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Smart Phones: Pros and Cons

The development of technology for the last few decades is truly impressive. In particular, cell phones, which were first introduced in the 1980s and has made a spectacular jump from simple devices intended for just talking to multi-purpose gadgets. Nowadays, smart phones can be used by their owners as computers to surf the web, video and photo cameras, music players, calendars, gaming systems, GPS navigators, and much more. Of course, all these additions while very convenient may come with a price.

 Pros of smart phones:

1.The convenience of staying connected. Basically, smart phones operate as mini-computers which allow you to stay connected to Internet to learn the latest news, write and receive e-mails, stay updated on your social media networks, check with your colleagues, friends, and family members, text, etc. You do not depend on staying close to your computer to perform the tasks previously limited to computers. Check your bank account, pay the bills, buy the dress are football you’ve been wanting for a long time, look up any information you need at this exact moment – smart phones enable you to do all that practically instantaneously!

2.Never miss a Kodak moment! Current smart phones are outfitted with high-quality video and photo cameras that enable you to keep precious life moments forever! Pictures taken by latest generation smart phones are practically as good as photos taken by traditional cameras, and video quality is very good as well.

3.Super convenient size. Given their pocketsize proportions, smart phones are easy to keep close by. You do not need to lag around your cameras, computers, road maps, directories, etc. to get access to all the services they provide.

4.Never miss an important date. With calendar functions, you do not have an excuse to miss any important appointment, family or work related. Your phone will keep you abreast of all important dates at all times. Moreover, with smart phones’ GPS capacities you are not going to get lost ever again.

5.Entertainment value. If you are stuck somewhere with nothing to do, you can easily turn to your phone to listen to some music or radio, watch some videos, play a game or read whatever interests you. It also comes in handy if you have antsy children with you and want to keep them quiet!

 Cons of smart phones:

1.Constant distraction. The ease of staying connected via your smart phone can also become a source of major distraction at most inappropriate times. Constant e-mail and text notifications, social media updates and such divert your attention at work, during family times, and most dangerously, during you’re driving. In fact, many states have enforced the laws, which prohibit the use of phones on the road. Still, we all see people talking, texting, and doing all kind of things on their phones while at the wheel every day. Also, the art of simple face-to-face communication is getting gradually eroded in our technology-driven society. One constantly sees people in restaurants or similar social places using their phones instead of having conversations with their friends.

2.Inability to leave your work at work. While smart phones enable you to be in constant touch with your colleagues and stay updated on the latest developments at your workplace, it can also stress you out. It has been scientifically proved that one needs some downtime in order to be a better worker. However, a lot of workaholics cannot accomplish that and suffer from unnecessary work-related stress.

 

3.Relative fragility of smart phones. Compared to earlier and sturdier cell phones, latest smart phones appear to be much more fragile. If you accidently drop it, it may break more easily. Factoring the high price of them, it can become a big and expensive problem.

4.Battery life. Smart phones are outfitted with many apps which “eat up” battery life much quicker. As such, in order to enjoy all the perks of the smart phone, you need to spend additional money on buying extra chargers for your car or extra batteries.
Whether you are a die-hard devotee of smart phones or a person who does not particularly care about getting one, there is no escaping the fact that modern technology continues to amaze all of us with it.

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Google+ Circles Review

Google+ Circles allow you to place other Google+ users and non-users (an invite  is sent whenever you share something with them) into separate networking “circles”. This allows you to avoid embarrassing situations such as your parents hearing about what you have been getting up to in the evening, or your boss hearing what you really think of the company that you work for. Here is how it works.

You start with 3 main circles; Friends, Family and Acquaintances. There are also Following and Blocked, which allows you to Follow people without them becoming your friend and also allows you to Block annoying people.

So, whereas with Facebook everyone will see your latest status update or photo, in Google+ you can upload a photo and then select the Friends circle to share with. Everyone else will be unaware of your new photo.

You can of course break this down further, for example you may want one group just for University friends and another for your friends in the football club. Likewise, you could use acquaintances for everyone in your work and business life, or use it exclusively for people you have met online but do not know very well. For example, I had added many people to Acquaintances who I have chatted to on forums and known through blogs etc.

So if I post something specifically about me or my family, I can share with just friends and family. If I post an article about a great new service I have found, such as MyBlogGuest.com, I can share it with Acquaintances only as many of my friends are not interesting in the business of the Internet. You can select people to individually share items with too, which makes it like a private messaging system. This is really what Circles is about.

