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Patlewicz G.,DuPont Company | Ball N.,Dow Chemical Company | Booth E.D.,Syngenta | Hulzebos E.,Postbox Inc. | And 2 more authors.
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Read-across has generated much attention since it may be used as an alternative approach for addressing the information requirements under regulatory programmes, notably the EU's REACH regulation. Read-across approaches are conceptually accepted by ECHA and Member State Authorities (MS) but difficulties remain in applying them consistently in practice. Technical guidance is available and there are a plethora of models and tools that can assist in the development of categories and read-across, but guidance on how to practically apply categorisation approaches is still missing. This paper was prepared following an ECETOC (European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology) Task Force that had the objective of summarising guidance and tools available, reviewing their practical utility and considering what technical recommendations and learnings could be shared more widely to refine and inform on the current use of read-across. The full insights are recorded in ECETOC Technical Report TR No. 116. The focus of this present paper is to describe some of the technical and practical considerations when applying read-across under REACH. Since many of the deliberations helped identify the issues for discussion at a recent ECHA/Cefic LRI workshop on "read-across", summary outcomes from this workshop are captured where appropriate for completeness. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Hofvind S.,Postbox Inc. | Skaane P.,University of Oslo
RoFo Fortschritte auf dem Gebiet der Rontgenstrahlen und der Bildgebenden Verfahren | Year: 2012

Purpose: The German mammographic screening program is very similar to the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), which started about 10 years earlier. This study analyzes the stage distribution of invasive breast cancers diagnosed in the pre-screening and screening period, and evaluates the overall mortality in women aged 55 - 74 in the pilot and non-pilot counties of the NBCSP. Materials and Methods: The NBCSP invites women aged 50 - 69 to participate in two-view mammography biennially. Chi-square statistics were used to compare percentages of the stage and treatment of invasive breast cancers diagnosed in women residing in the four pilot counties in the pre-screening (1984 - 1995) and screening (1996 - 2007) period. An ecological approach was used to analyze the age-specific mortality in the pilot and non-pilot counties for the period 1970 - 2007. Results: 50 % of the breast cancers diagnosed in the pre-screening period, 70 % of the cases detected with screening, 43 % of the interval cancers, and 52 % of the cancers diagnosed outside the NBCSP were stage I. Stage III + was present in 11 % of the cancers in the pre-screening period, and in 1 % of the cancers detected with screening. In the screening period, the breast cancer mortality rate decreased substantially more in the pilot counties than in the non-pilot counties. Conclusion: The stage distribution of breast cancer diagnosed in the NBCSP is prognostically favorable compared to cancers diagnosed outside the screening program. The reduction in the breast cancer mortality rate was more pronounced in the four pilot counties compared to the non-pilot counties. It is necessary to evaluate the program based on individual data. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG · Stuttgart · New York.

Stewart D.,James Hutton Institute | Stewart D.,Postbox Inc. | McDougall G.,James Hutton Institute
British Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2014

Oats are undervalued in comparison with wheat, rice and barley, despite their unique composition that includes many of the nutrients required for health and a reduced risk of degenerative disease incidence. Furthermore, oats as whole grain and some of their associated products also contain β-glucan, a complex polysaccharide that has an approved health claim to reduce blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of CHD incidence if consumed at ≥ 3 g/d. At the agronomic level, oats exhibit optimal growth in regions of moderate temperature and long day length. In addition, they can tolerate wet weather and acidic soils more effectively than other cereals, such as wheat. Studies have shown that there is diversity in the content and composition of nutrients and health-beneficial components within the available wild and cultivated germplasm and that these are amenable to be enhanced by different agronomic practices as well as are susceptible to climatic variation. The advances in modern plant genetics, developed in sister cereals such as wheat, rice and barley, mean that oat development and exploitation should see an acceleration in the coming decade as they are adopted and applied. These advances include approaches such as genome sequencing, genotyping by sequencing and the allied next-level analytical approaches of RNA sequencing, transcriptome profiling and metabolomics. The collation and coordination of these approaches should lead to the generation of new, tailored oat varieties that are nutritionally enhanced and contain a greater proportion of health-beneficial components that can be translated through into a wide(r) range of consumer products with the ultimate hope of associated benefits to human health and nutrition. Copyright © 2014 The Authors.

