Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Firefox 3.5 - time to upgrade

Firefox 3.5 is now available. Have you tried it yet? It's a great web browser and it has some nice new features that were not found in version 3. For instance, Firefox 3.5 is the first browser to support open video formats, allowing movies to become part of today’s dynamic web pages without requiring a plug-in.

It's a 7.7 MB download and it's being promoted as "Faster, Safer, Smarter, Better." Take a look at this performance chart to see how Firefox has evolved in efficiency. Firefox 3 was very fast (a significant improvement from Firefox 2) and now Firefox 3.5 has made an additional speed improvement. I wonder what we'll see with Firefox 4.

I think I'm developing "TrackPoint Finger"

I've been using the TrackPoint (which is a joystick mouse found on IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads) quite heavily and I think I'm developing a syndrome that I'll name "TrackPoint Finger." My right index finger is starting to get sore. Repetitive motion injuries often lead to things such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and even BlackBerry Thumb. Well, I should probably replace the batteries on my Bluetooth mouse so that I avoid getting "TrackPoint Finger."

Xmarks - a great free utility

Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) is a great free utility if you use more than one computer and you want to keep all your bookmarks/favorites in sync. I use several different computers at work and at home. As a result, this utility comes in very handy. I'm able to synchronize all my bookmarks/favorities automatically and it's so convenient to have the ability to switch browsers and still have all my bookmarks in sync. I mainly use Firefox and Internet Explorer and Xmarks works on both of those (for the PC). Xmarks works on Safari only on the Mac OS X right now. I'm sure that will eventually change, but for now, I'm fine with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Why use a tablet PC in the medical world?

A physician friend asked me the other day, "Why do you use a tablet PC? What do you find so appealing about them?" This is a loaded question. After all, why would anyone spend extra cash to purchase a tablet PC if you can get a much less expensive laptop that has virtually the same (or better) capabilities?

Let me try to answer this with a few bullet points:
  • I've been a pen-based computer user since the late 90's when the Apple Newton was around. Keep that in perspective as you read these next points.
  • I love to "ink" or write on the screen and draw figures and diagrams when I'm taking notes. I use different color pens and I can easily circle things and draw arrows to indicate relationships and to mock up flow diagrams. You can't do that on a laptop.
  • When in the hospital/clinic/office setting, the tablet interface is much more personable and less intrusive. I can comfortably hold the tablet in my hand/arm and I can look at the person in the face. People who use a keyboard are often fixated on looking at the screen.
  • I can use the tablet when I'm standing, so it provides tremendous flexibility. With the tablet, you can take notes while you're standing at the bedside.
  • Convertible tablets are notebooks, so I get a full keyboard when I need it. Or, I can swivel the screen and draw/ink on the screen.
  • When you're in a corporate meeting, you can easily get away with a tablet. It's much more difficult to get away with a laptop.
  • You can be much more efficient when you're navigating an electronic health record (EHR) that's optimized for pen-based computing. You can click on a number of points/buttons so much faster with the pen compared to the mouse. Try it and you'll see what I'm talking about.
  • By using handwriting recognition, I'm forced to constantly improve and maintain a certain quality of handwriting clarity. I can't afford to let my writing deteriorate since I depend on the handwriting recognition that's built into Windows Vista or Windows 7. (XP also has recognition, but it doesn't compare to Vista or 7).
  • You can use your tablet PC to show patients diagrams, pictures, etc. It's so easy to view something on a slate - which is why e-readers like the Amazon Kindle are so popular.
  • I do a lot of reading on my tablet PC. It's so natural to use the pen to scroll and "flip" through pages. I can comfortably hold the tablet in my hands and read it like a book. Who needs the Amazon Kindle when you have a full PC in your hands?
  • I don't travel very much these days, but a tablet PC can be invaluable if you're on a plane and the person in front of you reclines and diminishes your workspace. You can either place the laptop directly on your lap and do your best to continue working, or you can pick up a convertible tablet and hold it in your hands and continue working in pen-mode.
So, there are some of the reasons why I use a tablet PC. We see drug representatives using tablet PCs to detail physicians with drug charts, animations, graphs, and other sources of multimedia. The tablet PC is a powerful interface and when you get a convertible tablet, you combine the best of two worlds.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Computing tips: Ctrl + W and Ctrl + D