Some other main features are importing  Picasaweb photos into Google+. Any Picasaweb photos that you upload or comment on from now will appear on your Google+ homepage and be visible in accordance with the rules set in your Picasaweb settings. This is the first of the negative points though. If you chose to follow someone who is very popular then you may find that their photos infest your homepage as each time a new comment is added the photo will jump to the top of the page again. This is where the Mute button comes in very useful – you can chose to stop seeing updates on a post / photo / video etc.

Sparks so far seems to be lacking in any substance. The sites that come up in Sparks are generally not very well chosen. I have nothing else to say about Sparks at the moment other than it is a disappointment.

The other main feature is the Hangout. Here you can chose to arrange a Hangout with up to 10 people and chat in live with video or just audio, and generally use it to hook up. This is another feature which Facebook is severely lacking in and could be something to draw in the younger crowd.

Some Tips for Google+

When you first sign up by default you will receive email notifications for everything that you are involved in. You may want turn off these emails as your inbox will quickly get flooded. I chose to only receive notifications for when someone shared something with me for the first time. This seems to work well.

At the moment it is very clear that the Googlers are still doing a lot of testing, which is why not many people have been invited so far. Down the bottom right there is a “send feedback” button which will allow you to send a screenshot of any problems you are seeing.

The main difference between Google+ and Facebook at the moment, other than the lack of people, is that there are no diversions. No games, no extra add ons. It is refreshing in a way, but Facebook’s strength is that people login in the evening and stay glued to it all night as even when their friends are busy there are games to play or groups and pages to discuss things in. Google+ is a little quiet at the moment, and no groups either – apart from your own.

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Future Advancements in Modern Technology

A. Jain –

The healthcare and medicine sector is one of the important sectors known to man. Hence it is not surprising that a lot of research work is being done in these areas to further push the boundaries of human health and disease free existence. In the last 50 years alone, the life expectancy has been increased by at least 10 years on a global level. In the developed countries, like the USA, the scientists are on a roll and many unprecedented breakthroughs are expected in the field of medicine in the near future, few of which will be discussed in this article.

Nowadays, the smart phones existing in the market are sophisticated to even take care of our medical needs. Many applications are being developed that measure our heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and other body vitals at regular intervals and store it for future use. And all this is possible through your mobile phone itself. In case of any aberration, immediately an alert would be sounded to your physician who will then take over and advise you accordingly. There might even be some add on devices which could be used to measure our ECG readings right from the comfort of our homes and transmit them to our physician via internet.

Regenerative medicine is moving from strengths to strengths. It is basically the process living and functional tissues which can be used to repair or replace a non-functioning tissue or organs. Scientists are trying to regenerate damaged tissues and organs by the use of this technology by stimulating healing. In addition, there is also some work being done to generate tissues and organs in the laboratory itself and then implant them in the body of the patient. If successful, this technology has the potential to solve many issues such as the shortage of organ donors.

Scientists are predicting that artificial wombs are going to be in vogue after a couple of decades. These are nothing but some means to grow a human embryo outside the female body. The research is still not in advanced stages but already some scientists at Cornell University have been able to grow mice embryos in artificial, man-made wombs. When in operation, it could be a blessing for parents who previously could not bear children. On top of that, it can also save mothers from the stress and anxiety involved in childbirth. But it will also bring a set of ethical and moral questions, which will require some thought. The controversies would include the implications of such a technology as well as any side effects, which might appear in the form of a stunted growth in the child. These issues will need to be resolved before going out in the open with this thing.

Apart from these, there are many other scientific marvels, which are waiting on the horizon. Pharmacogenomics is studying the effects of a drug on an individual’s body due to his genetic inheritance. One day, this can result in drugs being tailor made for every individual. Then there are pills or capsules being developed which will disintegrate in the body at the exact place where they are supposed to, based on the acidity of the internal organs. They will also be armed with sensors and processors, which will capture the body vitals and send the reports over to your computer. So a disease free human existence might actually be a real possibility if the scientists and researchers continue their good work.

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Your Family History through DNA Testing

Taking a Look at the Genographic Project

Author: Pam Sheppard

According to American Demographics, 113 million Americans have begun to trace their family roots. In fact, tracing one’s genealogy is second to gardening when it comes to American’s best loved hobbies. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, the average person can now use DNA testing to trace his or her own family history. No longer are genealogist enthusiasts limited to church records, newspaper clippings, and government censuses.

