Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amazon Updates Kindle Software on iPad

On my way home from Dallas yesterday, I was killing time in DFW when I decided to buy a new book from the Amazon Kindle store. I was traveling light on this particular trip... The only device I was carrying was my iPad.

Fortunately the wise people at Amazon decided early on with the iPad to support & embrace the device instead of looking at it as competition. This means that if I want to access Kindle media on the iPad, "There's an app for that".

Actually I was wanting to try the iBooks store, but the book I wanted wasn't available there. However, after failing to find it in iBooks, I fired up the Amazon Kindle app & quickly located it in the Kindle store. Thank goodness for Amazon!

The great thing about the way Amazon has embraced the iPad is the seamless way it works. I searched directly from the Kindle app & purchased the book. It downloaded within seconds to the iPad and I was reading in less than a minute. My Kindle itself wasn't even involved. It was still sitting on the shelf in my office back home.

Now as the download was happening, I noticed that another book also downloaded. That one was The New Oxford American Dictionary. Since I hadn't purchased it, I was curious as to why it downloaded. I did a little research, and this was what I found.

It seems Amazon has updated their Kindle iPad app for iOS4. In doing so also brought along several improvements. It now has Google and Wikipedia lookup for words *and* the aforementioned dictionary. The dictionary is downloaded the first time you highlight a word, which is why I was surprised when it appeared.

There is also a feature that allows searching inside of books, which is a big deal for people with reference books or people like me that like to revisit parts I hadn't previously marked.

So kudos to Amazon for their commitment to improvement on all their platforms. Kudos also to their inventory. I wouldn't have had the book if it wasn't for them.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 30, 2010

Citigroup Finds a Security Concern in their iPhone App

Citi screen.jpg
Citigroup is encouraging users of their iPhone app to discontinue its use and upgrade to its latest version.  Citigroup has indicated that the faulty app was accidentally saving info pertaining to the account of the individual using it.  The info included account numbers, bill payments, and security access codes.  This data being left on the device means that others can access it as well and that leaves the customer incredibly vulnerable.
According to Citigroup, the updated version will delete any Citigroup info that may have been stored on the device.  Kudos to them for discovering the problem, going public with it, and offering a fast solution.  The company has stated they do not believe that anyone was affected from the flaw.
This demonstrates that even apps that are approved by Apple and downloaded by customers from the App Store may not be free of bugs or security holes.  I expect to see more of these types of stories as our world continues to evolve around mobility  with the smartphone acting as the center point.  Cases such as this are the reason that I recommend waiting and not being on the leading edge of using apps such as this.  Give them some time to be used by others and have the bugs worked out of them before jumping in with both feet.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Amazon Releases New "WiFi Only" Kindle for $139

New Kindle.jpg
The iPad has changed things a lot as far as consuming media... in a very short time.  And while it has been getting the lion's share of publicity since its release, it wasn't the first "slate/tablet" type device designed for media consumption.  Perhaps the best known, until 3 months ago, was the Amazon Kindle.  Now, I've blogged about the Kindle here before.  It's a great device for reading.  Well designed, extremely light and portable.
Amazon was very meticulous in the design and the software as well.  The Kindle is easy to use, easy on the eyes, and really had anything the average person reading a book might need, including a dictionary.  You can make notes, highlight passages, dog ear pages, you name it.  In fact the only thing the Kindle wasn't easy on was the wallet.  I bought mine about 3 years ago and paid about $300 for it.
Now we're seeing why the old adage "competition is good" rings so true, even today.  That's because today, Amazon announced the release date for a new Kindle that will retail for only $139.  Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon has stated that due to selling so many of the devices, the price can drop due to the economy of scale.  This particular device also has a lower price tag due to the fact that it can only download from a WiFi connection and not a wireless mobile connection (Amazon uses AT&T for that service with no charge to the customer).
This new WiFi Kindle has some advantages over previous versions, including:
  • Faster page turning
  • 3500 book memory - almost double from previous versions
  • One month battery life

The device will be shipping on August and is currently available for pre-order. All the details can be found on the product page at Amazon.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clinical Trial with Midwest ATC Handpiece Starting This Week

 

Midwest Stylus ATC.jpg
For the next few weeks we'll be putting a new handpiece from Midwest through our clinical testing process.  We'll push it as hard as we can to see if we can find any weaknesses.  This will involve, but not be limited to crown removal, endo access (especially through crowns), alloy removal, operative, and anything else we can throw at it.  We'll also be comparing it to our existing handpiece inventory of Prodrive handpieces, Kavo 635 with Prodrive turbines, and Lares 557's.
The Stylus ATC incorporates a couple of interesting technologies:
Speed-Sensing Intelligence (SSI) By incorporating SSI technology, Midwest Engineers added a sensor to the handpiece that connects to an electronic "brain" in the control source that constantly maintains bur speed according to load. It knows when to deliver more power.

Superior Turbine Suspension (STS) Midwest® optimized the axial preload with independent radial support to the bearings, providing unparalleled stiffness even at the highest load and speed without noticeable bur deflection or chatter.

 

For all the details on the Stylus ATC, visit the official website.

 

 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When Disaster Strikes...




