Intersection of Healing and Technology

So much has been written in the short time since Steve Job’s death, that I will refrain from expressing my personal grief at his passing. I just finished his biography by Walter Isaacson. I read between cases and into the night. The most recent memory I have of Steve (he is now all of ours to refer to personally) is watching his introduction of the iPad2, which I watched on-line this past spring. The final image was what stuck with me –the intersection of the liberal arts and technology. That is why Apple products are so wonderful –they liberate the individual to perform insanely great things with computers that were frankly difficult or impossible before. It has also inspired me to think about health care’s relationship to technology.

Modern health care is about delivering technology. I can now repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm with stent grafts delivered via two small incisions smaller than the width of my pinky where traditionally, I had to make a long incision on the belly. These patients go home the next day. Small computers embedded in pacemakers can sense arrhythmias, correct them, and send reports to physicians by internet. Drugs can be tailored to the genetic makeup of tumors. You can have your genome scanned for disease risk.

But in the practice, on the back end, health care is very analog, very dependent on paper and pen, dictation, and text. The best medical notes read like compelling tone poems but can only be composed by direct speech or penmanship. The notes generated with the assistance of computers end up formatted for other computers and insurance companies. I generally skip to the human generated summary section and plan of care, yet even here, most EMRs (electronic medical records) try to parse meaning by stuffing what is analog into digital cubbies. Electronic medical records are ripe for reimagining.

When I want to know the temperature in Orlando, where my father lives, I can ask my smartphone, “What is the weather in Orlando, Florida?” and the temperature pops up along with weather forecast for today, this week, and so on. My email, my contacts, my friends are instantly available. When it comes to my patients, it is an entirely different story.

The problem is that hospital information services serve many needs and therefore devolve into the least common denominator in order to be used in an infinite variety of scenarios. Often, during the course of decades, legacy systems and databases serving different aspects of patient care create an alphabet soup of programs, each with their own security needs and access methods.

For example, in most hospitals, to look up blood tests, you have to log into the computer, then log into several layers of programs then look up the patient, select the correct admission, then select the laboratories -all the while remembering multiple long and complex passwords which you are not allowed to write down. You repeat the process to look up x-ray images, and chart notes from other physicians if they happened to have been scanned in. I can find out the location of every Starbucks in Manhattan and have them mapped out, but checking patient information is a trip back to 1985 in terms of technology. On top of all of this, hospital computer programs are simply ugly. Steve would not approve.

Steve’s philosophy of vertical integration -of creating the software, hardware, store, and services, created simplicity for the end user. It made the technology work magic by being carefully thought out from top to bottom. Simple takes a great deal of effort, but the returns are clear. What a great day it would be if I could just ask my smartphone, “What is Mrs. Smith’s potassium over the past week?” and get an answer.

The answer, of course, is to begin the work needed to get to that point. And that is the great lesson in Steve Job’s life -not fortune, nor influence, but that beautiful simplicity takes a great deal of focus and effort. Thank you Steve for showing us how.

Golfplan -in app upgrade available tomorrow

20110420-144803.jpgPress release for Golfplan -will have indoor golf drills to hone your game from the inimitable and formidable Mr. Paul Azinger.

SHOTZOOM AND GOLF PRO PAUL AZINGER HELP GOLFERS ACE THEIR GAME

Golfplan with Paul Azinger in-app purchase includes 28 new indoor instructional videos to help amateurs practice their game at home or in the office; Integrates with Golfshot, the world’s largest and most active online golf community

Phoenix, Ariz. – April 21, 2011 – Shotzoom® (www.shotzoom.com), the leader in active lifestyle mobile applications, and Paul Azinger, PGA Pro and victorious Ryder Cup Captain, today announced an in-app purchase to Golfplan with Paul Azinger, the best-selling golf instructional app in the world. Available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, the updated app now includes 28 new instructional videos by Azinger to help amateur golfers practice at home or in the office. G

olfplan integrates with the world’s largest active golf community, Golfshot.com, where members share, compare and chart their golf game statistics, generate customized training plans and receive detailed insight into their performance over time.

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“I’ve spent thirty years touring and most golfers don’t have a good caddie, statistical charting and expert coaching,” said Azinger. “Golfplan, along with stats kept from Golfshot GPS, offers personalized tips, coaching and drills golfers need to take their game to the next level. And with this update, not getting to the course isn’t an excuse to not practice – rain or shine, anyone can practice with a purpose from their home or office with this app.”

