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Archive for December, 2009

Playstation 3 controller blinking/not connecting

December 23rd, 2009 1 comment

I finally got around to dusting off my playstation and I found I had a horrible problem with my controllers.  The controllers would blink and not connect.  The controllers would blink for about an hour before turning off.  I tried googling this and could not come up a solution, it seems some people have even exchanged controllers to fix this issue.

Stumped, I decided to plug the controllers into the PS3 via mini-USB and this fixed the problem immediately!  After discovering this everything fell into place.  I often charge my controllers from my computer, since it is much more convenient, and it seems  if you plug the controller into a computer with bluetooth capability (such as a Macbook) that the controller will bond with your computer and forget the PS3.

Solution: plug the controller into the PS3 via mini-USB

Make Firefox/Minefield compatible with any extension

December 20th, 2009 No comments

As one of Firefox’s legions of alpha and beta testers, one of the most frustrating aspects of helping Mozilla develop Firefox is waiting for authors to make their favorite plugins compatible with the new release.  This usually does not occur until there is a final release and sometimes an author stops maintaining a plugin and it never happens.

Most plugins have no compatibility issues with new releases and be simply modified to run on Minefield or one of Mozilla’s future releases.  There are two simple ways to force install extensions
1) Install Nightly Tester Tools, and then go to Tools\Addons\Override compatibility Issues.
2) Find your plugin’s install file install.rdf  This can be easily done on Mac or Windows
– On a OS 10.6, you can use spotlight to find it or look in library/application support/Firefox/Profiles/%profile name%/Extensions
– Open install.rdf with TextEdit and find this line <em:maxVersion>3.1b2</em:maxVersion>
– Change the version to reflect a your release, such as 3.7a1pre for minefield

Warning: Doing this allows you to use the plugin, but robs the developer of taking a first chance to look for problems and fix them.  It is possible to cause a fatal errors and to freeze Firefox by using a plugin with untested compatibility.  I have never had any problems, but it could happen.

Book Review: Michael Crichton – Pirate Latitudes

December 20th, 2009 No comments

Once upon a time before medical school, I was an avid reader, but now I barely manage to keep up with my favorite authors.  When I heard that there was going to be a posthumous Crichton novel I has initially against it, however, I could not resist ordering a copy of Pirate Latitudes.

Pirate Latitudes is a period piece set in Caribbean in 1665.  It has a roughly written, but compelling story of Privateer Charles Hunter.  The novel is a chronicle of Captain Hunter’s plat to lay siege to the impenetrable fortress of Matanceros.  He chronicles a very imaginative plot that numerous twists that make a true page-turner.

However, one of the most notable features of this book, is it lacks the polished that most Crichton novel feature.  One has to believe that either he wrote a period piece for fun and never intended it to be published or that he passed before he could send it to editing.  The beginning of the book is the best written, but demonstrates numerous anecdotes that are written in the incorrect tense and simply do not flow, such as when he explains that while platinum is a value mineral in our society it lacked value in 1665.  The final chapters of the book, read more like a first draft outlining the plot than a finished product, however, it does not take away from the story and simply leaves the reader wanting more.

I enjoyed the novel.  If you want a fast-paced fun novel, I have to recommend this book.  Hardcore Crichton fan, will likely enjoy this book, but will have to accept it is an incomplete work.  If your into hardcore pirate period pieces, perhaps this may not be your book.

The joys of clinic, . . .

December 18th, 2009 No comments

Last night was my first trip to the local Equal Opportunity Clinic, aka student run clinic.  The clinic went well, not too many pain seekers, and I must commend the students; they were second years who triage patients much better than many of the third years I have seen on the wards.  Someone told the attending erroneously that we were done with patients, so almost everyone in clinic went home.

So when I finished up on my last patient, there was only 2 students and myself left in the clinic.  I asked the students to give the patient his scripts and I left.  Naturally, the front door is quite literally chained shut with a novelty sized padlock, there is no security, and the parking lot is not lit.  I head to the side door and walk around to the dark parking lot.  There are only two cars left, my car and a truck that is parked, so that the cab door is next to the only entrance to the ramp to the clinic.  I’m not sure what caught my attention, but I stopped and watched the truck and noticed someone was moving around in the truck.  I got a very bad feeling and jumped over the railing of the walkway and ran towards my car.  At the same time, the door to the truck opened a large/thin man got out, never said a word, and started running towards me.  I got to my car, started the ignition, backed up (almost hitting him), and peeled out.  He continued to run after me for several hundred feet.  I called 911, but it sounded like he was long gone.  I just hope the students made it out safely.

