Snap Vs. Google Glass

Image: supplied by Snap.

Snapchat became popular in recent years because it is an app that allows you to share quick videos that disappear after a few minutes. 

Now the company wants to be a leader in the hardware business. 

Don’t discount Spectacles by Snapchat when you hear more about it. Just because the invention is another pair of glasses, doesn’t mean that it can’t make it. Google Glasses was a great idea. It just needed more time to be developed. 

Spectacles has a much more simple premise. It takes 10-second videos that automatically appear on the companion app, Snapchat. The company believes people want to take videos that resemble their field of vision. Folks who tested it, according to the articles that I have read, claim the videos are the closest thing they have ever seen that looks just like they were actually reliving the same scene over again.

All you have to do is press the button on the front of the eye glasses. The camera on the eye glasses employ a 115-degree lens. Spectacles will retail for $130 and will be available this Fall. 

To celebrate the new product, Snapchat has renamed itself Snap. The company has many more products coming down the pike. They want to be sure their name is short and sassy.

For more information on Snap, read the Verge, a tech site. Click here



Miami Marlins Star Pitcher José Fernández Killed Just Outside Our Window 

If you ever visited us, I’m sure we have walked you down the path next to government cut, the waterway that goes from Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Fisher Island is on one side, Smith & Wollensky and South Pointe Beach, on the other. 

MLB star José Fernández killed in boating accident. Image: CNN


José Fernández

That is the spot where Miami Marlins star pitcher, José Fernández, was killed early Sunday morning. He and two friends were at full speed when their boat hit a jetty. All three died. We saw and heard nothing. We only have a partial few of that area. 

It was a very sad day on South Beach. Coast Guard officials spotted the boat upside down on the rocky jetty around 3:00 am. All three men were in their 20s. No one knows for sure what happened.

On happier note today, Ari Schneider, my six –year-old grand nephew, attended his first Major League Baseball game. He is a big Mets fan, just like his father Sam and grandfather Steve. The Mets were thrilled to have Ari at their game and showed their appreciation with this welcoming banner.

Father and son

Grandpa Steve and Ari

Hillary’s Health and the ‘Best’ Doctors

The following was written by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which represents more than 2,400 tech companies and owns and produces CES. This first appeared in LinkedIn. Click here.

I wanted to share this with you because it could be a matter of life and death 

Gary with his wife, Dr. Susan Malinowski, and sons.

I married into a family of doctors, including my wife, a retina surgeon. For that reason, I smile every time I hear someone tell me their doctor is “the best.”

About half the time, they are wrong as, statistically, half of all doctors are below the median. Another smile comes from the old joke, “What do you call the person who graduated at the bottom of their medical school class?” The punch line: “Doctor.”
What does it mean to be the “best” doctor? Is it bedside manner, being empathetic, calm and experienced? Is it knowledge or creativity or seeing patterns where others don’t? Is it the number of patients seen in a day, or the number of successful outcomes?

The fact is, doctors vary in competence. But we should all strive to find the best medical care for our individual needs. This summer, my wife was honored to be asked to draft questions for, and administer oral exams to, eager young doctors seeking to be board-certified in her specialty. The experience requires a deep understanding of what everyone in her specialty should know to practice.

All medical specialties now require doctors to be recertified every 10 years. The scary part, however, is that the older doctors sitting on the specialty boards making this decision are exempt.

Think about that: The only specialty doctors not required today to be retested are those who probably haven’t taken a medical-knowledge exam in 30 years — and things have changed substantially since 1986 in every field of medicine. I’ve witnessed this rapid pace of change in my own work as head of the Consumer Technology Association. A decade ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Today, roughly three-quarters of U.S. households own a smartphone.

That said, most older physicians do try to keep up with the tremendous volume of new knowledge. And they have the advantage of experience. Even if they committed an error in the past, they should learn from it.

Having confidence in one’s doctor is important, but I also know that there are great doctors, and there are hacks. More, the medical profession has a code of silence, where doctors don’t report the hacks, but instead clean up their mistakes. 

If you want to know who the best surgeon is, ask the operating-room nurses. They see different doctors and know the masters and the pretenders. Another trick is to ask doctors who they would recommend if their own mother or son were sick.

Identifying the best doctor also depends on whether your ailment is unusual. If you have a common malady, go to a doctor who deals with it regularly. If you have something serious and uncommon, go to a teaching hospital.

One thing you shouldn’t do is think a doctor is good simply because a politician uses him or her. Two examples:

After Hillary Clinton’s recent very public collapse, her campaign revealed she had pneumonia. Three days later, her presidential campaign released summary health information, including that she was taking the blood thinner Coumadin and the antibiotic Levaquin. Yet a simple Google search revealed that these two types of drugs in combination rank among the 10 most dangerous combinations and should not be prescribed together. 

The fact that Clinton’s doctors and TV talking-head medical experts missed this – my cardiologist father-in-law noted it immediately – tells you something about the uncertain correlation between fame and competence.

The second example involves former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who while running for president had back surgery. His campaign collapsed after a debate performance in which, drugged following the surgery, he said that if elected, he would immediately shutter three government agencies, but embarrassingly only could cite two examples.  

