Friday, September 30, 2011

What Your Mobile Provide *Really* Knows About You

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Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you...

 

I've often said that my personal privacy is dead.  My Tahoe with OnStar tracks everywhere I go and I'm sure GM has a record of every time I've called OnStar for directions and where they sent me.  Toll booths using EZ Pass know when & where your car crossed the toll line.  Time Warner knows where I surf & what channels I watch.  SiriusXM knows what channels I listen to & what songs are played.  Tivo tracks what shows I record & what channels I view.

 

And then there is my phone... Sprint knows where I've been, who I've called, who has texted me... you name it.  We are all so dependent on our phones that they have become central to our lives.  But did you ever really consider what your wireless company knows about you and how long they keep it?  Would you like to know?

Well, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, you can now find out.  The group filed a Freedom of Information Act claim and managed to get all the info from the Justice Department.

 

Curious about what *they* know about you?  Take a look at the document called "Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers". This link is courtesy of Wired.com, but you can find the document in other parts of the Internet as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon Announces Kindle Fire - Where There Is Smoke...

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In the little over 18 months since its first announcement, the iPad has reigned supreme in the portable computing market.  Oh sure, there have been competitors, but most haven't been able to go but a few rounds with the heavy weight champion iPad.  HP fell away, Motorola released the  Xoom and had lackluster sales, and Samsung has struggled as well.
The reason for these struggles?  In my opinion it is because these other devices have been "me too" kinds of products.  They are tablets trying to "be" the iPad and so try and do all the things that the iPad does.  Because of this and their very similar price points, I think many consumers have said, "If it does the same stuff as the iPad and costs the same as the iPad, why not just by an iPad?"  That's logic I can't argue with.
However, today Amazon entered the tablet market with the Kindle Fire.  A competitor to the iPad with an interesting slant.  The Kindle Fire is sort of iPad lite.  And by that, I don't mean to speak badly about it.  No, instead I think this may just be a piece of genius.  Rather than compete directly with the iPad, the Kindle Fire is a scaled back tablet that will do the things that a lot of non-power users need.
The Fire has a touch screen that is 7 inches compared to the 9.7 inch iPad.  A small screen means the device is smaller... but it also keeps the costs down.  For some people the smaller, easier to carry footprint will be welcome.  For others it will be a deal breaker.
There is no camera in the Fire, but for most folks who have taken a photo with a tablet they will tell you it's cumbersome and easier to take pictures with a small digital camera.
The Fire is WiFi only which may be a big deal for some folks, but I own a portable WiFi hotspot and have never owned a device with its own connection.  I don't think it's that big of a deal with WiFi readily available almost everywhere.
The number one thing the  Fire has going for it?  Price!  At $199 the device is much less than even the low end iPads.  Add to that the fact that the device has only 8GB of storage but also has access to the unlimited storage of Amazon Cloud and you have a device that may have found a nice niche market and give the iPad a run for its money.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sprint Announces Their Unlimited Data Plans Will Continue... and Continue

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On Friday I was  having a techie discussing with one of the Ultradent Reps during a break in my Ultradent sponsored lecture.  "You are a Mac guy and one of the techiest people I've ever met", she said.  "How can you NOT have an iPhone?"
My answer?  I live in Kansas City, home of the Sprint World Headquarters.  Also, I have many Sprint patients and only about 3 AT&T patients.  For me it is about supporting those who support me; it just seems to be the right thing to do.
Of course with rumors running wild about the iPhone coming to Sprint that whole conversation may be moot.
However, there has also been a consistent rumor lately that has dealt a bit with the iPhone as well as the continuing increase in the number of smart phones on the market.  That rumor has been that Sprint will do away with its unlimited data plans.  It isn't that far fetched.  After all AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have done away with their unlimited data plans & it was widely assumed that Sprint would soon follow suit... especially if the announce the iPhone.
However, Sprint customers (like me) can rejoice.  Yesterday, Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye announced that Sprint intends to keep its unlimited data plans around.  Citing the fact that it is a competitive advantage and separates them from the other carriers, Bye said that Sprint considers unlimited data a "differentiator".
Now, maintaing the network that provides all this data is expensive... and Sprint knows it.  Bye even went so far as to say, "Is there pressure? Yeah, there's a challenge for all engineers to work on how we get the cost structure down."
Here's hoping they manage to do just that and to keep the unlimited data around for a long, long time.  I've been a Sprint customer since they started wireless service... and I don't plan to change any time soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Endo Re-treatment of Sybron Endo's Real Seal 1

 

