Monthly Archives: February 2011

Firsthand: Christchurch Quake

Layton Duncan: “From the shelter of the door frame, as the shaking became more violent, I could see the roof structure moving independent of the walls. Daylight streamed into the room as the roof moved off the walls. The noise was immediate, and horrendous. Breaking glass, bricks shifting, splintering wood. You could see out the windows the surrounding buildings rolling and moving side to side unnaturally. The walls then started to fail. First the parapets, followed by the whole east side wall. The room filled with daylight, then seconds later, mortar dust engulfed the whole room. We waited for the shaking to stop, to avoid falling masonry.”

Being a native Californian I’ve been in my share of earthquakes, but to actually watch as walls collapse? Terrifying.

Wishing the fine people of Christchurch all the best. God Bless.

MacBook Air or iPad?

The Unofficial Apple Weblog: [hat tip @JFahrni]“What the iPad does not do well is work. Yes, you can get work done when the need arises, but the iPad was not designed for day-to-day business. It is, at its heart, a netbook with the core demands of light computing and connectivity guiding its use. If you want multitasking, multiple windows, professional software suites and so forth, then you want a proper computer running a full-featured OS. You want a laptop or desktop, not a pocket or tablet device, even if you still need mobility.”

I like this article because they point out exactly what the iPad was designed for, consumption. It’s not about cranking out documents and spreadsheets, it’s about watching movies, playing games, tweeting, and answering the occasional e-mail. Just what Steve Jobs said it was for.

As for the Air. I know a lot of folks that drool over them. I’m not one of them. I’d much prefer a fully loaded 15-inch MacBook Pro. I’m man enough to carry around this 5.6 pound beast!

Is good movie making dead?

GQ: “And no Inception. Now, to be fair, in modern Hollywood, it usually takes two years, not one, for an idea to make its way through the alimentary canal of the system and onto multiplex screens, so we should really be looking at summer 2012 to see the fruit of Nolan’s success. So here’s what’s on tap two summers from now: an adaptation of a comic book. A reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a sequel to an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a TV show. A sequel to a sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a young-adult novel. And soon after: Stretch Armstrong. You remember Stretch Armstrong, right? That rubberized doll you could stretch and then stretch again, at least until the sludge inside the doll would dry up and he would become Osteoporosis Armstrong? A toy that offered less narrative interest than bingo?”

He doesn’t mention the horrible 3D trend, which only lends to enhance bad movies and action films. It looks like 2011 and 2012 will be a bit thin on great movies. Then again, we’re all going to die in 2012, right?

Oh, and Stretch Armstrong? Who green lighted that?

Christchurch Quake

CNN: “One of New Zealand’s largest cities lay in ruins Tuesday night after a powerful earthquake killed at least 65 people, toppled buildings and left scores trapped beneath chunks of concrete.”

Of course those of us that follow someone from New Zealand heard about it on Twitter long before the news had stories. Layton Duncan lived through the disaster and has been tweeting and posting pictures and video ever since. Including a shot of his destroyed office.

Browse Layton’s pictures:

Borders on the brink

The New York Times: “The troubles of Borders are rooted in a series of strategic missteps, executive turnover and a failure to understand the digital revolution — problems in many ways of Borders’ own making. But as those in the volatile industry digested the news that most saw coming, they were acutely aware of the bigger picture: that in a fast-evolving bookselling environment there is slim margin for error.”

Sad, but inevitable.

The Computer Pharmacist

Jerry Fahrni: “Perhaps pharmacy could take advantage of the Watson technology to help pharmacists move away from nearly universal prospective order review (NUPOR), i.e pharmacists stuck at a computer terminal looking at every order written. There has been a movement in recent years to eliminate the need for NUPOR and move toward a system that allows drug orders with “imperceptible harm” to be automatically verified and activated for use on a patient. Some think it’s a crazy idea, but it makes sense to me. There are several medication orders that come to mind that would fall into an auto-verification category.”

I know he’s my brother, but when this guy talks about pharmacy technology, you should probably listen. He has a very forward thinking view of his profession, he’s a Clinical Pharmacist with many years in the trenches, and he lives, eats, and breathes technology. Some would probably call him a heretic for his outside the box thinking; a radical, a nut, extreme, but you can’t ignore what he has to say.

I have no doubt his ideas will change the way Pharmacists in a hospital setting operate.

Movie line of the week

Good morning, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted one of these, so here’s the line.

Good luck!

Watchin' it on the big screen!When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”

Ok, quick, what movie! Send your guesses here.

Ryan Carson on App Store Subscriptions

Uncle Scrooge McDuck in his money vault.Think Vitamin: “This is nothing more than extortion by the second most valuable company in the world (only Exxon Mobil is worth more). They’re leveraging their power to dramatically increase their own profit.”

Folks are up in arms, once again, over Apple’s choice to take 30% off the top for in app subscriptions. I don’t know how to feel about this one. If this means Amazon’s Kindle software and Pandora are killed off that would be darned sad. If it’s about new subscription based services, like magazines, I don’t know what it means, that’s up to the publishers to and Apple to bang out.

Something Carson goes on to say is “Forget iOS and bring on the HTML5 mobile apps.” That’s one way to go, but Carson is a web guy, they do HTML and CSS for a living. I love the web, I really do, but HTML and CSS are lowest common denominator development. It’s like writing a cross platform application in C/C++. You get a similar experience on each platform but the apps tend to feel like there’s something missing, they feel off. The web browser is great for some things, but everything? I don’t think so. Web apps aren’t the answer for every app.

The only way this will change is to hit Apple in the pocket book. If users abandoned the platform, or publishers banded together and agreed to not create apps for iOS, and stuck to it, that could force Apple to change their stance. I think users will continue to purchase iOS devices because they’re built for everyday people and the user experience is just too good. The publishers need to come together, but they won’t, they have dollar signs in their eyes and will embrace the platform for fear of being left behind.

In the end they, the publishers, can’t complain too much if they ship a product on the platform.

An Apple Cloud?

Fast Company: “Meanwhile, the WSJ is also reporting Apple’s planning a revamp of MobileMe–its cloud-based ecosystem behind the iPhone and iPad–that will make it free, and more powerful. By pulling off this trick, the WSJ suggests the iDevices won’t need so much on-board memory, as they’ll simply be able to save, share and view content from the cloud (over 3G or Wi-Fi).”

If Apple gets this right I know a lot of people that will be very happy.