Saturday, December 5, 2009

medical butlers anyone?

Hehehe. This is a very nice idea. A hybrid nurse/DH/secretary.



I can imagine a scenario like this:

Welcome to the Manila hotel Ma'am. Your room in the MacArthur suite is ready. I took the liberty of confirming your husband's appointment with the hotel's golf instructor and I also confirmed your appointment with your cosmetic surgeon. I also took the liberty of contacting your personal physician back at home and transferred your encrypted medical records from the physician's server to the Hotel's server. It is encrypted to your biometrics. With your permission and your biometrics I will proceed to uncrypt the records and forward them to your surgeon and his hospital. I also took the liberty of stocking your room with all the medications and medical devices you need as per your personal physician's instructions. And dont forget to pick up your complimentary pearl studded keychain/ flash drive which I will fill with your medical history, current medications and allergies once you uncrypt them. Its for the medics and ambulance you see, just in case you have a problem while shopping. Have a nice stay in the Philippines ma'am.



Of course we cant forget the original butler-surgeon, Alfred Pennyworth



in reference to: Health, wellness served on a silver platter, anyone? - 12/04/09 (view on Google Sidewiki)

how to tell a smart from a dumb charger

How to tell if it is a dumb or smart nimh battery charger. But keep in mind, assume all chargers are dumb unless proven otherwise!


1. RTFM!!!! Yes believe it or not, reading the frigging manual or even the frigging box can tell you. If you havent bought it yet, just go to the manufacturer's website and see the specs or even download the PDF manual. There may be certain code words like


1.a. negative delta V, sometimes abbreviated as

- [triangle]V

  The triangle means delta or change in. Delta is used by scientists as a shorthand for "change in". The dash is a negative sign. V = voltage. So that means when a nimh battery is full the voltage it emits slightly drops (hence the negative delta). This is the signal for the charger to either stop charging or go to trickle charge mode.

update: sometimes instead of - delta V, the phrase used is "charging control method: Peak detection" or similar. Conversely, if under the charging control method, the value is something like "timer" or "nil" then its dumb.


1.b. timer. If the word "timer" or "timer shut off" is written and there are no other indicators, most likely it is dumb. A smart charger turns of or goes into trickle charge mode when the battery is full, thats the definition of a smart charger. A timer dumb charger automatically turns off after XX hours have passed, usually 12 hours, no matter what. This is just a safety measure to avoid wasting electricity and super overcharging (thats bad) the batteries if you left the charger plugged in and went on vacation or something. If on the other hand, it has "timer" and other indicators like # 1.a. then its smart.

1.c. look for charging tables. If there is a table that so and so MAH battery takes so and so hours to charge, be very careful because real men dont compute, they just plug in the charger and the smart charger takes care of stopping the charging.

1.d. the dont ask, dont tell policy. If the packaging or the manual says NOTHING about it being either smart or dumb, then assume its ghey ... este ... assume its dumb. So for every charger, assume its dumb unless the instructions say so

2. test it yourself. a smart charger will detect if the battery is full and stop. This is easier if the charger has individual charging channels. Get one half full and one drained  battery and see if the half full batt stops charging sooner than the almost empty batt. This is the main disadvantage of the powerbase 4AA smart charger versus unomat chart charger. The unomat has 1 channel per battery, the powerbase 4aa has 1 channel per 2 batteries but the powerbase 2AA has one channel per battery

2.a. charge 1 almost full battery and one empty battery and measure the time needed to full charge or for the charger to stop charging. Obviously the empty  battery will take longer to charge

2.b. charge an empty battery, measure the time it takes. unplug charger and remove battery. Wait several min for it to go to room temp. Charge it again and measure the time. This should take only a few minutes.

3. Price of the charger minus the price of the included batteries. If its cheap, most probably its dumb. the going price for 1 eneloop AA is 150+ pesos so minus the cost of the batteries from the total cost to get the price of the charger. A powerbase 2AA smart charger is probably 600 pesos, 900+ for powerbase 4AA and unomat 4AA costs 1000 pesos but it has individual charging channels so there is no reason to buy the 4AA powerbase. The powerbase and unomat chargers i mentioned come with AA/AAA nimh batteries. Since they are not LSD-nimh batteries, they are low cost so minusing their value from the total price of the charger still gives you a decent price. I've seen dumb chargers go for 100-300 pesos without batteries.


UPDATE: this is what the symbol for delta V looks like. Although usually the triangle is not smaller than the V



UPDATE: #2b or
2.b. charge an empty battery, measure the time it takes. unplug charger and remove battery. Wait several min for it to go to room temp. Charge it again and measure the time. This should take only a few minutes.
Seems to not always work. I've had reports of powerbase chargers failing just this one test. Must be a design flaw or something

smart bro plug it 3g internet - new plan



 There has been a claim in tipid PC (see here page 80) that the previous smart bro plug it plan 799 and plan 1500 have joined. That gives us a unlimited 3g internet for 999 pesos a month. Not bad!

As usual, the webpage of smart bro does not reflect this.

Previously there  were several plans for smart bro.

1. Plan 999 or canopy. This is IMHO the worst of the plans. It has a bad reputation in tipid pc. 999 pesos a month, unlimited, 384-512 kbps dpending on the location but there are reports of a speed upgrade to 1 mbps. This is locked to your cellsite.