Amongst the 28 new tutorial videos, Azinger demonstrates proper swing path, ways to create lag and proper weight transfer drills. Based on the user’s handicap and Golfshot statistics, Golfplan provides personalized instruction plans to help every golfer improve their game – from shaving strokes off their short game to adding a few extra yards to their tee shot.

“Our apps provide instruction as well as performance statistics that let members track their progress over time and compare results with others,” said Craig Prichard, president of Shotzoom. “The integration with our Golfshot community brings members into a network of highly engaged users with similar interests.”

Features of Golfplan with Paul Azinger include:

– Instructional videos for categories including driving, greens in regulation, short game, bunkers and putting
– Statistics that identify strengths and weaknesses
– Ability to see and track progress over time
– Sharing and feedback tools tied to community members
– Exclusive instruction from Paul Azinger

Golfplan with Paul Azinger integrates with Shotzoom’s Golfshot community, the world’s largest active golf community with more than a half-million active members. Through Golfshot’s suite of products, members have the ability to score and store rounds, gain insight into their game performance, track improvement, share their statistics and compare with community members. Members have played over 50 million holes of golf on 37,000 courses in 152 countries in the 19 months since Golfshot: Golf GPS launched.

Golfplan with Paul Azinger is available for $0.99 in the App Store (www.itunes.com/appstore) for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The in-app purchase that includes tips and drills for the home and office is available for $1.99.

About Shotzoom
Shotzoom, LLC creates market leading mobile experiences that empower active lifestyles and enhance the fun of sports and fitness. Its mobile apps integrate with its online participation platform, where people with active lifestyles can track their performance over time, share with friends and interact with members who have similar interests. Shotzoom’s apps include the newly released Tiger Woods: My Swing, the best-selling and top grossing golf GPS app worldwide, Golfshot: Golf GPS, the best-selling golf instructional app worldwide, Golfplan with Paul Azinger, and the most downloaded universal instructional baseball app, Baseball Gameplan with Jason Giambi.

Seeitgolf- a review

With the advent of Spring and the new golf season, I sat down to figure out the barriers to shooting in the 70’s. All the tools are there: swing, equipment, course, and golf stretching back to my early teens. The biggest impediment, I decided, was my short game and putting. The stats (from Golfshot GPS) don’t lie.

Hearing the ball drop into the cup brings on a Pavlovian reaction...

I came across Seeitgolf while downloading the Masters app. It seemed silly at first, watching what amounts to golf porn, with money shot after money shot, but if you put yourself into the correct frame of mind, the imagery and sound of success becomes ingrained.

My first foray after immersing myself in Seeitgolf was typical with usual mix of two and three putts but subsequently on the back nine, I went one under over the last six holes after double and triple bogey to start. I drained 35 footer with seven feet of break uphill for birdie and followed up with an assortment of crazy one and two putts. It seemed natural and I lost the dread of landing my approach off the green -chip on and drain that ten footer.

The app is not entirely intuitive as it seems to have been composed on Flash or some other machination designed to ease app composition. It behaves more like a web site at times.

That said, drilling your mind, which the app says cannot tell between the imagined and the real, has it’s benefits. I strongly recommend this app for people who understand the mental dimensions of the game and can sit through about a half hour of meditative focus.

Putting (in orange) has improved since downloading Seeitgolf App

The statistics from Golfshot app shows my putting performance to have improved into the above average zone (orange line above) since getting Seeitgolf around the time of the Masters. It really works. If they could only add the ability to turn the ball dropping in the hole sound to an alert sound for the iPhone…

Contest for Tiger Woods Memorabilia

disclaimer -I am in no way affiliated with Shotzoom, maker of Golfshot GPS or Golfplan, or their most recent app, Tiger Woods: My Swing. I pay for all of the products I review myself, and am planning to try out this app for a later review along with comparable apps on the store. That said, I thought it would be worthwhile to mention this contest for Tiger Woods memorabilia I received from Shotzoom’s PR folks:

In honor of the start of the Masters tomorrow and to commemorate its partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation, Shotzoom is giving away one-of-a-kind Tiger Woods memorabilia. From now through April 12, Shotzoom, the leader in active lifestyle mobile applications including Tiger Woods: My Swing, is offering Golfshot community members the chance to win one of six prizes:

· Grand Prize: One winner will receive a 1997 Masters Flag signed by Tiger Woods

· Second Place: Three winners will receive game-worn golf gloves signed by Tiger Woods

· Third Place: Two winners will receive a game-worn golf hat signed by Tiger Woods

To enter, just register at http://golfshot.com/contests/tiger-woods/.
You increase your chances of winning by telling your friends about the new Tiger Woods: My Swing app for the iPhone.

