Arnett plan to keep Waterhouse down

first_imgReigning Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions, Arnett Gardens FC, are planning to keep Waterhouse on the canvas when both teams meet in the secondpreliminary stage at Waterhouse Stadium tomorrow.Arnett are currently in third position on 32 points, while Waterhouse are at the bottom on 15 points after 18 games in the 12-team league.With a gap of 17 points, Arnett Gardens have no intention of giving Waterhouse a chance to crawl up from last position.As far as the man in charge of the ‘Junglists’ is concerned, it is simply a case of, ‘when a man is down, keep him down’.”We will try to keep them down as they are a dangerous team,” coach of Arnett Gardens, Jerome ‘Jerry’ Waite told The Gleaner at the RSPL weekly press conference at Red Stripe last Thursday.”In previous games, Waterhouse dominated Arnett. We beat them in the first round and we are looking forward to continue this on Sunday,” added Waite, who guided Arnett to three national titles.Arnett will be without hard-tackling midfielder Renae Lloyd, as well as Damari Deacon due to red cards issued in their encounter against Tivoli Gardens two weeks ago, but Waite remains confident that the team will leave Drewsland with a positive result.”Lloyd will be a loss, but if you notice this season started without Renae Lloyd, the other player (Jason Moore), who will fill the slot had been doing well before Lloyd returned to the team,” the veteran coach noted before sharing his anticipation of the game.”Yes, you always have to look forward to a clash of this magnitude, despite where the teams are in the standings. And, it is always a fierce rivalry. We will not underestimate Waterhouse, although they are having a bad season, so far,” Waite maintained.”In their last game, they scored four goals but gave up the same, so there are loopholes in their defensive system, which we aim to exploit. We (Arnett) have won three games in a row and are aiming at four straight,” he concluded.last_img read more

Ryanair pilots in Ireland vote overwhelmingly in favour for industrial action

first_imgRyanair’s Irish pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, the Forsa/IALPA trade union has confirmed.The dispute centres around demands for a consistent pay structure and a range of conditions, including maternity, pensions and insurance.The union said it would write to management early next week to outline plans for action unless the airline agrees to union pay proposals by Monday. The IALPA members voted by 94% in favour of industrial action, and the union will have to serve notice of at least seven days to the airline before it can take place.180 of Ryanair’s Irish based pilots are members of IALPA.The vote comes after Ryanair pilots in the UK announced they will strike over two days in August and three days in September.Members of Ryanair’s Portuguese cabin crew trade union are also set to go on strike for five days from August 21st in a dispute over leave. Ryanair suffered a series of damaging strikes last year which cost the airline €120 million in refunds, fare cuts and lost business. Ryanair pilots in Ireland vote overwhelmingly in favour for industrial action was last modified: August 9th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Video: How Twitter Scales with Scala

first_img7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Last week we told you about how Twitter is migrating its search stack from Ruby to Java. But Twitter is also known for being an early adopter of Scala. This presentation by Marius Eriksen at the Commercial Users of Funtional Programming 2010 conference explains how Twitter uses Scala to scale. klint finley Scaling Scala at Twitter by Marius Eriksen (Twitter) from Scott Smith on Vimeo.A few of the things Twitter uses Scala for:Social adjacency store (FlockDB)Namesearch“Who to Follow”Kestrel/queueingStreaming APIStorage systemsGeoEriksen mostly focuses on the geospatial applications powered by Scala at Twitter. Eriksen and another engineer built Rockdev, Twitter’s geospatial backend, without any previous experience in Scala or the Java Virtual Machine.Eriksen also talks about the role distributed databases, Apache Cassandra in particular, fit into the team’s scalability projects.See also: How Twitter Uses NoSQL. Tags:#hack#tips Why You Love Online Quizzes How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidlast_img read more