All other plans aside from canopy use 3g or 3.5g/hspda frequencies. Up to 2mbps. They use usb dongles that function as 3g modems (see the pic above), except for share it. Also AFAIK except for share it which is locked to 3.5g, the others can use 3.5g, 3g and even GPRS if there is no 3g signal.

2. Prepaid. PHP 10 for 30 min. There are various discounts available. I've tested it in my house, actual speeds are 1.3 mbps, pretty ok to me.

3. Plan 799. 799 pesos a month for 80 hrs a month, in excess, same cost as prepaid.

4. Share it. Unlimited. Instead of a usb 3g modem, it comes with a wifi router where you stick the sim card. This is what I use now. Actual speeds are unstable, depending on the location and time. At home I can expect > 1.3 mbps. This is locked to your province, unlike the other 3g plans that are nationwide.

5. Plan 1500. Same as plan 799 except its unlimited



Again, this is unverified information !! OK verified !!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Med Students Use P2P File Sharing To Get Restricted Access Papers

This is not new. Even in the Philippines, there have been pirated medical textbooks for almost a decade. If you want to include Xerox copies, then pirated textbooks and journals have been here for much longer. For those of you who are not familiar with medical journals, medical and scientific journals are available online. But just like print journals, sometimes you need a subscription or some form of payment to be able to access them. I would imagine that residents beg/borrow or steal the password from someone who has a subscription like the library of their hospital or a rich consultant, go to the journal's website, download the PDF of the journal and then share it on P2P. You could even scan print journals and then share the Jpegs.

in reference to:
"Med Students Use P2P File Sharing To Get Restricted Access Papers"
- Med Students Use P2P File Sharing To Get Restricted Access Papers | Popular Science (view on Google Sidewiki)


While some companies hope an iTunes-like approach to distributing scientific papers on the cheap will get journal articles into the hands of people who need them, a new study shows that many medical students are already taking the Napster approach. A new paper studying the downloading habits of medical students found 125,000 users of peer-to-peer filesharing services who obtained some 5,000 scientific papers for free, circumventing the usual $30 fee.
This paper greatly complicates the issue of open access science journals. On the one hand, the users of the site knowingly stole copyrighted material. On the other, one could reasonably say that medical students, nurses and doctors should have access to information that could help them in their job of saving lives without the barrier of cost.
The downloading habits of the users of the site mirrored the general impact of scientific papers. Journal articles from Science and Nature received the most traffic, with Nature dominating the list with 118 papers.
In many ways, this paper raises more questions than it answers, like "why couldn't doctors and medical students access these papers for free, like college students can?" Certainly, as both the interest in viewing, and the fees for viewing, scientific papers rises, more and more instances of paper piracy will come to light. I guess everyone should just be happy that no one in Metallica is a doctor

Philippine peso versus the US dollar



US dollar falling against the philippine peso. Well that means I'm delaying my purchase of more LED flashlights like the Quark mini AA to get a better exchange rate.

Graph care of Wolfram alpha.

update: aww the graph is gone. wolfram must generate the jpegs on the fly and deletes them soon after. Next time i'll have to move the graph somewhere permanent

By going viral, admen exploit germ of an idea

This is how you deal with change. Unlike my post earlier today, these admen are not crying and sulking. Instead these guys embrace the new technologies and new media to sell their products.

So those lolos and lolas (grandfathers and grandmothers) who run the advertising agencies and news media outlets better stop complaining that things are not the same as when they were young. Step aside for the young!!

2 thumbs up!!

"By using e-mail and the digital word-of-mouth that greets Facebook fans with “you’ve been glazed,” only 12 percent of doughnut fans responded to the initial offer of 5,000 free Krispy Kreme products.

Given that it was a company-to-user approach, it was an expected batting average, Geiser says.

But after getting their free doughnuts, the fans recommended the same promo to at least five other persons. That second wave then asked friends to go to Krispy Kremes stores, which resulted in an exponential surge in spreading the word.

And all they did was they “took a doughnut and applied a social value to the doughnut,” says Geiser a he sums up his success story.

It’s different when a friend tells a friend, he adds.

So the campaign that was initially sent to 5,000 people eventually reached a 60,000-strong database. It translated to a 13 percent increase in sales, where 6,000 people or 10 percent were new customers."

in reference to:

- Business - By going viral, admen exploit germ of an idea - INQUIRER.net (view on Google Sidewiki)

PLDT readies 'broadband over power lines'

This will be good for people who have no other way to connect to the net or for areas with substandard net access.

But the product better be competitive, with a good price/speed/reliability ratio. Otherwise, other ISP's like the fast growing 3g and 3.5g ISP's will leave it in the dust. I would suggest a price of 1000 pesos a month for 1-2 mbps or 750 pesos a month for 512 kbps.

The article says : " virtually all of Meralco’s 24 million customers concentrated in Metro Manila". So does this mean only in Metro Manila? Hopefully this will expand to become nationwide.

The ISP market in Metro manila is becoming saturated with lots of companies fighting over subscribers. Better target areas with poor/no sun/smart 3g coverage first.




"MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) said it will be ready to launch, in six to 12 months, its landmark “broadband over power lines (BPL)” service, seen as a new technology that will fast-forward the growth of Internet use in the country.

The BPL technology is a by-product of the PLDT group’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributors.