van der Ploeg F.,University of Oxford | Poelhekke S.,Postbox Inc.
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management | Year: 2010

Brunnschweiler and Bulte (2008) [1,2] provide cross-country evidence that resource curse is a "red herring" once one corrects for endogeneity of resource exports and allows resource abundance to affect growth. Their results show that resource exports are no longer significant while value of subsoil assets has a significant positive effect on growth. But the World Bank measure of subsoil assets is proportional to current rents, and thus is also endogenous. Furthermore, their results suffer from an unfortunate data mishap, omitted variables bias, weakness of instruments, violation of exclusion restrictions and misspecification error. Correcting for these issues and instrumenting resource exports with values of proven reserves at the beginning of the sample period, there is no evidence for resource curse either and subsoil assets are no longer significant. However, the same evidence suggests that resource exports or rents boost growth in stable countries, but also make especially already volatile countries more volatile and thus indirectly worsen growth prospects. Ignoring the volatility channel may lead one to erroneously conclude that there is no effect of resources on growth. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

News Article | July 27, 2012

Apple's OS X Mountain Lion launched on Wednesday, and with it came a new set of rules laid out by Apple that restrict what Mac developers can do with their apps. To sum it up, developers must "sandbox" their apps in order to take full advantage of new features like iCloud and Notification Center, limiting access to system data much like iOS apps. Sandboxed apps are much easier for Apple to verify, check, and approve for the Mac App store, since they are inherently self-contained, but this poses a big problem: sandboxing your app sometimes means that features that dig deep into OS X must be removed. Developers lashed out at Apple for its new rules when Mountain Lion was announced back in February, in part because of how much effort might go into re-architecting their apps. Tech pundit Andy Ihnatko wrote, "Time, money, and resources that developers could be investing in making a great product even better must instead be spent just to keep their software working." Most developers seem to agree that adding support for Mountain Lion seems to be a do or die However, most developers have taken the past few months to update their apps according to Apple's new standards — which for some developers means checking a few boxes, and for others means sacrificing features users love. Since Mountain Lion was announced, many top apps like Fantastical, Sparrow, and 1Password have prepared for a Mac world that looks more like iOS's perceived "walled garden." For better or for worse, most developers seem to agree that adding support for Mountain Lion seems to be a do or die. "Any developer who wants to build for Apple's products typically stays as on pace with the curve as possible, because that's what a significant portion of Apple's customers do," says 1Password's David Chartier. Developers now have two choices: sell unrestricted apps independent of the Mac App Store, or abide by Apple's rules to gain access to the App Store, its enormous distribution power, and new features in OS X like iCloud document syncing for apps and iOS-style push notifications from the cloud in Notification Center. For Day One engineer Ben Dolman, following Apple's rules has been a challenge, and has delayed the upcoming version of his app by a few weeks. "The migration from non-sandboxed to sandboxed was especially difficult for us because we have both a main app and a helper app (the one that runs in the menu bar)," says Dolman. In order to solve the problem, Dolman had to box up all of Day One's journal entry files and put them in one place, which will provide users with fewer options for where to store entries. 1Password's David Chartier concurs. "It's simply a lot of work," he says. "It can require enormous, often difficult changes to architecture for some apps and, in some cases, even ripping out features. The struggle between security and convenience is never easy," he says. "The struggle between security and convenience is never easy." DoOneThing developer Adam Mathes drew a more precise distinction: "for some simple apps like mine, it's just checking a box and recompiling, it's not a big deal at all. For things that need broad access to the filesystem or other capabilities impacted by sandboxing, it can be a much larger chunk of work," he says. Tweetbot for Mac developer Paul Haddad agrees. "Honestly for us it seemed to be just clicking a bunch of checkboxes," says Haddad. "I'm sure it's a lot more complicated for different applications but we didn't run into any of those issues. For a large class of apps sandboxing is real simple, for some its either impossible or very difficult. I guess we got lucky," he says. Unfortunately, due to sandboxing, Day One has lost