Saturday morning coffee [December 20 2014]

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.” ~Thomas S. Monson

So much happens each and every week, and 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….


Exodus: Gods and Kings was #1 at the box office last weekend. Don’t expect Exodus to be sitting atop the box office next week as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is in theaters now. In fact, don’t expect Exodus to be a box office smash. While it did a respectable $24 million during its opening weekend here in the U.S., competition is going to be tough. And as I’ve already mentioned, I think a lot of people are tired of Christian Bale.

If anyone needs a last minute Christmas gift for the coffee lover in the family, consider a monthly batch of coffee delivered to your front door. Craft Coffee will do just that. It’s a coffee subscription. Each tasking box includes 4 oz. from each of three different roasters. Brilliant concept, especially if you like a little variety in your life.

Best Christmas movies? Tough, tough call. There are three movies that I simply can’t resist this time of year. First and foremost is Die Hard. Seriously, how can you not love Die Hard at Christmas? Next comes Christmas Vacation and Elf. Christmas Vacation is a time-honored classic around here. I think I’ve seen it every year since it came out; plus it has a kickin’ Christmas soundtrack. And who can resist Elf. I’m not a Will Ferrell fan, but there’s something about that movie that makes it a Christmas classic.

Best Christmas music? I’m a sucker for the classics: White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, etc., but only when they’re sung by the old crooners like Bing Crosby. Although I’m obliged to give props to Mariah Carey for All I Want for Christmas Is You and Whitney Houston for Do You Hear What I Hear? Those are both solid efforts. One song that I really like is That Spirit of Christmas Time by Ray Charles. Incredible song. The best version is the one in Christmas Vacation, which I can’t seem to find anywhere. Listen to it below and tell me it’s not a great Christmas song.

Just in case you missed it, the movie The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco has been cancelled due to threats from hackers. “Sony Pictures has cancelled the Christmas release of a film at the centre of a hacking scandal after terrorist threats to cinemagoers and a decision by major movie theatre groups to cancel screenings in the US.” (via theguardian). Like many, I think the move by Sony to cancel the release was a mistake. From all accounts, it is highly unlikely that the hackers would have the means necessary to make good on their threats. Sony has set a precedent that no one wants to see proliferate.

Looking for a new set of Bluetooth headphones? Look no further than the Parrot Zik 2.0 wireless headphones. In a review by Gizmodo, the Parrot Zik 2.0 received the award for best overall Bluetooth headphones. There are several other options to choose from in the Gizmodo article. Everyone wants Beats headphones, but I see them consistently beat out (pun intended) by other similarly prices headphones. What’s that mean? It means that people don’t shop for quality, they shop for brand. I see similar trends in computers, tablets, and smartphones.

The A-10 Warthog is an amazing aircraft. It’s basically a giant flying gun. Check the images of the 30mm rotary cannon here. See it in action below.

Medical Xpress: “The chemical messenger dopamine…is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks. Torben Ott, Simon Jacob and Professor Andreas Nieder of Tübingen’s Institute for Neurobiology have demonstrated for the first time how dopamine influences brain cells while processing rules…A dopamine imbalance leads to varied neurological disruptions – particularly movement – but also mental abilities. Our key cognitive center, the prefrontal cortex, which we use for abstract thought, rule-based decisions and logical conclusions, is intensively supplied with dopamine.” – It’s amazing how little we actually know about the chemistry of the brain. Imagine what we’ll know in 100 years, and how what we know now will seems rudimentary.

The headline for the article is completely silly, but scienceline talks about the potential to 3D print solid oral dosage forms, i.e. “pills”. “In late October, a research team from the University of Central Lancashire in England announced that they filed for a patent on a 3D printer that can fabricate pills. The printer would be able to reproduce existing drugs, like common painkillers and allergy medicines, but the real coup lies in the printer’s ability to produce more complex tablets tailored to a patient’s specific dosage needs, using a new chemical “ink.”” – I have many thoughts about the potentially to 3D print custom medications, some positive and some negative. It’s an amazing concept that creates great potential, but also one that could create a regulatory nightmare. I’m looking forward to seeing where 3D printing technology takes us over the next decade.

This is pretty exciting news, HP has released a new 14-inch 1080p Touch Chromebook, the HP 14 G3. The 14-inch HP 14 G3 has some pretty interesting specs: NVIDIA® Tegra® K1 processor, 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (onboard), 32GB of eMMC storage and a FHD WLED-backlit touch screen (1920 x 1080). All for $429. Just in time for Christmas. Chromebooks have come a long way. If you haven’t given one serious consideration, I suggest you have a look. If $429 is too rich for your blood, just hop on over to Amazon and search for Chromebooks. You can find great sub-$200 deals on certain models.

It’s clear to me that healthcare could learn a lot about EMR design from social media. I even went as far as to say so in a presentation I did a couple of years back. Let’s face it, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. have done what many EMR vendors have failed to do, i.e. build a user friendly platform that can manage millions of people and billions of data points. That’s why article at KevinMD – 5 things EMRs should learn from social media – caught my attention. The 5 things consists of “likes”, hashtags, selfies, contextual links, and microblogging. Nothing earth shattering, but all good ideas.

I’ve been asked to do a surprisingly large number of presentations lately. In case you were wondering, I don’t like doing presentations because I’m not a naturally gifted speaker. I have to work really hard to make my presentations smooth. In addition, I like my presentation slides to be pleasing to the eye; not just a bunch of bullet points. I’m forever searching through slideshare for ideas, reading blogs on slide design, what fonts to use, how to pair colors, etc. Recently I stumbled upon, which has turned out to be a tremendous help in my war on creating presentation content. If you’re interested in this sort of thing I highly recommend rummaging around Ned’s site. It has some truly great content. Something I found particularly helpful is one of Ned’s presentations, found below:

Christmas is a very special time of year. A time when many of us do a little personal reflection and think about the year gone by. It’s also a time for us to remember the one’s we’ve lost that will be missed. Christmas offers a time for many of us to realize just how blessed we are. It’s also a time to think about those that are less fortunate. With that said, I’d like to mention two worthwhile charities that I choose to support here in the Central Valley: Fresno Rescue Mission and The Poverello House. Both do amazing work. Donating to such wonderful charities shouldn’t require the Christmas Season, but it’s worthwhile to mention nonetheless.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you find some time to settle back and enjoy the season. Have a great weekend.

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