Amazon Abuses Consumers?

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

So recently I’ve noticed that when trying to purchase items on Amazon that an item which might cost $5 elsewhere is now $20 dollars on Amazon (AMZN).  I’ve seen this type of manipulation of consumers by sellers before on their website  These sellers think someone will pay 400% of the value of an item due to ignorance or possibly desperation, but now what I’m finding is different.  Now Amazon is only allowing you to purchase certain staple items at the actual retail price if you join their club.  That is an abuse of consumers.

For example, just now trying to buy Softsoap aloe vera refill bottles, the actual price is $4-$5, but you can only get that price if you join Amazon’s delivery club, every other option is at least 200% the cost of the item.  The same thing has happened for other products on past searches.

This isn’t very intelligent, and possibly illegal.  Customers can now get delivery from Target, Walmart, Peapod, and even local grocery stores.  What is Amazon thinking?  I guess billions in profit wasn’t enough, they didn’t get the power and control over others that they needed to feel “successful,” so now they feel the need to abuse and control consumers?  This points to another example of the many apparent sociopaths who control the majority of our country (US).  They are truly everywhere, check out my expository articles on them as they roll out and you will see what I mean.

Note that Walmart is paying attention, at the top of their website, when I went there instead to spend my money, their banner reads “No membership fee!”  🙂  Somebody’s paying attention, good for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Blood Test for Concussions Approved

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

A new blood test for head injuries has been approved by the FDA, according to Medscape.  This test is called the Brain Trauma Indicator and was developed by Banyan Biomarkers, Inc..  This test can fairly reliably tell if a person has had a concussive brain injury, or not.  This test was developed to help patients avoid unnecessary radiation and testing when they incur a head injury.

If the blood test is positive, the company who developed the test says that their research has shown that there is a 97.5% chance that brain damage has occurred.  If the test is negative, they say that there is a 99.6% chance of no brain damage having occurred.  This negative test, they say, can help patients avoid having a CT scan of the head.

But will it?  The article says that the test will predict the presence or absence of “intracranial lesions.” They do not specifically mention if this means that they can reliably exclude serious issues such as an epidural and subdural hematomas which can occur with head injury both in the presence and absence of concussion.  In order to exclude these, medical doctors may still feel compelled, both ethically and legally, to order a CT scan.  Neither the company’s press release on their website nor the information contained at the link to their research addresses this question.

In addition to identifying and excluding patients with concussions, this test may be useful to monitor the progression and resolution of brain injuries.  There may also be potential to link this research to other neurological conditions that effect the brain, providing for new ways to diagnose and monitor treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaii’s Testing Error May Help Save Lives

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Based on the information provided in a report by the “Washington Post” last week, the emergency services employee in Hawaii who sent out a false alert about incoming missiles might have actually done the state and its people a big service in the long run.

Clearly the mistake was terrifying, not only to the people of Hawaii, but to everyone in the country, but its occurrence revealed serious flaws in the preparedness of the agency and the state for an actual emergency.

Flaws in the system were many, according to the article:

Emergency alerts are only supposed to go out in coordination with the FCC, FEMA, and the wireless industry. But reportedly one individual was able to bypass this systemic procedure.

The military involved in the region did not seem to be aware that a test was in-progress which reveals a lack of communication and coordination between the emergency services agency and the military.

Reportedly the staff involved in alerting the public knew about the upcoming drill, but the day and night-shift supervisors had not properly communicated the responsibility for running the drill to each other, nor to their respective staff.

The drill alert was too similar to a real alert, causing staff confusion.

There was no contingency plan put in place by the emergency management agency to communicate with the public in unplanned situations like this one. The response by their staff and other governmental figures to the erroneous public alert was grossly inadequate. The people received no updates for an excruciating 38 minutes, though emergency management staff was aware of the error in three minutes. That is unacceptable. Immediate communication should have occurred in order to clarify that there was no actual threat. The use of radio and television would have been simple and effective, but that was not done, according to reports. Posting on their official facebook page would have been an effective option as well.

Since this event occurred, reports note that Hawaii is addressing these issues. If the agency is able to properly correct these exposed weaknesses, it will provide Hawaii with a stronger and more effective system that can properly serve its people, and that is a good outcome. The government will need to follow through and ensure that these issues are truly fixed, and that the new and updated procedures and systems function as needed, in both planned and emergency situations. As a result, this unfortunate event will hopefully make all Hawaiians, and all Americans, safer in the long-run.

