Saturday, February 28, 2009

Apple Releases Safari 4.0

As the "new browser wars" or perhaps "browser skirmishes" continue, Apple has jumped into the fray.

We've recently seen updates to Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Google Chrome. Now comes Safari 4.0 for both Mac and Windows.

I have limited experience with the Mac update (I've only been using it for 30 minutes as I type this), but it appears stable and definitely loads *much* faster.

It even has taken some things from Google Chrome like a pictorial list of most visited sites.

Download it here if you are interested.


Genius is a good company that makes some interesting products. Here is one that can be used in lots of different places in the dental or medical environment. The tablet and pen replaces the mouse. This allows you to draw on the screen to annotate photos or images. You can also use the pen in the administrative area to digitally sign documents such as health history, treatment plans, etc.

One of the drawbacks of this technology has always been cost, but Genuis has made this an affordable option. Read on for details:

MIAMI (February 24, 2009)– Genius (, a brand division of KYE Systems Corp., today announced a new addition to the company’s extensive line up of digital tablets, the G-Pen F-509, for business professionals, graphic designers and artists on-the-go. Plug and play ready, the G-Pen comes with both Window’s Vista and Mac software.

The G-Pen F-509 has 26 programmable “Hot-Keys” for Office, Internet and Vista functions to be used for super shortcuts. The cordless pen features 1024 level pressure sensitivity and two buttons for controlling shapes and thickness. The G-Pen F-509 has a 5.25” x 8.75” working area and is easily transportable for use in a car, coffee shop or any type of mobile office. The tablet can be used to write, draw, sketch and/or sign documents, saving time and creating a great solution to paper waste. It is perfect for those creative types who like drawing, bloggers, artists, and anyone craving a digital pen as opposed to a keyboard, which only allows typing.

The G-Pen F-509 is attractively priced at $109 (MSRP) and is bundled with PhotoImpact 12SE, Macro Key Manager and Office Ink/Free Notes. Interested shoppers can go to New,, Tiger Direct, or other retailers and distributors listed at

More information on all of Genius’ tablet line,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Iomega DVR Expander Drive Now Certified With Pace Set-Top Boxes

If you have a DVR that needs more space, take a look at the following press release. For compatible DVR models, this could be a welcome addition. Iomega has a been a leader in expandable media for a long time. Read on for all the details.

SAN DIEGO, February 26, 2009 – Iomega, an EMC Company (NYSE:EMC) and a global leader in data protection, today announced that the Iomega® DVR Expander Drive is certified for compatibility with Pace Americas cable set-top boxes and digital video recorders.

Hailed by as “the perfect solution to your HD storage problem,” the 500GB* Iomega DVR Expander Drive adds storage capacity for eSATA-enabled DVRs, allowing cable TV customers to record and enjoy more of their favorite cable TV and movie broadcasts.

The Iomega DVR Expander Drive expands users’ digital video recorder (DVR) storage capacity by as much as 300 hours of standard-definition TV or 60 hours of high-definition TV. The Iomega DVR Expander Drive also enables certain Pace Americas cable set-top boxes without an internal hard drive to function as a full featured DVR.

Pace is the latest set-top box manufacturer to certify compatibility with Iomega’s DVR Expander Drive. Pace provides millions of cable set-top boxes to operators throughout North, Central and South America.

“The certification of the industry-leading Iomega DVR Expander Drive for use with Pace set top boxes is fantastic news for millions of cable subscribers,” said Jonathan Huberman, President of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Products Division of EMC. “Everyone loves their DVRs, but no one likes to delete programming to record something new. With the Iomega DVR Expander Drive, you get a massive capacity increase for recording new content with absolutely no installation hassles.”

Tim O’Loughin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pace Americas, said, “It’s a pleasure to work with Iomega on the certification of the DVR Expander Drive, which will benefit Pace Americas’ cable operators and their millions of subscribers. Compatibility with the Iomega DVR Expander Drive means cable subscribers with compatible Pace set-top boxes can greatly expand their ability to securely record movies, sports and television programs in SD or HD format.”

The Iomega DVR Expander Drive connects to the eSATA port on Pace set-top boxes. After an initial setup the DVR automatically streams new recordings to either its internal hard drive or the external SATA drive, whichever has more space available.

The Iomega DVR Expander Drive is specifically designed to operate cool without a fan for quiet operation. The drive has a small footprint – almost half the size of similar products – so that it can fit into small spaces in an entertainment center. Because the DVR Expander Drive is always turned on to record selected programming, the product is Energy Star® compliant for power conservation and a better environment.

Included with the Iomega DVR Expander Drive is the required eSATA cable, quick start guide and power supply, along with a stand for vertical or horizontal placement of the Iomega DVR Expander Drive in an entertainment center.

The Iomega DVR Expander is also certified for compatibility with Scientific Atlanta standard and high definition DVRs. Iomega expects to announce more certified compatibility with other eSATA enabled DVRs in the near future.

Price and Availability
The new Iomega® DVR Expander Drive, eSATA 500GB, is now available for $149.99 (pricing is suggested U.S. retail) from online etailers, retailers and from the Iomega Web site,

About Pace
Pace (LSC: PIC) is a leading technology developer of the global pay TV industry, working across satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms.

Pace has one of the world’s most experienced specialist engineering teams, developing intelligent and innovative products and services for both pay TV operators and retail markets across the world.

Following the acquisition of the set-top box and connectivity solutions business of Royal Philips Electronics in April 2008, Pace employs over 900 people in locations around the world, including France, the USA, India and Hong Kong. Pace’s international headquarters are in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, UK.

About EMC
EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world's leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information. Information about EMC's products and services can be found at

About Iomega
Iomega Corporation, headquartered in San Diego, is a worldwide leader in innovative storage and network security solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, consumers and others. The Company has sold more than 410 million digital storage drives and disks since its inception in 1980. Today, Iomega’s product portfolio includes industry leading network attached storage products, external hard drives, multimedia solutions such as the Iomega DVR Expander Drive and the ScreenPlay Multimedia Drive product line. To learn about all of Iomega’s digital storage products, please go to the Web at Resellers can visit Iomega at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prepare yourself... for The DEN

Get ready for a great new way to find out info about new products, new techniques, new gadgets, new technologies, and anything new in dentistry. The medium that will deliver this is the Dental Entertainment Network or, as it is being called, The DEN.

The DEN is a collaborative effort between myself and many other passionate and talented individuals that aims to have a fun way of finding out all that is new. We've been shooting video for a while and on Friday in Chicago we'll hit the floor with the camera crew and our "gal on the floor, Jill".

If you see the crew, stop by and say hi. And remember, The DEN is coming and you won't look at dental information delivery the same way you have in the past.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cosmedent Annouonces New Product Catalog

Cosmedent is proud to share with its customers a new product catalog featuring its 2009 line of superior dental materials. In this catalog you will find exciting new product introductions, special savings bundles, featured cases from some of dentistry’s most respected clinicians, and Cosmedent’s entire line of award winning products such as Renamel, Top Finisher and Insure.

