Thursday, March 30, 2006
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a few articles in regards to software and offering a few ideas that I have garnered over the past few months in regards to stability. Not all of this will be about medicine, although that is my primary objective. Some of the recommendations may surprise you and I am going to make a listing of what I believe are Must-Have programs that work well on the Lifedrive. These include my favorites epocrates and mobi office.
Coinciding with this, I will try to publish some of the long-awaited database apps that I have been promising for the past few weeks. Using two free websites, I will try to post these in conjunction with my upcoming articles.
So, look out for titles begining with LIFEDRIVE. I hope that these will be both informative and helpful. And if you have any Medical databases that you would like to donate to the cause, please let me know.
Thanks as always for your support.
ABC 7 Chicago today posted a wonderful article and video titled, Lifesaving Devices. The main feature is another modified Handspring device used to monitor a man with congestive heart failure. The device, not unlike the one featured in one of my previous posts a few weeks ago, monitors the extracellular fluid levels (This would be something to ponder, how does it do this)? and automatically displays the correct amount of diuretic the patient should take.
The article and video go on to discuss how the PDA is making life a little easier for Physicians to obtain information. The video shows a Physician looking up information on a PDA (Medcalc) and giving BMI measurements, presumably to go over risk factors etc. Very nicely done. Nice article.
I think there is room for the Lifedrive (SKU: 1044NA ) somewhere in there :).
The video can be seen here:
To view the article, press on the title of the story above, or you can go to this link:
ABC 7 Chicago
Sunday, March 26, 2006
It looks a little metallic, but I am encouraged by the fact that it will sport 128mb of onboard memory. With the advent of the 1,2 and 4 g SD cards, this is looking very attractive.
Now if they could just get a GSM version, life would be good.
Obviously, this is not a good sign. With the exception of speed, which must accompany any change incorporating a Linux based platform, Palm appears to be hell bent on staying with Garnett. Now let's face it, Garnett has poor multitasking power, crashes at the sight of integration with a web browser; hangs during some bluetooth connections and is power unconscious when using 802.11 b.
Additionally, Garnett is not capable of really dealing with NVFS (Nonvolatile file system) or Fat-32 systems very well. Plug Garnett into a Lifedrive and you get the weakpoint for the operating system magnified to 4 gigs. The 4 gigabyte of storage is held nearly useless when the memory is addressed by most software programs. You access the drive's data from within a program at your own risk. Storing files, ie. movies, documents etc is fine, but accessing them is not without playing Russian Roulette. You have to transfer the files to the internal memory, but can get away sometimes with transferring them to an SD card (ultra preferred) without crashing. It is not a hardware glitch, it's GARNETT! The present operating system is not used to having files change their position on a drive - in this case. It is used to an orderly distribution of files that it can read and expect to read with the memory locations staying static. This is the real problem with the Lifedrive and now the Tungsten X and the model preceding it. This was so problematic that the Documents-to-go program that came preinstalled on the Lifedrive had nothing but trouble attempting to access and save files. A solution taken from the Tungsten X had to be employed. However, this was not brought to the forefront by Palm.
These file issues can be best addressed by using a Linux platform. Apple has shown that moving to a Linux platform (OS X) was unbelievable for the desktop and since Palm appears to be moving in the same direction, I would think that this will hold true for the Palm. When one considers that Linux is an underlying operating system, the possibility of running PALM OS on top of Linux would appear to be a simpler task than reinventing the operating system from scratch. It would offer better compatibility and lead us into the next generation of products.
Without Multitasking, I find it difficult to understand how Palm plans to excel in the handheld phone arena without an operating system that can multitask. The main task of course for the Treo line would be to stay on-line and look up addresses, documents etc and possibly get on the phone. Picture this scenario:
The busy business person receives a call while in the car with their bluetooth enabled Treo. A document is needed in the office immediately for a presentation. The individual stays on the line, finds the document in Documents-to-go or my favorite Mobi Office and accesses either EVDO, GSM or other fast network access (while remaining on the phone via bluetooth) to send the 240k document. The document is received and the individual closes all connections.
This scenario requires a number of things:
1. A fast processor. Intel has been solving that problem. The Lifedrive is a good example.
2. Good battery life. ie. Low power consumption.
3. GOOD MULTITASKING ABILITY.
5. An operating system compatible with 1-4.
We currently do not have this. Garnett will be slow and cumbersome if we were able to do the above at all. This is why Palm needs to move along and stop living in the past. I wholeheartedly agree with Ed on this point. The new "Q" from Motorola is about to change everything. It will be running Windows Mobile and the reviews are already quite strong from those who have used it. Palm can ill afford to sit around believing that Garnett will save it! I believe that Palm has gotten a little lucky on the Treo front. They have a device created by Handspring and have perfected it to the point that mainstream America has caught on. More importantly, business has caught on and are switching from RIM to use it. I believe that there may be some reluctance by Palm to rock the boat. Here they have a device that everyone has come to know and love. Unlike the consumer market where many would not mind the change, the business world prefers stability. However, stability at the expense of innovation, speed and convenience may not be in Palm's best interest.
As a Professional who depends upon Palm, I think that I may be one of those people to whom Palm is worried about rocking the boat. However, I must say that improvements need to be made and quickly, especially for those of us in the health profession. I have chosen to accept the Lifedrive as a stage 1 development, but if the same issues occur in Lifedrive 2, I will not be so polite. I would venture elsewhere, despite my reluctance to do so.
Palm has shown that they are capable of innovating. The original Palm Tungsten T was a dramatic machine. I have tears in my eyes thinking about the very first time I set my eyes on this machine. It was slick, small and powerful. This type of innovation can be done, but Palm needs to accept the challenge and stay ahead of the competition. I love this company and I want to see it succeed.
