Tuesday, June 30, 2009

3M Announces Tiny Projector for Road Warriors

Although I'm on the road a fair amount lecturing, I'm fortunate in that most of my speaking is done at major dental meetings where everything is setup for me. I have the huge advantage of just plugging in my MacBook Pro to the system and everything is ready to go. I have a lot of respect for those people that setup those rooms as well as those who have to do all the setup themselves.

However, for a lot of people (especially those in sales) this is a luxury that doesn't happen much. I can't imagine what it would be like to be forced to lug around all the things necessary to do a presentation. Of course, the major weight and footprint would be created by the projector.
However, take a look at the picture above! That is a fully functioning computer projector from 3M. The 3M Pro110 uses an LED instead of a standard bulb and connects to the computer via USB.

I don't have hands-on experience with this unit, but from what I've read, it's designed for smaller presentations (like those done in a small conference room) and not a large room. The image quality at this point in development limits the usage to these smaller areas, but for those on the road and giving presentations to small office groups, this may be just what you've been looking for.

More details can be found at the company website.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Goetze Dental Celebrates 125 Years

That's right 125 years!

It takes doing a lot of things right to have a business survive for 125 years. In the case of Goetze Dental, they've not only been able to survive... but to thrive.

How have they managed to do this? How have they managed to build a business that continues to be a model operation in so many ways? In a word commitment. And that word has a lot of depth when it comes to Goetze Dental. As a company, they are committed to the doctor, the patients, their employees, their vendor partners, and the future.

Goetze has always been, and continues to be, a family owned business currently with the fifth generation at the helm. They have seven stores in the Midwest located in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.

As my preferred supplier I am continually impressed with their people and their corporate philosophy. In the business climate in America these days, it's hard to find a company that embodies the idea of customer first and profits second, but Goetze demonstrates this on a daily basis.

As someone who pushes the envelope on a daily basis, I need a supplier that is flexible, supportive, and there when I need them. Goetze Dental is that kind of company. When I built my new facility 18 months ago, I used Goetze Dental as my supplier for all the new dental equipment as well as their Technology Department to build all the computers, configure the network, and to create the "operatory of the future" that I had designed. They created my vision with a smooth and efficient process that focused on attention to detail.

I'm a satisfied customer (and I'm demanding). Goetze Dental does not compensate me for my cheerleading, I do so because they deserve it for making the practice of dentistry easy and fun for me. And... because of that, I can provide the best state of the art care I'm capable of which means my patients are really the ones that ultimately benefit and that's the way it ought to be.

I strongly recommend Goetze Dental. Give them a call at 800.692.0804 You'll be very glad you did.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More info on Align vs. Ormco lawsuit

Since the lawsuit is over and the ruling is in favor of Ormco, more info is now finding itself in the public domain. As I get info from reliable sources, I'll be sure to make it available here. Check back frequently for updates. Here is the latest that I received today from a very reliable source:

"We are pleased that the jury reached a verdict in favor of Ormco,"
said Don Tuttle, president of Ormco Corporation. "We have long
maintained that Align's process for creating aligners used our
intellectual property and that the attacks on the enforceability of
our patent claims were unfounded."

Ormco said it may request the court issue a permanent injunction to
enjoin Align's continued infringement and to seek royalty on all of
U.S. sales made since January of 2003.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Align Technology Announces Jury Verdict in Patent Litigation With Ormco Corporation

For those of you who are reading and commenting on my Invisalign post of a couple of weeks ago, here is more info to read and digest. Invisalign, it seems, may need to be generating as much revenue as possible due to impending judegements from the lawsuit they just lost. Read on for all the details. A tip 'o the electron to Financial 24 for the story.

Align Technology, Inc. today announced that a jury delivered a verdict against Align in a lawsuit brought by Ormco Corporation against Align Technology, Inc .
in the U.S District Court for the Central District of California .
Ormco alleged that Align infringed claims of Ormco's 6,616,444 patent .
Align claimed non-infringement, invalidity, as well as unenforceability of the patent. The jury found the claims asserted by Ormco in the 6,616,444 patent to be infringed and valid .
The jury also issued an advisory verdict that Ormco did not engage in prosecution laches or unclean hands, equitable defenses that the Court will rule on at a later date .
The jury only determined liability; any monetary damages will be determined in a later trial .
The verdict does not currently preclude Align from selling its Invisalign System. Align believes the facts and the law do not support the jury's findings of infringement and validity and will seek to overturn the verdict in post-trial motions with the District Court .
If the District Court does not grant Align's motions, Align intends to vigorously challenge the verdict through an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. About Align Technology, Inc. Align Technology designs, manufactures and markets Invisalign, a proprietary method for treating malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth .
Invisalign corrects malocclusion using a series of clear, nearly invisible, removable appliances that gently move teeth to a desired final position .
Because it does not rely on the use of metal or ceramic brackets and wires, Invisalign significantly reduces the aesthetic and other limitations associated with braces .
Invisalign is appropriate for treating adults and teens .
Align Technology was founded in March 1997 and received FDA clearance to market Invisalign in 1998 .
Today, the Invisalign product family includes Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Invisalign Assist, Invisalign Express, and Vivera Retainers. To learn more about Invisalign or to find a certified Invisalign doctor in your area, please visit http://www.invisalign.com/ or call 1-800-INVISIBLE.
Investor Relations Contact Press Contact Shirley Stacy Shannon Mangum Henderson Align Technology, Inc .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tru-Pan from Imaging Sciences is on the Horizon

Last week at the 3D Imaging Congress, I got a chance to take a look at a new software enhancement from i-Cat called Tru-Pan. The idea behind it is a great one and makes a lot of sense for users of the i-Cat conebeam imaging device.

