Seasons of grief

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While speaking as a panelist on substance use disorder (SUD), I felt it necessary to remind the audience that addiction is a family disease. While family members may not themselves be tethered to use of a substance, we all share in the anger, guilt, despair, and all too often grief that ripple back and forth in a family’s encounter with SUD. I learned early on, “Addiction isn’t a spectator sport, eventually the whole family gets to play.”

What may be harder for some to understand is that the “sport” gets played for a lifetime, even by generations to come. I am reminded of a line near the end of Robert Woodruff Anderson’s play I Never Sang for My Father, “Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some final resolution, some clear meaning, which it perhaps never finds.”

The struggle to find some resolution to loss due to SUD may take the form of rotating graveside arrangements, memorial gardens or park benches, sponsored public talks, races, and fundraising benefits. These are but a few of the ways families devise to remember a loved one and contribute to the common good in their name.

Unfortunately, the struggle toward resolution can also result in blame, alienation, family disruption, and divorce. The disease has a way of finding its way into the weak spots of a family fabric and causing rot, unless and until the aftereffects are tended to and we find some way to make meaning from a loved one’s overdose death.

One disruption that is almost certain to appear is the alteration of a family’s calendar. While always a constant, grief finds a way to manifest itself in anniversaries new and old — certainly on birthdays, or with an empty chair at holiday tables (a practice some families observe not only in name but in deed), but also the memory of the day someone overdosed, or the last memory of sobriety. The scar of a horrifying discovery or a dreaded telephone call now mars Christmas Day, a wedding anniversary, or what would ordinarily be a celebratory family event.

For me the fall was always a happy time, ever since my early adolescence when I began to play soccer. I’ve played, coached, or been a referee every fall for 50 years. Exactly six years ago, even the same day of the week as I write this, I refereed a game on a bright October Saturday morning. That evening I discovered our son, William, overdosed in our living room. His last words to me as he shut the door were, “I’m going to watch some TV.” There was no mention of injecting heroin. Six weeks of comatose hospitalization followed before he died in our arms.

Every year since, the fall darkens not just with the loss of daylight, but also with the loss of a beautiful light in our lives. William’s November birthday, Thanksgiving, the day he died, the date of his memorial service — all combine to create a season of grief for our family. Nieces who will know him only through photographs and stories will sing him “Happy Birthday” on a day that is anything but happy for those who knew and loved William. Soccer, a sport I love, now competes with a deep seasonal gloom.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer famously said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Despite all the loss and suffering, all the beautiful memorials, and all the work of many grieving families and advocacy groups to enlighten us, I fear our society lingers too near stage one, ridicule. Ridicule prolongs shame and stigma, and serves to perpetuate our seasons of grief.

The post Seasons of grief appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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How Much Does Asset Tracking Cost?

Asset tracking costs can be as low as around $15 to $35 per asset per month for limited functionality, and anywhere from $50 to $150 per asset per month for a feature-packed tracking system.

Ultimately, the exact price of an asset tracking system for your business will be unique. Costs are dependent on a variety of factors including the features that are supported, the number of assets tracked, the quality of support available from the vendor, and the price of that vendor’s licensing and maintenance fees, which will be bundled into the total cost.

In this article, we’ll explain how asset tracking prices might be calculated and we’ll offer up a few examples, giving you a frame of reference that you can bring into discussions with vendors themselves.

And, if you want to cut to the chase, you can easily compare the exact costs offered by a range of asset tracking companies for your specific business: Just use our quick price comparison form.

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Asset Tracking Cost Factors

Here’s a more detailed rundown of the elements that can affect your asset tracking bill, along with a few notes on what general industry practices to expect when you start collecting quotes.

Number of Assets?

The number of assets tracked will have the most basic affect on the costs. In general, the more assets you have, the higher your costs to track them all. Some vendors offer asset tracking per user rather than per asset (as explained below), but they’ll still have a cap on the number of assets allowed, and will charge more if you surpass that cap.

Powered or Non-Powered?

A powered asset is one that requires a power source like fuel or electricity in order to run. An excavator and a storage unit are both moveable assets, but the first is powered, while the second is not. Powered assets can be tracked with more specific features than non-powered assets: Managers might want to track engine use or maintenance schedules, which will require an asset tracking system designed for powered assets.

Features Needed?

Common high-value asset monitoring features include real-time geolocation, travel times, historical data, reporting and, for powered assets, engine hours, maintenance schedules and instances of unauthorized use. Mobile accessibility is another feature that many managers can’t do without.

Check out our guide to asset tracking for a deeper explanation of the benefits these features offer.

Data Collected?

The data reporting features of an asset tracking system allow managers to identify and remove any inefficencies in their processes. The greater the level of data offered and the greater the number of assets, the larger a financial impact any streamlining will have on the company’s bottom line.

