Imagine this: You're desperately
making a pitch to clients in London regarding a state of the art refractive
center, but they remain stubbornly unconvinced of your company's tremendous
potential. During lunch, you dash outside the pub and instruct your handheld
computer to "Get Susan fast."
On command, your gizmo
"sniffs" its electromagnetic surroundings, senses the local GSM
wireless network, and calls Susan, your colleague, in Washington, D.C. Susan's in-the-wall office computer answers,
but it's early morning in D.C., and her computer's sensors tell it she's not
yet in the office. Having identified you and the urgency of your command, it
forwards the call to her home office, which is also empty, and then to her
car's in-trunk computer. An image of you flashes on Susan’s dashboard display
as she sits in Beltway traffic.
"Susan, I need our internal
forecasts and the latest financial reports from our competitors."
Susan, though distracted by an
18-wheeler in the left lane, takes the request in stride. "Computer,"
she says aloud, "send to Mark's laptop the forecasts he wants, and check
the Web for the newest numbers on our five largest competitors." Susan's
office computer dutifully begins its mission, and you have a pie graph on the
wall by the time your would-be British buyers finish their pub grub.
Science fiction? For now. But you
can already have computers at your service all the time, if you know how, and
keeping up today means that when the time comes the above may not be fiction
does “Wired” mean
We are living today in a society
that has been becoming increasingly wired over the last 15 years. The changes come at an exponentially
increasing rate and it is hard to keep up with them. In fact in some respects even this talk is on the verge of
obsolescence in the next few years with the advent of the “WIRELESS” Age. Not to worry though that topic too will be
covered in this lecture.
I am, like you, a practicing
Ophthalmologist. My background and
current research is in Engineering and I have been using computers since I was
seven years old. I am also, as many
males can sympathize, a gadget junkie.
I keep up with the latest technical information devoting a minimum of at
least one hour to that on a daily basis.
I have found that with proper use my wired and wireless friends have
simplified my practice and my personal life and have provided me with great
To be wired means to be current
in the knowledge and usage of today’s latest personal communication and
is it important?
When asked the question in what
period in time I would most have wanted to live I have a hard time
answering. My answer at the end of the 20th century was:
“If restricted to this century, then I would have like to have lived the first
decade in Vienna so I could have met all the minds who were to be the major
influences of this century – Einstein, Marx, Freud and so on. The early twenties either in New York or
Chicago. The thirties in Paris on the
Left Bank. The fifties in midtown USA. The sixties between London and San
Francisco. And now anywhere.” As you can see there is a pattern, I believe
in living where “the action” of the time is taking place, and I believe in
being involved in it as much as possible.
Well today, it does not matter where you live, you can be connected at
any place on this earth or in orbit above it.
And feeling involved requires only that you allow yourself to be
connected. In many ways I think we are
living in the most exciting time in the history of man, I would not trade it
for any other.
So my answer is if you are not
wired, you are missing the point, you are missing the excitement and thrill of
living in today’s world, you may as well just…, well let’s leave it at
that. Practically speaking too,
staying current gives you an advantage over your competitors who maybe do not. So lets move on and get to what you should
know to be wired.
II. The Tools
One of the most important tools
at your disposal is a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) either in its pure form
or as part of your SmartPhone. This is essentially a replacement for the once popular
filofax. It keeps all your phone numbers,
appointments, list of things to do, notes and just about anything you could
think of always with you.
Palm-size devices are designed to be held in one hand and used for reference to
personal schedules, tasks, and contact lists-as well as for minor editing.
There are many types and makes
available, but throughout this talk I will be offering my opinion on “the best”
and my reasons why. “The best” in this
context is always an amalgam of not just capability, but value, and usually
share of the marketplace and support.
The best sites with comprehensive
news on PDAs Palm OS and Pocket Window are:
best software site www.handango.com
The best gadget sites on the internet are:
To buy cool gifts for geeks go to
Before we start please note that
if you want a full size portable keyboard that can be used wirelessly with any Palm or PocketPc model including smartphones there are now several choices the new
Stowaway wireless keyboard from Think Outside (www.thinkoutside.com)
at $70 US, the
Targus Universal Wireless Keyboard at $49 US (www.targus.com);
the $44 US
Belkin Wireless PDA Keyboard (www.belkin.com);
iConcepts Universal Wireless IR Keyboard $45 US;
or the $79 US Pocketop from www.pocketop.net. So far Apple has not allowed use of a bluetooth keyboard with the iPhone although that is conceivably possible.
Also an interesting concept is the Celio Redfly which gives you an 8` screen and full keyboard for Windows based PDA`s and Smartphones like the Treo Pro.
OS and TREOs
In October 2005 the
apparent death knell of the PALM OS was
sounded with the news that the new TREO 700w (released early 2006) would
operate using Windows Mobile 5.0. To many that news means that Microsoft has
won the handheld and for that matter smartphone war, Goliath has whipped David
and it would only be a matter of time before the market share of PALM OS devices
to nothing, and all the existing become non-supported legacy devices with only
enthusiasts continuing to modify and write code for them.
