Saturday morning coffee [November 29, 2014]

“Old pharmacist’s never die….they just lose their potency” ~Dave Walker via Twitter

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 Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was #1 at the box office last weekend. No surprise as The Hunger Games is another in a long list of popular books turned into movies. I expect it to sit at the top for a few weeks. The last movie I saw was John Wick. Good movie. Recommended.

I’m speechless. “Meet Mike Breach, barista extraordinaire, who “paints” everything — and everyone — into his lattes”.

I like listening to music while I work, but I’ve never been a fan of any of the online streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, etc. For the past few months I’ve been listening to my own music via my Google Play All Access Music account. Occasionally I’ll listen to one of the All Access radio stations, but not often. This week I decided to jump over to Amazon Prime Music and give it a go. It’s free with my Prime account after all. Turns out that Amazon Prime has much better radio station content than Google All Access.

Speaking of music, I now get ad-free YouTube music videos as part of my Google Play All Access Music. Not sure I see the draw as I typically listen to music, not watch it. I’ve watched several videos over the past few days out of curiosity, but I don’t see myself doing that often.

It’s a great time to be a fan of the Android ecosystem. There are new phones, smartwatches, and tablets worth looking at. The Droid Turbo offers some cool feature such as great battery life and turbo charging, which gives the user an additional 8 hours of battery in only 15 minutes of charging. The Nexus 6 is a beast, and designed with all the wonders of the Nexus line. And then there’s the 2014 edition of the Moto X. What can I say, the Moto X line is awesome. I had the previous version, and I still miss that phone. Need a watch to pair with your phone? No problem, you can pick from Samsung, Motorola, Sony, and LG. Just drop by Google Play and have a look. And last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about the new Nexus 9 tablet. What a beauty. I’m really diggin’ the Sand color. Feel free to add any of the above to your shopping list for my Christmas gift.

Mashable: “Amsterdam health officials are trying to prevent more deaths by warning tourists about “extremely dangerous cocaine.” In the last month, three British men have died after snorting heroin, which authorities believe may have been sold as cocaine. The city has placed a large sign outside its main train station Central Station, nearby stores that legally sell hashish and marijuana. It reads, “Extremely dangerous cocaine is sold to tourists.” – I have several opinions about this, but think I’ll just keep those to myself for now.

A St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. <sarcasm> So like any rational human being, the people of Ferguson decided to riot and destroyed their own town </sarcasm>. I’ll never understand the thought process of someone when they decide to do something like this. How can destroying your city, and other people’s livelihood help? Such a shame.

Medical Xpress: “Nobuhiro Nishiyama and Takahiro Nomoto from Tokyo Institute of Technology, together with Kazunori Kataoka from the University of Tokyo, have developed a novel light-responsive nanomachine as a new type of gene vector. The nanomachine allowed the team to accomplish systemic light-selective gene transfection into a tumor [of a mouse] for the first time. Results also showed that the nanomachine was 100 times more efficient at gene transfection to cultured cells than other techniques.” – Obviously an exciting breakthrough for cancer treatment. Gene therapy is both exciting and frightening.

You ever read an article and realize that the author is either ignorant about the subject, or simply trying to get clicks? Happens to me all the time. The most recent of which is this article at The Verge. It’s obvious that the title of the article – Microsoft can’t explain why its Surface tablet needs a pen – is designed to get clicks. The author blasts Microsoft for their commercials showing people circling things with the Surface Pro 3 stylus. Then he goes on to defend the value of an active digitizer. Commercials often fail to tell the whole story of a product, and with the Surface Pro 3 it’s impossible because the device has so much to offer. To put it bluntly, if you have to ask why you need an active digitizer, then odds are it’s not for you.  And let’s face it, The Verge isn’t exactly high-end journalism.

AJMC: “Across the body of evidence, effects were inconsistent from study to study, and only a minority of lowest risk of bias [randomized control tests] improved both adherence and clinical outcomes,” the authors determined. “Current methods of improving medication adherence for chronic health problems are mostly complex and not very effective, so that the full benefits of treatment cannot be realized.” – Medication adherence is a complex problem. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each patient should work with his/her pharmacist to select the approach that will work for them. Phone call follow up, text message reminders, face to face meetings, automated bottles, smartphone application, web-based reminders, etc. What works for one may not work for another.