 

 

Vitamin D is Essential for Your Health, Is Your Doctor Getting it Right?

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Vitamin D is a type of healthy, naturally-occurring steroid.  It works within our body’s cells and is necessary for our health.  We are only now learning more and more about how important it is, and about how many people do not have sufficient levels to be optimally healthy.  It’s important for everyone to get their levels tested, regardless of their race or age.  Low vitamin D can cause both physical and mental health problems, and correcting low vitamin D may help to treat some problems that were previously thought to be untreatable.

A lot of research is being done lately on vitamin D, and rightly so.  So far evidence points to its importance in our mental health, allergies and atopy (like eczema and psoriasis), heart health, bone health, immune system, and likely others.

Here in the United States, doctors will check vitamin D levels using a test called 25 (OH) vitamin D.  The results of this test are important, and you should ask to look over them together with your doctor.

The test result will show a number that represents how much vitamin D is in your blood, and the test will have a range of what that particular laboratory thinks is an okay number for you to have.  The range is usually between 30 and 80 ng/ml or so.  These numbers bring up a very important point.

Some doctors will tell you that a number of 30, or even 20, is enough vitamin D.  I am going to tell you that in my opinion, that is NOT enough.  I have seen both severe osteoporosis and depression in people with levels in the low 30s.  When they started taking an appropriate amount of oral vitamin D3, their blood levels increased to around 50 over the next several months or so.  Their moods and energy improved significantly.

In order to stay healthy, both mentally and physically I recommend trying to keep your blood levels around 50-60.  Your doctor can monitor these with testing every 3 months or so.  If your initial level is low, she can tell you what to try to take to improve it.  Vitamin D3 is the correct type of oral vitamin D to take.  For the people I mentioned above, with levels around 32, taking 5000 IU a day of a USP-tested vitamin D3 was sufficient to raise their levels into the healthy range of 50 or so.

Not all vitamins for sale are tested to ensure that they actually contain what they are supposed to contain.  That is why I recommend using only vitamins which have a USP seal on their label.  The USP seal means that the vitamins have been tested and should contain what they say they do.  Taking a vitamin without the USP seal on the label is not a good idea as they may not contain the vitamin, and they may also contain unhealthy substances.

Depending on where you live, sun exposure will raise your vitamin D level.  So if you get a lot of sun in the summer, you may not need to take a vitamin D supplement during that time.  If you never get much sun, then you likely will benefit from taking a supplement year-round, as long as your levels are being monitored.

When you first start taking vitamin D3, if you have low levels, you may feel a burst of energy.  Because this may impact your sleep, I would recommend taking the vitamin in the morning, or avoiding taking it anywhere close to bedtime.  After a while, maybe a month or so, once your body’s levels start to become more normal, this effect will not necessarily be seen.

If you have any other medical conditions, be sure to check with all of your doctors before starting vitamin D supplementation, to ensure that you can take it safely.

You also need to know that you can get too much vitamin D.  Levels can be too high for your health, that is why if you take supplements, your levels need to be monitored on a regular basis.  Vitamin D toxicity can present with symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite, feeling tired, having pain, being thirsty, and other somewhat vague symptoms.

I hope that everyone will get their vitamin D levels checked so that they will be as healthy as they were meant to be.  For some, possibly many, vitamin D deficiency just may be one problem that you can correct that will change the rest of your life for the better.


 

I have found very useful information on vitamin D from the Vitamin D Council who has great online resources.  Here is a link to their page on general vitamin D testing and the various lab levels recommended by different groups.

My recommendations and views in this article are based on my experience and readings, previous recommendations by endocrinologists, and the views of the Vitamin D Council.  This article is for informational purposes only and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship.  I hope this information is helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hottest Item this Holiday Season, the New Apple Watch, Get it Now!

by, Suzanne Coleman

After Apple’s new product announcements yesterday I am surprised that more people aren’t seeing what I am seeing.  The important take away message is this:  the Apple Watch will be an independently-functioning device that you will be able to  use to make and receive phone calls.  People can leave their cell phone at home, at work, or in the car.  They no longer need to lug their heavy, awkward devices around 24/7 to stay in touch.

THIS IS HUGE.