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Endo Retx 3.jpg
I absolutely love endodontics!!! For the non-dentists reading this, that is "dental speak" for root canals.
One of the great things about my  speaking and consulting career, is that it gives me opportunities to get to know some really great people in my beloved profession.  Because of that I've gotten a chance to know some amazingly talented endodontists and to pick their brains about the best way to do things.   Due to this, I've found that i have a great love of the field of endodontics and absolutely fell in love with providing the best endodontic services that I could. This means that I don't refer out very frequently... I think it has been once in the last 5 years.  I also do a fair number of retreat services in my practice.
Also, because I love doing root canals and I also love helping companies develop new products and new techniques, I had a great opportunity about 5-6 years ago to be involved with the development of a unique obturation system.
At the time I got involved with the project, Pentron Clinical Technologies had brought an endodontic product called "Epiphany" to market.  Epiphany is a synthetic material that mimics gutta percha which had long been the gold standard of endodontic filling materials.  The material's generic name is Resilon and It was starting to make some serious in-roads into the profession.  It is a material that looks and handles very much like gutta percha, however it bonds to the tooth structure of the root like a composite (white) filling. This means that there is considerably much less bacterial leakage and the odds of a successful procedure go up because of that.
However, there is a certain percentage of the dental profession that prefers to use obturators to fill root canals and Pentron was working to enter that portion of the endodontic market as well.  The idea of "root canal filling material on a stick" had been a popular one for several years.  Tulsa Dental had provided a filling system for literally millions of endodontically treated teeth by developing Thermafill in the late 1980's.  It effectively changed the way endodontics was filled and brought the idea of general dentists doing root canals into mainstream dental thinking.
For years one of the biggest drawbacks to carrier based obturation was the carriers themselves.  The leader in carrier based obturators, Tulsa Dental Specialties, had originally used metal carriers and then moved over to plastic.  These rigid carriers were coated with gutta percha.  The carriers were placed in a warming oven which softened the gutta percha.  After placing the sealer, the carrier was placed into the canal and used to drive the softened gutta percha into the canal in a 3D filling.
The problem with these carriers was on the rare occasion that a re-tereat procedure was necessary.  At that point in time, it was necessary to removed the carrier which could be difficult & frequently impossible.  To put it bluntly, it was very easy to get carriers into teeth, but usually it was extremely difficult to get them back out of the teeth.
Pentron approached this problem in a different manner.  When dealing with a non-carrier based re-treat a solvent of some type was used to soften the gutta percha which made it much easier to remove.  When Pentron developed Resilon, they had made a conscious effort to make it as much like gutta percha as possible... only better.  One of the ways they had worked to help make it acceptable to the profession is that the same solvents that worked with gutta percha also worked with Resilon/Epiphany.  This made re-treatments very straightforward and helped the profession accept Resilon as a viable alternative to gutta percha.
So... when the idea of a carrier based Resilon obturator was being discussed, it was decided that it needed to be easy to re-treat as well.  To accomplish this, Pentron used a plastic obturator that was soluble in the same solvents that would be used in a normal re-treatment scenario.  The idea was beautiful in its simplicity: make the carrier soften in the same way, using the same solvent, that worked on non-carrier based re-treatments.  When Pentron sent me one of the early prototypes just so I could get an idea of what it would look like, I excitedly placed it in a coffee cup with a small amount of solvent.  I returned to my desk a few minutes later to find the obturator as a gooey blob in the bottom of the cup.
So where is this story leading?  Well today, I had to do a re-treatment on a Real Seal 1 case.  The first radiograph shows the obturator in place and a periapical lesion present.  The third radiograph shows the tooth after the obturator has been removed and patency obtained.  While I usually do most of my endodontic cases in one visit if possible, I chose to do this one in 2 appointments since it is a re-treatment and I want to make sure that all is well before filling.  This radiograph shows calcium hydroxide in place (Ultradent's  Ultra Cal) with a nice puff of the CaOH in the radiolucency.  I'm confident this one will heal nicely, especially since the CaOH shows that patency was achieved.
However, what I think is the coolest part of this whole case is the second radiograph.  In this view you can clearly see that all of the Real Seal 1 has been removed as well as the sealer.  This was accomplished using Eucalyptus oil as the solvent.
In order to remove the obturator, we achieved access and placed Eucalyptus oil in the chamber.  This sat for about 5 minutes and then a Gates Glidden #2 was used to removed some of the filling material.  After the GG, I used hand files in the Sybron Endo M-4 Safety Handpiece to help removed more filling.  We copiously irrigated with Eucalyptus and carefully worked hand files down to the apex.  We frequently checked our length with the Sybron Elements Apex Locator and when we were within 2 mm of the apex we began very careful hand instrumentation to remove the final 2 mm and to gain patency.
Once patency was achieved, a Sybron Twisted File .08 taper was used with more Eucalyptus for  final removal of the obturating material.
For anyone who has ever had to retreat a carrier based canal system, you know how difficult it can be.  This case will hopefully be a reassurance that Real Seal 1 cases can be less stressful.
Also a "hats off" to Tulsa Dental for their new GuttaCore product.  This new carrier uses 2 types of gutta percha, one as the carrier and one that softens and is used to obturate.  Removing these should be as easy as removing gutta percha alone.
Questions or comments?  I'd love to hear them.

 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Google Wallet is Coming... and MasterCard and Visa are Both Onboard

 

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Google has come up with some pretty good ideas over the years.  The latest one just might make your credit card obsolete... which is probably why MasterCard and, most recently, Visa have come on board.  The idea is called "Google Wallet" and it's beautiful in its simplicity.  The idea is that your Android phone can be embedded with a chip that allows for charges to be made just by waving your phone over a sensor at retailers.
It's a bit more complicated than that... but you get the idea.  You won't see a huge push into this new area of commerce right away.  That's because there aren't many Android phones out there with the right hardware, but that is only a matter of time.  It is expected that by Spring 2012 you will really start to see this take off.  You will need both a phone capable of using the feature and a retailer with a receiver for it, but as these types of things tend to do, look for the evolution to progress steadily.
Oh, and you have to input a code every time you charge using the phone, so it's not like losing your phone will mean someone can go crazy with buying things in your name.  Personally I like the idea.  I'm pretty much down to using one or 2 cards now and they are the main reason I carry a wallet.  If I could just stuff my driver's license and my phone in my pocket, I'd be a much happier guy.
Plan on hearing more about Google Wallet as it hits the mainstream press in the very near future.

 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Centon DataStick Sport is Waterproof!

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As you know, I'm a huge proponent of frequent backups.  It's important to make sure that you not only have your data, but that it is secure and readily available.
One of the ways you can do that is by making sure that whatever your backup media is, it is able to take the rigors of transport, your briefcase, and whatever the world can dish out.  So I was pleased when I came across this USB jump drive that is made by Centon.
The DataStick Sport comes in sizes up to 64GB and is billed as being waterproof since it has a leak-proof that seals the USB connection.  Here is what the website has to say:

USB flash storage

for your digital lifestyle.