The new technology, as its name suggests, will allow PLDT to efficiently bring broadband services to virtually all of Meralco’s 24 million customers concentrated in Metro Manila and nearby areas at a minimal cost."

in reference to:

- PLDT readies ‘broadband over power lines’ - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos (view on Google Sidewiki)

Traditional news media under attack by digital parasites

Well what can you do. Filipinos are cheap. If its available free, you wont want to pay for it. Even I am not immune. The only reason I still buy newspapers is for the ads, because sometimes something nice comes up.

The digital revolution is here to stay. We have no obligation to support dinosaurs who cannot evolve and adapt with the changing times.

Several decades back, I'm sure people who were in the horse industry had similar complaints when cars became common.

For a more recent example, landline monopoly PLDT seems to have successfully broadened its business model to inlcude the net and cellular phones (through its partner smart).

You know the saying, there is nothing constant but change.


"Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:23:00 12/04/2009

Filed Under: Newspaper & Magazines, Online, Internet, Advertising, Media

HYDERABAD, INDIA — Newspaper editors and owners meeting in India have urged their industry to seize back the online publishing initiative from search engine “parasites” living off their work.

Speaker after speaker at the ongoing three-day World Newspaper Congress in the southern city of Hyderabad argued that the current crisis in the newspaper industry required a drastic rethink of Internet strategies.

With print advertising revenues in free fall, the search for real income from digital editions has become something of a Holy Grail for newspaper houses worldwide.

“One thing is sure, unless we protect and commercially exploit our high value content, the journalistic standards so important to our readers and to society will no longer be financially viable,” said Timothy Balding, chief executive of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra).

But options are limited, with WAN-Ifra warning in its annual world press trends update that “at no time in the foreseeable future” will digital advertising revenues replace those lost to print."

in reference to:
- Papers urged to reclaim their online identities - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos (view on Google Sidewiki)

utorrent 2.0 beta build 17427 is here

i've been using utorrent 1.9 alpha for some time. I like it. It seems to be better able to get through firewalls and stuff, specially for net connections with no open ports.

"1.9 is now 2.0, and we've hit beta!

Release Notes:

* We've added UDP tracker support!
* uTP has been improved significantly over the previous alpha, with many bugs fixed and performance improvements. It's no longer hidden in Advanced settings.
* The setup dialog has been overhauled to make it much easier to use and with a built-in speed test. It's still not quite complete yet, but this will give you a good taste of what we're up to with it!
* A new transfer cap feature has been added to track bandwidth usage, along with graphs to show your usage."


I'll try it out and I'll blog about the results later


and yes, your old unfinished downloads will be carried over if you upgrade


this is my blog
http://magos-biologis.blogspot.com/
in reference to: ĀµTorrent 2.0 beta 17427 - Forums - ĀµTorrent - The Lightweight and Efficient BitTorrent Client (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Halfbakery




HalfBakery




Halfbakery is a website where you can publish your ideas and inventions, well at least you can describe them. Other members can comment and rate your idea/invention. A bad idea can be described as half baked, hence the name of the site.

Most entries are based on bad science or maybe even bad drugs, but there are a few good ones.

enhancing the 5.56 bullet

This is an old 2006 entry that I did for the website halfbakery. Yes, I wrote this myself so its ORIGINAL. I'll describe halfbakery in the next post.




Its an old idea about modding 5.56 bullets to make it more lethal, or rather more consistent.. How do I know this? Hey, forensics and terminal ballistics is part of the medical curriculum and I ran with it, doing my own readings on the net.
enhancing the m16/m4
[edit, delete]
deepening a cannelure to enhance the m16/m4

I. Introduction

the 5.56 bullet was derived from varmint ammunition, ammo designed for animals the size of rats and squirrels. But it was adopted for use against humans, which are much much larger animals

this is why it works against humans. all rifle bullets are long and slim with the center of gravity near the base. the spin imparted to the bullet stabilized the bullet in a point first direction. but the spin is only enough to stabilize a bullet in air. in thicker mediums like flesh the spin isnt enough and the bullet likes to yaw until the base is going first. when it is going sideways it makes a bigger hole.

All rifle bullets do this. what makes the 5.56 different is that it can fragment when it goes sideways. hold a piece of paper and stab it with someting pointed, you get a small hole. get a piece of paper and stab it while being stretched, you get a big tear. same thing with flesh. when the temporary cavity and tension of the flesh is at its biggest (when the bullet is sideways) the 5.56 fragments and the small fragments hit the tense flesh, the flesh tears, resulting in a bigger hole. The faster your bullet the more chance it can fragment, thats why the lower velocity m4 carbines do poorly at long ranges.

How come only the 5.56 fragments? because it has a cannelure. a cannelure is a notch cut in the jacket of the bullet so the lips of the cartrige case can grip it better. the notch means the jacket is thinner there and it may be weak enough to fragment.

The ak74 and the h&k mp7 and the p90 have bullets that are designed to yaw early so the biggest hole is more or less located inside your body. if it yaws too late, the bullet might have exited your body before it can yaw. but all of these dont fragment.

II. The Idea

so a problem with the m4 carbine is that the bullet is much slower than the old long barrel m16 so there is more chance that the bullet's speed will not be enough to fragment and/or the minimum range for fragmentation is much shorter. for other rifle calibers, normal FMJ ammo doesnt fragment

for the 5.56 i propose that you either deepen the cannelure or make more cuts in the jacket to weaken it. one expedient way to do it is to use a small lathe. This enhances fragementation especially for the m4. for the other calibers you can make a cannelure or else just score the bullet right above the neck of the cartrige. that way you dont have to remove the bullet from its case , just put the whole thing on a lathe and scratch a groove above the cartrige lip. I think this will increase the lethality of other rifles, especially the p90 and mp7 bullets which some critics say are underpowered.

