I Know Where Matt is!

Or at least where he has been.

In 2005 Matt Harding created a video of all the places that he had visited that year, with a twist. He was doing this weird dance (no not a good one and I am sure that is half the appeal). The video was a viral hit, it should be – it is fun and had that viral quality that marketers would die for. In addition he got sponsored to do it all again! So in 2006 he created another video. They became known as the “Where the Hell is Matt?” series and a website was born with all sorts of stuff like his journal and map tracking.

Now in 2008 Matt is Back with “Where the Hell is Matt 2008”. This time round you can see the video in HD glory at viemo, which is very nice. Starting to appreciate the HD with video, but you need a pretty good connection to get the best from it. I am only too happy to contribute to Matt’s viral success, I think the videos are great and have that feel good effect. Which is perfect given the crap week I have had.

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Great Talk from Lorelle VanFossen

I have had reason to get right up to speed on WordPress of late. I took the opportunity to have a really good look around Weblog Tools Collection. Which is a great source of news and resources for those running their own WordPress install. But in the process I found a real gem.

I have been blogging on WordPress since April 2006. I started blogging and managing my content from scratch. I had little knowledge and had to teach myself most things. WordPress.com is a great place to do that as it is a controlled environment, the tweaking is limited. But I felt that it gave me enough to do what I wanted to do.

One of the disadvantages of this is that some of the cool stuff that you can do with JavaScript for example; you can’t do here. We have to wait for these features to be added over time. Other stuff you have to hack up and make it work. Such as the Skype button here on this blog. You end up being able to make a text box do just about anything.

But it would have been nice to have got some tips and tricks earlier. Which brings me to the gem that I found. If you have not heard of Lorelle and her blog Lorelle on WordPress, make it your business to. Prominent blogger and lover of all things WordPress. Plus she has her head screwed on. I have been reading her blog for ages. Lorelle attended and presented at WordCamp Dallas 2008. She offered to talk on

“whatever was left…”

It ended up being WordPress tips. I don’t care if you are new to WordPress or an old timer, there is something in her presentation for everyone. It is packed full of tips and tricks to get the best out of WordPress.com, or as she calls it “power blogging”. If you want some great ideas on handling your comments and back end generally you will find it here.

Thankfully someone thought to capture the talk on video and share it with the rest of us. Thanks Lorelle foLorelle on WordPressr all your tweaking of the untweakable and sharing it with the rest of us. It also reminded me that WordPress.com is an awesome platform. For the most part I am pleased that it looks after itself as it means I can just use it.

So here is the presentation, enjoy it and be sure to visit Lorelle’s blog and leave a comment. I know she makes every effort to respond and be active in her community.

Just as a side note when I checked out Lorelle’s blog while writing this post I noticed that she is going to be appearing on Jeff’s WordPress Weekly Podcast. Ironically Jeff is a listener of The Global Geek Podcast and an avid supporter of the show and friend of mine. The cool thing about Jeff’s show is that you too can be on it and talk to Lorelle yourself! So off with you and check out both those guys and make sure you say hello to Jeff for me. Check out The WordPress Weekly details while your at it.

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Existing Technology Could Make a Difference, Why Re-Invent the Wheel?

The following article is my personal opinion and does not reflect those of any health care system in Australia. I am not speaking for or on behalf of any facility or department or person. These are my own views and opinions as a member of the public, in relation to new technology and embracing those technologies for the benefit of patients.

Digital Pen Camera

I really hope that some politician somewhere is paying attention right now. Today I read an article about a new USB camera. It is called the Digital Pen Camera. This camera is special, what makes it special is that it is a small, very small. This means that the applications for medicine are exciting.

Measuring 14cm in length and 12.2 cm in diameter, so it is shaped like a pen. With this size comes the fact that it is also capable of really clear close ups up to 9mm from the subject. I could go into the rest of what makes this all possible but that would just be reiterating Dan’s Data’s excellent review, which you should read if you are interested.

While the technical specifications of this tiny camera are interesting even amazing, what is more interesting to me is what sort of things are possible with it, especially in regards to medicine. Here is an example of what this camera is capable of:

(This video has no sound)

Not sure if Dan knew what he was looking at inside his own ear, but that is a video of his ear drum. In fact it is a pretty good quality image that, in my opinion; any doctor and most defiantly a specialist could view that video to make a diagnosis or treatment decisions based on it. Or at the very least have an idea as to what is going on. That is vitally important. It is also worth taking a look at some of the other images that Dan has captured to emphasize the point of what I am about to say.