Centon's DataStick Sport is made of a durable silicon casing with a leak-proof cap design making the drive both waterproof and shock resistant. DataStick Sport is the perfect drive to withstand the bumps and bruises of the daily grind.

 

For all the details, head on over to the DataStick Sport page.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thanks to Everyone Who Attended My Ultradent Course in Houston

I'd like to give a big "thank you" to all of you who made it out to my course in Houston yesterday.

 

It was a really great crowd and, as I've said before, often times I get as much or more out of these courses than you do.  I got some great feedback, great ideas, and some things that I can take back to my practice too!  I'm flattered and honored that so many of you decided to take time out of  your busy lives and practices to spend a few hours with me.  I really appreciate it.

 

I also wanted to apologize for the organization of the kits.  I didn't find out until after the course, but I heard that some of the hands-on kits were missing some components and I'm really sorry about that.  Trust me when I say that the Ultradent folks made note of those mistakes so that they can be corrected for future courses.

 

Thanks again for coming  out!  I had a great time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zofran (ondansetron): Drug Safety Communication - Risk of Abnormal Heart Rhythms

 

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A big "thank you" and a tip o'the electron to my friend Dr. David M. Haas Lambert for this post.  David's practice is Triangle Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant Centre, and he is aDiplomate, Amerian Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Fellow, American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Fellow, and a member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
As such, he's a pretty smart guy and, needless to say, well versed in the sedation and anesthesia aspect of his profession.  Yesterday David sent out an email to many of us in the profession with the following info.  I feel this kind of information dissemination is not only good to know for the doctors who read this blog, but also for the patients and lay people who also stop by for updates on technology and leading edge aspects of healthcare.  This is the kind of info that can save lives.  Feel free to pass it along.  Thank you David!

 

AUDIENCE: Oncology, Anesthesiology

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients of an ongoing safety review and labeling changes for the anti-nausea drug Zofran (ondansetron, ondansetron hydrochloride and generics). Ondansetron may increase the risk of developing prolongation of the QT interval of the electrocardiogram, which can lead to an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm, including Torsade de Pointes. Patients at particular risk for developing Torsade de Pointes include those with underlying heart conditions, such as congenital long QT syndrome, those who are predisposed to low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood, and those taking other medications that lead to QT prolongation.

BACKGROUND: Zofran (ondansetron) is in a class of medications called 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. It is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. FDA is requiring GlaxoSmithKline to conduct a thorough QT study to determine the degree to which Zofran (ondansetron) may cause QT interval prolongation.

RECOMMENDATION: The labels are being revised to include a warning to avoid use in patients with congenital long QT syndrome because these patients are at particular risk for Torsade. Recommendations for ECG monitoring in patients with electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia), congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, or in patients taking other medications that can lead to QT prolongation, are being included in the labels.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

 

 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heading to Houston for an Ultradent Event

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Tomorrow I'll be in the lovely city of Houston, TX.  Well... actually I'll be heading there later today, but the event is tomorrow.

 

I'll be covering the The Science of Curing and Restoration.  During the course we'll be covering all kinds of great stuff about how curing actually happens, ways to create restorations that really last, and ways that the dental assistant can really help the doctor in doing to the best composites possible.

 

There are also a couple of hands-on components that will give everyone a chance to experiment with Ultradent products and to learn the way light can determine our shade selections.

 

The cost is $395 for the doctor and up to 3 staff members.  I just did this course 2 weeks ago in Princeton, New Jersey and we had an absolute blast!

 

If you would like to have more information or would like to attend, here is everything you'll need.

 

See you tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Garrison Dental Solutions Announces PerForm™ Proximal Contact Instrument

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Today I opened a package from Garrison Dental Solutions to find a really nifty "better mousetrap" type device.  I love these types of devices!  They are the kind where you sort of slap yourself in the forehead and say, "Of course!  That's exactly what I've been missing.  Why didn't *I* think of that?"
The PerForm™ is just such an idea. It is a double ended instrument made of clear plastic.  The ends are small tapered points.  What they allow the operator to do is to place them against the matrix in a proximal box and then use the leverage they create to form exactly the type of contact you want for that particular restoration.
They are clear, so curing can be done while they are in place.  You can even put them into composite in the proximal box area.
The ends are designed so that one fits well in the mesial and the other fits into the distal.  It also comes in 2 sizes with the small being 1.1mm at the tip and the large being 2.0mm at the tip.
They can be used with any type of matrix system so whether you are using Tofflemire, sectional, or even something like the Caulk Automatrix or the Ultradent Omni-Matrix & Omni-Matrix sectional, a great contact can be created.
The set of 2 is now available for $79 and if you buy 2 sets, you can get a third at 1/2 price!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Levitatr - A Sleek Concept Keyboard

I get a lot of enjoyment out of looking through Kickstarter.com.  The idea of the website is a really cool one.  People that are looking for funding for a project can present it on Kickstarter  and then present it to visitors of the website.  Folks that see a project and believe in it can then pledge funds to help get it started.

Sometimes you can see some really amazing ideas there... and I think this is one of them. The name of the project/product is "Levitatr".   It is a very cool keyboard with retractable keys.  It has a very sleek gestalt and really has that whole "Mac" thing going on.  The keyboard is Bluetooth compatible and is designed to be used with an iPad or any other Bluetooth compatible slate type device.

