Thursday, January 21, 2016

Will Windows 7 take you to 2020?

According to the Windows lifecycle fact sheet, Windows 7 mainstream support ended in January 13, 2015 and extended support will end in January 14, 2020.

Many hospitals are running Windows 7. They jumped from Windows XP to Windows 7, even when Windows 8 was available. Remember that Windows 10 was released in July, 2015. Given that changing operating systems across an entire hospital enterprise is considerable work, I would not be surprised if many hospitals remain on Windows 7 through 2019. After all, 2019 is only 3 years away.

I've personally really enjoyed using Windows 10 and the operating system offers the right balance of functionality when I'm using my mobile PC as a laptop/desktop vs. a touch-screen tablet. Now that I've become so accustomed to Windows 10, it's hard to go back to any mobile device running Windows 8.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Taking a Chromebook for a spin (Dell Chromebook 13)

Recently, I was given the opportunity to take a Chromebook for a spin. It's my first Chromebook experience. Stay tuned as I spend some time using the Dell Chromebook 13 and I'll post my review later this month. (When they report 12+ hrs of battery life, they really mean it!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

My question about the iPad Pro

The newly announced iPad Pro looks like a fantastic mobile device, but here's the question that puzzles me: why did it take Apple so long to release the iPad Pro?

The original iPad was released in 2010.
The iPad Mini came out in 2012.
Why did Apple wait until 2015 to release the iPad Pro?

The larger iPad supports an active stylus pen and will meet the greater demands of enterprise users. (I realize that Steve Jobs wasn't a fan of the stylus, but we all know the importance of the stylus pen in both the enterprise healthcare and education vertical markets).

The Smart Keyboard is also a very interesting feature and I'm curious to see how the Smart Connector will work if the iPad Pro is held in different 3rd party cases/covers.

In the healthcare vertical, the iPad Pro will meet some needs of busy clinicians, but I think Microsoft continues to hold the edge with Windows 10 tablets since full enterprise EHR functionality is so critical for mobile clinicians. Windows 10 tablet PCs have improved greatly and are now much lighter, easier to use, and more intuitive for touch-based computing. Now the key question is: now that many hospitals finally upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, when will they get to Windows 10?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Reviewing the HP EliteBook Folio 1020

Over the past several weeks, I've had the privilege to use the HP EliteBook Folio 1020, so here's my review on this beautiful enterprise-class notebook. The 1020 is a very thin, light computer that can be configured with a touch-screen so that you can easily navigate through your applications. The HP EliteBook series represent their enterprise-class notebooks built to meet the highest business standards in mobile computing.

Brief specs: 12.5" screen. up to 9-hr battery life. 2.68 lbs. 0.62" thin. In short: the design will remind you of a MacBook Air.

Here are some key features and considerations for medical professionals considering enterprise mobile computing solutions:

Enterprise Data Security: 
The Folio 1020 includes enterprise-class features to keep health care data safe and secure. HP BIOSphere, HP Sure Start, HP DriveLock | HP Automatic Drive Lock, TPM Embedded Security Chip 1.2/2.0, and much more. There's a fingerprint reader (biometric security device) next to the keyboard.

Thin and Light:
Medical professionals who are in the habit of carrying a laptop around the hospital or clinic will appreciate how the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is so light that it's actually easy to carry in one hand. It's not always easy to find enterprise laptops that are 2.68 lbs and also feature touch-screen options. 

Operating System:
I believe HP is still selling the 1020 with the option to downgrade and run Windows 7. Since many hospitals are still running Windows 7, it's essential to find new computers that are capable of running Windows 7. The unit that I've been testing originally came with Windows 8.1 Pro. Then, I updated to Windows 10 Pro.

Touch Screen:
Some may wonder why you'd need a touch-screen on a laptop, but I've found that navigating some functions is much faster and more intuitive when you can touch the screen. Also, if you're a medical professional and you're using this device at a patient's bedside, you can explain things much easier to a patient when you're both touching the screen to navigate through anatomy images, imaging studies, etc.

