( 1. On call )
( 2. Valentine's Day dinner. )
( 3. Books. )
( 4. Battle of the hair. )
( 5. Contracting out. )
( 6. Is real or is it a film? )
( 7. Big brother is watching. )
( 8. I'm here for the veterans. )
( 9. Better to curse the darkness? )
( 10. Renovations. )
( 11. Nostalgia already. )
That's all the news from warriorsavant, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average.
Have just restarted the download; at least it seems to be restarting just from where it kicked out before, but I really have better things to do with my time than nursemaid this nonsense.
Yeah, no longer have a record of what camera I took it with, but who cares. More importantly, do NOT have a record of where it was taken, who emailed it to me, and other things that are no one else's business. In addition, stripping out the metadata cuts the file size 5-20%.
Have been trying to set up a new Windows-based machine. We are creating a database for our Cutaneous Lymphoma patients, and got a dedicated computer for that. The first annoyance is that they try to force you to work through Sky Drive, their Cloud. Everyone thinks that by getting you to put everything on their Cloud, they will make more money. Possibly, but possibly not. Regardless, considering recent hacking attacks, I feel data is more secure not on someone else's Cloud that has a big "please hack me" sign on it in cyberspace. Once past that, I'm trying to understand their new interface. The one thing of the Classical Windows interface initially drew the most contempt was the one item that turned out to make the most sense: the Start button.
Seemed silly and a bit cutesy initially, but if you were accidentally using your computer for serious work, it made everything easier: just click there, and everything popped up in a logical place: all your applications, all your data, all your internet bookmarks, the control panel, etc. After that, you sometimes got reduced to "...just right click here, then..." but for most things, everything was right there.
So this simple, most effect, easiest part of their interface, was one of the things they've done away with. Now there's a "start screen," with "tiles," and a taskbar that may or may not be findable. Oh yes, and apparently they've added "charms," which, no doubt, is useful in case in the middle of doing serious work, I decide to take time out to play Dungeons and Dragons. I'll figure it out eventually, but it reinforces my belief in never allowing technically-adept people to design an interface, they just get carried away with their own cleverness, and make it needlessly stupid.
A VPN is a ‘Virtual Private Network,’ which means that, from home, I can log onto the McGill system, and it treats me as if I’m actually at McGill. It’s a huge perk of being faculty. The great benefit is that I can access the library, and from there access on-line subscriptions to major journals (especially medical) everywhere. In ‘ye olde days,’ if I wanted to read an article in a medical journal I’d have to hie myself to the McGill Medical Library, search through the stacks, and read it there. (Have some stories about how that can be enjoyable.) Now I can just tap in from home and read on my own computer. Sometimes modern tech is indeed wonderful. Except thanks to Apple’s upgrade, the VPN disappeared off my computer. I spent half-hour on the phone w/ McGill IT Tech Support, who were quite helpful. I have reloaded the VPN, can click on the icon, it says it’s working, but it doesn’t. The tech said something about Mavericks having this problem from some computers but not others. Have managed a work-around of going directly to the website and logging in there, without the benefit of the VPN, but I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Silly me, I did it.
My computer slowed down drastically. My Internet connection slowed down even more. Entire folders of mail were lost.
I checked on line, and yup, lots of people reporting these problems (but you have to know to check for the specific problem, which you won't know to do until you have the problem). The “expert reviewers” didn’t/couldn’t have managed to notice these issues. Spent hours trying to correct it myself. Finally went to the Apple Store Genius Bar and they spent over an hour determining that somehow the operating system upgrade flim-flam-wibbledy-wham and they would have to reload it from their pristine and blameless copy, then reload all my documents etc from my backup. They reloaded the operating system, then I went home and finished reloading stuff from my backup. All except the lost emails which I can at least see, but somehow not transfer to MacMail. Then I reloaded programs from disk and on-line (well, still doing that a day later). Then downloaded all the updates from the programs. Then tried to reset everything to the way I had it and liked it. So all is working now. Well mostly kinda sorta. Except certain things can't be reloaded from the backup, because it's not the right yaddita yaddita blah blah blah, and you can only do that if you work through the Apple True Special and Unique Way of yak yak yak. After hours of wasted time, I have managed to get most things working almost as well as it did before I started this foolishness.
1. Always make backups. Fortunately, I’m good at that. Between my Army training and a few bitter lessons about computers, I have backups and backups to my backups. (And sometimes make backups to those.)
2. Never “upgrade” anything until you have to. The system is working, everything is working together, changing one thing is like deciding you want larger wheels on your car. All fine and well, then you realize that they don’t fit into the wheel wells, so you have to change the fenders, then you realize the suspension has to be retuned, and then… If it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it.
She's on a padded surface on top of my desk while I'm working. The ultimate in multi-tasking.
More philosophical posts soon.
*Yeah, I'm all sappy. What of it?
