The future of tablets, operating systems and innovation

TeachPaperless: A Prediction: What Platform Will Be Running on the Tablets in Your Classes?


That’s my prediction. Here’s my rationale: Windows 8 has been designed especially for touchscreen computing. Windows is the overwhelming winner in the enterprise market. Major PC manufacturers from HP to Dell are re-evaluating their business in a post-iPad world. In the short term, no PC company is going to catch up to the iPad. And the Kindle Fire will soak up much of the remaining consumer market for folks who just want to watch movies and read books on a tablet.

Although this article is aimed at the future of tablets in the classroom, it has deeper undertones. The author predicts that Windows will rule the day, but also states that "in many ways it’s a ludicrous prediction". I don’t think it’s ludicrous at all. Over the past 12-18 months I’ve attempted to replace my Win 7 tablet PC with an iPad, an Android tablet and an HP TouchPad. They serve a purpose, but none of them have come close to allowing me to leave my laptop or Win 7 tablet at home.

Continue reading The future of tablets, operating systems and innovation

What I miss most, and least about working in a hospital

I left pharmacy practice in November of 2010, so I’ve been out of the hospital for almost a year now. Typically I don’t give it a second thought, but recently I’ve found myself in several inpatient pharmacies face to face with pharmacists and technicians. Pharmacists are always willing to engage in talk about pharmacy practice, clinical situations and how things are going. The technicians are always up for a little conversation about operations, equipment, medication preparation, and so on. I find it quite enjoyable. While I’m not pining for the good old days, I do tend to get a little nostalgic on occasion.
Continue reading What I miss most, and least about working in a hospital

A humbling experience and time to reflect

This post has nothing to do with pharmacy, automation or technology. In fact, it is decisively about a personal experience. I wasn’t going to post this, but a little voice kept gnawing at the back of my mind. In hopes of calming the voice I decided to put pen to paper.

Continue reading A humbling experience and time to reflect

Yeah, my Twitter account was hacked

A couple of nights ago I fell for a phishing scam on Twitter. I pride myself on being careful while online and especially when I use social media, so you can imagine my embarrassment when I discovered that I’d been duped.

Many of my followers were kind enough to tell me I’d been hacked prior to unfollowing me. And of course Twitter followed suite several hours later by sending me an email letting me know they’d reset my password and encouraging me to check my settings for suspicious third party apps. It didn’t really matter by then as I had already changed my password a couple of times. The damage had already been done.

I don’t typically believe in violence to resolve a problem, but this is one of those rare occasions where I think violence is the perfect answer. Just me, a locked room with the person who created the hack inside, a blowtorch, some sharp objects and a long rope with a noose at the end. Sounds fair to me.


Johns Hopkins ABX Guide for Android

imageOnce upon a time I used to use the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide on my trusty Palm Pilot. I thought the guide was well done, easy to use, accurate and full of great information. The application has come a long way since then and is now available for the Android OS. While it’s no longer free – actually is fairly pricey at $22.99 – it looks to be of similar quality in both design and information. The reviews on the Android Market tend to agree.


Johns Hopkins ABX Guide: Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection Diseases

The Johns Hopkins ABX Guide, Mobile Edition continues to provide current, authoritative, comprehensive information on anti-microbial agents, infectious diseases, and commonly-encountered pathogens in one portable volume. Written by experts at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, this must-have resource features expert recommendations, clinical and diagnostic decision-making tools, and drug-to-drug interactions. Concise, thorough, and current, The Johns Hopkins ABX Guide, Mobile Edition is designed for quick reference and comprehension. Information is featured in an easy-to-access format that facilitates rapid application of knowledge at the point of care.

12 month subscription includes content and feature updates.

Better late than never, a week with my HP TouchPad

hp_touchpadSince HP announced that it would discontinue operations with the webOS and kill off the TouchPad I’ve been scouring local stores and online retailers looking for one. I was willing to buy one for $299 just a few weeks ago so why wouldn’t I be willing to purchase one for half that? Anyway, I stumbled across one at and instantly ordered it. It arrived last week.

I’ve had a little less than a full week to play with the TouchPad, but I have to say that the user experience is top notch. The card view and ability to move between multiple applications quickly is great. The universal inbox and calendar work like a charm, and the notification system is second to none; including Motorola’s system on their Droid series. Of course applications for the device are scarce, but I’ve been able to scrape together enough to make the device useful and fun.

Overall I think the device is great. It’s a shame that HP killed it without giving it an opportunity to mature and develop a following. I personally prefer the interface of the TouchPad to that of the iPad and would say it’s at least on par with the Android tablets I’ve used; the potential is better. I haven’t experienced any significant problems with the device, but I’ve only had it a short time. The biggest issue for me is the lack of applications. I’d be hard pressed to use the TouchPad for more than email, calendar and web surfing. Then again, with the addition of games that’s about all I use my FrankenNook for these days.

Let’s hope someone decides to take the webOS from HP and continue to develop it. It would be a shame to see something with so much potential die.