Normally when using the i-CATVision software, the detection of the arches and "tinkering" to manually create the perfect panoramic image can take somewhere between 12-15 minutes. In a busy office that could be taking several scans a day, this can translate into a serious backlog and time waste.

To the rescue comes Tru-Pan. This software solution is 3 years in the making. It finds that absolute best position in the focal trough for each slice taken during the scan. It then assembles all of those individual images to create a perfect panoramic image in less than a minute.

I saw the software demo and was impressed with the image. Perhaps more impressive to me (being the geek) was how fast the algorithm ran.

The software should be available by the end of July. Contact Imaging Sciences for more info.

Although no one would confirm, I'm speculating this upgrade will also be available to Gendex CB-500 users in the not too distant future.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Incredible Expansion of USB Jump Drives Continues as Kingston Leads Industry

Remember the good old days when you longed for 1 or 2 GB jump drives? Those days don't seem very long ago... and truth is they aren't.

However time in tech years is like time in dog years. Rapid advancements in flash memory technology have allowed the tiny jump drive to reach capacities not even dreamed of a year or two ago.

Take a look at the drives on the right. Kingston announced on June 15th that they are now going to be selling jump drives with capacities of 32, 64 and even 128GB!!!

While the prices of these drives is steep now, look for them to fall rapidly. That's just one more great thing about rapid advances in technology.

Read on for all the info from the company's press release:

Kingston Technology First to Market with 128GB USB Flash Drive

Large Capacity, Password Protection on New DataTraveler 200

Fountain Valley, CA -- June 15, 2009 -- Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the release of the DataTraveler® 200 (DT200), the world's first 128GB USB Flash drive. The large capacity along with password protection gives users the flexibility to carry critical data with them at all times in a very small form factor.

"The new DT200's robust storage capability lets consumers store complete libraries of music, photos and videos. It is also a great tool for business users who carry around large databases or files," said Andrew Ewing, USB business manager, Kingston®. "The password protection helps safeguard data and requires no admin rights, making the DT200 a terrific solution for the home or office."

The Kingston DataTraveler 200 features a capless design to protect the USB connector when not in use and is enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost™. It is available in 32-, 64- and 128GB capacities. The 128GB drive is build-to-order only. Customers who wish to purchase it can place an order through normal channels (e.g., e-tailers or resellers).

The DT200 is backed by a five-year warranty and 24/7 tech support. For more information, visit www.kingston.com.

DataTraveler 200 Product Features and Specifications:
  • Capacities*: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
  • Dimensions: 2.77" x 0.49" x 0.89" (70.39mm x 12.52mm x 22.78mm)
  • Operating Temperature: 32° F to 140° F (0° C to 60° C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4° F to 185° F (-20° C to 85° C)
  • Simple: just plug into a USB port
  • Practical: durable, capless design
  • Guaranteed: five-year warranty
  • Safeguarded: includes Password Traveler security software for Windows
  • Enhanced: for Windows ReadyBoost™ on Vista-based systems**

  • * Some of the listed capacity is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage. For more information, please consult Kingston's Flash Memory Guide at Kingston.com/Flash_Memory_Guide.
    ** Although DT200 is enhanced for ReadyBoost, Password Traveler will not operate properly if ReadyBoost cache is enabled on the drive. However, you may enable ReadyBoost cache on a separate drive.
Compatibility Table

Operating SystemFile TransferPassword Traveler
Windows Vista® (SP1)Yes Yes
Windows ReadyBoost™ **Yes No
Windows XP (SP1, SP2, SP3)Yes Yes
Windows 2000 (SP4)Yes Yes
Mac OS X v.10.3.x +Yes No
Linux v.2.6.x + Yes No

Kingston DataTraveler 200 USB Flash Drive
Part NumberCapacity and FeaturesMSRP (U.S. only).
DT200/32GBDataTraveler 200 32GB Blue & Black$ 120.00
DT200/64GBDataTraveler 200 64GB Yellow & Black$ 213.00
DT200/128GBDataTraveler 200 128GB Black$ 546.00

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keeping Your Life Digital... and Portable

Whether you are on the road, or are just mobile enough to need your stuff wherever you go, always carrying a laptop (even a mini) can be a challenge.

Ever access a public computer to print a boarding pass or to get some info and had that nagging feeling that somehow you'll leave a history of your passwords, account numbers, or something behind?

Well, now you have a pretty nice solution... and it's free.