From the beginning, Cosmedent’s top polymer chemists have worked closely with the best esthetic dentists to create a wide range of innovative products that work better for you. Find out what’s new this year at Cosmedent by calling 800-621-6729 and requesting a 2009 product catalog. You may also visit Cosmedent online at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Come by the Gendex Booth this weekend!

If you are planning on being in Chicago for the CDS MidWinter meeting this week, please stop by the Gendex booth and say hi. I'll be there giving talks on my experience with the GX CB-500 cone beam imaging platform as well as being available for one-on-one with interested doctors and staff members.

If you are thinking of incorporating this amazing piece of technology into your practice and have questions, please feel free to come by and ask any and all questions. Cone beam imaging is changing how we treatment plan and how we can better solve complicated problems. You owe it to yourself and your patients to explore this fascinating technology. See you in Chicago!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sprint gets exclusive on Palm Pre for 2009

Palm pre.jpg
If you are a Sprint customer who is waiting to get their hands on a new Palm Pre, congratulations! If you are not a Sprint customer and are desiring the newest Palm phone, I'm sorry to tell you that you're out of luck.

Sprint has just secured the exclusive rights to sell the device for the remainder of the 2009 calendar year. The Pre has a sexy look with a cool slide out keyboard. It also has a completely new operating system.

The specs are as follows:
OS; Palm webOS
Network: 3g EVDo Rev A
Display: 3.1 inch touch screen with 24 bit color, 320x480 HVGA
E-mail: Microsoft Outlook e-mial with Microsoft Direct Push technology supports POP3 and IMAP
Messaging: Integrated with IM, SMS, and MMS
GPS: Built in
Digital Camera: 3 megapixel camera with LED flash

Amazon Kindle 2.0 is Shipping!

Rumor has it that the long awaited Kindle 2.0 is shipping and is set to arrive on Tuesday February 24th. The Kindle has the largest selection of books in an electronic format with over 230,000 titles.

Here is the lowdown on the device from Amazon:

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns

Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you

Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Adobe warns of critical, unpatched security flaw

A tip of the electron to Bill Domb and Gregg Louk of the IDF for this one.

It seems there is a critical flaw in Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9. The worst part is that the fix may not arrive until March 11. Here is an article from C-net that tells the whole story by Dawn Kawamoto.

Update at 8:45 a.m. PST: Information from security firm Symantec added.

Attackers are making the rounds and exploiting a critical security flaw in Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9.

Earlier versions of the PDF-related software are also affected by the critical security flaw, which could cause the applications to crash and potentially let an attacker gain control of a person's computer, Adobe Systems warned Thursday.

Reports also surfaced that attackers have developed an exploit and are taking advantage of the flaw, the company said.

Adobe has yet to develop an update to address the vulnerability but noted it expects to have one ready for Adobe Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 by March 11. After that, the company expects to launch updates for the earlier versions of the software going back to Adobe Reader 7 and Acrobat 7.

Until then, Adobe advises, people should update their virus definitions and exercise caution when opening documents from unknown sources.

Security company McAfee noted in a blog that the current attacks appear to be targeted ones but that it expects new variants of the exploit to make the rounds as more information becomes public.

In its posting, McAfee said that malicious PDF documents began to surface at the start of the year, exploiting a vulnerability in Adobe Reader versions 8 and 9. The attackers can then take advantage of a bug in Reader to overwrite memory at gain control of executing code. After that, attackers can install a Trojan horse and from there add a proverbial backdoor to a person's computer to remotely control and monitor the infected system.

Symantec, meanwhile, reports seeing the exploit used against only a few government agencies and large corporations, and within those organizations, only a few people are targeted, said Kevin Haley, a Symantec Security Response director.

"We've seen it used in only a few small places, so it tells us it's a targeted attack and someone is not trying to use it in a widespread way," Haley said, noting fewer than 100 people have been affected since it noticed the attacks on February 12.

But he added it seems likely other attackers may try to exploit the Adobe vulnerabilities and that the range of exploits may grow beyond the malware that Symantec calls Trojan.Pidief.E.

In its blog on Trojan.Pidief.E, Symantec advices users to consider disabling JavaScript in Adobe Reader and has provided instructions in a blog on a different issue.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Large Software Announces Pricing Special

The folks at Large Software make some pretty nice products. I've been using their Password Manager for a while now and have been very happy with it. They also make a program that helps keep your PC running smoothly by removing all the little things that you don't need.

The good news is that the company is offering a special pricing sale for those who purchase both Password Manager and PC Tune-UP 2.o Read on for the details.

SAN DIEGO (February 17, 2009) — Large Software (, a provider of easy-to-use downloadable consumer software, announced today a price special that will provide customers a discount on the popular PC Tune-Up™ 2.0 software when combined with the purchase of the company’s Password Manager. The special saves customers over $20 with the purchase of both products and will make users computers faster and easier to use.

The PC Tune-Up 2.0 product, which optimizes user’s computers and improves computer speed by up to 55-percent, does the following and more:

• System and Registry Backup – does a complete backup of users’ files and provides a restore point to undo any changes.
• Smart Scan – enables users to do a quick scan of main files or a smart scan of all drives, then provides a list of errors with brief descriptions and recommended fixes.
• Automatic Repairs – fixes all of the problems detected or users can select individual errors for manual repair.
• Complete Defrag – safely removes unnecessary files that slow a user’s computer and reorganizes Windows registry to run more efficiently.
• Magic Button – runs all four critical steps automatically so users can optimize their computers with the click of a single button.
• Optimizing Tools – includes a Startup Wizard and Memory Optimizer to make your computer boot faster.
• ActiveX Protection – ActiveX applications are usually installed through a user’s Web browser and there is no easy way to remove them. By inserting specific word values within the registry called "Compatibility Flags", PC Tune-Up™ blocks any harmful ActiveX programs from installing.

The company’s Password Manager memorizes and securely stores each username and password that is entered into each and every Web site. To secure each password, such as those used for online banking or other Web sites that store credit card or financial information, Password Manager encrypts each saved password. The software also protects the program by offering a master password, keeping all the information stored protected and secure.

Password Manager can be purchased for $29.95 and PC Tune-Up may be added on for $9.95 when bought at the same time.

“We want to show people how easy and pain free computing can be when users take the time to utlize tools out there from Large Software,” said Nick Forcier, CEO of Large Software. “The price break is an incentive and hopefully encourages people to let technology make their lives easier in a time of worry.”

Both products can be bought at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Western Digital My Book World Edition

WD My Book World Edition.jpgWe just keep accumulating more digital stuff. We also just keep hanging onto stuff "just in case". This is a problem that I've heard called "digital packratting" and I love that description because that's just what it is.

