Archive for the 'internet' Category

Life in technicolour

Worth viewing if only because I believe that people were actually black and white before 1950.


I have a tendency to be over prepared. I think I was ready to marry Transfarmer on the basis of the first email she ever sent me. Or maybe that’s presumptuous, not over-prepared.

I like being organised. I like lists and plans.

Having decided a date on which to move out of my current house I phoned BT to try to set a date for closing my account and eventually through their monolithic website got in contact with a nice lady who agreed to terminate the contract on the agreed date.

Three days later my phone line gone dead. Not the three months I’d intended.

So I gradually got more frustrated with the BT website – which loudly proclaimed there was no problem with my account but unfortunately their online line tester was malfunctioning. I reported the fault online and checked the next day to see how it was coming along to find there was no record of a fault on the website.

The web is all well and good – when it works.

So after 30 minutes via Bangalore and back again on the phone I get to speak to someone who recognises the cock up and agrees to reconnect me the same day.

All well and good.

At least till I try to reconnect the internet. And I find out that BT disconnecting me has also disconnected my broadband connection and Plusnet need 65 pounds to reconnect me (which I presume is a charge BT make to Plusnet).

I spent all evening rehearsing how to phone BT and shout and give off and demand recompense for their cock up. I fell asleep thinking that “nah, I can’t be arsed, they’ll just say it’s a third party problem and deny any responsibility…”

I got a phone call today from a lovely wee Northern Irish BT woman today who was following up on all the attempted fault reporting I’d tried on the BT website. She was a little bit behind the times and not aware that I had been disconnected and reconnected but was very lovely when I hinted that maybe BT should pay the 65 quid I forked out.

So the email and receipt has been emailed and I await their response. I’m almost tempted to be optimistic about it.

You know what i want to know

For those interested, just found this BMJ app for the iPhone. Despite having to pay a fiver for the privilege of it i think it’s worth it. I always love the idea of differentials but never really get round to them.

This wee app seems kind of useful for that.

You know what i want to know

Sometimes i wonder what the medical profession did before the internet. One presumes they paid lots of money for expensive textbooks and went to medical school and stuff.

Virtually all my learning is done on line (some people would say that I should have done my learning while in medical school but i spent far too much time playing guitar and reading CS Lewis), trying to get my head around 9 or 10 different medical journals a month and the 2 gigabytes of plain text that is UpToDate.

Even in work I (and others) will frequently type symptoms and signs into google to see if there’s anything I haven’t thought of (usually quite a lot). I have looked up many simple and complex procedures on the internet before trying them out (just to be sure that the hip bone is still connected to the thigh bone…)

I also adore podcasts – some better quality than others. From the dull but accurate ACEP and SCCM podcasts to the excellent Albany Medical Centre (all be it with terrible sound).

My two new favorites are EM:RAP and the Persiflager’s Puscast

EM:RAP is presented by a bizzare but often entertaining hat wearing Aussie, who is actually a well respected Professor of emergency medicine.

The Puscast (what a title) is presented by a most sarcastic ID specialist who manages to make even MRSA funny. I also love the photo he uses to cover the podcast:


Says more about the nature of blogging and podcasting than it does infectious diseases.

Constructive summer

Let me think. Where does the time go. I need to have a dictaphone with me. Something to pop down a few blog ideas down on. Something i can come back to and flesh out when i get the time.

I watched this movie. And liked it.

Bought one of these to replace my slightly ageing one and absolutely love it. All i need now is a band to play in and some accommodating neighbours to let me turn up the amp.

I did put this song on the site, without the aid of the pod. Which is probably new to most of you who follow this. Apart from you, so don’t get too excited there.

I did some on call in work and tried to sort out a dislocated shoulder and a gunshot to the belly

I drove to the north coast and had a lovely walk here and a good night here. [Despite the terrible website].

I spent some time here, before retiring here and returning to work here which was kind of oddly quiet seeing as how everyone seems to have gone on holiday here and they’re probably getting sick there instead.

I ended up back here and then drove 4 hours to here which is an awful long way but at least there was this and this once i got there. Had a nice walk round here. Ate some of these.

And in between read some of this and discovered this, and realised i could also use it on this, and it’s been all downhill since.

I did find this which was most interesting and perhaps deserves a blog of its own. But maybe that’s just me missing the point.