It's called Portable apps and is available from www.portableapps.com

The idea behind it is pretty simple. You download the package and install it on a USB jump drive. Then you carry the drive with you on your keyring (or whatever). When you need access to your stuff, you just plug the jump drive into any computer and your stuff is there waiting for you. It leaves no info on the host computer when you are done and is completely portable.

Imagine being able to carry Firefox with all your bookmarks, Thunderbird with all your e-mail info, an antivirus program, and more in your pocket for free.

Take a look at this if you need portable access. Although I haven't used it yet, it looks really intriguing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm in Possession of a Palm Pre... finally

Well I've made the switch from the Samsung Instinct to the Palm Pre. By the time this is posted I will have been in possession of the device for about 12 hours.

First the good things: I'm really impressed with this device. It has a great feel, looks extremely cool (like a smooth stone... pretty zen), and works like a dream. I'm a Mac user and a fan of their products, so I'm the iPhone target market, but I live in Sprint's home town and I have lots of patients who work for Sprint. I like to support those who support me so an AT&T phone at this point just isn't something I would feel good about.

While the Pre is not quite as intuitive as the iPhone, I still found it very easy to use and only needed a quick glance at the very brief instructions to be moving around in it with ease. I was always a Palm guy until my old Treo 700P bit the dust. At that point, the new Instinct was on it's way and I made that move last June. While the Instinct was nice, the Pre is much better. Overall the first few hours with the device have been solid and better than I expected.

Now the not good things: The inventory and delivery of said inventory is abysmal. My only guess is that Sprint was desperate to get the Pre on the market before the latest iPhone. The first weekend the Pre went on sale, buyers were greeted with ample supplies. A few days later, supplies were almost nonexistent. One of my Sprint insiders told me to wait about 5 days after the opening weekend and that supplies would be replenished. Unfortunately that was not, and is STILL not the case. I called about 6 days after the opening day and was told I would be put on a waiting list. That list took 12 days for me to work my way to the top.

I got a call today saying my name was at the top of the list, but they needed to hear back from me in 2 hours and I needed to pick it up today. Ummm, what if I was out of town? What if I had something really important to do this evening?

When I picked the phone up I mentioned the inventory to the sales gal who told me they are only getting 4-5 Pre's per day. That's awful considering this is the home of the corporate headquarters. For a company that has lost millions of customers in the last 2-3 years, acting like a ticket scalper is not the best way to treat your loyal customers. Maybe Sprint still has a lot to learn about customer service.

The hardware though, that part is definitely a winner.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The 3rd International Congress on 3D Dental Imaging

The 3D Dental Imaging Congress is over, and if you weren't there, you really missed out! The Congress was well attended by both 3D users and those interested in the technology. There were great lectures from specialists and those of us in the general realm as well.

The overall big takeaway from this meeting is: "3D is here and is changing the practice of dentistry, get on the train before it leaves the station". I saw so many incredible images and uses for cone beam technology that even I was blown away! You flat out owe it to yourself to check out the amazing things cone beam imaging can do for your patients and your practice.

If you didn't get a chance to attend, don't worry. The next Congress is already being planned for next June in southern California. There are also lots of other ways to bring yourself up to speed with the technology. I'll be doing some lectures this summer and fall on cone beam and almost every major show has at least one lecture that you can attend and learn from.

Cone beam is changing the way we diagnose and practice. Make sure YOU are well informed and prepared to meet the future!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monster Power to Go

If you are on the road much... and trust me, I am, you know the need for a good multiple outlet power strip. Monster has several such units and they are so portable you can stuff them in your laptop bag and hardly know they are there. They are handy for hotel rooms, airports, and anywhere else you need more than one or 2 outlets. My recommendation is to carry them and when all the outlets in an area of the airport are taken, simply ask the users if it's OK to use your monster and then you can all have AC.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

US Building new Ford Class Super Carriers

While reading the news recently, I stumbled across an interesting story on Foxnews.com It dealt with the US Navy and their current construction of the next generation of aircraft carriers. Of course these things will be super high tech, but it's the design process that really gave me a rush of geek-adrenaline.

In my career as tech editor and tech evangelist, I've gotten a chance to tinker and experiment with a lot of cool techie type things. One of them was fully wearable computer (if you've been to one of my lectures, you've probably seen a pic of me wearing it). It seems the folks designing these new carriers are putting that type of technology to good use. From the article: "The last time American engineers designed a carrier from scratch, in the 1960s, they drew the ship in ink and built full-scale wooden models to prove their designs. Then, the construction-yard workers had to figure out how to put the ship together. Things work a little differently in 2009. Now, engineers and foremen can wander around a mockup of the ship without wearing helmets or boots. All they have to do is slip on chunky black glasses, stare at a screen and step inside the ship’s CAD plan."

So they can actually walk around inside the software designed ship in a 'virtual world'. How cool is that?

For the full article on the construction and design, click here for the story from Foxnews.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

VIOLight's Clinically-Proven Toothbrush Sanitizer & Storage System Now Available Through Dental Offices

For the past month or so, I've been evaluating the VIOLight Toothbrush Sanitizer. I've found the device easy to use and I like the idea of being able to kill bacteria on any toothbrush. My Sonicare FlexCare has a UV sterilizer built into the charging stand, but my wife's older Sonicare as well as other brushes in the household aren't so lucky.