Late in 2006, however, Palm released a Palm OS
version of the Treo 700 and eventually the 680 which has no external antenna.
Most former and many new Palm Users prefer the Palm OS because it is still more stable, requires less use of the stylus, has
more and better add-on applications available, and the Windows version does not have enough
memory to multitask well as the OS is more of a memory hog, and Active Sync the
sync program for the WM5 OS leaves a lot to be desired. However, the 700p
does not offer the ability to use Wi-Fi which the 700w does using an SDIO card.
At the end of 2006 the Palm Treo 680 (GSM Tri
Band) was released - this is the phone I used until the advent of the IPhone 3G. In combination with www.c4pda.com
and a larger battery from Seido this phone is still quite a good phone but with the advent of the iPhone it is dated.
In fall 2007 Palm released a new
value smart phone line called the Centro instead of Treo - so far it ihas done quite well for Palm and has sold well worldwide as it is a very low cost but capable smartphone running Palm OS. In the meantime Palm has all but eliminated the Palm OS on higher end models and if you want the latest best Palm Treo like the Treo Pro you will need to move to Windows 6.1 which actually is much better than former windows OS`s.
TUNGSTEN TX: $299 US is the best Palm OS PDA currently
(the Z22 and Tungsten E2 are toys in comparison). The LIFEDRIVE 4GB storage
has been discontinued.
An in house comparison of all the devices may be
Click these links to go to Medical PDA sites:
Medical Palm Links
The software I have
on my Palm OS PDA.
Windows Mobile PDAs, the iPhone and Smartphones
Microsoft Pocket-PC OS is now being called the Windows Mobile OS and its latest
iteration is the 6.1 OS (WMA6) has just been released (Microsoft releases a new
version every year - a great way to make money). The previous OS before
5.0 was called Pocket Windows Mobile 2003
which allowed Windows Palm devices to become
comparable to the Palm PDAs both in price and technology. I would therefore counsel anybody buying a
Windows based handheld device to make sure that
it is Windows Mobile 6.1.
For a WM6 Smartphone there are currently many
choices all of which are OK some possibiliteis include the
Motorola Moto Q 9m (not great I heard it takes 50 sec to boot up) or the
T-Mobile DASH (GSM) or the best choice in my opinion the
T-Mobile Wing (GSM) and from
Sprint the Mogul (CDMA).
iPhone 3G of course is the main topic of tech conversation for 2008 as was the original iPhone in 2007. Apple
with its touch screen interface and control has reinvented the cell phone
and even the PDA in many senses. The iPhone is a great device - and has
only become more interesting since Apple announced released the SDK in Feb
2008 - aloowing other providers to write applications that run
on the iPhone (much as they can for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile) without
having to crack the phone and potentially void the warranty. The AppStore is one of the phenoms of 2008 and its possible that soon will outstrip even the venerable Palm OS in number of applications available.
The iPhone can be cracked to
run on other GSM networks besides AT&T but that carries risks and may leave the
phone unusable if you update the firmware from Apple. Regardless if you
live in the USA its a good deal especially with the unlimited data plan or in Canada a 6GB data plan.
The iPhone has 2 main handicaps. One there is no synchronization with either the tasks (to do list) or notes feature of Outlook. Major oversights for people have been used to that functionality from Palm and Windows OS. There are alternatives for the to do list but they do not sync with Outlook and some cost money for added functionality on the AppStore but it will either mean duplicating your data in Outlook or switching your task functionality to another program. For notes as long as you have a internet connection you can use Evernote which you can import your Outlook notes into - again you will not be able to sync with Outlook so you will have to enter changes in Outlook and resync or vice versa. No really good workarounds exist and Apple does not seem inclined to do anything about this as thsi situation has been present since the advent of the iPhone.
Cellular telephones are an
indispensable business and personal tool, and with increasing competition from
PCS services, prices for cellular service have nowhere to go but down.
Competition, while it brings prices down, often brings confusion. Nowhere is
this truer than in the cellular telephone industry.
850, 900, 1800, 1900. CDMA, TDMA,
AMPS, ETACS, NMP, PCS, GPRS, EVDO, EDGE. Do you have any
idea what all that means? In the United
States, there are now four different, incompatible types of cellular service
being offered throughout the country. Deciding which technology is right for
you depends on a variety of factors, including: geography (what kind of terrain
do you live in), roaming requirements, security, sound quality and equipment
pricing. Please click here if you are
interested in learning more.
a Cellular Provider and Cell Phone
A great review of cell phones by CNET is found
when you are trying to choose. For the best site for seeing all new
available cell phones (unfortunately most of which you will have a hard time
getting in the USA) and being able to compare them
where you need to check.
My current choice if I were buying a pure cell
phone and not a Smartphone would be: The Motorola SLVR L7,
NOKIA N73 ot NOKIA N92.
