Spillikins №589. About measuring oxygen in the blood and other parameters

Another week with holidays, which is still perceived as a forced confinement in isolation. Usually you wait for the May holidays, as this is a small vacation, an opportunity to reboot, nothing like this happened this year. Alas. But there are so many events in the world that you just have time to turn your head. But globally, there is a feeling that we are living in the looking glass, when one thing is actually happening, and something completely different is being put into the information agenda. This is clearly seen in the US stock market, and perhaps we will start with this topic. Let's go!


Corporations of America in crisis - why the stock market is growing

I can't bring myself to get used to the fact that there are many artificial structures in the world that defy common sense and are hailed as something revolutionary, changing the way of life and creating a different kind of economy. From the first day of Uber's existence, it was not clear to me what prospects a company that burns money at such a rate could have. Books about Uber written by former employees are more detective fiction than manuscripts describing the business component, it remains behind the scenes, since this is an ephemeral thing. But America's myth-making is so strong that almost everyone knows that Uber changed the transportation market, there was a revolution Leather Watches in Nigeria. Approximately the same motive is loved to be performed in our latitudes, saying that this is the future of any economy and the fact that we do not have such companies is a huge minus.

It is very easy to explain the absence in our Palestinians of such companies with such a scale of spending, we do not have such a developed stock market and an army of private investors who can be easily deceived. The ingredient to the success of phony investment model companies is cheap, unlimited money multiplied by private investors, who then pay for the holiday of a lifetime when a new unicorn goes public.

Let's take a look at Uber, the company is not only a travel company, but also a food delivery company, which in these difficult times should give a new impetus to business. Last year, Uber lost $8.5 billion, and at the end of the year, management promised that the break-even point would be reached at the end of 2020. To understand the Uber business model, it must be noted that the company has been losing money from the very beginning, it has never been able to earn it. And no changes, reorganizations have fixed this key moment - they are losing money, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. And if a few years ago Uber told a fairy tale that autopilots would make the company's business completely different, today even this myth has faded into the background, it has become boring for everyone. I love reading Uber's quarterly reports as they are reassuring, there is something that doesn't change in this world, in particular the company's losses.

In April, the number of trips fell by 80%, but this is just one of the numbers announced during the report, we are being prepared for difficult times. Quite a different story - the first quarter, the company's income amounted to 3.54 billion dollars, and losses - 2.9 billion dollars (this time it is a write-off of "minor investments"). Interestingly, the company's financiers do not show much ingenuity and almost always bury losses in technology costs.

But you know what amazes me about the history of Uber? Everyone knows that the king is naked, but a huge number of people believe that everything will be fine in the end and these smart guys will figure out how to do the impossible - to become a strong player and come up with a model in which all investors will start making money. In a conversation with my American friend who is heavily invested in Uber stock, I heard an explanation that struck me: “If they can't find a way to make money, they'll die. But they definitely don’t want to die, so they will tense up and do it.” Some kind of Hollywood approach to business, through overcoming to victory. This really confuses me, because it looks at least strange.

But a huge number of people are quite serious about the fact that everything is fine in the market and therefore the shares of companies are not just rising, they are winning back previous losses and are now trading at levels similar to those they were before the pandemic. For example, Apple shares soared again, the company's capitalization exceeded a trillion, analysts predict a bright future and say that everything turned out to be not so scary and everything is fine in the world.

Last week, the unemployment rate in the United States rose a little more, with 3.2 million people filing for the week. The total number of applications has reached 33.5 million, which is about 15% of the number of employed people. There has never been such a level of unemployment in the United States, including during the Great Depression, although here, perhaps, it is necessary to compare relative values, to talk about the size of the economy then and now. These are unprecedented numbers, nothing like this has ever happened in the largest economy in the world. And against this background, it is interesting to read good news from analysts, the unemployment rate is not so high, everything turned out to be much better, and therefore they assess the prospects of companies as bright.