World Cup hosts Qatar box clever, punch above their weight

first_imgUS judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Qatar’s team celebrates after winning the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar in Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)Coming from nowhere to win the Asian Cup is just part of the process for Qatar as they look ahead to this year’s Copa America and then the big one — a home World Cup in 2022.Felix Sanchez’s team are keeping their expectations in check for the South American championship despite snatching the Asian title from a lowly world ranking of 93.ADVERTISEMENT The title raised the beguiling possibility of Qatar being crowned champions of both Asia and South America, when they compete at the Copa America as guests in June-July.But Ali said the Copa was all about learning for Qatar, continuing the methodical approach which has already paid dividends.“We’re not expecting to win, but just to learn because after the World Cup, the Copa America is the biggest competition in the world,” Ali said.“The weakest teams are in Asia, Asia is the weakest continent for football so in the Copa America we will learn more.“We’ll benefit a lot as a Gulf team — this will help us have a better performance in 2022.”After spending many millions of petro-dollars on their world-class Aspire Academy, and scouring the world for top coaches, Qatar are beginning to recoup their investment.Head coach Felix Sanchez led Qatar to their first Asian under-19 title in 2014, and they reached the semi-finals at last year’s Asian under-23s — where Ali was also the top-scorer.Afif clocked up a tournament-record 10 assists and formed a devastating partnership with Ali, underlining Qatar’s cohesion in both defense and attack after years spent playing together.“We’ve been together seven years so I know exactly where Akram will be, where he will pass and he always knows what to expect from me,” Ali said.“That’s normal after all the time we’ve spent playing together. We get along very well together too.” Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Qatar’s win sparked jubilant scenes back home in Doha but for the team, bigger goals now lie ahead.“This is one step more to continue developing the team, to play another tournament in the summer and to be ready in 2022 to represent Qatar in the World Cup,” Sanchez said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PBA: NLEX escapes Meralco for 2nd straight win Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes But it is hard to overstate their achievement in going from zero points at the last Asian Cup to their first continental title in record-breaking style.It also means that resource-rich Qatar are finally making headlines for the right reasons after the turbulence that has surrounded their successful bid to host the World Cup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesAlmoez Ali’s bicycle kick epitomized a stylish win as it sparked Qatar’s 3-1 final victory over Japan and broke Ali Daei’s 23-year-old mark for goals at single Asian Cup.“I’m sorry for breaking Mr. Daei’s record,” a humble Ali said after scoring his ninth of the tournament. PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ “I expected to score goals — maybe three or four — but I didn’t expect to score nine,” he added.Fittingly for a team that has punched above its weight, Akram Afif struck a boxing-style pose as he celebrated the late penalty that ended Japan’s resistance.Qatar conceded just one goal all tournament and scored 19, winning all seven games and beating former champions Saudi Arabia, Iraq and South Korea, as well as Japan.They also thrived in a hostile environment in the United Arab Emirates owing to the ongoing Gulf blockade, with their fans largely barred from visiting and home spectators pelting them with shoes and bottles in the semi-finals.Latin lessonsADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Sky Deutschland will post an operating profit in i

first_imgSky Deutschland will post an operating profit in its second quarter, according to a wire report.Dow Jones quotes a ‘person familiar with the company’ as saying the News Corp-backed German pay TV operator will record its first profit since 2009 when it reports quarterly results in mid-August. However, the company will not record a full-year profit until 2013, the unnamed source added.last_img

Deutsche Telekomowned Slovak Telekom and TMobile

first_imgDeutsche Telekom-owned Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic have chosen MediaKind, the former Ericsson Media Solutions, to provide technology for IPTV services across the two countries.The agreement with Slovak Telekom involves an upgrading of the latter’s existing Magio IPTV service, while T-Mobile Czech Republic is using MediaKind to power its new IPTV service in the Czech Republic.MediaKind will upgrade and further extend its Mediaroom platform, which currently enables the existing Magio IPTV service in Slovakia, to provide a pathway for future cloud migration and the introduction of virtualised architectures in both countries, according to the company.MediaKind said that its platform would enable Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic to deliver a range of personalised services to subscribers, including linear and on-demand video, extensive metadata, archive TV, advanced privacy and parental control.Slovak Telekom currently has 607,000 TV customers across all distribution technologies in Slovakia, while T-Mobile Czech Republic grew its TV base from 25,000 to 68,000 in the year to September.Andrej Pinak, director of IP and service platforms in Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic said: “Viewers have more choice and access to content than ever before and it’s increasingly on their own terms. Following the successful deployment of Mediaroom and the delivery of our Magio IPTV service in Slovakia, we are delighted to increase the scope and breadth of our collaboration with MediaKind by expanding our service into the Czech Republic. By working alongside a trusted and proven strategic partner, we are able to invest in the best possible infrastructure and ensure our customers receive the most exciting and extensive range of rich, immersive and highly personalized viewing experiences across all screens.”Angel Ruiz, CEO, MediaKind, said: “Consumers today are embracing a wider range of converged and seamless multiscreen content. Service providers must find new ways to evolve their offering and deliver ever-more immersive media experiences. This latest deployment of Mediaroom will enable Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic to modernize software and introduce new high quality, live, video on demand and time-shifted services to its viewers. We look forward to further enhancing the IPTV service capability and introducing new, flexible and cost-effective methods of video delivery in the Czech and Slovak TV markets.”last_img read more

