August 24, 2010

The candy is just around the corner...

They say if you're a blogger you have to post regularly. I am not sure I can agree since writing under pressure for my part never has produced any good results. On the other hand I can understand you folks want to have the candy coming if you are to stay here. Well hang on tight, the best parts are already being written but being a tad obsessive compulsive you will not see them until I feel they are good (I just love that feature of Blogspot where you can save posts as draft and publish when they are ready - it's so easy to draft your ideas then!).

As I see in my statistics that guests to the blog are on the increase I felt I should at least tell you what you are about to see...

  • I have been diggin into what video web sites are available to us and comparing them. Out of necessity since I've promised my colleges back in my ER to have them an access to the best one for the coming winter. USC essentials, CME download, LA all, EM:Rap tv... we will see who is the big winner.
  • I am still digging deeper into my new Android and finding out how it can be used at work.
  • The first IT tip is on it's way.
  • A big site of "my most used EM resources" is being written with reference to blogs, web sites, journals, podcasts, videos and most of online material you need as an EM physician.
  • I plan to review all those resources and currently have occupied my self with dwelling into blogs of colleges, yes - just your blog might be the first one! Actually the first review is out - although a little shallow.
  • I am writing a comprehensive text about my method of e-learning, describing some tools and tricks of the trade I have applied trough my years as an EM physician.
  • One post is about "asking clinical questions"; how to use the online databases to ask clear-cut and precise questions like "should my patient with previous MI have his ASA set out now that he has stable GI bleeding?"
Also I have putting my previous website programming experience into use and messing around with the CSS file of my blog. Just see these nice shadow effects on the title (not surprisingly, Internet Explorer doesn't support this) and voila - no borders around the images (easier said than done!).

As an Icelander, almost Swede even, my biggest problem is to coordinate my brain cells to write common-language-english. Being the OCD type I can not publish text unless I feel it's been cleaned from terrible typing [t]errors or grammatical mothballs. So you just wait folks, soon the candy will be floating all over!!

August 20, 2010

Stumbled upon:

Every physician has his/her own preference of *primary sources*. By that I mean websites, journals, blogs etc. they read the most, usually the ones they open up over the first cup of coffee in the morning. It's impossible to check all those medical sites out there as there are thousands of them and growing by every day.

But having this zone of comfortability also has some disadvantages as many doctors feel they don't need to use other sites. They feel they get enough of information from the ones they are currently using and don't see the point in trying out the new ones. Our senior colleges are a prime example - the ones who just hate the Web 2.0 revolution. Well it might work for some time but eventually they will stagnate. We all remember how beta blockers suddenly became state-of-art treatment module for heart failure. We just got blinded by old habits.

I really like to watch over the shoulders of my colleges and see what their primary sources are. Today I got to know an incredible website that somehow just has passed my radar all those years. I just couldn't believe it since it's the best I've seen in its field - basic human anatomy. The site is It's one hell of a site, presenting the human body not only in 3D but in layers so that you can easily find that structure you want to know more about. Perfect for orthopedics with its endless ligaments and muscle insertions you just love to forget. It has videos providing details such as functions of muscles. It has a special window to compare an MRI image to the anatomical view. You can click the MRI to see details of every small structure and it even has some clinical info. I haven't had the time to check the details but it's a "seeing is believing" kind of site. Definitely worth checking out.

August 11, 2010

Collaborative editing

Are you still use Microsoft Word for editing documents? Are you emailing them to colleges for review or further editing? Are you having a headache because of all the various revisions and total loss of oversight of your documents? If you just answered yes, you've totally missed the IT train. And wasting time and energy.

Collaborative editing is the concept of viewing/editing document which is kept on an online server (this is cloud computing at its best). Having a document online has many priveleges like
  • you can access your documents anytime from anywhere; throw your floppies, throw your USB sticks
  • you can invite others to view or even edit the document, also from anywhere
  • you never ever have to worry about backups
  • most servers will allow revision history which allows you to look back and see how that document looked like, say 6 months ago
Google docs (Google is sooooo much more than Gmail and web search!) is one of many different collaborative editors out there. It has many advanced features, actually so many that I've replaced my MS Office setup completely and all my documents now exist in Google Docs. I will very probably write a seperate post about this some day, more than one, since Google docs is a revolution for it self. The main drawback using Google docs is that invited editors require a Google account for accessing the document to be edited and I don't have the time or energy to persuade my colleges to convert to Google (as much as I'd wanted it). Sometimes there's these small documents I want to share and edit collaboratively and I want minimal effort.
Actually Google wave (which was just closed down) was the ultimate collaborative editing tool and many have said it was years ahead of the world.
Let me introduce to you Titanpad. In short, you create a text document online without having to login. The link (URL) then is the key and you keep it in a good place. You don't need to save or do anything other than just keeping the link. You can then exit your browser and enter that link at home and voila, you're editing the same document. Send the link to your friends by email and voila they're instantly editing your document.

This is all but man isn't it beautiful - can't you already see the endless possibilites!!! Try it out - here is a short document I just created:

August 1, 2010

My first steps in the world of Android

Five years ago I was one of the first to buy a smartphone as I had spotted many possibilities for using at work, having all medical textbooks on a small electronical device being just one of these. With the Iphone evolution everyone now has a smartphone and I am amazed at those still anchoring their pockets with kilos of textbooks.
Being fan of everything open-source (and Google actually) I was excited about Android already from the beginning. It's incredible sales numbers ("200.000 Android units sold each day") and ever increasing user base witness a new coming OS that might just swipe away competitors. And it's happening for a reason. This monster is Google based and as such has a huge group of experienced engineers and programmers which are original, grass root computer nerds and just love making good better. Also Android is "open source" and is it's core component is made of Linux. This means everyone can see the underlying code and make changes and updates as necessary and so thousands and thousands of programmers of the world are working to make Android better every minute. The perfect OS for quick and robust updates, huge database of applications and lot's of options to customize and improve to my own preference.

So this week I grabbed a Samsung Galaxy i9000. As expected it's an amazing device and has functions I had never imagined to see in a "telephone". Like walking around in my neighborhood and seeing on my phone what houses are for sale and at what price ("Layar" app, video below) - even what people in those houses have just recently Twittered (or Buzzed - that's Google's uprising social web)! What now remains to be discovered is how to apply all this technology to real life situations and work. My first impression is that I've just had an indispensable tool for improving my "Get things done" lifestyle (to be blogged later!); using otherwise wasted minutes for production and creativity, automatizing the boring parts in my life and improving efficiency in general. Until then, the feeling is a "Welcome to the Matrix" one!

Layar app in action: