Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]

Welcome to my first Saturday morning coffee post of 2013. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug below was a Christmas present from my youngest daughter, Mikaela. Apparently she reads my blog; yeah, I’m as surprised by that as anyone. She thought I needed a customized coffee mug to go along with my Saturday morning coffee post. I’m thrilled to be displaying it here today for the first time. I had to move it down because it deserved an image from both sides.

Christmas SMC Mug

– As hard as this is for me to imagine, Texas Chainsaw 3D was #1 at the box office last weekend. Haven’t seen it and have no intention of seeing it. My family and I did manage to take in a movie last weekend. We decided on Parental Guidance. Not a great movie, but I had to see it as it Billy Crystal’s character, Artie is a play-by-play announcer for the Fresno Grizzlies in the movie. It’s not often that Fresno gets featured like that in a movie.

– Don Black left a comment on my Year End Thoughts 2012 post that I thought was worth mentioning: “I would suggest for worst penalty ever created in the NFL the new penalty this season for when a coach throws his challenge flag on plays that would be automatically reviewed. It’s a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike and, more importantly, the review is cancelled, which has allowed obviously wrong calls to stand. I can understand a simple delay of game penalty, but this rule is ridiculous.” He makes a great point. The NFL is going down a long, dark hole of irreparable harm to the integrity of the game that I’ve loved for more than 35 years.

– Just in case you missed it, the 2013 International CES was held in Las Vegas this week. As usual there were a lot of really cool things to see and read about. Some decent places to review what went down at CES 2013 include: Engadget, The Verge, CNET, and TechCrunch. A quick Google search will give you plenty more if that isn’t enough to satisfy your appetite for new technology.

– One of the great things about CES 2013 was the number of new tablets and ultrabooks that were introduced and/or detailed. Mobile Health Computing sums it up pretty well. A couple of devices that really caught my attention were the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 and the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix. I’ve always been a fan of the Toughbook line of computers, but could never afford one. This thing is no different. It’s a thin, tough, Windows 8, pen driven slate tablet, but comes in at more than $2K. The ThinkPad Helix is cool because of its “Rip and Flip” hinge design.

- I’ve been playing with Google’s voice search for Android on my tablet lately. It’s pretty cool stuff. I want to incorporate this technology into pharmacy automation. If you think about it a pharmacist or pharmacy technician should be able to direct automation to do things by simply talking to it. Me: “Hey, package two 25mg HCTZ tablets and send them to Ms. Smith in ICU-25, MR# xxxxxxxx“. High-Speed packager: “Sure thing, Jerry. Perhaps you would like me to come up there and wash your dick for you while I’m at it.” Me: “What was that?” High-Speed packager: “Nothing, sending up the tablets now.” Me: “That’s what I thought, punk ass.

Unbound MEDLINE for Android has turned out to be a real gem. I’ve decided to spend more time reading journal articles in 2013, and this is certainly a tool that can help me accomplish that. “Unbound MEDLINE connects you to over 20 million journal citations and abstracts from PubMed via your smartphone or tablet. Perform powerful searches, share citations with colleagues, and link directly to the publisher’s full text. Visually explore the literature using Grapherenceâ„¢, a unique way to find related and relevant articles.”

– Another tool I’ll be using more this year is MedFetch. MedFetch takes searches that you create, like “MEDICATION ADHERENCE”, aggregates literature featuring articles matching your search, and emails you the information in a nice format. John Poikonen turned me onto MedFetch in a post from last year. I’ve been using it ever since, but probably not as well I could.


– And finally I’ll be using a service called JournalTOCs. JournalTOCs is “the largest, free collection of scholarly journal Tables of Contents (TOCs): 21,046 journals (including 5,162 selected Open Access journals) from 1582 publishers.” The user selects the journals that they would like to keep track of and JournalTOCs notifies them when a new issue is published, i.e. when a new TOC is available. It’s a simple way to quickly view a ton of new articles to see if there’s anything of interest. I used this service when I was a real pharmacist and found it very helpful.