However, never mind why you have all of this digital stuff, chances are if you have it then it's important to you. I mean, you certainly wouldn't want to lose it, right?

Then there's the matter of enjoying the digital media you own. You'd like to be able to have one source for your video and audio that is easy to access.

To the rescue comes the Western Digital My Book World Edition. A 2 TB drive that uses less power than standard hard drives, provides backup capabilities, and can stream digital media. Sound interesting? Here is the press release:

New My Book® World Edition™ Network Hard Drives Offer Plug and Play Installation and Automatic Continuous Backup To Keep the Entire Family's Data Safe

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Feb. 18, 2009 - WD® (NYSE: WDC), the world's leader in external storage solutions, today introduced its newly redesigned My Book® World Edition™ network storage drive, simplifying the critical but tedious task of backing up an entire household's precious files. Designed for consumers who have multiple computers on a home network, the new drive will be available in 1 terabyte and 2 terabyte capacities, and is compatible with PC and Mac® computers.

Consumers are amassing increasing amounts of digital media on their computers, including irreplaceable photos, movies and documents. While 70 percent of users in a recent WD study of 1,500 U.S. consumers claimed to be "backing up," most use sporadic, tedious processes such as copying to CDs/DVDs or USB thumb drives. Having several computers multiplies the work. My Book World Edition network drives are designed to automate and simplify the backup chore for the 36 million networked homes in the U.S. according to research firm Parks Associates. Just plug the My Book World Edition drive into a network router, click a few buttons and the My Book World Edition storage device backs up the files from all the PCs and Macs on the network. Any changes to the files on these computers are automatically and continuously backed up to the drive.

"For easier safekeeping of personal files and media collections stored around the home, families need network storage solutions with true plug-and-play installation, automatic backup capability and familiar file organization," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates. "With My Book™ World Edition, WD is delivering peace-of-mind for users who want to easily back up all their computers, as well as bringing to the table media centralization, streaming and remote access functions for more advanced families."

My Book World Edition's massive capacities are available from any computer in the home. Combined with high performance, this makes it easy to build a shared digital media library. Music, photos and videos can be streamed directly from the My Book World Edition drive to any PC, Mac or connected DLNA® media player (such as Microsoft® Xbox 360 and Sony® PlayStation®3 game consoles, wireless digital pictures frames or TVs) using the integrated UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) media server and iTunes® Music server software. Families can also securely access and share their centralized files from anywhere in the world where they have access to the Internet, using the My Book World Edition drive's Web remote access service.

"Finding a simple way to stay backed up can be a daunting task for consumers, especially when there are multiple PCs to protect," said Jim Welsh, senior vice president and general manager of WD's branded products and consumer electronics groups. "With a My Book World Edition drive, it just takes a few simple steps for a family to automatically back up all the computers in their home and keep the backup continuously up to date. Media streaming and remote access add fun and flexibility to the mix making My Book World Edition a great choice for today's digital home."

Price and Availability
The new My Book World Edition network hard drives are available now in the 1 TB capacity and expected later this month in the 2 TB capacity at select retailers and WD's online store ( MSRP for the My Book World Edition storage system with 1 TB is $229.99 USD and 2 TB is $449.99 USD.

The new My Book World Edition network hard drives feature:

* Automatic, continuous backup for all the computers on your network;
* Simple file recovery for lost or damaged files;
* Centralized storage and sharing for all your family's digital content;
* Best-in-class performance;
* Easy access to all your data from anywhere, anytime;
* Works seamlessly on networks with both Windows and Mac computers;
* Media server capability with DLNA 1.5 and UPnP certification to stream content to XboxBOX 360, Playstation3, wireless digital picture frames and connected audio receivers;
* Centralize and stream music collection to a Mac® or Windows® PC using iTunes software;
* Remote sharing of personal content like photos or documents with family and friends;
* USB 2.0 Utility Port to turn any USB drive into an instant network drive or extra capacity for the My Book World Edition;
* Cooler, quieter, eco-friendly design with WD Green Power Drives which run cooler, quieter and consume up to 33 percent less power1;
* Capacity gauge to see at a glance how much space is available on your drive;
* High-speed data transfer with Gigabit Ethernet; and,
* 3-year limited warranty.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ClearCorrect, Inc. Fles Declaratory Judgment Against Align Technology, Inc. the Maker of Invisalign

The "clear braces" concept has been around for a while now and it seems that there are always lawsuits brewing between companies in the field. Here is some info I received yesterday on the latest:

Houston, TX – February 17, 2009 – ClearCorrect, Inc., a manufacturer of FDA-cleared transparent orthodontic aligners, commonly known as clear braces or invisible braces, today filed a declaratory judgment against Align Technology, Inc. the manufacturer of Invisalign®. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

By definition, a declaratory judgment is a court decision in a civil case that tells the parties what their rights and responsibilities are, without awarding damages or ordering them to do anything. Unlike most court cases, where the plaintiff asks for damages or other court orders, the plaintiff in a declaratory judgment case simply wants the court to resolve an uncertainty so that it can avoid future litigation and associated costs.

Specifically, ClearCorrect has filed a complaint that alleges that certain patents owned by Align Technology (Invisalign) are invalid and that ClearCorrect’s clear braces products and processes do not infringe upon those patents.

According to ClearCorrect’s attorney, Randy J. McClanahan of Houston-based law firm McClanahan, Myers and Espey, LLP, “This suit was filed against Align Technology not to prevent Align from conducting business, but to ensure that ClearCorrect could compete openly and fairly in the market for clear orthodontic aligners without threat of litigation by Align.”

“Fortunately for us, the Constitution provides protection in these ‘David vs. Goliath’ situations,”
explained ClearCorrect CEO and practicing Houston dentist, Dr. Willis Pumphrey. “We are merely trying to avoid protracted litigation such as Align’s suit against Ormco Corporation, which took six years and untold legal costs to eventually prove the invalidity of several of Align’s patent claims. We are willing to voluntarily dismiss our suit if Align provides assurance that it will not initiate similar litigation in the future.”

About ClearCorrect, Inc.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ClearCorrect was founded by dentists to serve the dental and orthodontic industry by providing a superior and more affordable clear aligner system. The highly-sophisticated ClearCorrect treatment delivery system and corresponding aligner products are based on years of research and clinical experience. Cutting-edge technological advances and advanced treatment expertise, coupled with comprehensive marketing and sales support, make ClearCorrect the premier clear aligner solution of choice for informed dentists and patients. The company’s modern, needs-based approach for serving doctors and patients has earned it a leadership position within the dental industry. For information about ClearCorrect, the company and its products visit or call 1-888-331-3323.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Xpaper - A Great Solution in the Quest for Paperless

For the last month I've been experimenting with Xpaper from

The concept is software and a "digital pen". For offices that are still using paper forms, but are wanting to go paperless, Xpaper helps eliminate the need for scanning forms.

