Monday, September 27, 2010

Sharp Announces 5.5 and 10.8" Android e-reader Tablets to launch their new E-Bookstore

It is good to see that the tablet world is getting more crowded, the side effects of which are that end users are going to be the beneficiaries of more choice. Sharp has announced a few new e-reader "media" tablets based on the Android O/S.

Some features touted in their press release:

1. “Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service” for periodical publications, including newspapers and magazines. Content from the most recent editions can be delivered and read whenever desired.

2. Rich graphic capabilities and an easy-to-use interface that give full consideration to the book culture of Japan.

3. “Evolution” of the terminal devices with periodic software updates.

They are backing this up with their own cloud based E-Bookstore. Their official promo video is here. While this is in Japanese (English starts around 6 minutes in), you get the idea.

The devices will have WiFi and users will be able to surf the web, view documents, play games, and communicate with others via a “social app”. Other then that, they don't go into much detail about use as a multifunctional Android device but I would expect e-reader is not the end game for this tablets.

With more and more tablet devices coming out over the next few months all based on the Android O/S, you have to wonder if we are seeing history repeat itself; the Apple / PC thing all over again.  Apple out first, yet proprietary and over controlling / over protective of the hardware and software with the iPhone / iPad.  Although this time instead of Microsoft (so far), it's Google with Android, open platform and letting each manufacturer innovate in their own way.

While some might suggest Apple is protecting their users with the controlled environment of the app store and others might say that the Android Market is Open, yet the wild wild west; there is a place for both.  Apple has taken the world to a place we had previously struggled to reach in mobile computing.  In fact, one might say they have opened Pandora's box for how these devices will grow through apps and widgets as they evolve.  As we have seen in the short time since Android has been available, the manufacturers and software developers have ideas for where these devices can go next and I for one want to see that innovation available for users to choose their own path for their own devices.  I believe this will result in for the best possible fit to their way of working, playing, reading, listening, etc.  I guess we will see what the market thinks soon enough.

Related (if not opposing thoughts relative to the App Store vs the Market)

Why Apple's "walled garden" is a good idea

Will Android's openness mean we need Antivirus for these devices?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RE Health Care Reform: 13 Tax Changes on the Way - Kiplinger

Thomas M. Loarie posted this link in the Healthcare 2020 Discussion group on LinkedIn.

"As expected, the devil is in the details..."
Health Care Reform: 13 Tax Changes on the Way - Kiplinger KIPLINGER.COM
This is an updated version of a March 23 story, incorporating the final changes signed into law by President Obama on March 30, 2010.

The LinkedIn discussion never developed any legs. I think it needs to so I am re-posting the link and my comments here.

The government has missed on so many points here, this is just the next step in killing off of small businesses. It seems that our elected officials don’t understand that small business drives the economic engine of our country. Let’s talk about a few of the specifics of the new law. For instance, the tax credit for small business with average salaries under 50k, but only for employees making under 25k; no help to small business - who's got average salaries under 50k? After they passed this law, my insurer asks the state to approve a 57-64% increase for next year. Next, why limit the amount for Flexible spending accounts? I guess they don’t have copays for their kids with diabetes or asthma on the federal plan? Why ban the use of HSA or FSA’s from OTC’s; with so many insurer’s not paying for products that have moved to OTC (allergies is an example category), they successfully shifted the burden for the meds to the consumer and now you can’t use pre-tax dollars to pay for them? I have a feeling many companies are going to be forced to choose the $2000 penalty vs paying for coverage for employees because it is it is going to cost far less then providing the benefits. Let’s summarize thus far. The new law pushes insurers into higher rates due to new mandates and small businesses to choose penalty over benefits (perhaps larger businesses will chose this route as well). This shifts the burdens to the employee/consumer who then is forced to buy insurance whether they need/want it or not. Finally, the hike in the 7.5% floor on itemized deductions to 10%, I assume means that you can’t take the deduction unless it exceeds this amount of your income. If you are employed with company provided benefits, didn’t you get a benefit from penny one? Didn’t the employer also have a lower rate because of buying group insurance? How does it make any sense not to allow all of the health care related costs now solely the responsibility of the employee/consumer to be deducted? If I am an individual purchasing insurance, I should not only be allowed the tax break for the whole thing, it should have nothing to do with my income and be indexed for the cost of living where I reside and work. Not only does it cost more for insurance in some areas than others, but it costs more to live as well. My fear is it will only get worse. Anyone else even a little bit concerned?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Samsung's Galaxy Tab - A Better iPad then iPad?