Now any toothbrush can have the UV sterilization treatment. This product is highly recommended. Now dental offices can put these nifty devices into the hands of their patients. Read on for more info:

Yonkers, New York – June 1, 2009 – VIOlight Inc., the leader in ultraviolet light toothbrush sanitizers, recently introduced a Dental Professional Distribution Program that enables authorized dental offices to provide their patients with the company’s clinically proven line of products that kill infectious bacteria commonly found on toothbrushes. There are two VIOlight models currently available through the Professional Distribution Program:

  • The VIO 100: This counter unit display is designed to hold up to four toothbrushes, including electric toothbrushes, and uses germicidal ultraviolet light, which physically destroys the DNA of microorganisms, thus eliminating 99.9% of germs and bacteria on your toothbrush within 10 minutes.1

  • The VIO 200: The VIOlight Personal/Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer uses the germ-eliminating UV technology, but in a sleek, go-anywhere package. The germicidal light activates as soon as you close the lid, and in 6 minutes your toothbrush is sanitized and safely stored until you're ready to brush again.

“VIOlight is not just for those abnormally concerned with germs; several studies have proven that toothbrushes are breeding grounds for bacteria and can be responsible for spreading sickness among families,” explained company founder Joel Pinsky. “Dentists and hygienists can put themselves at the forefront of infection control while providing their patients with an affordable and effective means of disease prevention.”

The Yuck Factor

Researchers have found more than 10,000,000 bacteria living on a single toothbrush.2 A major source of toothbrush contamination is the toilet, which upon flushing, typically spews bacteria and virus-laden water droplets throughout the bathroom and onto exposed toothbrushes.3 What’s more, a dirty toothbrush can be the source of a variety of infectious diseases and pathogens, such as:

  • Hepatitis
  • HIV
  • Colds & flu
  • Biofilm & tooth decay
  • Fungi & molds

Despite the favorable living conditions the typical bathroom provides for bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi, VIOlight’s germicidal UV bulb has been proven to be highly effective in killing up to 99% of toothbrush-loving germs.1 One such study conducted by the New York University College of Dentistry, entitled “Reduction in Bacterial Contamination of Toothbrushes Using the VIOlight Ultraviolet Light Activated Toothbrush Sanitizer,” is available for download at www.violightprofessional.com.4

The Opportunity

Dental professionals can help their patients prevent the spread of potentially harmful germs while adding an additional revenue stream. VIOlight’s Dental Professional Distribution Program offers a retail model for those dentists that prefer to stock and dispense product within the practice, and a referral program for those that would rather have the commerce handled by VIOlight Inc. Participating dental practices will receive an in-office marketing kit including a VIOlight product display, patient brochures, and an in-office poster.

“Your toothbrush cleans your teeth, but what cleans your toothbrush?” asks Pinsky. “We are providing dental practices with the tools needed to educate patients on the importance of sanitizing their toothbrushes.”

For a limited time, qualified dental professionals will receive a free VIO 200 travel toothbrush sanitizer just for inquiring about the distribution program. For more information call 1-877-339-1361or visit www.violightprofessional.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dental Student Pleads Guilty in Federal Court

I love being a dentist. It's truly the career I was meant for and I love it with a passion that is second to none. Over the years, I've met others who share that same love and passion. However, the press release below from the FBI shows someone who wanted the career without all of the hard work to get there. I was stunned by this story, but the way the world is today, you'd think I'd know better than to be shocked by this.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—OBIALUNAMMA AGUBUZU, age 25, a resident of River Ridge, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier to federal financial aid fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to court documents, AGUBUZU submitted a fraudulent college transcript from Cornell University which falsely inflated defendant’s grade point average and falsely indicated that defendant had taken the prerequisite science courses for Dental School Admission, as well as fraudulent Dental Admission Test results to the LSU Health Science Center New Orleans School of Dentistry. AGUBUZU admitted that she never took the Dental School Admission Test administered by the American Dental Association. As a result of submitting false information, AGUBUZU obtained admission to LSU School of Dentistry and received $35,572 in loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program.

AGUBUZU faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a $20,000 fine and up to three (3) years supervised release following any term of imprisonment. AGUBUZU’s sentencing has been scheduled for October 14, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Department of Education and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Benco Preparing to Move into New State of the Art Facility

The good folks at Benco are about to do something pretty big. Read on for the press release.

WILKES-BARRE, PA (June 1, 2009) -- Benco Dental, the nation’s fastest-growing distributor of

dental products and equipment, is proud to announce its plans to open an industry-leading, state-

of-the-art headquarters and distribution center in Jenkins Township, PA.

“We will have all functional departments under one roof, which will increase both productivity and

communication between departments for over 400 associates,” Benco Vice President of

Operations, Lou Mangino, said.

Located in the CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park in Jenkins Township, Benco Dental’s new

facility will combine two locations currently housing the company’s headquarters, main distribution

center as well as secondary warehouse into over 272,000 square feet of office and warehouse

space. With easy access to five major highways and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International

Airport, CenterPoint is a key logistic for customer access and shipping.

