Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Evernote for Mac is Coming with Some Pretty Cool Changes

Evernote Logo.jpeg
I've been an Evernote user for quite some time now and I find myself using it more and more.  So much so, in fact that I've become a paid user of the service and not just a user of the "free" version.
Now Evernote has announced that they are bringing an updated version to Mac users with over 100 changes.  Here is what I received in an email from them with a video that follows:
Almost a year ago, we set out to rethink and rebuild Evernote for Mac to be more elegant, more flexible, and more powerful for all of our users. We've added over a hundred new features inside a beautiful new interface, designed to make it easier than ever to save, search, and share your memories.
The new Evernote for Mac is coming soon, but we thought you might like an early look. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Google Makes New Product Announcement via Blog Due to Hurricane Sandy Cancellation in NY

It was a combination of Android OS announcements & Hardware debuts from Google today.

Android is going to version 4.2 which doesn't really have an "official" name.  The latest version of iOS is called "Jelly Bean" so Google is calling this update a "new flavor of Jelly Bean" which makes sense, but only sort of.

The new OS update has some pretty slick pieces like not needing to lift your fingers when you type, taking photos and adding them to Google + or Google Maps.  Also there is a new WiFi standard supported.  While not yet available on many devices, the standard called "Miracast" allows Android devices to show their displays on Miracast enabled devices like TVs.  This will all be able to be done wirelessly which should be pretty cool when it becomes available.

There was also the announcement of the Nexus 4 smartphone (a prototype of which was lost in a San Francisco bar last week), the Nexus 10 tablet, and the Nexus 7 tablet.

Overall it's a nice run of announcements from the gang in Mountainview.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Using Flying UAV Drones to Help Swarming Robots make Intelligent decisions


I've been dreaming of tinkering with UAV drones for a while now.  I've actually finally got one on order that should be arriving soon.

The power of our circuits & chips now allows us to do some amazing things with technology that cost 10's of thousands of dollars in the 90's and is now basically pocket change today.

Add to that the research that is being done with intelligent swarms of robots and you can see the future.  Then… pair the power of a robot swarm with the point of view of a UAV and the  power jumps exponentially.

Take a look at the video above and glimpse the future… awesome!


"Spatially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly," by Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, was presented at IROS 2012 in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Air Techniques Updates Spectra & Polaris Systems

Spectra Caries Detection_2012.jpgPolaris Intraoral Camera_2012.jpg


The folks at Air Techniques are updating both the Spectra visual caries detection system as well their Polaris intraoral camera.

While the 2 systems will not have any new groundbreaking options that render the older models obsolete, they have a more streamlined look and newly designed buttons.

They both are also utilizing a new USB cord.

I only got a brief chance to try them at the ADA meeting, but both devcies appear solid and I really like the new button layout.  As someone who owns both of the previous models, I like the new design but I'm not depressed that I acquired the devices when I did.  Everything evolves, and these devcies have… and will continue to do so.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flux Backpack Improves Safety at Night

Flux Backpack.jpg
For safety at night whether on a bike, Segway (if you're lucky), or even on foot, the Flulx Backpack is a great safety device.
The backpack has a built in LED light that illuminates the backpack and draws attention of motorists.
FLUX, the first waterproof backpack with LED lighting, is constructed of a durable 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon exterior and a Tarpaulin vinyl coated polyester lining. FLUX offers you a clean, subtle design during the day coupled with LED powered lighting for maximum visibility at night.
The LED powered fiber optic panel is flexible, waterproof and less than 1mm thick making it just as durable as the backpack itself. The electronics have a run time of 2-5 hours depending on steady or flash and are completely removable and USB rechargeable.
Additionally, the lighting component can also be used as a stand-alone seat post mounted light for trips that don't require a backpack.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Enercell Portable Power

Enercell Portable Power.jpg
I've just purchased (from my local Radio Shack) the device shown above.
It's an Enercell Portable Power Bank.  The idea is beautiful in its simplicity.  Just plug it into a USB port and the battery charges.
When it is fully charged, which is indicated by LED lights, the battery stores power that can be used by other devices in an emergency.
The device comes with a variety of connectors that let it provide power to devcies that have an Apple connector (powering everything except the devices requiring the *new* Apple connector), mini-USB, and micro USB.
Here are all the details from the Radio Shack website:

Make a withdrawal when you need it.

You keep money in the bank - now keep power in the bank too. Enercell's Portable Power Bank is a small, personal-portable power supply that keeps you talking for up to four hours. It charges quickly from any USB power port.