As physician’s we are all too
aware how pager’s function. But are you
aware of the new types of Smart Pagers out there. The best of the lot are the RIM (Research in Motion) Blackberry
Wireless Handhelds, the latest of these offer a color screen and voice
capability either with a headset and/or with an inbuilt speaker microphone
system - in other words they are smart phones/pagers/email/PDA devices, all the
models however lack cameras and are really mainly for business use being bought
for most executives by their companies. They are ubiquitous amongst the
Fortune 100 executives.
I never recommended these as a first choice for physicians but with the huge
advances and the new color screens and phone capability they are worth at least
a second look before making a final decision. The models I recommend are the
Blackberry Bold and Storm. The Bold is an original looking Blackberyy with a keyboard and greta screen and the Storm is an iPhone competitor with an original touch screen which actually depresses when you push on it.
D Communication and Email
We all know how important it is
for us to be reachable (especially when traveling
or working) and most of us carry a pager, a cell phone, and have an answering
service as well, not to mention several phone and fax numbers. Would it
not be great if things could be simpler. Well believe it or not that is
not so easy to achieve, entropy after all is at work. The best advice I can
give is try to minimize your personal communication to your cell phone and only
give that to people who absolutely need to know it. Use call forwarding a
lot, either to your message service on your cell phone or other lines to your
cell phone. Some services which are available
try and be an all in one communication center for your e-mail, phone calls
etc. Many of these services have gone bankrupt with the Dot.com crash
and others now charge. Some examples of these Unified
Messageing Services include: My Talk, Orchestrate,
Planetary Motion CoolMail, and many
here. For opinions on free email services only, such as
Google Mail (Gmail)and
here. My favorite currently is Google mail, but you need to currently
get invited for this by someone who already uses it (it gives you 2GB of free
storage to compete both Hotmail and Yahoo now offer 250 MB and 1GB respectively). For instant messaging services and chat services go with the one
most of your friends are on (likely
but if they are on several services think about downloading
Trillian which allows you to use all of
In 2006 the whole story of the
divide between Windows and Mac has basically came to an end. And as a
result my thinking on the matter also radically changed. So I rewrote this entire section. Essentially as long as you are using an
Intel Dual Core system or above now you can have a choice of either Mac or
Windows or both on your system. So how do you choose what to buy now.
For practical reasons if buying a new computer now I would suggest buying an
Apple system whether it be a laptop or desktop, and before anything else when
you first buy it partition the hard drive into equal sections using the bundled
"Boot Camp" software, and put the Windows OS of your choice into one partition
and leave the other partition as your Mac OS X. Its a simple matter to
switch between the OSs. As of October 26th 2007 the Mac OS is 10.5
review here), a tremendous and highly advanced OS compared to poor old Windows Vista
which has proven to be so unpopular and buggy that consumers often demand that
Windows XP the older OS be pre-installed on new purchases...
A quote from chon.com tech blog:
"I think most Windows users who are tempted by the Mac are being pushed away
from their current platform more than they are being lured by features in the
Mac. They like the idea of not having to worry as much about viruses and spyware
(though that may be a false sense of security in the long term), and they hear
tales of the Mac being more robust and stable than Windows (though that depends
on the health of your PC's hardware and what kind of applications you install).
There's also the Vista frustration factor, whether real or imagined. Many of
the people I talk to who are thinking about switching have older computers, but
don't want a newer one with Vista because of
its negative buzz, and aren't interested in sticking with XP. The
Mac thus becomes a real alternative for them.
Not to be discounted, though, is the physical design of Macs, which are
flat-out beautiful. I've had many, many Windows users tell me they switched or
wanted to switch just because of the way Macs look. Indeed, I defy you to look
at a 24-inch iMac and not feel a little lust in your consumer's heart.
What stops Windows users from making the leap? Fear of the new as much as the
thrill, of course. There's the cost factor -- Macs appear to be a lot more
expensive because Apple doesn't play in the low end of the market. Matched
feature for feature and spec for spec, Macs and PCs are closer in price than
most Windows users think."
As of this writing I have
purchased 2 brand new 24" Aluminium iMacs with 2.8Ghz processors (one for me and
one for the wife) - they are silent and there is no more big box under my desk.
Both run Windows XP and Leopard switching using BootCamp,
VMWare Fusion and
Parallels software there are tricks so that both BootCamp, Parallels and
VmWare Fusion use the same partition so you do not have to duplicate or
triplicate your data. Here are some ideas.
Finally, it is of note that currently even though more people run Parallels
Fusion is much faster, supports > 1.5GB RAM and 64 bit as well as both cores.
If you decide to stick to Windows
PC system though I would recommend going with a system from
The same goes for notebook computers.
Probably the easiest choice is to go for a MacBook
or a MacBook Pro.rumors are that Apple is
developing an UltraMobile possibly with iTouch technology but still no firm news
on that. Having said that for the
moment Apple does not produce a Tablet version of the MacBook, and if like me
you have become enamoured of the Tablet PC format than you have to choose
something non-Apple. For those of you who want to splurge and have a
super notebook computer that hardly anybody else in the country has, best site is
which imports and translates the latest Japanese notebooks for re-sale in the
USA. For the others you have to decide between whether you are only going
to buy one computer and use it as a desktop at home in which case you want a
"desktop replacement" notebook which is usually on the heavier side and often
the batter does not last long but it has desktop type performance.