Here's how it works: The Xpaper software allows you to print any document using their print driver. When printed, the document will have small dots in the background. The pen is truly digital and has an optic sensor that sees the dots. This identifies which document is being written on. The pen then remembers all things written on the document.

When the document has been completed, the pen is placed in a USB docking station and the form is downloaded from the pen as a pdf document which can then be placed directly into the patient's chart.

This is one of the slickest things I've seen lately. The pdf document literally has the patient's handwriting on it making it a true legal form.

The pen has a memory that allows it to hold around 200 documents so downloading can be done when it is convenient.

This is an amazing product that is highly recommended! You can get more info at the company website.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Lego Hardware - only now it communicates

A tip of the electron to boygeniusreport for this one. Last week I blogged about some cool Lego products that are actually electronics. Now we have the ultimate Lego gadget... a Lego mobile phone.

This phone is a partnership between Alcatel and Lego, but very little else is known. Is this a phone for kids or adults? Your guess is as good as mine at this point.

However, I think it shows a lot of initiative from the folks at Lego to begin thinking about what their brand means to adults (like me) who have fond memories of making all kinds of things out of Lego bricks.

If/when I can find more information, I'll be posting it here. You can count on that.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade on New PCs

Vista to Windows 7.jpg

If you are thinking of buying a new Windows PC but are holding off, 2 factors may be affecting your decision. The first is that maybe you don't want Vista. The second maybe that you really want Windows 7.

If either one of those points applies to you, here is some info that I'm sure you'll be interested in. According to Tech ARP, Microsoft will be offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 on any computer purchased after July 1st.

These types of situations usually occur as a new OS is about to hit the market to keep the machines with the older OS as a viable sales unit.

So if you're thinking of a new PC for this summer, don't worry about the upcoming release of Windows 7, Microsoft will make sure you get a copy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hacking the President's Blackberry - And What We can Learn

There was a great deal of speculation after the presidential election about what President Obama would do about electronic communication and his beloved Blackberry in particular. As most of us geeky types already knew, the President has a serious "Crackberry" addiction and we wondered how he would function without it. There were serious concerns about being able to track the president via the device and, of course, the security of the president is of utmost importance.

It turns out that President Obama got to keep his electronic obsession. By using a very expensive and highly encrypted special version of the Blackberry that eliminates the concerns the Secret Service had the new president is now the first in U.S. history to communicate electronically. Geeks like myself rejoiced!

However, there are still concerns about security. Why? Because being secure is a constantly moving target and you must be ever vigilant in ensuring the safety of your data and network whether you are the Commander-in-Chief of just the owner of a small business. To that end, Fox News this week had a conversation with famous hacker Kevin Mitnick about this issue. Mitnick was convicted of some serious security briefs in the 1990's and now has turned to a "white hat" who runs a security consulting business. In the article below from Fox News, pay special attention to the issue of "social engineering" which is getting past security by dealing with the humans in charge of it. Mitnick was a successful hacker due to the fact that he was also very good at the social engineering aspect of hacking. Never forget that the human element is frequently the weakest link in the security chain.

Here is the article from

There's a new "holy grail" for hackers — President Obama's super-secure BlackBerry.

Despite warnings from his advisers, the president insisted on keeping his beloved PDA, which now has specially designed superencrypting security software.

But that just makes cracking into it more challenging — and, yes, it can be done, says the world's most famous hacker.

"It's a long shot, but it's possible," Kevin Mitnick told "You'd probably need to be pretty sophisticated, but there's people out there who are."

• Click here to visit's Cybersecurity Center.

• Got tech questions? Ask our experts at's Tech Q&A.

Mitnick served nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire and computer fraud for hacking into computer systems at some of the country's largest cell-phone and computer companies during the 1990s.

With his hacking days behind him, he now heads Mitnick Security Consulting.

"If I was the attacker, I would look to Obama's close circle of friends, family and associates and try to compromise their machines at home," Mitnick said. "The objective would be to get Obama's e-mail address on the BlackBerry."

Mitnick said someone with access to Obama is much more likely to be targeted by hackers because their networks, particularly those used at their homes, would be much less secure than those used by the commander-in-chief.

Once armed with Obama's coveted e-mail address, a hacker could theoretically send an e-mail to Obama in an attempt to lure him to a Web site that has previously been breached in order to transfer "malicious code," Mitnick said.

Obama administration officials declined to comment Friday.
Related Stories

* Obama's BlackBerry Spotted in the Wild
* White House Already Well Wired, Bush Staffers Say
* Obama Getting Super-Secure BlackBerry

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters last month that only a small circle of associates and senior aides would be allowed to exchange e-mails with the president.

Chris Soghoian, a student fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, agreed that the most likely route to Obama's BlackBerry would be to trick the president into visiting a pirated Web site.

"These are attacks when you visit a Web site, and within seconds, it hacks into your computer and forces it to download viruses," Soghoian said. "In many cases, people get infected by using out-of-date browsers."

Soghoian said he suspected that the likely culprit wouldn't be a hacker who targets computers for notoriety or fiscal gain, but rather a foreign government looking for classified information.

"By and large, the people who are going to do it for reputation aren't going to have the skills to get into Obama's BlackBerry," Soghoian said. "The real threat is not some dude in an Internet café in Russia; it's a team of 60 hackers working for the Chinese government. The threat is state-sponsored espionage."

The possibility of hackers competing to hack into Obama's BlackBerry is an "ongoing danger," according to Bill Brenner, senior editor at CSO Magazine, a publication for security professionals.

"There's no question there are hackers out there who would love to break into his BlackBerry," Brenner told "At any given time, you have countless people trying to hack into a politician's BlackBerry, Paris Hilton's cell phone and the Department of Defense's computer network.

"If somebody were to break in," he said, "they'd have big bragging rights, and it's definitely a big target. I would imagine to some people it would be a holy grail."

So far, officials with the Obama administration have been tight-lipped on details regarding his BlackBerry.

Some have even questioned if it is indeed a BlackBerry — or rather a Sectera Edge, an ultra-secure smartphone approved by the National Security Agency.

"Nobody has really said with certainty what device he is actually using," said Randy Sabett, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and a former NSA employee. "That right there is an important subtlety. The less information known, the better."

Research In Motion, the Canadian company that manufactures the BlackBerry and routes most BlackBerry e-mail through its own servers, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Obama administration officials likely considered the potential risks involved, Mitnick said, and instructed the commander-in-chief to keep his communications bland.

"The question is, what intelligence would you get? He probably has a rule that nothing classified is discussed," Mitnick said. "If he's discussing anything classified, I can guarantee you it's encrypted using an advanced algorithm."

Mitnick, who eluded authorities for three years before being apprehended by the FBI in North Carolina in 1995, warned any potential hacker to consider the consequences before acting.

"The government would go after them full force," he said.

Still, the potential threat to national security remains real, however small.