As you should all know by now, I'm fairly fanatical about backing up. However, there are some times, such as when you are in the middle of a project and you suffer a crash. You may not have had the chance to backup that one critical piece and now your machine won't boot... What do you do?

Well, for around $20 you can have the Bytecc USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Adapter Kit. This is one of those devices that is handier than you might think for all kinds of reasons. In a nutshell, it allows you to take a standard hard drive, connect it to another computer via USB and access it just like any other USB drive. You can copy needed files, reformat the drive, basically anything you can do with a USB drive. This very affordable little gizmo has made my life a lot easier on several occasions & is highly recommended.

Here is a list of features & included items:
USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Cable
Support SATA HDD up to 1000GB(1TB) , IDE HDD up to 750GB.
Connect any device with an IDE/SATA Interface to a PC with USB interface
Transfer rate Approx. 480 MBps
Complies with USB 2.0 standards
Backwards compatible to USB 1.1 standards
Complies with ATA/ATAPI-66 Spe. V1.0
Easy to Install
Supports IDE/SATA and enhanced IDE hard drives
Supports ATA/ATAPI/SATA CD-ROM/R/RW DVD-ROM and more
External power adapter for IDE/ATAPI/SATA devices
Linux, Mac compatible


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 26, 2010

Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet




I like my iPad, but I know there are those of you who would prefer something non- Apple and something that is on a different platform.

As time goes on, you'll have more and more choices, but how about right now? The good news is that you can have your very own tablet/slate device running Android. Here is the press release. Read on for all the details:

Velocity Micro® Announces a Family of Android™ based color E-readers and Tablets

Cruz line launches with 7" color Cruz Reader™, 16:9 Cruz Tablet™ and kid-friendly Cruz StoryPad™

Richmond, VA – July 13, 2010 – Velocity Micro, the premier builder of premium, high performance desktop computers, notebooks, and peripherals, announces the debut products from a captivating and affordable line-up of Android powered mobile devices. Taking e-readers light-years past e-ink, the Cruz Reader features a sleek design, touch screen display, and tons of multimedia features. The Cruz Tablet offers the same multimedia capabilities as the Cruz Reader with more storage and a multi-touch screen. Perfect for kids, the Cruz StoryPad offers a touch screen, interactive content, and intuitive interface. Best of all, the Cruz line starts at just $149.

"Since 1992, Velocity Micro has been dedicated to building remarkable consumer electronics," said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro. "With the development of the Cruz line, we were able to take those enthusiast sensibilities and package them for the mainstream consumer to create a product that's not only amazing, but affordable as well."

At under one pound and about a half inch thick, the $199, 7" Cruz Reader goes everywhere you do, making it perfect for students, avid readers, frequent flyers, and techies. Additional features such as video playback and web browsing provide a much richer experience than traditional e-ink readers at a more reasonable price than a tablet.
Key specs and features include:

· Crystal clear 4:3 ratio, 800x600 full color touch screen display – ideal for viewing ebooks and magazines, plus web pages and movies

· Google Android Operating System

· 802.11b/g wifi and full Web browser support

· High res video and high quality audio playback with no proprietary content restrictions

· Built-in Dictionary, Notepad, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Contacts, Games, and other useful apps

· Built in accelerometer, tilt activated

· Enough built in storage for hundreds of books

· USB and SD card slot for upgradable storage, including a 2GB SD card

· Up to 10 hours of use and over 24 hours of standby time, with a replaceable battery

· Access to over 2 Million ebooks via included Borders E-book library portal application

· Access to the Cruz Market™, an open content portal for downloading apps, magazines, and videos from a broad array of content providers.



At $299, the Cruz Tablet offers a truly mobile experience at an affordable price, finally giving consumers an Android-based tablet alternative.

Spec and feature upgrades include:

· 7" 16:9 ratio, 800x480 capacitive display – great for viewing widescreen video

· 802.11n wifi for faster wireless connectivity

· Integrated microphone for voice recording

· 4GB of built in storage with an 8GB SD card in the box for additional storage of high res photos, video, and music


Rounding out the Cruz line, the $149 Cruz StoryPad packs tons of multimedia features into a kid friendly, drop resistant package, letting children read, learn, and interact using a simple and intuitive touch interface. Features include:

· 7" 4:3 800x600 full color touch screen display

· Simplistic and intuitive navigation

· High res video and high quality audio playback

· Preinstalled audio book content – reads classic stories as the child follows along

· SD card for additional storage

· Available in pink, blue, and green


The Cruz Reader and Cruz StoryPad will be available from most major retailers and direct from Velocity Micro in August with the Cruz Tablet following on September 1st. For more information or to sign up for e-newsletter updates, visit www.CruzReader.com.

ABOUT VELOCITY MICRO, INC.

Velocity Micro, Inc. is the premier high-performance personal computer provider in North America. Founded in 1992, Richmond, Va.-based Velocity Micro custom builds award winning gaming, mobile, multimedia, small business, workstation, visual supercomputers and peripherals. Velocity Micro products are currently available at most consumer electronics retailers nationwide. For more information, please call (800) 303-7866 or visit www.VelocityMicro.com.

Velocity Micro has earned over 60 industry awards, including 11 PC Magazine Editor's Choice awards. CNET, Maximum PC, Mobile PC, PC World, Computer Gaming World, Computer Shopper, and PC Gamer editors have all chosen Velocity Micro systems as some of the industry's best-performing, highest-quality, and most reliable PCs.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Atomic9 Brings Bluetooth Wristband Speakerphone to Market

Atomic9 Bluetooth.jpg
If you're sick of walking around with that Bluetooth earpiece stuck in your ear (and really, who isn't sick of that?).  Then this device is for you!  The Atomic9 Wristband Speakerphone allows you to answer and speak into a Bluetooth device on your wrist.
It's equipped with Bluetooth 2.1, will do voice dialing, and even warns you when you start to wander too far away from your phone (I'm famous for doing that as I tend to "wander" while on business calls.
This is certainly an interesting concept.  I have Bluetooth in my Tahoe, so I'm a bit used to the concept of using Bluetooth like a speakerphone.  I only use my in-ear headset now when I'm at my desk on business calls and almost no other time.  Of course the drawback is that everyone can hear the speaker so this is only going to be usable in select environments.
It's currently available for $99 and all the info is at the company website.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

GENIUS LAUNCHES SUPER MINI WIRELESS NOTEBOOK 2.4GHZ MOUSE

When you travel, the smaller the mouse, the better. Trust me on that one. The good folks at Genius have come up with a great design for a travel mouse with a tiny USB dongle. Read on for the press release:


MIAMI (July 21, 2010)– Genius (www.geniusnetusa.com), a brand division of KYE Systems Corp., today announced a new addition to the company’s extensive line of mice, the Micro Traveler 900S with cordless high tracking precision and Stick-N-Go mount design.
The Micro Traveler 900S’s 2.4GHz digital cordless technology works up to 10 meters away and delivers interference-free operation, as well as 1200 dpi optical engine for enhanced tracking performance. The Micro Traveler 900S mouse is perfect for traveling around the home, office or on-the-go. The pico receiver can be stored underneath the mouse and the Stick-N-Go mount allows users to attach the mouse to a notebook or laptop, creating an ultra portable mouse. Now available in silver and black, the Micro Traveler 900S is attractively priced at MSRP USD $22.99.
Features:
2.4GHz wireless radio frequency minimizes interference
1200 dpi advanced optical engine for enhanced movement control
Soft rubber on both sides for a comfortable grip
Stick-N-Go to attach mouse to any laptop
2-in-1 slot for Pico Receiver and Stick-N-Go mount
2.6 inch mini size
Sales/Purchase:
The new Micro Traveler 900S mouse starts shipping in July 2010. Interested shoppers can go to New Egg.com, Amazon.com, www.geniuseshop.com, Tiger Direct, Buy.com or for more information on the entire line of Genius products and other retailers and distributors please visit: http://www.geniusnetusa.com/.

Friday, July 23, 2010

GM to Bring OnStar App to Market Later this Year

GM logo.jpg
For years now, GM has offered OnStar as an option on most of its vehicles. The service connects your GM product wirelessly whenever you request it and the service can run vehicle diagnostics, provide turn by turn directions downloaded directly to your GPS system, can unlock your car, and can even disable your vehicle if it's been stolen.

Those services are impressive enough (and there are others), but now GM is looking to put some of that power into the palm of your hand. Later on this year, GM plans to release apps for iPhone and select Android customers that will allow you to view your vehicle fuel level, available driving range, oil level, tire pressure, and other diagnostic info. It will also allow you to lock your car from your phone as well as remote start it. Imagine being no where near your vehicle and suddenly wondering if you remembered to lock it. Simply start the app, tell the phone to lock you car, and... presto!

I also think of those times in the summer when I land at the airport and think of climbing into a "lava hot" car. Now you can activate remote start from your phone and get into a car that has been running the A/C in anticipation of your arrival.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Pays to have Friends

I've been thinking about this post for a while and now seems as good a time as any to write it. A little over 2 years ago I moved into a new office. It had been in the design process in my head and on scraps of paper for about 2-3 years. I found an excellent local architect who took my paltry ideas as well as my detailed geeky protocol for technology and created my dream environment. He was well versed in dental design and did an amazing job. He knew my friends at Goetze Dental and worked closely with them to make sure that everything dental would fit exactly as planned... and it did.

The second part of it was finding the right contractor to build the dream. We interviewed several builders that the architect recommended. Some were less expensive on their bids than others, but we were more interested in success and low stress than we were on the lowest bid.

We ended up settling on a company that was not the lowest bidder, but instead was the most organized and projected an over all culture of hard work and honesty.

Our project was completed one month early, on budget, and literally everything went exactly according to plan.

The reason for this post? I had a conversation recently with a local dentist who was lamenting to me that he was building a new office and that many things were going wrong with the project. It was way past the completion date and was still in need of much work. It was also a budgetary nightmare and potentially a financial problem. I asked him if he had interviewed the contractor I had used and he told me he had, but that their bid was higher than the contractor he was using.

Sometimes we can be penny wise and pound foolish. When approaching a project of this magnitude I highly encourage you to consider lots of variables. Saving money can frequently result in actually losing money when poor decisions are made.