Nowadays, DSL or cable modems for high-speed access
are ubiquitous, and so I will not go into details as I did in previous years.
USB is the de facto
standard connection replacing serial ports and now is available in the much
faster USB 2.0. Make sure all your external peripherals, scanners, Zip drives,
printers and so on connect by USB and if
available as USB 2.0 make sure they are too, it is faster and better and lets you hot
connect. Other than the links listed also see here.
This is the fastest standard for high
bandwidth multimedia devices (still faster than USB 2.0 in real life no matter
what you have heard otherwise), for example digital cameras and videos. If possible try and get your computer with
this inbuilt, but it is still not as widely used as USB 2.0.
Apples and Sony Vaios and now HP computers come with this built-in. Otherwise you can buy cheap Firewire adapters and even Firewire/USB
2.0 adapters for either your
desktop or your notebooks
USB 2.0/FIREWIRE COMBO PCI CARD,
Adaptec FireConnect 4300 AFW-4300 1394/FireWire Card,
Startech Card Bus IEEE-1394 Firewire Notebook Card,
Any new computer has these in-built at 10/100 but
nowadays I would not buy a computer unless it had a Gigabyte 10/100/1000 Ethernet
"Bluetooth" was a new standard launched
in May 1998 which utilizes a short-range radio link to exchange information,
enabling effortless wireless connectivity between mobile phones, mobile PCs,
handheld computers and other peripherals. The first Bluetooth
Products will be launched in 4Q2000. It aims to replace the IrDA spec of
InfraRed in mobile and computing devices.
Enabling seamless voice and data transmission via wireless, short-range
radio, this new technology will allow users to connect a wide range of devices
easily and quickly, without the need for cables, expanding communications
capabilities for mobile computers, mobile phones and other mobile devices, both
in and out of the office.
The radio operates on the globally available 2.45 GHz ISM 'free
band', allowing international travelers to use "Bluetooth"-enabled
Bluetooth took a very long time to implement in
the real world and only became a player as of 2004. Nowadays Bluetooth products are
ubiquitous, just a few are listed below (many
laptops and even desktops come with Bluetooth in built now or offer the option) I would recommend that
if you are buying anything new it have Bluetooth, you will be happy the more
things you have with Bluetooth talking together.
D-Link Bluetooth 2.4 GHz USB Adapter for PC/MAC
Belkin Components F8T001 Bluetooth USB Adaptor v.2
Palm Bluetooth SDIO Card, Multilinqual
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth
IOGEAR Bluetooth CompactFlash Card
Sony DCRTRV80 MiniDV 2Megapixel Camcorder with 3.5" LCD, Memory Stick, Bluetooth
Wireless Connectivity, and Networking Capability
Socket Communications Bluetooth GPS Receiver
Plantronics M1000 Bluetooth Headset for Nokia 3650 and bluetooth phones
Jabra FreeSpeak Bluetooth Headset for Bluetooth Equipped Phones
Note this is not so important now that Bluetooth
is actually available on most things and I would advise buying devices with
BlueTooth rather than IrDA. Since 1994, IrDA DATA defines a standard for an
interoperable universal two way cordless infrared light transmission data port.
IrDA technology was in over 150 million electronic devices including
desktop, notebook, palm PCs, printers, digital cameras, public phones/kiosks,
cellular phones, pagers, PDAs, electronic books, electronic wallets, and other
mobile devices. It requires line of sight in order to be able to
communicate, but is pretty high speed. Most devices you buy these days
from Palms to cell phones will come with bluetooth rather than IrDA.
Home and Office Connections / Wireless LAN
I have written a great deal about this in previous years and recommended many
models, however, at this juncture if you do not already have a system in place
the only one I would recommend is the
D-Link DGL 4500
($239) the update of the amazing 4300 that I have owned for 3 years , far ahead of its competitors.
The new 801.11N protocol even though nor truly ratified is really now the way to
go and any changes can and will be made with firmware patches. This has 4
Ethernet ports and I use all 4 trust me, so I need this even with my iMacs.
If you have a Mac you can
also use the above router but its probably simpler to buy the equivalent Airport
Extreme Wireless Router also an 802.11n with Gigabit Ethernet $179. This
only has 3 Ethernet ports, not enough for me but it does have a USB Shared
Printer Port pretty cool.
(Personal Information Managers)
are lots of PIMs on the market see
here for links. I have only included the ones worth considering
here. Also note that most PDA's come with a simple PIM included such as
Palm Desktop with the Palm computing platform and that may suffice for many of
you, for the others my recommendations are:
My advice is to use this as your PIM, it comes as
part of the Microsoft Office suite, which you will be using for everything else
and is extremely well integrated into Windows 98, ME,
2000 or XP and very
well supported with synchronization and other 3rd party software.
Outlook 2003 and 2007 are excellent and vast improvements over previous incarnations.