"There's no such thing as 100 percent security, and anyone who tells you otherwise isn't being honest," Brenner said. "And when you're the president, there's always the danger of someone trying to get to you."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Garmin - Asus Introduce nuvifone M20

I blogged about it here last year way before it was a reality and now it's finally arrived! A partnership with Garmin the world's leading GPS company and Asus to create a phone wiht a GPS system that can't be beat. Although it isn't available yet, it's been announced and should be available in the first half of 2009

Here is the press release:

Garmin-Asus, a co-branded alliance between Garmin® Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (TAIEX: 2357), today announced the Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20, an all-in-one phone, mobile web-browser and premium navigation system with a Windows Mobile operating system. The Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20 will be on display at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 16-19, 2009, at the Garmin-Asus exhibit (Hall 7, #7C37).

As the first Garmin-Asus nüvifone powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with enterprise email, the sleek and colorful nüvifone M20 is designed for on-the-go professionals who want a fashionable and functional smartphone to manage their busy work and personal lives. This powerful device combines a dual-band 3.5G/tri-band GSM phone with Wi-Fi connectivity, desktop-like internet browser, push email, document viewing, multi-media capability, Bluetooth® and Garmin sat nav.

The nüvifone M20’s full QWERTY soft keyboard makes it easy to send and receive SMS, MMS and emails. The nüvifone M20 can also be synched with a computer so that contacts and emails are always available. HSDPA wireless connectivity and enterprise grade Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) ensure messages are sent and received quickly, including those with attachments.

Recognizing that location is relevant to every aspect of every day, the nüvifone M20 is designed with location based services (LBS) at its core and has the most advanced LBS experience of any Windows Mobile phone. Navigation functions are linked to frequently used applications such as calendar, contacts, email, internet applications and more, simplifying the nüvifone user’s day as they travel from one location to another.

The nüvifone M20 supports download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and offers a desktop-style web browsing experience. Users can zoom and pan web pages with their finger as they view the information in either portrait or landscape orientation. In addition, they can easily navigate to an address on a web page with only a few taps of the screen.

The GPS features of the nüvifone M20 usher in a level of sophistication never seen before on a Windows Mobile smartphone. It has the navigation capability of a premium Garmin nüvi® sat nav, and comes with preloaded maps and points of interest (POIs) – hotels, restaurants, stores, fuel stations and more – for North America, Eastern and Western Europe, or other regions. Selecting a destination is straightforward and requires limited input from the user. For example, users can search for a destination by typing in the specific name or address of an establishment, search by category, or navigate to addresses in the nüvifone M20’s contact database or on the web. The device then gives turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions and automatically recalculates if a turn is missed along the way. In addition, the nüvifone includes quick access to online points of interest through internet enabled local search. The nüvifone harnesses the power of the worldwide web and information about local merchants and attractions is continually updated.

The nüvifone M20 takes GPS navigation one step further via Connected Services, a suite of online applications and data from Garmin-Asus that adds location intelligence to navigation, phone and browser functions. The expandable list of applications includes content like real-time traffic information, White Pages, weather, flight status, local events, and movie times.

The nüvifone product line also includes Ciao!™, a ground-breaking LBS application that helps users stay up to date on their friends’ whereabouts and status by linking numerous location-centric social networks. Through Ciao!, nüvifone users will see their friends’ location on a map and then be able to navigate to that location with ease. Nüvifone users can also choose to have the nüvifone automatically update their social network location information.

The nüvifone M20 has exceptional entertainment capabilities with the combination of a 2.8” TFT touch lens display, built-in microphone and speakers, built-in 4Gb/8Gb My Storage, and ActiveSync® for Outlook®, Microsoft® Office, and multi-media synchronization. The VGA (640x480) display brings action to life when watching video or looking at photographs. The three megapixel camera automatically geotags images with the exact latitude and longitudinal coordinates. Users can then save the image on their phone, email it to a friend, or navigate to where the image was taken.

Garmin-Asus expects to announce the nüvifone M20’s pricing and availability information in the first half of 2009. Journalists should contact Garmin-Asus media representatives to arrange product demonstrations or interviews. Additional information about the nüvifone product line is available at

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kingston Announces 32GB Capacity Compact Flash Card

Kingston 32GB CF.jpgIn the category of every expanding memory options, Kingston has now raised the bar again; much to the delight of digital SLR users everywhere. Shooting in RAW mode with a digital SLR can burn some serious electrons with photos taking several megabytes of storage each. These photos obviously provide the best quality, but they also require the highest amount of storage.

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) the more of high-res pictures you take, the faster you burn through memory which forces you to swap cards frequently which can also mean missing the shot since you can't be taking pictures while you're tinkering with putting another card in the camera.

Kingston has always had a great reputation for memory and this is no exception. Here are the details on the CF Elite Pro Card 32GB.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced it is increasing the capacity of its CompactFlash® Elite Pro™ Flash memory cards to 32GB. Shipping immediately, the new cards offer larger capacity and fast data transfer rates to allow amateur and professional photographers to maximize the performance of their high-end digital cameras.

“The Kingston® 32GB CF Elite Pro card is designed to keep pace with and not limit the productivity of the most advanced digital camera equipment on the market,” said Wendy Lecot, Flash business development manager, Kingston Digital. “Combining the large storage capacity along with fast read and write speeds makes this card ideal for continuous capture and download of images.”

Kingston’s CompactFlash Elite Pro cards (part #: CF/32GB-S2) have a suggested price of $154.00 (MSRP U.S.) and are backed by a lifetime warranty and 24/7 live technical support. For more information visit Visit for a reseller near you.


* Capacities*: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
* Dimensions: 1.43" x 1.68" x 0.13" (36.4mm x 42.8mm x 3.3mm) — CF Type I
* Speed**: 25MB/sec. read, 20MB/sec. write
* Operating Temperature: 0o to 60o C / 32o to 140o F
* Storage Temperature: -20o to 85o C / -4o to 185o F
* Standardized: complies with CompactFlash Association specification standards
* Easy: plug and play
* Guaranteed: lifetime warranty
* Economical: autosleep mode preserves system battery life

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Magnification and Auxiliary Lighting

Recently I've been amazed at the feedback I've received from lecture audiences about magnification. I'm seeing there is a great deal of interest in the subject, but also a great deal of misunderstanding. Hopefully this post will help clear some things up.

For starters, magnification is not a luxury it is a must. In order to provide the best care possible, you must be able to see the field as clearly as possible.

Many people start out at a very low level of magnification (I know I did) and then think they will generally end up a little higher. My initial plan was to start at 2.6x (which I did) and I wanted to end up at 3.5 to 3.75x. This sounds like a good plan, but what I've discovered is that once you start to appreciate the benefits of working under high power surgical telescopes, you won't really want to stop in the 3x range.

Instead, I made the jump from 2.6 flip ups to 4.8 TTL and have never been happier. I do all my dentistry through 4.8x (even hygiene exams).

