Saturday morning coffee [October 10 2015]

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ― George Bernard Shaw …you people know who you are.

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…


As predicted, The Martian was #1 at the box office last weekend, pulling in a just over $54 million in its opening weekend. It’s a good movie. Highly recommended. I expect The Martian to hold the #1 spot for a bit longer. Who’s going to challenge it, Pan?

Speaking of movies, my younger brother came up to Fresno last Sunday and took me to see Everest. The movie recreates one of the worst climbing disasters in history. I don’t usually go in for movies like that, but Everest was really quite good. Another film I would recommend.

I’ve always been a drip coffee guy, probably because that’s how I got started drinking coffee. I’ve tried various methods – pour overs, coffee press, running by Dutch Brothers twice a day – but I always come back to drip. Recently my tried and true Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker took a turn for the worst and I had to replace it. Instead of simply getting another Mr. Coffee, I wanted to try something different. I did a little online research and finally decided on a Bonavita 8-Cup Original Coffee Brewer. While the Bonavita is still makes coffee via “drip”, the water comes down onto the grounds in a sort of showerhead fashion, and the “pot” is a carafe that keeps the coffee warm for several hours. There is no warmer under the carafe. It works very well. I’m quite satisfied with the coffee it brews. The only thing that’s a bit of a bummer is that you can’t pull the carafe out before it’s finished brewing when you just can’t wait five minutes for it to finish. I used to grab the carafe on my old Mr. Coffee as soon as I had enough black gold to warrant a cup. The price we pay for good coffee.

Microsoft had an epic event this week in New York. The company introduced some of the most exciting new products that I’ve seen in years. The company took their already class-leading line of Surface machines and introduced the new and improved Surface Pro 4. The Surface Pro 4 has updated internals, a slightly larger display, improved pen technology with a better inking experience, and a better detachable keyboard. And the best thing of all is that you can custom configure the device to your liking at the Microsoft Surface site. But that’s not all. Microsoft also introduced what I think is the most innovative piece of hardware that’s come along in a while, the Surface Book. The Surface Book offers a crazy new design, making it both a complete laptop and a full-fledged tablet. It also gives users the ability to configure the Surface Book to rival any 13-inch high-end laptop on the market. It’s what a modern ultrabook-tablet should be. Surface Book is quite literally my idea of the perfect machine torn from my brain and turned into reality. It’s the most excited I think I’ve ever been for a piece of new consumer technology. It’s beautiful, and I must have one.

Here’s an interesting website: “Easy PC Picker exists to simplify the process of buying a new computer. We ask you three simple questions (price, operating system, and features) and then provide a recommendation hand-picked by our staff of experts.” I played with it a little bit. It’s not perfect, but it kicks out some solid choices for anyone looking for a new machine.

Who would have thought that Velcro could be dangerous? I’ve managed to get a few nicks and cuts on my hands from unstrapping and re-strapping my leg brace several hundred times over the past few weeks. I’m theorizing that the little hooks on one side of the Velcro strap are able to grab tiny pieces of skin that are loose. And when they grab hold, they don’t let go.

Speaking of Velcro, it “is the brainchild of Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer who, in 1941 went for a walk in the woods and wondered if the burrs that clung to his trousers — and dog — could be turned into something useful. After nearly eight years of research (apparently it’s not so easy to make a synthetic burr), de Mestral successfully reproduced the natural attachment with two strips of fabric, one with thousands of tiny hooks and another with thousands of tiny loops. He named his invention Velcro, a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet,” and formally patented it in 1955. Though the first Velcro was made out of cotton, de Mestral soon discovered that nylon worked best because it didn’t wear with use.” And the moral of the story? Take time to go for a walk in the woods. (source: Time)

Have I ever told you how awesome 3D printing is? There’s a lab at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) –  <cough>… my alma mater – that’s using living cells as the substrate to 3D print human tissue. “Zev Gartner, PhD, has focused on the next best thing: His lab is building fully functioning 3-D human tissue, cell by cell. It sounds straight out of a Frankenstein novel, but Gartner is working to grow the milk-producing tissues of the human breast to create a living, working model of the human mammary gland that grows, ages and responds to hormone signals just like the real thing. This means growing the ducts, arteries and connective tissue in the same environment.” Crazy.

How long before we all have 3D printers in our houses to print everything from our breakfast cereal to a new spray nozzle for our hose? It’s not as far off as one would think. It could even happen before I decide to checkout for good.

This week the FDA told ASHP that it has “not cleared or approved any syringes for stand-alone use as ‘closed container systems.’” Oh boy, that’s a biggie. You can read my initial thoughts about the announcement here, but I think it’s going to cause some problems for pharmacies.

Variety: “Consumers are now using mobile phones more often to search Google than desktop PCs…“We are getting over 100 billion searches every month,” Singhal said. Mobile overtook the desktop as the number one source of traffic this summer, he said.” – I talked about this a few years ago during a presentation I gave at a SoCal HIMSS Meeting. Those things in your pocket aren’t phones, they’re computers. My thought is that there has to be a way for pharmacy to leverage that knowledge to improve patient care. Really hasn’t happened yet.

You really should stop whining about your commute. Take a look at what happens when people return from vacation in China. Dude, that’s some traffic right there.

And just like that the Cardinals broke my heart. I said last week that the Rams defense was good, and they gave Palmer fits all afternoon. The Cardinals play the Lions tomorrow. I think it’s a winnable game, but the Lions have nothing to lose, which makes them dangerous. Expect the Cardinals secondary to have their hands full with the Lions long-ball.

Ugh, the Bruins took one in the shorts last Saturday night. Hats off to Arizona State, they punched UCLA in the throat. No game for the boys in baby blue this weekend. Good thing, as they have Stanford up next on the schedule. They’ve had trouble with the Stanford running attack and defense over the past few years. Fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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