Saturday morning coffee [October 3 2015]

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” ― Marcus Aurelius

The mug below was given to me by my awesome wife and daughter. They went out to run an errand a few weeks ago and saw this mug. Apparently they decided that I really need it. They were right. It’s a pretty cool mug.

MUG_DarthVader

Hotel Transylvania 2 was #1 at the box office last weekend, pulling down nearly $50 million in its opening weekend. The first one was good, and I suspect this one is too. Sometimes I wish I still had little ones running around the house. It would give me an excuse to see movies like Hotel Transylvania 2. Don’t expect it to stay at #1, however. The Martian will likely take that spot this weekend. My wife and I saw The Martian yesterday. Besides some over-the-top corniness right near the end, it was a very good movie. Highly recommended.

Did you know that Finland is the top coffee consuming nation in the world? It’s true. Those pesky Finns drink a national average of 2.64 cups of java per day. According to WorldAtlas.com “the most popular coffees in Finland are very light roasts, much lighter than anywhere else in the world”. My kind of coffee drinkers.

I really need to try this, putting butane in Coke. Seems like a decent afterschool activity to me.

The ‘c’ key on my Yoga 2 Pro is giving me problems. Sometimes I’ll have to hit it 2 or 3 times to get it to work. It’s really starting to piss me off. You don’t realize how often you need a ‘c’ until you look up at a document you’ve been working on and it looks like someone wend crazy with a red pen underlining misspelled words. I’ve really lost faith in Lenovo with this machine.

There’s been another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in southern Oregon. Ten people were killed and another seven injured Thursday when a 26-year-old gunman opened fire in a classroom at the community college. Very sad. It gets harder and harder each time something like this happens for me to defend my pro gun position. There’s just no place for this kind of thing in our society. I don’t have an answer, but it’s obvious that what we’re doing isn’t working.

Reuters: “A new electronic drug capsule engineered to deliver medications directly to the colon could potentially offer a more effective and cheaper option for treating people with gastrointestinal conditions, according to researchers at Purdue University in Indiana. The device is comprised of two parts, one carrying a drug payload and the other housing electronics designed on the same principles used to trigger a torpedo.” – The capsule contains a magnetic trigger that separates the capsule and releases the medication. I worked on a project team that was researching something like this when I was an undergrad in chemistry. Very cool stuff.

Speaking of cool developments, Nanowerk News is reporting that “[r]esearchers have for the first time developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient’s own platelets, allowing the drugs to last longer in the body and attack both primary cancer tumors and the circulating tumor cells that can cause a cancer to metastasize. The work was tested successfully in an animal model.” Anything that can be done to improve the targeting of cancer cells without wrecking healthy cells is a good thing. Nanotechnology rocks.

Are you a visual note taker? If so, you should drop by this site and check out 50+ Awesome Resources to Create Visual Notes, Graphic Recordings, & Sketchnotes. I desperately want to learn how to take visual notes. I’ve tried it a few times, but can’t seem to make it work. I envy the people that can do this.

visual note-taking

Google announced some awesome new hardware this week: two new Nexus phones – the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5x, the Pixel C Android tablet, a new Chromecast, and Chromecast Audio. The Nexus 6P is a spectacular device, and the Pixel C will surely become the poster child for flagship Android tablets. The announcement of the Nexus 6P has muddied the waters for me as I was just about to pull the trigger on a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I was looking at the Moto X Pure Edition, but decided that I really wanted a Note 5 for the camera, active digitizer, and Samsung Pay. The Nexus 6P lacks the active digitizer and Samsung Pay, but offers similar camera performance and a pure Android experience. Tough choice. Actually, now that I write it out, I think I’ll stick with the Note 5….or not. Ugh.

With the introduction of the Nexus 6P, Android now has the top six best mobile cameras on the market. This according to the DxOMark website. The top ten, starting at the top: Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung S6 Edge, Google Nexus 6P, LG G4, Samsung Note 4, Moto X Style, Sony Xperia Z3+, Apple iPhone 6Plus, Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5. Note that the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 have the same camera as the S6 Edge, which puts them in the same slot. My wife and oldest daughter have the LG G4, while my youngest daughter has the Galaxy S6. I can tell you that the images captured by those devices are spectacular. My S5 takes pretty good shots, and both the G4 and S6 put it to shame. Smartphones have become the new point-and-shoot camera of this generation.