One other thing to take into consideration is auxiliary lighting. As you increase in magnification, the amount of light that enters the telescopes decreases. This means the higher the magnification, the more lighting becomes a necessity. Today all manufacturers make some type of LED and I am a big fan of these. They are portable and do not tether you to a cable. They are also much less expensive.

As the spring show season starts into full swing, go by a booth and check out the latest offerings from the surgical telescope manufacturers. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saving Time and Effort with Jott

jott logo.jpg
I've blogged about Jott before, but there have been some improvements in the service and I continue to be an avid user. Jott is a subscription based service that allows you to leave yourself voice messages "jotts" that are transcribed by humans and added to your personal Jott web page.

You can create your own Jott folders for things such as Expenses, To Do, etc and put things in them simply by calling the Jott number. However, the #1 thing I use Jott for is reminders. Simply call and say "Reminder" and then give the date and time followed by the info you need to be reminded of. At the appointed time you'll receive an e-mail and a text message reminding you. Slick huh?

You can even use Jott to put new appointments into your Google Calendar by simply adding a Google Calendar Link to your account.

Now the company is providing a program called "Jott Express" that lets you create, view, and organize Jotts from your computer. I can create Jotts from home or the office and have them follow me anywhere I have the program installed. It's a great way to stay organized.

I'd be lost without Jott and I'd be willing to bet that if you try it, you'll be hooked too. Check it out here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Exorvision's New Monitor Hits a Home Run

exorvision logo.jpgExorvision is a good company than makes exceptional medical grade monitors specifically designed for clinical use. Not only are they flat out good monitors, they are also created with the idea that they will be used to view clinical data such as images, radiographs, etc.

I've been evaluating their new ET7V76ATM model and I am very impressed. This 17 inch LCD gives an amazing viewing experience. It features a contrast ratio of 800:1 and maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024. Add to that the fact that its brightness is 420 cd/m2 (candela per meter squared) and you have a monitor that is extremely bright as well as being capable of providing images with high contrast.

Also, for dental use in an over the patient environment, it can double as a patient entertainment device. It features inputs for S-Video, VGA, Component, and HDMI. The HD support is 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. It also has an input for standard cable and the TV formats supported are NTSC, ATSC, and QAM. The monitor also has audio inputs, built-in speakers, and 1/8" stereo output for headphones.

Finally, like all Exorvision monitors, this device is glass sealed meaning that the entire monitor can be wiped down with disinfectants without damaging the screen. The glass over the screen also keeps the LCD from being damaged.

Exorvision makes great products, and this one continues to show their dedication to excellence. The product is highly recommended. They sell through dealers and can be contacted through their web site.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lego Creates Electronics that look like Legos - Function like High End Devices

lego camera and radio.jpg

Who doesn't love Legos? As a kid I spent countless hours with the little colorful blocks creating all kinds of cool and inventive shapes and toys. Over the years, the Lego company has expanded their line to reach a much larger audience and it features many more cutting edge designs and products.

Now the Lego company has come up with a line of electronics that are fully functional while keeping with the instantly recognizable Lego shapes. The devices will be manufactured by Digital Blue and will feature cameras, USB drives, walkie-talkies, and MP3 players. Also on the horizon will be clock radios and boom boxes.

They won't be able to be taken apart, but that's not really the point of this.

Although the marketing will probably be aimed at kids, I can see these devices being purchased by and for a certain adult demographic as well.

Look for them to hit stores Summer 2009 with prices rumored to be between $19.99 and $59.99

Saturday, February 7, 2009

TinEye Reverse Image Searches

Here is a pretty nifty idea if you need the information. There is a service called TinEye that provides a nice twist on image searching.

Most of us are familiar with Google image search. Just type in the name of someone or something that you are looking for a picture of, and chances are in a few seconds there will be several choices on the page.

TinEye, works backwards in that regard. Let's say you've posted an image on your blog or webpage that you've personally taken. Let's also say you'd like to see if that image has been used anywhere else on the net. Or, maybe someone has forwarded a picture to you and you'd like to see where it originated or where else it is posted.

The amazing thing about TinEye is that it doesn't use the image name or any type of digital watermarking to identify the images. No, instead it uses the image's digital fingerprint to identify it. This is the image's unique arrangement of pixels that makes it a one of a kind item. So even if the image has been renamed, it will still be found.

Of course since this is a new service (still in beta) it doesn't find every single image on the Internet, but it currently has an index of well over a billion images.

Amazing huh? I thought so too.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Prodrive Results - A Difference You Can Feel

The results are in, and after 3 weeks of use I can report that Prodrive is a tremendous improvement over standard air turbines. In my original post on Prodrive I described the concept behind the system. In the last 3 weeks I have done all of my crown & bridge preparations using Kavo handpieces that are identical except for the turbines.

I can now say without any doubt that Prodrive makes a significant and noticeable difference in handpiece performance. Comparing the 2 handpieces in a side by side comparison, the Prodrive system cuts faster, more efficiently, and reduces stress for both the operator and the patient. Whether it is preparing enamel or removing existing crowns, Prodrive is much smoother and efficient with no chattering.

I am so impressed with the performance that I am in the process of having all of my handpieces use Prodrive turbines and burs.

If you are in the midwest, you can purchase the Prodrive turbines and burs from Goetze Dental. In other parts of the U.S., you can contact Prodrive to find out who in your area is an authorized dealer.

If you have not heard of Prodrive yet... you will. This is an amazing product that gets my highest endorsement.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trimara, LLC announces Identafi 3000 oral cancer screening device

Oral cancer is a definite problem for the American population. It's hard to find in early stages and can be difficult to treat. It's difficulty in location in early states is one of the reasons the 5 year survival rate hasn't changed much over the past 40-50 years.

In the past 10 years, dentistry has seen devices come to market that can aid the doctor in locating and identifying potentially cancerous areas. The advancement of these devices continues with the announcement of the Identafi 3000. Read on for all the info from the company press release. I have no clinical experience with the device at this point in time.

HOUSTON, TX: February 4, 2009 — Houston-based Trimira™ LLC has introduced Identafi™ 3000, a small, cordless, handheld device that can detect oral cancer. The device uses a three-wavelength optical illumination and visualization system to allow dental professionals to catch early cancers not visible to the naked eye. This effective and affordable device will aid in early detection of oral cancer, which has reached epidemic levels, due in part to the lack of effective, broad-based early detection programs.

Identafi 3000 uses white, violet, and amber wavelengths of light to excite oral tissue in distinct and unique ways. Biochemical changes can be monitored with fluorescence, while morphological changes can be monitored with reflectance. This multiple wavelength technology identifies abnormal tissue with more accuracy than the single color approaches currently on the market. The ability to read metabolic and physiologic differences makes it easier to distinguish between normal and abnormal tissue. The combined system of fluorescence and reflectance uses the body's natural tissue properties as an adjunctive tool for oral mucosal examination.

