Saturday morning coffee [November 17 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is part of the “Indivisible” project from Starbucks. “America is about opportunity. About liberty and justice. About a job for every woman and man who wants one. Right now, these jobs aren’t out there, but we believe we can all help change that. When you buy this mug, you help too. Two dollars from the sale of each mug goes directly to Opportunity Finance Network® and the Create Jobs for USA Fund” I don’t buy much from Starbucks because I don’t like their coffee, but it’s my fallback position when I’m desperate. When I saw the mug it reminded me of the iconic symbol of pharmacy, i.e. the mortar from pharmacies famous mortar and pestle. I can’t remember where I picked it up, but I was on the road somewhere because I remember having to stuff it in my carry-on bag to get it home.

Skyfall was #1 at the box office last weekend. Saw it with my wife and daughters. Good movie. It was a bit slow moving at times, but good movie overall. I’d see it again. I really like Daniel Craig as bond. He brings an edge to the role. Next week’s prediction? No question about it, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 will be #1 at the box office. Not my thing, but my daughters are all over it. I was near the big theater here in Fresno on opening night and people were lined up for days for the premiere.

– Thanksgiving is next week. Can’t wait. My goal is to eat my body weight in Pumpkin Pie, about 225 pounds give or take. Hmm, better stock up on the whipped cream. I don’t like it when I can see the pie on the plate. It it must be completely covered in whipped cream to be properly consumed.

- The Consumerist: “According to Accounting Principals’ latest Workonomix survey, the average American worker is shelling out more than $20 a week on coffee, for a yearly average of $1,092. Whereas commuting costs for the average worker come out to around $1,476 per year. And when you consider the volume of your typical coffee drink versus a gallon of gasoline, it looks like we place a higher value on our java jolt than we do on the 87 octane in our gas tanks.” – Of course we put a higher premium on our coffee. I have to have gasoline to get around. On the other hand I enjoy my coffee.

– I am sad to report that Hostess is going out of business, which means I will never have another Twinkie. I am a little sad by this. I love Twinkies. Yes, they are terribly bad for your health, but they taste oh so good. I am on the prowl for a suitable alternative. I understand that Submarinos and Little Debbie Cloud Cakes are pretty good. I’ll soon be giving them a go. I’m going out later today on a Twinkie hunt. I understand they have quite the shelf life. What the heck and I going to eat at the Big Fresno Fair next year?

– Check this out, a Linear Book Scanner prototype designed by a young lad at Google. This is what happens when someone is encouraged to explore their ideas. Cool stuff.

- Here’s a response to the NECC compounding fiasco from ASHP’s CEO, Paul W. Abramowitz. According to Abramowitz “it’s important to note that I am also concerned that compounding by pharmacists—a practice that is essential to patient care—may be broadly called into question. Compounding and pharmacy are inextricably linked. From preparing a topical cream to the complex processes involved in preparing sterile products, compounding happens every day in every hospital and health system. What happened at NECC does not reflect the professionalism and commitment to patients provided by pharmacists throughout the country.”  That’s fair. He goes on to say that “when companies cross the line from compounding to manufacturing, there needs to be enhanced coordination between state boards and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that the necessary regulatory scrutiny is applied.” I find this statement interesting because I think it supports my notion that we don’t need more regulatory B.S. for compounding practices.

– I am fascinated with the little Creaform Go!SCAN 3D scanner. I want one for Christmas. Imagine the hours of fun one could have creating 3D models of just about anything. Throw in a 3D printer and the fun would go up exponentially. Want to create a 3D model of the cat? No problem, poof! Want to create a 3D model of your head so you can place them all over the house and scare your wife? No problem, poof! I can think of a few other things to create 3D models of, but we won’t go there.

– I’ve had some ideas lately for a couple of applications that I’d like to build. One of the things I like to do when I have an idea like that is sketch out the screens on a piece of paper. I’m not exactly an artist, so they’re usually pretty crappy. To help improve my drawings I went on a hunt for some stencils, and to my surprise I found a bunch of them at UI STENCILS. They have stencil sets for Android and Windows 8. Looks like I’ll be placing an order.