Now offers built-in Personal Digital Assistant
(PDA), Windows CE and Outlook synchronization. In some respects more
powerful than Outlook but less intuitive -- cool if you want to be different but
still communicate with everyone. Compared against other PIMs here
and against Outlook here.
Again this is a great program and
is supported by Symantec so integrates well with everything else by them (i.e.
Norton stuff and WinFax). However, I would say that this is a contact
management program rather than a PIM and as this it is the market leader.
Given that as Ophthalmologists we are not going about as salesmen (well I hope
not at least) it is not the best choice, but it is mentioned because you are
likely to hear about it.
My vote for the most often bought company.
It started of as Pumatech and was bought in order by at least Nokia and its
current owner Yahoo. This is freely available with the Yahoo Calender
service see below.
Yahoo! Address Book
Palm OS Handhelds
Pocket PC Handhelds
Mirror by Chapura
This standard version comes bundled with any new Palm or
Treo but is also available for Pocket PC and is limited to synchronize with Outlook the Pro version is excellent and I currently use that.
Link by Companion
I have not personally tried
this software but it looks great as it synchronizes
|All Pocket PC and Windows Mobile 5 handhelds |
|All Palm handhelds, including the Abacus Wrist PDA and Palm
Life Drive |
|All BlackBerry handhelds |
|ACT! versions 4 and higher (works
with ACT! 2007/9.0)|
|GoldMine versions 4 and higher |
|Outlook versions 97 and higher|
|Lotus Notes versions 4.6 and higher |
|Google Calendar (Beta)|
Beyond Contacts software by DataViz
Supports only MS Outlook series
and the old MS Schedule series.
XTNDConnect PC by Extended Systems
XTNDConnect PC is a single
software solution that supports Windows CE, Palm and CASIO Pocket Viewer
devices (like Companion Link). Supports
Microsoft Outlook 97/98, Lotus Notes 4.5 and 4.6, Lotus Organizer 5.0, 97/GS, Symantec
ACT! 3.05 and above, NetManage Ecco Pro 4.0, GoldMine 3.0/4.0 (Standard
6. PDA Link by
This latest addition to the line of
synchronization software I have not personally tested as yet, but from
Laplink's products in the past I am certain that it is of excellent quality.
It is capable of syncing: HandSpring Visors; Palm series; Compaq iPaq series; HP
Jornada series; Kyocera Smartphone Series; Samsung I300; Ericsson R520, T39, T60
and R300 mobile phones; Toshiba GENIO e Pocket PC series; Casio Pocket Viewer
series; Cassiopeia Pocket PC series; Sony Clie; IBM WorkPad; SymbolSPT series;
NEC Mobile Pro series; Sharp Mobilon; Vadem Clio; TRG HandEra 330 and TRG Pro to
Microsoft Outlook 97,98, 2000, XP; Lotus Notes 4.5, 4.6, 5.0; Lotus Organizer
97/GS, 4.1, 5.0, 6.0; ACT! 3.05, 4.0, 2000; NetManage Ecco Pro 4.0, 4.01;
GoldMine 3.0, 4.0; Palm Desktop 3.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.
Web Synchronization Services/Online
More and more people are using multiple devices,
but keeping them all organized can be tricky. An online personal information
manager can help you collaborate with colleagues, and keep all your far-flung
data in sync -- and accessible, no matter which device you're using. During
"the golden age of the internet" many of these services were available and free
to use, most now are vanished along with the companies that ran them. To
read reviews of these old services an archive has been kept online for those
interested here. In fact as can be seen at the
FreeSite.com there are hardly any free
web services anymore. Some RIP services include
Planner (Rating: 9.0/10);
Visto (Rating: 8/10);
Fusion One and
eDock (Rating: 9.5/10);
MyPalm (Rating: 7/10);
Swifttouch (Rating: 7/10);
(Rating: 9/10) Whats left is:
This service is one of the few left and is the only one which is still
free!. In addition to its well-known and powerful search site and customizable start
page, Yahoo! offers Yahoo! Calendar, which includes an address book, a calendar,
to-do lists, and a notepad utility. You can synchronize all this information
with almost any desktop contact manager or handheld device. Like Excite Planner,
Yahoo! relies on Starfish's effective TrueSync Plus utility to keep your data
current and consistent among all your devices and applications.
The look and feel of Yahoo!'s calendar and address book are clean and
efficient. And Yahoo!'s synchronization utility is adequate, with few
limitations. TrueSync is the only utility here that lets you synchronize
multiple applications and devices simultaneously. For example, we were able to
set up TrueSync to synchronize all of the data in our Palm device and our
Outlook calendar with Yahoo! at the same time. TrueSync allows filtering, and
its field mapping is robust.
Although Yahoo! Calendar offers no easy way to manage group contacts, you can
share your schedule and contact information with other Yahoo! members. Also,
Yahoo! lets you create a Web page where you can share your calendar simply by
distributing the URL.
This is an option if you have a google account -
the major problem again is it does not have a good synchronization client at
present to synchronize with either outlook or your PDA.