a feature critical to the productivity of some users. "[A] casualty of sandboxing was our CLI, which allows entries to be created via a command line utility and has been popular with developers that have written custom import scripts," says Dolman. Fortunately, Dolman found another way to implement the feature, but outside the Day One app. "Instead we will offer it as a separate download, signed with our Developer ID to make Gatekeeper happy, on our website," he says. Fixing the issue has cost the company weeks of work. Sadly, not all apps can afford to abide by Apple's rules. Popular launcher and macro app Alfred "works deep into the heart of your Mac," and thus can't sandbox without losing several key features that take advantage of scripts in OS X. Alfred's premium version won't go up for sale in the Mac App Store, and thus can't take advantage of iCloud and Notification Center. iCloud syncing for preferences would've been great for Alfred users, who often spend hours customizing shortcuts and custom search fields. Fortunately, Alfred is sticking around, but won't be able to take advantage of iCloud or Notification Center. "Apple’s new Gatekeeper paves the way for us to keep Alfred as productive as possible without having to work within the limitations of a sandbox," Alfred's developers say in a blog post. Alfred's free app will continue to exist in the Mac App Store, but per Apple's new rules, can only receive critical bug fixes. "Apple will supposedly allow bug fixes for these existing apps, but there aren't many apps that can survive without regularly adding features. Maybe we'll see someone create an alternative app store for system utilities" says Day One's Dolman. "[There are] no free trials, discounted upgrades, free upgrades, volume discounts or site licensing." Postbox's Sherman Dickman decided to pull his app from the Mac App Store for reasons that have nothing to do with sandboxing. "[There are] no free trials, discounted upgrades, free upgrades, volume discounts or site licensing. There's also no access to customer information, which prevents us from validating orders, offering discounts, running promotions, newsletter signups." Perhaps most importantly, Dickman notes, "we had to create another version of Postbox for the Mac App Store that removed features such as iCal support, iPhoto integration, and add-ons in order to comply with Apple's Application Guidelines." For most developers, creating two apps is simply not an option, and Dickman admits that there are many benefits to using the Mac App Store for distribution. "In short, the Mac App Store lets developers spend more time on creating awesome apps, and less time on ecommerce infrastructure," he wrote. Tweetbot for Mac developer Paul Haddad admits that there are a few workarounds for developers who choose not to sell product through the Mac App Store. "If you are only doing local notifications, you can do so without being in the Mac App Store," says Haddad. "Fortunately, since Mac apps can run in the background, a lot of them can get away with just doing local notifications, like ourselves," he added. That means notifications work if your app is open, but they won't be routed through iCloud. However, Postbox's Dickman has higher hopes. "Our hope is that Apple will continue to evolve the Mac App Store in ways that meet the unique needs of Postbox and our customers. Until then, we'll keep our fingers crossed and the Postbox Store open for business," he says. Dickman's post almost echoes Sparrow CEO Dom Leca's call to action petitioning Apple for a third-party email push privilege in iOS. "Our hope is that Apple will continue to evolve the Mac App Store in ways that meet the unique needs of Postbox and our customers." It's not all bad news, though. Despite the Day One team's frustrations with sandboxing, they applaud other tools Apple has provided to developers in Mountain Lion. "It took me two hours to implement sharing with Email, Messages, Flickr, Twitter and AirDrop," says Dolman, "and it should just work automatically with Facebook when Apple releases that in a ML update later this year. That's a huge win for developers that would normally spend days implementing each SDK, preparing the data for sharing and adding preferences for linking and unlinking in the app's settings, not to mention having to keep each of those SDKs up-to-date with the latest API changes," he says. Yet, even some of the usual crop of Apple evangelists are bearish on Apple's direction forward, and point out some far-reaching consequences. "This even may reduce the long-term success of iCloud and the platform lock-in it could bring for Apple," Instapaper developer Marco Arment wrote yesterday. "Only App Store apps can use iCloud, but many Mac developers can't or won't use it because of the App Store's political instability." "I've lost all confidence that the apps I buy in the App Store today will still be there next month or next year," Arment wrote. "The advantages of buying from the App Store are mostly gone now. My confidence in the App Store, as a customer, has evaporated."