Harmonics ProMedia Carbon efficient transcoding

first_imgHarmonic’s ProMedia Carbon: efficient transcoding is a key technology requirement.From the straightforward business of delivering TV services to set-top boxes, pay TV operators now find themselves in the ultra-complex world of IP-based delivery to consumer electronics devices. Stuart Thomson looks at some of the problems and solutions in development. The ability to view on-demand and live programming on multiple screens is now seen as a standard feature for a growing number of pay TV platforms. For major pay TV players – particularly those in mature pay TV markets – it has become a must-have tool to secure subscriber loyalty and also simply to be perceived as a cutting-edge content provider.This is a very different world to traditional pay TV delivered to operator-owned set-top boxes. Delivering content to tablets, smartphones and laptops means delivering via IP, typically over unmanaged networks, using unicast rather than broadcast technology. It has been a steep learning curve for pay TV operators that are accustomed to delivering video using tried and trusted technologies – and even for those telecom operators that launched IPTV services, using multicast technology, over the past decade and a half.In addition to pay TV operators delivering a line-up of channels and on-demand content to tablets and smartphones, the combination of growing bandwidth, IP video and the opportunity to deliver to end-user purchased devices without the need to invest in expensive set-top boxes has fostered the emergence of new generations of ‘pure’ OTT pay TV operators such as Netflix that present a growing and disruptive source of competition to traditional players.A raft of technologies have been developed to support IP-based OTT multiscreen delivery – and the key one is adaptive bit-rate streaming, which varies the resolution of video according to the bandwidth available at any given time.Adaptive streaming has revolutionised the delivery of video over IP, but it has also created complexity in the form of a range of formats – HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Adobe Dynamic Streaming for Flash, Widevine adaptive streaming and now MPEG-DASH – and profiles that operators need to support.Business modelsIn addition to the challenges created by this fragmented ecosystem, content and service providers are also highly preoccupied by the need to find a viable business model for multiscreen, and by what might be called the price of success, according to Boris Felts, vice-president of product marketing at Envivio.“From a technology point of view there is still the debate about the best architecture and how to make it scale. One big fear about unicast is that the more successful you get the more traffic you are going to generate,” says Felts. “So the [next] phase is about economics and paying for the growth of services.”Felts says that the ‘success’ of streaming services during events such as the Olympics mean that broadcasters have to pay a premium to the CDN providers that deliver their content around the globe. And they often need to do this without gaining any real additional revenue from the service they are providing.“There is a need to find a model that compensates for these costs. There are two ways – paid subscriptions like BSkyB’s model or the example from the US market where you have targeted ads in OTT streams,” says Felts.However, targeted advertising is very much still in its infancy. And for existing service providers that are deploying pay models for multiscreen offerings, there is a danger that things like advertising-based OTT services, provided separately and unbundled from the main pay TV offering, could damage their tried and trusted subscription services.For these and other reasons, pay TV providers remain ambivalent about pushing OTT and multiscreen services too rigorously. Some service providers with their own fixed-line infrastructure view multiscreen as a way to sell additional bandwidth – France’s quad-play operators for example are using content as a way of showcasing the capabilities of 4G mobile services. Operators in the US meanwhile are more likely to view multiscreen services as a way to engage viewers with enhanced and targeted advertising.RGB Networks’ vice-president, international, Simone Sassoli points to the growing importance – especially in the US – of ad insertion technologies for multiscreen TV.“There are now more eyes watching and deployments with a large number of channels that are ad-supported. The opportunity to replace ads is there,” he says.This means there is a need for technologies that can support the insertion of adverts into services including network-based DVR, encoded for adaptive bit-rate streaming, allowing operators to replace ad content stored inside the CDN that has become out of date.To help with this the US CableLabs organisation has developed standards that can work in tandem with the existing SCTE 35 and 130 standards to deliver advertising insertions to TV services that are delivered over IP networks: the Event Scheduling and Notification Interface (ESNI), which allows programmers to notify operators of upcoming alternative content; and Event Signalling and Management (ESAM), which specifies the API for processing real-time signals.There is still, however, a major hurdle to the  potential of advertising revenue being fully realised: the need to be able to track who is watching the video and when. There is a need for integration with audience measurement systems so that back office infrastructure can record when content has been watched.Advanced functionalityWhatever the business model chosen by operators to make money from services, users are beginning to expect that multiscreen offerings delivered by pay TV operators should match the experience they have when they take a mainstream pay TV service. “In that context a much denser solution and total cost of ownership become more relevant,” says Sassoli.While Envivio’s Felts says there is “not a big technical challenge in providing software stacks for the majority of smartphones”, the fact is that consumers increasingly expect TV to their phones and iPads to at least match the functionality of TV services delivered via set-tops. It is not always easy for service providers to meet this expectation. For example, the diverse range of device-based players in the market offer, says Felts, “poor support” for things such as captioning and subtitling – a particular problem in Europe, with its multiple language requirements.The notion that mobile TV should match the quality of broadcast TV also means that viewers increasingly expect TV everywhere services to deliver high-resolution premium content, which raises security concerns and leads to the creation of new rules designed to protect revenues.Ludovic Pertuisel, video networks product manager at video technology specialist Thomson Video Networks, concedes that the coexistence of multiple standards makes it very difficult to provide the same features on second screens that viewers are accustomed to on their main TVs. Take the question of captions. Standards to support captions do exist in the world of web video – notably W3C standards WebVTT for plain-text subtitles in HTML5 video, and TTML, which includes a set of Distribution Format Exchange Profiles (DFXP) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ extensions, including SMPTE-TT, encompassing additional features for captioning – but Pertuisel says that these together are not really adequate. He says the HLS format – by far the most commonly used adaptive bit-rate technology – does not support subtitling standards. It consequently remains difficult for service providers to deliver an experience on tablets and other devices comparable to the one that viewers are familiar with on TV. [icitspot id=”123871″ template=”box-story”]Ian Trow, senior director of emerging technology and strategy at video technology provider Harmonic, points out that the delivery of subtitles in interlaced content – the standard still commonly used for broadcast TV services – took “years to master” even without the issues of different frame rates and screen sizes associated with multiscreen services. However, solving this issue for multiscreen will be important not just for accessibility and regulatory reasons but because for many services the ability to insert text and graphics is crucial to the business case. He cites the example of shopping channels, which will be unable to build multiscreen business models without the ability to delivery text as part of the service.Adaptive bit-rate standardsThere is no question that adaptive bit-rate streaming has been a massive boon to those delivering video over IP to any device. However, even leaving the issue of captions, subtitles and graphics aside, the absence of a standards-based approach and the range of bit-rate profiles and packaging formats that content providers have felt obliged to support – not to mention variations for multiple devices with different screen sizes – has created a degree of confusion and even chaos in the market.