This is an option if you have a hotmail account -
the problem agian is it does not have a good synchronization client at present
to synchronize with either outlook or your PDA.
ScheduleOnline (website) is
designed for group collaboration and scheduling it costs $19.95/year for the
basic Silver service or $7.95/month for the Gold service.
Previously limited in its sync
capabilities, the service has been getting stronger and provides everything an organization or group needs to
schedule its activitiesm including allowing your patients to make appointments
with you online in the slots you have provided for them, thereby sparing your
secretary on the phone. I am not sure it should be included in this
review as it is more a team or group collaboration site rather than an
individual's online backup of their handheld or desktop PIM, however, there may
be people who are interested in such a tool for their office or other
group. As a team collaboration site it is one of the better available (see
ScheduleOnline's greatest strength lies in its group features. During setup,
you specify a unique organization; the person who creates it is the
administrator. The administrator then assigns users, rights -- such as
delegating administration duties -- departments, groups, and resources.
The powerful calendar lets you schedule tasks, meetings, and repeating
events, and invite others to meetings. You can add participants to your meeting,
check for conflicts, and send e-mail invitations, with a carbon-copy option, to
everyone on your group list.
The address book, which is hidden under "Other" on the menu, is not
group-enabled. Each user has a separate one. It does have powerful sort and
search capabilities. Unlike products such as AnyDay.com,
Planner, and Yahoo!
Calendar, however, ScheduleOnline syncs with Palm devices and now Outlook. Syncing is
proprietary and rudimentary, with limited conflict resolution and no ability to filter or map
fields, it does not sync Notepad/Memo Notes.
If you need an easy-to-use tool for your group scheduling needs,
ScheduleOnline is a great choice.
to a Remote Computer
Web Based Virtual Network Computing - VNC
Probably the best and simplest choice is to use web-based application rather than a
dedicated PC software solution when you want to access a remote computer.
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a
desktop sharing system which uses the
protocol or RDP (Remote Desktop) protocol to remotely control another
computer. It transmits the keyboard presses and mouse clicks from one computer
to another relaying the screen updates back in the other direction, over a
VNC is platform-independent: a VNC viewer on any operating system can connect
to a VNC server on any other operating system. There are clients and servers for
almost all operating systems and for
Java. Multiple clients may connect to a VNC server at the same time. Popular
uses of the technology include remote technical support, and accessing files on
one's work computer from one's home computer.
most well known applications are
GoToMyPC; LogMeIn and Teamviewer. I
have used all services and can tell you they worked pretty much flawlessly for me.
GoToMyPc even works with Pocket PC PDAs and you can try it free for 30 days by going
to their website and I would highly recommend you do so, however,
Teamviewer offers a free service for non-commercial activity that is more than most people need so it is the
best choice right now for most people, and even its premium services are
better priced than GoToMyPc's. A new service competeing with these 3 and
also free like LogMeIn recently started and I have not had a good chance to
evaluate it yet is called
It is possible to completely control a remote
system using free software, although this is really for the more savvy reader
and takes a lot of fiddling around with settings etc. to get right. One option is to combine
RealVNC, and the
BarracudaDrive HTTPS tunnel client. The HTTPS tunnel and the VNC
client/server make it possible to securely control your PC. The tunnel also
bypasses corporate firewalls and proxies. BarracudaDrive also makes it possible
to securely copy files to and from your home PC.
An interesting alternative software recently came
to my attention which allows you to connect to a computer and transfer files
solely through the use of email
has a pretty complete freeware solution.
owned by LogMeIn is a VPN solution that for now is free, worth a look for sure.
Finally, a free (for non-comercial purposes) and elegant solution from
Teamviewer is available, please give it a try.
2. Using Retail Software
Software based solutions include the market leaders
PcAnywhere and others including
Planet Remote and
I'm In Touch
No other remote-control software
comes close to the number of ways LapLink allows you to connect two
computers. Along with USB, your connection choices include parallel ports,
serial ports, modems, network connections (including broadband ADSL and cable
modems), and IrDA/Fast Infrared ports. Aside from the wide variety of
connections it supports, LapLink's main advantage over archrival Symantec's
pcAnywhere solution is the simplicity of its user interface. While pcAnywhere provides separate programs to act as host and guest, LapLink is a
single program that serves as both. You don't have to sweat which component to
install, and connectivity goes both ways, so you can control your remote system
with your office system, as well as vice-versa. I also find LapLink's interface
a bit more intuitive than that in the current version of pcAnywhere.