As part of the expansion, Benco Dental will now offer the largest equipment showroom in North

America. With 24 fully equipped operatories of dental equipment from all major manufacturers,

such an equipment display has never before been available in the dental industry. Doctors from

all across the country will have access to this first-of-its-kind showroom as part of VIP tours

hosted by Benco Dental. Along with taking in North America’s most unique showroom

experience, doctors will have the opportunity to enjoy the countless hotels, fine dining

restaurants, and recreation facilities within close proximity to the headquarters.

“Our new facility will enable Benco to remain a leader in the dental industry for decades to come,”

Benco Executive Vice President Rick Cohen said. “We are thrilled all of our associates and

customers will be part of this monumental move with our family as we begin a new chapter in

Benco’s history.”

such an equipment display has never before been

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Problem with the Pre Inventory

I LOVE technology. Anyone who knows me, knows that. I love to tinker, experiment, develop and test new devices, clinical techniques, etc. Over the years, one of the things I've loved to tinker with is cell phones.

I've been a Sprint customer ever since the early days of Sprint PCS. At first it was because my wife was an employee, but that was almost 10 years ago now. I continue to be a Sprint customer and supporter for a couple of reasons. 1. I feel a loyalty to a company headquartered in my home town. 2. I have several Sprint employees as patients and I want to support them as well. Bear in mind that I am the iPhone target market. I am a Mac lover and want a mobile phone that will do it all, but I've refused to leave Sprint for AT&T.

Everyone who is a tech or cell phone lover knows that Sprint has been losing customers the last few years for a variety of reasons. However in the past year or so they've made strides with their pricing and customer service to try and turn things around.

One of the the big things Sprint has been planning on is the release of the new Palm Pre. This device has been discussed as Sprint's answer to AT&T's iPhone. Sprint has marketed the living daylights out of it and the release date was wildly anticipated by many.

Last summer I purchased Sprint's earlier flagship phone the Samsung Instinct. I really love my Instinct, although I wish I could do more with it.

The day after the Palm Pre launch I ran into to people I know who had purchased one. They were both thrilled and proudly showed off their new tech wonder. Both people told me "someone like you has GOT to have one". Last week I was in Orlando speaking at the American Dental Cooperative meeting in Orlando. On my flight home, I was checking e-mail with the Instinct before we pushed back. I was spotted by a Sprint employee across the aisle who began to ask me what I did, how I liked the Instinct, etc. After about 2 minutes she told me that I was the target market for the Pre and that I should get one ASAP. I was also told this by a couple of patients.

So now I was bitten by the Pre bug. I decided to buy my second high end phone in less than a year. Last Thursday, a week after the Pre's debut, I called my local Sprint store and asked if any were in stock. I was told none were currently in, but they would put me on a waiting list and call me when the shipment arrived.

Monday afternoon I decided to call the store again. Maybe they had forgotten to add me to the list. I called and asked for the status on the Pre and was once again told when they had a phone for me I would be called. I told the girl on the phone that I had been put on the list last Thursday. How long does it take to get a shipment on their flagship product? "We're getting about 4 a day" I was told. Oh and they will gladly hold the phone for 24 hours when my name comes up. Longer than that and I will have to wait on the list again. My travel schedule may cost me my phone... if they call.

My questions for Sprint are these: This is how you treat one of your longest term customers? You have a phone you've been promoting for over 6 months and one week into delivery you can only come up with 4 per store in the city where you are headquartered? You are "adding people to the list" when they call wanting to spend their hard earned dollars in a sluggish economy?

I'm no business genius, but I know technology. Can anyone offer some insight as to why this is happening? Personally I'm stumped.

Monday, June 15, 2009

3D Congress This Week

The 3rd International Congress on 3-D Dental Imaging is this weekend in Chicago. I'll be in the windy city talking about my experiences with the Gendex GXCB-500. If you are using or considering using any type of cone beam imaging system, you owe it to yourself to be in Chicago Friday and Saturday to learn all you can. This is going to be a great learing event with experts galore.

If you are planning on being at the Congress, be sure to say hi. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you in Chicago!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

From WebMD - Treating Periodontal Disease May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to a recent article appearing on WebMD, “It was exciting to find that if we eliminated the infection and inflammation in the gums, then patients with a severe kind of active rheumatoid arthritis reported improvement on the signs and symptoms of that disease,” says Nabil Bissada, DDS, chairman of the department of periodontics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. “It gives us new intervention.”

The study by Bissada and colleagues is published in the Journal of Periodontology.

The study was done with 40 subjects who had rheumatoid arthritis (moderate to severe) and periodontal disease that was classified as severe.

While one study is not a reason to make wholesale changes in the way we think, it is one more piece of the puzzle between the potential links between periodontal disease and other systemic health problems that have been and continue to be explored by researchers.

To read the complete article at WebMD, click here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

IRS Considers Taxing Personal Use of Work Cell Phones as 'Fringe Benefit'

An interesting article here from the Wall Street Journal. More of "your government at work" to improve our lives. I'm glad we voted for change. Obviously this is one more way we'll be paying for the bailouts.