Money allocated in the US to support business is misused by many companies, for example, Apple seized the moment to raise $8.5 billion at minimal interest, this money will be used to pay dividends, as well as share buybacks. Of course, there can be no talk of any rescue of Apple, the company's finances are in order, it has long turned into a financial instrument in which products play a secondary role. And many American corporations do exactly the same.

To assess the real state of the economy, you need to look at the basic types of business with state participation, they reflect what is happening and are some kind of indicators of the situation. For example, the US Postal Service has never been a business that makes money, but in the first quarter, losses doubled, losses amounted to $ 4.5 billion, they doubled. In the first quarter of 2019, the company's employee compensation reached $771 million, which is more or less the usual amount of mail costs. In the first quarter of this year, due to the pandemic, compensation rose to $2.99 ​​billion! It is not difficult to calculate how this affected the company. The company's top executives say the pandemic will wipe out about $13 billion in revenue in 2020, with the negative impact spreading over at least the next 18 months.

There is a feeling that companies with state participation are whipping up the negative, as they want to receive additional funding, and this is understandable. While corporations, on the contrary, try to ignore the impact of the pandemic, they pretend that it does not affect them so much. The reality is still closer to the estimates of state-owned companies, as they are also overly optimistic about how this crisis will pass.

It's nice that there is a place on the planet that believes that this crisis plays no role, hardly affects the market and people's ability to purchase goods, from phones to airplanes. But this is just a utopia that does not find any confirmation in reality. It's like the history of Uber, but taken to a fundamentally different level. People believe that there are things that are unshakable, for example, the economy cannot fall so much that the sales of leading corporations will fall. It's just a belief not supported by facts. Approximately the same degree of madness was during the US mortgage crisis, but then both the crisis itself and the fall of companies were not as noticeable as they are today.

The spell that we see today from American companies is very dangerous in the medium term. They simply do not have time to prepare for how this crisis will develop. And if companies in Asia are starting to cut their staff, cut production and supply chains, and put their finances in order, then the US corporate world lives as if there are temporary difficulties and a growing market is ahead of us. In the long run, this approach will weaken all American companies, there will be no exceptions. Someone will suffer more, someone less, but it will hit everyone. Why is it important? The answer lies on the surface - in the US trade war against China, this will provide an advantage to the latter and, possibly, even victory.

Awareness of this is gradually coming to a number of politicians in the US, and in the coming months we will see attempts to win back many situations, for example, to find ways to resolve the conflict regarding Huawei. They brewed this porridge themselves and they themselves will try to disentangle it. The piquancy of the situation is given by the fact that Huawei is in full swing implementing the replacement of American technologies in its products and is doing it quite successfully, they have a chance to become a Google competitor in their part of the world (this is not only China, but also India, Russia and a number of other countries). . Successful competitor. And in the field of infrastructure, as they were the leader, they remain so. The world of technology has always depended on politics, but today the future of technology directly depends on politicians and no one else. We live in an interesting time, and it will only get more interesting.

Google and Apple team up in the fight against the pandemic - user tracking

A month ago, both Google and Apple announced that they would create special APIs on their platforms to track those who are sick with COVID-19 and alert other users. Later, these technologies will become part of iOS and Android, that is, they will be implemented at the system level. There was a lot of enthusiasm about the fact that two direct competitors united around a problem that affects all of humanity, I didn’t want to express my opinion until recently, since it lies on a different plane and I consider this initiative pointless.

But first, let's see what the companies offer. First of all, the user is prompted to install an application from the Play Store / App Store, in which he will track the state of people around. That is, participation in the program is absolutely voluntary, there are no obligations forcing you to install such an application, it's your choice. And this makes this approach doubtful, because not all residents of a particular country will install such an application, not everyone will want to see what is happening around them.

The next moment, which seems strange to me. The person himself must mark in the application that he is sick. Can you imagine what kind of consciousness a person should have? So that he marks himself as sick and at the same time unconsciously continues to move through the streets of cities, having the opportunity to infect other people. The creators of this approach live in a fictional world, this story has nothing to do with reality. Alas, but it is.