Emotionally and Unabashed,
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
On to a few newsworthy events:
1. Palm has dropped the price of the PALM LIFEDRIVE to 399.00. It's the second drop in 4 months and many believe that this may represent the advent of a new line of products. However, there are a few who believe that the LIFEDRIVE may be phased out with a new product line being introduced into the Mobile Manager arena or just abandoned. I don't have any insight into this and I am a little worried that there have been no leaks or patent information circulating anywhere.
I am hopeful that we may see a new Lifedrive with all of the kinks of my present product worked out.
2. My contacts are telling me that ALPS may be only available for the TREO line of PALM products with some other form of OS for the other handhelds. However my source was unable to reveal whether the full run of products will be TREO and nothing but TREO. We remain confident that Palm will continue to support the Non-Treo line of products since not everyone is particularly interested in using the phone. But we are afraid that with the advent of the OQO coming out soon, probably on Cingular and the RIMM fiasco which provided a successful shift in thinking to PALM the pendulum may shift to TREO.
3. Palm's stock split !!!! I was totally stunned by the announcement a few weeks ago and can only think that this company has something up its sleeve. I know of few companies that trade under $50 announcing a stock split without having a lot of confidence that their future product line will be successful. So I have to acknowledge that PALM must know something that others don't.
4. What happened to our February Prediction? We dumped our hypester! The news that we received was totally bad. Perhaps there is a new Lifedrive coming out, but it certainly was not in February or even mid March. In the end, we just don't know and apologize for the earlier prediction. However the signals being sent out by PALM in regards to products ie. See our earlier blog post for detecting a turn around in the product line are still in effect as we see a drop in the price of the LIFEDRIVE.
We'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Call it a simple solution, Googlepages lacks all of the sophistication of say Geocities (Which isn't saying much), but it is fast and accurate. The pages show up as WYSIWYG. It still needs a little fine tuning because of its simplicity, but we should be ready to roll once we can figure out how to get a file download counter in place.
If anyone has any suggestions, we are all ears. By the way, LIFEDRIVEDOC will no longer be one person's little puppy to walk around the block. There will be help from others and all are intent on making this one of the best experiences on the web (okay, at least we have hopes and dreams)...
You can get a peak at the beta site (sorry, we can't give away all the goods for now) by looking at the cover site. LIFEDRIVEDOC.GOOGLEPAGES.COM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
A few drug companies have taken this opportunity to realize greater profits by rescinding some of their previous prescription help programs. For example, one company had a 30 day supply of a drug that usually costs $120/month (for cash paying customers) reduced to $15 per month for patients who did not have insurance and limited income. Once the Medicare program showed up, the company scratched the $15 program. A careful read into the reason showed that among the companies offering Medicare Part D, all but one had a higher copay than the $15 for the drug. The one exception had a higher monthly premium that had to be paid. Who wins? Well, not the patient and certainly not the Doctor.
I find myself spending more time going over these documents, so much so that by the time I finally understood the program, I could not explain it to septuagenarians or octagenarians in a reasonable amount of time without falling further behind. We have had to have people explain, sometimes at 15-30 minutes per visit what the plan is and how they can use it.
Epocrates, the comany that makes the self-named program used by myself and many other physicians and pharmacists took a survey to find out the opinions of those at the forefront of this radical change in our healthcare program.
The results, although not surprising to me show that there is considerable confusion among health care providers in recomending coverage for senior citizens:
94% of physicians still find the program confusing — most confusing areas are coverage gap and specific drug coverage
87% of pharmacists find the program confusing — most confusing area is dual eligible population
99% say that patients are confused, particularly about which plan is best for them
70% of physicians and 96% of pharmacists are spending at least 20% more time on administrative tasks
However, the situation is improving ...
57% believe that Medicare Part D will result in improved care
67% report that using Epocrates Part D formularies is helping them save 11 or more minutes per day
One small criticism of the data presented however. There is no N value listed. I would like to know how many people took part in the survey. Perhaps this could be printed at a later date.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Unicom M Bridge Device.
According to Gizmodo, "The 3” x 5” x 0.75”, 6.5-ounce handheld device will wirelessly connect to the Internet, letting you download MP3s, exchange pictures, and access chat and e-mail without using a PC. You’re even able to crop and tweak pictures after you receive them from your digital camera and before you upload them to an online service. The MBridge will have two USB 2.0 ports, connect at 11Mbps using 802.11b and will be available in gray, red or black. No price was announced yet."
Microsoft Origami Project
Microsoft's top secret device to take on the Ipod and perhaps a host of other machines. Not much is known about the device, but it certainly looks interesting. I had a copy of the "unreleased" commercial floating around, which certainly looks very authentic. However I cannot share what the memory, cpu or other information will be on the device. It certainly looks interesting,
although a little on the large side.
Irex Iliad e-Reader.
This is a very pretty device with a very natural easy reading screen. Specs are an 8.1 inch screen with 1024x768 (160dpi), 400mhz Xscale processor (fast), 64MB ram and 224mb Rom. There is also what appears to be a nice interface match up, giving you several different ways to communicate -- CF, 802.11G WIFI, 10/100 Ethernet, SD/MMC and USB). This is a thing of beauty, although I am uncertain what the battery life will be and whether the size of the device would preclude me from making this a useful device on a daily basis. Certainly reading articles from an electronic device is a lot more interesting than the paper journals.
I think that we are in for a very innovative summer. I am very excited about these new products. Naturally, the handheld king, Palm will have to come up with something extraordinary to compete with these, but I think that they are more than capable of pulling another PALM TUNGSTEN innovation out of the hat and out of the blue. By the way, am I the only one noticing that the Unicom device looks a lot like a Lifedrive?
A Link to the website is listed below or as usual just click the title of the story: