Thursday, March 31, 2011

Amazon First to Market with Cloud Storage of your Music Collection

Amazon Logo.gif
For a while now techie types have been wondering who would be the first to offer cloud storage of your music collection.  Apple, Google, and Amazon have all been rumored to be in the game.  All of those companies currently offer some type of cloud storage, but just not the full on storage and access that music requires .
Well, this week Amazon made the first move.  In an interesting gambit, Amazon will allow cloud storage & access to Blackberry, Palm, and Android devices, but not to any Apple devices.  That's an interesting little tidbit.
The service provides 5GB of storage for free (that's about 1200 songs) and then offers  more storage for a fee.  The best part though is that you can access your music and play it on your device without it actually being on your device. This means that my new Motorola Xoom can have access to my entire 50GB music collection without having one song loaded on it.  Cool huh?
When the service was announced, Amazon vice president of movies and music Bill Carr said: "Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."  You know, that's true.  As I get more and more devices, it's harder and harder to remember what I've loaded where.  That's especially true for someone like me who has a music collection that is too large for all of my portable devices (except for my 60GB iPod).
I love the idea of being able to get my music anywhere I want it.  In my opinion, that's the way it's supposed to be.  The big music companies aren't too happy about that, but that's to be expected.  At first the thought was that Amazon was trying to bypass them, but now come rumors that Amazon is actually in negotiation with the large music providers to get them on board with this.
Either way, the genie is out of the bottle & it's only a matter of time before this becomes the de facto standard.
The best part is that it will only get better as Google and Apple get involved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Align Technology to Acquire Intra-Oral Scanning Leader Cadent for $190 Million

align-logo.jpg
I've been hearing some rumblings on tis, but now the word is out.  The people that own Invisalign now now Cadent, the makers of the iTero digital impression system.  Here is the press release with all the info?

Acquisition Positions Align as a Leader in Intra-Oral
Scanning and Accelerates Adoption of Invisalign

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 29, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Align Technology,
Inc. (Nasdaq:ALGN) today announced that it has signed a definitive
agreement to acquire privately-held Cadent Holdings, Inc. (Cadent), a
leading provider of 3D digital scanning solutions for orthodontics and
dentistry based in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Cadent strengthens Align's
ability to drive adoption of Invisalign by integrating Invisalign
treatment more fully with mainstream tools and procedures in doctors'
practices. The combination of the two companies will help accelerate
the use of intra-oral scanning in the dental industry by leveraging
Align's global sales reach, extensive professional and consumer
marketing capabilities and base of over 55 thousand users.

Over the next 5 years, intra-oral scanners will become widely used in
dental practices and intra-oral scanning technology will transform the
dental industry. According to iData Research, Inc., the growth rate for
intra-oral scanners will exceed 20% between 2010 and 2015. The
acquisition of Cadent extends Align's strategic leverage by
demonstrating the value of applications at chair-side that dramatically
simplify and streamline treatment, and make the entire Invisalign
procedure easier on the patient and more efficient for the practice. In
addition, the use of digital technologies for restorative dentistry
such as CAD/CAM or in-office restorations has also been growing rapidly
and intra-oral scanning is required to enable this essential part of
dental practices. The acquisition of Cadent positions Align as a leader
in one of the best growth opportunities in dentistry and medical
devices today.

"We are excited about the opportunities for growth that Cadent
provides, not only in terms of accelerating adoption of intra-oral
scanning among dental professionals but also in creating greater value
for existing Invisalign users," said Thomas M. Prescott, Align
Technology president and chief executive officer. "Cadent has a strong
team of very talented people and a culture similar to ours with the
drive, agility and speed necessary to continue delivering innovative
solutions for our customers."

Cadent leads the intra-oral scanning industry in digital optics and
powder-less scanning. Their overall technology is at the forefront of
the industry trend toward greater use of digital imaging solutions
expected to become more widely used in dental practices. Cadent brings
complimentary market knowledge and innovative technology in CAD/CAM
restorative dentistry to Align, including capabilities in digital
records storage and digital impressions for fabrication of crown and
bridge, veneers, implants, and other restorative procedures. Like
Align, Cadent also has strong expertise in advanced digital modeling,
robust software development, and integrated systems.

Cadent has a portfolio of best-in-class products and services for
restorative dentistry and orthodontics which include the iTero and iOC
intra-oral scanners. Cadent's iTero technology provides dentists with a
full range of restorative choices, flexibility to choose labs and
fabrication processes, and control in providing the highest standard of
care for their patients. Cadent's iOC technology, used primarily by
orthodontists, ensures a more accurate first impression, enables high
value clinical applications and a significantly better patient
experience. Cadent also has a range of leading orthodontic services and
products including OrthoCAD iQ, OrthoCAD iCast and OrthoCAD iRecord.