Level of Support?

Does the asset tracking vendor you’re considering offer a support team available by phone, email or live chat? What are the hours? Is 24/7 support available for a higher fee or is it bundled into the basic package? Conversely, do you anticipate needing support often? If your support needs are low or if your business has an in-house IT team, you may not need this perk.


Will the asset tracking system or hardware units require in-depth training? Does the vendor offer in-person training, live online training, or online training documents for self-starters? Limited online training options aren’t uncommon, but you’ll likely need to pay a hefty fee for a one- or two-day in-person training session, if they are even offered.

An asset tracking location alertPer Asset or Per User?

Some vendors will charge per user per month, meaning that each individual with access to the tracking system costs the company a set amount each month. Other services may charge a set amount per asset tracked, rather than per user.

Subscription Length?

Most asset tracking vendors opt for an annual bill, pre-paid up front. Two- and three-year contracts are also common. Though it’s more rare, some vendors may offer six-month, three-month, or monthly billing cycles, even if their annual option is likely the most deeply discounted option.

Asset Tracking Prices: Examples

Sometimes you just need a few examples of exactly how much your money can buy. Fortunately, there are some asset tracking companies offering set price plans rather than unique quotes, which can give you an idea of the rest of the industry’s prices. Larger businesses can likely still finagle a boutique deal, even with a company that uses set plans, but the below prices do provide a window into what to expect.

Here’s a table that covers the range of plans and costs that you might see from an asset tracking service.

Freshservice Asset Tracking AssetCloud Asset Tracking Redbeam Asset Tracking GoCodes Asset Tracking Cheapest plan: $19/user/month $995/unlimited users/unlimited assets/month $50/user/month $199/3 users/500 assets/year Most expensive plan: $99/user/month $995/unlimited users/unlimited assets/month $50/user/month $199/10 users/5000 assets/month Notable features: Incident management, automations, reports Transaction tracking, site tracking, contract management Inventory management, role-based security, reports Custom data fields, inventory management Support: Email, phone Email, phone, live chat Available for extra cost Email, phone


Asset Tracking Cost Savings

The point of an asset tracking system is to save money. Every feature that you shell out for should ideally help you recoup your costs in one way or another, and that’s something to consider when figuring out how to budget for an asset tracking system. Here’s a look at a few common ways to save money by tracking your assets.

Samsara's asset tracking geofence featureTheft Deterrence

Tracking your assets helps deter theft among employees (A full 79% of employees steal from their employers at least once, according to one tracking company), and it helps managers deal with insurance when theft does occur. A geofence feature can even let you know when any unauthorized use occurs, even when not theft.


With asset tracking, managers can keep not just the location of their assets, but all the data associated with their daily use, all in one central dashboard. All actions and tasks related to that data will be easier to accomplish, and the time-saving will keep everyone at their most productive.

Proactive Maintenance

With the right system, managers will be able to set alerts to notify them by email or SMS when a powered asset’s engine hours indicate it may need maintenance. By staying on top of this chore, managers can ensure that their assets don’t suffer a shortened lifespan, and can save on parts or replacements.

A Samsara asset tracking unitData History

A detailed, granular system that tracks historical data can help managers remember the entire lifecycle of their assets, from their maintenance record to their average travel times to any past support tickets. All that data can help managers make informed decisions.

No Misplaced Assets

Finally, any asset tracking system will prevent misplaced assets, ensuring an operation will save funds on any replacements that would inevitably occur without tracking.

Compare Asset Tracking Prices

Once you know every feature you’ll need and have a tentative budget planned out, there’s just one step standing between you and the perfect asset tracking system for your business: Finding out what quotes each of the best asset tracking companies have to offer you.

Our handy quotes form is ready to help you with just that. Within about a minute, you can complete this form in order to learn more about the top asset tracking companies available today and how much they’ll offer you to the dollar.

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The post How Much Does Asset Tracking Cost? appeared first on TechCo.

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Can a 48 Megapixel Phone Actually Take Better Photos?

The new year is almost upon us, and it looks like the most important number, at least in the cameraphone world, will be 48. Why? That’s the latest milestone we’ve reached in cameraphone megapixel counts.

Honor has announced that next year’s Honor View 20 phone will use Sony’s IMX586 CMOS sensor, which will enable images at 48 megapixels. There are also hints from fellow Chinese brand Xiaomi that it has a similar spec phone in the pipeline.

In short, the megapixel wars have never been hotter. The question is, when it comes to megapixel counts, does bigger mean better? And why should we care about megapixels anyway?

The Megapixel Race

There’s been an arms race in the digital photography space for years when it comes to megapixels. While the ‘Mp’ count can feel like a good indicator for how good you can expect a camera to be, it simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

The earliest consumer digital cameras had tiny pixel counts, and produced images that were blocky, grainy and generally pretty poor. But it was a different time, and the fact that it could be done at all seemed like witchcraft to most.

When the first cameraphones emerged, the picture quality wasn’t there, but the convenience made up for it. By the end of 2003, 80 million had been sold worldwide. Models like the Sprint PM-8920, with its impressive (for the time) 1.3Mp camera, helped sell the cameraphone as the must-have accessory.

The initial fervour for the cameraphone was soon replaced with higher expectations for better picture quality.

Yes, a grainy photo of your cat was fun on your 2-inch mobile screen, but the problem came when you tried to print it out. Even blown up to a standard photo size of 6×4, it looked atrocious. Remember, we’re talking about a time before social media had a stranglehold on our images, and people were used to owning physical copies of snaps they’d taken.

Enter our old friend, Mr Megapixel. It was true, initially, that the more megapixels, the higher the quality. And this message was conveyed to the public through advertising. Soon enough, even your Gran knew what a megapixel was and that you wanted a bigger number of them.

The original iPhone boasted a 2Mp camera

Megapixel count quickly became advertising shorthand for image quality. That’s how we now find ourselves imminently looking at phones with 48Mp cameras. It’s a long cry from the original iPhone’s 2Mp camera.

Incidentally, we’re talking the rear camera here. The front-facing selfie camera traditionally has a much lower pixel count. There’s an entirely separate arms race going on when it comes to selfie cameras.

So, Do More Megapixels Mean Better Quality?

The Honor View 20 is making mega (pixel) claims

Yes. And no.

While megapixels mean, in theory, more detail, there’s a lot more to consider. A photo with a high megapixel count will let you digitally crop and zoom, or print to a large size without sacrificing detail. But there’s a lot more to image quality than this.

More important than the megapixel count is a decent quality lens, a large sensor, wide aperture, physical zoom, image processing…there’s a myriad number of features that all work together to bring you that perfect holiday snap.

The quality of the sensor really can’t be overstated. It’s the sensor’s job to capture the light in your photo. The bigger the sensor, the more light it’s able to absorb, leading to clear, noise-free images (even in low light). The size of the sensor itself is important – as they’re collecting light, the bigger the better.

Interestingly, cramming more megapixels into a camera can actually have an adverse effect on the amount of light that the sensor is able to capture. This leads to situations where a camera with fewer megapixels can actually beat one with more.

From an advertising perspective, it’s not hard to see why megapixels are promoted so prominently. The average consumer has little point of reference for sensor size, while megapixels have a clear number value.

What More Megapixels Let You Do

For sharing on social media, you simply don’t need a megapixel monster. Most platforms automatically reduce the image quality when you upload files. This saves on bandwidth and site loading time.

If you’re looking to print out your pic, accepted wisdom is that an 8Mp camera will produce good quality photos at A4 size. Even most budget phones surpass these specs, so you can rest assured that the bar for quality isn’t crazy high.

If you’re looking to print out billboard-sized images, or display them on a large screen, then you’ll need more of those megapixels, admittedly. This is also true if you want to make use of your phone’s zoom feature. Traditionally, this is defined as optical or digital zoom. The former is a physical movement of the lens itself (rare on phones), while the latter essentially crops the image smaller.

The more megapixels you have to play with, the more you can use a digital zoom to crop into your image.

One further downside to vast megapixel counts? Huge file sizes. This can make them a pain to store or transfer, and you’ll certainly need an extra memory card.

Google, Apple, Samsung and ‘Low’ Megapixel Phones

For most of us, more megapixels is simply overkill, and shouldn’t be the prime concern when considering a phone camera.

Want proof? Some of the best cameras we’ve seen on phones this year have a megapixel count way below the 48Mp of the Honor 20. We’ve been blown away by the images from the Google Pixel XL 3, despite the fact that it ‘only’ has an 8Mp camera. Its success lies in the excellent lens and sensor, and first-class image-processing software.

Then there’s the Samsung S9, with its 12Mp rear camera. Again, it produces stunning shots that will impress, and doesn’t rely on a bloated megapixel count to do so.

Lastly, there’s Apple’s iPhone XS, which also has a 12 megapixel rear camera (two, actually). Yet again, it produces pictures of a stunning caliber, in a variety of light conditions.

Megapixels are important, don’t doubt that. But don’t get caught up in the numbers.

A good camera phone relies on a number of components and shouldn’t try to distract you with one headline stat. How Honor and Xiaomi’s phones stack up remains to be seen in the new year. But, in our opinion, they’ve a fight on their hands if they want to topple the Pixel XLs and S9s of the world.

And it’s a battle that will be won with results, not numbers.

The post Can a 48 Megapixel Phone Actually Take Better Photos? appeared first on TechCo.

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