Archive | January, 2010

Fighting with the computer – It’s like dealing with a Terminator

30 Jan

I fought with the computer last night for several hours. I need to remotely connect to a couple locations while I’m on-call to work. The computer I’m using is a Mac running 10.6.2. This is fine for remotely connecting in and establishing a VPN, but in order to complete my work I have to run Windows software. (The hospital recently upgraded to windows XP (true) and the software I’m using was last upgraded in 2004 – only off by a decade the first time.) Well I don’t want to use a separate computer so I bought VMware Fusion. Most of the time this works just fine and I can share the VPN connection with the VMware’s NAT network connection. To step back for a moment, I recently had a corruption of one of the virtual machine realizations (that’s probably not the right terminology but I can’t think the proper term at the moment.) This meant that I had to delete and reinstall Windows XP so I was already having some difficulty to begin with but it had been working. Well last night for some reason the network connection was all messed up. I spent hours and hours trying to fix it. I deleted and reinstalled Windows XP, I screwed around with the different types of network connections-and after finally several hours I was able to get a functioning Internet connection on the VM. However it was not running through the MacOS X Cisco VPN. This meant I had to install the Cisco VPN on the Windows side. Well it turns out, as you might guess since the software has not been updated by the hospital since 2004, that this VPN is archaic and is no longer supported by Cisco. Cisco has since moved to another type of VPN and the support location that I had used in the past has discontinued the ability to download it. Now, if you really need it you can send them e-mail message, but this really doesn’t do you much good at 1 AM in the morning on the weekend. So I spent a considerable amount of time on Google tracking down the appropriate VPN client.

I was successful! I downloaded the client, successfully installed it, imported the correct PCF file, make my connection and did the work.

This morning, the system is working just like it used to. That is I can now share the VPN connection on the Macintosh and everything is just dandy. Great, just great. This reminds me of a joke:

There were these three engineers, an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer and a software engineer, who were going to an engineering (or maybe a StarWars) convention. Upon arriving at the airport of their destination, they decided to share a car and save some money. While driving the rental car down the highway it started to make a funny noise and to lose speed. They pulled off to the side of the road and stopped.

The mechanical engineer said, “I think we cracked a valve shaft.”
The electrical engineer said, “No, it’s the distributor.”
The software engineer said, “Let’s get out of the car and get back in.”

This morning, after all of that, I felt like this car commercial.

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The Nine Levels of Done

29 Jan

Where I work there are nine levels is done:

The question is “Are you done?” Answer: Yes
(The real meaning)

1. Yes – because my shift has ended.
2. Yes – because all the patient studies have been acquired. (They have not been processed and turn in to be reviewed.)
3. Yes – because all the patient studies have been acquired and processed but they have not been turned in to be reviewed.
4. Yes – all the studies have been acquired, processed and turned in to being reviewed.
5. Yes – all the studies had been acquired, process, turned in and read.(But only for this floor.)
6. Yes – all the studies have been acquired, process, turned in and read for this floor in one of the other floors, but not all of the floors. Section A and B. but not C
7. As above for sections A and C. but not B
8. For section A, B. and C. But the reports have not crossed over and therefore are not available. (That is my responsibility but I have no authority over that action.)
9. For sections A, B. and C and they not crossed over into the hospital system and are available to be read by the ordering physician. The actual only totally and completely done.

More Chippy google searchs

28 Jan

Surprisingly, at least to me, is how common Chippy the squirrel is found on Google. There are 6820 entries for: Chippy the squirrel blog. 6820! Well maybe that’s not a lot for Google but for a squirrel blogs?

The number one entry is this: Name Chippy Prototype’s new Assistant and win!

They even have a twitter page.

The second has a picture of Chippy the squirrels stealing an apple (not my Chippy).

The third is a charm bracelet.

The fourth is a link to “Chippy” the wonder squirrel.

And the fifth is some guy who calls himself Chippy the FCKING Squirrel ™ [[.057k]].

I’ll wait for another day to get to the remainder.

Can’t wait for Dreamweaver to arrive. Placing these photos is driving me nuts.

Apple’s new iPad

28 Jan

Nothing new here.

As we all know by now Apple introduced its new tablet today with the unfortunate name iPad and the feminine hygiene jokes are flying. One has to wonder what the hell they were thinking. Bad name or brilliant marketing from all the buzz? For some odd reason, iTampon out ranks iPad on Twitter as a trending topic. The best take I have seen is from MadTV on youtube.

Apple’s iPad

Keynote speech introducing the iPad

Video about the iPad

iPad info from CNet

Anxiety

24 Jan

The Wordstrumpet has a nice posting about anxiety called “The Things that Scare You.” For her it was going out and eaten alone in a nice public restaurant. She even commented how this sounds really silly to most people.

Thing is though I don’t think it sounds nearly as silly as she might think it does. It turns out a lot of us, maybe even most, have insecurities that we work very hard at not letting other see or we avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable. For me, (only one example of many) I’m not a party person. I feel very uncomfortable in social situations especially when I don’t know anybody. I’m like a spectator – observing but removed. To top it off I have trouble reading people’s reactions when I am talking to them. Odd, how if I was at another table watching myself I can pick up the subtle clues, but I am blind when they are directly in front of me. This may be something as simple as not catching on that the other person is not interested in what I’m talking about or because they’re being nice to me thinking they actually like me – when actually they’re just being congenial.