Check this out - 7" display, front facing camera for video chat, running android. it has flash too! this means it really delivers the whole web. you can also use up to a 32gb sdcard (which can be changed) and will be available on Verizon and the others. I wonder, since my iPad is not much more then an better iPod than my iPod, will this be a better iPad then the iPad? :-)
Samsung's Galaxy Tab commercial puts iPad fans on notice – Apple / Mac Software Updates, News, Apps.
Sep. 21, 2010 (from - The latest Galaxy Tab commercial has done a remarkably compelling job highlighting the gizmo's key capabilities. Advertising a number of neat features


Monday, September 20, 2010

My thoughts on Waiting for the app-ocalypse: Will toughening FDA regulations disconnect the medical smartphone app industry?

I recently read Waiting for the app-ocalypse: Will toughening FDA regulations disconnect the medical smartphone app industry? [July 22, 2010 by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed] and found it an informative read.  I'd like to add a few of my own thoughts.

The way this space is evolving is very interesting to me.  Whether you are in the industry or not, it should be to you as well.  Mobile engagement is the future.  Regarding the use of mobile devices in healthcare, while I can understand the FDA’s concern about medical devices and being sure that they follow the correct path to approval, I have to be concerned about the effects to both the industry and the patient (aka consumer) about the potential for overreaching by the FDA regarding what is or is not under their purview.  These comments do not even take into account the potential for the FCC to be involved as well since we are talking about mobile (ie wireless) devices.  Apple may play a role too, but that conversation is for another blog entry.

The future of successful medicine will rely on patients and caregivers being more engaged in their own therapy.  That is not rhetorical, it is fact.  For this to happen, the future is going to rely on mobile computing.
For this to work, from an informational standpoint (messaging, data capture, tracking, reporting), there will be little to no compliance if a patient has to carry around a bag of devices.  Many of these ‘tools’ are going to have to be in the form of software (web or application based) accessible from as few devices as necessary to tote around.   Think about today’s diabetic teenager carrying around a glucose meter, a pump and their cell phone.  Some companies have taken the step to integrate (or facilitate communication between) the meter and the pump and in fact, connect them as one and consolidate reporting from the device(s); a great step forward.  But here is the key compliance question:  When a device on his or her body buzzes or chimes, what do you think he reaches for first? That’s right, the cell phone.  What’s the logical next step to successful engagement with this patient?  Three devices with disparate function and reporting turned into two devices with consolidated function and reporting becoming one device with near time reporting employing the Smartphone for communication and analysis acting as one.
As you can see from my example, Smartphones should offer a solution for better management of healthcare costs for chronic conditions.  The way to manage the costs of caring for these patients is to enable them to self-manage their health. For that to happen, it must be reasonable and easy and fit the right tool (aka device used) to the patient.  By example
  • Smartphones make it easy for patients to track important health information
  • Smartphones make the technology convenient
  • They are mobile; patients can use them at any time or any place.
  • If apps are written to support it, they can alert and/or capture data even if no network infrastructure is in place.
  • When connectivity is restored, Smartphones make it seamless for patients to share health information with their providers, caregivers and others within their care network.
  • Finally, Smartphones used by the individual are selected by the individual.  That is the first step of engagement – a self-selected fit to their personality if you will.
Also, because there are so many mobile phones, Smartphones, etc. out there, it makes sense to extend into this diverse installed base for the benefit of the patient.  Forcing patients to change their provider or equipment is not cost effective or realistic, a fact that has already shown itself in the corporate environment where personal use of Smartphones has driven Enterprise to find ways to accommodate their employee’s facility for increased productivity for the same reasons it will in the case of patient care.  While adapting the technology is feasible for patients, providers, labs and hospitals – the potential costs to develop and go for approval on all of the platforms for the many potential uses of the empowered patient may have the downside of limiting the community of possible developers to the biggest companies with the biggest budgets.  These choices we make regarding regulation and process may, in effect, sideline the creative ideas of startups and small companies.  How realistic is it to test every version of each device in use with every potential device?  I think we have figured at least some of this out with diabetes as an example, each meter is not tested with every computer running every operating system; just the platforms themselves to be sure connectivity worked.  We need to consider this as we decide where the FDA and FCC belong when considering the evolution of mobile and its use in the space.
I think who the user is is another issue we have to consider as well and will go into this further in a later blog.