  • Output voltage 5.0 +/- 0.25V, output current 1000mA (max), with a capacity of 1350mAh
  • Battery average run time up to 4 hours, results vary by device and usage patterns
  • Over-voltage, over-current, short-circuit, over-temperature (charging) & under-voltage protection
  • Battery charges in about 3 hours
Pricing and availability: Please note that all prices are subject to change without prior notice. Prices advertised on this site are for online orders only. Prices on some items may differ from those advertised in RadioShack stores. All merchandise may not be available at all stores, and all stores may not participate in all sales promotions. We recommend you contact the store to confirm product availability and price.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


DDS Rescue Device.jpgliptak dental logo.jpglogo pride institute tech award 2012.gif
I've written about DDS Rescue before.  This is a flat out amazing device and is highly recommended.  The DDS Rescue device is a computer (pictured above) that plugs into your network.  A small program is installed on your server that allows the DDS Rescue device to find the server and connect to it.  The device then begins to backup your server onto its hard drive, creating bootable "images" that can literally give you access to your data even if the server is turned off or destroyed.
The device also takes this same info and sends it to The Cloud.  There it is stored on encrypted servers in a data storage facility that is secure and designed to be safe both from data theft as well as natural disaster.  If your server or, heaven forbid, your office is ever destroyed or taken offline you have access to your data whether it is from the device in office or from the data storage in The Cloud.
DDS Rescue runs 24/7 365 and not only backups, but verifies the backups as well… all with no intervention from any human being in your office.  As you all know, I travel a great deal doing lectures and consulting with manufacturers.  On the days I'm on the road, I sleep easier knowing DDS Rescue is on the case performing the backups and getting them offsite where they are safe.
At the ADA meeting last week, I was thrilled to hear the following announcement from the folks at Liptak.  They were thrilled, needless to say, and I was very happy for the dentists who will be able to relax now knowing that their data is safe.
I believe in this product and have had one in my office since summer 2011.  The panel of The Pride Technology Best of Class Awards was blown away by DDS Rescue when we met to vote last February.  The heart of the matter is this: Backing up can be hard to do.  It is also tedious, can be time consuming, and must be applied vigilantly.  The DDS Rescue device automates the process, verifies the data, and stores it in two locations.  It is flat out amazing (I know I said this in the second sentence of this post, but I repeated it here because it deserves repeating).
The device is now, as of the ADA Meeting, available from Patterson Dental and Benco Dental as well.  This means it is easy to acquire and backed by 2 great distributors.  Here is the press release from Patterson Dental which went out to those of us in the press on October 23.

St. Paul, MN (October 18, 2012) – Patterson Dental announces DDS Rescue, a business continuity solution that includes an onsite failover server, cloud backup and 24-hour system monitoring. DDS Rescue is designed to duplicate programs and data so that in the event of an issue (e.g., server failure, theft or a natural disaster), a dental practice can be back up and running in as little as 10 minutes through the use of the failover server, or the office can view patient information online if necessary. 
Patterson Dental is offering DDS Rescue to its customers in addition to its PattLock online backup system. “With multiple in-office and in-the-cloud backup solutions now available as part of Patterson’s best-in-class technology offering, practices can choose the best fit for their needs,” said Josh Killian, vice president of digital technologies. “Plus, we assist our customers in selecting the best option for their practice, so that in the unfortunate event of an issue, their data will be restored as quickly as possible.”
For more information or to order DDS Rescue, customers should contact their Patterson Dental territory representative, local Patterson branch or call 800.294.8504. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hundreds of Laboratory Professionals Come Together to Celebrate inLab®’s Ten-Year Anniversary at the CEREC® 27 and a half Event




Charlotte, NC (October 22, 2012) – Hundreds of laboratory professionals celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Sirona’s revolutionary inLab® laboratory CAD/CAM system with a three-day extravaganza during Sirona’s CEREC® 27 and a half event recently held in Las Vegas.  


Dentists and laboratory professionals alike descended upon The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to celebrate inLab’s 10-year milestone by attending various educational programs and garnering CE credits along the way.  Laboratory technicians had the opportunity to explore all aspects of Sirona CAD/CAM through a multitude of inLab presentations led by a who’s-who of inLab experts.  Also on site was an exhibit hall that featured top dental companies showcasing their newest products and services.  In addition, laboratory gained access to thousands of CEREC dentists already in attendance and fellow laboratory owners with similar interests.  


Jay Black, CDT and owner of Winter Springs Dental Laboratory in Winter Springs, Florida attended all three days and summed up his experience, “CEREC 27.5 was an amazing event! Never before have I been involved in a celebration where 4000 like-minded, energized, and motivated professionals gathered under one roof wanting one thing, to grow with this amazing technology. It was great meeting with old friends and new ones! Hats off to the engaging list of speakers, and to all the folks at Sirona who worked so hard to put this together. I have come back to my laboratory motivated like never before, and ready to implement what I have learned for my lab, my dentists, and most importantly, my patients!”


Matt Roberts, CDT and owner of CMR Dental Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho said, "Every time Sirona throws an event, I am beyond impressed learning about the new advancements of this amazing technology.  Sirona just keeps making CAD/CAM more interesting, my job much easier, and my dentists happier.  I’m seeing developments in CAD/CAM I never thought I’d witness in my lifetime!  The new CEREC Omnicam is exciting. I love the full color video capture and the fact that there is no need for powder in the mouth! I can’t wait to start working with dentists using this new component of the system."


Earlier this year, Sirona launched inLabSoftware 4.0, the most advanced and comprehensive redesign in the history of the inLab software platform.  The CEREC 27 and a half Anniversary Celebration also commemorated the 20th anniversary of Schick digital radiography and the 5th anniversary of the GALILEOS® Digital Imaging System.  