If my predictions are correct, the Apple Watch will be this year’s have to give it/ have to get it gift at Christmas.  Everyone will have to have it, it will be the new COOL.  Think Sony Walkman, Apple iPhone… and now the Apple Watch.

Just wait and see.

My Apple price target for during the holiday sales period is 200-210 and up to 240 during that quarter’s reporting period early next year.  Buy now, make money.

That’s all for today people, I hope you are paying attention 🙂

 

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Yes, I do own Apple stock, but I also report my observations as objectively as possible.

 

OMG what is happening with The Bachelor people?!

The Bachelor Gossip, framed

by,

Suzanne Coleman

So much to talk about!  Did you hear, NICK is the new bachelor?  OMG I KNEW IT!  🙂  Good for you Nick, and good luck.  It’s funny looking back to when I was one of only two or three people who stood up for him on facebook… and now look at how things are going.  It’s a nice story, the moral being, hang in there, be yourself, and hopefully the good people will turn around and support you in the end against the evil ones, and they did!  Good job people 🙂

Now on to the CRAZY.  Are you watching “Bachelor in Paradise?!”  OMG.  That Ashley is SO CRAZY.  And Jared, WHAT is wrong with you man?!  Ashley is NOT your friend, she is an obsessive personality who has no empathy for other human beings and uses them for her own personal gain.  She treats the woman you are interested in HORRIBLY and you continue to support her behavior?  That’s called enabling.  If nothing else comes out of this experience for you PLEASE get counseling, it will literally change your life.  The way that you are responding to these situations is not good for you, for Caila, or for Ashley.

Ashley is manipulative, lacks empathy, is self-centered, and obsessive, all of these point to psychiatric problems, especially personality disorders or traits.  I say this not to make anyone feel badly, but to give people some insight into why their lives aren’t going the way they would like them to.  It’s hard when you grow up surrounded by people who are similar to you, for you to realize that you have issues that are not healthy and need to be addressed, and these need to be addressed by YOU.  Take action, make steps to a healthier you.

Speaking of Caila, wow what composure.  Good job.  I have a lot of admiration for how she handled that situation, having enough sense to realize that there is nothing that she can do to change Ashley’s abnormal behavior, or Jared’s, and walking away for her own mental health.  She sets a great example for others in situations like that.

There is so much else that is happening now but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Ok, I can’t help myself, one more note!

I’m really glad for Carly’s sake to find out that Evan’s interest in erectile dysfunction doesn’t seem to stem for his own personal issues. Go CARLY!  🙂

Until the next time, keep watching!

[For those of you who like a little humor, why not re-live a little bit of what caused all of the controversy (ok some of it) with Nick in the first place?  Click here to check out my hilarious parody 🙂 Have fun! ]

 

 

 

Rotten Apple, iPhone SE review

by,

Suzanne Coleman

 

For years I have wanted a new iPhone and a couple weeks ago I finally got one.  I bought the new iPhone SE in the rose gold 64 gigabytes.  I was really excited when I got it in the mail, finally, after waiting for about three weeks; the stores were all sold out.

When I opened it up, it came in a beautiful white box with a raised image of the phone on it, and all the text on the box was in the rose gold color.  Nice touch Apple.

I opened the white box and liked the way the phone looked, for the most part.  The problem started though, when I turned it on.  I immediately found the screen very glaring and difficult to look at, in fact really difficult to look at.  I went into the settings after I was able to activate the phone and adjusted them for contrast and other vision options under the accessibility feature, it did help, but not enough.

I also had issues with the phone after about 12 hours asking me to reenter all the data from the very beginning, starting with the white screen with the Apple on it.  According to the Apple Store staff, that was not supposed to happen.  The other issue I noticed was that the phone was rattling, but when I asked the Apple Store staff about that, they said that that is the auto-focus on the camera.  

I tried to give the phone a chance.  So I tried the video out, and after recording for five minutes my phone got extremely hot which made me concerned.  The main reason I bought the phone was for video and photo, especially macro photos and high-quality video, as this is something that I do as a pretty serious hobby.

What did the video look like?  I tried out the “60 fps 1080 p video” and wasn’t very happy with it.  I was videotaping a bird as it was flying, and I was moving the phone as I filmed it, to follow the bird’s motion.  I had two major issues with this.  First of all, the results were not 60p 1080.  The camera did not properly capture the number of images.  The video was very jerky, the images were not smooth.  It seemed more like i than p.  The moving birds’ wings were only showing at a few positions on the video instead of a smooth motion which I get using my 30p 1080 iPod touch 5.  The other issue was that when I moved the camera to follow the bird, the camera couldn’t keep up with the data and the background image became pixelated.  This has never happened with the 30p iPod and is unacceptable.

