Xerox today released a statement announcing the release of their new information management system geared at creating the Health Insurance Exchanges that are mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The deadline for states to have exchanges set up and ready for use is October and Xerox says their new system is “comprehensive, secure, cloud-based,” and ready for customisation.

The new system appears to be a “Software as Service” product, meaning that Xerox provides the software over their own cloud-based service. This is similar to offers by Amazon Cloud Services and others. The scale of such a state-wide service seems large to say the least, however. The company further states that the SAS product is aimed at customisation from state to state.

The announcement also comes across as either crazy or prescient, as we’re still awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court as to whether the health care reform so needed in this country is going to get junked based on arbitrary interpretations of the Constitution. Maybe they know something we don’t?

Xerox has a new suite of tools to manage digital image content and they’re allowing you to peer inside the labs with a set of demo web apps. They have a total of six different tools for you to try out.

The Similar Image Search categorizes an image and looks for other images that match those categories. This is hard to appreciate until you use the URL search. If you search for an image such as this image of a bunny on a white background (copy and paste the URL), you get lots of other images with similar color schemes.

Another impressive feature is the Natural Language Color tool. This is good for the non-graphic designer, allowing the user to create queries based on normal language queues, allowing novices to retouch images with a minimum of frustration. I have found that natural language queries can sometimes be a lot less intuitive than people developers tend to think, but maybe its a step in the right direction.

The social media star of the show, though, is Catepix, an application that allows you to analyze your Facebook photos and post the results showing what kind of photo monger you are. Its a fun little game to play. And everybody loves those, right? Right?

Open Xerox: imaging-demos Service Home Page.

Kirstin gets the nod, California gets the weed, but not everybody’s happy in today’s DFE News Update:

  • Xerox is the breaking news of the day for Rochester, as it’s earnings report gives some indication why it’s laying off workers: they broke even on earnings this quarter, down from 41 cents per share this time last year. Breaking even is good when you’re a kid paying bills, but it’s bad when you’re a multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded international corporation.
  • A happy switch from eight years of one reality, President Barack Obama (fuckin’ LOVE writing that) affirms a woman’s right to choose as both a woman’s right and a family’s right to privacy on the anniversary of the Roe decision. Protesters on the lawn don’t get their traditional phone call from the president anymore. Shucks, I guess they’ll just have to freeze.
  • Kirstie Gets the Nod!!! Yes, our long statewide nightmare is over, with frickin Patterson finally getting off his ass and picking someone. I’ll probably comment on this more later, with perhaps a roundup of reaction.
  • From the “Obvious But Worth Noting” department, experts predict as much as a 9 percent shrinking of the wireless market in the next year. Duh. It’s a recession.
  • I commented yesterday about Obama’s decision to shut down Gitmo, asserting that a test of that decision would not be long coming. It took one day, actually. A freed Saudi has now become a leader in the al-Qaeda military machine. Joy.
  • Finally, happy news from California: pot crops are abundant this year. As I pointed out in a comment on TPMCafe, Obama could do this country a world of good by just legalizing it, already. Ease our suffering in this time of economic, military and environmental troubles.

It’s another interesting day for news here at DFE, so I thought I’d take a moment to point out some articles to watch for the day:

  • Xerox will be laying off 275 workers here in Rochester, both at the Webster Complex (didn’t that used to be called the Wilson Complex?) and in the downtown offices. Anyone with information on the layoffs can contact me here with details. I’d appreciate it.
  • Citi bank posted a big loss and now plans on splitting the company in two: Citigroup, which will be its traditional banking and Citi Holdings, which will handle it’s “riskier assets.” They’re hoping to minimize losses by dividing their assets up.
  • Intel is reporting big losses in this quarter, a sign of just how hard the recession might hit consumer electronics markets this year.
  • It’s a Microsoft Worm World again!! It’s been a few years since MyDoom and Klez virus hysteria, but the boys are back in town with a virus that attacks low-security networks and USB flash drives. It’s infected 3.5 million computers world wide. People, patch those systems up now!
  • More tech news: “illegal” private downloads from peer to peer systems such as BitComet and others completely swamp the industry approved, industry profit downloads available from iTunes. Not sure how they quantify that, but here’s a question to ask: how many legal copies of albums got sold compared to cassette tape recordings? If cassettes didn’t bring down the music industry, why should we give a shit about downloads?
  • President Elect Obama did a very long and wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post wherein he pledged that entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security would be getting reformed during his term. Not a small order, that. But I’d rather trust him than Republicans. Wonder if they’ll float the investment angle again?

Xerox has underperformed Wall Street’s expectations, citing slacking demand for their products among big businesses worried over recession.  I’ve put together some of the basic facts, gleaned from a number of news sources, in one convenient package.  Enjoy.

One thing I found interesting: Xerox doesn’t want to say yet how their plans will affect Rochester.  Fair enough, and probably expected, but they say they’re waiting to hear about voluntary exits – basically, retirees and people quiting of their own accord – before they make any decisions.  Given the fact that they’ve already gotten rid of 600 people thus far this year, wouldn’t they already know about retirements at this point?

Not the best defense, Xerox.  And while the D&C seems to want to shine up the story, stating that the company’s profits are up and they outperformed expectations, neither of those two things are true and the comment section is going nuts with the false pretense their reporting creates.