For more details and highlights from inLab 10 at CEREC 27 and a half event, please visit or    


About Sirona Dental Systems


Sirona, the dental technology leader, has served dealers and dentists worldwide for more than 130 years. Sirona develops, manufactures, and markets a complete line of dental products, including CAD/CAM restoration systems (CEREC), digital intra-oral, panoramic and 3D imaging systems, dental treatment centers and handpieces. Visit for more information about Sirona and its products.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Google Opens Up about Data Centers

Google Logo.jpg
One of the things that most folks don't' know about Google, they build their own computers… continuously.  That is a necessity when you store as much data as they do.
Of course all of that data also requires not only computers, but a place to house them.  Google has several very large and very secure data centers in the U. S. and a few spread around the world as well.  It's pretty amazing when you really get a handle on it.
Google stores all of their search info, youtube videos, and tons of other Google things.  However, they also store lots of Gmail for customers, lots of music, calendars, and lots of data now that they are selling space on Google Drive.
If you're interested in what they do & how they do it, there is a great article on
If you'd like to just head on over to Google to read and see what they're willing to tell you about all of this, they have a great website about their data centers.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thoughts from the ADA Annual Session

Pride Tech Fair.JPG


Well, here I am, back in the Wonderful Land of Oz and trying to get things back on track while I prepare for another week of seeing patients.  :-)


I got back to the KC area late yesterday afternoon and had a fall get together with friends & staff so this is really the first time I've gotten a chance to let you know my overall feelings from the ADA meeting.


First of all, this meeting was amazing!  I'm not sure of what the attendance was, but the exhibit hall was full a good deal of the time and the vendors I spoke with reported good overall sales.


It seems to me that the economy is starting to rebound in our sector and that as it begins to take hold, we'll see a tide that begins to float all boats.  Doctors from the west coast seemed optimistic and that is always a good sign.


I did 2 lectures as part of the Pride Best in Class Technology Awards and the attendance was almost double what was expected.  After some of the lectures became standing room only, the ADA brought in about 100 more seats to accommodate the crowd.  As you can see from the photo above, the attendance was unbelievable.


So… my overall impressions are very favorable.  Vendors were happy, doctors were excited, and I was thrilled to be part of it all.  If you've never made it to an ADA meeting before, plan now on attending in 2013.  It's going to be in New Orleans for the first time since 2002 and will be an awesome time.  Start planning now!  I've already agreed to present there, so I'm hoping lots of you will be joining me!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dexis Announces Dexis Imaging Suite!

DEXIS Imaging Suite Software.jpg
On Friday night at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, I finally got a chance to see the Dexis Imaging Suite.  I walked away impressed with 3 different features that Dexis has included.
  1. DEXcosmetic: A full cosmetic imaging program that not only provides amazing examples of "what could be" for patients, but is also easy to use.  It lets the doctor or team member plan, simulate, and present full cosmetic procedures and tooth whitening treatments in just minutes.  Powerful, easy-to-use blending, matching, and sculpting tools allow for realistic results.  I saw a demonstration of whitening and replacing a missing tooth.  I came away impressed.
  2. DEXIS i-CAT Link: For offices with an i-CAT device or a 3D imaging device such as the Gendex CB-500 in my office, there is a way to access that data & those images from inside the Imaging Suite.  Seamlessly mange patient data and 3D images from i-CAT or i-CAT powered 3D scanners directly from within the DEXIS application.  For those of you who have compatible 3D imaging & hate clicks, this should be a great feature.
  3. iPad integration:  This was perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening.  The Dexis folks actually brought an iPad up on stage and demonstrated it live in front of the audience.  The functionality and speed was amazing.  Afterwards, I got a chance to test drive the iPad app and was just stunned by how great the images looked on the retina display.  The best part?  The app will be available in January from the App Store and it will be FREE!!!  The image below is from the demonstration & is a photo taken with my iPhone of the actual app in use on stage.  It's not the greatest picture but will help you get the idea…  If you are a Dexis customer, get ready!



Dexis iPad Image.JPG

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thanks to Smile Reminders for a Great Time at AT&T Park!!!

AT&T Visitor's Dugout.JPG
Sometimes I have to pinch myself… and this is one of those times.
Yes, that's me in the photo… hanging out in the visitor's dugout at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  After a long day in the Moscone Center here in San Francisco, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from Smile Reminders to attend a get together that included a tour of the ballpark.
Smile Reminders is a great company, with great people and a great way for offices to keep in touch with their patients.  They were also gracious enough to put up with my baseball centric lifestyle and indulged my almost continuous picture taking.  I'd never been to AT&T Park before, but it was on my baseball bucket list.  I've got to say it was as beautiful live as it appears on TV.
Unfortunately, it wasn't all fun & games.  I had to leave the event early.  I don't like being the first one to leave, but this time I didn't have a choice.  I had to head out to shoot some video for Dental Products Report.  So after a couple of hours of fun, it was back into work mode as I settled in front of a camera in a downtown hotel.  We put the shoot together pretty quickly and wrapped at about 11:00 which was only 1:00 a.m. on my poor Central Time Zone body clock.  However, the video crew thought it went well.
See?  It's not all fun & games at these meetings.  This is work!  Seriously, I wouldn't trade this for anything.  i have 2 1/2 jobs and I don't get as much sleep as I'd like, but I get up every morning and I can't believe I get to have this much fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

FDA Issues Recall Alert on Nitrous Oxide Delivery System

I received this email from the American Dental Association and thought I would pass it along:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week issued a "Class I" recall alert on Accutron, Inc.'s Ultra PC% cabinet mount flowmeters for nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation systems. The agency's safety alert and recall notice are available at the FDA web site.