The acquisition of Cadent follows the January 2011 announcement of a
joint development agreement between Align and Cadent to co-develop
Invisalign software applications that will run on Cadent scanners. The
acquisition builds on the development agreement by providing a
dedicated digital scanning platform for delivering Invisalign
chair-side applications to dental practitioners and extends Align's
presence into restorative dentistry. The combination of the two
companies' market leading positions and technologies provides a
significant opportunity to create growth and to build value for
customers and shareholders.

As part of an ongoing program to evaluate interoperability of
intra-oral scanning systems for future use with Invisalign treatment,
Align is in final beta tests with Cadent's systems and expects to
announce interoperability for their scanners in the second quarter of
2011.

Under the terms of the agreement, Align will pay approximately $190
million in cash in exchange for all shares of Cadent. The acquisition
is subject to various standard closing conditions, including the
expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino
Act (HSR), and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2011.

Align anticipates that the acquisition of Cadent, on a GAAP basis, will
dilute fiscal 2011 earnings per share and expects non-GAAP diluted EPS
for the year to be in a range of $0.70 to $0.75, excluding acquisition
related costs, consisting of amortization of acquired intangibles,
transaction related costs and employee retention program costs. The
Company expects the transaction to be accretive to non-GAAP EPS for
fiscal 2012, excluding acquisition related costs, consisting of
amortization of acquired intangibles and employee retention program
costs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Motorola Xoom has Arrived... The Comparisons Will Now Begin!




I ordered the Motorola Xoom tablet from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Atnthat point they were expecting delivery to be sometime this week. One thing I love about Amazon (actually there are a lot of things I love about Amazon) is that they tend to get things in earlier than expected. So... I was thrilled to get an email on Saturday saying my Xoom had shipped and would arrive on Monday.

I came home from the office tonight to find it waiting for me. Here are my first impressions:

The screen is amazing. Great brightness, great contrast.

On/off button is on the back which takes some getting used to. After a year with the iPad I'm used to where the controls are so maybe this is just a "getting used to" thing.

Stereo speakers & volume are terrific

Android Honeycomb is a blast. Since I use Google for my calendar & contacts, all I had to do was Enter my user name & password and within seconds, all of my info was on the device. It happened so fast it seemed like it was preloaded.

The OS is pretty straight forward & since I use Android on my Samsung Epic 4G, I'm very used to working with it.

Overall, after a very brief time with it, I'm impressed. I'll provide more info in a day or 2 after I've had a chance to seriously put it thru its paces.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get Lexi Mobile installed on it & see how it responds handling all of the data in that amazing app.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle 3 Does Audio Books

Ah the pains of the early adopter.  I purchased the original Kindle and still am thrilled with it despite the fact that the later generations are sleeker, smaller, and have more functions.

 

The Kindle 3 can now even do audio books although you can only download them over wifi simply because the file size is so large.  Just go to the Kindle store and there you will find a link that allows you to browse for audio books.  You can then either listen to them on headphones or on the included speaker.

 

You can also use your Audible.com account if you are a subscriber.  So now the Kindle does both text AND audio.  Pretty sweet!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amazon Appstore Allows You to Try Apps on Virtual Machine

If you have access to a device that uses apps, you're probably like me.  By that I mean you've probably got a few apps that you purchased that either didn't do what you thought, or didn't work at all.  That's frustrating to say the least.

 

So... kudos to Amazon for coming up with a way for buyers to actually run an app before making a purchase.  The site allows you to run the app on a "virtual machine" which is basically a piece of software that looks like an Android device and lets you see what the app looks like and what it does before you buy.  Cool huh?

 

Here's the explanation from Amazon:

Clicking the "Test drive now" button launches a copy of this app on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides on-demand compute capacity in the cloud for developers. When you click on the simulated phone using your mouse, we send those inputs over the Internet to the app running on Amazon EC2 - just like your mobile device would send a finger tap to the app. Our servers then send the video and audio output from the app back to your computer. All this happens in real time, allowing you to explore the features of the app as if it were running on your mobile device.

Now go take a look!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Facial Expressions Determine What Kids Will & Will Not Eat

A tip of the ol' electron to my pal Dr. Sheri Doniger for this info.

It seems that when kids are presented with foods they haven't tasted before, the facial expression of those eating the food.

When the person eating was smiling and appeared to be enjoying it, the child's reaction was positive. When the expression was negative, the child's reaction tended to be much more negative.

Here is the full article from Reuters Health


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 25, 2011

Starbucks to Offer Single Serve Brewing to Compete with Keurig




Starbucks has always been a progressive company & they're always looking for ways to even further dominate the market.

The past few years has seen a rise in the market of single serving hot beverage machines and now Starbucks is looking to capitalize on that market. When we opened the new dental office 3 years ago, one of the amenities we made sure to provide for our patients was a Keurig system so that they could have a cup of coffee of their choice or other types of hot drinks such as hot tea or hot chocolate.

The Keurig systems have been very popular in homes, businesses, and also in the hotel industry where I would say that about 50% of the hotels I've stayed in lately have a Keurig system in the room.

