Monday, August 31, 2009
I have an old Sony Vaio laptop that's slowly been dying over the past few years. It began with some occasional unexpected shut downs. Now, I'm getting the blue screen of death (BSOD) even when I'm trying to reinstall Windows. I'm fairly certain that the problem is rooted in a bad motherboard. In some ways, I'm surprised that it's lasted this long. However, now I feel that this laptop is finally on its way to the grave. So, I could sell it for parts. Perhaps I could modify it so that I can use it as a digital photo viewer. I've done that with some really old laptops. Since the LCD screen works fine, perhaps that's what I'll do at the end of the day.
The trouble with mobile computers is that they are often more prone to problems due to physical trauma. Laptops get dropped. They fall off desks. You carry them around and they endure extensive vibration, even if they're in a bag. Portable computers simply don't have the same level of reliability compared to desktops that hardly ever get moved around. Perhaps as mobile computing technology improves and we rely on fewer moving parts (like those found in hard drives), we'll actually see some reliability improvements over time. The irony in my case is that the defective part in question is RAM - no moving parts there.
I hate to be spreading rumors that may be false, but I can't help myself. According to the folks at Brighthand, the Apple tablet may be larger than what we may be expecting. Of course, since these rumors are being generated in Asia, I would take them with a grain of salt because you never know what could get lost in translation.
OK, so the latest is this:
- One tablet will have a 13" screen
- The other will have a 15" screen
- At least one tablet will be running OS X
Also, OS X on the Apple tablet? If Apple releases one that is large enough, perhaps it will run both OS X and the iPod touch / iPhone OS. The fall is approaching quickly and I hope we see something come out soon so that I can justify a trip to the Apple store. If this thing ends up simply being a giant iPod touch, then I'll pass.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The more I use the HP EliteBook 2730p tablet PC, the more features I seem to find that I really like. The one feature that still "shines" for me is the keyboard light. It may seem like such a trivial thing, but if you work on a dark airplane or if you're blogging at night in a dark bedroom (who would do that?), then you'd understand. When I use my Thinkpad X200 tablet in low-light conditions, I have to plug a USB-powered LED light. It works fine, but it's a bit annoying. The pop-up light on the HP 2730p is such a refreshing feature. I realize that I would also get keyboard illumination on an Apple MacBook Air/Pro and other laptops, but I need a convertible tablet.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I've bought things from MacMall.com and I'll buy from them again. They are currently advertising that all Macs will now come with Snow Leopard (Apple's latest operating system: OS X 10.6). However, then in small print they indicate a few exclusions.
Too bad most students have probably already made their laptop purchases for the new school year. Maybe this will be attractive for the upcoming holidays. Speaking of the holidays, I think I bought my wife's MacBook Pro from MacMall last winter. It's hard to believe that a year has already gone by so quickly. Well, it's not winter yet, so it hasn't been a year.
Are you an Apple fan? The OS upgrade is only $30, so it's not a huge savings, but during these economic times, anything can be helpful.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The Nokia N900 is the first Mobile Internet Device (MID) tablet that uses wireless data networks. Unlike prior tablets that only had Wi-Fi access, this device can be used anywhere you have access to a 3G network. You'll get Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the N900.
So, does it make sense to have a dedicated tablet like the Nokia N900? Or, should the N900 also be a type of smartphone? It's going to run a Linux-based OS called Maemo, so I doubt you'll find many medical applications for it. However, maybe all you really need is a mobile web browser so that you can look your medical questions.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Instead of writing a single comprehensive review of these two different tablets (Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet vs. the HP EliteBook 2730p tablet), I'm putting my thoughts down in separate chunks. Today, I decided to think about some of the pros/cons associated with each convertible tablet. I really like both, but neither is perfect. This isn't a comprehensive list, but let me highlight 3 in each category. Here we go:
Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet Pros:
- Faster processor options (but do you really need that much speed?)
- "Full-size" keyboard buttons and locations (industry leader in keyboards)
- Multi-touch screen (I use this all the time)
- Keyboard illumination (a huge plus for me!)