According to the FDA, Accutron, which voluntarily recalled its flowmeters, reported two consumer complaints that the devices continued to deliver nitrous oxide even when the oxygen flow was turned off. No injuries have been reported.

The FDA's recall notice states: "Class I recalls are the most serious type of recall and involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of these products will cause serious adverse health consequences or death."

Dentists who suspect problems with this flowmeter should report them to Accutron at 1-800- 531-2221 and to the FDA via its MedWatch program. Accutron will replace the device free of charge.

This email has been distributed to all members of the American Dental Association.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Schein to Release Dental software for Mac

Schein Mac.JPG


I saw this when I was at the Henry Schein Practice Solutions Summit, this past August, but I had to keep it a secret… until now.


I had signed a nondisclosure agreement (known as an NDA)  and that agreement was what let me get an amazing look at a new Mac product that Henry Schein has been working on for a while now.


Schein has noticed the increased number of Macs that are being purchased both for business & professional use and decided to enter into the space to provide their own solutions to the growing Mac fan base out there.


I wasn't sure when they would have the software ready to tell the world about, but as I strolled the aisles of the ADA meeting, I saw the booth in the picture above.


If you are a Mac user and have been looking for practice management software that will run your office on the Mac platform, make sure you add the Schein Mac project to your list.


Although it's a Schein product, don't expect to see a "Dentrix Mac" type title for it.  The software is as yet, still un-named, but I think you owe it a look if you are in the market.  As with all things new, this one will evolve & update rapidly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Heading to San Francisco...

My travels for the year have almost wrapped up, but I still have a few trips left.


Today, I'm heading to San Francisco for the ADA Annual Session.  I love San Francisco & even though this is a shorter than usual trip for me, I'm really excited to get there.


I'll be in meetings most of the afternoon with the gang from Dental Products Report and then on Thursday morning I'll be kicking off the Pride Technology Expo with my lecture on "Day to Day Technology to Improve Your Practice".  This lecture will feature Pride winners that I use every day and I'll be explaining the reasons that I feel they are a big plus for practitioners.


It's always a little stressful to be "leading off" an event, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way!


I'll be following that up with a lecture on Friday afternoon on "Digital Caries Detection".  In that lecture, I'll be discussing probe vs. visual devices and the science that makes each of them a reliable adjunct for every practice.


I hope to see many of you there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Statim 5000 G4 Continues to Impress

Statim 5000 G4.jpg
For those of you who are regular readers of the blog, you know that we've been testing the new Statim G4 series autoclave in the office.
The new Statim G4 comes in 2 sizes the 2000, which is the "traditional" size that most people think of when thinking of a Statim while the other size is the 5000 and is designed for offices that have a higher volume or larger volume of instruments or larger instruments that will not fit the 2000 cassette sizes.
However, the heart of the G4 series is that the devices are Internet connected.  That means the device is in contact with both Scican (makers of the Statim) as well as the service department of  my favorite supplier, Goetze Dental.  Our Statim G4 checks in with those folks whenever it senses a problem or even if it senses that is a problem on the horizon.
We've been cranking multiple loads a day through our G4 5000 and have not had a single hiccup.  Add to that the piece of mind that comes with knowing any problem is immediately identified by the device and notification is sent to both the manufacturer and my preferred service department and this machine is a total winner for the office.  At this point I can say the Statim 5000 G4 is highly recommended!

Here is some other info of interest from the Scican website:


TOUCH. A large 3.5” high-resolution touchscreen offers a vivid display of messages, current cycle information and customizable colours all with extraordinary clarity. Fully adjustable contrast levels let you optimize the screen to the lighting in your steri-centre.

CONNECT. Through your networked portal, you can view not only your STATIM’s current operations in real time, you can also access cycle history, printing and validation information, and also sterilization records. Capable of sending emails with cycle information errors directly to your dealer, your STATIM G4 will let qualified technicians know when service is imminent.

PROTECT. Patient safety relies on attention to detail. The STATIM G4 supports verifiable processes that are PIN protected with user-defined IDs so that staff members can be required to authorize a cycle. This encourages extra attention to process and creates a safer environment for both staff and patients.

COLLECT. An undocumented sterilization cycle might as well not have been performed. With each cycle, information must be stored to protect your office and your patient. The integrated DataLogger stores all cycle information for the lifetime of the unit, which is accesible through multiple channels such as: a USB port for manual retrieval; an Ethernet connection for web based archiving or desktop printing; or a RS232 port for an external printer option.



TOUCH. A large 3.5” high-resolution touchscreen offers a vivid display of messages, current cycle information and customizable colours all with extraordinary clarity. Fully adjustable contrast levels let you optimize the screen to the lighting in your steri-centre.