News Article | August 17, 2012

When Sparrow agreed to be acquired by Google in mid-July, users cried out in anguish. They were losing their favorite mail app for Mac — perhaps the first app to truly prove there's a market for an alternative to Gmail on the web and Apple's Mail app on desktop. As Sparrow drifts slowly towards the abyss (though its makers promise critical bug fixes), a few competitors like Postbox, Mailplane, and .Mail have entered the limelight. Considering how much time people spend sending emails every day, why are there so few mail apps for Mac, and who's left to bid on Sparrow's abandoned users? Postbox, perhaps the most technically capable third party email client, saw an uptick in downloads as soon as Sparrow and Mozilla's Thunderbird mail client announced plans to cease development. Postbox was Sparrow's chief premium competition, fitting in a nice niche between Apple's drab Mail app and Sparrow's colorful and modern app. But the climb to the top is long and hard. "Microsoft and Apple also offer free email clients and have powerful distribution and OS integration advantages," founder Sherman Dickman says. "It's difficult to compete with free... One must provide a set of unique features that are flawlessly executed." "One must provide a set of unique features that are flawlessly executed." Postbox includes a few key features its competitors lack, like Google Calendar and Evernote integration, template responses, and the ability to update your status on social networks. "Email lacks the virality and network effects of social offerings," Sherman says. "It's simply a different interaction model, and thus, a slower growth business. Perhaps this is another reason why we don't see more startups in the space. There are a lot of moving parts, and thus, it's much more difficult to engineer an email client than many other apps," he says. "It's a very tough market.... You see mostly modest increases and decreases, but not a lot of hockey stick growth for startups in this space." Part of the challenge is that building a mail client is very hard. Sparrow architect Dinh Viet Hoa spent close to ten years of his free time on the mail engine that powered Sparrow. "You have to put in a huge amount of work," Dinh says. He had to learn a panoply of IMAP protocols and specifications, build his own IMAP parser to make requests from mail servers, a MIME parser (in case the server doesn't abide by IMAP specs), and the tools to make connections to IMAP servers asynchronous. "When you have these basic things down then you can start building a client," he says. After that comes offline support, POP3, attachment-handling, and cache optimization. "At this point, you don't even have support for filters and spam," Dinh says. Some suggest that even after all that hard work, Sparrow wasn't making enough money to sustain even a handful of full-time employees. "The hardest part about building Mailplane is getting along with Google and Apple at the same time." Mailplane, a hybrid desktop and web app, didn't see a difference in sales once Sparrow made its announcement. "We haven't seen a huge uptick yet, but we've got positive feedback and hear from users who are looking for an alternative," developer Lars Steiger says. Mailplane relies on Gmail but incorporates many features you'd find in Sparrow or Apple's own Mail app."The hardest part about building Mailplane is getting along with Google and Apple at the same time," Steiger says. While Mailplane needs both Apple and Google to survive, it's also up against them, as well as other webmail providers like Microsoft. Many Sparrow users have fled to web clients like Microsoft's brand new Outlook, which offers both a simple and beautiful user interface. Outlook lead Brian Hall says, "increasingly the line between what's an app and a service continues to blur." As internet access becomes omnipresent, the benefits of a local mail app start to run thin. Many of Windows 8's home screen apps only work if you have a persistent internet connection. Outlook, Mailplane, and Postbox have been around for a while, but new entry .Mail also recently got off the ground — the first Mac mail app we've heard of since Sparrow. .Mail is inspired by Sparrow visually, but began as a concept demo with no mail engine to back it up. "I think the toughest parts will be definitely the scaling and performance," designer Tobias Van Schneider says, who just recently found some developers to code his app. Van Schneider and company have a long way to go to catch up to the competition, but the ravenous response to his concept design prove there's a market for a design-centric mail client. While mail app developers are indeed battling each other for Sparrow's almost-vacant throne, their main adversaries seem to be Google and Apple themselves, which have enormous amounts of resources and the ability to give away their products for free. Mailplane's Steiger says, "Google is constantly changing their apps and Apple is getting stricter all the time... It's always hard to battle the mothership."