Tiger Woods: My Swing, the first instructional app from Woods, lets golfers capture videos of their swing so they can analyze it, compare it with Woods and their friends, and see their swing improve over time. Woods serves as a virtual coach, teaching golfers how to use swing line analysis and providing tips on specific areas of improvement. Like all of Shotzoom’s golf apps, MySwing integrates with the Golfshot community, the world’s largest active golf community with more than half a million active members. The app is available on iTunes for $9.99, and proceeds from the app benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

update: iPad’s cost/benefit bar set high by Hackintosh netbooks

Addendum: 3/30/2011 -as I await the arrival of my iPad 2, I can now look back at this post and chuckle. In the year since this post, netbooks have tanked as over 15million iPads were sold. While hackintoshing is fun for a while, the stress of upgrading the OS is not, and I sold the netbook, sans OSX. The Macbook Air covers the gaps left by iPad, and in fact, it is fairly rare for me to need a laptop when I have internet access via my iPhone or iPad. The iPad2 will be the 3G version on AT&T -I chose it because I want the flexibility of buying a local provider’s SIM card when I’m abroad. The thing is this -I don’t think that Apple will want to launch iPhone 5 this year, even though most contracts for iPhone cycle around the summer. It’s like giving gifts to a girlfriend -the timing has to be right and given too frequently, you beg for contempt.

If you want to know what the iPhone5 will look like, I think you can see it in both the iPad2 and more importantly the iPod Touch 4G. iPhone5 will be similar to both with metal back and thinner. It will also feature a 4 to 4.5 inch screen. If it is to keep it’s battery life while getting skinny, it will have to get wider and taller. iPhone4 won’t be phased out but will become the cheap phone.

FROM LAST YEAR JANUARY -MARCH, 2010

The iPad launch yesterday was not up to the hype -you needed the device to have time travel capabilities for people to be satisfied. That said, the question for this first adopter among first adopters is, “Where does this fit in my man purse?”

I need portable internet access for many reasons -I write a lot and am working on several research projects as well as need to keep in touch with a vascular team -the iPhone (now disconnected from AT&T) still serves as my primary email device because the HTC TouchPro2 that I have from Verizon has a maddeningly inconsistent email app that jumps between HTC’s beautiful interface and the horrible, ugly Windows Mobile 6.5 bones underneath. Despite this, the TP2 has earned a semi-permanent place because of the $30 app called WalkingHotSpot which will turn the TP2 into a Wifi hotspot.

I have a maxed out dataplan and tethering plan through Verizon, so I am just using the data that I have already purchased, just not for a Windows laptop but also for my iPhone which I can now use again for my golf GPS apps.

The middle spot between a big laptop (my 15inch Macbook Pro) and the iphone is the need to have a bigger screen than my iphone especially for iTunes movies and content, but at the same time having a keyboard, with at least 5 hrs of battery life. The netbooks do fill this niche in terms of hardware very nicely, but the software just isn’t there. I have become very used to iLife and iWork -thinks look prettier and works nicer through these than anything in the Windows or Linux environment.

The solution came in the form of Hackintosh. The Dell Mini 10v is a netbook which seems to have been designed solely for Hackintoshing. Hackintosh is a non-Apple computer made to run Mac OS X. This technically is a breach of the software license, but I own the computer and I own the shrink wrapped software license for this Hackintosh.

With this, I have a portable internet solution that goes 5hrs on battery, and more with the additional battery, all for a total of $400 bucks for the hardware. If you choose to go this route, you should buy the OS license.

The instructions are here: link.

This works nicely for now, because Apple didn’t have something that effectively served my needs in this space. Now they have iPad. We won’t be able to get our hands on one for 59 days, 89 if you want the 3G/Wifi version. Maybe my netbook days are numbered.