CONNECT. Through your networked portal, you can view not only your STATIM’s current operations in real time, you can also access cycle history, printing and validation information, and also sterilization records. Capable of sending emails with cycle information errors directly to your dealer, your STATIM G4 will let qualified technicians know when service is imminent.

PROTECT. Patient safety relies on attention to detail. The STATIM G4 supports verifiable processes that are PIN protected with user-defined IDs so that staff members can be required to authorize a cycle. This encourages extra attention to process and creates a safer environment for both staff and patients.

COLLECT. An undocumented sterilization cycle might as well not have been performed. With each cycle, information must be stored to protect your office and your patient. The integrated DataLogger stores all cycle information for the lifetime of the unit, which is accesible through multiple channels such as: a USB port for manual retrieval; an Ethernet connection for web based archiving or desktop printing; or a RS232 port for an external printer option.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tivo Stream can put Tivo Shows on Your Portable Devices

Tivo Stream.jpg
Looking to provide your patients with the best entertainment while they are in your office?  Or perhaps you're just wanting to stream your Tivo shows & movies to your digital devcies.  Well, Tivo has the solution for you in the form of the $129 Tivo Stream.
The device connects to your LAN via Ethernet and then your Tivo DVR (which also MUST be connected to your LAN via Ethernet) can put the shows you want to watch onto the Tivo Stream.
This allows you to either stream Tivo recorded shows to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch (as long as they are running iOS 5.1 or later) OR you can wirelessly transfer shows to your iOS device and then watch them on the go or at your leisure.
All you need is the Tivo Stream and at least one Tivo Premiere series DVR.
Interested?  Check out the video below for all the details...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thanks to All Who Attended the Kansas City Edelweiss Expo!

Ultradent Edleweiss.jpg


I just wanted to give a big and warm "Thank You" to all of you who attended the Ultradent Edelweiss Hands-On Showcase last night here in Kansas City.


I was very honored that all of you chose to make the event and even more flattered that you chose to stay late into the evening.  I was also very honored and flattered to have been chosen by my friends at Ultradent to be the one chosen to lead the very first Edelweiss Hands-On Showcase.  The company is planning on putting on lots of these events across the country, but my home town was chosen as the place to launch them all.  And… my KC dentist friends & colleagues, you made me proud!


Edelweiss is an interesting concept and something that I think will serve our profession well as the profession becomes more and more aware of it.  When I discuss it with my peers they all agree that the concept is a good one.  However, every one of them has had trouble wrapping their heads around the concept of a non-lab fabricated veneer with an adequate fit.


Yet, once they see the process in a hands-on environment it makes definite clinical sense.  The point being, this product really does need to have a hands-on teaching component with it to be truly understood & mastered by the clinician.  That is why you're going to see more and more of these events sponsored by Ultradent.


I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of the product at first.  I think the sceptic in me serves me well as Technology Editor of Dental Products Report as I don't enter into product demonstrations without a healthy level of skepticism on board.  This helps me maintain my journalistic objectivity.


However, after spending some time with Dr. Stephan Lampl, who is the CEO of Edelweiss, and having him show me the hands-on technique, I walked away with a much better understanding & appreciation of what the product is about & what it is capable of.


For those of you who have yet to experience the product, keep your eyes open for a Hands-on Showcase in your area.  You'll be seeing more and more of then and I think after you get your hands on Edelweiss and see the process first hand, you'll quickly realize how it can fit into your practice.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

XLDent Invited to Present Paperless Workflows for the ADA Standards Committee in San Francisco

I get a chance to see and tinker with lots of software and products in my roll as Technology Editor for Dental Practice Report.  One of the products that I've had some exposure to over the years is the dental software program XLDent.  It's based on a mobile concept of using Tabet devices to help with workflow.  Recently I received the following press release from the company.  If you are going to be at the American Dental Association in San Francisco, come by and see one of my talks and, if you are interested in software, take a look at all the offerings… including XLDent.


Here is the info from the company:


This year XLDent has been invited to present its Electronic Dental Health Record and Paperless Workflow solutions to the ADA Standards Committee during this year’s annual ADA Session in San Francisco on October 16, 2012. We’re very proud to have been selected as one of only three dental practice management software vendors to showcase this technology. The ADA is very interested in XLDent’s software, specifically its mobile design and paperless workflows. This opportunity will allow XLDent to demonstrate how its Electronic Dental Records system can streamline workflows, improve patient experiences and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

You can see XLDent on the ADA floor at the Burkhart Dental Booth (1732). Please stop by for a personal demonstration or view a web-based demonstration at

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why Google Drive is Becoming Centric to my Life

