Saturday morning coffee [December 6 2014]

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything” ~unknown

Welcome to December. Hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner.

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 continued its run and remained #1 at the box office last weekend. The movie has already generated more than $500 million dollars worldwide. I don’t see anything poised to knock it from its perch this weekend. I expect it to remain #1 for at least another week.

Fast Company: “Starbucks has opened a new flagship cafe where the company also roasts its global supply of small batch coffees” The 15,000-square-foot Starbucks located in Seattle’s Capital Hill district has “two coffee bars, a shop, a standalone restaurant, a two-story library with 200 books, and a factory all fit under one roof in a caffeinated wonderland“. I’m not a big Starbucks guy myself, but I’d sure like to see it in person.  Check out one of the images from the Fast Company story below. Crazy cool-looking interior.

Capital Hill Starbucks

Mistakes happen all the time in hospitals, that’s a fact, but it never ceases to amaze me when something like this happens: “An Oregon hospital says it administered the wrong medication to a patient, causing her death. Michel Boileau, chief clinical officer for St. Charles Health System, says 65-year-old Loretta Macpherson was given a paralyzing agent typically used during surgeries instead of an anti-seizure medication at its hospital in Bend.” There are several safety precautions, as well as a host of technologies designed to prevent the accidental use of paralytics. I would really like to know more details to understand how this happened. (via: Medical Xpress)

Harvard Business Review: “Higher education, however, is in the midst of dramatic, disruptive change. It is, to use the language of innovation theorists and practitioners, being unbundled. And with that unbundling, the traditional credential is rapidly losing relevance.  The value of paper degrees lies in a common agreement to accept them as a proxy for competence and status, and that agreement is less rock solid than the higher education establishment would like to believe. The value of paper degrees will inevitably decline when employers or other evaluators avail themselves of more efficient and holistic ways for applicants to demonstrate aptitude and skill.” – I believe this is true. People that require specific training to do their jobs – pharmacists, physicians, lawyers, etc – will continue to require paper degrees. However, having a degree means less and less every year. Perhaps it’s time to look at someone for what they can do regardless of the piece of paper.

The more I read about the Nvidia Shield tablet, the more impressed I become. It could arguably be considered the current tablet of choice for Android fans. I know it’s at the top of my list. It’s such a powerhouse. I hope Nvidia continues to develop this tablet line. The review below is long, but very well done and worth a watch.

There’s an interesting article at ExecuVision International about passion, but it’s not what you think. “Everyone, it seems, is supposed to discover what they are passionate about, and turn that into a way to earn a living…The message, destructive in its application, is that all feelings are good, and that we should allow them to guide our lives. Rational thought and self-discipline become our enemy. Spontaneity and abandon become the only measures of validity.  [Author Dan Pink] had very different advice about following passion. His take was that we should concentrate on what we consistently enjoy doing. Save passion for passionate times, he says, and devote the bulk of your life to contributing consistent and steady value to your family, your organization, and your world. This makes a lot more sense to me…When did we cease to believe that success was the result of hard work and lengthy, consistent effort? When did our expectations of luxury replace our need for basic security? And when did we decide, as a nation, that we somehow deserve to be rewarded just because it feels good?” – I understand where the author is coming from and agree with most everything he says. I encourage you to follow the link and read the entire article. It’s well worth five minutes of your time.

Wearables continue to grow in popularity, as does the concept of the internet-of-things (IoT). Some of the IoT concepts I’ve seen are utterly strange in concept and application, but on occasion I see something the makes perfect sense. “A new wristband from a startup called Empatica is built for people with epilepsy—it hopes to detect their seizures and alert family when they’re in the throes of one.” Seizures are not joke, and treating them can sometimes be difficult. Having another tool in your treatment arsenal couldn’t hurt. (via: MIT Technology Review)

Mashable: “Girl Scouts of the USA announced Digital Cookie on Monday, a new digital platform that allows Girl Scouts to sell cookies online.” – My girls were Girl Scouts and I remember all too well selling Girl Scout cookies. I’m not sure how I feel about them taking to the internet to sell cookies. It’s certainly good for the Girl Scouts, and it will make it easier to get cookies, but it really messes with a time-honored tradition.

Where was AutoMath when I needed it? What a neat use of technology. I can think of several uses in healthcare. It never ceases to amaze me what people can do.

Chris Messina, who worked on Google+ before leaving to do other things, recently wrote a pretty ugly post criticizing Google+ for many reasons. It’s an interesting read, but something I don’t quite understand. People seem to get bitter about the strangest things. From a user’s perspective I’ve found Google+ to be useful and fun. The platform doesn’t quite fall into the Facebook category, nor is it anything like Twitter. I find good discussion, lots of great images and videos, and links to some great articles while rummaging around Google+.  I’ll continue to use it as long as I find value. (via: Medium)

Oregon kicked the crud out of Arizona last night, cementing their spot in the up and coming college football playoffs. Kind of a bummer as I really don’t like Oregon football. I pretty much dislike everything about it. The final teams to make the college football playoffs will be decided today when Alabama plays Missouri, TCU takes on Iowa State, and Florida State contends with the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. Unless something weird happens I’m expecting wins from Alabama, TCH and FSU.

The college football playoff system is an interesting spectacle. The new system was put in place in an attempt to stem the tide of the BCS. While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, having only four teams in the playoffs doesn’t solve the problem. The top four teams are determined by a selection committee. The problem with the selection committee is that it’s made up of humans, and humans are known to be open to opinion and bias. Should FSU really be in the top four? Who knows, one could argue either way. Does Alabama really belong at number one? I’m not so sure. I love watching the Crison Tide play, but can they generate enough offense to keep up with the likes of Oregon, TCU, OSU? Sure, if their defense can make stops and stay off the field. What about a team like OSU sitting at number five, or Baylor at number six? Sure, you could probably make a case. Until the playoff system expands to include significantly more teams, the results will always include an asterisk in my mind.

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