Monthly Archives: October 2015

Making Waves: New Tech Offers EKG via Smartphone

The next time you’re at the doctor’s office, don’t be offended if he or she checks a phone: chances are, they’re not checking how many likes their recent trip to Sonoma got on Facebook.

Start-up company Eko Devices recently had a digital device approved by the FDA that attaches to a conventional stethoscope. The device records, amplifies, and wirelessly sends heart sounds and waves to an iPhone application. The device goes on sale for $199 in early September. A complete stethoscope with the same capabilities will sell for $299.

Improving Continuum of Care

The device allows heart data to be transmitted wirelessly to a hospital’s electronic medical records system, making it easier for doctor’s to discern differences in heart patterns from previous exams. Additionally, doctors who don’t have as much experience in identifying subtle differences in arrhythmias can amplify and slow heart sounds to identify different heart conditions.

Saving Money and Lives

While the device is only being marketed to physicians as of now, in the future anyone with a smartphone may be able to purchase a stethoscope. This could be an invaluable tool for patients who suffer from potentially fatal heart arrhythmias like Long QT Syndrome. At the initial onset of symptoms, a patient can record their heart sounds and send ahead to their provider, who will be better prepared to start immediate treatment when they arrive.

The stethoscope was invented in 1819 by French physician Renee Laennec. Consisting of a hollow wooden tube, the doctor created the tool to diagnose women with heart palpitations, without having to deal with the embarrassing prospect of resting his head directly against their chests. He soon discovered that listening through his device was far superior to an ear to the chest.

The stethoscope has come a long way in its 200 years and will continue to save lives at the speed of technological advancement.

The Darker Side of Hacktivism

When word broke that hackers broke into and released names of users of Ashley Madison, a website geared to enabling extramarital affairs, the internet was ablaze. The hackers, known only as the Impact Team, claimed two motivations for releasing the names and billing addresses of the sites 32 million customers:

  • Attacking the site for its morally questionable mission of arranging affairs between married couples
  • Protesting the company’s business practices, which included a $19 dollar charge to have user data “scrubbed” from the site. Obviously, it wasn’t.

The story got even juicier when conservative mouthpiece and family values advocate Josh Duggar was revealed to be one of Ashley Madison’s users. The internet could hardly contain its glee at the hypocrisy. Several weeks and a $500,000 dollar bounty later, the story is still getting plenty of press time.

The fallout from the hack tells us that the victims of the Ashley Madison hack are exactly that- victims.

Unintended Consequences

At least two suicides have been linked to the Ashley Madison attack. This impact goes beyond exposing immoral behavior, it’s now affecting partners and children who have to cope with the loss of a spouse or parent. This kind of news vilifies the hacktivists more than the users of the site.

The Golden Rule

Just about everyone has data on the internet that they would rather keep hidden. Whether its payment information, search history, or delving into the more unsavory, everyone should have the right to some modicum for internet security. It’s an interesting ethical conundrum that is catching the attention of scholars worldwide. We can boil it down to simpler terms though: don’t go snooping into other people’s personal information if you wouldn’t want them snooping into yours.

Hacktivism cloaks itself in the veil of moral superiority and social justice, but the jury is still out on whether or not this is the case. Either way, it provides an interesting platform to discuss cybersecurity and should make us think twice about how we conduct ourselves online.

Tech Giants Team Up to Create Next Gen Video Format

The technology industry’s most powerful software makers, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Cisco, and Intel Corporation, have banded together to create the Alliance for Open Media, a group committed to creating open source and royalty-free video technology.

Companies like Amazon and Netflix pay by the millions for licensed codecs, which allow us to stream digital media on our devices.  The alliance is partly driven by costly royalty demands from HVEC Advance, who is producing codecs that require half the current required bandwidth to stream 4K video.

“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem,” said Executive Director Dave Frost in a press release. “The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery.”

So what does this mean for consumers of digital media?

More Stable Pricing

If digital media giants were forced to pay royalties on HVEC Advance’s new tech, the cost would inevitably trickle down to the consumer. Under this new alliance, consumers will have access to open source tech-made through collaboration between the leading experts in the field.

Faster Digital Streaming

Current media streaming can still be a little clunky when running multiple devices or when attempting to stream things with little buffer, like live sporting events. Under the alliance, consumers will have access to streaming with a low computational footprint and that can be used for user generated content.

Open source video technology is already changing the way we use the web. The Alliance for Open Media is making that possible. A venture of the Joint Development Foundation, this alliance is an independent non-profit, committed to providing infrastructure that leads to source code development collaborations.

Company Offers Investors a New Kind of Real Estate

Investment portfolios are generally stuffed with stocks, bonds, and real estate. This month, there’s a new kind of prime real estate available, but these aren’t hotels in the Bahamas; they’re Web 2.0 domains.

Cloud Income Properties Chairman Jeff Fagin says that they’ve created a revolutionary new Asset Class: pre-established websites that have a nice revenue stream. After two years of beta testing, the investing firm is rolling out a system that allows the general public to invest in domains with cash flow.

Investing in Web 2.0 is different than typical businesses because it’s entirely hands-off.  With a brick-and-mortar business you have to worry about things like longevity and ongoing capital injection. Established websites are low-upkeep and require little work, just invest and watch your capital build.

Of course, it’s not as easy as cashing a check. Purchasing a struggling website and renovating it to turn a profit still requires a little effort. A traditional real estate investment requires overhead and special permits to bring buildings up to code. With virtual real estate markets, renovations can be as easy as keyword placement of the monetization element on the site. Too often, traditional real estate investments lose money; in the virtual world, this is not a concern.

Another advantage to the virtual real estate market is that just about anyone can have a slice of the internet pie. It doesn’t take a multi-millionaire to get in on the ground floor; anyone with a modest chunk of cash can buy a piece of website real estate. Better yet, you can sell websites for several times what you paid for them.

Cloud Income Properties is a firm specializing in internet investing. We can explain this next step in portfolio business building, so that technology doesn’t leave you behind. To invest in website real estate, visit their website.