Google Drivepng.png
I've written about Google Drive here before, but I want to give another update on the service now that I've become a regular and rather avid user.
If you're unfamiliar with it, Google Drive is storage of your data in The Cloud.  Basically it is hard drive storage on a Google Server that keeps your data stored for you and available from any device that has an Internet connection.
I've been using the service for a while now and have even purchased extra storage as my needs have expanded.  I'm not currently using Drive to store anything that might be considered personal or of importance from a security standpoint, but I *am* using it for keeping all kinds of data where I need it.
I have upcoming lectures stored there as well as articles, course descriptions for meeting planners, photos for lectures, and lots of other information that I might need to get at any moment.  I can access it from my iPads, my Android tablet, my iPhone, and any computer with an Internet connection.
In fact, I'm doing a lecture for Ultradent today here in KC and I've just uploaded the lecture to my Drive as a backup… just in case.  Should the need arise, I can quickly download the lecture to someone else's laptop and still do the presentation.
Thanks to Google's server farms out there, the upload and download process is fast & easy.  I'm no longer wasting space locally on things that I can get my hands on whenever I need them.  It just makes perfect sense at this point in time.
Of course I'm not storing any critical info there.  This is not stuff that isn't either backed-up somewhere else or at least not critical if it is lost or hacked.  However, I'm finding that for certain needs, an online repository is a great addition to my storage.
There are lots of services like this out there.  Drop Box and Amazon are just a couple (and I have accounts with them too).  If you've been thinking about this, or if you haven't even heard of this before, I'm here to tell you that it's definitely made my life easier.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Red Bull Sponsored Daredevil Felilx Baumgartner to Skydive from the Edge of Space

Baumgartner Red Bull Jump.jpg
As a confirmed gadget guy and a geek, one of the things that I love is caffeine.  Of course, when it comes to that little chemical, who doesn't know Red Bull?  The company does a good job of marketing by keeping themselves in front of consumers' eyes through not only standard advertising, but by owning sports teams, Red Bull vehicles, and lots of other non-traditional marketing ideas.  One of the best ones I've see from any company, is the current Red Bull Startos Project.
In the early days of the Space Race, there was only one way to know if a human could survive ejecting from a vehicle at high altitude.  It required a human volunteer.  That person was Joe Kittinger and the experiment was called "Project Excelsior".  On August 16, 1960 he jumped from 102,800 feet and reached a speed of 614mph, which to this day is still the record speed for a human being in the atmosphere.  He was in free fall for 5 full minutes before the chute was deployed.
Today, Felix Baumgartner will attempt a jump from 120,000 feet.  He is hoping to break the sound barrier on the descent.  The scientific data that will be gleaned from this jump should be substantial.
I'm going to be following this as much as I can today, between patients and all the other things that go with being me.  If you'd like to follow along too, go to The Red Bull Stratos Web Page for all the details.

Monday, October 8, 2012

SpaceX Set to Launch Second Rocket to ISS

By the time you read this on Monday morning, odds are that the SpaceX Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket will her on its way to the International Space Station (ISS).
This is a geek's dream as the privately funded SpaceX program gets approval from NASA to launch.
There has been one other launch like this which happened about 120 days ago and was a successful launch and docking with the ISS.
This time the capsule will dock with the ISS remotely and deliver over 1000 pounds of supplies.  However that isn't' the end of the story.  It will then stay attached to the ISS and return in about a month with about the same weight in cargo.  The cargo being all kinds of used equipment and samples from scientific experiments.
While I long for the days of the guys that had "The Right Stuff", this is still pretty exciting to me.  The thought of private industry putting this type of thing together is mind boggling and exciting all at the same time!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanks to Everyone at the Benco/Gendex Event in Minneapolis

Ah, the joys of travel.  This was a short trip.  I left KCI on Thursday at about 11:30 am bound for Minneapolis and was back in the Land of Oz on Friday morning at about 8:30 am.  I have some crazy "check in" times with airlines, but this trip literally had me checking in for my return flight from my kitchen before I even left for the KC airport!


However, the trip was well worth it.  The travel is always to sort of negative that comes with what I do.  It's meeting the people and  providing the education that really is the fun part of my "second job".  I had a chance to do an evening event over dinner for some doctors in Minneapolis on the "why's" behind 3D cone beam imaging and it was a great time.


I've been using this amazing technology in my office for about 5 years now and it has truly opened my eyes to some amazing things.  The ability to actually be able to see the patient in fully rendered 3D means you get more data about the case which allows you to provide more accurate and predictable treatment.  I once thought this technology would only be used in dental schools, but now with more affordable hardware and much more advanced training, this powerful tool is becoming more and more common al lover the US.


If you are a doctor who is treating, or interested in treating, more advanced cases, you really should take a look at what cone beam imaging can provide for you.  I'm routinely amazed at the amount of information that it provides to me and the ways it helps me provide the  highest level of care to my patients.


Thanks to all at the Minneapolis event for such a warm welcome and a fun evening!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Your Complimentary iCloud Storage Upgrade has been Extended at no Charge

iCloud logo.png
If you were a MobileMe member with Apple, they you may have heard that you received some complimentary storage courtesy of the gang in Cupertino.
Now the Apple folks have graciously extended this extra storage.  it was due to expire at the end of September but  now comes word that the free extra storage will continue until September 30, 2013.
I did some checking and here is all the info direct from the Apple Support Website:

As a thank you to our former MobileMe members who moved to iCloud, we have extended the complimentary storage upgrade they received until September 30, 2013. This extension applies to accounts moved to iCloud between October 12th, 2011 and August 1st, 2012.