NOTE: this might be a violation of the hague convention



Here's a link with a discussion of how rifle ammo does its stuff.

link

Cute figurines with heads shaped like organs




Hehehe. Cute

I'm a doctor so I would want one of those for my office.
in reference to:
"Cute figurines with heads shaped like organs"
- Cute figurines with heads shaped like organs Boing Boing (view on Google Sidewiki)

Fedex Tracking of my flashlights




This is a really great feature of Fedex. I'm now tracking my maglite led flashlights.



So this cost me $71.97 for 3 maglite 2AA led next gen flashlights + $22 shipping =  $93.97. Thats 1400 pesos each more or less. Not bad. Problema nalang ang customs. Local price at hahn is 2400 pesos.


in reference to: http://www.fedex.com/Tracking (view on Google Sidewiki)

A new form of solar power for your home

There's another kind of photovoltaic solar setup aside from the usual. The usual solar power system uses batteries which store the excess power produced at night or on cloudy days.

This traditional setup has problems.
* You immediately need to have enough solar cells + batteries to replace your daily power consumption, unless you want to manually switch between solar and grid power
* The batteries need maintenance and replacing from time to time

This new method has special electronics. As long as there is sunlight, the electronics pump the electricity produced into your house circuits. If the electricity produced exceeds your power consumption, your meter goes backwards (if the meter is compatible). If the power produced is say half your house's consumption the power meter moves half as fast.

When the sun sets, your house goes back to grid power. What if there is a power outage? Unfortunately, the system will shut down. You can then manually shift the solar panels to a bypass those special electronics and you could have limited power.

Advantages
* No batteries so less expense and less maintenance
* You can also use those special electronics with a windmill or other source of alternative power
* Its modular. You can buy those special electronics with say 1000 watts capacity and if you only have enough money left over for say 100 watts of solar cells, you can hook it up and start enjoying the savings. You can add more solar cells later

Disadvantages
* No idea where to get them.I'll post details later
* Semi useless in power failure conditions
* In the short run, the electronics may be more expensive


These "special electronics" are called microsine inverters. I dont know where to get them so you'll just have to google them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

port forwarding for newbies

You want to port forward your router but all the esoteric rutials, settings, chants, prayers and mumbo jumbo are confusing you? I think you better try this free program.


LINK

Does bad luck come in Threes?

Ever since I was little, I noted that bad luck comes in threes. After the third bad incident of the day I'm usually home free at least till tomorrow. Couple of days ago, I had a more difficult than expected operation, problems with my online purchase and problems with google adsense for this site.

Fortunately, all 3 issues are resolved as of today.

This is in no way scientific, probably the human trait of trying to look for patterns where there is none, and me forgetting all the days when I had non-3 bad things happen to me.

How I search for cheaper LED flashlights online

This is what I do to find cheap stuff online.

First you have to know what you want. It should ideally be a specific model name. But if you dont have a specific model, here's what to do. Your 2 main websites are ebay and google. For example, I had no idea what LED flashlights brands were ok except maglite. so I searched for "led flashlight" in ebay. I then made notes on what models "looked" like they were branded and of high quality but were not too expensive.

Using ebay.ph, you only get philippine results but there are search options + a link at the bottom where you can expand the ebay search so it is worldwide. Using the ebay search, on the left side of the search results for "led flashlight" there is an option to limit the search to a certain price range. In this case I set the lower limit to 10 pesos and the upper limit to around 1500 pesos, the max I was willing to spend. This weeds out the ultra expensive stuff. You can up the lower limit if you want to wed out the cheapo chinese stuff. Next I set the ebay search result to order them with the most expensive items first. Optionally you can increase the number of results shown so you wont have to keep pressing next page.

Ok , go through the items. Discard those that are obviously of low quality. Usually if its dirt cheap and/or it has no brand name its chinese junk. In the case of LED flashlights, they only say what the bulb is like "6 led bulbs" or "5watt cree led" instead of giving a brand name. This is GENERIC, literally.  Make a list of specific models.

Next, go to Google. Google "model name" + review. Wade through the results and do this. Take note this is not how noobs surf. A noob would left click on a likely google search result, wait for it to load, then read the page and then maybe hit the back button of the browser, wait for google to re load AGAIN and repeat the process. Left clicking is for noobs IMHO. This is what you do. First set firefox or whatever browser you use so any new tabs that I create will be in the background. Going through the google results, right click and select Open in new tab. For firefox the shortcut is "T". A new tab will be created and since you set firefox to keep the original tab in the foreground, you still see the google search results. Keep reading and repeat for all likely search results. While you are analyzing the search results, the pages you right clicked into new tabs are loading in the background. This way you save time. Now read the online reviews, see the specs and make  a list of possible flashlight models you want.

Also take note of any hints or clues in the search results that you find. You might see a comment like "Conclusion: model X is good but its still not as good as model Y". You just got info that model Y might be good. Note it and google it later.

