric championship.
This article originally appeared in Charged Issue 39 – September/October 2018 – Subscribe now. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Stamping precision parts for automotive-grade motor manufacturingThe demands of the automotive industry are unlike any other. Carmakers require that their suppliers deliver millions of parts with incredibly tight tolerances that will not fail after a decade of daily use. The companies that manufacture parts for ICEs have grown increasingly sophisticated and disciplined in the past 50 years.EV technology suppliers have had some catching up to do. For example, there are large global companies that have been producing parts for electric motors and power electronics for a long time. However, they quickly learned that the automotive world is quite different than the industrial applications and consumer appliance markets they’ve been supplying for decades.“When this e-mobility movement started, the first-generation motor designs were based on the best industrial motors,” Erik Hilinski told Charged. Hilinski is Senior Director of Steel Technology and Quality at Tempel, an independent manufacturer of precision magnetic steel laminations for motors, generators and transformers. “Since then, the engineers in the auto industry realized they could do much better than building around an industrial motor,” said Hilinski. “So they redesigned the motors to run with ideal working points and deliver the best torque and efficiency for any given car.”At this point in the history of the EV industry, a lot of design decisions are still driven by range. A 0.50% improvement in motor efficiency is something that automakers will pay a premium for, because it directly translates into getting more range without increasing the size of the battery pack. Some automakers are now in their third-generation design phase, continually pushing performance of these systems to the next level of torque, speed and efficiency. To get there, engineers are incorporating new steel formulations and the latest and greatest motor designs and topologies. Electrical steels are soft magnetic materials found at the heart of electric motors. They’re typically manufactured by steel mills in cold-rolled strips. Tempel’s job is to stamp steel into precisely-shaped thin laminations, which are then stacked together to form the stator and rotor of a motor. The company works with many different steel suppliers to help meet the demands of auto OEMs. Better factories for tighter tolerances In first-generation EV motor designs, Tempel explains that the gap between the stator teeth and the outer diameter of the rotor, which is the rotating portion, was in the 1 mm range. “The designs have become progressively tighter,” said Craig Woodard, Tempel’s Director of Global Manufacturing Engineering. “Because the closer you move the magnets to the outer diameter, you’re essentially creating more torque, you’re going to get better transfer of the flux or the electrical energy between the rotor and stator. So now you’re seeing designs with gaps as small as 0.4 mm.”There is also a trend toward using thinner sheets of steel, because the thinner you make the electrical steel, the better the magnetic characteristics of the material are. Woodard said that most of the steel that Tempel stamps today for industrial applications is in the 0.50 to 0.72 mm range, whereas hybrid and EV designs are typically sized at 0.30, 0.27 and 0.25 mm.These may seem like simple specification changes, but the tightening specs have presented significant engineering challenges in manufacturing. “First of all, at 0.25 mm you’re nearing foil thickness,” said Zach Leveston, Tempel’s Senior Director for Global Engineering. “So, the technical complexity of stamping material that thin is much different than thicker steels used for traditional industrial motors.”“As your laminations get thinner, it gets more difficult to make a nice clean cut, and the tooling tolerances have to be tighter and tighter,” added Hilinski. “So as things get smaller, complexity builds upon itself. It’s an additive effect.”To meet the specs of performance EV designs, Tempel has developed unique capital equipment to support both the stamping and annealing processes. A 0.25 mm strip doesn’t have much rigidity, particularly when you’re trying to move it through a stamping die as fast as 250 strokes per minute. Special strip feeding equipment is required. And, as the lamination geometries become more complex, the stamping dies to produce the parts get longer. This necessitates stamping presses with longer press beds, more rigidity and better accuracy, which Tempel is specifying for all new production lines supporting hybrid and EV requirements. “There is also a meaningful reduction in output as the laminations get thinner and thinner, which can add to the cost of the rotor and stator cores,” said Leveston. “If you think about a stamping line or a steel mill that goes from producing a 0.30 mm thickness to 0.27 mm, they lose 10% of their effective capacity. You will need 10% more laminations to build the same size stack.”Tempel says it has developed a unique annealing process that can help motor designers meet efficiency specifications while using thicker steel sheets or alternatively improve torque and efficiency output at the same material thickness. Basically, it’s a heat-treating process, but instead of trying to induce better mechanical characteristics (which is common in the steel industry), the process is designed to induce better magnetic characteristics.