Starbucks is now looking at that market by bringing their own single serving device into the marketplace as well as providing drinks in the K-Cup single serving format.

Here is a portion of the press release from the shareholders meeting that took place earlier in the week.

SEATTLE, March 23, 2011 - Celebrating 40 years of history and reaffirming solid growth plans for the future, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) today hosted its 20th annual shareholders’ meeting, with more than 2,000 in attendance. Starbucks leadership team, led by Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo, honored the company’s 40-year history of providing exceptional coffee, world-class customer experience, commitment to its partners (employees) and dedication to operating as a responsible corporate citizen. The management team also reaffirmed growth plans for a new, evolved business. The focus remains on building a truly global consumer company by harnessing a powerful portfolio of brands with a unique business model, combining a global retail footprint with a significant Consumer Products (CPG) business, and leveraging direct customer engagement that drives growth across all channels globally.

“Over our 40-year history, we have built the Starbucks brand with a goal of staying true to our values and our guiding principles with a deep sense of humanity,” stated Howard Schultz. “Going forward, we will continue to focus on what made us a different kind of company, one that balances profitability and social conscience while providing exceptional shareholder value.”

Extending the Brand beyond Our Retail Stores

At the meeting, Starbucks reiterated its commitment to delivering the world’s best coffee in every format and through every channel. The company highlighted the successful launch of its Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew platform and its recent announcements of strategic relationships with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and Courtesy Products.

“We are particularly excited about the progress we are making in the premium single-cup segment,” commented Jeff Hansberry, president, Starbucks Global Consumer Products and Foodservice. “The single-cup segment is already a $1.6 billion segment that represents a significant growth engine for the entire U.S. coffee category. We believe that over time we can generate K-Cup® portion pack system sales in excess of $1 billion across all channels.”

Starbucks also provided additional details around its previously announced relationship with Courtesy Products, the nation’s leading provider of in-room coffee service to hotels. Under the relationship, Starbucks and Courtesy will bring Starbucks® coffee to 500,000 luxury and premium hotel rooms in the U.S., as well as offer an on-demand, single-cup brewing system featuring Starbucks® and Seattle’s Best Coffee® ground coffee and Tazo® teas for sale in multiple channels exclusively through the Starbucks Global Consumer Products group. “We are proud to be working with Courtesy to provide great Starbucks coffee to hotel guests, and a value-oriented single-cup brewed coffee system to consumers across the U.S.,” added Hansberry.

The company also announced a 10-year extension to its exclusive strategic agreement with Autogrill’s HMSHost, one of Starbucks first licensee partners. Under this agreement, HMSHost will continue to build and operate Starbucks locations in airports and motorway travel plazas across the U.S.

“For nearly 20 years, Starbucks and HMSHost have successfully brought the Starbucks Experience to millions of travelers who are looking for an exceptional cup of coffee,” stated Cliff Burrows, president, Starbucks Coffee U.S. “We are very excited to extend our relationship with HMSHost for another 10 years.”

Currently, Autogrill’s HMSHost operates more than 360 Starbucks locations in airports, on motorways and in railway stations in North America and Europe. The continuance of these strategic relationships will foster further growth opportunities as well as the development of innovative store concepts to serve the global traveler.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kerr Launches SonicFill Posterior Restorations in Less Than Three Minutes

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a heads up to you readers about Kerr's new product called SonicFill. Today I got a press release dealing with the new product and thought I would share it with all of you...

ORANGE, CA – (Advance Release) April 1, 2011 - Kerr Corporation, a leading manufacturer of technology for dental procedures has announced the launch of SonicFill, a first-of-its-kind, time-saving composite system that enables clinicians to perform posterior restorations with an easy-to-use, single-step, bulk fill technology that requires no additional composite capping layer. Dentists utilizing SonicFill can go from placement to polished in less than 3 minutes on cavities up to 5mm.

Kerr’s proprietary sonic activation within SonicFill’s delivery system dramatically lowers the viscosity of the composite during placement, providing superior adaptation. The SonicFill composite then immediately returns to a non-slumping, highly sculptable state that is easy to carve without being sticky. Outstanding mechanical properties, including superior strength, low shrinkage and high depth of cure, allow it to be placed in bulk increments up to 5mm so that dentists can use it with confidence in posterior restorations.

"We finally have a practical, efficient technique for placing posterior composites in one single, esthetic, bulk fill increment,” said Ron Jackson, DDS of Middleburg, VA. “SonicFill is a game changer."

“It’s truly rewarding to be able to offer the SonicFill system to the dental community because it is such a decidedly different and unique composite system that can dramatically save clinicians time,” said James Lobsenz, Kerr’s Product Manager. “And not only is SonicFill a tremendous time-saver, it has also proven, in a variety of third party clinical studies, to meet or exceed performance criteria when compared with either bulk fill flowables or traditional composites placed in layers. The initial feedback we’re receiving from the clinician community is extremely enthusiastic – we are excited to be making the system available and feel SonicFill will change the way composites are done and ultimately the way clinicians do dentistry”.

