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DT Daily: Smart contact lens, Microsoft layoffs and a too-persistent customer service rep

Today on DT Daily: Google makes contact with Novartis, Microsoft workers ready their resumes, and a Comcast rep won’t take no for an answer.

A while back, Google’s “X team” showed off a concept “smart” contact lens that would sync with phones or hospital tech to keep users updated on medical issues. Now, Swiss medical firm Novartis says they will bring it to market.

Just to be clear, the contact lens is not some sort of bionic in-eye device for reading your email. Rather, built-in sensors evaluate the glucose in your tears to track medical issues like diabetes. So where does the battery fit? The contact lenses run on static electricity, so there aren’t any. Very cool. Novoartis and Google are also hoping to combat presbyopia, a pesky condition that forces older people to wear bifocals or have eye surgery.

So when will it hit the market? Novartis didn’t say exactly, but did say they are going to accelerate development of the technology.

Worker bees at the Microsoft hive mind may want to get their resumes together as word has come that a substantial round of job cuts is looming. Bloomberg reports that an outline of the cuts could come this week – and it could be a big number.

Microsoft employs over 127,000 people and just absorbed some 30,000 workers as part of their Nokia deal, likely resulting in some duplication of positions. The tech giant let about 6,000 people go during the Great Recession in 2009 in their biggest ever layoff – but this one could be bigger. Recent gambles, such as on the Surface Pro tablet series, don’t appear to be paying off, and new CEO Satya Nadella has said sweeping changes are in the works.

So for those that get pink slips, we wish you luck.

There have been some hilarious interactions with customer service agents posted to the web in recent years, but perhaps none have been so painful to witness as a recent 8-minute conversation between a customer and a Comcast customer service representative who just wouldn’t take “please unplug me now” for an answer.

Tech journalist Ryan Block and his wife simply wanted to disconnect his Internet service, but the CSR on the line just couldn’t let go, so Block hit “record” on his phone to preserve the moment. Props to the unidentified CSR guy for working overtime to keep a customer, but at some reasonable point, he just needed to do what the customer asks and be done with it.

After the conversation went viral, Comcast issued a statement apologizing for the CSR’s treatment of Block, saying in part that the CSR was out of bounds and that’s not how they are trained to deal with customers. Considering how dealing with any cable company is typically a visit to the seventh level of hell, well, we’re not so sure. But if he gets fired, he could probably make a killing selling used cars.