– How awesome is the Illumiroom, the Microsoft Research project that uses a Kinect for Windows combined with a projector to turn an entire room into a gaming center. Cool. Very cool.

– One thing I’m really looking forward to later this month is the release of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. The reasons are simple: it has a full HD screen, uses a Core i5 processor, and most important of all it supports pen input. Yes, pen input. I’ve seen solid initial review from both Engadget and The Verge. I’m especially encouraged by what Engadget had to say about the pen experience. “…[T]his actually comes close to matching what it feels like to write on paper…The screen is also smart enough that if you run the pen across the screen without applying any pressure no marks will show up…Ditto for palm rejection. You might hesitate at first to rest the heel of your palm on the tablet while you’re doodling, but you may as well get comfy: the tablet won’t register any markings where your hand was…Additionally, you can flip the pen over and use it as an eraser, the way you would with a number 2 pencil…” Cool.

– Hmm, saw this video below and found it rather interesting. While I neither approve of nor disapprove of the video, it makes a point. From Merriam-Webster: a hypocrite is a person who acts in contradiction to to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. The entire gun rights thing is going to get out of hand, and quickly. I understand why people think assault rifles should be banned, but I also understand why someone would want to own one. Can you use them for hunting? No, that’s not what they were designed for.  So why do people like them? Simply put, it’s because they’re exhilarating to shoot. I’ve been fortunate enough to fire some pretty impressive weapons during my life, mainly because I was in the Army for a while. I enjoyed shooting “assault rifles”; at targets, not people. Why shouldn’t I be able to do the same thing in the future? I’ve never committed a crime. I’ve never been arrested. As an adult I’ve never harmed another person in anger. I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s a slippery slope.

– It’s official; the United States will not be building a Death Star anytime soon. That according to the Wall Street Journal. One of the reasons cited for not building a Death Star is cost. That’s funny coming from the United States government. Have they actually looked at our fiscal spending lately?

– Did you know that there was a Wobbly Table Theorem? Heh, me neither, but there is. “Turn the table around a center in such a way that three legs A,B,C stay on the surface. The distance of the fourth leg to the surface is a function f(x) which depends on the angle x. The argument given below will show that if f(0) is positive, then f(pi/2) is negative and that if f(0) is negative then f(pi/2) is positive. The intermediate value theorem assures that there is an angle, where the fourth leg is also on the surface.” If only I’d know sooner.

ComputerTalk for the Pharmacist has an interesting article on The Outlook 2013: What’s New and What’s Getting Better. ComputerTalk asked a bunch of companies what they have on the horizon for 2013. None of it is surprising, but it is encouraging. I see a lot of mobile technologies and interest in data. Good stuff.

– Pharmacists are doing their part to save the healthcare system money. “Whether it was billing for drug waste, putting limits on the use of high-cost pancreatic enzymes or having pharmacy leaders manage employee drug benefits—the latter racking up nearly $2 million in annual savings—all of the efforts shared a laudable goal: to conserve precious health care dollars without compromising patient care.” – Pharmacy Practice News, January 2013 | Volume: 40. It astounds me that more healthcare systems don’t make better use of pharmacy. The pharmacy of the future won’t need pharmacists in any type of dispensing role, so we better start doing something else.

– The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the use of various types of technology to help patients remember to take their meds. The article covers technologies like GlowCap, but ultimately says that “Recent research has found that packaging pills in blister packs, rather than typical amber-colored vials, may be more likely to get patients to take their pills. Blister packs, in which each pill is enclosed in its own compartment marked with the day of the week, help remind people if they’re up-to-date with their medications.” How’s that for a solution? Just put the tablets in a blister pack and avoid the bottle altogether. Go figure.

– KoamTac announced the release of their KDC350 Bluetooth barcode scanner. “The KDC350 has an IP65-rated design that allows users to collect information in dusty and wet environments. The compact keypad adds convenience to data entry enhancements. NFC (Near Field Communication) and GPS options further enhance the traditional data collection applications.” Yep, you read that right, the scanner includes NFC. I’ve been using KoamTac scanners off and on for more than a year and I can tell you without hesitation that they’re solid.