USB Sticks & Drives - U3,
MojoPac and Portable Apps.com
You almost certainly all have memory sticks,
probably several, but are you aware of how powerful they truly are. Beyond
the simple use for backup and transfer of data and programs - Memory Sticks can
now be used to carry around your software and all your passwords, even your
desktop etc. Imagine carrying your software on the same flash drive that
carries your files. That’s what you can do with a memory stick now. You can plug
it into any PC and work, play a game, message friends, send email, edit photos
and more. Your memory stick makes any PC your own PC. And when you unplug it, it
leaves no personal data behind. Three particularly effective means exist,
the first is the U3
standard created by SanDisk but accepted by Micorsoft, the second is a similar
software in Kingston Technology and other manufacturer sticks called
third is a software called
MojoPac, and the
final one is completely free and open source
There is one more I-Flapp but I feel pretty sure that it is destined for
U3 comes on U3 Memory Sticks from SanDisk and other manufacturers (they have to
pay royalty fees to install it). If your going to buy one then get the
SanDisk 8GB Cruzer Contour or the
SanDisk 8GB Cruzer Micro you will be amazed about the amount of
available pretty much anything you could want. The amazing thing about
U3 is that you do not need Administrator privileges to use it (the Microsoft
agreement) and that is what makes it very cool. So far no U3 Fingerprint
The blurb on their website reads as below - you
can buy the software ($30) and put it on any memory stick or buy a Migo stick
with it already (best bet) - an
8GB version is here for only $104 or a
II for a bit more. In my mind this software is really only if you use
Microsoft Outlook and you want to keep everything in sync. If you do not
use Microsoft Outlook you are better off with another system.
Capture your data
Migo organizes and stores a backup of the data and email from your computer onto
your portable storage device. Take that Migo-enabled device with you, and you'll
access to your data, no matter where you go.
Borrow a PC
Accessing your data is easy: simply plug your Migo-enabled device into any
available PC running Microsoft Windows 2000 or later, and watch the simple user
interface transform that PC into your own. Everything you've been working on is
there, including your Microsoft Outlook® or Outlook Express®
email*; even your own desktop appears, complete with files and folders. Work on
projects, answer email, listen to your tunes, all just as you would on your own
Enjoy easy access to printers and network connections
Migo lets you use the borrowed computer's software, hardware and network
connections, including Internet access.
Leave no trace behind
When you're finished using a borrowed computer, Migo will keep all the work
you've done on your device, including your Internet history and cookies. No
trace of your activity will be left behind on the borrowed computer.
Update your own PC
When you return home, Migo synchronizes the data it carries with the files on
your own computer, so you're always working on the latest versions of your data.
Your email folders are also updated, so you can stay on top of your messages.
With email synchronization, there's no need to leave copies of your messages on
The main competitor to U3 is MojoPac which you can install yourself onto any
MemoryStick or even onto your iPod, cellphone, PDA, or portable media player or
hard drive. In other words its a lot more versatile - and its free unless
you want the Pro version ($49) or Enterprise version. The good thing here
is that you can put ANY software you want on your Memory so long as it will fit
(in other words you do not have to buy new U3 software here are some
tested in house by
MojoPac)... How does it work -
Basically its a virtual desktop and you can switch back and forth from it to
your other desktop. To my mind this is an amazing piece of software and
with 8GB available nowadays you can fit a lot of programs on your virtual
desktop... The only problem is you need Administrator privileges on the
the computer you are using and you likely will not have them - hence U3.
If your not buying into U3 or Migo the best drive to get is the
Transcend 8GB JetFlash 220 with Fingerprint Recognition
($105) very cool - you can even log-in to anysite without passwords - your
fingerprint is all you need... If you have the money and are not afraid to
lose it then the
Transcend 16GB JetFlash 2A ($382) is the way to
go - it can even be a bootable drive!
The problem with this while it is totally free is that you are also limited to
totally free open source software which has been ported over to be compatible in
the same way as the U3 software has been ported over - a
complete list of the software is here
although many developers have
created portable versions of many softwares that are not on this list...
The site carries a nice summary of:
What is a portable app?
A nice place for freeware portable apps is
freeware and shareware www.snapfiles.com
and for portable Mac OS apps
F. MP3 and Media
was a new section for 2005 and updated in 2006, 2007 and now 2008. (At this point I have personally owned various MP3 players
for eight years now) with the advent of the iPod MP3 players have been brought into the
the iPOD the best MP3 player on the market - well that truly depends on your
point of view. Apple unfortunately has some idiosyncrasies if you want to
call them that. They have a habit of not making hardware backwards
compatible which unfortunately works against the major advantage of iPods the
incredible variety of add-ons. For example, I personally loved the first
generation iPod Nanos, I
felt that this truly was a device worth having and with its small size could be worn
on your person at all times - however, while the nano was easy to scratch
particularly the black version Apple introduced the 2nd generation
nano which took care of the scratching problem by changing the case to brushed
aluminum - but for some unfathomable reason they shifted the adaptor plug 4 mm
to the left of center leaving the new nano being unable to fit into most
existing add-ons at its release. If you are a consumer who has bought
multiple add-ons (an i-Trip an i-Home etc.) this is really unacceptable - what
are you supposed to do throw out all your sometimes very expensive add-ons or
refuse to upgrade - and what happens when your 1st generation ipod nano breaks?
I feel sorry for consumers and for 3rd party providers, Apple is ripping them
off. Its not right. Having said that the 16GB current 4thGen iPod Nano is a very elegant device as is the 32GB iPod
Touch although I think it is slightly overpriced.