– Are we closer to understanding the cause of deadly sepsis? Good question, and one that a group of scientists investigate in the most recent issue of Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research. The authors of the article, The Role of Regulatory T Cells in the Pathogenesis of Sepsis and Its Clinical Implication review the body of evidence supporting a link between Treg function and the development of sepsis. Pretty interesting read. The healthcare world has been chasing sepsis for as long as I can remember, but it remains elusive. The article is available for free so check it out.

I came across an article at MSDN HealthBlog looking at using Windows 8 in healthcare. I actually think it’s a no-brainer, but that’s just me. The article is basically a propaganda piece for Windows 8, but the video showing off the Physicians Rounds App is pretty cool. Gives me some ideas for some pharmacy applications.

Healthcare IT News: “Hospital execs slow to measure technology ROI – Most respondents said their organizations didn’t measure the overall success of their EMR systems, according to the study [Beacon Partners survey]. The majority of executives were dissatisfied with efforts to measure ROI in their IT clinical systems, the survey found. But beyond tracking requirements for meaningful use incentive or other government regulations, fewer than half of providers went beyond keeping tabs on their IT systems’ quality metrics to focus on areas related directly to ROI, the report shows.” – This boys and girls is a recipe for disaster.

RFID Journal: “The system consists of an RFID-enabled store at which individuals can shop for and select the products they need, and then make their purchases. The system was taken live in late September 2012 at the institute’s Kansas City campus. Terso is now marketing that solution, known as Smart Stockroom. ” – This is such a great concept. I had an opportunity to spend some time with the guys from Terso early this year. In fact I got a sneak peak at the Smart Stockroom product before it was fully baked. Such a cool application of RFID technology. I love what they’re doing at Terso. Love the products. Love the passion.

– Last week I asked, via Twitter, if anyone knew what academic institutions were leading the way in pharmacy automation and technology research. I didn’t get much response. One person gave me a lead at USF College of Pharmacy, but other than that it was nothing but crickets. I reached out to a couple of friends practicing in academia and they came up blank as well. This bodes poorly for pharmacy technology. Research will be a key part of our future,  and if no one is doing it we’re in deep doo-doo. Universities need to partner with companies to research what works and what doesn’t. The danger for the companies, however, is if the research demonstrates that their product doesn’t improve the practice.

 

– Engadget: “The cloud storage service [SkyDrive] just resolved two of those common power user gripes in one fell swoop through an update to the desktop client. To start, it’s at last possible to limit SkyDrive syncing on Macs and Windows PCs just to specific folders. Windows users alone see the second update, which integrates SkyDrive with right-click contextual menus for much faster sharing.” – Cool, I’ve been waiting for this. I have lots of SkyDrive space that I need to make use of.

– The LG Nexus 4 has started shipping and reviews and unboxing videos are already pouring in. The general response has been relatively positive, which is surprising given all the negative coverage the tech bloggers have been giving it for the past couple of months. The video below shows a quick unboxing and general overview of the Nexus 4. It’s a beautiful device.

- MIT Technology Review has a list of 50 disruptive companies for 2012. “What is a disruptive company? It is a business whose innovations force other businesses to alter their strategic course.” Interesting definition. So if I blew up all the IBM buildings in the U.S. would that make me a disruptive company? Just curious. The review consists of several rows of colored tiles. If you click on one of the tiles you’ll get a pop-up window that tells you why the company is on the list. It’s worth spending some time looking at all the companies on the list. I’ve gone back to it several times this week just to rummage around.

– Has anyone else noticed that the number of concussions in the NFL appears to be growing? Maybe it’s just a bad year, but it feels like there are a lot of them lately. Either there really are more head injuries in the NFL this year, or the diagnosis of a concussion has changed. Could be either I suppose. I personally think the NFL is creating a lot of this themselves by changing the rules for how defensive players tackle. Watch a game sometime and observe the number of players that knock other players off their feet by diving at their legs instead of form tackling. When they do that the offensive players often land on their backs with their feet above their heads, at which point their head whips downward and slams on the turn. Poof, concussion.

– The USC – UCLA game is today. I’m really looking forward to watching this one. It’s the first time in recent memory that UCLA has a legitimate shot at beating USC. UCLA comes into the game ranked #17, while USC is ranked #18. That’s the first time that’s happened since 2001. Go Bruins!

Coffee cup is empty so I must bid you adieu. Have a great weekend everyone.

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