Speaking of medication adherence, here’s an article in Science Daily that shares the results of a Kaiser Permanente study. The study included more than 21,000 Kaiser patients. Those that received “both telephone and mailed reminders, saw improvements in their cholesterol levels”. Here’s the thing, the improvement was only about 2 percentage points. While they try to make a big deal out of this in the article, I’m not so sure I buy it. I’d like to see how this translates to morbidity and mortality several years down the road.

I use a Sony HDR-CX190 High Definition Handycam to shoot video, and a Canon 30D to take photos. On occasion I find the desire to shoot video when my Sony Handycam isn’t with me. When that happens I use my Samsung S5. It does a fine job, but I get tired of holding it. Something like an S1 Shoulderpod might come in handy. I’m thinking about getting one. I’ll let you know if I do. The only thing that keeps me from pulling the trigger is my disgust when I see people holding their phones and tablets up in the air taking pictures and shooting video. Do I really want to be “one of those people”?

It appears that Ray Rice has won his appeal and is now eligible to return to the field. The NFL brought in former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones as an independent arbitrator to hear the appeal. It will be interesting to see how people react to this, especially other NFL teams. Don’t forget, the Ravens released Rice. Technically he can sign with any NFL team. The question is whether or not any team will be interested. I’m going on record as saying that someone will pick him up for next season.

Seems like I’ve been putting together quite a few presentations lately. I’m a PowerPoint guy, always have been. Once I finish a presentation I typically upload it to SlideShare. I make my presentations “private” by default as most aren’t for public consumption. Recently, SlideShare partnered with Haiku Deck to help users create “beautifully visual presentations directly from SlideShare”. I’ve been playing with Haiku Deck and have to say that I find it incredibly limited in what it can do. Perhaps I’m missing something, but it certainly doesn’t meet my needs.

Haiku Deck

If you ever have the need to create a bibliography, I would encourage you to take a look at Great site and application. I’ve found it very handy these past weeks.

My Cardinals lost to the Seattle Seahawks last week. That’s a big loss as it cuts their lead in the NFC West to two games with only five games remaining in the regular season. Fortunately the Seahawks also beat the 49ers earlier this week. The Cardinals looks to rebound tomorrow against the hapless Atlanta Falcons.

Speaking of the Atlanta Falcons, they currently sit atop the NFC South with a record of 4 – 7. Seriously, they’re at the top of the division even though they’re three games under .500. This is where the NFL playoff system falls apart. The NFC West may have three teams with ten or more wins, and one of those teams will get left out of the playoffs. The NFC South could have a division winner with a maximum of nine wins, and they wouldn’t even be a wild card. But don’t expect anyone from the NFC South to win out.

UCLA had an opportunity to go to the PAC-12 Championship Game. All they had to do was get by Stanford yesterday. Didn’t happen. Stanford is a big, physical team and they pushed UCLA all over the field. It was over by halftime. Bummer.

College rivalry games this week. We had Arizona vs Arizona State yesterday afternoon. Arizona pulled it off, which means that they’ll meet Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game next Friday night at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Other games worth watching include #1 Alabama vs #15 Auburn, #2 Oregon vs  Oregon State, #3 Florida State vs. Florida, and #4 Mississippi St vs. #19 Ole Miss. Give me ‘Bam, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State. Not how I want it to turn out, but that’s who I think will win. I’d love to see Oregon State beat Oregon and Florida take away Florida State’s undefeated season.

Have a great weekend everyone.

1 thought on “Saturday morning coffee [November 29, 2014]”

  1. Hi Jerry,

    I’m sorry to hear that Haiku Deck didn’t meet your presentation needs. We strive to make it 10x faster and 10x easier to create presentations, but we also understand that sometimes, there are features you can’t live without when it comes to creating your presentations.

    Let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see us add in the future or if you have any other additional feedback for us, our support team is always happy to listen to you and answer any questions you may have:

    Thanks again!
    Lisa from Team Haiku Deck

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