“Lots of customers have had a bruising time. People expect content to be available in multiple formats, and broadcasters have not been able to make back the investment,” says Trow. “The first wave [of operators] to implement multiscreen were pretty gung ho – they were cutting their teeth and trying to achieve a technology first. Now they are trying to recover some kind of margin and hoping that standards bodies work like MPEG-DASH will create some sanity in the market, so there is some commonality with the infrastructure that exists for linear programming.”MPEG-DASH – established as a standards-based approach to adaptive streaming – has held out the promise of reducing the number of profiles that content and service providers have to support by reducing the number of aspect ratios and DRMs required to reach the most commonly used devices. Currently, says Trow, operators need to deliver video in 32 different profiles to reach the 400 or so most common multiscreen devices. MPEG-DASH holds out the promise of reducing this to between six and 12 profiles.However, a number of challenges persist with MPEG-DASH. “Standards are only useful if they gain traction,” says Trow. There are still relatively few MPEG-DASH-compliant devices and, even if more become available, there remains a danger that the proliferation of the standard could result in its dilution. “DASH could try to be all things to all men,” says Trow. “We as a company are fully behind it, but the take up for consumer premises devices has been slower than expected. It would solve problems but we are not commercially naïve about DASH.”DRM systemsTechnology experts broadly agree – though to differing extents – that MPEG-DASH could solve a range of problems. David Leporini, executive vice-president, marketing, products and security at content security and interactive TV specialist Viaccess-Orca, maintains that MPEG-DASH could confer significant advantages not only by reducing the number of profiles that operators need to support but by clearing up the complexity of combinations of adaptive bit-rate formats and various DRM systems. “MPEG-DASH could ease the DRM/delivery protocol combination complexity,” he says, pointing to the example set by the DVB standard in the past, which enabled conditional access systems to be plugged into traditional broadcast pay TV platforms with relative simplicity. “MPEG-DASH will do more than standardise the protocol – it will also standardise the way DRM is integrated with the delivery protocol,” he says.Leporini is optimistic that MPEG-DASH will achieve fairly rapid take-up. “I think deployments will happen in six to 12 months,” he says. He believes that the combination of elements of OTT delivery, including MPEG-DASH with HEVC encoding, will become standard, driven by the need to support an ever-growing range of OTT services.Dan Peters, director of product management at content security specialist Saffron Digital, on the other hand, stresses that the device universe is still fragmented and challenging from a content security perspective. In that context, operators are likely to focus on delivering multiscreen services to a relatively small number of popular devices rather than worry too much about being present on every smartphone. “About 20 devices have an 80% market share [between them], so for premium content you are talking about a maximum of 20 devices,” he says.However, the situation is further complicated by the much shorter product lifecycle of tablets and smartphones compared with set-top boxes, according to Peters. Whereas pay TV operators built their business model around a relatively long hardware upgrade cycle, mobile devices and PCs tend to be upgraded more frequently, he says. This can raise the cost of content security implementations – even more so if the providers pay DRM licences on a per-device basis for devices that may not even be used to access the service they provide.“When you are charging a per device cost that can become expensive for service providers. For on-demand and catch-up for premium content you need to use a DRM and you could be in a scenario where even when you have people who are not paying for subscription content, you are still paying DRM licences for everyone,” says Peters.To help smooth the path to realistic models, he points to Saffron Digital’s own strategy of implementing DRM within apps on the Android platform rather than trying to ensure DRM is hardware-enabled in every device. Another initiative designed to simplify the rollout of premium services – in this case by making common hardware-level security available across devices – is the Trustonic joint venture created late last year by UK chipset giant ARM in partnership with two other firms, Gemalto, and Giesecke and Devrient.There is no doubt that the multitude of devices with relatively short shelf-lives that operators want to address makes life difficult. One possible way forward is to  do as much as possible in the network or cloud and reduce reliance on the client to enable the service.Envivio’s Felts believes that the adaptive bit-rate world is beginning to coalesce around the most popular standards – with HLS out in front by a good measure –  and he is sceptical about the potential of MPEG-DASH to iron out the problem of fragmentation. “Inside DASH you have a few flavours you can pick from. When you say you choose DASH it just gives you access to tools but doesn’t guarantee interoperability between devices,” he says.Felts believes that one trend that can simplify implementations for operators is to pull back as much functionality as possible to the network rather than trying to implement everything in the player on the device – ad splicing and DVR being two examples of applications that could be done more efficiently from the cloud. “You can do most video things from the network,” he says. “It’s a trend we are trying to push on our side – it’s hard for any one provider to build a solution inside the player.”Hunger for bandwidth Simon Frost, head of TV marketing at Ericsson meanwhile says that MPEG-DASH is “looking promising” but admits that the standard is unlikely to be “a panacea”. He thinks that client support for the standard in the form of generic players will boost uptake by service providers, as will a wider embrace of the technology by key players such as Netflix. One issue is that multiple devices using multiple standards can effectively compete to deliver the best-quality experience to their respective users. “Those algorithms can be greedy in trying to achieve maximum quality. If you have a lot of devices on WiFi the way they work is try to achieve the top bit-rates all the time,” he says. Ericsson is working on a concept tentatively entitled ‘weighted fair network queuing’ which could be applied in gateways or DSLAMs or, in the case of mobile networks, quite close to where traffic is handed over from the fixed to the radio network. The aim is to apply patented techniques to “curb the enthusiasm” of devices to achieve maximum quality at the first available opportunity and hog the available bandwidth at the expense of the experience on other tablets and smartphones in the home or mobile cell.RGB Networks’ Video Multiprocessing Gateway enables multiscreen delivery.The shortcomings of adaptive bit-rate technology have implications for bandwidth management by service providers. If players on devices seek to display content at the highest bit-rates possible, the service or content provider may have to pay the same CDN costs whether there are many or few people watching – when the network is quiet the players will eat up the available bandwidth by playing back video content at ever higher bit-rates.