- Slimmer design
- Better battery life due to slower processors
Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet Cons:
- No keyboard illumination (a huge issue for me since I write at night)
- Bulkier design (still small, but bulkier compared to the 2730p)
- Poorer battery life due to faster processors (I have both standard and extended batteries)
- Keyboard has some smaller keys in non-conventional locations (you'll get used to it)
- Lack of a multi-touch screen option (I'm sure this will change in future models)
- Slower processor options (do you really need that much speed?)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Have you read the BusinessWeek story about the upcoming Apple Tablet? Will we see different screen size configurations in this upcoming tablet? Will the price point of less than $700 be enough for consumers during this economic depression? Will it compete against the Amazon Kindle as some form of an e-book reader? Will it run the iPod OS or some modified version of Mac OS X? Will early adopters who buy the new Apple tablet get punished as they lower the price after a few months? Will there be a keyboard option? (I'm guessing you'll be able to use a Bluetooth keyboard, but that's just a guess). Will it have an internal GPS chip?
Click here to read the BusinessWeek story.
I probably blog more than your average medical blogger. You won't be surprised to know that I do most of my blogging at night. To me, the best feature on this HP EliteBook 2730p is the small LED night light that illuminates the keyboard when I'm blogging. Of course, this feature may not get used very much in the medical world (unless you're a radiologist who spends most of your time in a dark room). To me, the night light makes a world of difference. On my Thinkpad X200 tablet PC, I use a USB-powered flexible LED light at night to illuminate the keyboard because this particular Thinkpad lacks a light. The regular X200 has a built-in LED light, but the X200 Tablet does not. On the HP 2730p, I simply push a button and a small LED light pops up and lights up the keyboard. I still prefer a backlit keyboard over an LED light, but I'll take the LED light over no light.
I wish the keys were dark with light letters on the HP keyboard. I like how Apple changed the MacBook Pro to have dark keys with light letters on the newer models. My wife has the older MacBook Pro that has a silver keyboard. When working at night, the keyboard is more visible if you have dark keys instead of silver keys.
Speaking of the keyboard, the HP 2730p comes with a keyboard that's treated with a special coating that preserves and protects the keys from wear. That's a great feature for anyone who does a lot of typing (like me).
Those who hate the trackpoint mouse will love the fact that the HP 2730p comes with both a TouchStyk and a TouchPad mouse. You get the best of both worlds. I found that the buttons for the TouchPad were a bit stiff because they're really a part of the magnesium frame. The buttons for the TouchStyk work just fine.
As for the keyboard on the HP 2730p, I rate it as "very good." It's not an "excellent" like the keyboards found on Thinkpads because certain keys are small or in atypical locations. For instance, the home, end, insert, and delete keys are quite small (still very usable, but just small). The function keys are the same small size. The page up/down keys are in an atypical position. You can get used to any keyboard if your practice. However, the nice thing about Thinkpads is that they probably have the best laptop keyboard in the industry, so you can quickly transition from a Thinkpad to a full-size keyboard without thinking about it very much. On the HP 2730p, you have to get used to the placement of some of the non-standard keys, but that doesn't take very long.
I wrote this entire blog post while sitting in my bed with the notebook on my lap and the keyboard light on. This unit stays very cool and it won't burn up your legs like some high-performance laptops. More to come tomorrow as I continue to test this machine.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Are you seeing netbooks popping up everywhere? I was in a fairly classy restaurant the other day (not the type where you'd see many people with laptops) and I saw two people dressed in suits using netbooks. They're everywhere!
Because many of the "back to school" sales are focusing on inexpensive netbooks for students, I think we'll see an explosion of netbook sales this summer. Of course, most medical students have already started classes, so they probably made their purchases earlier this summer.
At some point, I think Apple is going to be forced to produce a netbook to keep up with the competition. They may not call it a "netbook," but it will be some type of equivalent low-cost notebook (not a tablet) that's small and light.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The upcoming giant iPod touch (Apple tablet) may be running the iPod touch OS (operating system). I doubt that it will run the full version of OS-X. The iPod touch OS may not be ideal for something as large as this upcoming tablet unless it's purely meant to be a multimedia device. I'm a pen-based computing guy, so I don't think the iPod touch OS alone will be sufficient for me. I need something more robust that allows me to run work-based productivity software. Maybe Apple is "beta testing" the tablet concept with this first generation model. I won't be surprised if subsequent models run a more robust OS that will allow for some type of pen-based computing.