I cannot imagine if I had not taken notice and continued down the ramp.  The path  has a railing on either side and ended next to his cab door.  All he would have had to do is wait until I walked to the end, open the door, pull a gun, and would have been completely trapped.

The thing that really pisses me off is, this is a free clinic.  Sure it is slow, the wait sucks, and we don’t prescribe narcotics, but we give out good care, we give out tons of free medications, we see everyone who comes in our door, and at least we are trying.  Everyone is a volunteer and could easily stop doing the clinic.  I did not see him in clinic, but that does not mean he was not seen by someone else.  I mean what type of piss poor protoplasm camps outside of a free clinic and waits to jump a doctor.  I mean really? Fuck you.

Windows 7: It stinks and I do not like it.

December 18th, 2009 No comments

I have used Windows 7 since it’s beta and subsequently purchased  a copy of the Ultimate edition.  While I mostly use my Mac,  I feel that I have used Windows 7  enough over the past 3 – 4 months to make a well rounded review that is not based upon a knee-jerk reaction that most blogs published after using it for less than 1 hour.

Windows 7 is simply a rewrite of Windows Vista, but induces customer feedback and a huge overhaul of the  user interface (UI).  The UI enchantments are the big selling point this new OS.  After a painless install and booting up, will you notice the striking changes to the desktop and taskbar; it is as if Vista mated with OS X and Ubuntu.  The new taskbar has a very strong linux feel to it, you can have multiple desktops, run in parallel, the program icons expand when a program is running, there is a new preview feature, and there is finally a go to desktop corner.   In fact I would not surprised if they simply stole the code from KDE.  This is not a bad thing: these features are time tested and proven on both Linux  and Mac, so it is about time windows embraced this basic technology.  My big complaint is the new Start Menu.  It is very difficult to navigate, it demonstrates very unintelligent suggestions for the most used applications, and offers almost no ability to customize.  To do something as simple as changing icons/folders in the start menu, you need to open two system folders.  This has been a constant source of frustration for me.  This is also the first build to remove the beloved Windows classic startbar.  A final criticism on the new desktop, is the  Windows widgets are still memory hogs and useless, turn them off ASAP.

The next thing that will be immediately apparent is that the UAC is now reasonable.  Windows did a good job at removing >90% of UAC and making it so the average user can tolerate to use their OS, and yet enough warnings to be effective.  Strong work.

Windows 7 mimics OS X control panel.  Microsoft has tried to slim the control panel down to several icons that offer a few different choices that will suffice to most users.  However in doing this, they have taken away much customization that was possible on XP and Vista.  For me this was the most powerful feature of windows, no matter how bad it was out of the box, you could tweak almost every aspect of the OS with ease.  Now only that they have taken simple tasks like sharing a folder, and made it a multi-step process.  It would seem they are making things much more complicated, rather than simpler for the average user.  For me Windows 7 lost a lot of points for the redesigned control panels.

In Brief:
The good
:  It’s new taskbar/desktop finally implements long awaited changes.  It is a good user experience.  Windows 7 is much faster and much less annoying than Vista.

The bad: The new Start Menu is definitely a  huge failure and I cannot wait for a patch bringing back the classic start menu.  Changing options via the control panel is plain cumbersome and simple tweaks are not possible without manually editing the registry or a system file.  I have also had major problems with internet connectivity on Windows 7.  For LAN connectivity, I had to disable the OS ability to regulate bandwidth as described here.  And to solve the problem with random disconnects on my wireless network, I had to change the settings on my router as described here.  I have never had similar issues before with another other OS.  I believe that there are still too many bugs for your average user to navigate around.

Thinking of upgrading: If you have Windows Vista, this is a mandatory upgrade.  If you have any other OS, I don’t see the need.  I would wait until the price falls or until you start having software compatibility issues.  Almost all software is XP compliant, so there is no motivating factor to change.