“OTT is unicast and the more popular the content the bigger the bill,” says Thomson Video Networks’ Pertuisel. “But if you consume at the highest bit-rate possible, and if the service provider doesn’t have its own infrastructure, the CDN will charge according to bandwidth used.”Pertuisel on the other hand believes that the arrival of MPEG-DASH will “simplify the landscape by reducing fragmentation and accelerating adoption on many devices”. He says Thomson is receiving a growing number of requests for DASH implementations.There is, to be fair, a strong wind behind MPEG-DASH’s sails. Samsung supports the standard for its connected TV platform. MPEG-DASH has also been adopted as part of the HbbTV standard for hybrid broadband and broadcast services in Europe. But HLS remains the dominant format for now.However, the lack of a clear certification path for MPEG-DASH and the absence of a reference client, among other things, means that the standard is likely to be of limited use in straightening out the complexity of the transcoding piece of the delivery chain for now, according to RGB Networks’ Sassoli.According to Sassoli, one key trend is for the separation of transcoding of video to multiple bit-rates in MPEG-4, for example, from the ‘packaging’ element – the selection of a particular adaptive bit-rate format. This enables service providers to distribute mezzanine format copies of video files close to the edge of the network for onward packaging – on the fly – in HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming or DASH formats when they are required. “For long tail content it’s appropriate to store mezzanine copies and when a request is made you adapt it to the format,” he says. “It comes into its own with customers deploying network DVR and VOD services.” This ‘just-in-time’ packaging also enables DRM to be applied on the fly for different types of delivery networks.Sassoli says techniques like this are likely to become more important as the capabilities of devices increases. With tablets and other devices now supporting full HD resolution video and set-top boxes increasingly supporting adaptive bit-rate streaming natively, service providers are likely to be under pressure to deliver even more bit-rate options in the future in order to deliver the optimal viewing experience to match both the available bandwidth and the capabilities of the device.“Multiscreen is not niche any more,” says Sassoli. Video services are increasingly IP-based and some greenfield operators are using adaptive bit-rates for their main TV service, he says. This also means that operators are looking to deploy “converged headends” with the capability to encode both interlaced and multi-bit-rate progressive video streams.Back-end infrastructureThe complexity created by adaptive bit-rate technology is one source of additional costs to service providers – even if that cost is more than compensated for by the improved quality of experience afforded to users. But the operational cost of deploying multiscreen services also remains high.According to Ericsson’s Frost, service providers are struggling to define a common look across devices in a way that is economic to operate and efficient to manage. In their drive to achieve consistency while reaching a large number of devices, content providers have invested in ‘silo’-type back-end infrastructures that will be difficult and costly to maintain as services evolve and become more popular.“Right now the operators are putting sticking plasters on a complex back end,” says Frost, who adds that the development of HTML5 and the simplification of client software is paving the way towards cloud-based implementations that could simplify things generally.“HTML5 simplifies the whole presentation aspect. The industry is looking to lower the cost of the device itself. There is a shift to more browser-based implementations for the client and more processing or playout in the cloud…just using a browser to render the user experience,” he says. However, there is still some way to go. “What we see is there is still an expense in unifying those experiences at the back end as a result of siloed investments. When competing operators start to enhance services and functions there will be rapid consumer evolution and how to keep pace is going to be a challenge,” he says. Providing unified billing for multiple users at a single address is likely to test back-office systems, but it is one that key players are now beginning to address.However, given the extent of legacy infrastructure out there, only piecemeal migration to a pure IP platform is likely. Operators will continue to deploy hybrid systems, using broadcast technology to delivery mainstream linear channels. Pay TV operators are also likely to remain wedded to the set-top box and the branded experience it supports for some time.Another challenge to cost-effective delivery of content to multiple screens raised by Frost is that of access to adequate infrastructure. Pay TV operators and other players without fixed-line or mobile infrastructure need access to third-party bandwidth to delivery multiscreen services. “Getting access to networks mobile or fixed is going to be key,” he says.Bandwidth is the single most important cost for operators. Harmonic’s Trow says that with video traffic expected to quadruple over the next three years the problem is only going to get worse. “A lot of OTT services have not been able to achieve broadcast quality,” he says.In the case of live services, the availability of bandwidth is particularly crucial, especially for high-profile events such as the Olympics that require millions of concurrent streams to be delivered. One solution is to introduce multicast technology to as close to the edge of the network as possible, with transcoding to adaptive bit-rate formats performed at a point where the service becomes unicast, as enabled by technologies such as Envivio’s Halo.Envivio’s Felts points out that at one extreme, service providers could multicast to the home and transfer to unicast in a gateway or cable modem. However this is costly in terms of maintaining the gateway devices and ensuring compatibility with new formats. It also fails to solve the problem of delivering video to people moving outside the house.At the other end of the spectrum is a traditional CDN architecture, without multicast technology but with caching of popular content at various points in the network. Unicast in general is a much more expensive delivery technology than broadcast for popular content, but there is little sign that the kind of multicast technology used over the last decade to deliver IPTV services will be widely adopted in the OTT world.Ericsson’s Frost nevertheless says that bringing additional intelligence to the network can pay off in terms of operating savings. Ericsson earlier this year launched its LTE Broadcast technology platform, which combined the eMBMS multicast standard, HEVC encoding (see sidebar, p.8) and MPEG-DASH adaptive bit-rate streaming. A key appeal of the technology, says Frost, is that the network can be configured dynamically for multicast or unicast depending on demand. The challenge with the old MBMS multicast standard is that it required dedicated capacity. “If it wasn’t used you lost money,” says Frost. He says Ericsson has seen a “huge amount of interest from operators with LTE networks”, including Verizon and Telstra, with whom the company has signed deals. “As soon as you can guarantee quality of delivery, that has value for content owners,” he says.That quality of delivery is clearly the key in appealing to consumers and in enabling service providers to make money – whether from subscriptions or from advanced advertising. But the lack of standards to enable all the advanced functions that people are used to from traditional TV services, combined with the high cost of supporting a bewildering range of formats and device types, concerns about security and the cost of delivering unicast streams over CDNs, all mean that the vision of economically sustainable OTT video remains beyond the horizon. For now, the world of web-based multiscreen video delivery remains a wild and untamed terrain compared with the cleanly manicured walled garden of traditional pay TV.There are clear signs, however, that technologists are busy working on solutions that will reduce the barriers over time.last_img read more

