Saturday morning coffee [August 3 2013]: Wolverine, Google Glass, Moto X, RSS

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….

It’s hard to believe that it’s August already. Where has the time gone? My youngest has to return to school in just over a week. It’s been nice having her around the house for the summer. There’s no bedtime, there’s no specific time that she has to get up, meal times are flexible, and so on. I’m already looking forward to Christmas vacation.

The coffee mug below comes straight from a little shop in Ocean Shores, Washington. My family and I spent a few days vacationing in Washington state this summer and we came across a little shop where the artisan had her hand-crafted items for sale. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the mug sports various shades of blues and dark reds. It’s really quite pretty. Ocean Shores turned out to be a nice place to spend a couple of days. The ocean along with cool temperatures and overcast skies were a nice break from the 100 plus degree heat we were experiencing here in the Central Valley of California at the time.


The Wolverine was #1 at the box office last weekend pulling in just over $53 million. That’s a bit disappointing as initial projections had the movie earning closer to $75 million during the same period. I haven’t had an opportunity to see it. I find myself behind on movies this year, and that likely won’t change in the very near future.

Surprise! The top post at over the past 7 days was Why pharmacy continues to fail, again.

Jerry Fahrni unemployment chronicles, day #8: My plan to retire on Lottery winnings has failed. I’ve given up on shaving, and have decided to go Grizzly Adams.

I did manage to update my curriculum vitae, which I’ve attached to this site as a separate page here. It’s interesting to see your entire career reduced to a few words on a page. It doesn’t tell the whole story.

Rx eConsult – Pharmaceutical Industry Jobs for Pharmacists: “One major attribute of the doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD) is the numerous and diverse jobs that graduates can select from” - Potential career options listed include medical science liaison (MSL), clinical research associate (CRA), medical director, medical information, drug safety (Pharmacovigilance), regularory, sales, marketing, and pharmacoeconomics or health economics. Thanks to Dr. Omudhome Ogbru for tweeting the link.

Pharmacy Times: “A recent case report highlights an interaction that was first described 2 decades ago: caffeine and clozapine. The recent case involved a 19-year-old schizophrenic woman on long-term clozapine therapy who developed unexpected clozapine toxicosis on two occasions. It turned out that she had been drinking 6 caffeine-containing cola drinks per day, a practice she was reluctant to divulge. Stopping the cola intake was followed by a substantial reduction in clozapine concentrations (a positive dechallenge).” According to the article the mechanism of the interaction may be decreased clozapine metabolism via inhibition of Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2). Pesky enzymes, always getting in the way.

NBC News: “A type of low-carb, high-fat diet that’s typically used to manage seizures for children with epilepsy could reverse kidney disease in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, a new animal study suggests. If successful in humans, the so-called ketogenic diet could have the potential to replace dialysis, which is a procedure that artificially filters blood in place of a damaged or failed kidney, said study researcher Charles Mobbs, professor of neuroscience and geriatrics and palliative care medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.” – Interesting little tid-bit of information, but take it with a grain of salt. First and foremost the data was collected in mice. Secondly there’s a lot more research needed before one can determine if the use of such a diet can actual alter the course of renal disease or simply reduce the frequency of dialysis. Either would be good, but still a long way top go until it becomes mainstream medicine.

Here’s an interesting video that attempts to demonstrate what a pharmacy would look like in an intelligent hospital. Try to pick out the names of all the products in the video and identify the vendors. The only one I had a bit of trouble with was the high-speed packager. The rest are obvious.

There’s a great article at Information Week Healthcare that covers 9 promising technologies for remote patient monitoring. Some of my favorites include the BAM Labs sensor mat, the Independa In-House Monitoring System for elderly patients, and of course the InTouch Health Telemedicine Robot. Seriously interesting technology.

This week I connected my Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T to a wireless keyboard and mouse for the first time ever. The experience was better than I expected. It’s not exactly a desktop replacement, but it would certainly work in a pinch. Now all I need is a docking station that lets me make use of my big monitor, backup drive, speakers, etc.