So in the past I would just sit in the chair watching everybody or stuffing my face full of food and point of full mouth indicating I cannot talk. What I discovered, which seems to occur 15+ years later than I really need it, is the majority of people in the room are also insecure, they’re just better at hiding it. They have no interest in me and are not keeping a scorecard. The basic truth is that no one cares that I am a dork except me. This was a very liberating realization, almost an epiphany. This freed me to approach people and introduce myself without the fear of them worry about who is this bozo coming over here.

Do you recall the Star Wars Kid? He was this kid who made a video of himself pretending he was in Star Wars. He was publicly humiliated at his high school causing him great distress. And yet – if he had decided to embrace his inner nerd, he could have become a celebrity and have used that fame to advance himself. When I first saw the original clip I had two reactions. The first was that this poor guy was making a fool of himself and being humiliated, and the second was a wish that I was daring enough to put myself out like that.

We are in far more in control over daily lives then we actually know. It’s easy to say don’t be afraid to do something different. It’s harder to do it. I was always scared about what people thought of me. The realization that people actually don’t care about me at all let me take control of the situation. Showing confidence, even when I wasn’t, people just assumed I was in control. Long time ago I walked into a restricted area by accident. Because I acted like I belonged there no one questioned me. It’s kind of like Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer. He talks about projecting the energy that lets your dog know who’s in control. Well the same thing is true for people – by project confidence and they are confident in you. So those of you who have an anxiety that is hindering you, just remember that everybody is as screwed up as you are and that most of the “successful people”, like myself, fear that someday it will be discovered that we are faking it. So pick a situation that makes you anxious and confronted. Start out small. It may be hard but you will surprise yourself, you will live through it.

Little did I know – More on Chippy

21 Jan

Little did I know – sounds like the story of my life and probably a frequent recurring title.

I had no clue that there is a book titled “Chippy goes to the dentist“, let alone a YouTube video of Chippy goes to the dentist. Residents at work were trying to find my “secret blog” and were doing Google searches with chippy and dentists, and there they were.

Squirrel Dentist

17 Jan


I didn’t know there was any such thing as a squirrel dentist

Mrs. Mousebert is an animal nut and is into animal rescues – big-time. I’m not going to go into the menagerie we have in our house in the past, at least not at this point. However, one of the current issues in our household is Chippy, our not a pet squirrel. Did you know you cannot have a pet squirrel? I could understand having to have a license for a pet lion or tiger or a bear, but the squirrel? What is the critter going to do? Run up your neighbor’s leg going after his nuts? So Chippy the squirrel is not a pet. So don’t sic animal control on me, okay.

Chippy was rescued after she fell out of her nest and injured her face. She was found by a friend of my wife’s brother, who from the description did not have a great deal of experience of raising baby squirrels. Of course, Mrs. Mousebert, using her superior animal rescue skills swooped in. What is a baby squirrel compared to all the other animals that we have raised? And by WE I mean that she does the work, and I paid the bills and have the pleasure of smelling and cleaning up after them. Well Chippy fell from a tree out of her nest damaging her upper incisors. This was not so much of an issue prior to her being weaned, but when she was weaned, it was. I’m sure everybody already knows that squirrels are a member of the rodent family and that rodents incisors continue to grow throughout their lifetime being worn down by eating or gnawing on items, like one’s neighbors nuts.

So with Chippy’s upper incisors damaged the balancing action of gnawing down her teeth is disrupted causing her lower incisors to overgrow. Well for rodent, that is really bad news. If the lower incisors grow too long the critter will be unable to eat and subsequently starve. That means Chippy can never be released to the wild. (Crap!) It also means that Chippy has to have her lower incisors ground down every several weeks. Which cost $$$. (double-Crap!) (Have you ever tried to file down a squirrel’s teeth?)

I imagine one could create a little device to place the squirrel in with a cutout of its body and with Velcro to hold it still while one took a drill file to its lower teeth. I suspect that would look something out of a medieval torture chamber. I also think the squirrel would be screaming and yelling so it doesn’t sound like a very pleasant afternoon. The alternative is to take Chippy to the squirrel dentist. Okay it’s really a veterinarian who specializes in rodents. Imagine the looks one gets at a party when someone ask you what you do in your reply is “Oh I’m a squirrel dentist.” I would think squirreled dentist would not have a particularly busy practice. And for the prices they are charging they don’t need to have a particularly busy practice.

Somehow the topic came up at work and I got up on top of my soapbox about having to take the squirrel to the damn squirrel dentist. Now I am known as the doctor who has a squirrel. Here I am a person who frequently is the leading expert in my field in a lecture hall at an international meetings, and I am now known as the doctor who owns a squirrel. (Okay, I am most frequently the leading expert in the room because no one else has arrived yet.)

I have been requested for my next lecture to bring photos of Chippy. It was also suggested that I set up a pay link to help defray the cost of Chippy’s dental bills. That sounds like a good idea but with the crisis in Haiti it seems a bit crass. Instead, I suggest you text message to the Red Cross with a $10 donation to “HAITI” to 90999 for the relief efforts in Haiti.

Pictures of Chippy


Update: Sad news. Chippy died today, 2-Mar-2010. She was not her usual self last night and we were going to take her to the vet. Had an appointment later today around 4 P.M.