Brigham investigators examine opioid use among Massachusetts adolescents prescription trends

first_img Source: Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 13 2018Opioid-related overdoses and deaths remain a major public health concern in Massachusetts, yet adolescents who experience opioid-related nonfatal overdose (NFOD) have been rarely studied. Using public data, Brigham investigators recently unearthed several important ways in which the opioid crisis is playing out differently among young people versus adults.Performed in collaboration with colleagues at the Boston University School of Medicine and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the analysis examined data on adolescents in Massachusetts, ages 11 to 17, who experienced an opioid-related nonfatal overdose between 2012 and 2014. In addition to understanding how prevalent these events were in young people compared to adults, researchers also found differences in how adolescents receive medication to treat opioid use disorder after experiencing a nonfatal overdose. The team’s results were recently published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.Among the findings were that adolescent girls were more likely to experience an opioid-related nonfatal overdose – the opposite of what has been observed in adults – although the reasons for this remain unclear. Additionally, investigators discovered these events were, overall, far less common in young people in the period studied, occurring in 195 adolescents versus 22,311 adults.”This evidence will help guide the conversation about adolescent opioid abuse. In a lot of ways, this study raises more questions than answers, such as why more adolescent girls are overdosing than boys,” said Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH, first author and associate epidemiologist in the Division of Global Health Equity at the Brigham. “The ability to bring attention to a population that has been understudied with regard to the opioid epidemic will help researchers and physicians explore ways to treat this epidemic in adolescence.”An opioid-related nonfatal overdose occurs when an individual uses an opioid, sometimes in conjunction with other drugs, and becomes mentally altered or sedated to the point that immediate, lifesaving treatment is necessary.Related StoriesGlobal study highlights growing inequality in adolescent healthStudy: Underweight boys and overweight girls have increased risk of depressionNew review shows a clear gap in understanding of cancer in LGBTI adolescents”A nonfatal overdose might be an opportunity to intervene,” said Chatterjee. “People are using opioids so much that they are at risk of dying, so this could be a time when health care professionals could step in and help the person obtain treatment before a fatal overdose occurs.”To examine the adolescent and adult NFOD rates in Massachusetts, researchers analyzed data from 2012 to 2014, pooled from the entire state as part of Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2015. This dataset represents 98 percent of Massachusetts residents and includes non-identifiable medical information from hospitals, ambulance systems, substance-use systems, health insurance companies and homeless shelters.Researchers were interested in examining whether adolescents received medication – methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone – to treat an opioid use disorder within 12 months of experiencing a nonfatal overdose. They found that only 8 percent of adolescents were prescribed one of these medications within a year of the overdose.”Adolescents have not received as much focus as adults in the opioid crisis,” said senior author Sarah Bagley, MD, an assistant professor and primary care physician at Boston Medical Center. “However, these data illustrate that in Massachusetts, adolescents have not been spared and that they are not receiving timely treatment.”The authors note that these numbers may be low because many people now have access to opioid overdose reversal drugs outside of a health care setting.”This analysis took advantage of a unique tool developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to enable us to access linked, multi-year data for analysis of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses, as well as for other health priorities and trends,” said Dana Bernson, DPH Assistant Director, Special Analytic Projects. “These results highlight the importance of our partnerships with researchers from academic, non-profit, private and government agencies in using data to respond to the opioid epidemic.”last_img read more