Thanks also to Goetze Dental, architect Guy Gronberg, and House & Renner Construction. I couldn't have done it without you!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Northeastern University Develops Head Impact Detection and Alert System

It's a proven fact that helmets save lives... and teeth. If you are doing something risky, a helmet should be just another part of your routine. Of course, the helmet has always been a passive device; simply keeping the skull safe enough to usually avoid major damage. If an accident occurred, it was up to medical professionals to assess the situation and to try and identify the injury while trying to provide the most appropriate treatment.

Now, researchers at Northeastern University have developed a helmet that actively works to help indicate the amount of trauma the wearer has received. The helmet contains a type of accelerometer sensors which measure the impact and an LCD that uses colors to indicate the level of impact.

This type of data will provide valuable information to EMS responders as well as medical professionals in emergency rooms.

The full story from Northeastern University can be found here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cirago Creates Sleek and Money Saving USB 3.0 Docking Station for Hard Drives

cirago.jpg
As you frequent readers know, I'm a big one on frequent backups... both for my office and my personal data at home.  I have several portable hard drives as well as some drive enclosures that take standard drives and allow me to connect them as extra drives.  All of these connect via USB which makes it really easy.  Of course there are some problems with this setup.  The small portable USB drives are more expensive than a 3.5" SATA drive of the same capacity... and I'm not opposed to saving some money.
That's why I was so intrigued when I saw the Cirago USB 3.0 Docking Station.  The idea here is a simple one.  The device connects to your computer via USB.  You simply slide in either a 3.5" or 2.5" SATA I/II hard drive and your computer will recognize the disk.  The docking station acts as a hard drive enclosure (even though the hard drive is not "enclosed").  It is "hot swappable" meaning you can remove a hard drive and put another in without having to do anything.  Your computer will realize the old one is gone and the new one is connected.  Simple!
If you have older hard drives laying around that you'd like to put to use, this is a great idea.  You could even begin using the less expensive hard drives that fit inside computers as portable backup drives.  Also, if for any reason you need to get info off of a computer, like a laptop with a burned out screen, just put the hard drive in the dock and you have access to all the data.
The USB 3.0 standard means you can move data at speeds up to 5 Gbps (wow!), but it is also backward compatible meaning it will connect to older computers with either USB 2.0 or USB 1.0 ports.  The retail is rumored to be $49.99 and it should be available now ( a quick check of Amazon shows it available for $46.00).  This is one of those better mousetrap devices that just makes sense.  If you'd like to visit the company web page, here it is. However, there is not a ton of info.

Monday, July 19, 2010

NOSCAR® Announces First NOTES® Transoral and Transvaginal Gallbladder Removals Performed as Part of U.S. Multicenter Human Trial

Although not related to a true "gadget", this is an amazing breakthrough.  As I like to say from time to time, not everything tech has a chip and an on/off switch.

The world of health care continues to move in the direction of what we call "minimally invasive".  Whether this is advanced digital caries detection and special techniques to create tiny cavity preparations or general surgical procedures done with a scope, the idea is the same.  The aim is to create as little damage and remove as little of the natural structures as possible.  Leaving the patients with more of what God installed in the first place.

Along those lines, Drs. Horgan and Romanelli have been able to remove gallbladders in patients using transoral & transvaginal surgical access.  The idea is basically to use the body's own openings to perform surgery rather than make incisions.

The press release has all the info. Give it a read and glimpse a potentially game changing technique.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sorry for the lack of Posts

My apologies for the lack of posts the past few days. My travels took me to a location where a Net connection was unavailable. I'll return to my regular schedule tomorrow!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OtterBox Creates Protective Cases for the iPad

 

otterbox defender.jpg
Today, FedEx dropped of a nice cardboard box on my doorstep.  Not just any box, mind you, this box contained something I've wanted to get my hands on for a little while now.  Inside was my Otterbox Defender.
The Otterbox company has been around since 1998 and has always made quality products.  Their niche is protective cases for gadgets.  In fact, just like their company namesake, their original product line was waterproof cases.  When I found out the company was creating a case for the iPad, I knew that would be the one I'd want.
I went with the 800 pound gorilla of cases, the Otterbox Defender.  I currently have the iPad inside of it and I couldn't be happier.  The Defender is a hard plastic case which may be made of some type of polycarbonate.  It is definitely solid.  The case is ringed with a rubber grip that makes the iPad easier to hang onto and also helps provide cushion in case of drops.
It is designed to give the user full use of all controls and ports.  It even comes with an easel type stand that allows you to place the device at a secure angle for viewing.  Oh, and the easel is part of a hard plastic facing that snaps either on the back or over the front for added protection when your iPad is an a backpack or duffle.
If you are interested in purchasing one or are looking for a case for some other gadget, I highly recommend the Otterbox company.  The website has all the info. My only complaint is that the instructions for getting the device into the case are only in pictures with no text at all.  While I like to think I'm a bright guy and it only took me 10 minutes to figure it out, with written instructions, I could've been done in 5.  But that's the only complaint.  The Otterbox Defender is now the new home for my iPad.