Kerr Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sybron Dental Specialties, Inc., is a manufacturer of premiere dental consumables. Advancing esthetic dentistry through education and sustainable solutions based on clinician input, Kerr has become synonymous with integrity for dental professionals worldwide.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gendex Announces Innovative New Products at the 2011 IDS Dental Show, Cologne, Germany




This is the first anyone has heard of this. I've known about them for a while, but was sworn to secrecy. The good news for you readers, is that Gendex agreed that in return for my keeping this close to the vest, I could break the story.

Much of the dental world is converging on Cologne, Germany to see the world's largest dental trade show.

The IDS show happens only every other year and because of that, it's a really big deal for the industry. It's also a great place for companies to debut their latest cutting edge products to the profession.

My friends at Gendex are no exception and have taken the occasion of the IDS meeting to announce 2 new panoramic radiographic units.

As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of 3D cone beam imaging. I've been a user for over 3 years now and I continue to be impressed on an almost daily basis without how much information I receive and how much I learn from studying scans. Seeing your patients in 3D flat out allows you to provide better treatment and achieve better outcomes.

I've been a fan of the "medium field of view" devices since they became available because they allow the doctor to view the necessary areas while keeping the exposure to the patient as low as possible.

However, some offices have held off on 3D due to costs and when it comes to 3D, the greater the viewing area, the greater the cost of the device.

That's why I'm so excited by this Gendex announcement. They now have a panoramic unit that can take a limited field of view 3D scan in addition to all the functionality you've come to expect in a panoramic unit from Gendex.

Here is the press release:


Gendex is dedicated to remaining a leading innovator in dentistry. Following the success of the 2010 introduction of our innovative Gendex GXS-700 Digital Sensor, Gendex is pleased to introduce an exciting array of new products March 22-26 at the 2011 IDS Dental Show in Cologne, Germany.


This new portfolio of products will further strengthen
Gendex’s position as a leader in innovation as well as a manufacturer committed to excellence in quality, intelligent design, and function.

At this year’s IDS, we are unveiling these exciting new products:

GXDP-300™ - an exciting new entry-level panoramic unit
GXDP-700™ - our new, high-end panoramic with optional 3D functionality

These new products will be officially launched to our North American customers later in 2011.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Google Simplifies Chrome Graphic




As a technophile and also someone who values and tries to watch his security, I've found myself moving further and further away from mainstream browsers. On my Windows machines, I rarely touch Internet Explorer and on my Macs, I rarely use Safari.

Instead, I've spent the last 2 or more years using alternative browsers Firefox and Google Chrome.

Both of these browsers are reliable, secure, nimble, and not bloated. They both (since they hold smaller percentages of the market) also seem to be much more rarely targeted by nefarious types looking to steal your data.

Google, or course, is a powerhouse of innovation and has, in addition to its Chrome Browser, announced that at some point in the not too distant future, they will be releasing Chrome OS. That's right, an Operating System that basically runs over the Internet. I've yet to see it in action, but Google doesn't usually just "tinker" with ideas, they make them work. So, when the official Chrome OS hits the Internet, you can bet I'll be there to see what it's all about.

However, something has happened recently that makes me wonder if the OS release isn't perhaps closer than we realize. This little event was the announcement by Google that they were changing the Chrome logo. Now, that doesn't really mean much, but Google has been known to change their logo on their search site to celebrate different holidays & causes... so maybe this is to celebrate the new OS?

The new logo is "slicker" with a cleaner look and less of an appearance of the old Milton Bradley memory game Simon. It's not showing up to mainstream users yet as it's only being released to high level testers, but you can bet it will trickle down to the masses soon. Will the OS be trickling down too? We can only hope...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 21, 2011

AT&T Buying T-Mobile for an Estimated 39 Billion




Meet the New Boss... same as the Old Boss. To diehard students of Geek History (like me) it seems like it was just last year that the Federal Government was breaking AT&T into little pieces. The concern of the feds was that the communication behemoth had gotten to the point of owning too much of the market. So, a breakup was ordered with a whole bunch of "baby bells" created.

Then, as we all know, AT&T... or what was left of it, began to buy up all those little pieces that were split off and reacquire them. Over the years AT&T grew once again it a huge communications juggernaut.

Now comes news that AT&T is becoming larger than ever before by purchasing wireless competitor T-Mobile for a rumored price of 39 billion from Deutche Telecom.

The purchase will leave only 3 wireless companies in the US. Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T will now be the 3 remaining in the ring.

AT&T has taken a lot of heat the past couple of years for their slow & unreliable network. Perhaps this will keep the focus away from that for a while.

The complete story is available from Foxnews.com


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sybron Endo Transitioning All Resilon to Real Seal




A couple of years ago, Sybron purchased Pentron Clinical Technologies. At the time, Pentron had developed an Endodontic obturation material called Resilon which they were selling under the name brand Epiphany.

