28 February, 2007

Time for a Change

Welcome to the new MPR blog site!

This is the eighth year of publication of the Medical Palm Review. It has gone through several changes in format and delivery. Starting to feel a little stale so I decided to try delivering it as a blog.

Blogs have some advantages over the website format I have been using until now. With a blog I can log on from anywhere to add content when I feel like it, instead of aggregating news and commentary in monthly chunks. It's also easier for readers to offer comments and feedback. I can also break up each issue into multiple short articles, so that comments can be directed to selected topics.
Up until now, almost all the mail I have ever received at the contact address listed in every issue has been spam. Now I can retire that address and rely upon readers to click on the comment links at the end of every post instead.

Disadvantages include the possibility of even more spam, which might also clutter up the blog site if I am not careful. And there is the risk that readers might not like the change in style that the new format entails. Many of the features for visually challenged users which I added to the MPR will not work the same on a blog and will need to be relearned.

I am still learning and experimenting. Let me know how you like it. Your comments can influence how we continue. Meanwhile, I am hedging my bets by continuing the MPR site. You can continue to access the archive of back issues there.

Change, for a Time

Daylight Savings Time in North America is fast approaching. In fact, due to recent legislation, DST will arrive several weeks earlier than usual. If you have a Palm, you should get the DST update from the Palm website.

Be aware that the DST patch gets zapped if you perform a hard reset on your PDA. The problem is discussed in more detail in a Brighthand forum.

While you are at it, you should go to the website of your desktop PC operating sy
stem to get whatever update you need to maintain correct time there as well. Otherwise the Palm Desktop software may not stay in sync with your handheld.

More Hacking

Another fix or two that may need your attention...

Treo smart phones can still be accessed when password locked. How? By using the built-in Find feature. The Smart pda site covers this problem in some detail. Palm has not done anything to correct this problem yet.

Microsoft also comes in for some stick because the latest version of Office XP. Outlook repeatedly pops up warning messages when Palm Desktop (and some other, older applications) attempt to access the Outlook email address database. This gets old very quickly, so you may want to look at Mapilab's Advanced Security for Outlook software, which reportedly tames the beast.

Medical Computing

Ontario Physicians who want to have an up-to-date listing of Limited Use Codes for prescription medications need look no further than Lawrence's Download Page for the latest version.
You will need a database program for your PDA but the owner of this website thoughtfully
offers the database in several popular formats.


Palm pulled the plug on the LifeDrive in February. This was in many ways a flagship product. Big screen, hard drive, wireless networking - the LifeDrive had it all. What it didn't have was big sales apparently. Once again we are forcefully reminded that PDAs are being eclipsed by other handheld devices with more emphasis on telecommunications. The Guardian had a perceptive article on the quest by cellular telephone operators to add more features. Palm and other PDA manufacturers are going to have to trot down the same road: GPS, location-based advertisisng, video on demand, uploading photos to websites like Fl
ickr or MySpace.

Although I like my Treo, I was astounded to learn all the tricks an ordinary cell phone can perform with the help of a few online services and downloads. Larry Magid's article is called Plain Cellphones Can Overachieve, With a Little Help in the 25 January 2007 New York Times (proprietary content that you can't link to without a free registration, folks). The article describes how to get RSS news feeds (Flurry), web search (Google, Yahoo), email (Google, Yahoo Go). You can link to Outlook and other applications on your PC with Soonr. That's pretty good for a cell phone.

As a doctor, I can see many useful things in a connected PDA. But I would much p
iCuiti M920 head-mounted displayrefer something with a screen larger than that of a typical cell phone. And I don't want a great big tablet PC either. Recently I even contemplated jumping ship to try a Dell Axim with a head-mounted display which projects an image onto one eye. iCuiti makes some great ones (the picture on the right shows their M920 model plugged into an iPaq). Unfortunately their website indicates that they are out of stock on the displays. So I will have to wait a while longer before experimenting with that technology.

That's enough for a first effort. More to come in March and April....

Until then, enjoy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To add your own comments, just click on the "comments" link at the end of the issue.