New liquid biopsy technique used to assess melanoma progression

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 11 2019When the surgeon surgically removes a melanoma, some patients are said to be ‘cancer-free’ and they do not get additional treatment. However, should the fluid obtained in the drainage implanted after surgery be tested using the liquid biopsy technique rather than be disposed of as medical waste, the test might predict the high or low risk of cancer recurrence. Patients with a high risk of late recurrence would get post-surgery treatment. This is a recent finding by scientists at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), who have discovered that there are biomarkers in the fluid collected from surgically treated patients that reveal the presence of specific mutations and help determine the risk of the cancer coming back after some period of time. This is very important in melanoma, since it is an aggressive tumor type that metastasizes in a large number of patients. Researchers will now try to confirm whether the liquid biopsy technique may be even easier to perform directly on blood samples and whether it can be used in other types of tumors as well. The research work was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.Detecting the risk of recurrenceThe more scientists find about metastasis, the more they know that it is ‘consciously’ initiated by primary tumors, sending ‘anticipatory signals’ to other organs and promoting in them a suitable growth environment. These ‘anticipatory signals’ are primary tumor-derived extracellular vesicles that reach other organs and get them ready to host cancer cells. This is one of the main research interests of Héctor Peinado, Head of the Microenvironment and Metastasis Group at CNIO.”Our study has confirmed that, in melanoma patients, we can identify populations with higher risk of recurrence using a sensitive, accurate test of the exudative seroma,” Peinado explains. The exudative seroma is a fluid that is collected from the drainage tube inserted after surgery and normally disposed of. “Liquid biopsy applied to this seroma has revealed extracellular vesicles and circulating DNA with BRAF gene mutations associated with lower survival rates for melanoma patients.” About 40-60% of melanoma cases involve BRAF gene mutations, most frequently the BRAFV600E mutant, studied by the researchers in this manuscript.The new technique might change the way melanoma patients are followed up. This type of skin cancer has a recurrence rate of up to 50% after lymph node surgery and can be highly invasive. Until now, there was no way to identify the patients with an increased risk of recurrence.Related StoriesNew clinical genomic testing helps identify mutations that drive childhood melanomaPhysicians trained in dermatoscopy can improve odds for early detection of melanomaResearchers find possible counterpunch to drug resistance of melanomaDiagnosis from a drop of bloodLiquid biopsy, used to detect tumor cells in fluids, is a novel technique that complements traditional biopsy. Two important advantages of liquid biopsy are that it is a non-invasive approach (in traditional biopsy, a sample of tissue is taken from the tumor itself) and that it provides information in real time on the progression of the disease. Liquid biopsy has been increasingly used for the past five years, and a growing number of clinical studies have shown its effectiveness over the past three years.The Head of the CNIO Microenvironment and Metastasis Group has conducted the study along with Piotr Rutkowski, researcher at the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology, Poland, and José Luis Rodríguez Peralto and Pablo Ortiz, from the 12 de Octubre Hospital in Madrid. They used exudative seroma from melanoma patients to identify those with a higher risk of recurrence. Peinado assessed the technique’s potential by analyzing simultaneously extracellular vesicles and circulating DNA (tumour-derived cell-free DNA that circulates in body fluids), since “our main goal was not to identify the specific fractions carrying melanoma signals but to increase test sensitivity instead.”With the results of the study, hospitals might implement the technique as from today. “The method is performed in cooperation with clinical laboratories and could easily be applied in clinical practice. It only requires collecting seroma fluids and establishing the relevant protocol for collection, storage and analysis,” Peinado remarks.Liquid biopsy can be used for other types of cancer too, like breast or other tumors whose treatment involves lymphadenectomy – or lymph node dissection followed by drainage. The lymph nodes removed are then evaluated for the presence of cancer. Moreover, although Peinado’s study focuses on the BRAF gene, it might be adopted for other tests of gene mutations involved in the development of other tumor types.However, as the latest trends in cancer treatment show, treatments other than surgery are increasingly being used, which means that the protocol for analyzing exudative seroma could be implemented less frequently in the future. Therefore, our researchers are studying the possibility of using the liquid biopsy procedure directly on blood plasma from a blood sample. “Everything seems to indicate that the possibility exists,” Peinado says, “but further research is needed.” Source: read more