 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LaCie XtremKey Raises the Bar on Indestructible Jump Drives

 

Xtreme-Key_Pkg.jpg
I've been a fan of LaCie products for several years now, and they just keep getting better.  In health care, we're always looking (at least I am) for the next greatest backup device.  I've found the one for the office, my current favorite hard drive, the ioSafe.  But you also need a reliable offsite backup that you can take with you.  Enter the LaCie XtremKey drive.
These handy little USB drives are darn near indestructible.  The drive itself is encased in a 2mm metla pipe casing that is sealed with wear -resistant screw threads & a rubber O-ring.  The drive is watertight to 100 meters and is resistant to 5 meter drops.  It is also impervious to the elements holding up at +200C and -50C.
If that isn't enough for you, it can also be run over by a 10-ton truck!
That's enough damage resistance for me!
It comes in capacitites from 8GB to 64GB and will be available in August through the LaCie Online Store, LaCie Corner, and LaCie Resellers starting at $49.99

 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease or death by two-thirds

Although more attention is being paid to this disease by the main stream press, obstructive sleep apnea is a disease that we deal with in dentistry on a regular basis.  Many folks who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine find relief to one of several oral appliances designed to help open the airway during sleep.  Most people who suffer with the disease find themselves extremely tired during the day as they don't get enough restful sleep at night.  We routinely do a cone beam scan on these patients which allows us to actually see the airway & we can get a better idea of the seriousness of the situation.  The dental device treatment is very effective and can provide a more comfortable solution for many folks suffering with this disease.  We see a number of these patients in our office on a regular basis.  It's a much larger problem than many realize.

However, being sleep isn't the only problem that comes from sleep apnea.

Now a study has been done that shows the disease can have other serious health effects.  The LA Times has a great article on the subject and the study.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vector MICROLite Hygiene Handpiece




As I wrote last week, I came back from a few days of R&R to find several boxes of things that needed clinical testing. One of the boxes was from Vector R&D. It contained several products and one of them could be tested quickly.

The MICROLite handpiece is designed to make the lives of hygienists easier, and it succeeds, according to the 3 hygienists we have on staff.

The MICROLite is tiny, at 3 1/2 inches. So tiny, in fact, that at first we all thought that would be a problem, but not so. Because of the shape which similar to an extended raindrop, the device fits easily in the palm of the user's hand and helps keep it balanced. In addition to the ergonomics, it also weighs in at 1.75 oz and is lube free.

The staff reports good torque and significant ease of use. The device lists for $500 and the staff rates it is a "buy".


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Evernote - Improving Your Life Through the Cloud




I promised more info on how the cloud is changing things for me and here is one more installment. I use and love Evernote on an almost daily basis. The idea is a simple one and well implemented. You can save notes, lists, and almost anything you can copy and paste to your Evernote account.

There are Evernote Programs available for almost every platform available and the system syncs between them all. Here is today's example:

I'm currently working on a webinar for Pentron and I'm deep into the creation process, but that also means outlining and making notes on what I want to cover. This weekend I've been mobile a great deal and that means I've been working on the iPad for a lot of this. The way I've been doing it is to make my notes in Evernote and then sync them to the Evernote servers.

When I got home to my Mac, simply opening the Evernote program and synching it brought all the notes right to me.

I'm also using Evernote to keep all my travel info organized as well as organizational info for my lectures and workshops for the next couple of years. Since it's info in the cloud, I can access it from anywhere. Cool huh?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making Life Easier with USB

I love USB thumb drives. I own a bunch and my favorites are several 32Gb models. They provide me with tons of storage that have no moving parts. They are a part of my daily backup routine and I'm never without one somewhere; either in my pocket, in my backpack, or around my neck.

I also love the blog Lifehacker. They always feature some cool things to make things better through technology.

This weekend they have a feature on making your life easier through things that can be loaded on a USB drive.

Check it out! http://lifehacker.com/5583307/top-10-usb-thumb-drive-tricks-2010-edition


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 9, 2010

1ft Glowing End Power Strip from Ziotek

Glowing end cord.jpg
If you use as many electronics as I do, you're bound to get frustrated with power strips. I mean, they're fine as long as you use standard devices with standard plugs, but it seems that more and more there is a plot my manufacturers to make plugs as non-standard as possible. It's really not to unusual to have 2 or 3 outlets per strip go unused because of plugs that overlap or are oversized. It's very frustrating to buy a power strip with lots of outlets and then let some of them sit there unused through no fault of your own.
So, naturally I was intrigued/delighted when I came across the Liberator® from Ziotek. This cord connects your power strip to the A/C plug on your gadgets. It's nice because the cords are all uniform and therefore allow you to use every outlet on your power strip. They also have a small neon bulb in the female end that indicates if they are receiving power. This can be handy if you have more gadgets than available outlets in your power strip.
A 3 pack is available for $14.99. Not a bad price for a nifty little device that could decrease your stress level. Ordering details from cyberuys.com

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nanostructured Assemblies for Dental Application