News Article | July 20, 2012

Today the small e-mail app company Sparrow announced it's getting acquired by Google. I hope this will be good news, but I am not convinced. With Mozilla ceasing development of Thunderbird features, things look bad for users of desktop e-mail software. I'm a paying user of the Sparrow OS X application. I love it. I find it provides both a simple view to my GMail accounts, and a very fast interface to blast though messages. Google's GMail Web app gives me more features and better searching, and Thunderbird and Postbox are better for bulk operations, but for day-to-day e-mail activities, you really cannot beat Sparrow. So I was excited when I first heard this news. Since while I love GMail, I despise the Web-based user interface to it. If there's one thing Gmail could really use, it's a strong client app. And hiring the Sparrow developers is a smart move from that perspective. Giving the Sparrow team more resources, exposure to the entire GMail user base, and the keys to the Gmail code, I imagined, could yield a truly great suite of e-mail apps, building off the Sparrow I already love. Unfortunately, in a note that sounds ominous for Sparrow users, the Sparrow CEO (and presumably soon-to-be Google VP) Dom Leca said in an e-mail to customers, "We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we'll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps." That e-mail makes it sound like Sparrow users will become app orphans, at least for a while, as the Sparrow team is absorbed into Google. The occasional presents we get from the developers in updates will stop coming. And that is a crying shame. E-mail needs software. Yes, you can do a lot with a Web-based e-mail client (and a lot more than Google currently does with Gmail), but there's nothing like a close-to-the-metal app like an e-mail client to mediate the workflow state of "I'm blasting through my e-mail, leave me alone." Even the most modern Web UI is a bottleneck to the e-mail ninja. It's not clear if Google execs feel its in their company's interest to push a strong desktop client app. Google may use the Sparrow team to beef up the Android mobile e-mail client, which is good at least for those users. It may deploy Sparrow's artists to fix the Web app. An article on The Verge gives me a little hope: "Google isn't ruling out native Gmail clients for platforms beyond iOS and Android.... Google wants to bring polish, 'beauty,' and ease of use to all of its Gmail experiences across platforms" Let's hope this article is accurate. Web UIs are bottlenecks. Smartphones are too tiny. Tablets are limited (but getting better). There is still nothing like a real desktop app for ultimate e-mail productivity. There is one group for whom the demise of these e-mail clients is good news: The team over at Postbox, the other remaining independent e-mail app with a large user base. This company started when people left the Thunderbird project at Mozilla (wisely, it turns out) to build a world-class, complete e-mail client for desktops. According to CEO Sherman Dickman, Postbox doesn't even have a mobile strategy. That's music to my ears. Let's hear it for an app that's focused on getting work done on the device where you can actually do it. Postbox, by the way, recently got a price cut, from $29.95 to $9.95. If you want to use an e-mail app today that has a better chance of being supported and improved over the next few years, check it out. It's not as pretty as Sparrow, but for the e-mail power user it is a very good tool.

News Article | April 1, 2013

Sparrow, the much-beloved email client for Mac and iPhone, was essentially discontinued after it was purchased by Google last summer — but its influence is still being felt. Just take a look at the new Windows-only Gmail app Mailbird, which just became available in a public beta. While the Mailbird team is bringing a few noteworthy things to the table, it's clear the app is heavily influenced by Sparrow. Not that that's a bad thing — Mailbird offers a lightweight three-pane interface with your Gmail inbox and labels on the left, a list of conversations in the middle, and full message details on the right. Just like Sparrow, the left column can be shrank to hide labels or expanded to show them, and the right-hand column shows the most recent message (previous messages are compressed). There's also a quick response option for each email, or you can pop open a bigger compose window with more formatting options. Compared to other Windows email clients like the popular third-party option Postbox, Sparrow is definitely a more minimal option. Mailbird is pretty obviously inspired by Sparrow, but that's not a bad thing There are also a few creative additions here — Mailbird includes an "apps" section to let users expand the app's functionality (ala add-ons for Thunderbird or extensions for basically all modern browsers). For example, it lets you search all of the contacts in your email account and pulls in links to Facebook (assuming you log in with your Facebook account, which also pulls in profile photos, just like Sparrow). It doesn't appear to be searching your curated Google contacts, but it still provides a quick way to find an email address you might be looking for. The apps section is open-source, so third-parties can develop and add anything they like. The pickings are slim right now, but the idea of an email add-on system could prove to be quite useful. Third-party add-ons could prove to be a notable feature down the line Unfortunately, there are a few downsides — most notably the fact that Mailbird currently only supports one email account. If you use more than one, you'd have to fully log out and clear all of your account's preferences before adding another one. Furthermore, Mailbird is limited to Gmail accounts, for now — its developers say that multiple accounts and support for email systems besides Gmail will come down the line. There's also the matter of price. Mailbird will eventually offer a free but ad-supported version that includes a permanent "send from Mailbird" signature, or users can sign up for $12 / year subscription for a "pro" version (you can pre-order Mailbird Pro now for $9 per year). It's not yet fully clear what the Pro version will offer aside from the option to remove the ads and signature. These caveats aside, Mailbird is definitely worth keeping an eye on — it's fast, functional, and could get some useful additional features down the line, both from the developers and its third-party app store.

News Article | September 11, 2013

They say find happiness in little things and life will be more beautiful. When at work, most of us find this little joy at the sight of ‘Inbox (0)’. Such a bliss, isn’t it? We have all heard or said, “I spent x hours and cleared my inbox, finally!” The sad part is that this small joy stays for a little time. Before we know, we find ourselves swamped in e-mails again. E-mails, you necessary evil! The irony is that we needed e-mails in first place to sort out all our communication, now e-mail needs application to sort them. One of the most innovative communication means for today’s modern work force, has become misused and stressful. Mac has got its Sparrow to make things a little easy for its users but Windows’ users are still looking out for a comparable solution. Andrea Loubier, is trying to build ‘Mailbird’ for them, a lightweight email application for Windows users. In the serenity of exotic Bali, Indonesia, the Mailbird team is aiming to build a world class product for billions of Windows users. Though they are not the only ones trying to do so. Inky, Thunderbird, Postbox and MailPilot are some of the other players present in the global market. Andrea shares what is Mailbird all about and why it stand apart from the competition – “Mailbird is fast, keeps your inbox under control so you hit Inbox Zero more frequently with the many information overload management shortcuts to help you fly through your inbox. We are building an email application that we hope drives and motivates users to change email habits so they spend less time getting lost in their email inboxes, and more time doing things, changing the world, and enjoying life. Our features beat our competitors in terms of productivity and being able to reach inbox zero faster such as many shortcuts, quick compose, in-line reply, and we are the only desktop email app with an email productivity dashboard that improves email habits and efficiencies.” Figuring out who would be the ideal Mailbird user was a pain. Being too similar to Sparrow for Mac, deciding on a solid business model and how to create a better product in an oversaturated market that is targeted and better for users did not come easy too. “Thunderbird announced ceasing feature development and Sparrow was acquired by Google, thus also ceasing additional development, came as an opportunity for us,” says Andrea. She believes that the challenges and the opportunities are all a part of the learning and fun of being involved in a startup. Mailbird has figured its target market now and they are concentrating on 18-32 year old Windows OS users who have multiple email accounts and receive a lot of emails, thus needing a better and faster email application to handle the current growing problem today of information overload in e-mails leading to stress. They offer a free stripped down lightweight version for basic emailing, a yearly subscription plan for single licenses and multiple licenses for small teams. Currently in beta, Mailbird is developing multi account support, Wingman productivity dashboard  and a platform for innovating the email experience that allows building a community around online collaboration and communication tools with third party developers. To scale up and fasten the pace even more, they are actively looking for their first round of investment.

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