Interest in human DNA has skyrocketed since scientists completed the map of the full human genome in 2003. According to a February 6, 2006, Newsweek article, tens of thousands of Americans have swabbed their cheeks and mailed in their DNA to companies nationwide for testing. The Genographic Project, sponsored by National Geographic and IBM, is one of many organizations that allow individuals to explore their own ancestral genetic journey using DNA testing. But this group isn’t your run-of-the-mill DNA testing services. Over the course of five years, this $40 million project seeks to find new knowledge about the history of human migration by collecting 100,000 samples from people around the world.

Your personal DNA analysis will show you how the mutations in your genes identify you as a member of a specific haplogroup or clan. You can even choose to anonymously contribute your genetic results to the Genographic Project’s database. Last July, the staff at a popular secular magazine, Vanity Fair, published each staff member’s haplogroup in the masthead of their special Africa issue after participating in the project.

How DNA Testing Works

While 99.9% of our genome is identical, it’s the variations found in the 0.1 percent that distinguish us from each other. Geneticists study the two parts of the genome that remain relatively unchanged as they are passed down: the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed from mother to children (but is only passed on through daughters), and Y-chromosome DNA, which is passed down from father to sons.

Occasionally, mutations (spelling mistakes in the language of DNA) occur in the mtDNA or the Y-chromosome as the DNA is copied and passed from one generation to the next. Beginning with an individual, these mutations serve as a marker, or genealogical road sign, and are passed down to that person’s descendants. Geneticists use these markers from people all over the world to put together one very large mtDNA or Y-chromosome DNA family tree. Trace the markers backward, and you can eventually trace back to the approximate geographic region where that person and his or her descendants first lived.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to tracing our roots back to our original ancestors, there is some disagreement between evolutionary scientists and creationists on the timescale and geography of when and where they lived. Consider the following quote from Spencer Wells, population geneticist and the director of the Genographic Project: “You got your DNA from your parents, who got it from theirs, and so on, for millions of generations to the very beginning of life on earth. If you go far enough back, your genome connects you with bacteria, butterflies, and barracuda—the great chain of being linked together through DNA” (“Out of Africa,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2007).

Like many modern geneticists, Wells starts with the assumption that we all came out of Africa after humans branched off from their ape-ancestors approximately 5 million years ago. However, the Bible tells us that we were created in the image of God about 6,000 years ago and that the human population dispersed from Babel with many likely settling in Africa.

What’s Your Haplogroup?

According to many population geneticists, everyone belongs to a haplogroup or an ancestral clan. This branch of a family tree includes genetic markers that all have inherited from a single ancestor. These markers can be traced back to the group’s most recent common ancestor. Finding out your haplogroup helps you determine the geographic location from which your ancestors migrated.

For instance, according to geneticists with the Genographic Project, today around 20 percent of the lineage from eastern African mtDNA belong to haplogroup M1. Haplogroup B “likely arose on the high plains of Central Asia between the Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal.” This group makes up around 17 percent of people from Southeast Asia and around 20 percent of the entire Chinese gene pool.

I recently decided to have my DNA tested with the Genographic Project. For $99.95, I received a participant kit that included the following items: a DVD about the project, a map that showed ancient migratory paths, a consent form, and two cheek swabs and vials. The procedure for collecting my DNA was simple and painless. I just scraped the inside of both cheeks for 60 seconds and placed the swabs into separate vials that contained a unique identification number. This number was also used to track my test results. The only personal information I was asked to provide was my gender, which lets the laboratory know to check for mtDNA for women or Y-chromosome DNA for men.

About two weeks after mailing in the kit, I was able to track the progress of the DNA testing by entering my kit identification number on the Genographic Project’s website. About six weeks later, the final results were available on their website for viewing, downloading, and printing.

After receiving the results from your testing, you can also choose to add your information to the large database kept by Family Tree DNA, a company that helps families research their family roots through genetic genealogy. They can help you overcome dead ends in your genealogical research, find out more about your ancestor’s homeland, and find out if you are related to another family with the same surname.

When I received my results, I received a map that showed the supposed direction my maternal ancestors took as they left their homeland in East Africa and dispersed among the continents. While the interpretation of this migratory path (including dates and starting point of Africa) reveals many evolutionary assumptions, I did find the results and the testing process intriguing.