WASHINGTON -- The IRS is weighing a proposal to deem one-quarter of employees' use of work cell phones as personal use and therefore subject to tax as a fringe benefit.

The proposal is one of several options the IRS put forward this week on the tax treatment of employer-provided cell phones. Current law already requires that the value of those cell phone services be included in a worker's gross income, unless the employee keeps detailed records showing that the cell phone is used for work only -- an idea cell phone trade groups are objecting to.

"The idea that you should keep a log saying, 'I made a call saying I will be late for dinner again,' that's a totally cumbersome and burdensome requirement that most employers and employees are not going to comply with," said Jot Carpenter, vice president of government affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association.

The IRS, in a Monday notice, proposed options intended to simplify the requirement for employers. One proposal is a "safe harbor" that would deem 75 percent of work cell phone usage to be for work, and 25 percent to be personal. Under that scenario, employer deductions would be limited accordingly and employees would be taxed on the value of the personal use.

Click here for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tracking Alzheimer's Victims - One Shoe at a Time

gtx shoe.jpg
For those of you who have family members or friends suffering the ravages of Alzheimer's, here is an idea that can help bring some peace to a difficult situation. The tracking company GTX Corp and shoe manufacturer Aetrex Worldwide are teaming up to create shoes with built in GPS transponders.

It's a very solid idea for keeping track of those who, unfortunately, can no longer keep track of themselves. The shoes will allow accurate location within a 30 foot radius. According to Andrew Carle who is an assistant professor at George Mason, the shoes are a good idea because while patients often remove new objects placed on them, getting dressed is one of the things patients tend to retain in memory.

Like other types of tracking devices (mainly for parents of small children), the device allows for a "geo-fence" boundary to be placed around the patient's home or place of residence. When the "fence" is breached e-mail and text messages can be sent to caregivers and the patient can then be tracked via the web.

No word on pricing yet, but the peace of mind this could bring is huge. We've all heard horror stories of patients getting lost by simply wandering off. This is a great solution for that.

The product is slated to begin testing by the end of the year.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Projection Glasses Offer a Peek Into the Future

OLED glasses.jpg
Do you hate having to pull out your phone whenever you want to know who the text message is from or to read that important e-mail you've been expecting? Franhofer in Germany may have solved that problem.

The photo above shows an OLED display that projects images onto the retina producing a large and transparent image that can be seen by the person wearing the glasses. There have been other systems likes this (if you've seen me present, you've probably seen a picture of me wearing one) but the other systems were big & bulky.

Franhofer has overcome the bulk by reducing the need for a projector. The OLED chip acts as the projector and is only 19.3mm x 17mm and is hidden in the hinge at the temple.

No word on when this system might be available, but I'll be in line to get one!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

4 Terabyte Backup Drive from Western Digital

I remember how happy I was when I finally came up with a multiple terabyte backup solution under my desk. You'd think I'd learn that these victories would be short lived.

Now Western Digital has come up with a MyBook edition that has 2, 2 TB disks in the enclosure. What's great about this enclosure, is that opens to allow you to upgrade or replace the disks inside if need be.

It will run on FireWire (both 200 and 400), USB 2.0, and eSATA.

The only drawback is the price. At $650, it's a little steep, but not too steep. 4 terabytes in one smallish footprint is worth the price in my opinion.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

T-Mobile has Customer Database Hacked - Let's Hear it for Security

Welcome to the un-official/unintentional continuing cell phone technology blog. It's weird that the last few days I've blogged more about phones than I have in the last 6 months, but anyway...

Today's post is not about a phone, but rather about a mobile phone company; T-Mobile to be exact. It seems the folks at T-Mobile had their customer database hacked. That's right, "We have everything, their databases, confidential documents, scripts and programs from their servers, financial documents up to 2009," a group calling itself "pwnmobile" wrote in an e-mail Saturday to various tech and security Web sites.

This group says they have already tried to sell the info to T-Mobile competitors, but were not successful. Now they are willing to sell the info to the highest bidder.

T-Mobile will neither confirm nor deny the security breach. In fairness to T-Mobile, the group that claims to have the info has not yet offered any proof, but if I were a customer, I'd have concerns.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Garmin says Nuviphone is on the Near Horizon

Since I've been blogging about mobile phones a lot lately, this story has surfaced and I've always had a love for Garmin. The company headquarters is practically a leisurely jog from my home so that makes them my home town GPS company.

About 18 months ago, they announced the NuviPhone. It was going to be pretty amazing, but some kinks have kept it from being released. The last I heard the release date was scheduled for "mid 2009". Now I hear rumblings that on a conference call last week, the company stated it is "getting very close" to launch with a US carrier. During this call it was also stated the Asian market would see launch "this month or in early July."

I hope that all the wait is worth it. I'm proud of Garmin for not shipping something with flaws and getting it right before releasing it to the public. I just hope that it's still as cutting edge as it once was reported to be. The competition has had a big head start.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Orascoptic Zeon Discovery

Orascoptic Discovery LED.jpg
For years I've been using Orascoptic surgical telescopes with a "nose light" that sits on the glasses. Over the years the light has evolved from the original Zeon Illuminator to now where I'm using the Zeon LumenArc system. The problem with both of these is the cost & the tether. The light boxes require you to plug a fiber optic "tail" from your glasses mounted light into the light box... and they are not cheap. Factor in the cost of the bulbs and the light system is expensive although I feel it is definitely worth it.

