On Parasites and Delusions

I echo Paul Kedrosky, a fantastic read:

This might just be the best blog post I have read this year. It’s nominally on patients with delusions of parasitic infestations, but it’s so much more.

I saw a patient recently for parasites.

I get a sinking feeling when I see that diagnosis on the schedule, as it rarely means a real parasite.  The great Pacific NW is mostly parasite free, so either it is a traveler or someone with delusions of parasitism.

The latter comes in two forms: the classic form and Morgellons. Neither are likely to lead to a meaningful patient-doctor interaction, since it usually means conflict between my assessment of the problem and the patients assessment of the problem.  There is rarely a middle ground upon which to meet. The most memorable case of delusions of parasitism I have seen was a patient who  I saw in clinic who, while we talked, ate a raw garlic clove about every minute.

“Why the garlic?” I asked.

“To keep the parasites at bay,” he told me.

I asked him to describe the parasite.  He told me they floated in the air, fell on his skin, and then burrowed in.  Then he later plucked them out of his nose.

Much more here.

Book: How to Measure Anything

I’ve been slowly reading through Douglas Hubbard’s How to Measure Anything.

So far it’s been a good read, nothing terribly groundbreaking. The advice seems to come down to this simple process:

Confronted with apparently difficult measurements, it helps to put the proposed measurement in context. Before we measure we should ask five questions:

  1. What is the decision this is supposed to support?
  2. What really is the thing being measured?
  3. Why does this thing matter to the decision being asked?
  4. What do you know about it now?
  5. What is the value to measuring it further?

All in all, simple stuff, but a great crash course and overview for finding metrics that matter, especially for new managers / leaders.

A 2009 Video Forecasting Today’s Tablet

I’ve had this post sitting in my draft pile since mid-2009. This is pre-iPad and the world is knee deep in Kindle. It’s a shame I didn’t find + post this earlier, the mockups from the Harper Studio video are almost prescient of Flipboard, TweetMag, or Zite.

— begin old post —

I use Eucalyptus to read books on my iPhone. I love the feel of the app and the ease of downloading new books. The iPhone’s small backlit screen bothers me occassionally for reading. It’s almost perfect. What I’d love in an e-Reader:

  1. It should do three things exceptionally well:
    1. read books (like Eucalyptus)
    2. read RSS (like Byline)
    3. surf the web (like a CrunchPad)
  2. Should still ‘feel’ like a book, much like Eucalyptus does. It’s near perfect in this regard. Touch screen required.
  3. Color screen (backlit is ok but not preferred)
  4. Super easy to download / purchase books
  5. Connect over wireless or cell network
  6. 5″ x 8″ screen – ish, something about the size of those lousy romance novels in the supermarket checkoutline, and the thickness of an iPhone. The concept below literally folds like a book, showing 10″ x 8″ of screen space. awesome!

The iPhone hits just about all of this list, except it’s backlit and too small. Also, Eucalyptus is only free books, and the Kindle app (a) sucks to read on and (b) doesn’t have in app store.

The Kindle proper (device, not iPhone app) is larger, which is nice, and has a better screen for reading, but frankly, it’s ugly as sin. If they made blackberries in the 80s, they would look like a Kindle. yuck.

All this brings me to an article that came across Harper Studio (via Corr77, thanks!)  describing a French concept e-Reader / netbook from Editis. Click the image below for the 5 minute concept, skip to about 10% to see the eReader section, and yes, it loads exceptionally slow, but it’s worth it imo!

I’d love a netbook that actually looked and acted like a book. Swipe left/right to turn the page, tap for HUD screen, coverflow for book covers, etc. Turn it on it’s side, and the bottom becomes a HUD style keyboard and screens turn into netbook goodness. Fold it up to protect the screen and minimize footprint, throw in the bag and go.

I’d buy three, easy.

The New Yorker: The Truth Wears Off

The decline effect and the scientific method: the exact same scientific tests and experiments become less and less consistent over time.

But the data presented at the Brussels meeting made it clear that something strange was happening: the therapeutic power of the drugs appeared to be steadily waning. A recent study showed an effect that was less than half of that documented in the first trials, in the early nineteen-nineties. Many researchers began to argue that the expensive pharmaceuticals weren’t any better than first-generation antipsychotics, which have been in use since the fifties. “In fact, sometimes they now look even worse,” John Davis, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me.

Before the effectiveness of a drug can be confirmed, it must be tested and tested again. Different scientists in different labs need to repeat the protocols and publish their results. The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.

But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable.

more here.

Airing Displeasure

Jesper is spot on:

Alex Payne on Adobe AIR:

Humans are gifted with extremely sensitive bullshit detectors. The average computer user may not internalize the difference between an AIR app and a native app, but he knows when something doesn’t feel right or work correctly. Your tech-stunted uncle may not ever request a “native app” by name, but he’ll sure complain about his computer acting funny. People aren’t dumb.

You better believe that this isn’t just about AIR. As mobile apps become a mandatory part of doing business, more and more cross-platform mobile frameworks are cropping up. As with every cross-platform framework to date, only one in a pile of the resulting applications might even begin to pass for native. These apps just ain’t right, and people can tell.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: cross-platform code is good, but it should never define the user interface.

more here.

ForkBombr: Cultered Code Still Doesn’t Get It

absolutely true. ForkBombr:

From the Cultured Code’s FAQ page on cloud sync:

We will be doing a large scale test with quantifiable data to estimate server and bandwidth costs. It is not yet clear whether or not it will be necessary to pass any of those costs to the user base. This should not be taken as indication that there will, or will not, be any cost. A final decision will be made later based on the aforementioned testing.

They need to offer a cloud service for free. Its like they don’t understand how unhappy many of their customers (and former customers) are.

The company also doesn’t understand the concept of ‘if you don’t have anything to say, keep your mouth shut.’

[via Federico Viticci]

Scrolling on Twitter for Mac feels backwards

Open Twitter for iPhone. Tap and drag from top to bottom and the list scrolls up, as you’d expect- as if you’re dragging the list of tweets up.

Now open Twitter for Mac. Tap and drag from top to bottom on your Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad and the list scrolls down- as you’d expect for any normal Mac app. Except that Twitter still feels like an iOS app even though its on my Mac, and this won’t change anytime soon.

I can’t get over how awkward it feels to have the same scrolling gesture produce the exact opposite results. I suppose it’ll eventually become second nature, but I suddenly feel all upside-down when I’m working on my Mac!

Any one used Smart Scroll before? How long until OS X changes scroll direction to match iOS?

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