NewImage.jpg
For as long as I've been in dentistry, we've been looking for the Holy Grail of tooth replacement.  While modern endodontics (root canal therapy) is 92-94% effective, we'd like to find something that is 100%.
Our current line of thinking is usually as follows: If a tooth is broken down, but restorable, perform a root canal and then place a crown on the tooth to strengthen it.  The thought process is that there is nothing as good as what the body started with, so save the tooth if at all possible.
Scenario 2: If the tooth is too damaged to be restored, extract and have an implant placed.  Implants are almost a slam dunk with current techniques.  If the body's own natural tooth fails, place the implant.
Scenario 3: If the patient is not a good candidate for an implant due to physiology or if the patient chooses not to do the implant, place a bridge.
Those scenarios are probably the most common.  Now though, let's throw a new idea into the mix.  What if the body could grow a new tooth?  Amazing right?  I've been hearing rumors of such a miracle for at least 15 years now, but maybe, just maybe, we're closer to reality.  The idea is basically to place a "goop" of cells that grow a tooth into an extraction site and then let the body do the magic of producing a new tooth.  Science fiction?  Maybe, but read on for some pretty fascinating info:
Millions of teeth are saved each year by root canal therapy. Although current treatment modalities offer high levels of success for many conditions, an ideal form of therapy might consist of regenerative approaches in which diseased or necrotic pulp tissues are removed and replaced with healthy pulp tissue to revitalize teeth. Melanocortin peptides (α-MSH) possess anti-inflammatory properties in many acute and chronic inflammatory models. Our recent studies have shown that α-MSH covalently coupled to poly-l-glutamic acid (PGA-α-MSH) retains anti-inflammatory properties on rat monocytes. This study aimed to define the effects of PGA-α-MSH on dental pulp fibroblasts. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated fibroblasts incubated with PGA-α-MSH showed an early time-dependent inhibition of TNF-α, a late induction of IL-10, and no effect on IL-8 secretion. However, in the absence of LPS, PGA-α-MSH induced IL-8 secretion and proliferation of pulp fibroblasts, whereas free α-MSH inhibited this proliferation. Thus, PGA-α-MSH has potential effects in promoting human pulp fibroblast adhesion and cell proliferation. It can also reduce the inflammatory state of LPS-stimulated pulp fibroblasts observed in gram-negative bacterial infections. These effects suggest a novel use of PGA-α-MSH as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of endodontic lesions. To better understand these results, we have also used the multilayered polyelectrolyte films as a reservoir for PGA-α-MSH by using not only PLL (poly-l-lysine) but also the Dendri Graft poly-l-lysines (DGLG4) to be able to adsorb more PGA-α-MSH. Our results indicated clearly that, by using PGA-α-MSH, we increase not only the viability of cells but also the proliferation. We have also analyzed at the nanoscale by atomic force microscopy these nanostructured architectures and shown an increase of thickness and roughness in the presence of PGA-α-MSH incorporated into the multilayered film (PLL-PGA-α-MSH)10 or (DGLG4-PGA-α-MSH)10 in accordance with the increase of the proliferation of the cells growing on the surface of these architectures. We report here the first use of nanostructured and functionalized multilayered films containing α-MSH as a new active biomaterial for endodontic regeneration.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Testing the Vector Ultrasonic & other Assorted Goodies

Vector scaler.jpg
We've been out of the office for a few days.  After the the 3D Congress in La Jolla, I took the week off, last week to do a little mental rebooting.  With the pace that I live my life, it's nice to have a few days to pull off a "stay-cation".
It was great to see the staff again as the Flucke team all regrouped at the office this morning.  There's always the trade off of time off, though.  My normal expectation is a mound of mail on my desk, a jumble of voicemails on the office phone system, and boxes of products to go through.  This return certainly didn't disappoint in any of those categories.
However, the big bonus for this return was the large box that UPS had left last week labeled "Vector Research & Development".  As promised, the good people at Vector had sent me some products to evaluate, one of which is their "Lil' Beaver 2.0 Ultrasonic Scaling Unit".  I had seen this device at the FNDC show in early June and I've been anxious to get a chance to test it.  The device, priced at $500, is aimed at the market to provide an affordable ultrasonic scaler that provides higher quality than similarly priced units.
I've decided to have the newest member of the hygiene team, Sarah see what she can do with this device.  Our office goal when evaluating products is to push them to the very edge and see how they perform.  After all, you can only really get a feel for how well something is made when you take it to the outside of the envelope.  I figure this is a great way to test the Lil' Beaver while also welcoming Sarah to the team!  My goal is to combine the use of the Lil' Beaver as a scaler and the Osspray Smartip as a uni-dose air polisher.  This can give us a third hygiene operatory with state of the art equipment.
Here is the lowdown on the ultrasonic unit:
LITTLE BEAVER DELUXE MAGNETOSTRICTIVE (CavitronTM) Type SCALING UNIT
The Little Beaver 2.0 is an upgraded of our hugely popular Little Beaver scaling unit.

Convenient front mounted water control with large easy to adjust dial - easy even with gloves.

Turbo boost, 2 position foot pedal - press lightly for dial regular dial power, press firmly for TURBO! Heavy calculus watch-out!

Digital power adjustment with LED lit power display panel.

Front mounted main power switch - shutting the unit off when left unattended just got a whole lot easier.