Technically, catching patients looks very simple - your smartphone constantly scans the surroundings via Bluetooth, if a sick person who has marked their status in the application is next to you for five minutes, then your application notes that you are at risk of infection and offers to go to quarantine mode (here, of course, everything depends on the application itself and how the developers created it). It is assumed that there will be only one application per country, so as not to create confusion.

Apple and Google don't want to create a centralized data storage system, warnings that someone is sick should be private. That is, they are stored exclusively on users' phones. No servers, no disclosure of personal information. Let's imagine for a second that you are a bully who wants to annoy the people around you. You install the application, indicate that you are sick, and just lead your usual way of life. The number of potentially infected around you is starting to grow daily! You do not bear any responsibility, you are anonymous, and your company data has no right to give out to anyone. This is hooliganism, which can make many people nervous, make them go to the doctors or even go into quarantine. As you can see, breaking the system is very easy, it will not be difficult.

It is another matter if such a system is created with the support of states, when the status of “infected” is issued by medical workers, it will not be possible to turn it on independently. That is, it will be a confirmed diagnosis by the state. But this means the end of privacy, the transfer of all user data to states, which neither Apple nor Google simply can do. Both companies have driven themselves into a trap, their current approach simply does not work, and neither corporation is capable of giving up privacy, it will be a blow to all their services. One of the Russian companies did not hesitate at all when it began to cooperate in a similar way with the state, as part of a pilot project, it transfers all data about its users that they have an order to stay at home. That is, the state reports some data about people, and then the company monitors users and their movements. All this is happening as part of a pilot project, affecting “a small part of the people in one region”. This topic is interesting to me, and I would like more technical details, details. Therefore, if you have them and you are ready to share them, then write. As always, we protect the sources of information, so you don't have to worry about it. Information about a taxi and tracking movements in it is not very relevant, since it is clear how everything works in this case.

The fact that European countries have introduced strict user privacy standards and repeatedly punished American companies for collecting personal data gives a special charm to the situation. And now, privacy watchers, on the contrary, are demanding that Apple and Google give up this privacy in order to look for those who are infected or could potentially become infected. This proves once again that privacy was a pretext for Europeans to get additional income from IT companies from America. But in any case, the approach of Apple and Google is such that it will not work in practice. There are too many flaws in the idea behind the approach itself and contradictions that cannot be easily resolved. Be sure to read the continuation of the story about the “Social Monitoring” application, hell continues there, you can’t say otherwise.

This article contains all the applications from different countries that track infected people.

SpO2, pressure measurement on Galaxy Watch - Coronavirus era

At the same time, several people wrote with approximately the same question, how much can you trust SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) measurements taken by a watch or a smartphone. The answer will obviously come in handy for many, since the threat of contracting a virus and complications from it has awakened not only fears to life, but also a desire to protect oneself from this, to catch the disease at home. An obvious device for this is an oximeter, it allows you to measure the saturation of blood with oxygen. The less oxygen in the blood, the potentially worse the lungs work and there are some problems.

Such devices have been known for a long time, they are widespread. An oximeter (often also called a pulse oximeter) looks through the skin on the finger, measures the reflected light, and determines the shape of the hemoglobin. It is a non-invasive, simple way to measure blood oxygen saturation. And at first glance, the number of medical devices is huge, the cost of oximeters starts from 3-4 thousand rubles and rises to 30-40 thousand for professional models. The problem is that the structure of the skin is different for everyone, someone has a rough epithelium, someone is covered with scars, or, on the contrary, constantly uses creams. All this gives a noticeable error in measurements, it is impossible to achieve absolute accuracy in simple devices. You also need to understand that when measuring in bright light, you can introduce an additional error, so all measurements are recommended to be carried out in a darkened room. Such a device may indicate a trend, but not be the ultimate truth. In ordinary life, the SpO2 indicator is important only for professional athletes and those who have problems with blood, lungs, but they will probably use other, not the most popular solutions.

In the line of Samsung smartphones, sensors have long appeared that allow you to measure the SpO2 parameter, up to and including the Galaxy S10 line, such sensors can be found on the back of the smartphone, next to the camera.

Then, hardware sensors were abandoned, and a little earlier, the SpO2 measurement card disappeared from S Health. Throughout my life, I really needed these sensors in the Pamirs, when we traveled at least 400-500 kilometers a day and the heights were constantly changing. Mountain sickness caught up quickly, it was hard to prepare for it. The measurements made it possible to assess how critical everything was or not, my Galaxy helped in this and made it easier to make decisions. Yes, for sure it was not the most accurate data, but it was useful in order to understand what was happening and how.

The reason for the disappearance of both sensors and the measurements themselves is that the scientific community considered smartphones incapable of measuring SpO2 correctly. In 2015, there was a lot of work and discussion about how true these data are. The answer was the same - they are just as wrong as most inexpensive devices that do not have medical certification. It suddenly turned out that in addition to the measurement algorithm, which is available to everyone without exception and is very simple, you need to have a large set of statistical data, take into account the patient's skin type, his nationality, and much, much more, such as age. It was impossible to do all this in conditionally household appliances.

Samsung was afraid of getting under fire and therefore removed this option. Instead, a vague stress level appeared, which is a derivative of SpO2 and other parameters, such as heart rate.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to directly understand the level of oxygen in the blood using the level of stress. If you have Samsung smartphones with an SpO2 sensor, then in this section you will find this measurement, it was returned back some time ago (and all this is thanks to the epidemic, oddly enough).

But if you have new smartphones, then there is no such sensor. Smartwatches from Samsung are able to measure this parameter and even do it, but you won’t be able to see it explicitly in the application. You need to enable continuous measurement of stress level in the settings, and then download your data to your smartphone, you can find the SpO2 measurement in the files. Alas, there is no easy way to read them, I hope someone will write an application that can decrypt personal data received from S Health, give statistics in a digestible form. Someone claims that SpO2 automatically appears on the card with constant measurement of stress, this did not happen to me. Alas.

The company obviously got burned by the fact that the method is not medically accurate, and therefore hid it from users. After all, a smartphone is not a medical device, and attempts to certify it as such are very difficult, as well as the impossibility of selling it after that in ordinary stores. The legislation of most countries is far behind, hence the inability to widely offer also the measurement of pressure on watches.

Answering the question that started our excursion, I want to say that the SpO2 sensor in mobile devices is a very relative thing, it is definitely lying. For some, this is a lie of a few percent, somewhere even more (it just shows a level of 95-99%, although the real level can be 80-85% and the person feels unwell). It is not necessary to expect that this is an accurate instrument, but it can show a trend. And in this capacity, you can and should use such sensors, on Samsung they are more or less accurate. We had material where different bracelets were compared, but there were no measurements under load (breath holding), there was no oximeter to compare readings with a medical-level device. Therefore, this is just a comparison among themselves, and even in such material, discrepancies between different models are visible. Let me remind you that many smart bracelets and watches measure the pulse for sausage, potatoes and other inanimate objects, this is how the algorithm works (shows the latest measurements to demonstrate that it works).

Talking about body measurement, I want to talk about the ability to measure pressure on the Galaxy Watch Active/Active 2 smartwatch. Samsung originally planned to make this feature available to everyone in the first quarter of 2020, but now the plans have been postponed. And the reasons lie exactly in the same plane, there are too many questions, research is needed to confirm the accuracy of such measurements. Samsung has selected UC San Francisco and nonprofit research company Sage as research partners.

Unfortunately, My BP Lab 2.0 is not available in Russia, it can be officially downloaded in five countries around the world. But removing the SIM card, erasing all Samsung app store data, and logging in via VPN and pretending to be in the US will install it. This is a research project, and you will be asked to answer questions, constantly monitor yourself, and the registration itself is furious, albeit uncomplicated.

I don't really need an application on my smartphone, rather the settings of the application for the watch are important. Once you set it up, you can measure blood pressure without a smartphone. The main thing is to calibrate the watch at the initial setting, for this you need any tonometer, which will give you measurement results. And that's it! After that, you can measure your pressure from the watch at any time, it is impossible to do this in automatic mode. Also, do not move, as a failure will occur and you will have to start everything again.