“This is an area where Tempel has a very unique core competency,” said Leveston. “As the steel gets thinner, it makes the magnetics better, which makes the motors more efficient. What we’re able to do with our annealing process, for example, is take a 0.30 mm material and anneal it to have the magnetics of 0.27 mm material. Basically, it creates effective capacity for the steel mills without our customers having to sacrifice the magnetics for the thicker steels.”To manufacture top-of-line motor laminations, Tempel created a new top-of-line factory design that’s intended to be easily replicated in different regions as the demand grows. The first new factory, built in China, is predominately focused on making rotor and stator cores for hybrids and EVs.“The factory has all new state-of-the-art capital equipment, and both temperature and humidity are tightly controlled,” said Leveston. “The tolerances for new traction motor designs are in some cases twice as tight as they were just five years ago. To ensure that Tempel is capable of meeting those requirements, we are controlling every variable in the production process, including environmental conditions, to minimize process variability. We also have a positive-pressure environment and an air filtration system cleaning the air 8 times an hour to meet emerging technical cleanliness demands for traction motor applications.”Selecting the right steelElectrical steel is a unique class of materials and a niche product. While there are industry specifications which define performance, such as ASTM standards in North America, IEC or Euronorm for Europe, and JIS for Japan and Asia, the specified magnetic properties provided in these specifications used for grading purposes are not comprehensive enough for motor design. That kind of magnetic material performance data is not readily available in the public domain and must be requested from the steelmakers.“Total steel production in 2017 was about 1.4 billion metric tons,” said Leveston. “Electrical steels was only about 20 million metric tons. If you think about what people care about with steel, generally, it’s mechanical properties. But in the electric motor application the mechanics are really secondary. What we really care about is magnetics.”So, Tempel set out to compile the data itself. The company has an ongoing project to characterize magnetics for all the different electrical steel grades it can get its hands on. That is the primary function of the team Hilinski leads at Tempel, and his group has now assembled a database of over 1,800 steel samples.“We’ve evaluated the full magnetic characteristics of these steels,” said Hilinski. “This gives us the ability to sit down with a customer and say, ‘Let’s talk about the operating points of your motor. What’s more important to you? Do you want high torque? Do you want high efficiency?’ Based on that, we can send them data on three or four different steels which we think may be suitable. We actually send them the magnetic characterization of those steels, which they can just upload into their electromagnetic FEA simulation.”Tempel estimates that there are about 25 steel mills in the world that are producing steels for hybrid and EV applications. Each of those mills may have many variations of electrical steel products that all require testing, and Tempel says it has magnetic performance data on nearly all of them.Before joining Tempel, Hilinski was a Technical Manager at the US Steel Research and Technology Center – a leading supplier of flat-rolled steel – where he worked on developing different types of electrical steels. “Tempel maintains strong commercial and technical relationships with all major electrical steel mills globally,” said Hilinski. “For our customers, we’ll open up our full catalog of test data to find whatever will work best. Oftentimes a customer will come to us with designs that spec a specific steel from a specific mill, and we can show them with our data that a different steel from a different mill may actually provide better performance or be more cost-competitive.”These are very expensive steels – typically two to three times the price of a traditional coil of 1008 or 1010 material – because of how highly engineered they are and the R&D work that’s required to develop them. Since the cost of the raw material is the dominant portion of the lamination’s cost structure, it’s critically important to choose raw material wisely. That’s why Tempel will continue to invest in evaluating new grades of electrical steels for hybrid and EV applications so it can provide the best application engineering support possible to its customers.