Study tracks Pennsylvanias oil and gas wastedisposal practices

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 22 2019More than 80 percent of all waste from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas drilling operations stays inside the state, according to a new study that tracks the disposal locations of liquid and solid waste from these operations across 26 years. Numerous human health hazards have been associated with waste from oil and gas extraction, including potential exposure to compounds known to cause cancer.The study is the first comprehensive assessment of Pennsylvania’s waste-disposal practices, tracking from 1991 – when the state began collecting waste-disposal information – through 2017. In southwestern Pennsylvania, most solid waste goes to landfills in the county where it was produced, the study also found, while in northern counties along state borders, solid waste generally moves to neighboring states of Ohio and New York.”Tracking waste across space – the distance and direction it travels and where it ends up – and across time helps us determine who is absorbing the potential health burdens associated with these waste products, both from recent operations and from legacy pollution across the lifetime of the state’s oil and gas operations,” said Lee Ann Hill, a researcher at Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) and lead author of the study, which was published in Science of the Total Environment on April 22.Oil and gas development produces high-salinity water that can contain strontium and radium – substances classified as known human carcinogens. Solid waste includes cuttings from drilling that can bring naturally occurring radioactive materials including uranium, radium, and thorium, up from the subsurface to the surface, creating the potential for human and environmental exposures to these toxic compounds.Previous studies have tracked only subsets of oil and gas waste-disposal data. For example, many past studies have focused just on waste from high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the process used at scale since 2008 to extract oil and gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation. But the PSE-led study also tracks waste from conventional oil and gas development, which has taken place in Pennsylvania since records have been kept and continues today. Conventional drilling operations accounted for nearly one third of all waste, the data showed.”We know that many of the hazards and risks associated with waste from oil and gas extraction exist for both conventional and unconventional operations,” Hill said. Yet, researchers note, legislation passed in 2016 strengthened disposal location tracking for unconventional oil and gas operations, but similar reporting practices were not required for conventional operations. “From a public health perspective, it doesn’t really make sense that conventional operators are held to a different standard,” she says.Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedWhere does it go?Solid waste mainly goes into landfills. Some of the state’s liquid waste – 7.6 percent, or 30 million barrels over the study’s time period – is sent to municipal or other water treatment plants, which discharge into surface waters like rivers after limited treatment. Studies have shown that despite treatment operations, pollution remains in sediment downstream from release sites. For example, radium persists in sediment for many years and strontium, which accumulates in bones of living things, much like calcium, has been found in the shells of riverbed mussels downstream of treatment facilities.More than half of the liquid waste that remains in Pennsylvania was reused in extraction operations, the study found, a practice that can result in more concentrated levels of salinity and chemical residues with each subsequent use. Researchers note that the pervasiveness of this practice raises questions about how to treat or dispose of these more concentrated waste streams in the future, when drilling operations slow or cease, diminishing the demand for wastewater reuse.For more than a third of liquid waste from all oil and gas operations – 35 percent – the final location is unknown, often because reporting reflects only intermediary locations for transfer or storage. “This finding illuminates what we don’t know,” Hill said.The study concludes that a uniform cradle-to-grave reporting system should be put in place to properly assess hazards and risks to human health and the environment posed by waste streams from all types of oil and gas production. “Understanding where and when waste enters our environment helps scientists and communities quantify human exposures to these contaminants and measure environmental impacts,” she said. Source: read more

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