The only other
is the new 7th Generation 120GB video they got rid of the larger 160GB drive from 2007.. The Archos
AV604 (160 GB) trumps the iPod in allowing WiFi Internet use TiVo functionality
and a much larger screen for video playback all at the same price...
The advantage of the iPods is there ubiquitousness
and as a result their mass market accessories, way too many to go into details,
but put it this way, many 2006 and 2007 cars come built with support for iPods,
so you can see what your playing on your dashboard.
The choice for Media players at present really
comes down to the video iPod, the new
Microsoft Zune device , a
Windows Media Player device, or an Archos unit - my advice is
go for one of the
7th generation Archos units which are up to 320GB!. One reason
for the Archos units being better is that you can treat the Archos as an
additional hard drive on your system and fill it up directly without having to
use a software solution like iTunes or Windows Media Player although you can use
either is you so choose all the other units you have to use the software and
they are all buggy.
Home Entertainment Centers
- LCD TV Screens, Monitors and Projection TVs
Just a brief section here to talk
about how PC technology or wired technology has made into into your living room.
Microsoft is pushing hard to try an own your living room as well as your home
office and PC, the Windows XP Media Center Version of their OS in its 2005
version is actually quite good and home theater media centers (HPTCs) equipped
with it in a new format are a not bad idea for your living room. They vary
dramatically in price (some costing more than $5000) and a
2005 review of three
high end ones is available here, the Rolls Royce of these systems is the
systems available from
Niveus Media and their top of the line K2 is marketed at the “cost is no object” segment of
the market. The K2 (all of Niveus’ products are named after mountains) boasts a
P4 at 3.6Ghz, 2GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD (yes, you read that right), dual TV tuners,
dual HDTV tuners, and High Definition 6-Channel Audio. It’s also passively
cooled, so you’re not going to hear a fan kick in while you’re in the middle of
a flick. So, just in case cost is an object, how much does all that
speed, storage, RAM and video power run? Well, Niveus refuses to post prices for
their high-end units on their web site, insisting that you call or email to get
the numbers. But we assume it’s a bit more than the $5,000 that their
Denali system —
which is similar to the K2, but has more limited audio capabilities — goes for.
If anybody ever wants to get me a present, that's what I want... Another
choice not reviewed in the article above would be an
ARIA Center from
2 Parts Fusion
a company owned by HPTC enthusiasts has competitively priced models
as does Moneual
(their models also have a particularly cool feature a touch screen on the
Highly rated 2006 Mini-MCE systems are available as well, these while not being
as high in specs as the top-end larger units are fantastically small and really
worth a look at. Personally, however, I am probably going to wait until a HD-DVD format has been
settled on before purchasing though, by then of course price competition should
also make these items a little more affordable. By the way my bet is that
HD-DVD will beat out Blu-Ray for the version that people end up settling on,
especially now as it appears to be the one backed by Microsoft and Intel (more
bad luck for Sony who backs Blue-Ray).
To go with this HPTC you obviously
need a screen and speakers. I am not as much an expert in this area as I
am in some of the other areas above but still IMHO I would go for LCD over Plasma.
Also I would ensure that if I was buying currently that the screen was capable
of displaying 1080p resolutions. While 1080i
is currently the highest resolution HD signal that networks transmit in and is
likely to remain that way until at least 2012, both the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray
systems support 1080p and so do the new XBox 360
and Sony PlayStation 3 system. Which brings
me to my main point once you see TV or even your XBOX in HD you will have a hard
time watching anything else... HD is so real to life it is almost scary.
For a 2006 great resource for HDTV go to CNet's
Must-have HDTV add-ons
An Ideal Setup
For most Ophthalmologists the
ideal setup would be
A Mac Pro or iMac at home dual partition Mac OS X -
Windows Vista or XP with
a cable or DSL connection to the Internet
A Mac Powerbook dual partitioned Mac OS X -
Windows Vista or XP for the road
A combination cell phone/PDA (smart phone) running on tri
CDMA/AMPS or GSM/AMPS if available in your service area =
iPhone or Balckberry Bold or T-Mobile G1.
Great internet start pages:
Want to mail a big file
In previous years that I have given
this course I have been asked multiple times about the programs I recommend for
various things. For example "What is the best antivirus
program?", "What is the best search program?" etc. So I am
making a link here for
that you can refer to if you have
Some links for
Web 2.0 sites and other useful sites:
http://mpire.com/ useful for auction sites and
virtual desktop (has a free version for evaluation)
http://www.hamachi.cc/ the free VPN solution
Most of the important links are
included within the text, Here are some supplemental links that might be
of interest to some readers.
One of the best Gadget Sites Online -
The Gadget Box
The Seven Wired Wonders of the
CNET’s list of the top 1000
selling online computer products
BABEL a database of technical
HAVE, WISH OR BUY LIST
IPHONE 3G 16GB (Bought)
160GB (I think I prefer to a 160GB IPod)
(got the iMac instead more affordable and quieter and more recently updated)
KDL-52XBR3 BRAVIA 1080P HDTV LCD
TERASTATION 4 TB (bought)