Starting with “Mitochondrial Eve” in Africa between 150,000 to 170,000 years ago, the map showed the path taken by various people groups in my ancestral line as they continued to branch off (including haplogroups Eve, L11/L0, L2, L3, N, R, pre-HV). The path then led up to my family branch on the tree, haplogroup H.

According to the Genographic Project’s interpretation of my ancestors, their migration began “about 15,000 years ago after the ice sheets had begun their retreat [and] humans moved north again and recolonized Western Europe. By far the most mitochondrial lineage carried by those expanding groups was haplogroup H. Because of the population growth that quickly followed this expansion, your haplogroup now dominates the European female landscape.” The results go on to say that today this haplogroup comprises 40 to 60 percent of the gene pool of most European populations.

My research of my own family had completed, confirms that my maternal ancestors had European roots, not surprising to me.

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Pharmacy Software Integration

pharm_softHealthcare Providers Demanding Greater Integration from Pharmacy Software Vendors.
New KLAS pharmacy report explores the link between provider satisfaction and integration within the closed-loop medication process.

OREM, UT, May 26, 2009 /Medical News Articles/ — As healthcare providers move to adopt ePrescribing and drive greater patient safety, the need for better integration between core clinical systems and pharmacy automation software continues to grow. How well pharmacy software vendors deliver on that integration is having a significant impact on provider adoption and satisfaction, according to a new report from market research firm KLAS.

The KLAS report, Pharmacy Information Systems: In the Age of Integration, profiles the performance of eight pharmacy automation vendors, as reported by more than 350 healthcare professionals. In particular, the report looks at the level of integration each product enables with other components of the closed-loop medication administration process.

Healthcare providers noted that software vendor Epic offers a product suite that delivers full integration among a number of components, including computerized physician order entry (CPOE), pharmacy and bar-coding at the point-of-care (BPOC). That integration, along with strong customer service and support, earned Epic EpicRx Inpatient the highest overall performance score in the study. In similar fashion, though pharmacy software has traditionally been a notable hole in the Eclipsys product suite, the recently released Eclipsys Sunrise Pharmacy has been deployed at several organizations, and many Eclipsys customers are excited by the prospect of a pharmacy system that is integrated with Sunrise Clinical Manager.

One of the most striking examples of the impact of integration within the closed loop is Siemens. On the one hand, providers who rated the Siemens Pharmacy product alone gave it a relatively low overall score of 70.8 out of 100. However, those providers who rated both Siemens Pharmacy and the Siemens BPOC product, Medication Administration Check (MAK), scored the pharmacy product much higher, giving it an overall satisfaction rating of 83.9. That solid BPOC/pharmacy integration is one of the key reasons that Siemens Pharmacy earned the second-highest satisfaction score in the study.

However, despite the positive reaction from providers to some of the recent improvements made by vendors, the pharmacy software market continues to earn some of the lowest satisfaction scores of any area KLAS tracks. In the December 2008 Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards report, only acute care electronic medical record (EMR) products had an average performance score lower than pharmacy systems.

“A pharmacy system’s role in a hospital is key, but hospitals report that they cannot always trust this vital link to perform to its full capacity,” said Jason Hess, general manager of clinical research for KLAS and the author of the pharmacy study. “Many customers are demanding more safety, more integration, more efficiency and the next generation of functionality. With these ever-increasing demands, vendors that are best able to integrate the pharmacy with their other offerings will be able to present a much stronger and more appealing portfolio to the market.”

Of the vendors highlighted in the KLAS pharmacy report, Epic EpicRx Inpatient was the highest rated product by a wide margin, earning a performance score of 85.9 out of 100. Siemens Pharmacy (79.0) and GE Centricity Pharmacy (77.2) were the second and third ranked products, respectively. Other pharmacy vendors profiled in the report were Cerner, Eclipsys, McKesson, Meditech and Mediware.

To learn more about the pharmacy automation software market, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of participating vendors, the report Pharmacy Information Systems: In the Age of Integration is available to healthcare providers online for a significant discount off the standard retail price. To purchase the full report, healthcare providers and vendors can visit www.KLASresearch.com

Shawn Dickerson
KLAS
Communications Manager
630 Technology Ave
Orem, UT
USA 84097

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