Ok now you finalized what model you want, flashlight model X. If you dont know the ebay price, go back to ebay and search for it. Dont forget to include the shipping price. Now google "model X". Once the results come up, look at the top of the search results. You'll see the links "Web Images Videos Maps News Shopping Mail more". Select shopping. You might also want to re order the results by price. Start wading through the results usnig the right click new tab technique. The results will send you to product pages on shopping websites. You'll need to know if they ship to the Philippines and how much it costs. Usually what I do is to first look for links to "store policies", "help" or similar at the top right of the page. From there you can see if they ship to the Phils. If you cant find it, you might have to click on the "add to cart" button and go through the process of enrolling/registering to that website. Usually all you need to do is to get to the residence or shipping address page. Go straight to Country and if the Phils is not listed, close the tab. If it is listed, continue. Usually you'll eventually see how much the shipping costs. Take note of the item + shipping cost. If their shipping costs are good, you might want to go back to the homepage of the shopping site and browse through their product line. Pay attention as you might find useful info such as new models or new brands.

You'll have to go back and forth between ebay, googling reviews and google shopping until you make a short list of candidates. Usually I get the cheapest but take into consideration the risk of fraud. A "power seller" classification in ebay means this seller has a high volume of sales and has a good reputation.

Once you make your decision, go for it. If its cheaper from ebay buy from ebay. If its cheaper in an online store, buy from there

The death of distributed computing - at least for me

Distributed computing or grid computing  is the practice of dividing up a very complex problem into many parts then each part goes to one computer. This is an alternative to using one super powerful computer to do the entire problem by itself. It can be as simple as 2 pc's or multiple PC's in a network or you can have millions of Pc's  connected by the internet.

I used to do it. I was a member of seti@home for a long time. What made me stop - cool n quiet and rising electricity bills.

One day I bought a new PC that was based on the AMD athlon XP processor. It had cool n quiet. Cool n quiet underclocks your CPU when your PC is doing simple tasks that dont stress out the CPU. This reduces heat and power consumption. I used to run seti@home in the background (low priority to avoid slowing down my PC) whenever I was using my pc for surfing or typing. I dont leave my PC on 24/7 or overnight because I dont want a high electricity bill  and I dont leave my PC on when I'm not home because of the fire risk. But with cool n quiet, I suddenly had a big incentive to not use SETI@home because it would slightly lower my electricity bill.

Nowadays, with electricity prices going up and some form of power saving standard on all CPU's, there is little hope for distributed computing in my house. Yeah I know, its selfish, but thats the way it is.

Again, this is MY personal reason. But I'm sure other people share my sentiments.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

solar flashlight review



  

My personal review of this led flashlight. See the pictures.



You'll see flashlights like this. Advertised on Ebay or in 168 mall as solar charged flashlights. Its a scam. This one cost me 90 pesos in 168 mall 2 weeks ago. I bought one since I'm waiting for my fenix e01.

3 leds. Decent light for a keychain light. Enough to walk on a dark street. But its dead now. Opening it up shows this (see pics above). You see a lithium button cell, which is not rechargeable. The solar cell does work. Turn on the switch and place the solar cell under strong light and you can see a faint glow from the leds.

Rating: 1 out of 5

update: I was going to use my canon 590IS to try to take some beamshots like the pro reviewers. This 6000 peso P&S digicam has manual controls so I can fudge around with the aperture and shutter settings. But like I said, its dead. I'm not throwing any more money on this lemon. If you see stuff like this sold in 168 mall, please inform the saleslady that it isnt rechargeable.

Lotus LED flashlight review




This is my personal review of the Lotus LED flashlight. I'm not a pro reviewer though so no light levels or runtimes here.

Specs:
* 2AA
* 500 something pesos
* aluminum construction
* removable reflector, a semi candle mode, with less coverage than the maglite's candle mode
* clickie switch on the head
* cannot stand up on its base
* made in china
* 1 watt LED, well it says 1 watt on the packaging


I thought that since it was expensive, it would last longer. I was wrong. After a few weeks, i was finding the batteries dead and the entire flashlight was hot. The front U spring was shorting on the wall (see pic). Fixed with some tape. Eventually after a few months, it would not turn on without a lot of fussing, unscrewing and so on. The usual with china flashlights. If it wont turn on, tighten or loosen the tail or head caps, then pull and clean all the springs and contacts.

Actually now that doesnt work so I'm retiring it after > 1 year of on-off service.

Final review : 1 out of 5

My candidates for LED flashlights

After searching ebay and seaching using google shopping + a little google research in the flashlight forums looking for reviews, I made an initial short list of candidates. Some are 1x AA, some are 2x AA. Requirement are branded, high quality, < $40. I had to surf a lot of sites to find stores that shipped to the Philippines. Sometimes you have to register with them to find out that they dont ship here or the cost is too much.

The candidates




The Fenix E20. $38, free shipping. 2AA batteries
Link




LED Lenser - V2 Triplex 3 LED. pounds 15 ($25.06) + pounds 7.25 ($12.11) shipping . 1 AA
link

Coast LED Lenser Flashlight DIGITAC II - 7848. $29.95 + $12 shipping. 1AA
link


Quark mini AA. $39. free shipping. 1AA
link

NiteCore EZ AA . $52, free shipping. 1AA
link

2AA inova radiant. $34.41 total using e-2-door for shipping.
link

2AA maglite led, 2nd generation. $24 + $4 shipping
link




If I remember correctly, the nitecore, the quark and the maglite have different light levels, while the maglite also has adjustable zoom. Having a low setting because at max light levels, the batteries only last 4 hours or so.

I'll blog later about my final choice.

My first branded LED flashlight



The fenix  E01. This was my first purchase. What caught me at first was the low $15 price + free shipping here. I'm surprised that a lot of higher end but still chinese brands like ultrafire, sacred fire, small sun, romisen, etc have prices comparable to beyond those of branded products.