LED's have been evolving rapidly over the last 2-3 years, but I've held off on getting rid of my LumenArc boxes because they were always brighter than an LED system and I'm hooked on the very bright light the LumenArc delivers. However, when I moved to the new office, I went from 3 operatories to 7 and I didn't buy 4 new light boxes as I knew the LED systems were evolving. Currently I'm using the LumenArc in 3 ops and a 3W LED from HighQ Dental called the Ray when I need to work in the other ops.

In a week or so, I'll begin using the Orascoptic Zeon Discovery and I'll report back on my experiences here. What makes the Discovery special? Basically it's 2000 lumens brighter than my LumenArc light box. That's right, LED technology has now surpassed the tethered option. Bight and portable are 2 words that belong together in a dental environment that demands mobility. I'm anxious to get started with the Discovery. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Palm Pre Now Available

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting its arrival, the Palm Pre is now available on the Sprint network.

All the details from Palm are available here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Viewsonic Announces a new All-In-One Desktop PC

For those of you who are cramped on space in treatment areas, dim rooms, administrative areas, or even in your personal office, ViewSonic has a new gadget that could allow you bring computing into areas where it wouldn't fit before.

The device incorporates 1 gig of RAM, a CD/DVD drive, USB ports, and a card reader into a device that houses all the components in the monitor. That's right, there is no tower, just a monitor.

Add to that a price of $600 and this thing is affordable too. More info is available here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What is Invisalign Thinking?

In the past couple of days, the aligner company Invisalign has been sending both written and e-mail communications to doctors that are certified in using their products. It seems the company is now forcing treating doctors to do a minimum of 10 cases per year to maintain the right to use the service. This is coupled with a second requirement of 10 Invisalign specific CE programs.

I've already heard from several doctors who are now "done" with the company based on the above and many more are giving serious consideration to no longer providing or recommending the treatment to patients. These individuals are quality doctors who enjoy providing the treatment but simply do not have a high volume of cases.

It seems interesting to me that a company that charges for certification, charges for CE programs, and then charges for the doctor to use the service is suddenly now forcing the doctors that have paid all of this money to do a "minimum" number of cases... for even more money.

While I certainly applaud the need for CE to keep up on the latest innovations in all aspects of my profession, I can't help but think there is more to this story than what we know so far.

If you are a provider and haven't gotten this info, you will. The e-mail letter was submitted to me and can be read below:

Dear Doctor:

Align Technology has always been committed to great treatment outcomes for Invisalign doctors and patients. This commitment is at the heart of everything we do, and is evident in the investments we make in clinical research, product development, and industry-leading clinical education.

But ultimately, success is in the hands of the doctor. As awareness and acceptance of Invisalign has grown, so has consumer demand and the size of our trained doctor base. Which leads us to ask, how can we be confident that every Invisalign® provider actually has enough product knowledge and experience to help give patients a great outcome? Align wants every Invisalign provider to be one we can comfortably direct a prospective patient to with an expectation of knowledgeable treatment and a great outcome.

Effective June 1, 2009, Align is implementing Invisalign product proficiency requirements to help ensure good clinical outcomes and a more consistent standard of treatment for Invisalign patients. This proficiency initiative requires every Invisalign provider to start a minimum of 10 Invisalign cases and complete at least 10 Invisalign-specific CE credits each calendar year to maintain active account status. Details on all aspects of the proficiency requirements are available at http://vip.invisalign.com/proficiency.

Align wants to make sure that every doctor who wants to be successful with Invisalign can be successful with Invisalign. As part of this proficiency initiative, we have defined a Proficiency Pathway of Invisalign educational opportunities at www.aligntechinstitute.com/pathways to help doctors achieve confidence with key aspects of treatment. And starting today, your VIP page will show a dashboard of your patient starts (based on cases shipped to you) and CE credits for the year to help you stay on top of the proficiency requirements.

Doctors who choose not to meet the annual case and CE requirements by December 31, 2009 will be able to continue treating any in-progress cases, but will not be eligible to submit new Invisalign cases or to represent themselves as Invisalign providers.

Attaching proficiency requirements to using Invisalign helps Align preserve the integrity of the Invisalign brand for prospective patients and for the doctors who use our products. Being an Invisalign provider should mean something. Going forward, being an Invisalign provider will represent a baseline of Invisalign knowledge and expertise, and will convey a doctor’s commitment to maintaining proficiency with the Invisalign products and treatment.

As always, the men and women who work for me in North America are there to assist you in achieving your goals, whether that means meeting this year's proficiency requirements, or going beyond that to truly make the most of Invisalign in your practice.


Dan S. Ellis
Vice President, North American Sales

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Txtr e-book Reader is on the Horizon

E-book readers are going to be huge. If you prefer paper, that's fine, but trust me, these things are going to be more popular than many folks can imagine. As a matter of fact, the company that makes the digital ink screens for these devices has just announced they have now fabricated over a million screens. Along those lines, there isn't just one great solution and a bunch of also rans. These days, there are preferences available in some that are not in others.

