March 2009 Archives

 

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).

The Big Takeover : Rolling Stone

Quibble, if you must, about the applicability or relevance of the selected facts, but that’s damn fine rabble-rousing propaganda there. Corporate greed, government oppression, incompetence, and personal inconvenience, all invoked in one tidy graf sure to stir emotion and boil blood.

Like a moth to a hot trend, Apple (AAPL Quote - Cramer on AAPL - Stock Picks) will fly into the netbook flame and get burned.

Apple's Netbook Foray Will Flop

Mental note made. Will return to this prediction at the appropriate time.

And, in a mass reprisal, decide to instead develop for…wait…

iPhone App Developers Gripe About Payment Delays and Dismal Customer Service

Pizza Cone
(via blogofhilarity) 

This is why you're fat.

I want to go to there.

Totally agreed:

If you don't want to switch to the Kindle 2 and you want to use your iPhone to read eBooks, try Stanza first. It's free, it's full-featured, it offers the best reading experience, and it does much of what the Kindle can do in a smaller (and more affordable) package.

Kindle is not the best iPhone e-reader | Webware – CNET

I’ve installed both as well, and Stanza is, by far, the more full-featured app, including an integrated book search and download feature, access to multiple ebook sources, and the ability to subscribe to and read periodicals.

Kindle’s fine, and the killer feature, I’m sure, is the sync with your Kindle hardware reader. But if you haven’t got a Kindle reader (and I don’t), then…

The Times takes a closer look at the challenge this administration’s taken on in driving greater use of electronic medical records.

So the legislation states that physicians will be paid only for the “meaningful use” of digital records. The government has not yet defined that term precisely. While the long-term goal is better health for patients, that can take years to measure. Consequently, many health experts predict that the meaningful use will be a requirement to collect and report measurements that can be closely correlated with improved health. Examples would be data for blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels for diabetes patients.

The legislation, health experts say, seems thoughtfully put together, but the obstacles to success will be daunting. “What’s underappreciated is the implementation challenge,” said Dr. Blackford Middleton, chairman of the Center for Information Technology Leadership, a research arm of Partners Healthcare in Boston.

Unboxed - How to Make Electronic Medical Records a Reality - NYTimes.com

Getting doctors to store their patients’ records digitally (and to incorporate these tools in their clinical decision-making) is really only part of the quest for better healthcare delivery, and better patient outcomes. In the end, we’re individually responsible for our own health, and the ability to control—and make use of—our own personal health information will be critical to better health and better outcomes over the course of our lives.

A physician, like a family member, is a partner in your healthcare. You ultimately are the one watching your weight, getting exercise, taking the medication, going to rehab, doing whatever it is that needs to be done to manage your health. And you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

This is what brought me across the country to do the job I’m doing now: the opportunity to make something that made a personal difference to people trying to live healthier lives and protect their families.

Gates of Heaven

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Ouch.

Still, Gates acknowledges the inevitable lure of forbidden fruit. “Every now and then I look at my friends and say, ‘Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone.’”

Gates of Heaven › Vogue's Click to View: The Latest Trends and News in Fashion on Style.com

One patient—a former skeptic—has decided to put his health information online:

So why have I gone over?

  • First, in the past year an increasingly wide range of people I trust have said "The data you're concerned about is already not as secure as you think." That doesn't leave me any more comfortable but I've come to accept that my choice of action won't make much difference.
  • Second, and more importantly, I'm concluding that we can do more good by aggregating our data into large, anonymized databanks that smart software can analyze to look for patterns. Early detection means early intervention means fewer crises.
            Diabetics are already starting to do things like this. And the Cambridge MA-based PatientsLikeMe is a full-blown example of a community (ALS / Lou Gehrig's disease) where patients are tired of waiting for the medical industry to produce results. They're uploading their data (anonymized), sharing it, looking for patterns, even creating their own clinical trials.
  • The third aspect, ultimately the deciding one, is something I see all the time in my day job, where we study new software tools: the power of "mash-ups." That's the ability to slap together two pieces of software (or data) that were created without knowing that the other one exists, and making something new out of them without anyone planning it in advance. Things can just grow in any direction people want.
            Mash-ups are a big part of what makes the Web what it is today: Anyone can put a Yahoo Map on their web site, I can take someone's YouTube video and put it on my blog, etc.

The power happens because this lets people create software gadgets without knowing how they'll be used, it lets people build tools that use data without knowing where the data will come from, and it lets people build big new systems just by assembling them out of "software Legos."

The New Life of e-Patient Dave: I'm putting my data in Google and HealthVault

This is completely gratifying, and exciting, to see.

I’m biased, of course, being a product manager with Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, but I think the Dave’s third reason really should be the deciding factor. When your personal data is in the cloud and accessible through an application programming interface (API), great things can happen. People you don’t know (and who don’t know you) can help you manage your health, whether you’re just trying to stay fit and lose weight, or you’re managing a chronic condition. If your data’s locked away in an inaccessible silo, or on paper, that can’t happen.

Of course, people like Dave shouldn’t store our personal health information with a service unless we feel our wishes as to the use of that data will be strictly respected. Again, I’m biased, but I think that HealthVault does a very good job of that.