Is the Motion J3500 still the best Win-Slate on the market?

j3500To borrow a phrase from Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, I’ve been doing a “hard-target search” recently for a new tablet PC. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lenovo x201 Tablet PC, but I really want to try another slate.

In my mind the ASUS Eee Slate EP121 (who comes up with these names?) is currently the best tablet PC slate on the market. I’ve spent quite a bit of time messing around with it at the Microsoft Retail Store at Bellevue Square in Washington. The employees in there must think I’m some kind of stalker.

As far as the EP121 goes the inking is great, the touchscreen responsive, it’s fast, it’s the perfect size and it just “feels right” in my hands. So what’s the problem? The battery life is terrible? The information on the tablet states that the battery life is less than 3 hours. Online reviews have it at about 2 hours. That’s ridiculously bad in this day of hi-tech.

I looked hard at the Motion Computing CL900, but just don’t think it has enough muscle for me. It’s a bit slow and clunky. That’s a bummer as on the surface the CL900 looks like the perfect device.

While rummaging around the Motion Computing website for information on the CL900 I stumbled across an old friend, the Motion J3500. I’ve used it’s predecessor, the J3400 before and it was a great machine. I found the J3400 to be a good mix of functionality, toughness and battery life. With upgrades to the hard drive, processor and display the J3500 may just be the best option currently available, which says something about the tablet market; the J3500 is over a year old.

Not everyone’s opinion should count

Contrary to what your mom told you as a kid, not everyone’s opinion should count.

There are several definitions for the word opinion. The one I like comes from Merriam-Webster and reads “belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge”. Opinions are beliefs; something you think. They are not rooted in fact – although facts can play a roll in forming an opinion – nor are they required to be acknowledged by anyone other than the one giving the opinion. You have your opinion and I have mine. What if they’re different? No matter because they’re opinions.

Where we get ourselves in trouble is when we start thinking of one’s opinion as fact, or something close enough to fact that is must be acted upon. I frequently see this when someone with “expert” stamped on the end of their name says something like “you should …” or “why don’t you …”. Instead of evaluating statements like these and thinking them through many people will simply accept  them as fact and act on them. This is a bad thing. Why? Because everyone has an opinion and they don’t often line up with each other. This is especially true in healthcare; pharmacy in particular.

crazyknifeWe have a habit of taking an idea, passing it around the table, collecting opinions and making every attempt to act on them all. I see this a lot with automation and technology. Hey, I’m all about functionality, but not at the expense of common sense. When you try to incorporate everyone’s opinion into a product you get the object to the right. I’m sure someone thought this was a good idea; someone must have requested all that functionality, right? Sure. It’s the most functional piece of utility equipment in the history of mankind, but practical it is not. Try putting it in your pocket. This is what many pieces of pharmacy automation and technology turn into once everyone’s opinion is taken into account.

This goes doubly when people start suggesting that something needs to be added secondary to safety; “that should be added because it’s a safety issue”. Ah, the battle cry of those that know their opinion can’t stand up to close scrutiny. I get this one all the time. I suppose walking around in a suite of chainmail armor and driving 25MPH on the freeway would be safer than the way we do things now, but I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. It’s just not practical. And at the most basic level we give up the marginal difference in safety for the efficiency and practicality of wearing jeans and t-shirts while driving 70MPH. It’s a matter of compromise between form, function and usability combined with taking a little responsibility for our actions.

You simply can’t replace human responsibility and accountability with automation and technology. We need people to be responsible for their actions. It’s the only thing that keeps us honest. Without it everyone’s life will be like Phil Connor’s (Bill Murray) in Groundhog Day before he figured it all out.

Ridiculously random thoughts

– There must be interest in the HP Touchpad because I can’t find one to save my life. I spent the better part of three days chasing down internet leads and visiting all the places in Fresno that used to sell them. HP obviously had the price wrong. Just a few weeks ago I was willing to purchase a 16GB model for $299, but ran into a problem at the Staples I visited. With that said I was never willing to pay $499 for the same model.

– HP used to make awesome calculators. I used to collect HP calculators, and still have several vintage models. I’ll never forgive HP for discontinuing the HP-11C. It’s still my favorite calculator. Mine was stolen from my high school locker in 1987. I’ve never replaced it. My next favorite is the HP 32S. I used it until the day I stopped being a pharmacist.

– In my opinion the Asus Eee Slate EP121 remains the best option for a slate tablet PC available today.  The problem is the battery life; less than 3 hours. That’s a deal breaker for me.

– In my opinion the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the premier Android tablet on the market. Still not compelling enough to make me buy it. Hoping the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet offers more. I’m ready to try another slate.

– Looking for a new phone. Eliminated iPhone and Windows 7 Phone. BlackBerry has nothing exciting enough to compel me in their direction. Looks like I’m sticking with Android. Droid 3 is at the top of my list. It’s not 4G, but I’ve become quite accustomed to a physical keyboard. Hated the physical keyboard when I bought my Droid. Go figure.

– You know, Windows Live Writer is pretty cool. I started using it a couple of months ago. Simply type what I want, wait for an internet connection and publish it. Simple.

– The Oakland Raiders took Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. That’s funny. How could they go wrong given their history of drafting quarterbacks: JaMarcus Russell 2007, Andrew Walter 2005, Ronald Curry 2002. Need I say more?

– Speaking of Terrelle Pryor. The NFL sure taught him a lesson. Let me see if I have this straight. Break the rules in college. Check. Get to play in the bowl game. Check. Decide not to declare yourself eligible for the NFL draft. Check. Get suspended. Check. Enter supplemental NFL draft. Check. NFL says whoa their son, you broke the rules so we have to punish you severely. Check. Pryor has to wait a couple of extra months before earning millions. Check. I don’t see a difference in the outcome. Do you?

Median household income in 2009 in the US was approximately $50K. Median NFL player salary is approximately $770,000. That means the average person in the US has to work about 15 years to earn that. Think about that for minute. Now do the math on these (all rookies by the way): Cowboys signed Tyson Smith to a four-year, $12.5 million deal which is entirely guaranteed. Bengals signed A.J. Green to a four-year, $19.6 million deal, all of which is also guaranteed.Denver signed Von Miller to a four-year, $21-million deal. The players are complaining that these contracts are “low”. Chew on that for a while.

– My girls started back to school on Monday. Bummer. The last place on earth to learn anything is in school. The schools focus too much on testing, instead of focusing on thinking.

– Data is no longer king. What you do with the data is. The more data you collect, the more confused you become. Figure out how to use it and you’re no longer confused.

– Anyone besides me hate the character (Brenda) that Kyra Sedgwick plays in the Closer? She’s a real hypocrite.

– A friend of mine told me today that one of the physicians in the hospital where he works “is out of control”. Would you allow an employee or contractor you hired to get out of control and keep working? Didn’t think so. So why do hospitals?

– Three services worth paying for: Evernote Premium, SugarSync and Google Music. I know, I know, Google Music is in beta and it’s free. When they start charging, I’ll pay for it.

– Decided to sit down and read for pleasure a bit over the weekend. Grabbed Dominant Species by Michael E. Marks for my Kindle DX. Half way through it. So far, so good.

– The Kindle DX is still my favorite reading device. An LCD screen just can’t compete with eInk for that purpose. Period.

– Healthcare has forgotten about the patient. We spend a lot of time working on protocols, evidence based medicine, technology, efficiency, rules, regulations, “safety”, etc. Somewhere along the trail we left the patient behind.

– Healthcare and education are over regulated. The rules and regulations are suffocating everyone in these professions. Who suffers the most? The patients and the students. We’ll all pay for it latter on.

– “Business” is killing innovation. In my opinion “businesses” rely on the sheep effect instead innovating. And we all know what happens to sheep. I’ll give you a hint, it ain’t pretty. So is innovation dead? Not yet, but the days of truly innovative thought may well be over. I think we’re in for incremental changes from here on out.

– Form has overtaken function. Too bad because function is where it’s at.

– The average person is uh, uh, hmm. I’ve met many people in my 41 years and very few look beyond their shadow. “The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.” –Gifford Pinchot. We’re in trouble.

– Trying to find an Arizona Cardinals game to attend this year. Here’s the schedule. The Steelers game looks promising. Seahawks game would be nice – New Years Day.

– Google+ is great, but I find myself going back to Twitter time and time again. Why? Because it’s so easy to post things on Twitter.

– Never got into Facebook. Friends and Family, but nothing “professional”. Don’t care for the games either.

– By the way, photo sharing apps for smartphones are the worst idea ever. I’ve seen about all the photos of food, beer bottles, cats, dogs, mountains, oceans, beaches, etc that I can handle. People should be required to take a class before they’re allowed to use them.

– Saw Conan the Barbarian (2011). Not as good as the original (1982) with Schwarzenegger, but still worth seeing.

– It’s been a dry movie Summer for the Fahrni crew. I’m going to have to double my efforts if I have any chance of seeing 50 movies in the theater this year. Things could definitely be worse.

– Most of the presidents in my time have at least given me a sense of leadership, control. I don’t get that with President Obama. From him I get the feeling he’s pulled off one of the biggest practical jokes in the history of the United States. Funny.

– Just ate my bodyweight in cheesecake. Time for a nap.

Free registration available for Pediatric Safety Summit September 28, 2011

infant-cuteIn just over a month the first ever Pediatric Medication Safety Summit will be held in Bellevue, Washington. As the name implies, the one day event will focus on pediatric safety in healthcare. The lineup includes some big names like Michelle Mandrack, Director of Consulting Services at ISMP and Mark Neuenschwander, President of The Neuenschwander Company, co-founder of the unSUMMIT and barcoding evangelist. Pharmacy CE is available.

Early Registration for the event is $150 if done by August 30; $200 after that and $300 at-the-door. However, if you contact Casey Cram, Director of Marketing at Talyst by Friday, August 25 she will waive the registration fee. Her contact information is below. Just tell her Jerry sent you.

I will be in attendance. Hope to see you there.

More information can be found at the Pediatric Safety Summit website.

Contact information for free registration:
Casey Cram, MA Director of Marketing
425.289.5726  Direct
1.877.4.Talyst  Toll Free