Speaking of pen-based computing, this may be difficult if the upcoming tablet has the same type of screen that's currently found on existing iPods and iPhones. Although there are some stylus pens available for capacitive touch screens, the capacitive touch screen isn't the most popular type for pen-based computers. So, will the 2nd or 3rd generation models employ some type of dual-input screen? (capacitive and Wacom-based active digitizer?) Maybe by then, Apple will release a full Mac OS-X -based tablet computer.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Are all netbooks equal? Not when you have some that are tiny and others that really look like a small laptop. If you're thinking about spending a few hundred dollars for a netbook, consider the HP Mini 510.
The HP Mini 510 netbook received an "Editor's Choice" by Laptop Magazine and 4 out of 5 stars. They say, "This business-friendly netbook offers excellent performance in a durable and attractive design."
Pros:PC Magazine also rates this netbook as "Very Good" (4 out of 5 stars). Here's their Bottom Line: The HP Mini 5101 is much improved version over HP's previous netbooks, but you'll have to pay extra for many of its fringe benefits—if they become available.
* Stylish, durable design
* Comfortable keyboard (this is very important if you're buying a small computer)
* Excellent performance
* Good audio
* Touchpad has too much friction (maybe a tiny bit of grease can fix that problem)
Pros:If you're interested in reading the reviews: click here for the PC Magazine review. Want to read some more? Then, click here for Laptop Magazine.
Very attractive metallic chassis. 95-percent keyboard is right up there with those on the top netbooks. Mouse buttons are quiet. Bevy of options, including an "HD" resolution, 3G, SSDs and 7,200 rpm HDDs. Good performance scores. 802.11n wireless capability.
Options can bring up the cost significantly and aren't available for purchase yet.
I don't plan to buy a netbook anytime soon. My Thinkpad is small and light enough that I use it most of the time. Also, I have a Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC (and I still have my OQO model 02), so why needs another small computer, right?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I received the HP EliteBook 2730p tablet PC to review it for a few weeks. This is a great convertible tablet! Although there have been numerous reviews published online, I'm going to approach this from a medical user's perspective. Now remember that my main computer is a Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC. I've also had an X41 tablet (along with a few convertible tablets made by Fujitsu and an Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) made by Samsung). So, I've had my share of tablet computers.
Out of the box, the 2730p looks like a very high quality machine. You're not going to find any flimsy plastic on this device. The EliteBook lives up to its name as an "elite" machine. I've used many computers made by HP/Compaq and some have a better build quality compared to others. The 2730p is fantastic.
There's one thing the 2730p has that my Thinkpad lacks: the keyboard night light. To some, this may seem rather silly. However, if you're working in a hospital (say a radiology suite or a dark call room), you may encounter some situations when that keyboard night light can be quite handy.
Expect more from me next week as I dig into this device and compare it to the Thinkpad.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I'm about to receive an HP tablet PC as a test unit so that I can perform a review and blog about my impressions. As a current user of the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC, I will compare this HP convertible tablet with the Thinkpad. Although such reviews have been published on other websites, I will review these two tablets from a medical perspective.
Can you guess which HP tablet I'll be reviewing?
Monday, August 17, 2009
Like many of you, I used to have a PC running Windows Vista. Now, I'm using Windows 7 (Release Candidate version) and eagerly awaiting the public release of Windows 7 this fall. October doesn't seem too far away since we're already half-way through August.
For me, the greatest benefit will be in system efficiency. I'm a multitasker, so I have many windows and applications open at the same time. Vista was simply too slow for my needs, even when I was using a very fast computer. Now with Windows 7, I can be much more productive.
If you haven't tried Windows 7, you really should give it a try. If you're running Vista, you'll definitely want to upgrade this fall.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Here are the top posts last week on MobileHealthComputing.com
Friday, August 14, 2009
There are so many rumors circulating about this mysterious device that's about to come out very soon (next month?). I like to call it the Apple tablet. Others may call it the giant iPod touch. Either way, I think it's going to be a really innovative device. I just hope you'll be able to change the battery on it. Something in me tells me that it's not going to have a user-replaceable battery.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
First, perhaps we have to define the term "mini notebook." I am not referring to netbooks. I'm not referring to tablet-style ultra-mobile PCs (UMPC). In my book, the category "mini notebook" is a very unique category because we see a few devices out there that don't really fall into the UMPC or netbook categories. Some may say that they're a netbook or UMPC, but I'd probably disagree.
Let me pick on two examples:
- Sony Vaio P. This is a very slim mini notebook. It lacks a touch screen. The screen is 8" and it weighs 1.4 pounds. Some may call it a netbook, but Sony prefers not to call it a netbook. I call this device a mini notebook. It's smaller than a netbook. It could be a UMPC (since it is ultra-mobile), but that could be debatable.