On the plus side, the images had good resolution; they were very sharp for the most part.  The video result had a much higher resolution than on the iPod for distant images (but not for macro, tested later).  Also, the brightness of the image on the phone while filming was great.  The exposure values were good, though there were some issue with over-exposure.  

Then I switched to 4K video to try that out (supposedly at 30p).  When I went to play it back on my iMac in iPhoto it was terrible, the video image was jerking as the video panned slowly to the right.  When I tested it again by playing it back on the phone, I did not notice this jerking, so this may be a software issue with iPhoto.  I’m also running an older version of the OS which may be the issue- though you would think that they would have updated the software to properly handle 4K. 

Also, when I first connected the iPhone SE to my iMac, iPhoto went crazy and kept flashing back and forth between different screens.  This was very disconcerting.  After I disconnected the iPhone and restarted the computer it seemed to be ok.  When I re-connected the iPhone the next time, it did not do this.

Then I went to try the camera for still images.  The images were OK, they were not outstanding at all.  Next, I used the macro camera and macro video.  In one case the video was good, but in another it was poor.  The camera was ok for macro pics, but not outstanding.   It did not measure up to the iPod in this area.  The macro video was also not able to properly depict the motion of  a moving subject (running carpenter ant).

Since my main interest was the camera and video capabilities of the phone, I decided that this was not the right tool for me.  Plus, its overall cheap-seeming construction and components were not worth the price at all.

I went into the Apple store and I was able to return the phone without any issues within their allotted time frame.  I am pretty disappointed in the quality of the phone, having both hardware and software issues.  And with the company for not properly identifying these problems before releasing the phone to the public.  But this has been their M.O. for quite a while now.  I think there are some deeper issues that need to be addressed at Apple.

Delayed Product Fulfillment, Apple and Nikon

by,

Suzanne Coleman

After not receiving my very eagerly-anticipated newly released Nikon camera on April 29th, I started looking into what had happened.  When I called the store I ordered it from, they had no information, so I turned to Amazon.

Amazon’s item page now states a release date of July 1, instead of what it said before, which was April 29th, but there was no reason for this sudden and significant change in release.  So I had to dig further.

I searched Nikon’s website for info and they revealed the reason behind the delay.  A recent earthquake in Japan has impacted their ability to produce or deliver the item.

Dang.

So I thought, maybe I can just use my new iPhone camera in the meantime?  The phone I ordered almost two weeks ago but still have no tracking information on?  The one that is still unavailable in the stores all across my area?

Yeah, that looks like it’s not going to happen either.

On a hunch, I researched where iPhones are produced and learned that their screens and some chips are produced in the area where the earthquake hit.  Double damn.

This is not good on many fronts, not good for Apple (I still own some of their stock) as its stock price drops on decreased sales due to their own outstanding product successes in the past, not good for Japan and its people, and not good for people hoping to upgrade their electronics in the wake of this natural event.  It cannot be determined how long it will take for this area to recover and be able to produce and supply these products again.

I had finally found the “perfect” camera after years of considering the options.  Now I will likely need to choose another, less perfect option to complete my upcoming documentary.  Any suggestions?

And I guess I’ll be keeping my old phone number a little bit longer too…

 

iPhone SE flies off the shelves, yet production is “slowed?”

usa-1026228_1280

by,

Suzanne Coleman

I decided that I wanted to buy the iPhone SE, so I went to the store to check it out and make sure it offered the features that I wanted.  While its camera isn’t very good and the 4K video looks ok, on a tiny screen, it did have dictation capabilities  which I think will be great for writing my books more efficiently (though Apple gets to screen everything you say, wonder what the fine print is on that??  NSA….).

I asked the store representative if they had any of the rose gold (I call it pink) 64 G in the store and she said they were sold out.  They’ve been mostly sold out for weeks.

Hmm…

If this is the case, then why are news outlets reporting a pull back on production of the iPhone?  Is this information accurate?  It seems to have been, in the past, when similar reports were released in the US.  This report was very vague though.  There were no indications of which phone/s’ production was/were slowed.  Maybe they slowed production of only certain models, like the iPhone 6.  Apple is expected to release the new iPhone 7 this year, so it would make sense if they decreased production of last year’s model, no well-managed company (not that they are…) would want to have tons of unsold overstock.