I could spend more words explaining it, but really... you want to watch the video don't know you?  Admit it, you know you do.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Trouble is Brewing for Adobe's Flash Technology on Mobile Devices

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Well... the future isn't looking real rosy for Adobe's Flash technology anymore in the mobile environment.  It wasn't always like this.  A couple of years ago when the original iPad was introduced, there was a lot of discussion surrounding the fact that the iPad didn't (and wouldn't ever) support Adobe Flash.
This was seen by some as a flaw in the entire iOS by some.  It was seen as silly and almost bullying by Steve Jobs by others.  This was seen as a big deal by a lot of people.  So much so that when the Android tablets began shipping this year the manufacturers made a point of telling consumers that Flash ran just fine on the Android operating system on both tablets and phones.
As someone who owns both an Android phone (Samsung Galaxy) and an Android tablet (Motorola Xoom) I can attest to the fact that Flash runs on both platforms; although not always as well as I would like.
However, now we get to the real sticking point of this whole blog post...
This past week, Microsoft began showing their next generation operating system, Windows 8.  This new OS is being designed to run on multiple platforms and one of them is mobile devices.  As the new mobile interface was being demonstrated and discussed (in fact every attendee at the MS BUILD Conference got a Samsung Windows 8 tablet) Microsoft's Internet Explorer team leader Dean Hachamovitch stated the Metro mobile OS will not support Adobe Flash or other plug-ins. The reasons given for this were that running the browser without Flash or any other plug-ins “improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers.”
Now Adobe was quick to point out that Flash will continue to be supported in the desktop and laptop environment.  While that is true, the world is moving (and quickly) to a mobile environment and it's only going to continue to do so.  With that in mind, I wonder how long Flash will continue to be a mainstream technology.  If I was Adobe, I'd be concerned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

USB Powered Personal Fan

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Here's a nifty little idea that might be handy in a dental operatory when it gets a little warm or at your desk to help you keep your cool.  I should know, i'm sitting here basking in the air being pushed my way by a tiny Hawaiian Breeze personal fan as I type this.
This small and affordable personal fan is powered by an available USB port in  your computer.  Of course there are small personal fans like this that are powered by A/C but I know there are some of you reading this that just don't have an available outlet nearby, especially in treatment areas.
This little fan simply plugs into an available USB port and then pulls the necessary power through that to power itself.
Not only can it keep you cool, but it won't overheat your bank account either.  This little number will only set you back $11.03 at Amazon!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Titrating Your Meds with the Apex Ultra Pill Splitter

 

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For those with older parents or patients that are older, here is a nice and affordable device for them to have.
There are times when, for many reasons, a pill is needed to be cut in half to deliver half a dose.  It may be a matter of pain meds, where a patient doesn't feel they need a full dose.  It may be a matter of a pill too large to swallow comfortably, but for whatever reason, the Ultra Pill Splitter can make it easy.
It has a self retracting blade guard and a pill grip that holds the pill securely.  Close the lid and the pill is easily and safely split into two pieces.

The company has lots of great little devices for helping folks with their medications.

Friday, September 16, 2011

DentalEZ® Group to Hold Live Educational Lectures in Booth #1010 During 2011 American Dental Association Meeting

 

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At the upcoming ADA meeting, I'll be giving 3 short talks on a subject that I'm very passionate about, oral cancer screening.  Here is the press release with details.  My pal Mary Govoni will also be talking, covering ergonomics.

 

Industry Experts Enlisted to Present on the Subjects

of Ergonomics and Oral Cancer

Malvern, PA (September 7, 2011) – DentalEZ® Group, a supplier of innovative products and services for dental health professionals worldwide, has enlisted top industry experts to hold live educational lectures at exhibit booth #1010 during the American Dental Association’s (ADA) 2011 Annual Session in Las Vegas.

 

DentalEZ will hold a total of four educational lectures, three of which will focus on the subject of oral cancer screening, and one that will detail ergonomic practices in the workplace.  Technology leader Dr. John Flucke has been enlisted by DentalEZ to deliver three presentations on the subject of oral cancer, and Mary Govoni is set to speak about ergonomics in the workplace.

 

After each oral cancer lecture, attendees who wish to purchase StarDental®’s Identafi® oral cancer screening device will receive a very special discount.  Moreover, those who purchase DentalEZ’s new ErgoSure stool will receive a free set of elbow supports (valued at $695.)

 

For a schedule of lecture times or to register, please call 877-341-6275 or visit www.dentalezlectures.com.

 

Dr. John Flucke practices General Dentistry in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  He is an author, lecturer, and consultant to high-tech and clinical manufacturers.  Dr. Flucke is the Technology Editor for Dental Products Report, Past President of the Greater Kansas City Dental Society, and current Peer Review Chairman for the state of Missouri.  A self-proclaimed “technology evangelist,” Dr. Flucke chronicles his new technology experiences at http://dentaltechnologyblog.blogspot.com/.

 

Mary Govoni, CDA, RDH, MBA, brings years of experience as a dental assistant and hygienist to her presentations and in-office consulting.  Her areas of expertise are ergonomics,

OSHA compliance and infection control, clinical efficiency, and productivity.  Mary is a

columnist for Dental Equipment and Materials and RDH magazines.  She is a past president

of the American Dental Assistants Association, and a current member of the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures, the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, and the National Speaker’s Association.

About DentalEZ® Group

DentalEZ® Group is committed to advancing the practice of dentistry through innovative products and services.  Encompassing six distinct product brands — StarDental®, DentalEZ®, CustomAir®, RAMVAC®,NevinLabs, and Columbia Dentoform® — DentalEZ® Group manufactures everything in the operatory, from handpieces to chairs to vacuum systems to dental simulation models, creating a complete line of products to elevate the health, comfort, and efficiency of the dental operatory.  For more information, please visit www.dentalez.com.

 

 

 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

3D Scanning & Cocaine Smuggling...