This is to be a keychain light so it breaks the "everything I own is AA" rule. It has to be compact. Its branded, made in the USA and has a twist switch so it might last longer. Other 1 x AAA lights are brighter but I don't need super brightness. This is an emergency light. Priority is on compact size and toughness.

Its still in transit so I'll blog about it when it arrives. I ordered it on Tuesday 10 November, 2009.

Update: 1/8/09. It still hasnt arrived yet.
As an alternate, the parent or partner website is this <link>.  Its better to go there directly. They have other brand, not just fenix. Otherwise its the same as the site above.

update: 1/13/10. Still waiting.

Why Do I want to Buy a Led Flashlight online?

To the people who know me, I an a flashaholic. My family uses flashlights regularly and of course Its nice to have high quality tools.

Reading this blog you would know that I have successfully purchased stuff online using paypal + smart money.

Ok so why do I want to buy flashlights online? You can buy cheap flashlights at 168 mall or more expensive flashlights at Hahn. I've been getting a lot of flak from my family because they say I'm wasting money with stuff that lasts only a few months. My father's big 3D maglite is like 20+ years old and still ok. Plus its irritating to have to shake and fix flashlights when you want them to work immediately. Prices at Hahn are a little high. 2400 pesos for a second gen led AA maglite versus 1400 pesos including shipping online. So quality and price. I hope these flashlights will last. Of course I dont know what will happen at the post office. Hopefully the taxes will be reasonable. I'll know in 1-2 months when they arrive.

A lot of nice brands are not available here like fenix, gerber, quark, etc. So another inducement to buy online.

Ok thats that. Coming soon is a blog about my initial choices.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Paypal without a credit card in the Philippines : Part 3

Ohkay, the final post of this series.

Threads in TipidPC and in the ebay discussion boards plus a few hits in google searches say that, tes you can verify your paypal account with smart money. WTF!! I want to buy stuff online, not verify my paypal account. Besides, it has already been verified using my mom's credit card. Please stop beating around the bush and say YES or NO. At least Smart answered my email with a YES and one of the employees in my local Smart office has used her smart money card online.

So AFAIK I am the first person on the net to actually claim to be able to buy stuff online using smart money + paypal. 

The old version of smart money is not paypal compatible. The new version has a number that starts with 52996***********. And you have to unlock internet transactions right before
Well, when I started it wasnt a sure thing with all the beating around the bushes.Fortunately It worked.

Click here for the full instructions on how to use smart money on the net.
UPDATE: yeah the link is broken. But its pretty simple to do. All you have to do is to apply for smart money. Once you get it, load it with some pesos. Then enable internet transactions by sending INTERNET to 343 through text message. Link it to your paypal account (treat it like a mastercard credit card) and you can now verify it. Dont forget to use your cellphone to unlock the card for internet transactions just before verifying or buying. And take note, there are two "unlocks" for smart money. One is for internet transactions, one is for swiping the card at your local store so dont get them mixed up. The internet transactions lock is always on by default. It will lock after each internet transaction and a few minutes after unlocking if its idle. Verification will take ~ 2 days.

UPDATE : For a step by step, I'll make a new blog entry <here>.

Applying for smart money is simple. No need for any proof of income like credit cards. Just 30 pesos and an ID. I also had to upgrade my decade old sim card (retaining my old number), another 100 pesos. 130 pesos one time fee vs 1200 pesos a year for a credit card. FTW!!!!! I got my card ~ 5 days after applying.

IPhone app for CPR

This Iphone App uses the accelerometer to determine if you are pumping hard enough.



LINK

Department of Defense orders 2,200 PS3s

Good thing the PlayStation 3 dropped in price. The US Department of Defense ordered 2,200 more of the consoles to crank up their PS3 supercomputer, currently consisting of 336 of the devices in a Linux cluster. According to the official Justification Review Document (cache link) required for the purchase of the PS3s, the game platform, with its IBM Cell microprocessor, is a much better value for the money than IBM's Cell-powered products designed for supercomputing applications. Ars Technica points out that the price difference comes in part because the PS3 is a loss leader for Sony. From the Justification Review Document:

With respect to cell processors, a single 1U server configured with two 3.2GHz cell processors can cost up to $8K while two Sony PS3s cost approximately $600. Though a single 3.2 GHz cell processor can deliver over 200 GFLOPS, whereas the Sony PS3 configuration delivers approximately 150 GFLOPS, the approximately tenfold cost difference per GFLOP makes the Sony PS3 the only viable technology for HPC applications.

link
Well, time to make a medicine related post.



"Blame Doctors for America's Primary Care Doctor Shortage

— By Nick Baumann | Wed October 7, 2009 8:51 AM PST

Andy Kroll had a good piece on the front page yesterday explaining the problems that America's looming shortage of non-specialty doctors could cause for health care reform. Here's the gist:

If primary-care medicine in the US were a patient, its diagnosis would be grim. The first responders to illness and pain, who can spot and treat chronic conditions in their early stages, primary-care doctors are in greater demand each year. In 2006, just more than 250,000 primary-care doctors practiced in the US—by some estimates, that was about several thousand to more than 7,000 less than the demand. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2025 the demand for primary-care doctors will have soared to nearly 320,000 doctors nationwide, a 29 percent increase from 2006 and the most for all types of physicians.