And my attitude to this possibility is exactly the same, not very accurate data, but the ability to measure pressure on the go is good. This is more of a starting point, and nothing more. I hope that in the future such measurements will receive medical justification and they will become the norm in watches. While the laws of different countries serve as an obstacle, manufacturing companies do not risk opening these features to the public, although they are physically present in the devices. The described workaround allows you to get this opportunity, albeit crookedly, but perhaps it will be useful to you.

Extracurricular reading:

Clicking AirPods Pro - Apple's solution

Starting in November 2019, some AirPods Pro customers have experienced clicking noises in their earbuds, either one of the earbuds making such unpleasant sounds, or both. About the fact that one of the headphones can “fall off”, the sound volume is walking in it, the company is silent. But after the mass appeals about clicks went, Apple nevertheless recognized this problem. Let me remind you that headphones cost 21 thousand rubles, this is a rather expensive accessory.

You can find a description of the actions here.

The problem can sometimes be that the headphones are dirty and need to be cleaned, this also happens. But I would venture to suggest that, as usual, there was a manufacturing defect, but they prefer to remain silent about this. At the moment, the headphones are produced in several factories, due to the fact that the demand for AirPods Pro was higher than planned in November, their production was expanded to another Chinese factory. Clicks appeared around the same time on the new headsets. It is clear that only Apple can see by the numbers from which factory this problem came from, but it is not software-related in most cases, but is exclusively related to the build quality, the quality of components. And that is why, when dealing with this problem, they replace your headphones with new ones.

Moreover, this is also supported by the fact that they want to leave AirPods Pro at one factory in China, but transfer the younger model to production in Vietnam. The shuffling of factories is clearly related, among other things, to build quality. If these headphones do not work for you, then bring them to the service from Apple, they will replace them for you. In any case, until it becomes a mass story, the company replaces the marriage, and what will happen next is unclear.

Social monitoring app - continuation of the story

Last week I spoke about the situation with the Social Monitoring application, published a letter from Alexander, I advise you to read the beginning of the story if you have not read it.

At the end of the week, Alexander called and said that the circus continues, he received fines that he cannot dispute until they come in paper form. The situation is grotesque, in which fines are issued regularly, but they cannot actually be substantiated. And these are not isolated cases. You can read the continuation of Alexander's story here.

On the other hand, most of those who did not find themselves in this situation do not care about everything that happens from the high bell tower. Here is one of the comments from the mail: Eldar, I read Spillikins and about the application of the Moscow City Hall. But first about yourself. I live in Moscow, I rent an apartment, my family is from Taganrog. We've been here for almost ten years. You urge to distribute a link to your text, to describe how the mayor's office is wrong. You may not have anything to lose, but I have something. The mayor's office will surely count all the protesters and then arrange a fun life. Do you believe that you can change something? Level 100 naivete. I don’t know whether Alexander exists or he is fictional, but calling on people to risk themselves and their families is irresponsible. It's easier to find money and pay.

You know, I don't know the person who wrote to me, he didn't leave his phone number, and he doesn't answer letters. But it looks like a mockery, I can’t find another word. This position is not close to me at all, but the fact that the non-working application of the mayor's office brings pain and suffering to people, I see from dozens of stories and letters that I receive. And that's just a small part of what's going on. I will publish two letters to give you an understanding of the hell that was created in the Moscow City Hall and how they harm the citizens of their own city. First letter from Alexander (this is another Alexander).

Eldar, good afternoon.

The Internet says that you are preparing an article about "Social Monitoring".

Perhaps I am one of the victims of the miracle of the Social Monitoring application. I am at home in quarantine, with covid, I received a message about the need to install this application. As put, the phone began to overheat, slow down, consume the battery. From time to time, the application asked to send a photo, then it stopped, but SMS came with the text "You have been sent a request for mandatory identification. To pass the identification, open the Social Monitoring application. Technical support phone +74958707296.", while in the application itself the photo did not allow sending and there was no push. At the moment I have four fines of 4t.r.

I managed to get through to the Main Control Center in Moscow, where the woman sent me with my claims to the "electronic reception"