– I started watching the BCS title game on Monday, January 7, which featured Alabama and Notre Dame, but only made it through two and a half quarters. I’m a fan of the game, but couldn’t stand watching as Notre Dame was clearly outmatched in every faucet of the game. You know there’s a problem with the game when the biggest story was Brent Musburger’s comment about A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Miss Alabama Katherine Webb: “You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman.” Could have been worse. The comment, and continuous camera shots of her, made her an instant internet sensation.

– Guess what, no one was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. Saw that coming from a mile away. Not sure how I feel about this. I hate baseball so it’s no big deal to me who gets in, but I’m sure there’s someone in there getting the shaft; and all because of steroids. I couldn’t care less about pro athletes using steroids. I want to see the best game possible. They’re professionals. They’re grown men. Do I condone it? No, but I won’t condemn them for it. I had an opportunity to take steroids when I was playing college football, but didn’t  For me the decision was simple: I would never be good enough to play major college ball, much less ever play in the NFL so it wasn’t worth the risk. But if I had been oh so close and just needed that little extra to put me over the top it may have been a different story.

– Anyone else think that Robert Griffin III shouldn’t have been in that playoff game against the Seahawks in the second half? The guy just didn’t look right. When a linebacker can take him down in the open field like that it’s time to rethink your strategy. I even made a comment to my wife that he looked “wobbly”. Now the guy is rehabbing a repaired ACL and LCL. Yeah yeah, I know, Adrian Peterson came back from it with a vengeance. Not everyone is Adrian Peterson. More times than not the player just isn’t the same after such an injury. Only time will tell. Such a talented kid. It would be a shame to see him permanently harmed by such a short-sided decision.

– So just a day after Dropbox went down in a great big ball of flame they released an update for Android that lets users share photos, including entire albums. I must admit that Dropbox for Android is a compelling reason to consider the application across all my computer platforms. It’s really quite good.

– I’ve had a little more time to use my Samsung Chromebook and have formulated new opinions. It’s still a great computing device. It has quickly become my device of choice for couch surfing. I’ve also found that it works well for general light weight work for items like creating documents, reviewing spreadsheets, reading through PDFs, etc. With that said I don’t think I could replace my laptop with it. I work with a lot of windows open: browser, Word, PowerPoint, email, music player, Evernote, Notepad, etc. Those windows are arranged around my desktop and I bounce around from one to another based on my needs. I’ve found working inside a browser limits what I can do on the screen. This may be more a limitation of how I work, but it’s still problematic for me on the Chromebook. Not having physical buttons around the touchpad still bothers me. Someone recommended that I should simply tap the touchpad instead of “clicking” it. That recommendation has helped, but hasn’t changed my opinion. One thing I really like about the touchpad is the multi-touch gesture control that it provides me. Overall the machine serves a purpose, but I personally couldn’t replace my laptop with such a device.

– There’s some great playoff football this weekend. I hope you all get to enjoy it. In the AFC we have the Broncos vs. Raves and Texans vs. Patriots. Hate, hate, hate the Patriots. With that said I’m taking the Broncos and the Patriots to move into the AFC Championship Game. Vying for a chance to play in the NFC Championship Game are the Packers vs. 49ers and Seahawks vs. Falcons. If there is one team I wouldn’t want to play this weekend it’s the Seahawks. They’ve come alive at the right time. So, I’ll be taking the Packers and the Seahawks. Weird, both road teams.

– I love the internet. While traveling for work this week I found a new rock station worth listening to: Z-104.5 The Edge, Tulsa’s Rock Alternative. And the beauty of things is that I’m listening to it live right now as I type this. Only my ability to connect to the world via the internet can offer me such an opportunity.

And with that I bid you adieu. Have a great weekend everyone.

3 thoughts on “Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]”

  1. Eye candy. Aren’t all the cool dudes supposed to have lots of eye candy? ….They obviously get it from their mother.

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