Saturday morning coffee [July 14 2012]

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

The coffee mug to the right was part of a Pharmacy Week swag bag when I was still a real pharmacist. Pharmacy Week occurs yearly in October. It’s an attempt by some of the professional pharmacy organizations to increase the publics awareness of the profession. It also gives the pharmacists employer a chance to hand our “atta’ boys”. One year I received a folding beach chair, another year I recieved a water bottle, and so on. Not sure what year I received this mug, though. I haven’t actually worked as a pharmacist for a couple of years so it’s been at least that long.

- The Amazing Spider Man was #1 at the box office last weekend. It did a respectable $62 Million. Nothing wrong with that. I haven’t seen it, and I’m not sure if I’m going to. The whole “Spider Man thing” has been done to death. He’s not even that great of a superhero. Batman would take him for sure. Crud, the hulk might actually break him in half.

– Spent two days in Avila Beach, CA this week. The Central Valley reached triple digits so the family and I headed for cooler weather. When we left Avila Beach on Thursday it was 66 degrees F. When we arrived home in Fresno it was 108 degrees F.

– How does hemoglobin work? Let Abraham Lincoln explain it….

- Science News: Researchers have found a way to “to detect a wider range of synthetically-produced ‘designer’ drugs”. Why is this important? Well, it’s pretty difficult to bust someone for taking a substance that doesn’t exist, i.e. isn’t illegal. “Because these substances are continually being developed, many of them are not yet classified as illegal, but they provide a similar high as the traditional substance they are imitating.”

– Speaking of testing things. How would you like it if the TSA walked up to you and tested the drink in your hand? “TSA employees at airports this summer have been checking beverages purchased on the other side of security, in the boarding area.Security agents don’t touch the drink, or make the passenger throw it away, but a test strip is held over an open cup or container.” [NBC Southern California]. I used to be one of those guys that said “hey, they’re protecting us so it’s ok.” Now that I travel all the time it’s become a bit of a pain in my rear. Any smart terrorist could easily get around all the TSA exceptions at the security checkpoint. At this point the only thing the TSA does is irritate honest people and make air travel that much more unpleasant. Now I did it, I probably just made some crazy watch list.

– Is Google planning to build a hybrid tablet, merging Android and Chrome OS? I certainly hope so. According to an article at “a patent filed for in 2010 and recently granted to Google suggests one hardware concept they might be considering to pull it off. The patent covers numerous ways to design a hybrid tablet and notebook that would feature a touch-sensitive virtual keyboard and touchpad on a second screen. The most relevant part is this tidbit:

The computing device could also be configured to operate based on one or more platforms (e.g., one or more similar or different platforms) that could include one or more types of hardware, software, firmware, operating systems and runtime libraries.…

– Looks like the new Google Nexus 7 tablet is doing just fine. Sam’s Club, Staples and Office Depot are all reporting that the Nexus 7 is sold out at the moment. The internet has been buzzing all week about the new device and videos started appearing yesterday. Overall it appears that people are quite happy with their new sub-$200, Android tablet. I will be getting one soon I suppose. I told myself I wouldn’t buy one because I already have two Android tablets, but I just can’t help myself. Doh!

– The Facebook app for Android was updated this week. From GottaBeMobile “the chief feature on the change log is the ability for users to use the front-facing camera. This will allow users to capture self-portraits easily and post it to the social networking site, but the feature does open up the doors for additional functionality in the future in the area of video chatting”. I know many people don’t like Facebook, but I rather enjoy it.

– Use Google to convert between units much? I do a fair amount of that. Well, Google has made it a bit easier by bringing up an interactive tool when you type a conversion in the normal search bar. For example, I typed “tsp to ml” and got the screen below. It makes playing with the conversion quite easy. Typing a new number in either side of the equation automatically changes the other. It’s really handy.

- VentureBeat: “Apple is sending notices to retailers to stop selling Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1, a filing by Samsung revealed today. Apple began sending those notices associated with the Galaxy Nexus on June 3, the same day U.S. Judge Lucy Koh turned down Samsung’s appeal on the injunction. Three days later, however, Judge Koh suspended the injunction.” – My disdain for Apple grows daily. For me it’s a matter of personal values and in my opinion supporting such a company is unethical and immoral. It’s easy to be a bully when you have all the power. However, your character is defined when you have the power to be a bully and chose not to. I will not purchase another Apple product for myself, nor will I actively be involved in any projects for my job that involve Apple products (if at all possible). One of the projects I pushed for at my company uses iOS as the platform of choice. I regret that decision now. I won’t make the same mistake again. There are few precious things we can truly decide for ourselves in this life and deciding what consumer electronics to buy is one of them. I was once told I was “too ethical” [to be successful in business]. There’s no such thing as “too ethical” in my opinion. Who you are is defined not only by what you do in public, but by what you chose to do when no one else is looking. Just sayin’.

– Ever heard of cloudHQ? It’s relatively new. I use a lot of “cloud-based” storage. Unfortunately it can get a little confusing because I use so many. cloudHQ is designed to help with some of that confusion.

– So, Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) is supposed to be the savior of healthcare. Unfortunately it’s not perfect. A new study publish in JAMIA discusses one of the big problems associated with CPOE, namely the fact that physicians entering orders can chose the wrong patient and no one would know. When I was still a practicing pharmacist working on a CPOE implementation team we identified this problem during a pre-implementation FMEA. We called the problem “the perfect mistake”. I even blogged about it briefly here. How do you prevent a physician from choosing the wrong patient? I don’t know. If a physician choses the wrong patient at order entry how is one to know it was meant for someone else? You can’t.

– I found a newsletter dedicated to extemporaneous compounding in acute care. The newsletter, Science and Technology for the Hospital Pharmacist  provides some good information. If you dig that kind of thing I highly recommend you stop by and take a peek.

– Moving QR codes, how cool is that

– I’ve been playing with Evernote a lot this week. I’ve been using the product for several years and it is hands down one of the greatest applications ever written. I came across a couple of new things this week that are worth a look. The first is a website called where the author lays out a lot of Evernote tips in an easy to read fashion.  The second is a site called KustomNote. KustomNote allows you to create and use custom note templates that are connected to Evernote. It’s quite nice.

– Drug shortages got you down? It’s been a problem for a lot of hospitals across the country. The FDA has been trying desperately to do something about it. My initial reaction was that the FDA really couldn’t do much to help, but I may have changed my mind. An article at Becker’s Hospital Review talks about some of the things that the FDA has done in an attempt to curb the sting from the shortages. One of the most significant is that now hospitals can repackage drugs in short supply. “A section in the new law allows hospitals to repackage drugs if they are in short supply, though this does not apply to controlled substances. Hospitals will thus be able to distribute the drugs in smaller amounts to extend the life of drugs in short supply. “Before the signing of this new law, a hospital was technically not allowed to repackage drugs without registering with the FDA and explaining exactly how they divvy up the drugs,” he says. A provision in the new law allows hospitals and health systems to repackage and share drugs that are on the FDA-issued drug shortage list, and up to 60 days after a drug is taken off the list.” Good news for hospitals to be sure.

Have another cup of coffee and have a great weekend everyone!

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