Identafi 3000 is supported by a national team of trained sales representatives and is available through most major U.S. dental dealers. It can be seen at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, in the Trimira booth, #865.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw makes the front page of the KC Star

For the past few years, some in dentistry have come across a rather odd disease process. What started as an extraction or some type of injury in the mouth, refused to heal and eventually pieces of the exposed bone began to flake off. The disease was given the name Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) and was originally linked to IV use of bisphosphonate drugs that were used to battle cancer spread to the skeletal system.

However, the process now seems to be also linked to the oral bisphosphonates taken to help battle osteoporosis. While no one is dentistry is suggesting that patients should discontinue or not start bisphosphonate therapy, there is a need for patients to be informed of the potential of ONJ.

The Kansas City Star had a great article yesterday which bears reading. Keep in mind that this was on the front page so I know that many concerned patients will read this and need the informed opinion of knowledgeable doctors.

Here is the article:

Drugs used to fight cancer and osteoporosis can create ‘dental cripples’

A digital X-ray shows where bone is breaking away from the left side of Geneva Grimpo’s jaw. The deterioration — a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw — is a side effect of medication that the 85-year-old Carrollton, Mo., woman takes to prevent osteoporosis.
A digital X-ray shows where bone is breaking away from the left side of Geneva Grimpo’s jaw. The deterioration — a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw — is a side effect of medication that the 85-year-old Carrollton, Mo., woman takes to prevent osteoporosis.

After Geneva Grimpo fell and broke her hand and arm, doctors put the tiny, fragile-looking woman on drugs to strengthen her bones.

Three years into her drug therapy, trouble began.

Her lower jawbone poked out through sores on the left side of her mouth where her gums had decayed. The visible bone was dead, and she used her fingers to fish out tiny bits as they broke off.

“Now my right jaw hurts,” said Grimpo, 85. X-rays show that bone is dying, too.

Her problem is a growing concern for dentists nationwide. It is called osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, a condition in which the gums become painful and infected, exposing underlying areas of dead bone in the jaw.

Dentists see ONJ in patients who take certain bone-strengthening drugs used to fight cancer or osteoporosis — drugs that include Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel, some of the most-prescribed medications on the market.

In severe cases of ONJ, the infections lead to chronic pain. Decaying bone gives off a foul odor. Eating is difficult.

Even with regular treatment, these oral wounds can take up to two years to heal.

In 2003, medical reports began linking ONJ to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. Soon after, the Food and Drug Administration required drug manufacturers to include an advisory about ONJ in their product labels.

The earliest cases of ONJ were found among cancer patients who took large intravenous doses of the drugs to keep their cancers from spreading to their bones.

Up to 10 percent of cancer patients taking bisphosphonates may develop ONJ, according to one estimate.

But ONJ also is showing up in otherwise healthy patients, like Grimpo, who take bisphosphonate pills when osteoporosis weakens their bones.

Doctors and dentists had assumed that ONJ among osteoporosis patients was exceedingly rare — about 0.7 cases per 100,000 Fosamax users, according to one widely cited estimate from an American Dental Association panel.

But new research suggests that ONJ, while still uncommon, might afflict more osteoporosis patients. The specialists on the front lines who treat ONJ say they are seeing far more patients than past estimates predicted.

“I’ve had an explosion of patients,” said Brett Ferguson, the chairman of oral surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City schools of medicine and dentistry. “No dentist in private practice wants to deal with this. It’s a nightmare for them. They didn’t learn about it in dental school.”

Ferguson sees ONJ patients from throughout Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. They began arriving at his Truman Medical Center clinic a few years ago. So far, he has seen more than 45 cases. While most are cancer patients, about one in five took oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis.

“They all say, ‘Why me?’ ” Ferguson said.

Treatment can involve surgery to remove the exposed dead bone, long-term antibiotics, regular use of a prescription-strength antiseptic mouth rinse and scrupulous oral hygiene.

One of Ferguson’s ONJ cancer patients, a woman in her 70s, developed the condition after a dentist routinely extracted the teeth in her lower jaw. A month later, her gums separated from her jaw.

“Each place that got (extracted) would not heal,” Ferguson said. “You could look in her mouth and see her jawbone, her dead jawbone.”

Ultimately the woman had to be fed through a tube.

Another of Ferguson’s patients, a woman who took bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, lost the bone of three tooth sockets in a row in her upper jaw, exposing her sinus cavity.

Ferguson couldn’t fashion a prosthesis to fill the gaping space in her mouth for fear that attaching it would lead to more infection.

“You’re left a dental cripple,” he said.

When dentists at the University of Southern California sensed that they were getting more ONJ patients than expected, researchers analyzed patient records.

“We had been seeing a greater number of cases over the past couple years. It just didn’t fit with the idea that this doesn’t exist as a problem,” said researcher Parish Sedghizadeh.

In a study published in January in the Journal of the American Dental Association, Sedghizadeh and his colleagues went through the records of more than 13,000 regular patients at the dental school’s clinic. They found 208 had been taking Fosamax, the most widely prescribed bisphosphonate brand for osteoporosis. Nine of these patients — 4 percent — had ONJ.

All the patients with ONJ had either tooth extractions or gum problems caused by ill-fitting dentures that exposed the jawbone and led to infection.

“We’ve been told that the risk of oral bisphosphonates is negligible, but 4 percent is not negligible,” said Sedghizadeh, who thinks the numbers could increase in the years ahead.

Sedghizadeh said bisphosphonates can persist in the bone for a decade, and the risk of ONJ appears to rise with the dose.

“As we get more patients with 10 or 15 years’ experience with bisphosphonates, we’ll likely see more cases,” he said. “We really haven’t hit the top of the curve.”

A statement by Merck & Co. Inc., which makes Fosamax, called Sedghizadeh’s study flawed and unreliable as a source of valid conclusions about ONJ in patients taking the drug. Clinical studies of more than 17,000 Fosamax patients have found no cases of ONJ, the company said.

While dentists are concerned about bisphosphonates, they are not advising patients to avoid them. For people with cancer, the medications are an important part of their treatment. And for those with osteoporosis, the drugs’ benefits still far outweigh the risks.

“They’re really a valuable tool,” said Barbara Lukert, an endocrinologist at the University of Kansas Hospital who prescribes bisphosphonates to her osteoporosis patients. “Fracture-related osteoporosis is a huge public health issue, and costly,” she said.

About 40 percent of white women age 50 or older will experience a hip, spine or wrist fracture at some point in the remainder of their lives, Lukert said. Bisphosphonate therapy can reduce by about half the risk of spine and hip fractures, she said.

Because so little research has been done, much about the ONJ-bisphosphonate connection remains a mystery: How many people have the condition? Who is most likely to get it? Why do the drugs harm the jaw far more often than other bones? How can the condition be prevented?