In Australia we have isolated communities that are a long way from specialist medical care. Lots of families live on large properties in the middle of no-where. Say a child has an ear-ache. The family might make the trip into town to see the doctor, this might be an hour or two (maybe more). They tell the doctor about the ear ache and he or she takes a look but they are undecided as to what is the best treatment so a referral to a specialist in a major center is made. Now the health care system is paying for that family to fly to the closest ear nose and throat specialist, accommodation and the flight back. The specialist takes a look and decides on a treatment and maybe a return visit. Or maybe the trip was unnecessary all together and the treatment could have been prescribed and managed by the local doctor.

Now that very scenario utilizing new technology and services that the Internet provides is a totally different one. The family may still have to visit the doctor. But once there the doctor is not sure of the best treatment. The doctor then starts Skype and plugs in the Digital Pen Camera. Starts a call to the specialist at the major center, tells he or she what the symptom are or the family can talk to the specialist directly. The specialist obviously needs to take a look in the child’s ear, so the Digital Pen Camera is employed and using Skype’s webcam features gets a great look in the ear. No trip to the big smoke necessary, or the trip is not a wasted one when it is decided that they need to go to get the best treatment, possibly a procedure.

Alternatively, if the specialist is not available at the time then the video could be recorded and sent via email or placed on a server via ftp and viewed when convenient. There are a number of possibilities for sharing this information and getting the best treatment to the most remote places.

This set up requires no building of technology, no massive investment in infrastructure. Yet the health care system is hell bent on building hardware or buying it at great expense setting it up and maintaining it and then not even using it in the way that they should be. Medicine needs to start adopting what us geeks have been doing for years and incorporating it into their practice. In doing so the struggling health care system would be saving thousands and thousands of dollars. There are many other costs built into the above situation other than what I have mentioned, I just wanted to keep it simple, but they could all be mitigated or reduced by using existing technology for the benefit of patients. In addition the families that are totally inconvenienced by the whole system get faster better treatment without being temporarily relocated.

I am sure that the government is probably saying things like it is not secure and it is not done that way, I have heard all the rhetoric before. But Skype is encrypted and we need to rethink some things! Seriously, wake up to yourselves.

Skype Application = free

Skype to Skype call cost = free (bandwidth excluded – they are paying for that anyway)

Digital Pen Camera = $90 (AU and excluding GST)

Most of the medical equipment that I have seen that can produce the above video quality are worth 10’s of thousands and some 100’s where such magnification is required. The 99 dollars that this little camera is capable of costs nothing in comparison, especially considering that it could benefit more than just one patient. Therefore, based on that calculation the thousands of dollars that it would have cost for little Johnny to see the specialist would be ZERO. It does not take a genius to see what we could be doing for a very small cost.

I admit there are some things that need to be looked at in order to really apply this to patients. One thing that comes to mind is the attachments and having enough available for each patient or the training that might be required. But I don’t think these are major hurdles at all.

Te application for this small camera are numerous, wide and varied, not only in health. But I am convinced that the application of the hardware to health at such a small relative cost is exciting. This technology could benefit any number of patients in many different situations. If you are a health professional then you will know what I mean by that. The benefit to patients would be measurable and the benefit to the system and the limited resources also of great significance.

I really don’t know why this is not being done right now. I am at a loss as to how I can influence the decision makers in order to change the way that we do things, or even just to evaluate what we do. I want to make things better for patients and the system. Maybe then I can make a real difference.

The Digital Pen Camera is available to anyone that wants one (even the government):

They are available in Australia for $99 including GST from Aus PC Market.

I am sure that they would consider a bulk discount, anyone for a trial using this very cool piece of kit?

Making Sense of the Noise

The Internet and everything can be a lot of white noise to some. Understanding it can be a problem for people that don’t understand the technology. Yet it is this technology that is shaping our future and that of our children.

This would have to be the best video that I have ever seen. It embodies nearly every aspect of where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Sure it has been floating around for a while now but I think it is great, inspiring and very well done. I have seen it about 10 times now, but you need to watch it more than once; the pace is quick.

I am not saying that it explains everything or that it has any answers for you. Yet it might send you on a path of discovery or just help to put things into perspective. The concepts that this video encompasses is the basis of RSS, Web 2.0, content, delivery, community and heaps more. The implications of the principles that this video depicts are wide and far reaching. While I think I understand what is happening around me I still learned a few things by watching it.

It is time to rethink a few things…

Consumers are in Charge, Got It?

Pete Cashmore said this today in relation to the fact that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences pulled all the clips of the Oscars from YouTube:

“Here’s the problem for you, content providers: you’re no longer in charge. The consumer is. And they’ll watch your content where and when they want, or they won’t bother watching it at all.”

YouTube Viewers Would NOT Like to Thank the Academy

Totally 100% agree, now how long do think till they actually get what that means? Right now I am not seeing that they do or are even close to even knowing how it can affect them. Nice one Pete.