How do I know if the complimentary storage extension applies to me?
If you are a former MobileMe member and had access to more than 5GB of MobileMe storage when you moved your account to iCloud, then you received a complimentary iCloud storage upgrade automatically. That upgrade has now been extended, free of charge.

How much complimentary storage did I receive?
Your complimentary storage upgrade was based on the amount of MobileMe storage you were paying for when you moved to iCloud. You were granted either the 10GB, 20GB, or 50GB storage upgrade.

To check which storage upgrade you received:  

  • On an iOS device: Go to Settings > iCloud > Account.
  • On a Mac: Go to System Preferences > iCloud, then click Manage followed by View Account.
  • On a PC: Open the iCloud Control Panel for Windows, then click Manage followed by View Account.

How long does the complimentary storage extension last?

We will continue to provide you with this additional storage until September 30, 2013, or until you choose to upgrade your iCloud storage plan.

Can I buy more storage if I need it?
Yes. If you need to upgrade your storage to a larger amount, you can purchase one of our standard storage upgrade plans at the regular price.  Please note that when you purchase a new storage upgrade, it will replace your complimentary storage plan. If you cancel the upgrade at a later date, you will return to the standard free 5GB storage plan and will no longer have access to your complimentary storage upgrade.

What if I already upgraded my storage plan prior to this extension?
If you upgraded your storage plan before September 30, 2012, we have automatically extended your upgrade at no additional charge until September 30, 2013.

Can I transfer my complimentary storage upgrade to another account?
Your complimentary storage upgrade is not transferable. You can use it only with the iCloud account that you originally moved from MobileMe.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Powered Toothbrushes Matter

As I was brushing my teeth the other day, it occurred to me that (other than the time in February I was stuck without my luggage in Chicago… long story) I haven't brushed my teeth with a manual toothbrush in so long that I cannot honestly remember.
That brought forth the idea of when, in February, I *was* forced to do so, how difficult it seemed and how tedious.
The photo above is of the Philips SoniCare Diamond Clean, their latest model and the one I use.  However, there are other powered toothbrushes out there too.  The idea for this post is really just the point that you cannot get your teeth as clean with a manual brush as you can with a powered one.  Trust me on this… I'm an expert.
Quite literally, if someone broke into my home and stole my powered brush, I'd be at Target in an hour with a new one in the cart.  I'm that passionate about it.
If you really want to have your teeth their cleanest and  your gums their healthiest, this is a need not a want.  Highly recommended!
Now, I understand that the economy isn't the best right now.  I understand that these things are expensive.  If you can't get one right now, I totally get that.  However, I do think it behooves you to think about this post and then put on your "To Do" list to get one when circumstances allow.  The point really is that even though powered toothbrushes aren't' cheap, dentistry costs even more.  
When you think about it in those terms, I think it makes more sense.  I'm completely convinced that if you try a powered brush for a while, you will never want to go back.  I know I sure wouldn't!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TDK Makes Amazing Breakthrough in Hard Drive Density

TDK Logo.jpg
Hard drive sizes have continued to grow over the years, but recently that seems to have slowed down a bit.  I mean, we have 1TB drives, but there hasn't seemed to be too much more than that lately.
Now comes word that TDK has discovered a way to massively increase the storage size of hard drives.
Without getting too technical the company has discovered a way to increase the density of hard drives by roughly 50%.  Currently the limit is 1TB/inch of hard disk but now the density can be 1.5 TB/inch.
Basically that means 3.5 inch hard drives (which are the size used in desktop computers) will have available sizes of 2TB, 4TB, and 6 TB.
The smaller 2.5 inch drives (used in laptops) will have 1 TB, 2 TB, and 3TB capacities.
It seems Moore's Law just keeps on rolling.  Imagine a laptop with 3TB...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Importance of Patient Surveys in Today's Dental Practice

In the practice of dentistry, we spend a good deal of time in data collection.  Anyone involved in any type of health care practice needs to make sure that they are doing everything they can to get every piece of important data they can.  This can make a tremendous difference in forming the proper diagnosis & treatment plan.


Along those same lines, it is also important to gather as much data about your practice as possible.  We've been doing this for a few years now through the use of practice surveys that patients fill out electronically and return to us.  They can send them to us anonymously or with their name, if they prefer.  We've learned tons about what we are doing… both right and wrong.  The  information has allowed us to make some changes as well as to know where our strong points are.


Today I'd like to present a bit of information from Smile Reminders that deals with this very subject.  It is shared here with their permission:


The Importance of Automated Patient Surveys


If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. In the business side of dentistry, your practice either moves forward or falls victim to competitors and the increase of patient empowerment.


As patients become smarter, more aware and more empowered, dentists must continually improve patient satisfaction. That includes treating every patient like a customer who chose you, instead of a patient who needs you.

How do you improve patient satisfaction? It’s easy: combine technology with good old-fashioned communication. Administer automated patient surveys and react to the responses.


How Patient Surveys Improve Business

Two male dentists have competing practices in the same town. Each has 100 regular patients to start 2013. Dentist A offers a better selection of filling materials and a nicer staff. Dentist B, however, invites patients to take a quick survey and critique his practice.