The material is a synthetic which allows for bonded obturation. The sealer used is a self etching resin sealer which bonds to tooth structure and the points bond to the sealer. The advantage is that rather than using Gutta Percha and Glue, Resilon creates a true bonded obturation with much less leakage. It is also re-treatable using the same solvents used to re-treat cases obturated with Gutta Percha.

Sybron was very interested in the Resilon product and shortly after it was introduced by Pentron, Sybron began to buy it from Pentron and sell it under the name Real Seal.

The market for this product became a good one. So good, in fact, that a couple of years ago, Sybron purchased Pentron... mainly for the Resilon product rights.

Since the purchase, both companies have continued to sell the product, but now comes word from a high placed contact at Sybron, that they are phasing out the Epiphany brand & will sell Resilon exclusively as Real Seal.

This does not mean anything other than a name change.

Real Seal will continue to be available & continues to be a big part of Sybron Endo sales. The company is simply consolidating the product under one name.

I've been using bonded obturation for the past several years and I can tell you from personal experience it is a great benefit to my patients.

For more info on Real Seal, click here to visit Sybron Endo.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Amazon Launching Android App Store this Coming Week




While it has been rumored for a while now, Amazon is set to open it's very own Android App store in the week ahead.

It seems you'll be able to either buy apps through an app store on Amazon or through an Amazon app you can download to your Android device.

Speculation is that Amazon may sell apps for less than the Android Marketplace to spur sales and there is even speculation that Amazon may be developing their own Android tablet device.

While the Amazon Tablet is pure rumor mongering, the app store is supposed to be a sure thing.

Stay tuned...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oral Bisphosphonates Pose Low Risk of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)

For the past several years, we in dentistry have been concerned about the long term affects of the drug class of bisphosphonates.

 

While the bisphosphonates definitely have a place in medicine, they have shown the potential for side effects in dentistry.  In a nutshell, bisphosphonates are used to help prevent bone changes that can cause and/or contribute to osteoporosis.  They are absolutely necessary for some patients because osteoporosis can be a severely debilitating disease and can have a tremendous effect on the patient's quality of life.

 

However, as bisphosphonates became more commonly prescribed, we in dentistry began to see a situation develop that became referred to as "Osteonecrosis of the Jaw" or "ONJ" for short.  Basically ONJ appeared to be bone injuries in the mouth that did not heal as expected.  Patients that had been taking bisphosphonates & then had an mouth injury, extraction, etc were at risk for this debilitating condition.

 

Dentists & oral surgeons became concerned because there are 2 types of bisphosphonates, oral & IV.  It seemed like the IV drugs were the ones causing the problems, but because of the so many people having been exposed to both types, it was hard to tell.


Today on WebMD comes news that the oral drugs may have a lower risk or ONJ.  The WebMD page is here.

 

Here is the article:

 

Low Risk of Jaw Problems With Oral Osteoporosis Drugs

Study Shows Lower Risk of Jaw Osteonecrosis With Oral Bisphosphonates Than With IV Drugs
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
jaw xray

March 17, 2011 -- Osteoporosis drugs and serious jaw problems have been linked in past studies, but new research presented at the International Association for Dental Research in San Diego finds a low risk with oral osteoporosis drugs, known as bisphosphonates.

Echoing the findings of previous studies, the researchers did find a higher increase in risk for intravenous bisphosphonates, taken by a minority of those with osteoporosis.

"The risk of intravenous bisphosphonates [and jaw problems] is increased by sixfold compared to oral bisphosphonates," says researcher Peter Tawil, DDS, a resident in postdoctoral periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Health.

The study was funded partially by an unrestricted grant from the Alliance for Better Bone Health, supported by Warner Chillchott, Sanofi-Aventis, and Procter & Gamble. Sanofi and Warner Chillchott manufacture oral bisphosphonates.

Osteoporosis Drugs and Jaw Osteonecrosis

Reports of bisphosphonates and a link with the jaw problem known as osteonecrosis of the jaw began to appear in about 2003, Tawil tells WebMD. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is rare but serious and involves death of the bone due to lack of blood flow.

Early case reports, says Tawil, mainly involved patients on intravenous bisphosphonates.

As the reports surfaced, ''there were some dentists advising patients, 'Don't get treated for osteoporosis,''' says study researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, professor of periodontology at the University of Pennsylvania.

"We felt patients were really being put at risk by telling them not to have their osteoporosis treated," she says, so she requested support for the studies.

Oral Osteoporosis Drugs vs. IV Drugs

Jeffcoat and Tawil report on four studies in all. Three were clinical trials totaling 516 participants, all on oral bisphosphonates for at least two years. Some were on alendronatae (Fosamax), made by Merck; others were on risendronate (Actonel), made by Warner Chillcott.

They examined patients every three months to look for evidence of osteonecrosis of the jaw and compared them with 516 matched patients not on bisphosphonates.