Gizmodo: “Tom Scott has an excellent video explaining the basic physics behind the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift in not-so-sunny Scotland. It enables boats to travel between two canals, one of which runs 80 feet higher than the other.” – I remember sitting with my mom one evening a little more than a year ago and watching a special on the Falkirk Wheel. Very cool engineering.

Due to a recent mishap I’ve had to make extensive use of our current healthcare system. I’m amazed that the system works at all. To say that the system is disjointed and full of incompetence would be putting it kindly. Actually, calling it a system is probably a misnomer because that assumes that things are connected in some logical fashion. They are not. And now that the bills have started rolling in, I find it a confusing mess of “billers”, adjustments, and insurance company EOBs. Let me give you just one example of the craziness that is our healthcare system. During an ED visit I had several X-Rays and CTs taken. Fast forward several days when I had to see an orthopedic surgeon in his office. I had to contact the hospital, request that the studies be placed on a CD – seriously, a CD – and hand carried them to my appointment. Hard to imagine in this day and age that those images couldn’t be stored “in the cloud” and simply accessed at will. Here’s the kicker. When I arrived for the appointment, the orthopedic surgeon ordered a completely new set of X-Rays because he “likes to get his own images”. Then he sat down to view the images on my hand-carried CD and couldn’t open it using his office-based EHR system. It wouldn’t read the image type. Zing! And yes, I received bills for both the ED and office taken X-Rays. I have other crazy stories from the past several weeks, but won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, the current healthcare model sucks.

Harvard Business Review: “…findings from our research using six years of data from nearly 3,000 acute-care hospitals suggest that it is the communication between caregivers and patients that has the largest impact on reducing readmissions. In fact, the results indicate that a hospital would, on average, reduce its readmission rate by 5% if it were to prioritize communication with the patients in addition to complying with evidence-based standards of care.” – Huh, imagine that. It appears that communication is important. I found communication lacking when caring for my mom. Some facilities, like UCSF did a good job of communicating with both my mom and the family. Other facilities, like the two we used in the Central Valley, failed miserably at communicating information. It made a tremendous difference in her care.

The Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch went on sale yesterday. Love that watch. If I go with the Note 5 mentioned above, I’ll likely pair it up with the Gear S2. Below is a quick review by Flossy Carter. Love this dude’s reviews.

Football season is well under way and it’s been awesome. There have already been some upsets among the college ranks…cough, Ole Miss. UCLA is playing well and look good to take the PAC-12 South. They play Arizona State today. Look for them to take care of business early and win that one. The NFL is chugging along. Nothing really stands out there besides the quarterback shuffle that’s taken place secondary to injuries. My Cardinals look great. Unfortunately, they’ve done this to me before, i.e. started out strong only to finish on life support. I’m holding my giddiness until around week 10. They play the Rams on Sunday. It’s a very winnable game, but those division games can be a bugger. Not to mention that the Rams have an angry pass rush, and Carson Palmer is getting hit like a pinata this year. They really need to keep that dude upright if they have any hope of making a playoff run.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday morning coffee [August 22 2015]

“Don’t accept that others know you better than yourself. Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.” – James Allen

The mug below comes from the University of Arizona in Tucson. I was there earlier in the week doing some research on a project. In fact, I’m sitting in a hotel in downtown Phoenix this morning as I write this. I’ll be heading home later today. I saw this mug in a display case in the U of A bookstore. It’s an awesome looking mug. I wanted one, but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it because, well, you know, my daughter is a UCLA cheerleader. Having a U of A mug in the house would be akin to blasphemy. It really is a beautiful mug though.

MUG_UofA
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [August 22 2015]

Saturday morning coffee [May 23 2015]

“I was out on a date recently and the guy took me horseback riding. That was kind of fun, until we ran out of quarters.” – Susie Loucks

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….

MUG_SMC
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [May 23 2015]

Saturday morning coffee [April 11 2015]

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare

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….

The mug below comes straight from the bookstore on the UC San Diego campus. My youngest daughter, Mikaela and I attended Triton Day 2015 last Saturday on the UCSD campus. Mikaela will be attending UCSD starting in the Fall of this year as a NanoEngineering major. After sitting through the Chemical Engineering and NanoEngineering presentations at Triton Day I’m thinking about joining her. It’s a great time to be entering the nanotechnology field.