Scientists have known for decades that bisphosphonates can affect bones and have developed drugs to take advantage of the potential benefits.

The body’s bones are constantly remaking themselves, being broken down by one group of cells and rebuilt by other cells. Bisphosphonates suppress the activity of the cells that break bones down. For osteoporosis patients, bisphosphonates give the bone-rebuilding process a chance to advance unopposed.

Because breast, prostate and multiple myeloma cancer cells tend to migrate to sites where bone has broken down, bisphosphonates can help keep these cancers from spreading.

A digital X-ray shows where bone is breaking away from the left side of Geneva Grimpo’s jaw. The deterioration — a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw — is a side effect of medication that the 85-year-old Carrollton, Mo., woman takes to prevent osteoporosis.
A digital X-ray shows where bone is breaking away from the left side of Geneva Grimpo’s jaw. The deterioration — a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw — is a side effect of medication that the 85-year-old Carrollton, Mo., woman takes to prevent osteoporosis.

Patients with cancer may develop ONJ more often than osteoporosis patients because the doses of bisphosphonates are so much higher in cancer treatment, said Mark Johnson, a biochemist at the UMKC School of Dentistry.

“They are using doses that are 10 times what are used to treat an osteoporotic patient. They’re getting an annual dose on a monthly basis,” he said.

Johnson, Cielo Barragan-Adjemian and other UMKC researchers have done elaborate X-ray scans of the jaws of cancer patients who have taken bisphosphonates and developed ONJ.

They are finding that many of the patients have small areas of dead bone, a fraction of an inch in diameter, that are visible not just where sores appear, but throughout their jaws.

These findings suggest that ONJ could be seen as a dental disaster waiting to happen: Dead areas of jawbone lie under the gums. A tooth extraction or injury exposes the bone. The gums are unable to heal over the dead zone.

“We think there’s an underlying change in the bone. Bisphosphonates may be part of it that happens first” before symptoms appear, Johnson said. “It’s like having a black box. You can’t see what’s in it until you take the lid off.”

Grimpo now is under Ferguson’s care at Truman Medical Center, but when she first developed sores in her mouth, her dentist didn’t diagnose her with ONJ.

“I just depended on my dentist, and I thought it was OK,” said Grimpo, of Carrollton, Mo. “There’s still a lot of dentists who don’t what osteonecrosis is.”

The University of Southern California study should serve as “a wake-up call to the dental community about the severe risk” posed by bisphosphonates, said Peter L. Jacobsen, a dentist and vice chairman of the American Dental Association’s council on scientific affairs.

“All dentists should be asking their patients what medications they’re taking. And if they’re taking bisphosphonates, they have to alert patients about the risks and how to minimize them.”

Dentists need to emphasize to patients who are on bisphosphonates the need for good oral hygiene and regular checkups to minimize the need for extractions and other dental work, Jacobsen said.

Patients who are about to start bisphosphonate therapy should have all their pending dental work done first, he said.

“But a dentist should never suggest that they not take bisphosphonates,” Jacobsen said. “They are valuable drugs.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sony using blood vessel patterns for biometric authentication

Sony biometrics.jpg

Biometric security for our devices has been around for a while. I started seeing it really showing up about 3 years ago and since that time it has gone fairly mainstream.

Now Sony is trying to improve on the idea. By taking away the idea of scanning the fingerprint and instead scanning the unique arrangement of scattered light form the veins of the fingertip, Sony hopes to make the process faster and more reliable.

It uses a camera system called Mofiria which has a CMOS sensor to capture the image.

The neat thing about this is the speed with which the recognition can be done. Sony claims 0.015 seconds for a PC and .25 seconds for a mobile phone. That's a lot faster than the fingerprint scanner on my Tablet PC.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Internet Explorer 8.0 Release Candidate available for download

The folks in Redmond have been at work for a while now to the follow up to Internet Explorer 7.0

The result of all that hard work is now available here. Although it is a beta release candidate, it supposedly is about as close to the real thing as you can get. Here is Microsoft's official description of what you get from the download:


Release candidate software is at a stage in the development process where it is ready to be evaluated by users while it undergoes final testing.

Internet Explorer 8 RC1 is now platform and feature complete and this is your opportunity to be among the first to try out the new browser before its final release. Install it today and take it for a test drive. We think you'll agree that it's faster, safer, and easier to use than ever. If you don't like it you can easily uninstall it whenever you want. Uninstall instructions can be found at our support page for Internet Explorer 8 RC1.

To ensure your browser is up to date, all RC1 users will be automatically updated with the final version of Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Update so you'll always have the latest version of the browser.

We understand if you feel uncomfortable installing release candidate software. Check this website in the coming months to see when the final version of Internet Explorer 8 is available."

I've been using FireFox for a while now both on my Windows machines and on my Mac, but if you are an IE user, it may behoove you to check it out. More info and the download are available here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Garmin announces new wireless fitness watch

garmin FR60.jpg

I love my Garmin Forerunner. It's a GPS device in the form factor of a wrist watch that tracks my speed, distance, pace, and other data when I run. It connects vis USB to my Mac and downloads all the data. It's a great way to track your workout.

Of course innovation and improvements are part of the whole technology thing I'm so fond of. To that end, Garmin has announced the FR60 advanced fitness watch. I could go on about all the details, but I'll let the info from the Garmin website do the talking.

We're setting a new standard for wireless connectivity with FR60.

The central element of the user-friendly FR60 system is an advanced fitness watch which interfaces wirelessly with other ANT+™ compatible fitness devices such as a heart rate monitor, a foot pod that monitors speed and distance or third-party fitness equipment at the gym or at home. Available in men’s and women’s versions, the FR60 comes with a wireless USB ANT™ Stick that plugs into your PC or Mac and automatically downloads workout data stored on the watch to a personal computer.

“Indoors or out, it’s easier than ever to set fitness goals and track your progress with the fashionable yet affordable FR60,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. Available in red, lilac and black, the streamlined FR60 comes packaged with a heart rate monitor, and the foot pod is available in select FR60 bundles. The FR60 can track and record up to 15 hours and 100 laps of detailed exercise data. And because the FR60 records its data from the heart rate monitor, foot pod and ANT+ compatible fitness equipment, users can exercise indoors.

Triathletes will embrace the versatility of the swim-friendly FR60 as it helps them train and race indoors or outdoors, on the bike, in the water or on the trails. The featherweight foot pod enables the FR60 to track and record speed, distance, calories burned, steps and cadence without excess burden. Cycling enthusiasts will enjoy the versatile options of adding a bike speed and cadence sensor and a handy bike mount. Adding to the wide range of uses and wireless connectivity, FR60 users in the United States will be able to link effortlessly to their ANT+ compatible fitness equipment such as treadmills, spin bikes, elliptical trainers and more. More information about these ANT+ compatible products will be announced in March at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) international convention and trade show in San Francisco.