Computing with a Stick!
You can carry the PC hardware and software in your pocket. But is it worth it?
 
Computing is becoming truly mobile. Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, has come up with a device so small that it fits in your pocket, but can turn any monitor or TV with high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port into a smart computing device. Intel’s Compute Stick with Windows 8.1 is available in India on Flipkart at Rs9,999. Another version may cost a little less (it was not available in India when I was writing this piece). While, as a concept, the Compute Stick definitely looks promising, the question is: Can it be a game-changer, especially for a country like India? Remember, India is a country obsessed with low-cost mobiles and hungry for more power (processor with higher speeds and big random access memory or RAMs).
 
The Intel Stick is powered by Intel Atom processor with integrated graphics, 2GB of RAM, 32GB inbuilt storage and micro secure digital (SD) slot for expandable memory. It has a universal serial bus (USB) 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 and connects to a TV or monitor through an HDMI port. The device also has a mini USB that is used for power. The Stick with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory. Since the Stick does not have a battery, you need to keep it powered either through the charger or through a power bank. Don’t worry, it consumes very little power. 
 
According to Intel, the Compute Stick can transform any HDMI TV, or a monitor, into a full computer, allowing you to search the web, share your vacation photos, keep up on your email or do any of the tasks that you do on your computer today. All you need is a wireless keyboard and mouse, and you are set. As per reviews from major tech portals, this device is only good for basic computing. “You can run a real browser, install plug-ins, and stream 1080p video from any source. You can run Office just fine and even Photoshop at a pinch. Generally, you won’t notice its limitations, but with 2GB of RAM, you won’t want to multi-task too heavily or at all,” a review in PC World says. 
 
One hurdle is requirement of a wireless keyboard and mouse, combo preferred. At best, the Stick can be used to turn your old TV or monitor into a ‘smart’ device, the reviews say.
 
In India, most of us still use wired keyboards and mouse. Therefore, you have no option but to carry your wireless keyboards and mouse combo. Since the Stick has just one USB port, you must have a combo for keyboard and mouse, else you can use only either of them. 
 
Another issue specific to India is the availability of HDMI port in old TV or monitors. Some of the old TVs have RCA connectors, while old monitors came with digital video interface (DVI) or video graphics array (VGA) ports. This means that you need to buy an adaptor with HDMI port and then use the Compute Stick. Most users are not that adventurous and, thus, would turn away from using old TV or monitor with the Stick. On the other hand, the majority of the latest TVs (read LCDs/LEDs) are being sold as ‘smart TVs’ do have some other basic functionality to browse the web and watch videos or view images. 
 
Apart from Intel, there are several others who are selling similar devices. Unfortunately, not many are available in India. There are a few devices—either available or upcoming—like iView Cyber PC Compute Stick, Tronsmart Mk908II, Lenovo Ideacentre Stick 300, Archos Stock PC, iBall Splendo PC-on-a-stick (Rs8,999) and Asus Chromebit. All of them can be bought for less than Rs10,000. Additionally, since most manufacturers take advantage of Windows with Bling from Microsoft, you will find this OS on many of the Sticks. Very few feature Android and Linux, though.
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    Why Choosing the Right Surgeon Matters Even More Than You Know
    A ProPublica analysis of nearly 17,000 surgeons finds stark differences in complications rates for some of the most routine elective procedures
     
    In February 2012, LaVerne Stiles went to Citrus Memorial Hospital near her home in central Florida for what should have been a routine surgery.
     
    The bubbly retired secretary had been in a minor car accident weeks earlier. She didn’t worry much about her sore neck until a scan detected a broken bone.
     
    The operation she needed, a spinal fusion, is done tens of thousands of times a year without incident. Stiles, 71, had a choice of three specially trained surgeons at Citrus Memorial, which was rated among the top 100 nationally for spinal procedures.
     
    She had no way of knowing how much was riding on her decision. The doctor she chose, Constantine Toumbis, had one of the highest rates of complications in the country for spinal fusions. The other two doctors had rates among the lowest for postoperative problems like infections and internal bleeding.
     
    It’s conventional wisdom that there are “good” and “bad” hospitals — and that selecting a good one can protect patients from the kinds of medical errors that injure or kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.
     
    But a ProPublica analysis of Medicare data found that, when it comes to elective operations, it is much more important to pick the right surgeon.
     
    Today, we are making public the complication rates of nearly 17,000 surgeons nationwide. Patients will be able to weigh surgeons’ past performance as they make what can be a life-and-death decision. Doctors themselves can see where they stand relative to their peers.
     
    The numbers show that the stark differences that Stiles confronted at Citrus Memorial are commonplace across America. Yet many hospitals don’t track the complication rates of individual surgeons and use that data to force improvements. And neither does the government.
     
    A small share of doctors, 11 percent, accounted for about 25 percent of the complications. Hundreds of surgeons across the country had rates double and triple the national average. Every day, surgeons with the highest complication rates in our analysis are performing operations in hospitals nationwide. 
     