No cases were found in either group.

Next, the researchers evaluated a data base of more than 55 million people enrolled in 700 health plans from 2000 to 2006. They focused in on those who took bisphosphonates.

"Some of them took IV bisphosphonates; others took the oral," Tawil says. Of those on the drugs, 213,364 were on oral and 2,321 were on IV.

Next, they compared these to a group of 423,845 patients who did not take any bisphosphonates.

"The incidence of having necrosis of the jaw was very low -- about one per 1,000 for those who took oral [bisphosphonates]," Tawil says.

In the intravenous group, six of every 1,000 developed osteonecrosis of the jaw.

The risk of the jaw problem while on oral bisphosphonates, Tawil says, was similar to those not on the drugs. In non-users, he says, the risk was about 0.9, or less than one in 1,000.

The findings echo those of some previous studies finding low risk with the oral drugs, Jeffcoat says, but their research population is larger.

"The benefit outweighs the risk in treating osteoporosis with oral drugs," she says. Jeffcoat reports receiving research funding from Merck in 2004. Merck makes the oral bisphosphonate Fosamax.

 

Second Opinion

John Kalmar, DMD, professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology at Ohio State University, Columbus, reviewed the study abstract for WebMD. He agrees with some findings but is highly skeptical of others.

''I agree that the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw is less with oral than for IV [bisphosphonates]," he says. "At this point everyone would agree."

But, he says, to equate the risk of those on oral drugs with persons not taking them, "I take great exception to."

"All studies to date have shown that even though the risk is a small increase it is still a measurable increase," Kalmar says.

Another potential problem, Kalmar tells WebMD, involves coding. Recently, a more specific medical code has come into use for osteonecrosis of the jaw. But in a database as large as the one studied by Jeffcoat and Tawil, which goes back to 2000, he says it is likely some cases of osteonecrosis were coded incorrectly.

It's no surprise to Kalmar that the study involving 516 patients on the drugs revealed no cases, as that number of patients is probably too small.

"Most estimates to date [for the jaw problem] are in the range of one to 1,000 to 10,000 for oral bisphosphonate users," Kalmar says.

Kalmar reports serving as an adjucator for Novartis and is consulted on whether cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw are due to bisphosphonates or not.

Julie Masow, a spokeswoman for Novartis, which makes Reclast and Zometa, two IV bisphosphonates, says she was not aware of the new research. The company had no comment at this time, she says.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Occasional Curse of the SmartPhone & Why Can't We Get Decent Customer Service?

Epic 4G.jpg
First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day! Now on with the post...
I've been a Sprint customer for years. Part of it is I'm a hometown guy and Sprint is my hometown carrier. Part of it is that I have many Sprint employees as patients. Some of it is just that I'm loyal and I've been a Sprint customer since they started offering wireless calling. So basically, I'm a poster child for Sprint. I've shown loyalty when things were good and even when they were not so good. However, a recent episode has given me reason to make today's post.
In October of 2010, I purchased my latest and greatest smartphone, the Samsung Epic 4G for the Sprint network. I've had Samsung phones before and I've found that i really like their design. I also wanted a blazing fast device with the ability to function on Sprint's blazing fast 4G network. So... I purchased the Epic 4G based on the Samsung name and the fact that it had a slide out keyboard which the HTC Evo did not (at that time). The device ran the Android OS and I was very impressed with the OS as well as the phone and how well it worked.
While I was in Chicago for the CDS MidWinter Dental Meeting at the end of February, I awoke on February 23 to find my phone had updated to the Froyo version of Android. I clicked the OK on the screen and promptly went into Smartphone hell. The update caused me several problems that you don't want to have on the road and away from all of your support gear. I lost my calendar (which was the worst disaster), use of my camera, my photos, my music, all of my ringtones changed... you get the idea.
The next day, Sprint pulled the update. It's no longer available... you can't find it anywhere. In the meantime I was stuck at one of the busiest meetings for me with very limited access to the data in my calendar. It made for a tough way to navigate a very busy few days.
When I came home I began to do research on the problems. That's when I learned that the update had been pulled. Sprint was recommending a hard reset to fix the situation. Wiping my phone clean was not an option for me.
While rummaging around the Internet, I came across a discussion site that had a fix for the calendar (the fix is listed below). Lo and behold, my calendar came back! I couldn't find anything on the Sprint website, but here was the solution! Why didn't Sprint provide that? I don't know.
The other problems were annoying, but not as bad as losing my calendar. However, having a phone with a 5mp camera that doesn't work, ring tones that can't be set, media that can't be played is a big pain. I kept patiently waiting figuring that Sprint would post a fix, a new update, send me an email... anything. But alas... nothing.
So finally I began doing some research to see if there was any news on when a fix might be coming. You know what I found? No news at all. It seems that Sprint either isn't planning on a fix or doesn't really care to let their customers using their flagship device in on the secret.
Oh, but I did find something! What I did find was a solution to the rest of my problems. While trying to find a news story on when Sprint might be considering returning my phone to proper working order, I discovered The Sprint Community Website where the 2 fixes I needed were finally listed. Why didn't I get an email or a text telling me that if I was having problems I could find the solutions there? I don't know either. However, I'm not keeping this a secret.
Sprint has a database that lets them know everyone who has an Epic 4G. It would've been fairly easy to have sent email and texts to every user letting them know that if they were experiencing problems that the solutions were available and provided a link. It's not that complicated. Instead I've been dealing with this for a month and had to dig & find the solution myself.
Here are the instructions for fixing both of the problems I've dealt with. If you've been suffering too, I hope this helps slay the beast. Enjoy!