A few related links:

Smartphone apps make healthcare splash

The Future of Connected Health, Chapter 1

Health industry wants 'clarity' on m-health regulation (recently tweeted)

And a final note:

As I was reading various articles in preparing my thoughts on this, I came across something that tells me that mobile in healthcare is on the right track.  It’s from Stanford’s Dr. BJ Fogg: To change behaviors we need to “Put hot triggers in the path of motivated people.”


Sunday, September 19, 2010

For want of Control, Apple Keeps Innovation Out Of App Store

Apple's desire for over-control of the platform blocks innovative apps that can otherwise only be picked up and installed on Jailbroken phones through the alternate stores like Cydia and Rock (recently announced merged). The latest example; FolderEnhancer (app on it's way) will add new features to iPhone folders  -  Be sure to watch the video.  As with many other apps that have improved the user experience for those of us with Jailbroken phones, there is no logic to keeping apps like these out of the App Store for everyone to take advantage of. 


Thursday, September 16, 2010

interesting iPad usage stats, consistent with my own experience

There are some interesting stats in the attached article on iPad use - not very promising as the future of mobile computing.  My own experience is consistent with use as a media device and for reading the paper and magazines.

I watch movies and TV shows when I am on a train or plane, on the treadmill, working out, etc.  This is probably my number one use for the device.  The iPad is clearly a better iPod than the iPod.

I also use if for some web browsing but this is difficult since sites with flash are a problem.  Apple's claim that they provide access to the whole internet is not remotely true.  Too many sites use flash, not just for video, but for menus, etc.  It is far too frustrating an experience to get hung up by this missing functionality.

I use the WSJ app a few times a week, when it is not as easy to read the actual paper.  I love the quality of this app.  I also love that they integrated the iPad app with the website so that articles saved on either go into the shared folders you have in your online account.

Magazines are also very readable on this device, more so then on the Kindle.  This is because you can scale the pdf's on the iPad and can not on the Kindle, color is also a key differentiator here.  The problem here is that unlike the functionality of cycling TV shows to and from the device as you finish them, many of the readers do not have this functionality so this is less then a smooth experience to manage.  Of the various apps for magazine, I like Good Reader the most.

I find book reading to be cumbersome on the iPad, reading on the Kindle is a far better experience.  The iPad weighs twice as much and the glare of the screen bothers my eyes over time.  Since I tend to sit down and read for a few hours at a time, this is a real issue.  It is also unreadable in the sun which is not an issue for the Kindle.

Here is the article with the stats:

Here is a link to the Amazon Kindle Ad:


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good place to start would be an intro to Android

I figured a good start would be some background for people that know little or nothing about the Android phones at this point.  There seem to be lots of guy oriented commercials (with a techno angle) from either the manufacturer of a particular model or the carrier but not a lot of specifics other than there is a world of apps ie: the rotating globe of the market place.

Yahoo News' Gadget Hound did a pretty good job on the Android basics at the link below. So instead of reinventing, I will provide a link to their fine work on the basics.  My goal was to highlight usability and differences based on what I encounter in my use of the Apple 3GS and 4 (on the iPhone side) and htc Incredible (on the Android side).  Perhaps I'll even touch on a few iPad items as well.  That said, when there are other resources or tidbits I catch in my daily reading and browsing I'll post links as well.

Bullets 4 and 5 do a pretty good job on the Why or Why Not for an Android phone vs iPhone and I will go into more specifics on this over my next couple of posts.

Yahoo News - The Gadget Hound For Android newbies: 10 questions, answered

In an age of buy buy buy, is there a future in reuse, recycle for that which is otherwise lost?