I’ll tell you why. The trackpad, designed by Dell, is one of the worst pieces of industrial design ever created by humans. Dell, after I ordered the netbook, took my money but didn’t acknowledge I even ordered the netbook until I spent two hours on tech support. It was only through the graces of a very nice lady in India, that I eventually got a netbook 10 days later than promised. The next OS upgrade to 10.6.3 may break the netbook again, requiring another round of hacking, which I used to enjoy, but not so much anymore. The 10inch screen is adequate, but I know, compared to the OLED screen on iPad, it will be like night and day. I see that a lot of people are giving up their netbooks on eBay, and this is most likely because the hardware being, well, not Apple.

So I wait, with my proverbial tent pitched outside our local Apple store.

Golfshot- Golf GPS and Golfplan -a belated review

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Wakonda #2 from the tee

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The distance from the tee to mid green with about 20 feet of elevation -an 8 iron

Several years ago, after I got my first iPhone, among the first and most useful programs was View Ti Golf, which I reviewed a while back. It was after several overly confusing updates and broken functionality, that I stopped using View Ti, and moved to Golfshot GPS.

While I had meant to review Golfshot GPS, I was too busy actually using it to put a good review together -I did comment on it a couple of years ago, but it is the addition of analytics and instruction from Paul Azinger via Golfplan that make this sing.

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What they achieved is they’ve simplified the geekiest part of tracking statistics. The simplest method has always been keeping track of Fairways, GIR, Strokes from 150 yards, and Putts on a score card. Golfshot has made it even simpler by making the input of strokes, fairways, and putts, along with sand and penalty strokes mere flips of menu dials.

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You can use the program solely for getting distances on all the golf courses in the US (and supposedly the planet). This will cost you 29.99. There is a lite version for free which offers scoring and the analytics. To tell you the truth, the GPS is nice, but I try to set up my shots with sight and local knowledge -its the statistics which make it worth using this program.

All the data is stored in the cloud and so you can use this app on multiple devices even on a GPS-less ipod touch or Wifi-iPad. The program works very well on Android as well (though readers of this blog know my feelings about Android).

The scorecard shows the parts of the game that I have to concentrate on -GIR -meaning my mid irons to pitching wedge, and sand -avoiding them and getting out of them.

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The complementary half of this is Golfplan which is currently at a promotional price of 0.99. Mr. Azinger is a great communicator and passes along in 1 to 2 minute videos perfectly executable knowledge to the average golfer. I think the best results can be had for the advanced beginner to 10 handicapper and this appears to be the target audience.

The stats are analyzed and a customized lesson plan is created for drills and instructions. Given the cost of private golf lessons, this is beyond cheap at just under a buck.
The problem with golf instruction is that most golfers take a band aid approach to lessons -thinking one or two lessons to straighten out the ball is enough.

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That’s like going to the doctor once to start treatment for a serious condition and then treating it yourself. Finding a good professional isn’t hard -every golf course has a PGA professional dedicated to improving play. It’s committing to a series of lessons over years that is tough -in terms of time and cash.
Gofshot GPS and Golfplan both get 4.5 stars on the App store which is basically a perfect score. I agree and outside of signing on with a golf instructor for a year’s worth of weekly lessons, this is the best thing since sliced cheese. I will update everyone on my progress.