Enhancements/Fixes:
- Upgrade of the Google OS from Éclair to Froyo (2.2.1)
- Ability to install applications to external storage
- Improved Bluetooth device support
- Bluetooth Voice Dialing
- Flash Player 10.1
- GPS Enhancements
- Improved OS performance
- Email PIN based authentication
- User friendly tethering for 3G and 4G


Important Notes:
- The new software version is: S:D700.0.5S.EB13
- Access the Samsung Epic Maintenance Release Blog for install instructions

- Released in stages beginning at 9PM on 2/21, with 100% of devices (on DI18) having received the update

within 4 days

- Update: EB13 is also available via an OTW download on Samsung's site. The OTW update will wipe your device, so

perform a backup prior to updating. I assume this can be used to take your device from an older release to EB13

(please comment on this post if you can validate this). You can access the download here:

http://www.samsung.com/us/support/downloads/SPH-D700ZKASPR


Time Zone Reference:

US/Pacific 09:00:00 9PM 21-Feb-2011

US/Central 11:00:00 11PM

US/Eastern 12:00:00 Midnight

US/Mountain 10:00:00 10PM


[fixed link to blog]

[added time zones]

[added Samsung OTW]


UPDATE 1: SD Card Index

If you are experiencing issues with the Camera, Media Player, Gallery, or SD card, refresh your SD Card Index following the steps below and power cycle your device to ensure the refresh takes effect:

Menu->Settings->Applications->Manage Applications->Select All->Scroll down to Media Storage->Select Clear Data.


Update 2: Calendar sync

(solution from Dennis Staub...thanks!)

MENU>SETTINGS>APPLICATIONS>MANAGE APPLICATIONS
Select "All" in the grouping at the top and then select "Calendar" then under "Storage" select "Clear data".

Then go back to the App list and select "Calendar Storage" and do the same. Then open your Calendar then

MENU>SETTINGS>CALENDAR SYNC>Manage Accounts(Select your account) then un-check it, then re-check it then go back to the calendar and check to see if the appointments have sync'd for you.




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dentsply's Comments on the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

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While my thoughts & prayers are with those in Japan suffering through the effects of the recent earthquake and resulting tsunamis, I was also alerted today to the fact that one of dentistry's finest manufacturers, Dentsply, was also affected by this disaster.  The company has a presence in Japan with facilities and employees.  Yesterday, March 15th, Dentsply released the following press release regarding their facilities & employees on the island of Japan.  Here is the press release:

DENTSPLY International Comments on Impact of Natural Disaster in Japan


YORK, Pa., March 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DENTSPLY International Inc. (Nasdaq:XRAY) reported today that all of its Japan-based associates are safe following the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami near Japan's northeastern coast of Honshu.

 

DENTSPLY's primary facilities located in Tokyo and Nasu were not in the immediate area of devastation, and did not sustain substantial damage.

 

DENTSPLY has several key suppliers in Japan, including two that are located in the affected region. The Company has been informed that the employees of these suppliers appear to be safe, and that their facilities did not sustain any serious damage. One such key supplier, which is the source of product comprising approximately 9% of the Company's consolidated net sales in 2010, is located in an evacuation zone. As such, it is not clear when production will resume and product supply will be available from this supplier's facility.

 

Bret W. Wise, DENTSPLY's Chairman and CEO, states, "Our DENTSPLY associates' safety remains our utmost priority. We are currently assessing the impact that this natural disaster will have on our business and working diligently to minimize any disruption to our employees, customers and business partners. While our global business has started the year strong and we remain on track to meet our targets for 2011, the negative impact of the situation in Japan is difficult to quantify at this early stage. As such we are withdrawing our previously issued earnings guidance for 2011 until more information is available. On behalf of the entire Company, I would like to express our deepest condolences to all Japanese citizens as they manage through this tragic event."

 

DENTSPLY is preparing a donation through the International Red Cross to help the Japanese people in this time of distress.