Andy explains that "part of this supply problem is financial"—primary care docs make much less money than specialists. Do you know why that is? After all, basic economics should tell you the opposite—if primary care doctors really are in short supply, they could charge more, and they would make more. Except that the American health care delivery system is not a free market. Far from it. It's a system dominated by a single payer—government spending on Medicare and Medicaid—that hugely affects prices throughout the system. The amount that Medicare and Medicaid pay has a huge effect on doctors' bottom lines. And Medicare and Medicaid don't pay based on results. They don't pay based on supply and demand. They pay based on how "hard" a procedure is. Slate health care columnist Darshak Sanghavi explained how this works last month:

Here's how it works. Doctors do a job—like placing a coronary artery stent, reading an EKG, or spending an hour examining and diagnosing a patient with a complex problem like insomnia—and earn something called "relative value units." In 2009, according to Medicare, the stent guy scores about 24 units for his relatively quick procedure, the EKG person gets 0.5 units for the 10 seconds his job requires, and the poor internist gets only 2.5 units for his hour of time. Figuring a doctor's total take per task is straightforward: Medicare adds up a doctor's total RVUs, multiplies the total by a fixed amount (roughly $40 right now), and writes the check.

Take a quick moment to think about how insane this is. Better yet, let The Economist's excellent-but-anonymous Democracy in America blog explain it to you exactly how insane it is:

We have a name for setting prices this way. It's called the "labour theory of value", and it was invented by a guy named Karl Marx. It is generally held by modern economists to be a metaphysical concept rather than one that should have any bearing on how prices are set. The reason is that if people are automatically paid according to how hard their work is, they will go about working very hard at tasks that are utterly useless to anyone else. You know what medical procedure would be really difficult to perform? A laser colonoscopy through stoma with control of bleeding—while doing a backflip! Imagine how many work RVUs that would be worth! But we don't want our doctors doing backflips, and we don't want them performing the most difficult possible procedures unless those procedures actually make the patient healthier. Wages are supposed to be set partly by demand.

Indeed. But here's the kicker" → Economy, Health Care, Politics
Blame Doctors for America's Primary Care Doctor Shortage
— By Nick Baumann | Wed October 7, 2009 8:51 AM PST

Andy Kroll had a good piece on the front page yesterday explaining the problems that America's looming shortage of non-specialty doctors could cause for health care reform. Here's the gist:

If primary-care medicine in the US were a patient, its diagnosis would be grim. The first responders to illness and pain, who can spot and treat chronic conditions in their early stages, primary-care doctors are in greater demand each year. In 2006, just more than 250,000 primary-care doctors practiced in the US—by some estimates, that was about several thousand to more than 7,000 less than the demand. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2025 the demand for primary-care doctors will have soared to nearly 320,000 doctors nationwide, a 29 percent increase from 2006 and the most for all types of physicians.

Andy explains that "part of this supply problem is financial"—primary care docs make much less money than specialists. Do you know why that is? After all, basic economics should tell you the opposite—if primary care doctors really are in short supply, they could charge more, and they would make more. Except that the American health care delivery system is not a free market. Far from it. It's a system dominated by a single payer—government spending on Medicare and Medicaid—that hugely affects prices throughout the system. The amount that Medicare and Medicaid pay has a huge effect on doctors' bottom lines. And Medicare and Medicaid don't pay based on results. They don't pay based on supply and demand. They pay based on how "hard" a procedure is. Slate health care columnist Darshak Sanghavi explained how this works last month:

Here's how it works. Doctors do a job—like placing a coronary artery stent, reading an EKG, or spending an hour examining and diagnosing a patient with a complex problem like insomnia—and earn something called "relative value units." In 2009, according to Medicare, the stent guy scores about 24 units for his relatively quick procedure, the EKG person gets 0.5 units for the 10 seconds his job requires, and the poor internist gets only 2.5 units for his hour of time. Figuring a doctor's total take per task is straightforward: Medicare adds up a doctor's total RVUs, multiplies the total by a fixed amount (roughly $40 right now), and writes the check.

Take a quick moment to think about how insane this is. Better yet, let The Economist's excellent-but-anonymous Democracy in America blog explain it to you exactly how insane it is:

We have a name for setting prices this way. It's called the "labour theory of value", and it was invented by a guy named Karl Marx. It is generally held by modern economists to be a metaphysical concept rather than one that should have any bearing on how prices are set. The reason is that if people are automatically paid according to how hard their work is, they will go about working very hard at tasks that are utterly useless to anyone else. You know what medical procedure would be really difficult to perform? A laser colonoscopy through stoma with control of bleeding—while doing a backflip! Imagine how many work RVUs that would be worth! But we don't want our doctors doing backflips, and we don't want them performing the most difficult possible procedures unless those procedures actually make the patient healthier. Wages are supposed to be set partly by demand.

