Lifedrivedoc.com began as a place to talk about the Lifedrive. It soon became apparent that it was much more than that. Since moving on from my Lifedrive, I am engaged in more avenues of technology. That technology has intersected with my professional life - Medicine as well as my social life.

As noted above, the blog is about a lot of things in relation to technology. If you are looking for Lifedrive related material, I am currently dividing the blog so that those searches will be easy for you to find. Most of them will be pre 2007, that should help. Additionally, if you are looking for the links that used to be on the left border. They will be back up in a different format soon. I do enjoy reading about new things to do with the Lifedrive, so you can feel free to let me know about those. I will also post those on the site.

If you are having trouble getting an RSS Feed, click on the feed link below or type this into your reader: http://feeds.feedburner.com/lifedrivedoccom


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Concerns Raised Over Wifi

An interesting discussion is emerging (finally) in regards to the safety of wifi. An article, published by Mobile Tech Today brings to light the safety issues surrounding those short wavelengths that seem to have us all in awe.

Headaches, fatigue and irritability were the main concerns. One person in the article went as far to say that one should not install new wireless lans in an office, if it does not already exist. Although there is some caveat in regards to distances from nodes.

My take on this is quite simple. I use wireless access, but only minimally. Mainly because of my fear of intracellular damage. However, I must preface this by stating that I used wireless access minimally. I now find myself using it a lot more due to the fact that it is convenient and so readily available. However, I prefer to use Bluetooth as opposed to 802.11(a-g). This is mainly for security reasons and due to the fact that bluetooth lan shuts off once it has stopped transmitting. It is only on when it is transmitting or receiving information.

But having access via my Palm is one thing. Here I am willingly using the machine. But being an unwilling recipient of radiowaves is quite a different matter. Placing repeaters and nodes all over an office is something completely different. Most of the staff, patients etc., didn't ask to be bombarded by our radio waves and actually are unwilling guinea pigs in our high tech race. San Francisco has been having a field day putting nodes in small places to blend in with the environment. Some people are in an uproar over the entire audacity of company owners placing these devices in areas where we cannot see them, exposing unwilling recipients to wifi radiation.

To me, the genie is out of the bottle. You cannot go back and decide to hardwire everything. It would cost a lot more than money to attempt such a pullback. Perhaps we can take a cue from the cellphone industry. After all, when we talk about short wavelengths, the cell phone industry is the model that most people assume that we are talking about. Over the past twenty years, the cell phone industry has been fighting a winning battle convincing the public that cellphones are safe. They are winning because of the sheer number of people using cell phones today, with no appreciable increase in brain cancer rates. Ubiquity aside, the industry introduced -- although with great reluctance -- an SAR system to measure effective radiation levels of exposure to individuals. Such a system does not seem to be in place for our bluetooth or wifi counterparts. Additionally, the cell phone companies have been mandated to place their antennae well above the ground, away from people. Although I cannot understand why anyone would put one atop their apartment or how this affects people travelling along an interstate parallel to the apex of the antenna !!!

Thus, placing a wireless repeater, node or hub well above the patient population in an office would seem to be appropriate. In most hospitals, most of these things are poking out of the ceiling. I am not sure how safe that is, but it beats hiding it behind the geraniums.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

RUMOR MILL: TX2 to have 4gig solid state memory.

PALMINSIDER.COM is reporting on a rumor that a new TX2 will be launched at the end of the year, featuring a 4 gigabyte flash memory. I won't quote verbatim the site, but I have put a link to it if you click on the title.

So, could this mean the end of the Lifedrive as we know it? Could it be that the TX2 was an experiment that won out as the more stable of the two devices?

As I stated in my earlier post, could we be at the end of the road for the disk-drive devices in favor of solid state technology? If Palminsider is correct, we could be seeing the TX2 as the replacement for the Lifedrive. Or does Palm have a surprise in store for us in the fall?


Strange Wording on the Palm Website......

Perhaps I am being just a little paranoid, wishfully hoping that a Palm Lifedrive 2 is on its way, but I could not help but notice a strange thing on the Palm website. In describing the Lifedrive on the left side of the main window, there is NO mention of the word "Hard Drive!" Instead, the promo reads "Lifedrive Mobile Managers feature gigs of storage....."

Are they trying to tell us that the new Lifedrive will not contain a hard drive? Are we about to get the ultimate solid state or stable hybrid machine -with fast access times - that we have been craving? Or do I just have Treo 700p envy?

I think the people at Palm are very cautious about what they print, particularly on a World web page. It is my humble opinion that the word "hard-drive" was deliberately omitted. The next few months could be very interesting.

Full Text Below.

LifeDrive™ mobile managers feature gigs of storage and both Wi-Fi® & Bluetooth® wireless. Carry files from your desktop computer and access them wherever you go. Includes support for POP, IMAP and Exchange email, plus a voice recorder, MP3 player and more.

Palm Website


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Stuff Magazine Votes Lifedrive #1. Best Palmtop EVER!!!