 

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As most of you know, I am a firm believer in 3D cone beam imaging for dentistry.  So much so in fact that I have a Gendex CB-500HD unit in my office.  I take 3D scans of patients whenever I feel that it is necessary to help me diagnose or treatment plan to get the best results possible.  In fact, my next article in Dental Products Report I'll be discussing why I now feel 3D is a mainstream technology.
However, you can probably tell by the title of this post... and the pic above, that this isn't about dentistry.  Nope, this is about cocaine... as in smuggling cocaine.
The scan that you can see above shows multiple packages (the capsules in darker red) that are filled with cocaine.  There are 72 of them inside the digestive tract.
This is just one more way 3D is being deployed. Needless to say, this type of smuggling is risky.  If one of those capsules ruptures, it's a quick rush and then... well a very long dirt nap.
For the full article, head on over to NPR.  This one is a fascinating read!

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Google Travel is Now Booking Your Flights

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Does the innovation at Google ever stop?  I mean it.  These people create 24/7/365.  It's amazing.
The latest nifty little Google creation is Google Flight.   Now this isnt' necessarily a "from scratch" thing.  Google purchase ITA for $700 million, and that company's forte was travel software.
It's a pretty clean interface and when you open it, the site knows your location from your IP address so it inputs your local airport in the "From" drop down & then let's you select in the "To" drop down.  Simply select your destination & the screen will change to show the flight path and then displays all the potential flights under the map.  I was amazed at how quickly it worked.
I've yet to try the service, but I think for at least one of my trips this fall, i'll see how it does for me.  What does it say about my travel schedule when I have an extra trip that I can experiment with?   Don't answer that...
So, if you want to give it a try and then make a comment, head on over to Google Flights

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Echofi Brings Pandora-like Functionality to Spotify

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OK, so I've been playing with Spotify for a week or 2 now and while I really like the service, I've got to admit I'd like more variety...
Ta-da!  Behold Echofi, which suddenly converts Spotify to a channel type music service.
All you have to do is open Spotify, click on the link above and then enter the name of the artist.  It will start Spotify playing your favorite channel with artists like you mentioned.
I haven't gotten a chance to use it much... yet.  But, so far so good.  Check it out and then comment back to let me know what you think.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seagate Now Offering 4 Terabyte Portable Hard Drive

 

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OK, I'll admit that even I'm stunned by this little piece of tech.
Seagate, one of the best hard drive manufacturers in the world, has announced the arrival of a 4 Terabyte portable hard drive. I'm not sure that even I could fill this puppy up.
It comes in either USB 2.0 or 3.0 and also has encryption software.  This is just amazing.  If you are sitting on tons of digital images, this may just be the device for you.
Here are the details:

 

The GoFlex Desk external drive gives you plenty of storage capacity and it's easy to upgrade to any interface you choose. Simply pair the desktop hard drive with a GoFlex USB 3.0 or FireWire® 800/USB 2.0 adapter to increase your performance by up to 10 times. Works interchangeably between a PC or a Mac® computer.

Safe, secure, easy to use

With the GoFlex Desk, it's easy to backup, secure and access your content.

  • Ensures automatic continuous backup of your data
  • Secures your backed up files and protects your privacy with powerful encryption software
  • Includes the Seagate® Dashboard management tool for easy management of backup schedules and file encryption, and viewing drive statistics
  • Includes the GoFlex Desk USB 2.0 or 3.0 desktop adapter with illuminated capacity gauge
  • Offers vertical or horizontal orientation to fit in any desktop environment

 

What's in the box

  • GoFlex Desk Drive
  • Pre–loaded backup software with encryption
  • GoFlex Desk USB 2.0 or 3.0 adapter base with capacity gauge*
  • 5-foot (150 cm) USB 2.0 or 3.0 cable*
  • Quick Start Guide
*Not included in drive–only version

 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BMW Creates Laser Lights for... Cars... Wow!

BMW Logo.jpg
Sports cars and lasers... is there anything better?  Not if BMW has anything to say about it.
As a laser fan, I was excited to read the news that BMW is working on this idea.  It seems the lights are brighter and more energy efficient than LEDs.  This is a geeks dream!
Here is the press release from BMW with all the details:

BMW develops laser light for the car.

  • 01.09.2011

Following the introduction of the full LED headlight, laser light is the next logical step in the development of vehicle headlight technology. BMW is planning this step, thus further expanding its lead in innovative light technology.

Munich. As a globally successful carmaker within the premium segment, the BMW Group attaches the utmost importance to advanced technology in all sectors of automotive manufacturing. Exclusive innovations and technological leaps secure BMW’s lead amongst the competition. In the field of exterior vehicle lights, BMW also leads the way for example with full LED headlamps for the BMW 6 Series and with new developments such as the “Anti-dazzle High- Beam Assistant”, as well as with “Dynamic Light Spot”. The term “Dynamic Light Spot” stands for a marker light system that automatically illuminates pedestrians in good time, thereby guiding the driver’s attention.

 

After LED technology, laser light is the next logical step in car light development. BMW engineers are currently already working on the introduction of laser light as a further pioneering technology for series production within a few years. Laser light could then facilitate entirely new light functions for even more safety and comfort and at the same time contribute significantly through its higher degree of efficiency towards a saving in energy and fuel respectively.

 

Laser light produces virtually parallel light beams.

By definition, laser lighting is radically different from sunlight, and also from the various types of artificial lighting in common use today. For a start, laser lighting is monochromatic, which means that the light waves all have the same length. And it is also what is known as a “coherent” light source, which means that its waves have a constant phase difference. As a result, laser lighting can produce a near-parallel beam with an intensity a thousand times greater than that of conventional LEDs. In vehicle headlights, these characteristics can be used to implement entirely new functions. Also, the high inherent efficiency of laser lighting means that laser headlights have less than half the energy consumption of LED headlights. Simply put, laser headlights save fuel.

 

The intensity of laser light poses no possible risks to humans, animals or wildlife when used in car lighting. Amongst other things, this is because the light is not emitted directly, but is first converted into a form that is suitable for use in road traffic. The resulting light is very bright and white. It is also very pleasant to the eye and has a very low energy consumption.

 

Laser diodes are already in use today in the consumer sector.

Completely safe laser lighting technology is already in use in a variety of consumer products, though in many cases this is a product feature that goes unnoticed by the customer. That won’t be the case when this technology is used in cars, however, as planned by BMW. Here the whole point is that the advantages should be noticeable and visible. A further feature of laser technology, which has important implications, is the size of the individual diodes. With a length of just ten microns (┬Ám), laser diodes are one hundred times smaller even than the small, square-shaped cells used in conventional LED lighting, which have a side length of one millimetre. This opens up all sorts of new possibilities when integrating the light source into the vehicle. The BMW engineers have no plans to radically reduce the size of the headlights however, although that would be theoretically possible. Instead, the thinking is that the headlights would retain their conventional surface area dimensions and so continue to play an important role in the styling of a BMW, while the size advantages could be used to reduce the depth of the headlight unit, and so open up new possibilities for headlight positioning and body styling.

 

A further advantage of laser lighting technology, and one which the BMW engineers intend to use to full effect, is its high inherent efficiency. A single statistic will make this clear: whereas LED lighting generates only around 100 lumens (a photometric unit of light output) per watt, laser lighting generates approximately 170 lumens. With statistics like this, it is not surprising that BMW is also planning to take advantage of laser lighting technology to increase the efficiency of the overall vehicle. And appropriately enough it is in a concept vehicle from the new BMW i sub-brand, the BMW i8 Concept, that laser lighting will get its first airing. After all, BMW i stands for a new premium concept that is strongly oriented towards sustainability.

 

Laser lighting: high efficiency and safety.

Safety is a key consideration in the development of laser lighting for use in passenger cars. For BMW, the complete eye safety of this technology for all road users and its complete reliability in day-to-day use have top priority. Importantly, therefore, before the light from the tiny laser diodes is emitted onto the road, the originally bluish laser light beam is first of all converted by means of a fluorescent phosphor material inside the headlight into a pure white light which is very bright and pleasant to the eye. As a result, in future it will be possible to use laser light to implement all the familiar – including more recent – BMW lighting functions such as Adaptive Headlights, the “Dynamic Light Spot” spotlighting system and the “Anti-Dazzle High-Beam Assist”. It will also be possible to use BMW laser lighting to implement completely new functions, which will have only minimal power consumption.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thanks to Everyone Who Attended My Course on Friday

On Friday I was in Princeton, New Jersey giving a course for Ultradent "The Science of Curing & Restoration".

 

I can't begin to tell you how flattered I was with the attendance.  For those of you who were there and are reading this now, thanks so much for spending the day with me!  It was a great day of learning for me.  One of the things that always amazes me is how much I learn from the people who attend my courses.

 

I'll be giving the same course on September 23rd in Houston.  If you are interested in attending, click here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Android May Surpass iOS in App Downloads Soon

Android Logo.jpg

 

Although it's not really a shocker, it still shows how hooked we are all on apps.

 

Google's Android system is now on a much larger number of devices than Apple's iOS.  That's not to say that Android is "better", but it certainly is more plentiful.

 

The part of this story that really made me sit up and take notice personally was the sheer number of apps being downloaded.  It is estimated that Apple had 2.7 billion app downloads last year while Android had 1.4 billion.  This year those numbers are expected to grow by 144% this year.  That's a frightening number.

 

It is readily apparent that it is now an app kind of world.  With mobility increasing every day and our dependence on our mobile devcies increasing as well, the number of apps we need just keeps going through the roof.  Whether you are using Android or Apple, chances are you have tons of apps.  I use both platforms and I know that the reason the devices are so valuable is because of the simple fact the apps make them that way...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Cost of Cybercrime is Greater than that of Heroin, Cocaine, and Marijuana

Did that headline grab your attention?  It sure did mine.

 

It seems that Norton, the Symantec division that handles their antivirus, antispyware, antispam programs has done a lot of research and they have released their findings in a "Cybercrime Report".  The report takes a look at digital plagues such as viruses, identity theft, online hacking, online harassment, online scams, phishing, and sexual predation.  They then come up with some rather amazing numbers of those affected by these digital problems  as well as the cost of battling the problems as well as lost productivity, etc.

 

The info provided is pretty shocking... even for a diehard digital geek like myself.

 

I coudl sit here and quote all kinds of stats from the reports, but it's easier to just let you digest the info for yourself.  Here is a commentary/editorial by Norton's Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt.  The Report itself, can be found here.

 

Just remember, prepare to be stunned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Toshiba Announces Launch of "FlashAir" Wireless SD Card

110831_SDcardEng.jpg
It's been 4 years since the idea of a WiFi enabled SD card surfaced.  The Eye-Fi card has proven to be very popular and I always wondered why no one else went after that market.
Well, now Toshiba has announced a competitor, the FlashAir, due to hit the shelves in February 2012.  The card even offers peer-to-peer transfers meaning if you and a friend both have FlashAir cards, you can transfer pictures between cameras.  How cool is that?
Here are the details from the Toshiba press release:

TOKYO–Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced that it will launch the world's first[1] SDHC memory card with embedded wireless LAN functionality to meet the SD Memory Card Standard. The new card, "FlashAir™", has an 8GB capacity and supports both peer-to-peer transfers and uploads to and downloads from servers. Samples will be available from November 2011 and sales will start in February 2012.

FlashAir will be featured at IFA 2011, in Berlin, Germany from September 2.

At a time when digital cameras have achieved immense popularity, users want a quick and easy way to share photographs with friends and to transfer them to and from online storage services and social networks. Toshiba provides the solution with FlashAir, the world's first SDHC memory card with embedded wireless LAN functionality that is fully compliant with the SD Memory Card Standard.

FlashAir's embedded wireless communication function allows users to upload and download photographs to and from a server and to exchange photographs and other data with other devices, including digital cameras[2] that are FlashAir compliant and, smartphones and PCs that support wireless LAN. All transfers are done wirelessly, without any need for a cable connection. Key features of the new card include the ability to receive as well as transmit and lower power consumption than other cards with similar functions.

Even in digital cameras not compliant with FlashAir, the new card can share digital images with smartphones and PCs that support wireless LAN.

Toshiba will secure certification of FlashAir for wireless communication in Japan, North America and Europe.

Toshiba will reinforce and extend its leadership of memory business by further enhancing its SD memory card line-up.

Notes:
[1]
As of September 1, 2011. Source: Toshiba Corporation.
[2]
A number of camera makers are now considering launching compliant products.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Amazon Cloud Drive - Impressive & Now Holding *All* My Music

 

Amazon-Cloud-Drive.png
Cloudy with a chance of music... that's the forecast for my life in the foreseeable future.
I've mentioned here several times in the past how the cloud is changing lives every day and has really changed mine in the last couple of years.  With the proliferation of cloud storage, more and more of our lives are being uploaded and accessed from multiple points every day.
Google, Apple, and Amazon are all hoping to move us to The Cloud when it comes to our entertainment and in my world, Amazon was the first to dangle The Cloud in front of my tech glazed eyes.
Earlier this year, I went to my Amazon account to download a song.  I've been an Amazon music customer for several years now.  I first went there because they were one of the first major music download services that didn't encrypt the downloads.  I could download a true MP3 file from the Amazon servers and play it on amy of my several devcies.  I didn't want the un-encrypted music so that I could give it to friends or upload it to some free file sharing service, no I just wanted to be able to play it on whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I supported Amazon because they supported me.
Earlier this summer I went to download an album & I was told I had 5 free gigabytes of storage so I had a choice.  I could download the music if I wanted to, but I could also store the album on the Amazon Cloud drive.  That meant I could leave the music in The Cloud and play it from any device that had an Internet connection.  I found this pretty handy and I hadn't downloaded much music to my hard drive since.
Imagine my shock and excitement when a couple of weeks ago I learned that I could upload my entire music collection to my Amazon Cloud Drive!  In a nutshell, I downloaded the Amazon Uploader software.  This program searched my hard drive and then offered to upload any MP3 files it found.  That means that pretty much my entire collection was available for free storage on the Amazon servers.  It took over 90 hours, but over the  holiday weekend, the process was complete.  Now my entire music collection is now in The Cloud.
I'm still backing up my hard drive based tunes, but I sleep better  knowing that Amazon is also storing & backing up my music.
Trust me,  you'll like the cloud...

 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!!!

The end of summer is upon us... so as you visit the pool for the last time think back to what has happened since late May and be grateful for all the good times you've had.

 

As is my tradition on major holidays, I encourage you to enjoy the barbecues, Frisbee games, and other time spent with your family and loved ones.  Treasure the things that God has given you and be grateful for the wonderful joys and happiness that you have been given.

 

LIfe is short and the time we spend with each other is ridiculously short.  Enjoy each and every moment of it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spotify Comes to the US... and I've Got an Invite

 

Spotify Logo.jpg
Well, it pays to have friends (Thanks Adam!) because as I was recently having a discussion about the cloud with some other geeks, I was offered an invite to the new service... but only if i would use it.  Use it?  I'm a music fanatic and couldn't wait to try it out.
This is really a beautiful service in many ways.  As a bonafide music lover, i have a huge collection of over 60GB of music.  While I'm sure that many of you have much more than that, compared to the average, 60GB is a pretty big database.  However, even with that much music, there are tons of songs I don't own.  Not only that, but there are songs I like, but really don't want to purchase and store.
Spotify eliminates all that by bringing any song by an artist to your fingertips.  I love being able to just type an artist into the search bar and have tons of music by the selected artist show up in the "Track window".  Now I've only been using the service for a few days and I haven't done tons of searches yet, but the only artist that I've found so far that doesn't have a major amount of music listed is The Beatles.
i specifically searched for "The Beatles" because they've been a holdout in the world of digital downloads for years now.   They just recently agreed to a deal with Apple to put their entire catalog on iTunes so I didn't think they would be well represented on Spotify... and they weren't   I'm sure there are other artists like that, but in my few days of use, I've yet to find them.
Overall the service works well.  Now I've got a great connection at both my office and my home so that my account for some of my success, but I'm very impressed so far.  The service also scans your music collection and lets you play it through the Spotify software as well.
So I'm giving Spotify my recommendation with the one caveat being I've only used the service for a few days.  However, i think if you use it, you'll be as impressed as I am.