If you're like me, you like to open many different tabs on your favorite web browser. Whether you're using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera, this shortcut should work to help you quickly close tabs (or web pages) without moving your mouse. It's a simple tip: Ctrl + W
  • Using Ctrl + W may save you some mousing movement and spare your hands/wrists from repetitive motion injuries.
Before you try the Ctrl + W tip, make sure you hit Ctrl + D. This shortcut adds a bookmark/favorite to your web browser. Make sure to bookmark my site (or subscribe to my RSS feed). I hope you'll be back for some more very simple computing tips.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Have you heard of WiMax? Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a wireless telecommunications technology that is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). Here's a brief snippet about WiMax from the Intel website:

WiMAX extends broadband connectivity beyond WiFi hotspots, enabling faster download speeds and metro-wide connectivity... WiMAX is the next-generation of wireless technology designed to enable pervasive, high-speed mobile Internet access to the widest array of devices including notebook PCs, handsets, smartphones, and consumer electronics such as gaming devices, cameras, camcorders, music players, and more. As the fourth generation (4G) of wireless technology, WiMAX delivers low-cost, open networks and is the first all IP mobile Internet solution enabling efficient and scalable networks for data, video, and voice. As a major driver in the support and development of WiMAX, Intel has designed embedded WiMAX solutions for a variety of mobile devices supporting the future of high-speed broadband on-the-go.

I'm able to connect anywhere with 3G speeds because I tether using my smartphone, but would it be great if we could connect with much faster speeds? My Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC currently has a Intel WiFi Link 5100 (AGN) wireless card, but perhaps someday I'll need to upgrade to the Intel WiMAX/WiFi Link 5350.

Mobile Health Computing: most popular posts

Here are the most popular posts for the last week:
  1. Windows 7 RC on Thinkpad X200 Tablet: Screen Brightness

  2. Growing headaches with Microsoft Vista

  3. Will Cloud Computing Improve EHR Data Security?

  4. Viliv X70 EX

  5. Microsoft extends XP downgrade availability to 2011

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Windows 7 Build 7201

What's the latest build of Windows 7? Is it build 7201? I'm currently running the Release Candidate (RC) version which is build 7100. Since this build is running fine for now, I have no plans of reinstalling Windows 7 until I get a final version of Windows 7 in October. I've already pre-ordered my copy. Have you?

Windows 7 on a USB flash drive

Will Microsoft sell Windows 7 on a USB flash drive? Since they are targeting netbooks (which don't have optical drives), it would make sense to offer the installer file on a flash drive. My Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet doesn't have a built-in optical drive. I have an external drive, but I hardly use it. My docking station has an optical drive, but I hardly use that too. So, it would make a lot of sense to have Windows 7 on a USB flash drive.

Motion J3400 Slate Tablet PC

Motion Computing has a new rugged slate tablet called the J3400. I love tablet PCs, but I prefer to have a convertible tablet because I use mine like a laptop over 80% of the time. However, if you're looking for a dedicated slate tablet that can attach to a keyboard, then the J3400 may be a nice choice. The nice thing is that it doesn't seem to heat up very much (which is a common complaint for tablet PCs). I just wish Motion would lower the prices on their machines. At $2,299, it's just too high.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pre-Order Windows 7 for $50 and $100

You can pre-order Windows 7 upgrades for $50 (Home Premium) and $100 (Professional). These prices won't last long and availability is limited to a finite quantity. After July 11, these upgrade prices will double! Home Premium will be $120 and Professional will be $200.