Indeed. But here's the kicker. Demand doesn't set health care wages. Guess who does? You guessed it: doctors! An American Medical Association committee makes recommendations to Medicare, and Medicare accepts pretty much all of them [PDF]. It gets better. There are 29 members of the AMA's Relative Value Scale Update Committee. Twenty-three of them are specialists. You can probably figure out what happens in that committee: the procedures performed by specialists get increasingly "valuable" in relation to primary care services. So the next time a specialist doctor comes whining to you about how she couldn't make any money in primary care, make sure you explain to her that it's her colleagues' fault. And don't let any doctors yell at you about "socialism." The labor theory of value seems to suit most of them just fine. "
American Medical Association committee makes recommendations to Medicare, and Medicare accepts pretty much all of them [PDF]. It gets better. There are 29 members of the AMA's Relative Value Scale Update Committee. Twenty-three of them are specialists. You can probably figure out what happens in that committee: the procedures performed by specialists get increasingly "valuable" in relation to primary care services. So the next time a specialist doctor comes whining to you about how she couldn't make any money in primary care, make sure you explain to her that it's her colleagues' fault. And don't let any doctors yell at you about "socialism." The labor theory of value seems to suit most of them just fine. "


Sources:
link 1
link 2


This is my reply. But due to the weird design of Slate's website, I think my reply wont be anywhere near the article

"There is a reason why the RVU system is like that, based on how hard a procedure is.

A special procedure say brain surgery needs much much more training. If the pay was NOT higher then all medical students would immediately go from graduating medical school to practicing as a general practitioner. If the graduating medical student has to give up another 5 years of his life as a general surgery resident and another 5 years as a neurosurgery fellow BUT the pay was the same, then there would be no incentive for a medical student to waste all those extra years in training. Having all those extra GP's might do wonders for mild diseases but it leaves people with brain tumors unsupported.""


For those of you familiar with Philhealth, the Philippine's own not too universal health insurance, It also has a RVU list. I can post it here if you like as a PDF or Word file. Given our close ties with the U.S., its not surprising to see similar healthcare practices.


I'm not saying that the system is perfect. There are risks from willy nilly dropping the present system, and you deserve to know the whole truth.

PLDT weroam now 995 pesos???

Found something on the dead tree version of the philippine daily inquirer. Page f4 nov 30 2009.

A full page PLDT weroam ad. The exact wording is " Now with the PLDT weroam USB offered at only 995, ..."


Whats that all about? Maybe the usual 2500 peso up front payment is now 995 only. But I hope its the monthly fee instead. The PLDT weroam website only has 2 plans, plan 799 and plan pay per surf.

HP original cartridge - cheap at PC express


Yesterday I went to Octagon in a small Robinsons mall in manila. I was trying to buy HP 22 ink cartridges for my HP D2460 printer. The old one was refilled once and is now not working well. I was expecting a price of PHP700 or so, but the price was 800+. Just now, PC corner's website lists the price as PhP 898.

Well, today I went to PC Express, Pampanga. The price of the HP 22 was 590. HP 21 black is 700, the combo 21/22 pack is 1000+ php. Hey thats cheap, 590 pesos. I was a little worried because the ink did not come in a box, instead it came in the foil pack which usually is inside the box. Must be OEM or something

I havent installed it yet. I'll blog back to report later.

BTW, my hp 21 cartridge has been refilled 2x and is still OK.


UPDATE: Yep it fits. Here is the picture.
2 thumbs up to Pc express

Low Fat chocolate

This is a low fat chocolate thats cheap. PHP 5.50 for 35 grams. Tastes good. I bought like 10 bars. Of course to really lose weight you need a total diet makeover, but hey, every little bit helps

Lala brand name. Made in Bulacan. I found it in a local convenience store (no not 7-11 or mini-stop). AFAIK this is not available in the usual major supermarket chains.

This is one reason I like to shop for groceries in different stores, sometimes you stumble upon a weird unknown brand that has its uses.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paypal without a credit card in the Philippines : Part 2









Next I tried BPI express cash. The person at my local branch said it wasnt paypal compatible. Ditto with an email to BPI.




Then I saw this in the newspaper. Debit mastercard. The mastercard website lists BPI as one of the partner banks. I showed it to a BPI branch. Blank stares. OHHHKAYY.

To be continued...


Paypal without a credit card in the Philippines : Part 1







Paypal. The magical service that allows you to shop online. But you have to get a credit card to use it, well thats what I thought.

So lets get a credit card. OK sir just pay XXXX pesos per year as an annual fee after the first year. I'm a cheap person and I believe in old fashined cash so I said no way. I'm only going to use it a few times a year so its not worth it. XXXX usually means around PHP 1000 - 1200 pesos.




Metrobank Mfree has a no annual fee credit card but there are certain ... requirements. No I'm not talking about a symbol tatooed on your head or the blood of your first born. Just ... requirements. Tignan nyo nalang ang link. The requirements cannot be met at the moment. Maybe in the future when my private practice picks up. But til then, I cant do it.

Some people in TPC, specifially this thread, have suggested that I get a CC and at the second year, threaten or beg the agent to waive the annual fee again. Sorry but I dont work that way. I have my dignity and I will not stoop that low. Besides, I wont be a big spender with this and my clout will be low.

To be continued ///

Extending the life of your razor blades



I'm a ... okay i'm not too normal, but I'm still a Filipino, so I too have to save a little. Some things have to be sacrificed for economics. I'll talk about shaving.

How long does your razor last? My last documented razor blade lasted jan 2009-july 2009. THATS 7 MONTHS. I have no idea how long it it supposed to last. Here's what I do.


* Start with a quality brand. I use Gilette sensor.
* Shave once every 48 hours or more
* Never shave unless your beard has been washed and wet for a few min to enable it to absorb water and soften. This generally means shaving after taking a bath.
* As for shaving cream? Well, I use the cheapest one per gram. ALWAYS have a calculator when shopping to get the cheapest product per gram. Well, sometimes you have to pay for quality but IMHO the quality of shaving creams doesnt vary too much for me

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