Motorola announced the Moto X Android smartphone this week. The phone has received mixed comments from various sites. It’s a mid-range device with a price similar to high-end devices, which has caused quite a backlash from prospective buyers. With that said, the Moto X offers some cool new features and the ability to completely customize the look of the device, including a backplate made of wood. Kind of cool, and definitely different from everyone else. Jump over to Engadget if you’d like a bit more information.

Science Daily: “UCLA computer science professor Amit Sahai and a team of researchers have designed a system to encrypt software so that it only allows someone to use a program as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind it. This is known in computer science as “software obfuscation,” and it is the first time it has been accomplished.” - A ‘Mathematical Jigsaw Puzzle’.

My brother and I have been thinking about doing some podcasts together. Still trying to work out the details, but expect something in the next couple of weeks. The topics for discussion haven’t really been finalized, but they could range from software engineering and pharmacy to beer and ribs. Stay tuned.

I am intrigued by the HP SlateBook x2. The SlateBook x2 offers a 1.8 GHz quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, Android 4.2 and a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 LED display. Just to make things interesting, HP has tossed in a keyboard dock. And all for $479. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the tablet gains any traction of simply gets lost in the sea of Android tablets.

For those of you that think Google Glass is nothing more than a geek toy, think again. Testing OpenGlass with Visually Impaired Users:

JAMA. 2013;309(20):2105-2106: “Medication nonadherence is widely recognized as a common and costly problem.1 Approximately 30% to 50% of US adults are not adherent to long-term medications leading to an estimated $100 billion in preventable costs annually. Despite the widespread prevalence and cost of medication nonadherence, it is undetected and undertreated in a significant proportion of adults across care settings. According to the World Health Organization, “increasing the effectiveness of adherence interventions may have far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.” – Medication adherence/nonadherence is getting a lot of press these days, and rightly so. But this is an interesting approach as the article looks at medication adherence as “a diagnosable and treatable medical condition”. Not sure I buy that one.

The Verge has an interesting article that discusses the shutdown of Google Reader and the mess it’s created. “The services that managed to stay up and running still face an uphill battle mimicking Google’s features without its servers and data to lean on. Right now, none of the major offerings have a workable search function and the ones that are rolling it out, like Feedly and Digg, are saving it for premium (i.e. paying) members. It was an easy trick for Google, which could borrow one of the most sophisticated search engines on earth, but for smaller players, it’s an expensive feature to add. Even simple tricks like OPML export are still recent additions, while mobile apps and device syncing are farther out on the horizon. Having rushed to get the readers online before Google’s deadline, companies left a lot of features only partially finished.” Amen to all that. I use Feedly, and while I think it’s one of the best readers left in the game, it pales in comparison to Google Reader. I used to visit Google Reader several times a day. With Feedly there are days I don’t even launch it.

My brother, Robert thinks an RSS reader should be simple. “What I want is a Twitter style feed, or as Dave Winer calls it, a River of News, which predates Twitter. I don’t need a complex sync mechanism, or a read/unread count. What I really want is a central place to see my river of news with a simple bookmark. Nothing is marked as read. When I open it in another app it takes me to my last bookmarked location. Super simple.” I don’t see the value in that; for me at least. As he mentions above, we already have something like this and it’s called Twitter. To me the information stream is only useful if you can do something with it.

It appears that Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles has managed to get himself into a PR nightmare by using a racial slur. I find it interesting that this has caused such a ruckus. Sure it was bad, but I’ve heard worse; a lot worse from coworkers, friends, teammates, people in public restaurants, and so on. Time to move on people. From an organization that employs guys like Aaron Hernandez, i.e. the NFL this seems to be the least of their worries.

Only 33 days until the NFL season kicks off. It can’t happen soon enough. Here’s a countdown clock just in case you were wondering.

That’s it folks, another SMC is in the books. Have a great weekend everyone.

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