There are no early-bird discounts for Windows 7 Ultimate, so if that's the version you'll have to wait. Not sure about which version to get? Click on this chart and you'll see what each version offers. For my needs, Home Premium will suffice since I can do most of the rest via other means.

If you're fed up with Vista-related headaches like I am, get these upgrades now! I'm placing my order from Amazon.com

Free upgrades to Windows 7 for HP customers

HP Offers Customers Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7.

Customers who purchase an HP PC starting today (June 25) may be eligible for the upgrade program. Following general availability of Windows 7 on Oct. 22, qualifying customers will receive the Windows 7 upgrade and an upgrade utility disk with a step-by-step guide for installation at their convenience.

If you don't want to be stuck with Vista, then go for the upgrade to Windows 7. I don't think you'll have any regrets. Want to read the HP press release? Click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back to Windows 7 on my Thinkpad X200 Tablet

I'm back to mainly using Windows 7 on my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet PC. I simply uninstalled some of the ThinkVantage utilities that were causing some trouble, and now I'm good to go. I'm able to use all the buttons, ports, and I can even use my multi-touch screen (to clarify, this means that I can touch the screen using my finger for passive touch input, or I can use the Penabled Wacom digitizer pen for active input).

I've decided to abandon Windows Vista. I'm no longer running Vista on any of my main machines. Instead, I'm either running Windows XP or Windows 7.

Toshiba NB205 netbook now available

Do you have a netbook? If you don't, are you thinking of getting one? The Toshiba NB205 netbook is now available from Toshiba Direct. This little guy starts at $349.99 and comes in a variety of colors (since when did laptops come in so many different colors?).
  • Intel Atom™ processors save power on the road
  • Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition pre-installed
  • Hard drive impact sensor helps safeguard your data in case of a fall
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology options available
XP continues to live on, doesn't it? I'm waiting for Windows 7.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Growing headaches with Microsoft Vista

I'm having more and more problems with Microsoft Vista these days. I've been running XP and Windows 7 on most of my machines, but my Thinkpad X200 tablet is mainly running Vista Business. I was running Windows 7 earlier, but I had too many problems with the ThinkVantage utilities. Until Lenovo releases Windows 7 drivers and utilities, I will stay with Vista.

Taking apart a laptop

I took apart another laptop today. I do this for a hobby. I've owned many laptops and I believe I've taken just about every single one of them apart. This one had been having some problems that appeared to be related to faulty hardware. It was made by HP and I was very comfortable disassembling (thanks to the service manuals that can easily be found online). So what did I find? Well, for one thing, the connection for the RTC (real time clock) battery was faulty. As a result, when you unplug the laptop and remove the battery, the calendar resets to 2004. I wasn't going to pull out my soldering iron, so I simply placed a small piece of foam to wedge the battery connector against the circuit. Did it work? Yes!

What I don't know is whether that RTC battery plays a bigger role in this laptop. I believe it work like a CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) battery (also known as nonvolatile BIOS memory). For some reason, the HP service manual calls it an RTC battery and does not refer to it as a CMOS battery. For those of you wondering about BIOS, it stands for Basic Input/Output System.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tiny SSDs for netbooks

Netbooks are tiny. You won't find a 2.5" hard drive (which is the standard size for regular laptops) in netbooks. You'll either find a 1.8" hard drive or some type of SSD (solid state disk). Flash memory technology has made it possible to cram gigabytes of memory on tiny, flat flash memory cards. Samsung has introduced mini-card SSDs that are even smaller than your typical SSD. According to PC World, "Samsung's mini-card SSDs are up to 80 percent smaller than SSDs found in most laptops today, the company said. The small drives weigh between 7.5 grams (0.17 pounds) and 8.5 grams, lower than the 75 grams to 85 grams that 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch SSDs weigh."