Nine News Video Podcast

I am enjoying iTunes and I have subscribed to a fair few podcasts and got all my feeds organised. Since I have had the iPod I have been utilizing the video capability a lot more and I have been liking it. I have small children and when the news is on we are sorting the kids out and I miss it all the time. So the answer is that Channel Nine actually both podcast audio and video the news week days. I am subscribed!

The news is an abridged version of the headlines which is all that I want. The video version in my opinion is better because the audio version is based on the video so you get the audio version only with that one, not so good. I had been subscribed to the video podcast about a week ago and it suddenly stopped. No explanation given. It turned up again today. So we have a professional television network doing a video podcast which if you want the content is great, but I have one major criticism.

You would think that the basics are all covered with this video podcast. Professional video equipment, yeah the video is excellent. Professional studio, yeah the audio is great. It is a shame given the professional set up they have they can not synchronize both the audio and the video! About five to eight minutes into it the audio goes all out of sync with the video. Most indie videos casts seem to be able to accomplish this yet a professional one fails.

If they want to be competitive in this space they had better get with the program. I’ll put up with it because I am after the content. However, as this space becomes more competitive and Channel 7 start offering similar type services for example then I will consider the alternative.

So indie podcasters kick arse and the pros are crap at the moment. I am not sure if we should congratulate the indie’s or really rubbish the pros because this is what I would call a basic requirement. The basic requirement is that they should take notice of what the 15 year old kid can accomplish using their home PC and less than $1000 bucks!

Subscribe to the Channel Nine News:

In iTunes

Video Version

Audio Version Only

Streaming from NineMSN: Note you will need to use IE Tab If you are using Firefox to view this streaming content.

iTunes Screenshot

The Best iPod Case

Some of you might know that I recently purchased an iPod. I look after my gear, period. I believe in cases for everything. It should look as good today as it did 12 months ago, or close to it. It can be done if you get the right accessories! One thing that there is a lot of for the iPod – accessories… and how. But I found by far the best case you could ever want for your iPod.

When I took possession of my iPod I got a fairly inexpensive silicon sleeve for it. Just until I found what I wanted, because the one you get with it is crap. There was nothing in the shops at the time being straight after Christmas. The silicon sleeve was and is okay. But there are a few things against it.

  • Have to remove the cover to dock the iPod
  • Absolutely minimal to zero impact protection
  • Zero screen protection

A permanent solution was required. It had to be functional and yet provide great protection. I plan on lugging it to work each day and I do have children, anyone that has kids knows where I am coming from.
I was in the Apple store today looking a few options for cases and a dock. I saw one case that looked good but the price caused me to think twice, $45.00 AU is a lot to pay for a case. So I went away and thought about it. I went back later in the day and I am very pleased I did. The iSnug case is the holy grail of iPod cases by a long way, for me anyway.

iPod Video Case by iSnugThis is a complete package and the cost is well worth it even cheap. I purchased the “iPod Video Case” which includes:

  • “Bullet-Proof” Shield
  • All leather iPod Case
  • Travel Case
  • Lanyard
  • Micro-Fibre Cleaning cloth

All of these items work together to provide total coverage for your iPod. The whole front of the iPod is covered with the bullet-proof shield. Clear and dead easy to apply, use the cleaning cloth to smooth out the application, worked a treat. Second the leather case can be used on it’s own. It has a belt loop and an anchor point for the lanyard. The only thing exposed is the wheel and the screen. But remember the shield has that covered as well. Now the absolute knock-out. The travel case has a recessed space for the iPod, leather case and all. Plus a cut out for your headphone lead. On the flipped lid there is a compartment for accessories, bonus.

So basically, it is a case in a case with a cover. You can use them separately or combined for travel or throwing in your bag for work. Knowing that the whole lot is protected. Base what you use on where you are and what you are doing. Very, very cool. Also great is the fact that the bullet-proof cover does not impede placing the iPod in a  Universal Dock.

On the negative side I can only think of two. One is the fact that being leather it is a bit more bulky than otherwise. But hey it is leather! The second is the fact that the cut out for the phones does not suit right-angled plugs. I bought a nice pair of after market phones for my previous mp3 player that cut out most ambient noise. But some handy work with a razor blade should fix that problem and it is not that bad in the first place so I might not bother. A third might be that it is black, for the white lovers out there. But my iPod is black and so are my headphones, so suits me.

I would highly recommend iSnug cases for your iPod. These same cases are available for the Nano series and your accessories, plus lots of other great products from the Handstands Company. That is if you are as fussy as I am about keeping your stuff in good nick. the $45 bucks (AU) was a steal. One last point, I am pretty sure that the “bullet-proof” cover won’t stop a bullet…

Handstands iPod Accessories Screenshot

This is a glowing review, that is because this product is the best I have seen and I am very impressed. I have not been payed or recieved goods to write this review.