Accepts both 25K (long) and 30K (short) ultrasonic inserts - no adapter or switch, unit automatically adjusts to accommodate any style, brand or frequency.
Lays flat or mounts vertically in provided vertical mounting stand for optimal counter space saving. Fits almost any where!

Compare price, quality, and the features of the Little Beaver – no other scaler on the market offers so much at such a great price!

1 year warranty on the scaling unit, 6 months on the foot pedal and handpiece.
The Little Beaver or Vector is not manufactured by or in any way connected to Dentsply.  Cavitron is a trademark of Dentsply. 
As I said at the start of this post, there were some other goodies in the box as well.  You can count on more posts about Vector products in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

iPhone 4 Reception Issues have been Confirmed - Not by Apple Though...

iPhone 4.jpg
It didn't take long for the complaints to start.  The iPhone 4 had barely been on the market when the rumblings started of a problem with reception.  People were having some serious problems when holding the phone a certain way and were looking for answers.  Unfortunately, those answers didn't come from Apple.  The official Apple response was the following:

Dear iPhone 4 Users,

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple's history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by one or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop four or five bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays two more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display four bars when we should be displaying as few as two bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don't know it because we are erroneously displaying four or five bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T's recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone's bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars one, two and three a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same- the iPhone 4's wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Apple

 

However, others began to do research and determined that the problem was more than a bad algorithm in the bar graphic.  The very bright people at anandtech.com did some really in-depth and fairly exhaustive research into the problem and came up with some amazing info related to the reception of the iPhone 4. It seems, the answer isn't as simple as the folks at Cupertino would have you believe.

Now do I think Apple will correct the problem?  Yes I do.  However, my feeling is that it's easier to just be totally upfront to start with.  Apple makes great products and I'm still a happy user, but they definitely could've handled this one better.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Facebook Working on Face Recognition Technology

facebook logo.jpg

It seems that Facebook really will be... well Facebook.

The company that has seemingly taken over the world for those not interested in the ins & outs of hard core tech communication, has decided to increase the efficiency of members "tagging" themselves & each other in photos posted on the popular website.  The idea that came about originally, was that users can easily upload photos into their online albums.  They can then "tag" these photos indicating who is in them so that friends & others can see the photos.  This also encourages these users to "tag" others in their online albums as well.  This, of course, increases the social activity on the site and adds to the sense of community.

The problem comes because this is a fairly arduous process if you have lots of photos.

To make the whole thing easier, Facebook software will now automatically identify & select faces in photo and all the user has to do is answer the Facebook question "Whose face is this?"  It works in a very similar way that my Canon pocket digital camera works as well as most digital cameras on the market today.

With more and more users spending more and more time on Facebook, the company has indicated there are other changes on the way that will continue to increase user efficiency.  That's going to be good news to a lot of folks and it's also smart if Facebook wants to continue to be the number one site on the Internet.  Ease of use is huge if you want to continue to grow your user base and also to not lose existing users do to frustration.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dentium USA Introduces the DASK – Dentium Advanced Sinus Kit

The DASK Enables Safe, Easy, and Reliable Access to the Maxillary Sinus Cavity

DASK.JPG

Cypress, CA (July 2, 2010) – Dentium USA, a premier manufacturer of dental products developed by clinicians for clinicians, introduces a sinus elevation kit called DASK (Dentium Advanced Sinus Kit), an ideal new surgical approach for a simplified and conservative technique for a reliable sinus lift procedure.

The DASK is a comprehensive solution for easy and reliable sinus lift and elevation procedures. Instruments included in the new DASK kit provide straightforward exposure to the sinus cavity, substantially reducing chair time and dramatically decreasing post-surgery discomfort for patients. Dental professionals can perform both safe and reliable crestal and lateral approaches with the all-inclusive DASK.

Dr. Jaime L. Lozada, a practicing prosthodontics specialist located in Loma Linda, California, recently put DASK to the test. “One DASK kit conveniently enabled both crestal and lateral approaches for all of my procedures,” remarked Dr. Lozada. “I was pleasantly surprised that the DASK is compatible with all my implant handpieces, and the diamond coated bur is like added security that prevents sinus perforation. I particularly enjoyed the cooling effect of the internal irrigation; and the gentle hydraulic pressure provided a nice extra lift during procedures.”

Dentium’s new advanced DASK is the first and only sinus kit to include a variety of drills for both crestal and lateral approach, pre-defined stoppers, sinus elevation instruments, osteotome inserts, and Dentium’s own OSTEONSinus & Lifting material. The DASK allows dental professionals to perform a well-controlled maxillary sinus augmentation with all the necessary components readily accessible in one complete kit.

The DASK’s diamond-coated burs were designed to help prevent sinus perforation and provide an optimal irrigation function. The internal irrigation not only has a pleasant cooling effect, it also adds hydraulic pressure, which slightly lifts the sinus during the procedure. Drill speeds for all DASK drills range from 800 to 1,200 rpm, and 30-45N.cm with the irrigation process.

The comprehensive DASK includes 6 implant drill bits (3 drills for crestal approach and 3 forlateral), 4 screw-on stoppers, 4 sinus elevation instruments, and 5 osteotome inserts. Dentium’s OSTEON Sinus & Lifting package includes two sinus bone substitute materials for both the Sinus and the Lifting kits, each containing different particle size compositions for simple and fast bone grafting.

