Odds and Sods

New Honda Insight

Who knew that a car review could actually be funny? Too bad it is about the hybrid Honda Insight 2.0. I actually owned a 2001 Insight for about three weeks, but found it to be so tiny that I thought it wouldn’t be at all practical.  Exchanged it for the now “classic” Prius (sedan, not the egg) from 2003, and I’m hoping the Prius will last forever. I did walk around a new Insight parked in a lot last weekend, and marveled at the size (large and Prius-like) and the Ford-like slatted chrome grill. And the current version of the Accord looks like a Saturn.  What happened at the Honda styling studio?      

ATA Conference

I should probably have more to say about the American Telemedicine Association Conference that I attended earlier this month, but my participation was somewhat clouded by the fact that I was suffering from über-jet lag and a stomach bug throughout. I found the venue, Las Vegas, weird and distracting. I spent most of two days at the conference itself. Comparing it with the previous year in Seattle, it seemed more subdued, perhaps we’re all taking a breather in the down economy. Perhaps the most interesting thing was a thorough demo of the Intel Health-Guide device. This is now deployed in pilot projects. My own presentation, with video clips, went over well with our audience of perhaps fifty or so. Other presenters with whom I appeared showed frightening projections of alzheimer cases, child abuse, and situations of multiple co-morbidities (a fancy way of saying that a patient suffers from several major diseases at once). This reminded me of the current economic collapse as people prognosticated five years ago that the sub-prime lending was going to have a ripple effect throughout the American economy with effects that nobody would possible believe, like the bankruptcy of one or even two of the major auto companies. Well, health care in the U.S. is in the same position. In both cases, sub-prime lending, and employee-based health care, the consequences are (would have been) entirely avoidable, but people and government have to recognize when a business model has become unsustainable and have to have the fortitude to effect radical changes to that model.

Adobe Forms

With grants.gov and many federal agencies, Adobe PDF files rule. After experimenting with some intermediate ideas like PureEdge forms, which require a downloaded application, and which is restricted to the Windows platform, NIH, at least, has settled on a combination of javascript forms and Adobe forms and PDFs for assembling complex grant applications of  30-50 components.  Our state government has not caught up, and I found myself translating some Microsoft Word documents (not even Word forms) into Adobe forms and the process has gone pretty smoothly.  There are all sorts of good things to this evolution to PDFs, and the Adobe Acrobat and Reader programs should be high on the approved tools list for any kind of workflow that requires forms. 

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