We still don’t know exactly how many in the Newsweek/Daily Beast newsroom will be losing their jobs, but an anonymous source tells The New York Observer that it’s a “bloodbath” that could annihilate half the jobs in editorial.
The Observer acquired the somber memo editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty sent out to the staff.
Here it is:
To: All Staff
From: Tina Brown / Baba Shetty
The sad moment has arrived when we must go forth with the editorial staff reductions that we discussed in person with all of you several weeks ago. Employees in the affected positions will be notified today. Much of this has already happened on the business side, and today we will be letting staff on the editorial side know where we will be eliminating positions. This is a very difficult day, and one that we approach with enormous regret.
Anyone whose job (or job category) is affected will meet today with a senior member of the editorial team. No one will be asked to leave before December 31st (and many will stay at least into mid-January). Managers will be getting in touch later this afternoon with groups of affected employees to let them know when and where their particular meeting will take place. After the meetings with management, you should feel free to speak with Holly Antiuk or Lauren Strada for more specifics on all aspects of this transition. We are working to ensure that the process is handled as sensitively as possible.
Tina & Baba
Last week, Verizon filed a patent for a set-top box that detects what you’re doing while you watch TV, and serves you advertising accordingly. Ew, weird, companies watching what I do while I consume content. Big brother! Chill, son.
“Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User” describes a system by which a device captures information about what you’re doing while enjoying TV, movies, etc, and uses it to target advertising to you. Using a “a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor, and a thermal sensor” the system would be able to detect whether you’re fiddling with your phone, interacting with another person, as well as performing any of:
eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument.
Now, this might seem kind of creepy, but there’s a few important points to remember before you freak out and sound the privacy alarm. First, companies like Facebook, Google, etc, are capturing all sorts of information about what you’re consuming online and using it to serve you targeted advertising. Second, any system like this would almost certainly require you to opt-in before peeking into your life. Besides, how many of these patents actually turn into products, anyway? [USPTO via Ars Technica via Betabeat]
Could we be seeing the end of routine doctor visits?
Scientific American reports that researchers are testing a new system for electronic doctor visits that could potentially eliminate the need for patients to see a doctor for routine illnesses.
Patients would simply enter their symptoms and health record into an online system, and doctors would use this information to send a diagnosis and, when necessary, a prescription.
Early reports suggest that such diagnoses were just as accurate as those given in person, although there are still some kinks that need to be ironed out:
Researchers analyzed some 5,000 doctor visits for sinus infections and 3,000 visits for urinary tract infection. Less than 10 percent of all visits were electronic. One possible e-visit drawback: doctors were more likely to prescribe antibiotics after an e-visit than a face-to-face.
But patients with an e-visit had just about the same rate of follow up as those who had an office visit. Which suggests that there was not a higher rate of misdiagnosis or treatment failure online. E-visits were also cheaper.
Detractors will note that this program only applies to relatively routine illnesses, but even so, this is nothing to sneeze at.
One of the primary goals of Obamacare was to cut down on the use of expensive emergency room visits for routine medical care, which was clogging up emergency rooms and leading to millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills. This looks like a much cheaper and simpler way to accomplish the same thing.
Naturally, we’ll need to see more studies before these programs can be rolled out on a national scale, but this looks like a good place to start toward improving the ! efficien cy of the health care system. Massive, top-down reforms like Obamacare get most of the attention, but it is smaller innovations like these will do the most to shape the healthcare of the future.
It also seems clear that letting consumers benefit from cheaper prices is a way to push the health care system as a whole toward less costly methods. E-visits for routine problems (and ultimately, perhaps, e-visits to nurses rather than to physicians) can offer better, faster, more convenient service at a lower price. Moving in directions like this is the kind of health care reform we desperately need.
Medical research facility Cleveland Clinic and IBM are teaming up to develop ways to let supercomputer Watson become a useful tool for doctors. The machine’s ability to analyze language and scour its database for answers is hoped to offer quicker and more exhaustive diagnoses for patients. As modern medical students spend less time memorizing diseases, they’re focusing on learning how to think critically and navigate the huge amount of available data. Big Blue is also hoping that the Jeopardy champion will learn how to digest a person’s medical records in order to match up their history with maladies. We’re just nervous that someone will give Watson a telepresence robot and send him out onto the wards — you’d be worried about his bedside manner if you’ve seen his ruthless quizzing manner.
http://w ww.engadget.com/2012/10/30/cleveland-clinic-watson/”>Cleveland Clinic and IBM team up to make Watson a Doctor (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 30 Oct 2012 15:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Ahead of Google’s Android event on the 29th there’s additional confirmation of a storage upgrade for the Nexus 7, as 32GB units have now been spotted on shelves at US retailers. Seemingly dead-set on matching the LG E960 “Mako” Nexus G for the title of worst-kept secret, we’ve received this photo of a tag for the new unit at a Sam’s Club (with a placeholder price). Reports on Android Central and The Verge also mention hardware spotted at Staples locations, with one person actually succeeding in buying one. All of that follows a listing on the Staples website and one Japanese buyer apparently receiving one early by accident. According to the tags and receipts, the new units are scheduled to go on sale the same day as the Android event, and at the same $249 price of the current 16GB model. Now that the alleged Sony Nexus phone has been exposed as a fake we don’t know if there will be any surprises left, but if you want to buy anything from Google’s brand then patience (or at least shopping around) is probably your best strategy.
32GB Nexus 7 tablets appear at ret! ail with $249 price tag, October 29th street date originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 19 Oct 2012 18:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Best Buy plans to match the price of internet retailers like Amazon over the holidays this year, as well as offering free home delivery when stores are out of stock.
According to a good ol’ “person familiar with the matter”, the electronics chain is assuming the strategy over the holiday season to draw customers away from shopping purely online. That’s something that will appeal to many consumers—especially those who prefer a traditional shopping experience.
It does, however, seem to contradict comments made by Best Buy’s new CEO Hubert Joly. He recently claimed that the prevalence of “showrooming”—where consumers head into shops to check out goods before ultimately buying online—has been blown out of proportion.
Maybe that contradiction is just reflective of the conundrum all big-box retailers face: they need to keep up with online retailers, but they don’t want to lose sight of what once made them successful. That’s a tough call.
Either way, price matching would inevitably draw in more custom. Would you buy something at Best Buy instead of ordering online, all prices being equal? [WSJ]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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