By the end of March, Dentist A still has a wider selection of products and a nicer staff. But Dentist B has 130 patients and Dentist A is down to 70. 


How could that be? Dentist A had a great practice! The problem is that Dentist A didn’t listen and adapt.

Dentist B studied his patient surveys. He asked open-ended questions and read the responses. He soon discovered that patients loved quicker service. Nobody complained about his product selection and the staff was nice enough. But time is money in this town; patients didn’t want to spend all day at the dentist’s office. So Dentist B implemented new protocol to get patients in an out fast.

Meanwhile, Dentist A improved nothing and stuck with what he thought was working, not realizing why his patients ditched him for Dentist B.


Automated patient surveys can also benefit healthcare practices when added to your office reviews. Many patient engagement services, like Smile Reminder, can automatically post open-ended survey responses as reviews on sites like Google and Yelp, boosting your searchability rankings and increasing new patient inquiries.


Listen and React to Succeed

Fact: Patients who have their compliant resolved are up to 8% more loyal than if they never had a problem in the first place.

In today’s patient-empowered, choosy world of healthcare, the dentist who listens and acts on patient opinions wins the game.


A patient survey does nothing unless it includes at least one open-ended question. Include the simple multiple choice questions like “On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with today’s visit?” Then correlate those results with your open-ended questions, like “Was there anything about today’s visit that you found irritating or frustrating? If so, what was it (were they)? Please be direct so we can resolve the issue for the future.”


Not only will open-ended questions help you understand what your practice does wrong, you can use these surveys to find out which problems have the greatest impact on patient satisfaction.


What about those 10 not-completely-satisfied patients? Seven of them complained of the doctor being “distant”, “impersonal”, or “quiet”. You’ve got a real problem. You don’t open your mouth to patients enough. 


How do you react to this valuable insight? First, resolve the issue with the most dissatisfied patients. Call them personally and explain why you were so impersonal. It doesn’t matter your excuse, the fact that you’re apologizing is enough. You could even say that your dog messed the living room rug that morning, sending you to work irritable. Apologize sincerely, personally, and fully. Then invite the dissatisfied patient in for another visit, perhaps at a discounted rate or with a special offer. The patient will forgive you and return another day to see what you’re really like. In fact, they’ll probably share the story with friends and send more patients your way. “My dentist was so apologetic! He even offered half-off my next visit! What a great guy!”


What About the BIG Problems?

That example, of course, shows how a mild problem can turn a dissatisfied patient into a satisfied one. But what about the big problems? Like a patient and a staff member arguing? Calling the upset patient to apologize and fix the issue may work, but if the patient’s complaint can’t be resolved, how do you react? Do you “count your losses” and move on? No! You work with the patient to find a mutually beneficial result. You still offer a discount for another visit. Treat all dissatisfied patients the same, no matter the level of their dissatisfaction. Don’t forget to discuss with the staff how to properly handle an irate patient next time. 


How to Maximize Completed Patient Surveys
To maximize the number of completed patient surveys, mention them personally at the end of the patient’s visit. Be the first to invite them to critique you. Don’t let that first invitation come from the staff or simply in the email or text you send the patient. Tell them, face-to-face, that you’ll send an email (or text message or phone call) to the patient, asking a few questions about their experience. Tell the patient that you’d love their honest feedback, negative or positive.


To make things easier on yourself and your staff, utilize patient engagement software to automatically send feedback surveys to patients following their visits. These automated services will collect the completed survey responses and send the reports to you and your staff. Some patient engagement systems, like Smile Reminder, even offer automated phone surveys that allow patients to touch phone keys for their multiple choice responses, and speak for their open-ended responses.

The best dentists use patient feedback surveys to steer their practices. The results always boost patient satisfaction and revenue. Your patients will love you and share that love with their friends, growing your practice exponentially.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thailand Flood Recovery Means Hard Drive Shipments have Returned

Hard Drive.jpg
Back in June, I reported here about the shortage of hard drives and how they were starting to recover from floods in Thailand in October 2011.
Well I'm happy now to tell you that statistics are now indicating that the manufacturing process for hard disk drives has rebounded with factories now cranking out hard drives like never before.  In fact, speculation is now that there will be more hard drives manufactured this year than ever before.  Estimates are as high as 524,000,000 hard drives will be created and installed in computers during 2012.  That means that not only has a record for manufacturing been set, but that it has exceeded the old record by a whopping 4.3 percent!
The amazing thing about this is that we've seen a change in the marketplace in the last few years with more and more tablets being sold and those devices don't even have a traditional spinning hard drive in them.  This means that despite the proliferation of iPads and other tablet based devices, there is still a whopping market out there for hard drive based computing.
That makes sense to me as I still think there are situations where a true PC is better than a tablet.  Trust me, I *love* tablets (I own three of them) but there are plenty of times that I prefer to sit here at the trusty MacBook Pro and do my necessary work.
Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, my story linked above from June still is holding true.  By that I mean that industry estimates for the cost of hard drives will not be down to previous prices until 2014.  Basically, while more drives will be created this year than ever before, there is still a high enough backlog of demand to keep prices higher for at least another year.  That's amazing too!