My thoughts on PC vs. Mac:  I think Mac has this one all tied up.  Mac is easy to use, great support, it just works, and it runs Windows software flawlessly (with VMware Fusion).  So while Macs do have a hefty price tag you get what you pay for.

Categories: Computers, Rants Tags: , , ,

Food in Atlanta

December 17th, 2009 No comments

As a foodie, I have been planning on starting a restaurant  guide to New Orleans, but I can never find the time to do some.  However, I do have the time to make some quick comments on my recent culinary experiences in Atlanta.

Bluepointe:  is an Asian-fusion business-causal dinning restaurant that is locally owned restaurant group and overseen Chef Doug Turbush.
The Food: There were definitely highs and lows.  The restaurant boasts a combination of American and Asian flavor.  I would say it is American proteins served with  Asian flavor.  For me fusion requires innovation, but simply using Gulf Fish, adding some  foam, or adding a jalapeño to a traditional Asian flavor profile is not culinary fusion…. perhaps some would disagree. 
The highs:
The Tuna Tartar was the highlight of the entire meal.  The flavors of the Thai Chili were simply transcendent, in every bite new flavors were demonstrated, the taste permeated the tuna without overpowering the taste of the tuna, and very importantly there was a fair amount of tuna.  The only drawback to the dish was there was barely a teaspoon of lemon foam and about a dozen eggs of caviar; it does not serve as an affective garnish and would be better with it.  The Beef Short Ribs were braised very nicely and served in a nice miso reduction with just a small hint of jalapeño.  The wait staff should also be acknowledged for being knowledgeable and attentive.
The Lows: Citrus Steamed Sole on the restaurant’s first attempt I received a very nicely arranged plate with 2 large fillets, but one of the fillets was raw (I do not mean undercooked, simply raw).  I sent it back and received a second plate that had two small that were broken and piled on top of overcooked bok choi.  Zero points to the chef for presentation, style, or grace.  The first had an overwhelming (but not unpleasant) citrus taste.  The waiter did tell me before I ordered that they has a powerful taste, but the flavor fish were completely overpowered and was unsatisfying.  I was also disappointing with the Blueplate.  The Blueplate is a tasting appetizer containing: Gyoza, Lemongrass Shrimp, Peektoe Crab Springrolls, and Calamari.  The gyoza was simply fantastic, I only wish my gyoza were on par.  The other three dished were at best bland.  The Lemongrass Shrimp were all slightly overcooked and did not have a memorable flavor, however, they did pair very well with the Thai Chili from the Tuna Tartar.  The Springrolls were standard-fare, and the Calamari was simply bland and was the only item we did not want to finish.
Ambiance:  The resturant is very conveniently located near the mall on a busy intersection, however maintains a quiet and tranquil ambiance.  Bluepointe adeptly utilizes an open dinning room to create a comfortable dining experience.  I am not a fan of the tacky-cliche Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling, they seems better fit in a TGI-Fridays than an upscale resturant.
Cost:  Appetizers averaged $8 and entrees $24 for average sized portions.
Overall: Like many business causal restaurant, if you play it safe and stick with what you already know is good, you will likely get a good meal for a fair price.  However, it is clear this is not a michelin rated restaurant and they need better quality control in the food they send out of the restaurant.  I have no plans on going back anytime soon.

Planet Bombay:  is an Indian Restaurant on Moorland near Freedom Park.  They claim to be an authentic Indian restaurant, but the food reflects Americanized Indian food.  In every city I go to, I sample the Indian cuisine and Atlanta has above average restaurants.
The Food: They offer a very wide array of curries and other Indian fares.  The food is always well prepared and the portions are average.  The restaurant has recently increased the amount of protein served in it’s dished, and now offers a satisfying amount.  It is not fine dinning, but it is delicious when your in the mood for Indian.  I have tried various vindaloos, masalas, curries, and biryanis and can say that they are all good, but far from great.  In general, the appetizers are fair at best and is the aspect of the menu in most need of re-thinking.
Ambiance:  Planet Bombay offers a nice atmosphere than most Indian places, however it’s open dinning room, hardwood floors and tables result in a very noisy experience.
Cost:  Appetizers averaged $8 and entrees $13 for average sized portions.
Overall: Slightly expensive, but overall a pleasant dinning experience.  Since I love Indian food, it is very likely I will be back.