“Everyone” knows that if you want to be more efficient and save money, you computerized. Yeah, right. Very few (if any) studies have been done looking at the full costs in time and money of adding in a computer system. The equipment (hardware and software) has to be purchased. People have to be trained at great expense (not to mention time away from their jobs). Info has to be entered into the system, which is slower than pencil and paper. Everytime there’s an “upgrade” (few of which actually do anything useful), the costs for equipment and training and time lost recur. Add in IT support and maintanence contracts. (Remember, it’s IT who told you to get this system in the first place. They have created an eternal job for themselves, since nothing works as planned and no one can use the mess without help.) Finally, remember that maintenance and support contracts are to any industrial system (electronic or mechanical) what outfits are to Barbie Dolls - the nickel-and-dime long-term/recurring expenses that in the end cost way more than the initial acquisition.
In order of appearance:
- Formal teaching session. "Book Club" which means the Residents go through the textbook systematically throughout the year, and we have a session on each chapter or group of chapters. I try to make them more as seminars and stimulate discussion. Often more ends up as my quizzing them, but manage to get some discussion going.
- Clinic. Lot's of weird cases. See below.
- Secretary & other administrative for Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic. As clinic only meets once/month, we only need a secretary very part time, but we seem to have found someone good, and have/am ironing out the details of how/when/where/what. Should all be easy, but this is a secondary/tertiary job for all of us involved in this clinic, so it's going slowly. However, we are gradually building up resources and expertise.
- Rheumatology. Met with one of the Rheumatology staff about a patient I'm writing up with one of my Residents. Interesting exchange of ideas.
- Less interesting meetings.
- Massage (not part of meetings or academia, but great part of the day).
The clinic. Had a number of unusual cases. Normally happy if there is one unusal case to stimulate discussion and thinking. We had 6. I fully realize these are live human beings with medical problems who need compassion and care, and I do that. However, I need intellectual stimulation (yeah, I'm a big nerd). Would you really want your doctor to be a drone?
- Sweet's Syndrome in response to a medication, but only in a photo-exposed area.
- Possible B-Cell Lymphoma (if so, will route to the Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic).
- Possibly Sweet's or possibly Lymphoma or possibly GOK (God Only Knows). Hey, if I knew the answers to everything right up front, where would the challenge be.
- Discoid Lupus (or rather discoid lesions in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but might be Lichen Planus or Lichen Planus-Lupus overlap.
- Ashy Dermatosis (of Ramirez) in a patient immigrated from S. America.
- Carotenoderma. Yes, if you eat too many carrots, your skin turns orangy. Really.
2. Just put away my old laptop, probably for the last time. I bought it for my deployment in 2002-3. Mostly used it just when deployed. Since I got the Mac, have been using it only for some left-over Army stuff. It has a card-reader and certain programs that won't run on a Mac. My old ID card finally expired, so can't even use it for that. In a certain way, that too was saying goodbye to and old friend. No, more than that, it was again saying goodbye to my Army career.
As we all know, size matters. Calm down gents, this is a technology post. We like to improve on stuff. Doesn’t matter if it is hardware, software, vehicles, laws, whatever; we have to keep tinkering with it. This mostly takes the form of someone foolishly listening to the Good Idea Fairy who says: “Hey, wouldn’t this be even better if we added xxxx.” Each “advancement” is good, but the item gets more and more complicated to the point where it’s either way too expensive or way too complicated to use. At that point someone develops a simpler or less expensive version to fill the now-vacant niche of “simple and easy to use.”
The first portable computers were really more “luggable” than “portable.” They were about the size of a portable sewing machine (everyone except purpura now go and ask an adult what a "sewing machine" is). Eventually they got small enough to actually fit on your lap, and became known as – brilliant bit of terminology here – laptop computers. Actually, the early hard drives were kinda tetchy, so it really wasn’t a good idea to hold them on your lap, but it was possible. With time they got better and better, but also bigger and bigger. I saw one at an airport some months ago that was really back to the “luggable” category. Not sure whose lap it allegedly fit on, but not that of any one person I know. Maybe it was a new category I was not aware of, the “togetherness laptop,” snuggle up to the one you love with a single computer across both laps. To fill the niche now left by laptops having gotten so big, they invented netbooks and tablet computers. I have a laptop (on which I am writing this), but it mostly functions as my desktop computer. Earlier today I took it into the living room so I could look up random stuff and check email while studying (see recent post about random look-ups). The studying was from a thing called a book – some of you will have to ask an adult about that too. Realized my so-called laptop did not conveniently fit on my lap, or even on the couch next to me, so put it back on my desk and used my tablet for the random look-ups.
"What does 'escheat' mean?"
"What is the contrapositive again?"
"Where in Senegal is Thies?"
Also, have a case for my iPad, with a keyboard, so really don't need my laptop on the road (almost not sure why I bought one, although am typing on it right now, Gentle Reader). It's convenient, but loses some of the slim, light, cool look.
That having been said, some have what are essentially cheat modes. You can do more things, or do them better or faster, if you use additional real-world money to buy in-game money (gold, points, whatever). I've staunchly resisted that. Up 'till last night. I'm rather hooked on Gardens of Time. For the low price of $5 real-world money, I bought enough fake/game gold bars to finish building something much, much faster (like "instantly" versus "possibly never"). I have sinned. I am unclean. I fell for it. *Sigh* At least I got double entertainment value: (a) getting something really cool in the game, and (b) watching Evil Secretary spit out her coffee laughing when I told her. It's okay. I'll never do that again. It was just that one time. Really. (Excuse me, have to go commit penance now.)
Happy New Year to all. May 2012 be better than last year.