FYI, the 1.8" hard drives (spinning HD, not SSD) can also be found in older iPods (video iPod, photo iPod, etc.) and the new iPod classic. The old iPod mini had a 1" hard drive, also known as microdrives. Those 1" hard drives were the size of a compact flash (CF) card.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Microsoft vs. PC Makers

BusinessWeek has a nice story titled, "Microsoft vs. PC Makers." Here's the headline by Cliff Edwards: "A battle is shaping up over pricing of the new Windows 7 as both sides struggle to profie while hardware prices fall."

We all know that Windows 7 is coming out this fall. However, we don't know how Windows 7 will be priced on these new computers. As the average price of notebook computers continues to fall each year, consumers are expecting to find machines that are less expensive. This is one of the main reasons why netbooks have been so popular among students (including medical students). If you're not a gamer and you're not doing intensive multimedia, then a netbook may be enough to let you run your favorite e-mail client and the Microsoft Office suite of applications.

The average price of a notebook was $1,420 in 2004. It's now $788! The average notebook is actually CHEAPER than the average desktop. Can you believe that? If Microsoft doesn't price Windows 7 strategically, perhaps we'll start seeing more computers shipping with Ubuntu, a free Linux distribution that is gaining popularity. Perhaps Google's Android will appear on more netbooks. Maybe Windows XP will continue to live beyond 2014 and set some type of record as the operating system that never dies. I personally hope that Microsoft prices Windows 7 in such a way that it makes up for its embarrassments in Windows Vista.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Microsoft extends XP downgrade availability to 2011

Microsoft extends XP downgrade availability to 2011. XP lives forever! I have to admit that I've installed downgraded from Vista to XP on several different computers now and I'm glad to see that Microsoft is going to continue downgrades to XP. Microsoft will officially retire Windows XP, halting all patch development, including security updates, in April 2014.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Browser Wars

On my other site MedicalSmartphones.com, I wrote a short blurb about "Smartphone Wars." I'm continuing that theme to discuss a few of my thoughts regarding web browsers. Which web browser do you use? All of them? Let me list the ones that I use in descending order:
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Opera
Firefox has been my browser of choice, but I've recently started having some problems with Xmarks (a bookmark synchronizing utility). Is it time to switch to a different browser for a while?

I'm keeping my OQO model 02

I had to be out and about yesterday. I was going to be standing most of the time so I decided to take my OQO model 02 with me. To be honest, I had not used this device in quite some time. It was such a handy device that I had forgotten how innovative and "cool" it was to use. OQO may not be in business, but I wonder if there's still hope for this company. Perhaps someone will purchase their technology. It's a great little device for mobile health computing and I'm sure we will see many other devices that resemble it, but the OQO will be the original in my mind.

Toshiba NB205 Netbook

Toshiba has entered the netbook market here in the U.S. The Toshiba mini NB205 looks like a great netbook that has excellent battery life. 8.5 hrs! If I had to buy a netbook today, this one would be near the top of my list. Toshiba has a solid reputation and they make great computers. Most of the reviews for the NB205 have been excellent. It seems to have a nice keyboard and it performs admirably for a netbook.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On-Screen Mouse: Touch Pointer

I use a tablet PC all the time. One of the features that I really like about Windows Vista and Windows 7 is the on-screen mouse touch pointer. This feature is available for tablet PCs that have a passive touch screen. Those using an active digitizer (by Wacom and others) won't see this feature.

Essentially, if you tap on the screen, a little (or big) mouse appears on the screen. This way, you can move the cursor around and hover over things. On a traditional touch screen tablet, it's difficult to "hover" over links when you're using touch. The on-screen pointer also gives you the ability to click on the right and left mouse buttons.

Some people hate this on-screen pointer and I see that it's on (by default) in Windows Vista and off in Windows 7. You can toggle this on-screen pointer on/off, but I'm inclined to think that Microsoft received more negative feedback and criticism about this feature. That's probably why it was off by default in Windows 7. Well, this is one of those things that I can see people would either love or hate. I really like it and I'm glad to see that Microsoft continued this feature in Windows 7. Image source: slashgear

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Help African Hospitals by Donating Your Old PCs

Do you want to support the "Computer Aid twitterthon?" Then take a look at this post: Donate Your PC and Help African Hospitals

Windows 7 RC on Thinkpad X200 Tablet: Screen Brightness

I wonder if I caused myself more problems by installing some of these ThinkVantage utilities on my X200 Tablet running Windows 7 RC. I can't seem to adjust my screen brightness. Maybe I would have been not installing any of these utilities. Even when I go into the power settings to change the screen brightness, nothing happens. Additionally, if I use Fn + Home/End to increase/decrease screen brightness, the on-screen message appears indicating that my screen brightness should be changing, but nothing actually happens. I plan to continue playing around with things. At the end of the day, I may simply restart by doing another clean installation of Windows 7. Maybe I need to wait until Lenovo releases utilities that are compatible for Windows 7.

The Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC is really a great device. Even the folks at TestFreaks give the ThinkPad X200 a score of 9.4 out of 10. That's hard to beat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Should Anti-Virus Protection be Built Into EHRs?

There are so many different anti-virus solutions that my head spins when I stop to compare and contrast each one. We have Norton (Symantec), AVG, McAfee, Trend Micro, Avast, Kaspersky, CA, and many more. When you start installing some of these security solutions on your PC, you can run into compatibility issues with some software. This can even happen when you install an Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution.

So, shouldn't EHR vendors simply integrate an anti-virus solution into their EHR? This way, every computer that runs that specific EHR will be protected, and this would also reduce the possibility of running into some compatibility problems. With growing concerns about data security, encryption, identity theft, and virus intrusions, EHR vendors should be partnering with anti-virus vendors to create a turn-key solution.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Will Cloud Computing Improve EHR Data Security?

As the government pushes for electronic health records (EHRs), many people remain concerned about data security. There have been many reports over the last year about stolen laptops and compromised patient data. Should such critical data reside on a portable machine like a laptop, tablet, or ultra-mobile PC?

Will cloud computing improve EHR data security? If sensitive data is never stored on a laptop, then if the laptop gets stolen, that patient information should be safe as long the person who stole the laptop isn't able to connect with to the health record database. I suppose that if a theif (or hacker) really wanted to get access ot the health record database, he (or she) would not necessarily need a stolen laptop (unless the laptop contains some critical security information, access codes, etc.).

So what's the solution? How can we ensure that electronic healthcare data is secure? Will all hospitals eventually rely on cloud computing? Is cloud computing the answer? Or, do many of the same risks and limitations apply? Maybe the answer is to focus on better data encryption.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mobile Health Computing: Top 3 Posts for Last Week

Here are the top posts for last week:
  1. Sony Vaio UX Used by John Connor in Terminator

  2. Windows 7 on Thinkpad X200 Tablet

  3. Windows 7 RC (build 7100) to Expire June 1, 2010

So, I've been running Windows 7 on my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet PC for a while now. Things are running smoothly and I prefer Windows 7 over Vista because of the improved startup speed and overall performance. Windows 7 is such an improvement over Vista.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Windows 7 Build 7229

Sounds like Windows 7 Build 7229 has leaked out. Could this be the RTM version? Windows 7 RC is build 7100, so I'm curious to know how much build 7229 differs.

Running Windows 7 on my Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC

I've been running Windows 7 RC (32 bit) on my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC for a while now. I did a clean install on a blank hard drive. Then, I ran ThinkVantage System Update 3.14 to download drivers and it loaded drivers that were marked as XP/Vista. Currently, most of the drivers seem to work with Windows 7, but there are a few exceptions.
  • Intel Turbo Memory seems to be working.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are working.
  • The built-in AT&T WWAN is working.
  • Built-in camera is working.
  • Multi-touch screen working (active digitizer plus passive touch-screen).
  • Fingerprint reader is working.
  • ThinkVantage Active Protection is working.
  • Modem - not tested. Who still uses a phone modem these days?
Allow me to continue my testing and I will post regular updates.

Friday, June 12, 2009

ARCHOS 9PCtablet

This tablet reminds me of my Apple Newton Messagepad 2100. It's thin, light, and looks very innovative. The ARCHOS 9PCtablet will be running Windows 7 and will also have built-in antennas to receive DVBT TV with diversity reception. If you want to keep up with all your favorite medical television shows, then this ARCHOS 9 might be the ultra-mobile PC (or UMPC) for you. The ARCHOS 9 incorporates the new Intel® ATOM™ Z515 processor, an 80 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, and more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Save "Phantom Energy"

You've seen the advertisements on television. You've seen the slogans everywhere. We must protect the environment and "Go Green." One of the easiest ways to reduce household electricity consumption (not by much, but it can add up over time) is to unplug power adapters when you're not using them. The slogan now is, "Unplug and Save." Take a look around your house. If you're not charging or powering your laptop, mobile phone, or MP3 player, then perhaps you should unplug these when you're not using them.

Here's a tip: plug these charging devices into a single power strip and simply shut down the power strip when you're not using them.

Viliv X70 EX

Will the Viliv X70 EX revive the ultra-mobile PC industry? Many people seem to really like this new device which is made by a Korean company called Viliv (have you heard of Viliv?). You've probably heard of Samsung - another Korean company. Perhaps the Viliv X70 EX would have tremendous potential here in the U.S. if it were a Samsung product. As a Viliv product, I don't think it will gain much traction. Image source: Dynamism

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do We Need an ExpressCard Slot?

Apple doesn't seem to think so. They've decided to replace the ExpressCard slot with SD (secure digital) slots in the new MacBook Pro. Will other laptop manufacturers follow? I admit that I don't have a single ExpressCard peripheral. My Thinkpad X200 Tablet comes with WWAN built-in (through AT&T). I don't use it since I tether using my smartphone.

Will ExpressCards suffer the same fate as PCMCIA cards? Will they become extinct?

Will the Tablet PC Gain Traction?

With so much emphasis being placed on Health Information Technology (health IT, HIT, or HITECH) by the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), will tablet PCs make a comeback in the healthcare sector? Electronic health record (EHR) vendors are making software to be optimized for pen-based entry, but physicians and other clinicians are not adapting well to pen-based computing. They revert to the old mouse and keyboard. Why?

Will we see the Tablet PC gain traction over the next few years among medical professionals? Maybe as more physicians see pharmaceutical representatives (drug sales reps) using Tablet PCs, they will slowly recognize the potential these devices have to offer. Perhaps tablet PC training needs to be a core part of the medical school or residency curriculum. I know that certain medical schools require all their medical students to purchase a specific tablet PC (like the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet). Will that become the norm?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" Coming this Fall

It appears that Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" will be coming this fall. $29 for an upgrade really isn't that bad. However, maybe the bigger question is: will it really be worth upgrading from 10.5 to 10.6? I'm sure most people will spend $29 to upgrade.

I wonder if Microsoft could learn from Apple's example. If Windows 7 is only considered a "minor" operating system update, then perhaps Microsoft should also charge $29 for the upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

When Will We See the Apple Tablet?

I was really hoping that we'd be hearing about an official Apple Tablet computer at WWDC 2009. I'm not interested in the Axiotron ModBook. That thing is simply too thick and heavy. Unfortunately, it does not appear like we'll be seeing it anytime soon. So, I'm left running Windows Vista and Windows 7 and hoping that Apple somehow miraculously revives the Newton Messagepad and brings life to a color, touch-screen tablet computer that we could have only dreamed of back in the early nineties.

MacBooks Redefined

It sounds like the white plastic Apple MacBook is here to stay. All the aluminum unibody MacBooks will be called the MacBook Pro and the white plastic MacBook will be considered the standard MacBook. I wonder if they will ever revive the PowerBook brand. Many years ago, I had one of the first original PowerBooks. That thing was built like a tank and it could withstand almost anything.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Have You Tried Safari 4?

I really like Safari 4 so far. It's sleek and fast. In many ways, it reminds me of Google Chrome. Unfortunately, the F11 shortcut does nothing in Safari 4.

Will Safari 4 become my main browser and replace Firefox? No. I rely too much on Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) to synchronize my bookmarks/favorites among multiple machines. Although Xmarks is available for Safari 3 running on Mac OS X, it isn't available for Safari running on Windows.

Are Smartphones Mobile Computers?

This has been a topic of debate for a long time. People are trying to use their smartphones as mini computers. There are magazine advertisements and television commercials out there about using smartphones to "work from phone" (instead of work from home). What can you really do on a smartphone?

As smartphone operating systems become more powerful, they are essentially turning into mini computers. People are running Microsoft Office on their smartphones. Windows Mobile comes with mini version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can run these same applications on other devices through third-party software vendors.

As cloud computing becomes more prevalent in the healthcare industry, the use of netbooks and smartphones may get incorporated into standard operating procedure (SOP). Maybe those people who are over a certain age will be exempt from using these machines that rely on tiny screens. Image source: slashphone

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2009

Will Apple reveal a MacTablet, iTablet, MacPad, or iPad at the 2009 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)? The conference begins tomorrow and many users who rely on pen-based computing interfaces are anxiously awaiting this mysterious Apple Tablet. Will we see something new and exciting this year? Everyone knows that a new iPhone is going to be revealed (Cheaper iPhone Tomorrow?). I'm waiting for the iTablet. I hope they don't call it the iPad because some may get that confused with iPod (it can sound very similar if you have an accent). Image source: Engadget

Mobile Health Computing Blog Now in the Kindle Store

The Mobile Health Computing Blog is now available in the Kindle Store. You can view it here. If you have an Amazon Kindle, I encourage you to check it out (free 14-day trial) and submit a review on Amazon.com. If you enjoy what you're reading, then you can subscribe for $1.99 per month.

I'm still waiting for the Kindle that has a color screen. Wait, I think that's called a Tablet PC and I already have a few of those.

Mobile Health Computing: Top 3 Posts for Last Week

Here are the top 3 posts from last week:
  1. Windows 7 on Thinkpad X200 Tablet

  2. Windows 7 RC (build 7100) to Expire June 1, 2010

  3. Sony Vaio UX Used by John Connor in Terminator

I'm getting ready to install a new hard drive in my Thinkpad X200 Tablet so that I can play with Windows 7 this summer. Terminator was a fair movie (I give it a B rating) and it was cool to se the Sony Vaio UX featured in it a few times.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Energy Star Settings for My Notebook

My Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC is considered a "green machine." One of the power settings is labeled "Energy Star" and that's the setting I mainly use on this portable device. It puts the computer into Sleep Mode (or Standby) after 10 minutes of inactivity. The nice thing about Vista (and Windows 7) is that a laptop wil come out of Sleep/Standby very quickly. Therefore, it makes sense to have the PC go into a low power mode and save electricity (and the environment). If you're not using an energy-efficient power setting on your PC, then you should consider changing it so that you start saving some electricity. This planet has finite resources and we should all work together to preserve as much as we can for the next generation. Go Green!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Have you noticed that Microsoft Live Search is now Bing? Bing is "The New Decision Engine From Microsoft." Why the rebranding after all that effort to promote "Microsoft Live"and "Windows Live"? Why Bing? I'm confused.

Viliv X70EX UMPC

James Kendrick at jkOnTheRun has been reviewing the Viliv X70EX UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) and it looks like a really interesting device. It's a small tablet PC that could also be considered a mobile internet device or MID. Since it runs both XP and Linux, I guess it could be considered both a UMPC or MID. It looks thin and reminds me of my Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC. I have the thinner version, not the "Premium" version of the Samsung Q1 Ultra. I mainly use it as a note pad during corporate meetings, but I also use it as a mobile internet device and multimedia player. If the Viliv X70 is priced well, it may put some heat against netbooks. My gut tells me that it will be overpriced (like the Samsung Q1 series) and it will have a hard time surviving in the U.S. market. Image source: jkOnTheRun

Windows 7 Coming October 22

I've been using Windows 7 RC on several different computers and I'm eagerly waiting for October 22 so that I can have a "fully functional" version that won't expire (or suddenly reboot). I plan to install Windows 7 on my Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC and also on my Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC. These two are the machines that I travel with, so I could really use the quick boot and power-saving features that are now in Windows 7. Both of these machines are also tablets and the pen-based computing features on Windows 7 are also much better compared to the features found on XP or Vista.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Updated White Apple MacBook

Many medical students (and pre-med college students) may be shopping for a notebook this summer. Macs have gotten extremely popular among students. If you want a really good deal on a Mac, you may want to look at the new (updated) white MacBook. This is still the older body and it doesn't look as "cool" as the new unibody MacBooks, but you may be interested to know that the updated white Macbook actually outperforms one of the existing unibody MacBooks. Apple is trying hard to get rid of these older looking models, so it's a good time to buy.

The iPod Touch: First vs. Second Generation

I have a second generation Apple iPod Touch. Many people don't even know that the iPod Touch came in an earlier version (which is now called the first generation iPod Touch). Can you tell them apart? If you had a first generation model and a second generation in your hand, would you know how to tell them apart?

In my spare time, I do a bit of writing for eHow.com and a while back, I wrote a little piece titled, "How to tell if your iPod touch is a first or second generation model." It's become a popular article and I'd welcome your feedback on it. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sony Vaio UX Used by John Connor in Terminator

I thought the Sony Vaio UX was dead. However, you may have caught a glimpse of it in the movies. It appeared in the latest James Bond movie, and it's also on the new Terminator movie. I don't have a Sony Vaio UX (I decided to get an OQO model 02 instead of the Sony Vaio UX series). Had they used the OQO in the new Terminator movie, would this have saved the sinking company? (I doubt it)

You'll see some interesting biomedical concepts in the new Terminator movie. I don't wish to spoil things for people who plan to watch it, so I won't go into any details. The movie wasn't great, but it wasn't too bad either. My wife and I were both entertained. The critics gave it a C+ and I give it a solid B.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Windows 7 Starter Edition

Microsoft has an interesting way of naming their Windows Operating System. Windows 7 will be offered in a "Starter Edition." I'm not sure how they picked that name, but one of the early circulating rumors stated that Windows 7 Starter Edition would limit you to run 3 applications simultaneously. Fortunately, this rumor has been dispelled (or you can say that Microsoft decided to change that aspect of Starter Edition).

If Windows 7 Starter Edition was meant for netbooks, why didn't Microsoft call it "Netbook Edition" or "UMPC Edition?" Are they giving up on the Ultra-Mobile PC?

Avoiding Computing Horrors

One of the worst things that can happen is the loss of a computer - either through physical loss such as theft, or due to hardware failure. Are you prepared for the loss of your main computer that has all your critical data?

How do you backup your critical data? Do you perform a backup of your entire PC so that you can quickly get back to work if you lose your computer? I use a variety of tactics to ensure that I always have access to my vital information.

Here are a two tips that may save you from a terrible computing nightmare:
  1. I use a file synchronization service to sync all my critical files on several different computers that are in different locations. Remote backup is critical because it doesn't help to keep all your backups with your main PC if your house/office goes up in flames (or if a thief comes and steals your computers and all your external hard drives).
  2. I maintain at least 2 computers with critical applications such as Microsoft Office. This way, if I physically lose my main computer, then I have an immediate backup that is ready to go. I can't afford to lose a day of productivity, so it is critical for me to have a back up computer. If you don't have a backup computer, then you'll spend at least one day restoring your backup (either on your existing or new machine).
If my tips seem a bit "over kill," then you've never experienced a true computing horror. Wait until that happens and you'll have some serious regrets. At a minimum, make sure to back up your hard drive.
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