I asked the store’s staff how could I find out when they have the phones back in stock.  They told me that I could use http://www.apple.com to select the phone I want, and then I should hit “check availability” to see if the store has it.  So when I went home I tried this.

On Saturday, a couple of days later, most of the stores in my search results (about 15 stores) had the phone.  But the next day, all of the stores in my area were sold out.  I repeated this search over the next 10 days or so and none of the stores seemed to receive a new shipment (poor management…).

This is “vaguely” familiar, Apple not fulfilling customer demand.  Now as a stock-holder (not sure for how long that will continue), I have a problem with that.  You can’t bring in income if you don’t have the product available.  Apple has had so many issues with this over the past decade or so, yet management is the same as far as I can tell.  There is clearly demand for the phones, but there are no phones to fulfill that demand.  Why?

Then we hear that they are slowing production.  If that applies to SE, are they saying they made a mistake in selling this phone?  Do they want to pull back on it for some reason?  I don’t know.

I finally decided to order one for delivery, it “only” takes 3-4 weeks, though the website said 2-3, the dates were 3-4, another oddity.  So here I sit, iPhone-less for now.  Typing this article with my own two hands.  The old-fashioned way.  Man are they tired.

Why do I mention all of this?  As a shareholder the stock has performed poorly over the last year.  This company makes billions in profit annually (well, quarterly) yet investors are losing money.  Something needs to change, and as an analyst, I see the issue being at the top.  Management isn’t making the best decisions when it comes to production, sales and distribution.  There are also innovation lags compared to the competitors.

Maybe those nay-sayers were right, in fact they were, the stock was $135 and now it’s around $105.  That my friends, is not how you want to invest your money.  Waiting for a turn-around may be a long wait.  Maybe it’s time to take the losses and invest in another business…

 

Blinding Headlights

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

I previously wrote about the blinding new LED lights on vehicles and other locations, well they are not the only problem and I wanted to update you on the new information I have.  I have recently learned that some of the most blinding headlights on the road are halogen headlights.

Halogen headlights are the ones that send out streaks of light in all directions so that in the dark you are completely unable to see anything around them, including cars, people, or other objects on the road or next to it.  This is unsafe.

These lights are almost always a bright white or bluish white, but recently I have also noticed yellow ones which behave in the same blinding way.

I encountered these blinding lights on our local police SUVs and contacted them about it.  Through them, I learned that these vehicles are Ford Explorer SUVs and are equipped with what Ford calls “halogen projector beams.”

More and more cars seem to have these dangerous lights on them, it isn’t just Ford.

If you notice a vehicle whose lamps are too bright, contact the manufacturer and let them know that this is a problem.  That is what I did.  I think if they are made aware, they will go back and modify their designs so that it isn’t a problem.  I don’t think that they want to be responsible for harming others due to blinding drivers or pedestrians. And I know that they don’t want the possibility of lawsuits costing them millions if not billions of dollars in damages.

What else can you do?  You can take the initiative and go out at night and check your vehicle’s headlights, taillights, turn signals, and back-up lights to see if they are too bright If they are, go to your mechanic or car parts store and see if you can get a different type of bulb put in instead.

If you have LED bulbs, this may simply mean switching out your bulb with a lower wattage bulb.  Most early LED bulbs that were used were way too bright because people didn’t realize that you need a much lower wattage to get the same amount of light as your older bulb produced.  This brighter light is due to the LED’s ability to create an increased light output at lower energy, or wattage.

If you aren’t able to find a better bulb, at least make sure that your headlights are properly aimed DOWN at the roadThis is something that everyone should do.  When you do this, also do an additional check to be sure that when you are angled up a the top of a hill, or going over bumps in the road that your headlights don’t shine too brightly into oncoming drivers’ eyes as well.  You can do this by bending down a bit to make sure that the lights are aimed down far enough.  This simple fix will do a lot to help other drivers be safe out there and they will surely be thankful.

Most cars have a simple adjustment under the hood that you can move yourself to adjust the headlight direction up and down.  But if you prefer, your mechanic can do it for you, just be sure that you are there with them and make sure that it is done correctly.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Be safe out there!

 

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