A few months later, a friend of ours told us he was flying to Texas to have surgery (from the same doctor), which would take several hours and lay him up for days. When my wife asked why he chose this doctor, our friend said, “The doctor’s the best. He’s the governor’s doctor.” 

But when my wife suggested there are newer, less-invasive surgical techniques for his condition and suggested a West Coast contact, he got a second opinion. 

That was fortunate for him, as the resulting surgery was minimally invasive and took little time. He arrived, had the surgery and walked out of the hospital fully fixed, and has been fine since.

A final example is less positive. My wife saw a patient and quickly diagnosed him as having a rare manifestation of cancer, a cancer in the eye that had already metastasized through his body.  

She urged him to have it treated at an East Coast university hospital that had likely seen and successfully treated several cases like his. Instead, the patient got a second opinion that referred him to the wrong type of cancer specialist, one who focused on extracting the eye rather than treating the entire cancer.

She asked the patient why he had not taken her initial suggestion. He said online reviews about the teaching hospital were not great, as patients had long waiting times. So the patient now has little hope of full recovery, because he chose the wrong doctor for the wrong reason.

The only thing worse than no knowledge is a little knowledge. Basing life-changing decisions on online reviews, and ignoring other facts, is a shortsighted and potentially dangerous approach.

Not all doctors are great. Which physicians politicians use and online reviews shouldn’t be anyone’s reference source for choosing a doctor.

Instead, ask other doctors or nurses, and consider how often the doctor you’re about to see treats cases like yours. Your health may depend on getting the best doctor for your condition.

Written by
Gary Shapiro

Gary Shapiro

President and CEO at Consumer Technology Association

If You Love Innovation, Attend CES

The latest Lying on the Beach podcast from Steve Greenberg and Lois Whitman-Hess 

There will be 170,000 people attending CES this January 5 – 8, 2017 in Las Vegas. One of those folks has attended every CES since its inception in June 1967, and the other is the most popular guy at the show. Lois Whitman and Steve Greenberg give a behind-the-scenes look at what CES means to them and why you may want to consider attending. If you do want to attend, you’d better book your hotel room in Las Vegas now. Every guest room is getting quickly booked up.

Click here to hear our podcast. 

I Had The Laughs Of My Life 

I lived up the street from Dangerfield’s for 40 years. I think I was there three or four times in the late 1970s. When friends over the years learned I lived so close to the comedy club they were surprised I wasn’t there every night. It was legendary back in the day.

The club was founded by Rodney Dangerfield and his friend Anthony Bevacqua, who still runs and operates the club today.

According to Wikipedia, the club opened on September 29, 1969. “Kenny Burrell, Thelma Houston, and Rodney Dangerfield performed on the opening night, while Milton Berle, Ed McMann, Joan Rivers, and David Frost were in the audience.”

Franklin Karp, formerly of Stereo Warehouse, Rabson’s, and Harvey’s, (well-known retailers back in the day) and now COO of Audio Video Systems, a custom audio/video installation company, emailed me a YouTube video of Rodney this morning that kept me laughing for hours. Eliot found it hysterical too.

I wanted to share it with you. If this video doesn’t put you in a good mood, nothing will. In my opinion, old time comedians are still the funniest people in the business.

Get ready for Rodney Dangerfield’s Funniest Jokes Ever On The Johnny Carson Show 1983. 


Countdown To A Kidney

Gary Kaye, Chief Content Officer, Tech 50+

Gary Kaye, a business friend of mine,  shares his emotional journey through a kidney transplant and the technology that will make it all possible. 

Here is a link to his blog and a copy below.

Just about everyone I know has a favorite time of year. It could be Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or a birthday. The one event I look forward to most each year is my fall foliage biking trip with my son, Max. We’ve been doing it for 22 years. But not this year. This October, we’re going on a different kind of adventure. Max will be donating a kidney to me. What do you say about a son who is willing to give up a part of his body to keep his old man alive? How do I sufficiently express my love, gratitude, and admiration for what he’s doing? The words just don’t seem adequate.

Several friends have suggested that there may be other people interested in my story. So, I’ve decided to write about how I got here, and what I’m going through. I’m also working with the National Kidney Foundation to spread the word about the prevalence of kidney disease and the desperate need for organ donations.

According  to the National Kidney Foundation, about 26 million adult Americans suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease. Most don’t know it.
Here are some other facts:

*Once the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required in order to survive.

*More than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. Of these, 468,000 individuals are on dialysis and approximately 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.

*According to the latest figures (April of 2016), 100,102 await kidney transplants. Fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year.

*More than 3000 people are added to the kidney transplant list each month.

*Every day, 13 people die waiting for a kidney

The primary causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. With 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes (8 million undiagnosed), the numbers are only going to get worse.

I have suffered from Type II diabetes for more than thirty years. Most likely because of lifestyle, food, lack of exercise, and minor genetic pre-disposition. When I was first diagnosed, I will admit I didn’t take it nearly as seriously as I should have. I took the meds, but made few changes in lifestyle or diet. For the next two decades things only got worse. I suffered from what’s called diabetic retinopathy, which resulted in temporary blindness and required extensive laser treatments. I worked long hours and overnight shifts that only exacerbated the deterioration.