Sent from my iPad

12 Gifts for the Surgeon to Get for Him/Herself.

  1. iPad. I can’t say enough about this device. It’s changed the way I approach technology. I use it every day to check email, to browse the web, and to write blog entries such as this. Using the Citrix app, I can access my practices EMR in large format glory. I can remotely attend meetings and watch the slides on the GoToMeeting app. I snuggle in the easy chair with my son and watch movies on rainy weekend days off via my Netflix app, and he uses it to play a bazillion games -none of which cost more then ten dollars., most for a buck which is a substantial savings over Nintendo DS games. I can keep up with my favorite tv show, The Walking Dead, downloaded weekly directly to the iPad. I can watch every Yankees game this season on my MLB app, live and in high definition. What really makes this device rock is Keynote –I use it to create a presentation of preop imaging studies, particularly the stunning 3D reconstruction of CTA imaging, and add intraop photography to it using the iPad Camera Connection Kit. The whole process takes a few minutes, but makes a patient family discussion incredibly effective. I feel that we are only scratching the surface of this category of device. I purchased a 64GB iPad with wifi only because of the next reason. (www.apple.com)
  2. Mobile Wifi. This comes in many different forms and is offered by most carriers. It can be purchased as USB stick for a computer –I don’t recommend this as it is the most limiting form of mobile Wifi. The mobile Wifi hotspot can be purchased as a small cigarette boxed sized item (in how many years will that description become obsolete?), and allows for up to 5 devices to be on the network. While this is nice, it requires a separate contract, and doesn’t make sense if you already have a data plan for a smartphone. Most Android phones allow Wifi tethering and this is the most compelling reason to get an Android phone despite its inferiority to the iPhone in most other ways. I have a Droid 2 on Verizon, and despite its failings as a smartphone, it is a wonderful Wifi hotspot, allowing me to use my Macbook Air, iPad, and iPod Touch 4g. I’ve even used Skype on my iPod Touch 4g to make international calls which were clear as a bell and cost only pennies per minute. How nice is it? Going to our rural clinics, the 2 hour drive is made productive and bearable with Wifi in the car (with my assistant driving, of course).
  3. MacBook Air 11 inch. While I do most of the my work on my 2 year old Macbook Pro 15 inch, I was frustrated by the limited battery life in that laptop. It is only good for about 3 hours, and I had to carry an extra battery. Several days ago, I hurt my back carrying the laptop bag on my shoulder, and I decided to take the plunge. While the Macbook Air 13 inch does have the longer battery life, it is very close to having a 15 inch laptop which I already have. I wanted something substantially smaller. The best analogy would be someone with a 5 Series BMW wanting a sporty 2 seater for occasional use –that person would not get another 3 Series sedan. The MacBook Air does not fail to satisfy. I have owned two prior netbooks in an attempt to go ultraportable and while the battery life was excellent (using lumpy extended batteries), they were slow and the keyboards were miserable, but what really drove me away from netbooks were their trackpads. I had an Acer Aspire One and more recently a Dell Mini 10V which I hackintoshed. Even with OS X running on the Dell netbook –and it ran very well, the trackpads on both machines left me feeling wretched after short usage. The MacBook Air does not have this problem with a full-sized keyboard and a giant trackpad that takes multitouch commands. I am writing this article on the Air, and I have a shit-eating grin on my face right now. Why the Air, and not the iPad. I do have a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad –I found an old Palm bluetooth keyboard that works very well and is even more portable than the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. While text entry is okay at the desk, and even better with the iPad keyboard dock, both bluetooth keyboard and even keyboard dock fail to connect with the iPad. While I haven’t tried since the iOS 4.2.1 update, I found this to be bothersome trying to type on the iPad, and feel better for coming back to a laptop. That said, the 11 inch air is weighs about the same as the iPad. Apple, despite its addition of a limited subset of iWork apps for iPad, does not see it as a content creation device, and I agree. Ergonomically, the laptop still has its use. Most notably, iWeb and other web management applications run exclusively on the laptop for now. Also, despite my dislike of Microsoft Office on Windows, I am very pleased with Office for the Mac, and Word for Mac 2011 is the first piece of Microsoft software to leave me happy in a long time. (www.apple.com)
  4. iPod Touch 4th Generation –This is basically the iPhone 4G without the phone part. Because the telephone elements are gone, what is left is an insanely slim and light iPod Touch with a back and front facing camera and FaceTime capabilities. While I haven’t explicitly tried it yet, Facetime has incredible potential as a telemedicine platform. In a hospital with fast Wifi, it’s a no-brainer. The iPod Touch is my mini-iPad. Even better, the GV Mobile + app lets me dial out via my Google Voice number which is forwarded to my cell phone. One thing about the Droid 2, the latest and greatest from Motorola –it freezes or slows down tremendously when you look up contacts. My iPod Touch acts as a dialer for my phone and through Google Voice, all my voicemails get transcribed as emails. The Line2 app is even greater –it turns my iPod Touch into a VoIP (voice over internet) phone. It’s an important function because in the bowels of most hospitals and in my basement, cell reception is nonexistent but wifi is present, and because my answering service calls to my Google Voice number, it forwards to my Line2 number and I can get important calls in dead cell zones as long as there is wifi. And being a iPod Touch, you get access to all the wonderful games and media apps. Did I mention Retina display and the A4 processor? The display on the iPod Touch 4th Generation is a modern marvel. 4 point font is perfectly discernible and there are not jaggies or fuzzies in the text. Movies pop on this screen, and it is my front pocket computer and my in the bed computer –my wife is less bothered by my reading from the iPod Touch than from my iPad. My only complaint about the iPod Touch 4th Generation is battery life. Multitasking, particularly having the Line 2 app on to take incoming phone calls, kills the battery in about 8-10 hours –but remember, it was not meant to be a cell phone. (www.apple.com)