Move over Treo, Stuff Magazine, Britain's leading tech magazine has described the Lifedrive as the "SWISS WATCH OF PALMTOPS" and voted it NUMBER 1 among ALL PALMTOPS EVER! That's right, our own beleagured silver device, with all its deficiencies, still leads the pack after one year. (Stuff Magazine Link to Top 10)

Given the Lifedrive's rocky start, I for one cannot live without the little device. Plane trips to CME's would be downright boring without my ability to watch 2 or 3 movies (full length) on a single battery charge (from the sd card and 1 movie on the lifedrive). Infact, my daily commute would be downright devoid of any worth without listening to Leo Laporte's TWIT, Amber MacArthur's In the Net, John Dvorak's Cranky Geeks or Firefly/Serenity podcasts. I can even get to listen to the BBC's 606 to hear about my beloved ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB (Tough night on the European front, but we'll get them next time). All this and still use the drive to run SMARTLISTOGO databases, my favorite PREGCALC software (detailed below), checking the call schedule and other apps that I've penned in DATABASE 7 and using the ubiquitous SPLASHID (A must have piece of software). When I've got a little free time, I can check my email, dictate a message to call someone later on in the day (and have it sync to the calendar) and NEVER worry about running out of space.

Oh, did I mention the ability to store 10 full length text books on both the SD and Lifedrive and still not a flinch in the memory bank?

To quote Stuff magazine, which gave the device 5/5 stars:

"Despite a mediocre showing in recent tests, the LifeDrive is the most exciting thing to happen in the world of palmtops since, like, ever. It’s the first proper UK handheld to feature a hard drive, and PalmOne has done us proud by sticking in 4GB for our DivX vids, MP3s and documents. The hardware’s beefy but the build quality’s in luxury watch territory and, as a do-it-all device, it can’t be beaten.

KILLER FEATURE That built-in 4GB hard drive gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to storage. Ah yes, and that razor sharp screen…"


Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Releases for Medicine and Some Questions

Over the past 2 months, there have been a few newly released programs for the Palm Pilot. I have chosen to look at two interesting programs which have caught my attention. However I do caution that I have not tried any of these new releases mentioned and they are listed for informational purposes only.

I have a few questions which I will pose to the companies writing the programs, mainly concerning the compatibility with the Lifedrive.

Davis's Drug Guide with Auto-Updates
Publisher: Unbound Medicine.

- This program will reportedly ship with a total of 9 indices, 16 appendices and include a collection of lab values and dose calculations. Life threatening side effects are visually enhanced for quick reference. In addition, the company states that it will cover almost 5,000 drugs plus herbals in its database.

- Update via wireless, internet or hotsync (connected to the internet).

- Winner of the Handango Best Industry Application Award.

- Price point: 49.95.

Obstetrics Gynecology & Infertility, 5th Edition
Publisher USBMIS.

- This is an interesting title and is supposedly able to cover information for both immediate bedside care and subspecialty information in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and other GYN subspecialties. The company reports that the program contains over 200 tables, flowcharts and figures. Information is bookmarked and it is possible to examine operative reports "for support information."

- Attention is paid to the beginner's medical Spanish section. I wish I had this a few years ago :).

- Price point 29.00


Although I have not purchased any of the above yet, I think that both have tremendous potential. A few of my peers have been using the Davis product and they have enjoyed the information provided. Additionally, many have compared it to Epocrates and believe that it is faster and more robust because it has none of Epocrates additonal software. If you own a Lifedrive, this could be especially critical. I could not find out if the Davis product is completely loadable on an SD card. It states that it is SD card compatible, but caution that 6mb of memory is needed on the handheld.

The product has a 5,000 drug database, which I presume is kept in the PDA memory and hence accounts for the speed of the product; however I do have a few questions. Since none of my partners own a Lifedrive it is difficult for them to answer. One question would be the upgrade cycle. Davis offers a 12 month update cycle for the initial payment. What happens after that?
Secondly, the authors are Pharmacists. Believe me, I love my Pharmacist, without them I would be in trouble, but I have a question about how much detail will they provide -- as in too much detail about a specific drug. One of the advantages --and perhaps disadvantages-- of Epocrates is that the information is concise and to the point. Perhaps to the point of leaving out very important information, but I can get an answer very quickly without going through minutiae. But I cannot knock a product until I use it and I probably will purchase this, given its glowing reviews and the fact that I will not have to Hotsync to update.

USBMIS's product is enticing. I like the apparently concise renditions shown on the website. Apparently quick reference functions and charts are easily accessed through a minimum tree system. And the price point appears very interesting. This is one that I could see myself purchasing very soon, but I would love to see a few reviews first.

Again is the question of the updates. USBMIS gives 12 months of updates, with "free" usage of the program without updates following this. Obviously unknown is whether another subscription is needed to get any new updates to the program.

Secondly, the card issue is somewhat ambiguous again. " 17MB of available memory (additional main memory may be needed when installed to memory card*)" ??? If I am reading this correctly are they saying that the main elements of the program have to be transferred to main memory and then erased again? 17 mb is a lot of memory, even for a Lifedrive. You are certain to run into the "last 32mb vortex" (This is a veritable Bermuda Triangle for the Lifedrive where programs which are not written correctly to address the memory access give the Lifedrive the proverbial "clink.....grey screen" or Soft Reset).

However, this is one program that I will try, since it sounds very useful and the price point appears competitive. Naturally, I will let you know how this turns out.


Interesting Robot Kit

Well, on those lonely nights when you can find nothing to do with your old palm pilots, an interesting solution seems possible. If you recall, I noted that Medtronic was using revamped Handsprings to control intrathecal drugs (By the way, I had the opportunity to see one of these devices first-hand last week....Truly Amazing!), well a few industrious and ingenious individuals at Carnegie Mellon University have decided to make a Palm Pilot Robot Kit (PPRK).

On the website, there is detailed information on creating one of these. As always, click on the title to take you there. At the site, there is information on the theory of robotics and links to other sites that include software and hardware. Some of the software is interesting and I was happy to see that a free copy of Code Warrior Lite was still available for download.