- Fujitsu U820. Fujitsu calls this device a "mini-notebook." It has a passive touch screen that is 5.6" and the device weighs 1.32 pounds. This device can be converted from a notebook to a tablet. So, it's actually a mini convertible tablet PC. Fujitsu shouldn't call it a mini notebook.
As smartphones become more powerful and as they blur the line between smartphone and MID (mobile internet device), we will certainly see an evolution of mobile computing practices. What if someday, your smartphone is your entire PC? You dock it at work, use a full-size keyboard with two monitors, and then you remove it from the dock to take it home with you. Can you imagine holding that much computing power in your pocket?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So, I was browsing through PC World and I noticed that they had ranked Internet Security Suites. A significant portion of the August issue focuses on security-related topics.
So how were security suites rated? I'll list the top 3 first:
- G Data Internet Security 2010 recieved a score of 91 (superior) and a "Best Buy" stamp
- Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 got a score of 90 (superior)
- BitDefender Internet Security 2008 received 87 (very good)
- Comodo Internet Security Pro 3.8 which got a score of 57 (poor)
I recently got a free subscription to PC World, so I'll be sharing some of my opinions about the articles I read in the August issue. The cover caught my attention:
How to get the best of Windows 7 without upgrading: coax new life out of Vista and XP
I think that you can still get a lot of good life out of Windows XP, but I would encourage anyone currently using Vista to spend the money and upgrade to Windows 7. It just isn't worth the headache of dealing with all the Vista. Unless Microsoft comes up with a 3rd service pack for Vista that fixes many of the remaining bugs (which won't happen because they now have Windows 7), Vista will suffer a similar fate as Windows ME (remember that operating system?). Windows ME was quickly replaced by Windows XP, a solid OS. Well, Vista is going to get replaced by Windows 7.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Over the weekend, I was looking for some free anti-spam software and I remembered that PC World has a list of 101 Fantastic Freebies (free software). Since medical students and residents are often very hungry for freebies. Who isn't?
So, whether you're looking for anti-virus software, anti-spam, productivity software, a free file sharing service, photo editing software, or something else, I'm sure you'll find something useful on this list.
View the 2008 list of 101 Fantastic Freebies here:
Keep in mind that there are multiple versions of this is "101 Fantastic Freebies" list (one written in 2008 and there's also a version written in 2007).
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Here are the top 5 posts from last week on MobileHealthComputing.com
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I was shopping today and I was thinking about the fact that many students are getting ready to go back to school. Some have already started! If you're looking for a new laptop/notebook for school, would you be inclined to purchase a netbook for $300-400? Some of these netbooks are really nice and they are starting to blur the line between netbook vs. notebook. If you have an 11" screen and a large keyboard, then are you a netbook or simply an ultra-mobile notebook?
Over the next few years, I anticipate that we're going to see many netbooks on campus and in the airports. Apple will have to come out with a device to compete against netbooks that are priced just for that student budget. Most medical students don't have the luxury to spend a lot of notebooks. Maybe you're school requires that you purchase the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC. That's not a cheap computer. However, if you have the flexibility to choose anything, then maybe it makes sense to get an inexpensive netbook and then to get a nicer machine after you graduate.
Friday, August 7, 2009
SEO = search engine optimization
How well do you understand SEO? There are experts out there who have careers devoted to the topic of SEO. Increasing search engine traffic can be critical to any business that wishes to leverage the Internet. I've learned a few things about SEO over the years, but I'm certainly no expert. Perhaps you're looking for an SEO Expert for your company. If you're starting a new website, then SEO is critical because that may be one major source of your traffic.
How would you rate your website traffic? Do you know where to begin to even evaluate that? Every physician should have a website. Every doctor's office, clinic, hospital, and medical center should have dedicated websites because more consumers are looking for health information on the Internet. They are looking for physicians and other types of healthcare providers by searching on Google and Yahoo (let's not forget about Bing). I've seen many physicians leverage social media such as blogs and Twitter to promote their medical services. What about you?
We've seen some significant changes in search engines over the past several years. Google leads the pack, but Yahoo may be capturing a different audience. Microsoft had Live Search and then rebranded that as Bing. Other search engines like Ask.com or custom search engines such as Wikipedia (notice how Wikipedia seems to come up on the first page of Google searches?) have also been gaining traction.