One of the newcomers is Txtr. While the info below says it is aimed at the German market, I would think that would change if sales are successful. I like the hardware for this device. Here is more information:

The German start-up company txtr announces the txtr reader, an e-book reader aimed at the German market, for the 3rd quarter of 2009. The txtr reader will be combined with an online document management platform and offer a complete solution for digital reading, including document storage, publishing and shopping, using a mobile connection (3G/GPRS).

Better than ink on paper. The Berlin start-up company txtr has designed a lightweight and compact digital reading device, based on a 6in electronic ink (eInk)screen. eInk needs no backlight and works by aligning black and white pigment particles in an electric field. eInk looks and reads just like printed paper, with crisp text and images even in bright sunlight.
txtr uses a new display controller that allows for faster rendering of pages and even small animations. Sophisticated power-management has resulted in a very energy-efficient device, and a single charge will last for many days of reading.
txtr reader introduces a novel, intuitive user interface. It uses a capacitive touch slider that can be comfortably operated with one hand. A 3D acceleration sensor detects the orientation of the device, and automatically aligns the user interface for portrait, landscape and left-handed mode.
Using SD memory cards, the
txtr reader can store many thousands of books and other documents. It will be delivered with an 8GB SD card with already pre-installed content.

A connected library, always up to date. The txtr reader will be connected to the online document management platform txtr.com using its internal 3G/GPRS modem.txtr.com combines an extensive free library with a personal, protected document collection that can also be shared with friends and colleagues. At the time of the launch, txtr.com will also offer an online store with a large collection of book titles from renowned German publishers.
Unlike many existing e-book readers, the
txtr reader will support open e-book and document formats (such as ePub, PDF, HTML, RSS feeds), as well as office documents (Powerpoint, RTF). With its mobile connection, users can access blogs and online news sources, and take their online library wherever they go.

The open digital reader. The online document platform txtr.com is the perfect companion to the txtr reader. It manages all kinds of digital text formats and supports versioning, automatic sorting and online discussions. Users may rate documents, give recommendations to each other and track changes in text collections via RSS feeds. txtr.com also offers an easy-to-use rights management, so users can secure their private documents, open them to friends or share their publications with everyone. The platform is not just suited for individuals, but includes support for work-groups as well; tools such as BibTex cater to the needs of academic users.
txtr also offers a client for the iPhone, and both device and platform will be open to 3rd party developers. Thus, it will be possible to use txtr.com with other reading devices, and to write new applications for the txtr reader.

Quick facts

  • Freescale ARM CPU (532 MHz),
  • eInk Vizplex display, 800x600 resolution,
  • 1GB flash onboard memory, 8GB SD card with content included,
  • wireless mobile connection via 3G/GPRS to online platform txtr.com,
  • ultra-long battery life,
  • support for audio via bluetooth headset,
  • connection to PC via USB and WiFi,
  • direct document sharing with nearby users via txtr air share,
  • intuitive user-interface, automatically aligned with device,
  • elegant and ergonomic form-factor; outdoor-proof casing,
  • bookstore in a pocket: e-books and digital publications can be purchased online, directly from the device.

About txtr
txtr is an innovative start-up from Berlin. Among the founders: Andreas Steinhauser and Frank Rieger, the successful creators of gate5 AG, a company specializing in software for route planning and personal navigation devices. gate5 has earned several business awards and became a multimedia development hub after its acquisition by Nokia. txtr is going to extend the ways in which we are using electronic documents. txtr's new reading device, announced for 2009, will offer the first open and complete solution for digital reading, including online access, publishing and storage, mobile connectivity and eInk based hardware.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another 5-Star Award for Renamel Microfill

Renamel Microfill, the only composite ever to receive a 5-Star rating by REALITY and its panel of independent evaluators, has recently received its 10th consecutive 5-Star award. Renamel Microfill has been the #1 rated composite for the past 20 years, and has been awarded REALITY’s highest Product of the Year award a record three times. Renamel Microfill is the only direct resin material that accurately mimics the physical and esthetic properties of enamel. For over 20 years Renamel Microfill has stood above all other composites because it has the best handling, polishability, color range, translucency, natural appearance and long-term wear-resistance. Cosmedent’s Renamel Microfill has become the standard for superior esthetics and is the top choice of cosmetic dentists worldwide. To order Renamel Microfill or to receive more information, contact Cosmedent toll free at 800-621-6729 or visit www.cosmedent.com.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Palm Pre available from other carriers in the next year?

Although we've yet to see the Palm Pre, the industry is buzzing about it. It could be the big turnaround that Palm has been looking for and it could also be really good for Sprint (and they've been struggling).

Now there are rumors that potentially the Pre could be available from other carriers although not for a while.

AT&T made some comments about carrying it and now Verizon is stating they will be selling it "in the next six months or so". Exactly what that means is anyone's guess. My advice would be that if you really want a Pre, go with Sprint.

Verizon is also saying they will be selling the Storm 2 at some point in the future.