Military Standard Durability:
This isn't a traditional "rugged" PC with rubber bumpers and a thick body, but it is engineered with no moving parts (no spinning hard drives or cooling fans) and meets MIL-STD 810G durability standards for drop, shock, and vibration.

Enterprise Docking Station:
The EliteBook Folio 1020 connects to the HP UltraSlim Docking Station, so it's very quick and easy to switch between a desktop/workstation setup to a mobile computing workflow.

I also appreciate the fact that this laptop also includes an illuminated keyboard (essential for radiology professionals working in dark rooms), multiple USB ports, HDMI, and a microSD card slot. The bottom of the notebook did get a bit warm at times, so the fanless design supporting the Intel Core M processor may need some additional refinement.

If you prefer the 2-in-1 design (notebook + tablet) then consider the HP Elite x2 1011 (detachable tablet PC + various keyboard dock options).

Bottom line: the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is a great business notebook for users who are looking for a thin, light, durable solution that meets the highly demanding enterprise security requirements found in health care. A 12.5" screen won't be ideal for everyone, but it's the perfect size that provides sufficient productivity and optimal mobility.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Adonit Jot Dash

The Adonit Jot Dash is one of the newest writing tools to hit mobile devices like the iPad or Android tablets. The Dash is powered by a battery, but it doesn't use Bluetooth to connect to your tablet. According to the Adonit website:

The powered 1.9 mm tip creates a more natural, pen­like stroke than a rubber tip stylus.

How does it do this?

There's not too much information on the Adonit website about the technology that drives this powered stylus. Based on my understanding, the internal battery in the pen allows the little 1.9 mm tip to have the characteristics found in common, rubber-tipped capacitive pens. You get more precision and control by using a 1.9 mm tip instead of a soft, rubbery tip.

I admit that the technology sounds interesting, but I think I'll stick to the traditional active digitizer tablet PC pens made by interactive pen companies like Wacom or N-Trig (acquired by Microsoft earlier this year). That's probably what keeps me using some older mobile devices that still support these pens because of the precision, the ease-of-use, and the overall note-taking reliability found on these types of pens.

Nonetheless, I'm fascinated by the Adonit Jot Dash, so I'll need to pick one up and try it out to see how it works.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Windows 10 - a welcome upgrade from Win 7 and Win 8

I was an early tester for Windows 10 and I saw how each successive build of Windows 10 improved on previous builds. I'm pleased to report that Windows 10 runs very nicely on both tablets and laptops/desktops. I've found that there are still a few bugs in terms of some of the settings, but I'm sure these will all get patched in the near future. In my experience, none of those bugs seem to affect the functionality of running applications and maintaining productivity.

I'll continue to see how Win 10 performs on both slower/older machines and on newer/faster devices. You'll see that Win 10 comes with a "Tablet Mode" which you can enable/disable on touch-screen devices, but I'm found that I prefer to do everything in standard desktop mode so far.

Swiping in from the right or left sides of the screen provide much more intuitive functions and features on Win 10. Also, having every app listed under a single Start Menu reduces confusion about desktop vs. mobile apps running on Win 10.

Here's where Win 10 still needs work: the settings. You can get to "All Settings" by swiping in from the Right, but then you'll find that occasionally you're thrown back to the old style Control Panel. We all love to tinker with those Control Panel settings, so remember that they're still there. It may be a bit tricky to find, but keep clicking around and searching. You'll eventually find it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why the 8" tablet is still the ideal size

If you're looking for a tablet that will replace your laptop, then you'll probably want something that has a 10 to 12" screen and attach a keyboard. However, if you're like a growing number of people who are using a smartphone, a laptop, and a tablet, then the 8" form factor is the ideal size. That's what I've found whether I'm working in the office, traveling, or catching up on emails and reading articles at home. I don't attach a keyboard to my 8" tablet. If I need to do that much typing, then I'd rather pull out my laptop.

Medical students and residents wearing white coats in the hospitals will also tell you that most 8" tablets fit nicely in their white coat pockets. No pocket modifications required.

As more people start switching to monster-size phablets instead of smaller smartphones, the role of the 8" tablet could disappear since larger phablets like the Galaxy Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus offer plenty of productivity space on the screen.
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