  5. USB recharging batteries –These are largish lithium ion batteries equipped with USB ports specifically for the recharging of gadgets that recharge via USB cables. There are many varieties and flavors, but I recommend the largest you can get for the price –you will never regret it. I found an Energizer branded cell that will recharge my iPad and still have half the power left. It is great not having to plug in at the airport. I can recharge with both battery and gadget in the carryon. One company even had a battery that would recharge the Macbook via repurposed charger cables, but Apple got a cease and desist and these batteries are no longer available. The reason why they should be large large capacity is because the charging adapters for them tend to be bulky and I leave mine home.
  6. Laptop Bag –These vary from bulky bags that go to the maximum limits of carry-on-ability to to slender sleeves. I own a range of very functional bags that allow for just enough capacity while not being bulky. The best of them is the Brenthaven backpack (link) which allows for bulletproof protection while having more than enough compartments for a laptop, a second laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, an iPod, headphones, memory cards, a smartphone, a backup battery, the cables and chargers, pen and paper. The most stylish bag (my wife calls it the man purse) is a Kenneth Cole laptop bag in black leather. While the Brenthaven bag says, “GEEK,” the Kenneth Cole bag reeks of style (link).
  7. Watch –Watches are indispensible tools for a physician. First and foremost, the date and time are required elements of a doctor’s note. A watch with a second hand is indispensible for checking heart rate. And a surgeon has to look presentable in scrubs, and the watch is one of the few personalizing items that I think a surgeons should choose with some thought. The problem with premium watches and surgeons is that the surgeon has to take them off while scrubbing for an operation. There must be at any given time some combination of Rolexes, Tag Heuers, and Omegas in hospital laundries across the country. I have become a big fan of the great looking, highly functional, cheap watch. The two best are the Timex T45951 Expedition series alarm watch which is a big chronograph with a handsome leather band –other colors are available, but the cream faced one with tan leather band is only 50-65 dollars and cheaper on sale at Amazon. It has the Indiglo feature, and a nice beeping alarm that wakes me without waking my wife. It is comfortable enough to wear to bed. The other watch is the Casio MDV102-1AV Sea Analog Illuminator Dual LED Dive Watch. This is a beautiful watch that could be mistaken for a Rolex Submariner or the James Bond Omega. Even better, the LED on it is so bright, I use it as a flashlight. Cost? Currently $42 on Amazon.
  8. Pens –The surgeon can never have enough pens. The problem with expensive pens is exactly the same as expensive watches –they are waiting to be lost in the hospital tucked into a chart or left in the laundry. The best pens leave a permanent record in the chart and has blue or black ink. They have to be roller ball if carbon paper duplicates are still used in the hospital. My favorite? A box of UniBall Onyx pens in fine point. I used to prefer Micro, but found the Micro points to be less durable. The ink flows smoothly and authoritatively from these pens which I don’t mind losing. The other pens are personalized pens to give away. The federal rules do not allow for drug companies to give away pens, but there is no such impediment to physicians giving away pens. There are many companies on the internet that will personalize bulks of very nice and usable pens.
  9. Moleskine notebooks –These handsome faux leather (no moles in moleskine)notebooks are the original PDA’s. I keep one handy for a case-log and another as a personal journal and writer’s notebook. I like the 3.5×5.5 inch sized journal because it is large enough to write comfortably in but not so much that it won’t fit in my pockets. I preferred lined pages, but unlined is nice for those who like to sketch. (http://www.moleskines.com/)
  10. CME on disk –The problem with CME conferences is that it’s hard to get the CME’s on short notice and air travel makes it fairly miserable to hike across country to get the 30-50 annual CME hours required by most state boards. There are many CME products available, but my favorite are SESAP for general surgery (link) and the UCLA update on Vascular Surgery (link). Both are available as print material and handy MP3 and video MP4 files, allowing you to take them on your iPod or in your car. And that is where your CME time is well used. I frankly enjoy the 30 minutes listening in the car.
  11. Chestnuts –I grew up with chestnuts. They were a wintertime treat. Roasted, they were a savory and sweet snack that went well with the frigid wintertime air. In New York, that great melting pot, chestnuts would be served roasted on the streets from carts by older Italian gentleman, but now you hardly ever see them. It’s hard to find a good batch of chestnuts because they don’t travel well, being prone to fungus because of the high sugar content. I came across a batch of locally grown chestnuts and pounced on them because they were fresh. That said, you can get a jar of shelled and cooked (by steaming) chestnuts from France at Williams-Sonoma. It’s seasonal and once you open the jar, you have to refrigerate them, but they are delicious plain or in a stuffing –anywhere sweet potato would go in a dish, the chestnut does better. (link)
  12. Legals Seafood Fish Chowder –There is no better chowder than fish chowder and arguably, Legals of Boston has, if not the best, at least the most convenient. You can go on their website (link) and order a gallon or a quart, and you’ll get it shipped chilled and ready to heat up and eat. If you can’t consume it all at once, you can split freeze it, or split the package into smaller portions and freeze. A bowl of fish chowder on a winter day after playing out in the snow is something special. You can try making it yourself, but you won’t get the correct combination of fish and flavor that was featured in the Bush (pre) inaugural.