Hell on Earth: The Medical Intensive Care Unit

December 12th, 2009 No comments

I have recently finished up my 6th week in the MICU and I am safely say that it has been among the hardest things I have ever done.  The MICU is a simply soul-sucking place where become come to die. This is  due to the fact that the clientele of a medical intensive care unit are people who can no longer breath on their own or their heart can no longer pump without aggressive intervention.  In the MICU death is omnipresent and simply part of your daily life.

No physician welcomes death; we spent a disproportionate amount of our time trying to stave of death another day, hour,  even minutes.  However, it is recognized that death is part of the profession and often a blessing for the patient and family.   However in the MICU, death is a part of your life,… just like brushing your teeth.   When you go in the morning, the first thing that you see is families crying in a waiting room that is tastelessly furnished with glass walls.  If you are lucky, you do not recognize the people and can assume your patients made it through the night.  You then check the board and see who has died, and follow up by talking with on of the few nurses you trust to find out who your sickest patient is.  The majority of the day is then devoted to trying your best to prolong the life of a patient.

However, when all of your patients are this sick it is usually just a matter of time before they pass.  Often the hardest part if telling families that their loved one has already passed, but we are mechanically keeping them “alive” with ventilators, constant dialysis, and pressors.  They see us doing so much that they cannot understand it is futile and the horrifying reality is that anything that can feel has to be agony.  It is gut wrenching to see a rare moment of lucidly in a patient’s face and the expression of pure pain, sorrow, and longing to die.  And yet I am there only to keep them a live hours longer.  And it is only 7 am and knowing if I am lucky I will leave in only 12 hours.  The worst is when your on call and knowing it will be a minimum of 30 hours before leaving these harrowing wards.

On a long call after everyone else has left, three things inevitably happen. 1) A patient codes/seizes/becomes hypotensive or maybe all three 2) The ED calls you with a patient they have intubated (and therefore cannot talk) for a reason you cannot quiet discern, no one has a history/contact info 3) Some other service calls you wanting to transfer a patient that they have has for 4 months and no longer want to talk care of.  Usually all the above happen at once.  You spend your night talking with families on patients you barely know, making life and decisions on these patients, nursing calling you every 15-20 minutes with a critical lab, admitting new patients, training patients on other services, and after 24 hours you cannot think, physically drained, emotionally drained/liable, the opportunity to sleep has never crossed your mind, and yet you still have 6-10 hours before hoping to go home.

Now rinse and repeat for weeks on end.  Night/day cycles completely erratic, never rested, no time to visit family/go out.  And this is only the pressures of work, what about a home life, the economy, etc?  By the end of the third week you notice that no one has shaved in a week.  What quality of physician do you think is taking care of you?  I have no qualms admitting that I failed to live up to my own expectations.

Excluding the patients that you know will die the moment you lay eyes on them there are three other types
– The first are patients that should have never come to the ICU.  Patients who had to come due to some silly hospital rule about administering a medication, a patient forced into the unit by an important physician wanting good care for a special patient, or a similar circumstance.
– The persistent patient: The person who the ED did that “one extra round of CPR” and brought back someone how has been without a pulse for >30 minutes.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t try, but there is a 90% mortality rate for CPR >10 minutes and horrible long-term morbidity for those very few who leave.  More often then not these patients only have cranial reflex, meaning they can gag/blink, but nothing else.  These patients can live on the ventalotor for years (like Terri Schiavo).  An MRI can confirm that their brain matter was atrophied away and they are not locked-in.  These patients often have been in the same room for 6 months or even a year.  Most of these patients do not have health insurance, so they stay in the MICU and we watch them gradually die over the years.  They persistently occupy a room that should be used to save another,  . . .
-The final type of patients are the few rays of hope.  These are people how by all accounts should have died, but recover.  There are  a few every month.  Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, drug ODs, hypothermia.  Sadly, these saving graces, often mean more to the physicians than the families and the patients themselves.  These very few patients do not make life any easier, but they make the struggle worthwhile.