 

DENTSPLY designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of professional dental products including dental implants, endodontic instruments and materials, orthodontic appliances, restorative materials, preventive materials and devices, and prosthetic materials and devices. The Company distributes its dental products in over 120 countries under some of the most well-established brand names in the industry. DENTSPLY is committed to the development of innovative, high quality, cost-effective new products for the dental market.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Microsoft to Discontinue Zune Media Player

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While there have been rumors & speculation for some time, Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Zune media player.  Redmond released the Zune to the public over 4 years ago and was hoping to take a bite out of Apple's lucrative iPod market, but the sales that they were hoping for never really materialized.
In my opinion they were probably a bit late to market and were forced to play serious catch up, which just never managed to create a buzz with consumers.  Personally, I can't remember the last time I saw someone with a Zune.
While they will be doing away with the hardware, Microsoft still intends to use the Zune software.  At this point it looks like the software will be used in the mobile phone world, allowing phone manufacturers to put the Zune software on their devices.  This, of course, should be a big feature in the latest Windows mobile OS, Windows Phone 7.
So it looks like Microsoft will be concentrating on having the Zune software available for a variety of devices while doing away with the actual device itself.  I feel that is a good strategy for them.  At this point, the Zune device was, at best, an after thought to consumers and very possibly unknown to many.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Find Your Luggage the Easy Way

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As someone who spends a good deal of time on the road, I've got more "bad" travel stories than I care to even think about.  And even if you aren't one of the lucky souls who knows the best eateries at most of the airports, you probably want to take as much stress off your travel as possible.
To that end, take a look at the Wireless Luggage Finder by Easy-2-Pick.  The concept is beauty in its simplicity.  The device consists of 2 parts.  A wireless transmitter that looks like a luggage tag & is attached to your suitcase.  A wireless receiver that looks similar to your car remote.  Simply place the "tag" on your luggage and turn it on.  Once you arrive at your destination luggage carousel, turn your key fob on.  When your suitcase pops into view on the baggage carousel, the key fob will begin to beep, notifying you that your luggage is on the belt.
My partner Kelly gave me one of these devices for Christmas and it's been a nice addition to my travels.  With so many bags looking the same these days, it's nice to be able to know "yes, that's my bag".

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Green Automotive Looks to Bring First all Electric SUV to US

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As many of you loyal readers know, I purchased a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid a while back in an effort to reduce my carbon footprint.  I just felt it was the right thing to do.
If you're thinking of doing something similar & want to go all electric, take a look at the Zotye SUV from Green Automotive.
Check out these stats:
- Top speed up to 70 mph
- Range up to 150 miles
- 5 door, 4 seat
- Lithium Ion Battery
- 185,000 warranty on battery
- 3 Year 36,000 Mile warranty
- $35,995 MSRP
That's pretty sweet.  For all the details, head on over to the company website.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Microsoft to Release IE 9.0 on March 14th

If you're still using Internet Explorer (and I know some of you are) here's some good news.  The gang in Redmond have announced that on March 14th the latest version of Internet Explorer (version 9) will be released with downloads available at 9PM Pacific Time.

 

Of course that will be midnight for  you folks on the East coast... so might I suggest you just grab it first thing in the morning.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sony Announces Cloud Storage for PlayStation Plus

Here is some pretty cool news if you are a PS3 owner and subscribe to the PlayStation Plus service.  You can now save your gaming data (up to 150MB) to Sony storage in the cloud.

 

Here is the press release:

PLAYSTATION®NETWORK BRINGS ONLINE STORAGE FOR GAME SAVES EXCLUSIVELY TO PLAYSTATION®PLUS SUBSCRIBERS

March 9, 2011 – Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) today announced that online storage for game saves will be available exclusively to PlayStation®Plus subscribers, allowing gamers to back up their save data to the cloud. Online storage for game saves will be available with system software update (v3.60) for the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system, coming on March 10, 2011 and will be automatically enabled for PlayStation Plus subscribers once users install the update.

With the new feature, PlayStation Plus subscribers can store up to 150MB of PS3 game save data and a maximum of 1000 data files per PlayStation®Network account. "Copy-prohibited save data" is also supported, and all previously backed-up save data may be restored once per 24-hour period. When the new feature launches, most PS3 titles will be compatible with online storage for game saves, and moving forward new titles will have the capability to offer the storage option.

Online storage for game saves ensures that data stored by PlayStation Plus subscribers is more secure than ever and is an integral feature for gamers who wish to access their data on other PS3 systems. Users can check their available/total space at any time via the XMB™ (XrossMediaBar). Users who wish to utilize the feature immediately following the system software update (v3.60), can do so with these instructions:

To back-up:
1. Select [Game] > [Save Data Utility].
2. Focus on the save data you wish to back up.
3. Open up the option menu using "triangle" and select [Copy].
4. Select [Online Storage] as the destination of back up.

To copy:
1. Select [Game] > [Save Data Utility] > [Online Storage].
2. Focus on the save data you wish to copy.
3. Open up an option menu using "triangle" and select [Copy].

PlayStation Plus is available for a yearly fee of $49.99, and for a limited time, gamers will also receive 3 free bonus months when signing up for a one-year subscription. Gamers can also subscribe to the 3-month option for $17.99.