 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Discus SL3 Laser Evaluation Complete

Discus SL3.jpg
I've been tinkering with and evaluating the SL3 diode laser from Discus since early May.
The footprint of diode lasers has been shrinking ever since they came on the market... which is a good thing.  As many of you know, Discus also sells the NV which is about the size of a SoniCare toothbrush.  While not that small, I'm of the opinion that there is still a market for lasers such as the SL3 which is 5.5" x 7.0" x 5.5" and weighs 1.85 pounds.
We have an NV in the office and we use it multiple times a day so what I was looking for from the SL3 was to have a laser in my "favorite op" which could be used anytime I wanted to just by reaching for it.  I love the European Design cabinetry I have in the clinic and so we put the SL3 in a drawer that has A/C power and it was available just by opening the drawer.
The unidose tips that are used with the device slide over the handpiece and are held in place magnetically.  They are easy to place, easy to use, and easy to dispose of by just removing them and dropping them in a sharps container.
I've found the 3 Watt power of the SL3 to be more than adequate for anything I've done.  We've put it through the paces with a multitude of clinical applications including frenectomies, troughing for impressions, biopsies, incision & drainage, and gingivectomies, just to name a few.  The device has performed well with no problems on all procedures.
The screen is easy to read & the device is easy to setup & program... even for a novice.  The wireless foot control is nice  since it cuts down on  clutter on the floor.  The device can be run on A/C power or on battery so it is easily portable and charges quickly.
It has a voice confirmation of settings which, as an experienced user, i found little use for, but it was easy to simply turn the volume down.  As an aside, I understand from manufacturers that the voice confirmation is popular with many new users.
My only problem with the device was a faulty "power brick" that kept the battery from charging.  However, one email to Discus quickly solved the problem.
Overall I'm very happy with the performance, design, and aesthetic of the SL3.  If you are looking for a diode laser that performs well in all clinical applications, you should definitely consider this unit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finally Someone Who Gets It

 

The first thing I need to do is admit to the problem.  "My name is John and I am a caffeine-oholic."  There I said it.  Because of this little problem that I have, I  happen to be a Starbuck's Gold Card member (scary I know).  One of the things that Starbucks does is to stay in really good contact with their regular customers.  I like that.  Starbucks really focuses on the community and experience of their customers.  Kudos to them for that!

 

I received the following this morning and I have to admit this sounds good.  No matter your political leanings, i think we need something like this at the grassroots level.  Take a look at the letter below and let me know your comments.

 

September 2011 

Dear Starbucks Friend and Fellow Citizen: 

I love our country. And I am a beneficiary of the promise of America. But today, I am very concerned that at times I do not recognize the America that I love. 

Like so many of you, I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failure of leadership in Washington. And also like you, I am frustrated by our political leaders' steadfast refusal to recognize that, for every day they perpetuate partisan conflict and put ideology over country, America and Americans suffer from the combined effects of paralysis and uncertainty. Americans can't find jobs. Small businesses can't get credit. And the fracturing of consumer confidence continues. 

We are better than this. 

Three weeks ago, I asked fellow business leaders to join me in urging the President and the Congress to put an end to partisan gridlock and, in its place, to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence. More than 100 business leaders representing American companies - large and small - joined me in signing a two-part pledge: 

First, to withhold political campaign contributions until a transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached that honestly, and fairly, sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security. Second, to do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring. 

In the weeks since then, I have been overwhelmed by the heartfelt stories of Americans from across the country, sharing their anguish over losing hope in the strongest and most galvanizing force of all - the American Dream. Some feel they have no voice. Others feel they no longer matter. And many feel they have been left behind. 

We cannot let this stand. 

Please join other concerned Americans and me on a national call-in conversation on Tuesday September 6th hosted by "No Labels," a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fostering cooperative and more effective government. To learn more about the forum and the pledges, visit www.upwardspiral2011.org

America is at a fragile and critical moment in its history. We must restore hope in the American Dream. We must celebrate all that America stands for around the world. And while our Founding Fathers recognized the constructive value of political debate, we must send the message to today's elected officials in a civil, respectful voice they hear and understand, that the time to put citizenship ahead of partisanship is now. 

Yours is the voice that can help ignite the contagious upward spiral of confidence that our country desperately needs.

 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

LaboMed Prima Surgical Operating Microscope

 

Endo Setup.jpg
The  photo above was one that I Tweeted today while setting up for a root canal procedure in my office (OK, I'll admit that Super Assistant Terri was the one who actually set the room up... I was just there to take the picture).  It's really a great tech story unto itself.  All of that gear to do dentistry and the photo taken with the camera in my Motorola Xoom Android Tablet which then sent the picture and my Tweet out wirelessly to the Net.  Cool huh?
However, the ONE thing I was there to setup was the surgical microscope.  I'm currently working with a nice scope called the Prima.  It is a nice device and provides a very clear field of view.
I'm currently working on a clinical evaluation of the device, but one thing it has going for it already is a rumored price of less than $10,000 US.  I'll report back with more info after I've got more cases under my belt, but here are the specs the company provided for me:

 

  • 5-step APO chromatic magnification changer
  • Plan APO optics for superior clarity and color rendition (see magnification options)
  • Magnification steps: 0.4x, 0.6x, 1.0x, 1.6x, 2.5x
  • Viewing body: ERGONOMIC binocular 0° - 210° , interpupillary range 55-75mm
  • Wide-field eyepieces: 10x/18mm
  • Manual fine focus Plan APO objective: f=250mm
  • Ergonomic dental microscope carrier with adjustable handgrips
  • Counter-balanced swivel and suspension arm with individual locking knobs
  • Heavy anti-rust base with locking 84mm anti-static castors
  • High output 50W LED with fiber optic cable; up to 60,000 hrs life
  • Full intensity flicker-free control without color change
  • Filters: Integral filter selector with Yellow, Green, and clear filter positions
  • Auto illumination shut-off at top parking position
  • Optional eyepieces: 12.5x/16mm, 16x/16mm
  • Optional PlanAPO objectives: f=175mm; f=200mm; f=300mm; f=400mm
  • Optional motorized fine focus with foot operated control
  • Modular design accepts optional component modules
  • Optional 5 Megapixel iVu camera module with USB2.0 and composite video out
  • Optional Dual ‘Assistant’ bridge for simultaneous observation
  • Optional floorwalltable, and ceiling mounting
  • Optional long suspension arm for chair or wall mounted systems
  • Optional Halogen 150W or 250W Xenon illumination