Saturday morning coffee [September 8 2012]

It’s obviously not Saturday morning. My daughter had a volleyball tournament today. We were out of the house at 6:00am so I obviously didn’t have much time to put this together. Nonetheless I have a cup of coffee in my hand, there are still many tabs open in my browser, and I have some things to say. Let’s begin …

The coffee mug to the right is another from the great state of Texas. I picked it up in Austin while on vacation with my family. We had a great time in Austin. The capital building in Austin is huge and beautiful. We spent the better part of a couple of hours roaming through the building taking in the rich history of the state. After getting our fill of the State Capital we swung over to the University of Texas, home of Longhorns Football. My family and I also found some time to get in some great food from the likes of The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Tx just outside Austin and Gourdough’s Donuts. Both were awesome.

The Possession was #1 at the box office last weekend. Haven’t seen it, and have no intentions to. Not my kind of flix. Lawless was #2 at the box office. Haven’t seen it either. I’m behind.

NCAA football is in full swing. I think we’re in for some new things this year. Alabama is clearly the #1 team in the country. After that things get weird. USC is supposed to be vying for a national championship, but watching them play is painful. I’m a USC fan – well, used to be a USC fan until my daughter got accepted to UCLA. They’re sloppy. And LSU isn’t the same team they were a year ago. Oregon looks like a scoring machine, but I don’t like their style of play. Should be a great season to watch unfold.

– An article in the September issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology showed that limited English proficiency correlates with poorer outcomes among elderly patients with asthma. Sounds like an opening for some telepharmacy and a group of translators to me.

– Into/Law blog: Death by HIPPA:” Vioxx, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug once prescribed for arthritis, was on the market for over five years before it was withdrawn from the market in 2004. Though a group of small-scale studies had found a correlation between Vioxx and increased risk of heart attack, the FDA did not have convincing evidence until it completed its own analysis of 1.4 million Kaiser Permanente HMO members.  By the time Vioxx was pulled, it had caused between 88,000 and 139,000 unnecessary heart attacks, and27,000-55,000 avoidable deaths. The Vioxx debacle is a haunting illustration of the importance of large-scale data research….If researchers had had access to 7 million longitudinal patient record, a statistically significant relationship between Vioxx and heart attack would have been revealed in under three years. If researchers had had access to 100 million longitudinal patient records, the relationship would have been discovered in just three months….” – Sad. HIPPA is one of those crazy regulatory things that does nothing but hurt patients and healthcare systems. Some argue otherwise, but they’re wrong.

– This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in quite some time. This is a clip of 49 AscTec Hummingbird quadrocopters at night in Linz in Austria. Awesome.

– HP unveiled 3 new machines this week. One of them, the HP ENVY x2, is a tablet/notebook hybrid. It’s a really nice looking machine. Of course it’s optimized for Windows 8, but offers an 11.6-inch 1366×768 IPS multi-touch display as well. Very exciting. I like what I’m seeing coming out of the Windows-based camps these days. 2013 is going to be a great year for guys that love tablet PCs like me.

– While we’re on the topic of cool computers/tablets/gadgets, I want to take a moment to mention the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon again. I literally can’t get this machine off my mind. This particular laptop is on the top of my gadget want list at this moment. Below is one of the best quick overviews of the X1 Carbon I’ve found.

– I still have some pharmacy books sitting on my shelves that I’ve been unwilling to part with over the past 15 years. Until now that is. There’s a service called 1DollarScan that will take your paper books and turn them digital. It only costs $1 per 100 scanned pages and the service can be linked to Evernote. Doesn’t get much better than that.

PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology July/August 2012 vol. 66 no. 4 333-345: LAY ABSTRACT: “Forthcoming requirements, such as the California Board of Pharmacy Track and Trace initiative regarding the use of e-pedigree to identify the chain of custody of drugs, suggest the use of advanced track and trace technologies such as two-dimensional barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. When used for pharmaceuticals, RFID technology can support additional functionalities like monitoring temperature to ensure product safety. In its guidance for the use of RFID technologies for drugs, the Food and Drug Administration outlined multiple parameters that would apply to pilot studies using RFID while excluding drugs approved under a Biologics License Application or protein drugs covered by a New Drug Application due to concerns about the effects of radio frequency radiation on biologics. Even though the effects of radio frequency on biologics due to temperature changes are relatively well understood, there are few studies in the literature about other effects of radio frequency that can occur without a noticeable change in temperature. In this paper, we expose a wide variety of biologics including biopharmaceuticals to radio frequency radiation at different frequencies, as well as cellular blood products and plasma to high frequency radiation. The in vitro test results show no detectable effect due to radio frequency radiation.” – Looks like it’s ok to use RFID tags on liquid pharmaceuticals.

– RFID technology is cool, but one of the big questions is how to determine if it’s cost effective or not when compared to simple barcoding technology. Well, an article at the on-line journal Intelligent Hospital Today tries to provide guidelines for when the cost of RFID technology is worth it. “Based on the value of the asset and the cost to replace it and to track it, a healthcare facility can determine which tracking solution to implement. Often, a combination of technologies can be deployed and co-exist to help facilities improve operational efficiencies. Determining the right fit can be a matter of evaluating the workflow, value of the assets, user needs and the level of visibility that is necessary to achieve the goals. Often, a barcode solution coupled with a passive RFID technology is sufficient and can yield a return on investment in eight months or less.” – Got that? In other words, use them whenever and however you want.

– Unless you were under a rock this week, you’ve probably already heard that Amazon announced an entirely new line of Kindle e-readers and tablets. Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch 4G for $499. In addition to the bigger screen the HD offers Dolby audio, dual stereo speakers, Wi-Fi, 4G LTE wireless, and a $49.99 one-year 4G data package. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch is also available in a Wi-Fi only model for $299. Wait, we’re not done with the new Kindle Fires. The Kindle Fire HD is the 7-inch version of the 8.9-inch HD. It’s coming in at $199. In addition to the Kindle Fire tablets Amazon also announced two new Kindle e-readers, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Paperwhite 3G. The Kindle Paperwhite starts from just $119, while the Kindle Paperwhite 3G is available for $179 with free 3G wireless (awesome feature). I haven’t seen the Paperwhite screen, but I’ve read that it’s pretty spectacular. I’m an Amazon guy so this is exciting news for me. I’m due for a new Kindle.

– Nokia also had an important announcement this week. The company introduced the new Nokia Lumia 920. Spectacular Windows 8 device. Given the new Windows 8 phones I’ve seen from Nokia and Samsung I believe my next smartphone will be a Windows 8 device. Why not?

And with that I’m calling it a night. My coffee cup is empty.

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