UCSD Triton Mug
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [April 11 2015]

Saturday morning coffee [January 31 2015]

“Fast is good, accurate is better.” – unknown

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….

MUG_SMC
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [January 31 2015]

Still searching for that perfect tablet PC replacement

After years of using a Lenovo x201t tablet PC as my primary machine I finally moved on and replaced it with a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. I thought about upgrading the x201t, but decided against it for several reasons. Unfortunately none of the current line of pen-enabled Lenovo Windows 8 machines caught my eye. The Helix was close, but Lenovo needs to upgrade to the newest generation of Core processor before I’d be willing to part with my hard earned money; I want that extra battery life. The Thinkpad Yoga might seem like a perfect solution, but I had my reasons for not choosing it, the biggest being the folding mechanism for putting the machine into tablet mode. I much prefer the twist-style mechanism for folding a machine from laptop to tablet mode when I want to write with a pen. There’s a rant there that I’m not willing to put in writing.

The Yoga 2 Pro has been a good machine, but I really miss having an active digitizer. I hadn’t realized how often I used the pen until now.
Continue reading Still searching for that perfect tablet PC replacement

How to get InkSeine to run on a Windows 8 tablet

I’ve written about InkSeine before. It’s a great little application for those of us that like inking on a tablet, but it’s an older application that was never put into production. InkSeine was never updated to work with Windows 8, either. I’ve tried, and failed, several times to get it up and running on my Windows 8 machines.

However, I finally got around to trying a workaround that a reader left as a comment on my site back in October; yeah, sometimes I’m a little slow.

Tawanda October 15, 2013 at 10:17 am –  Jerry, here’s how I got Inkseine working. I use a PDF markup software called Bluebeam Revu. Without bluebeam installed, Inkseine crashes on launch the way most users are reporting. Install Bluebeam back and Inkseine runs fine. So it looks like Bluebeam installs some Microsoft components that Inkseine requires, I just haven’t tried to figure out which ones. But it works. Install Bluebeam Revu even if you will never run it, and Inkseine runs well. Hopefully other tinkers will key out the components required so that those who do not use Bluebeam Revu do not have to install it. Hope it helps.

Works like a charm. Bluebeam Revu can be found here. I was going to purchase the software, but it’s $220. I downloaded the trial instead. Anyway, InkSeine is working perfectly on my ASUS VivoTab Note 8.

Good luck and enjoy.

Why the Dell Venue 8 Pro is doomed to fail

I was in the Bay Area yesterday meeting with some people doing some cool stuff with Google Glass in healthcare. While I was there I read something that came through my Twitter feed about the original 128 GB Microsoft Surface Pro tablet being on sale at Best Buy for $499. That’s a great price, especially for what you get. I was interest enough that I did a quick search online at the Microsoft Store to see if they were offering the same deal; they usually do. Turns out they were, and I knew that there was a Microsoft Retail Store just 30 minutes from where I was. Following my meetings I hoped in the car and headed for the Microsoft Store to see if they had any 128 GB Surface Pro’s in stock. Turned out they didn’t, but they did have the Dell Venue 8 Pro on sale for $229 for the 32 GB model. That’s a phenomenal price for the Venue 8 Pro.

Dell Venue 8 Pro
Continue reading Why the Dell Venue 8 Pro is doomed to fail

Perhaps the perfect tablet ecosystem: the 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

A friend saw me working on a spreadsheet with all the information that I could find on the most recent lot of Windows 8 tablets. He asked me what I was doing, so I told him. Then he asked why. Why does anyone do anything? I’m interested in 8-inch Windows 8 tablets and have been thinking about buying one, so I’m giving them the once over. Continue reading Perhaps the perfect tablet ecosystem: the 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

Saturday morning coffee [January 11 2014]

“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart…” – Native American saying

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….

Welcome to the first SMC post of 2014. Last Saturday was the first Saturday of the year, but I was too busy enjoying my birthday to do anything else. Which brings us to the new coffee mug below. I received it as a birthday gift from my brother Robert and his wife, Kim. Thanks guys!

Camera Lens Mug
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [January 11 2014]