You may wish to Contact SEO Expert to see how you might be able to improve your website traffic. You can often get free quotes and statistics that can provide you with some guidance on how you may be able to improve your website.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
With all the recent talk about health IT in Obama's stimulus plan, do you think that more doctors will be using tablet PCs with their electronic health record (EHR) solutions? Yes!
CrunchGear has a story that evaluates the Tablet PC industry. Is 2010 the year of the tablet? Nah.
Well, that may be true if you're thinking about the consumer market. However, the healthcare segment will definitely see an increase in tablet PC usage. Already, medical students in certain medical schools are required to have a Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet PC during medical school. Physicians will be required to have a level of computing proficiency as they use EHRs and e-prescribing on a routine basis. Let's not forget about CPOE (Computerized Physician Order Entry).
So, will we see an increase in tablet PC use among physicians in 2010? You bet! As long as EHR vendors continue to deploy systems that leverage pen-based data entry and they package their solutions with leading tablet PC manufacturers, then we'll definitely see some significant traction among healthcare professionals.
If you're thinking about performing an upgrade to Windows 7, make sure you understand your options. A few upgrade charts have recently emerged and they may not be too helpful unless you understand what the chart is trying to explain. The bottom line is that you can't directly upgrade from XP to Windows 7 (unless you upgrade to Vista with SP 1, and then upgrade again to Windows 7).
- "In-Place Upgrade" - you can "upgrade" directly on top of your existing operating system. You won't have to reinstall your applications and you keep all your files.
- "Custom Install" - clean installation where you'll have to reinstall all your applications.
I'm a big fan of clean installations over upgrades. That's what I'll be doing when I get my disks.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If you're running Mac OS X 10.5, you should know that the 10.5.8 update has been released. Here's what's included in this update:
* Upgrades Safari to version 4.0.2.
* Improves the accuracy of full history search in Safari 4.
* Resolves an issue in which certain resolutions might not appear in the Display pane in System Preferences.
* Dragging an Aperture image into Automator now invokes an Aperture action instead of incorrectly invoking an iPhoto action.
* Resolves an issue that could prevent importing of large photo and movie files from digital cameras.
* Improves overall Bluetooth reliability with external devices, USB webcams and printers.
* Addresses an issue that could cause extended startup times.
* Improves iCal reliability with MobileMe Sync and CalDav.
* Addresses data reliability issues with iDisk and MobileMe.
* Improves overall reliability with AFP.
* Improves overall reliability with Managed Client.
* Improves compatibility and reliability for joining AirPort networks.
* Improves Sync Service reliability.
* Includes additional RAW image support for several third-party cameras.
* Improves compatibility with some external USB hard drives.
* Includes latest security fixes.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
One of the nice features within Windows 7 is the ability to run Windows XP. Yes, XP will never die. This operating system will live on forever.
XP Mode is essentially a virtual PC running within Windows 7.
XP Mode is essentially a virtual PC running within Windows 7.
Windows Virtual PC provides the capability to run multiple Windows environments such as Windows XP Mode from your Windows 7 desktop.To download the Release Candidate of XP Mode, go here:
Monday, August 3, 2009
Over the weekend, I took a mini family vacation. I took my convertible tablet/laptop, but I also took my ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) to entertain kids in the car. Since I use a universal power supply, I only needed one power charger with two different power tips. One tip for the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet and one tip for the Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC. Why carry two power adapters if you can get away with one?
Also, my power adapter allows me to use the charger in the car. It comes with a cigarette charging adapter so I can keep the UMPC powered during long car rides. The airplane adapter used to be very handy during long flights, but now that many airlines have turned the power off, those are practically useless.
So who makes these types of universal power adapters?
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Here are the top posts for Mobile Health Computing in July:
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Jenn at pocketables.net wrote about how OQO might be acquired by the Chinese distributor known as AudioTone. Then, she updated her post by indicating that Picasso (the OQO Talk forum moderator) told her that these are old rumors that have dissolved. So, what's the truth? Does OQO have a chance at survival? It's too bad the major players like Samsung or HTC don't acquire this great technology. It appears that the OQO will suffer the same fate as the Apple Newton Messagepad. Long live the Newton and OQO! I hope that my OQO lives a long life. Although my Newton still works, I don't use it because the grayscale screen just isn't very practical these days. The OQO can always become a small digital picture frame at the least.