The DASK was designed to be a universal kit, and can be used as a precursor to any brand of implant. For more information on the DASK, please call 1-877-304-6752, e-mail info@dentiumusa.com, or log onto www.dentiumusa.com.

About Dentium USA

Located in Cypress, California, Dentium USA is the worldwide manufacturer and distributor of Implantium® and SuperLine dental implant systems. The company also provides a full line of prosthetic equipment, lab components, and surgical instruments. Because all Dentium products are created by working dental clinicians, they are easy to learn and use, cost-effective, and are of the highest quality. For over a decade, Dentium USA has been establishing itself as a global leader in the dental industry through vigorous research and development, state-of-the-art products, unrivaled customer service, and creative innovation.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Starbucks Confirms Free WiFi

Starbucks Header.jpg
Ok, Ok, I know I drink too much coffee, but as I've said before, if caffeine or electronics will kill me, just start digging the hole right now. I'm a Starbucks Rewards Member and I got a great email on July 1. I've blogged about this piece of news here before, but since I received the official announcement, I thought I would repost it in it's entirety:
So starting July 1, Starbucks will be offering free, one-click, unlimited Wi-Fi within all of our company owned coffeehouses in the United States. What does this mean? It means Wi-Fi at Starbucks is now...
  • Free - there's no Starbucks Card required
  • One-Click - no username or password needed
  • Unlimited - no more 2-hour time restrictions

Just open a browser on your laptop or mobile device, click to connect and you're online. It's that simple.

For My Starbucks REwards members like you, this means Wi-Fi is now easier than ever and just one click away - plus you get to enjoy all the other benefits that come with My Starbucks Rewards: free coffee and tea refills, free beverage customization, special offers and the chance to earn free drinks at the Gold level.

See the complete details on My Starbucks Rewards

Friday, July 2, 2010

AAWD is pleased to announce that EverLight was named the “Best New Product for Women for 2010

 

 

everLight.jpg

 

For a couple of months now, we've been using and evaluating the DentalEZ Everlight.  We've had it installed in our first hygiene treatment area... home of super hygienist Nikki and she has been thrilled with it for the last 60 days.  Last week she and i had a conversation about the Everlight and she stated quite adamantly that she wouldn't go back to using an incandescent light no matter what.  The light is amazingly bright, but not so much that it tires the eyes.  It has several settings to vary the light intensity and puts out almost no heat at all.  According to Nikki, the product is highly recommended.  Needless to say, we're pleased with the the fact that the Everlight is now "award winning".  Read on for more info:

 

EverLight is an alternative to halogen-based operatory lights that provides color corrected light, focused pattern and is energy efficient.


The LED EverLight provides energy-efficient features simply not possible using traditional halogen

lighting. The EverLight encompasses a long life of 30,000-plus hours, 10 times longer than halogen,

reducing the need for replacement of lightbulbs. Moreover, dental professionals will enjoy substantial

savings on monthly energy expenses, as the EverLight uses less than 35 watts of energy; 70% less

than halogen-based systems.

The new innovative design of the EverLight is ergonomically equipped with a standard third-axis

rotation, allowing limitless positioning for optimal illumination. Moreover, the EverLight is easily

installed in six mounting configurations.


For more information about EverLight, please call 866-DTE-INFO or visit www.dentalez.com. 

 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wine Scam - Don't Fall for It

Although this post isn't tech related, my blogging credo is "blog about technology and life". This one is for sure about life as no matter how hard we try to rid the world of scammers, there will always be some. I received this via email from the American Dental Association yesterday and I'm reposting it here in hopes that it will potentially help all my readers. BTW, if you are one of those people who wonder 'what does the ADA do for me?', this is just one example. There are lots of things going on in the background every day that the ADA helps with, but we frequently don't even hear about it.


The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating an investment program allegedly targeting American dentists and involving sales of interests in fine wines. The SEC has asked the ADA to forward to its members a request for assistance in the SEC's investigation of the program. Following is the message from the SEC:

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission requests your assistance with its ongoing investigation into an investment program targeting American dentists and involving sales of interests in fine wines. The SEC has information that an offshore company has been cold calling dentists to solicit these investments.

The company apparently describes the opportunity as more lucrative than investments in various stock indices and claims that the wine investment is guaranteed to grow in value as the underlying wine ages and becomes more rare. Dentists who express interest in the program are mailed promotional materials.

It then appears that, after making an initial investment, the company sends dentists a contract and invoice seeking payment of a much larger amount.

The contract and invoice describe the initial investment as merely a down payment and indicate that, if additional payment is not received, the investor will forfeit his original payment and lose the opportunity to complete the investment. If the investor makes the additional payment(s), he purportedly may instruct the company to sell his wine in the marketplace, which is how investors purportedly earn the high investment returns promised in the sales pitch.

If you have been solicited to invest in this program, the SEC asks that you contact its investigators, David Peavler (peavlerd@sec.gov) or Jessica Magee (mageej@sec.gov). Be aware that the SEC's investigation does not mean that anyone has violated the law or that the SEC has a negative opinion of any particular investment, company, or person.

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