Why I’m not upgrading to iLife ’11

I am in general very happy with my Apple products, using it to be productive while enjoying my life through creating and presenting media rather than just being a consumer of it. Apple’s products easily lets you do many things that are difficult with the non-Apple alternatives. That said, I am underwhelmed by the latest update to iLife, in particular because the most useful program, iWeb, has not been updated.

I use iWeb to administer my professional blog: http://docparkblog.com

I had been hoping for new HTML 5 tools, and maybe even a way of creating HTML 5 applications for both Mac and iOS. Maybe that’s what they’re cooking and will present it at some later point. But for now, I’m very upset that iWeb was not included in this update.

While I like iWeb -it does not allow for updating the blog off my mobile devices. I have to sit down on my Macbook Pro, which is now mostly a desktop being tethered to hard drives and a second monitor, to do any work when in fact, I would love to be able to update it on the fly like I do this blog or my Medscape blog.

I guess they want me to buy a Macbook Air to do all of this, but would very much like an iOS option. Meh!

RIM Tablet announcement the greatest Christmas present of all, for Apple

Research in Motion’s announcement of a seven inch screen tablet called Playbook caused a minor ruckus yesterday but it was a non-announcement that assures iPad dominance through the Christmas season. The tablet is touted as a dual core tablet that runs a multitasking Unix variant called QNx that is used in embedded systems like satellites and medical equipment. It will run Flash. It has a Wifi radio which may be tethered to a Blackberry or not. An App store? Of course.

The problem starts here: it won’t be available until the first quarter of 2011, missing Christmas. Also, no one was allowed to touch one of these devices. This makes it vaporware like every other would be iPad killer.

What it won’t have is battery life. It is about 30% smaller than an iPad and slightly thinner leaving less space for a battery. Add dual core processing and you hit the battery harder than a single core. Add a gig of RAM and multiprocessing which will be left up to the user and you get fifty, maybe one hundred different processes burning up processing time and the user will never know it unless they police it themselves. Add Flash and fuhgeddaboudit. You are looking at three maybe four hours of battery life tops with normal use.

It will also run hot. My Droid 2 which happily multitasks willy nilly used to get second degree burn hot before I figured out how to shut down Motoblur. With two processors and no fan, this may get hot enough to ignite the Lithium in the battery – a dangerous situation if you have it packed in the luggage between sweaters and it turns itself on.

It’s not easy to make an iPad. Apple had nearly four years of beta testing tablets with iPhone and iPod Touch. Adding features is done to preserve user experience which in a portable device is defined by screen, user interface, speed, and battery life. Expect Playbook to be a fail if they get anything less than a netbook’s battery life which on my Dell hackintosh runs 5 hours with the extended battery.