    Subpar performers work even at academic medical centers considered among the nation’s best.
     
    A surgeon with one of the nation’s highest complication rates for prostate removals in our analysis operates at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, a national powerhouse known for its research on patient safety. He alone had more complications than all 10 of his colleagues combined — though they performed nine times as many of the same procedures. 
     
    By contrast, some of the nation’s best results for knee replacements were turned in by a surgeon at a small-town clinic in Alabama who insists on personally handling even the most menial aspects of each patient’s surgery and follow-up care.
     
    ProPublica compared the performance of surgeons by examining five years of Medicare records for eight common elective procedures, including knee and hip replacements, spinal fusions and prostate removals.
     
     
    Courtesy: ProPublica
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    COMMENTS

    ramchandran vishwanathan

    5 years ago

    Is there a database for Indian Surgeons for specific procedures

    Popular Blood Thinner Causing Deaths, Injuries at Nursing Homes
    Some facilities fail to properly oversee Coumadin. Too much can cause bleeding; too little, clots. Nursing homes are “a perfect setup for bad things happening,” one expert says 
     
    This story was co-published with The Washington Post.
     
    When Loren Peters arrived in the emergency room in October 2013, bruises covered his frail body, and blood oozed from his gums.
     
    The 85-year-old had not been in a fight or fallen down. Instead, he had been given too much of a popular, decades-old blood thinner that, unmonitored, can turn from a lifesaver into a killer.
     
    “My goodness, I’ve never seen anything like it,” recalled Lorna Finch, Peters’s daughter, of the ugly purple bruise that sprawled from the middle of her father’s stomach to his hip. “It was just awful.”
     
    Peters took Coumadin at his Marshalltown, Iowa, nursing home because he had an abnormal heart rhythm, which increases the risk of stroke. It’s a common precaution, but the drug must be carefully calibrated: too much, and you can bleed uncontrollably; too little, and you can develop life-threatening clots.
     
    When nursing homes fail to maintain this delicate balance, it puts patients in danger. From 2011 to 2014, at least 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died after errors involving Coumadin or its generic version, warfarin, a ProPublica analysis of government inspection reports shows. Studies suggest there are thousands more injuries every year that are never investigated by the government.
     
    “It’s an insidious problem,” said Rod Baird, president of Geriatric Practice Management, a firm that creates electronic health records for physicians working in long-term care facilities. Because it’s so easy to get wrong, “Coumadin is the most dangerous drug in America.”
     
    Nursing homes around the country are routinely cited for lapses that imperil residents, from letting those with dementia wander off to not stopping elders from choking on their food. For years, advocates, researchers and government officials have worried about the overuse of antipsychotic medications that can put elderly patients into a stupor and increase their risk of life-threatening falls. A national initiative helped reduce the use of such drugs among long-term nursing home residents by 20 percent between the end of 2011 and the end of 2014.
     
    But the dangers of the widely used Coumadin have drawn relatively little scrutiny, perhaps because the drug has clear benefits. Still, improper use has caused some patients incalculable suffering and, in some cases, greatly hastened deaths.
     
    Dolores Huss, an 89-year-old grandmother of eight, died from internal bleeding after a San Diego facility gave her an antibiotic that multiplies the effects of Coumadin then didn’t alert her physician that she needed additional blood tests to measure how long it was taking her blood to clot.
     
    Shirley Reim, recovering from hip surgery, was hospitalized with blood clots in her legs after a Minnesota nursing home failed to give her Coumadin for 50 days in a row and also didn’t perform the blood test ordered by her doctor. She suffered permanent damage. Details of the cases come from government inspection reports and lawsuits filed by the patients’ families, which were settled confidentially.
     
    Periodic inspections document hundreds of additional errors that were caught early enough to prevent serious harm, but the real toll is likely much higher, experts say.
     
    A 2007 peer-reviewed study in The American Journal of Medicine estimated that nursing home residents suffer 34,000 fatal, life-threatening or serious events related to the drug each year. North Carolina data shows more medication errors in nursing homes involving Coumadin than any other drug.
     
    Despite such evidence, Coumadin deaths and hospitalizations have drawn only limited attention from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that regulates nursing homes. Federal officials haven’t tallied Coumadin cases to see the full extent of the damage or identify common problems involving the use of the drug. Neither has the American HealthCare Association, the trade group for nursing homes.
     
    The government investigates incidents like the one involving Peters that trigger complaints or surface in routine inspections. Sometimes, CMS slaps homes with “immediate jeopardy” citations, fining them and threatening to cut off federal funding if quick action isn’t taken. Villa del Sol, where Peters lived, received such a citation related to his care and was fined $33,345.
     
    More commonly, though, homes are not fined and are simply asked to... Continue Reading…
     
    Courtesy: ProPublica
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