Diagnosis: Failing Kidneys.

About five years ago I was told my kidney function was down to 15% of normal and that the progressive nature of kidney disease was such that it was almost a certainty that eventually my kidneys would fail. While my doctor wouldn’t predict how long before that we happen, his guess was that it could happen within five years. After closely monitoring my numbers, he suggested to me in the late winter of this year that I attend a program called “Kidney Smart,” run by DaVita. 

The class ran a couple of hours and included folks suffering from early stage kidney disease as well as those suffering End Stage Renal Failure (that’s me). The nurse reviewed dietary issues, medication, but primarily focused on the “what happens next?” She detailed the two primary forms of treatment: dialysis and transplant. I wasn’t thrilled with what lay behind door number one, or door number two. More on that next time.

Here are some useful links from the National Kidney Foundation:

General kidney disease info:

Statistics on organ donation:

Organ donor heroes on Facebook:

TAGSAARPbaby boomersbikingboomer techDaVitadiabetesdialysishealthhigh blood pressure

Writing To You From Miami 

I guess the photo above explains why I love Miami. I took it with my iPhone. The sun was setting tonight through two buildings across Biscayne Bay on Brickell, downtown Miami. 

While I have lived in this condo on Miami Beach for 15 years, I find it absolutely weird that this is now my only home. I wanted to see sky and water outside my window on a permanent basis. For the last 40 years, I looked at brick. I never really saw much sky but I really didn’t need it because I was a true New Yorker. The sounds of sirens from ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks were music to my ears. I loved every minute of it. I never thought it was too loud or an interference.

I am lucky in the sense that I can truly appreciate both places. Before I left NYC for Miami, people asked me if I was afraid of Zika, the rising tides, and the waste washing up on the beaches.

Today, I spoke to some die-hard New Yorkers who now say I got out just in time because of the recent bombings. I quickly reminded them that I lived through the Son of Sam roaming NYC streets, I was at my work desk on 12th Street and Fifth Avenue when the Weathermen blew up a townhouse a block away, and personally witnessed crowds of people, covered head-to-toe, in white powder as they walked uptown after the Twin Towers came tumbling down.

I never once thought that Manhattan was not the place for me. I loved every minute of it and  still do. We are not safe anywhere, anymore. I never thought a seaside area like Nice, France would ever come under attack like it did this summer. It’s such an innocent-looking place. 

We just have to pray for peace wherever we are  these days. I thank my lucky stars that I am living in the days of the Internet. There is no question that it has brought on a lot of evil, but it has certainly allowed us all to be connected in ways our parents and grandparents would have loved to experience.

It certainly has given me the ability to be upwardly mobile and appreciate the goodness every place has to offer. 


The Jet Blue Seating Disaster

In all my years flying, I have never seen such mass confusion when it came time to making sure that all passengers were in their proper seats aboard an aircraft that was about to take off. The best computer software program in the world couldn’t solve the debacle I witnessed yesterday.  If it could, why wasn’t Jet Blue using it? 

The story I am about to tell you happened yesterday on our Jet Blue flight from JFK to Ft. Lauderdale airport. Eliot and I usually take American Airlines to Miami out of La Guardia because they fly directly. We were on a Jet Blue flight because it was the same airline we used earlier in the day for our flight from Martha’s Vineyard to JFK. We didn’t want to change airlines.

We were in Martha’s Vineyard for a wedding. Jet Blue is one of two airlines that fly in and out of the Vineyard. The other  airline is called Cape Air, but their aircraft are so small many folks call them, Cape Fear.

The Jet Blue flight from the Vineyard to JFK, a big 33 minutes, was uneventful. We had a two-hour layover before we boarded the second Jet Blue flight. We got to the gate with an hour to spare. We were surprised to see they were already boarding. 

We should have known something was wrong. They never told us but they changed aircraft and all the seats and their corresponding numbers were not configured the same way. Instead of a computer software program trying to figure out where everyone belonged, we had a Jet Blue female official, in stiletto heels and a fashionista outfit, switching people around right on the aircraft itself with a pad and pencil. This process took 90 minutes. Passengers didn’t want to switch seats  because their luggage was stored in the overhead right above them. 

The Jet Blue official didn’t want anyone moving their luggage because that would take more time in this crazy process. The passengers revolted. They were not moving without their luggage. Conversations turned into heated discussions. The passengers wanted Jet Blue to let everyone just sit wherever they could find seats so we could take off.

That would have been too easy. The Jet Blue lady had to speak to each passenger in order to determine where she wanted them to sit. I guess Jet Blue needed to do this for legal reasons. It was so obnoxious. Passengers were yelling at the Jet Blue staff. It was very disconcerting.

I’m not a great flyer, so having a disturbance like this just completely unnerved me. I just can’t believe that there isn’t a computer software program that could have solved this   seating mishap in a few minutes. Eliot said this reorganization should have taken place before they allowed us to board the aircraft. This was insane.

We got home two hours late. We were safe and sound. I guess that’s all that really matters. By the way, Jet Blue gave all of the passengers $25 for the inconvenience.