In last Sunday's NY Times Magazine (didn't get to this week's yet), the back page article brought back some memories for me, both good and sad. The good were in line with the dispose, find it, take it and reuse it thoughts of the author. What our parents "recycled' from someone else when we were kids, be it from curbside, an old style flea market, the dump - one person's garbage or even just what didn't work for them anymore, could fill a need for another and/or even become a treasure (perhaps with a little work). When we were teenagers and young adults going out on our own, every possible "gift" was well appreciated whether it fit in with the decor or not and many items, especially in the furniture category made it's rounds, many times even among friends. There was a nostalgic feeling each time you visited a friend and sat on your old couch to watch tv way past the time it was useful or the center piece of perhaps your own apartment or house, living room, tv room, etc. I still miss a particular recliner and especially one glide rocking chair that were my favorites, perhaps currently somewhere at my sister's house or beyond.

A Discarded Chair Finds Its Way Home Again

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Intro - iPhone 4 v htc Incredible

Ok, so it has been about a month since I upgraded my 3GS to an iPhone 4 and a little less than that for my entrée into the Android world with the htc Incredible. This blog is not intended to bash one platform or the another or even one phone or the other or for me to actually pick a winner. As a company executive with experience in small, US public and global public companies with a software developer background,, my goal is more to note and perhaps explore the differences from a slightly different angle than just a cell phone or smart phone user without similar experience would otherwise. My hope is that this will inform others and create and engaging dialog that will either lead to improvements or further evolution of the platforms whether from the platform developers themselves or independent developers looking to make a living, perhaps one app, a million users at a time. With the opening up of the cell phone as a development platform it is an exciting time for both cell phone users and developers alike. This is a new frontier for innovation with only the smallest possible capabilities yet explored. It is an exciting time in mobile computing with so much at stake for all the players as they fight it out for market share and platform presence. Blackberry, Microsoft, Apple iOS, Google Android, Perhaps even Snac will help us to utilize and evolve threes tools in ways previously never envisioned and even today not entirely foreseen. Let's see where this takes us.


Monday, August 2, 2010

I already know what I know, so I am not interested in what you think and have to say ...

Tom Siegfried had a great comment in the July 31st Science News (in the magazine, but the site for them is (www, I love this magazine and have been a reader for a long time. I love that it's today topical and cover's what's out there as well as doing their own stories. It comes in a short format magazine, but in depth reporting and stories with links to background and more info on their site should you want to explore more on the various topics they report and write about. Anyway, in his editorial he said that "science is not the sum of past research as recorded in textbooks, but the active process of continuing to question nature even if those books say the answers are already in." He was by example talking about recent research finding that the proton may be not as big as has been thought in well-established scientific theories. and it's potential effects on what we currently believe. This was a timely read for me because this exact topic came up while visiting a friend of mine in the hospital last week. We were talking about scientist's lack of interest in ideas that buck the norm (or as Tom put it, what's "in the textbooks"). Bruce recently asked whether we were living in a computer simulation in his book "Reality is Virtual". His goal was to get the discussion going on the science behind his explorations into this idea. It is not like there isn't anyone asking, thinking about or discussing this topic since a search on Google will return numerous sites and dialog on this (although interestingly, not Bruce's). But at a quick glance, nothing mainstream science. It seems to me that we need to keep our minds open and challenge what is 'known' because it may not be what we think. There are other examples of this Bruce and I discussed, in 1915 when Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of Continental Drift (plate tectonics 'proved' in the 1960's), and more recently (1982 but recognized in 2005 with a Noble Price) Dr. Barry Marshall's discovery that ulcers can be caused by H. pylori. and the painful way he went about to to prove it when no one would listen.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the internet never forgets - thought provoking reading ...

The more I read The New York Times Magazine, the more I like it. Perhaps it was because I slowed down a bit while suffering through injury the last few weeks, perhaps it was the med's, who knows; but Jeffrey Rosen's "The End Of Forgetting" article seems so relevant for all of us. Though many of us have discussed some off these topics regarding our kid's posting without thinking about the bigger picture which they don't of course yet fully understand, we too must be aware. NYT keep up the good work.

kept telling myself i'd get my new blog setup

i kept telling myself i'd blog when i have my new blog up, as part of my site. just have not been able to get it done and can't keep saving stuff to post later.