That about brings us up to speed.

You are making me so happy (for a change)

Turns out i can blame Simy for everything.

Radio Cure

Most of you will have realised by now that i am a bit of a nerd when it comes to… well everything. I am definitely a nerd when it comes to medicine. I like monitors and ultrasound machines and technology in any aspect.

And so I’ve kind of got into medical podacsting in a way. As if i don’t spend long enough in work or studying or reading uptodate i also subscribe to a number of medical podcasts.

I got into podcasts mainly through lectures and sermons on theology that I could listen to while driving round New Zealand and fed up listening to Pedro the Lion for once.

I then managed to find the wonderful Surgery ICU rounds which keeps me amused endlessly even if it is just the guy’s kids screaming in the background. It also reinforces to me that whatever faults the American health care system has, they do seem to train their doctors bloody well – there aren’t too many plastic surgeons in the UK who know their pharmacology and physiology well enough to run an ICU as well as do what many would call the main part of their job – surgery. Or maybe i’m being harsh on the surgeons in this country.

Between that and my time in the ICU in NZ and the most wonderful Bad Science and How to read a paper I’ve become a bit of an evidence based medicine junkie. This is sad i know but comforting and satisfying none the less.

I recently discovered EMRAP TV which is worth watching even for the non-medics – it seems to be bunch of Emergency Medicine docs in California led by someone who vaguely reminds me of Foy Vance who make bad jokes (well most of them) and talk about complicated medical things while taking the piss out of everything in sight. It’s an odd show.

The American College of Emergency Physicians publish their own podcast with endless comments about how if you kill anyone on their advice then it’s not their fault. Interestingly the manuscripts seem to be read by professinal voice over people with cool voices and dubious pronounciations.

The other one i follow pretty closely is one from Albany Medical centre. Who appear to have regular Grand Rounds where they have lectures and teaching for their staff, so that they’re continuing to learn and keep up with what’s happening in medicine. What a novel idea…

Though they must live in a different world, imagine taking all the docs off the floor for a few hours a week in A&E. Wouldn’t be a good plan. All the other specialities do it and it turns out all their patients survive without them and have to wait till their finished.  Not so in A&E where the painful toe for seven years has to be seen and sorted in 4 hours – Everything is an emergency it seems… Right. Stop ranting andrew…

They seem to podcast every week, lectures on everything from interpersonal violence to coding and documentation in the ED.

And as ridiculous as it sounds it was the lecture on coding and documentation that really caught my ear (?).

People in America get sick the same way they do in Ireland. The difference is when they get sick here, they turn up at their GP or A&E or wherever and they just say their name and address and get sick and they get literally thousands pounds of care and they go home and get on with their life and think no more about the cost.

In America, you get thousands (and often thousands more) of pounds of care and everything is written down and recorded and you get a nice big bill at the end of the day and someone has to pay for it. The sheer scale of the billing and charging process is simply mind-boggling.

Driving back from Portstewart listening to this guy lecturing the residents on how to fill the charts properly to make sure that they actually get paid for the work they do, and at the same time warning them all against fraudulently claiming care they’ve not actually provided.

I find it hard enough simply looking after the patients I see, never mind thinking about the endless reams of paper work and charging aspects of it. Never have i been so glad to be in the chaotic mess of the NHS. How i love you so…

So next time you see me in the car, you’ll realise I’m rocking out to life-threatining dermatoses…

Sweet soul music

I was never into classical music. It was all dead guys and bow ties and harpsichords. In my ignorance I claimed that classical music, while technically proficient lacked soul. As if somehow skinny guys with guitars had the market sewn up on that one.


I was raised on Simon & Garfunkel, though mainly Simon with a bit of Bright Eyes (no not that one…) thrown in for good measure, long with Abba, Neil Diamond, The Beatles and Buddy Holly. I figure that’s not bad for growing up in the eighties. I give thanks for my parents music taste.

My lasting memory of classical music is off the old Hamlet ads. That and a brief flirtation with some complication album that had some Elgar in it that taught me all new levels of melancholy – I was 16 that was what I lived for at the time it seemed.

I think the main problem I had with classical music is my ignorance. I mean you can’t just look at the titles cause they’re all numbered numerically. You’ve no idea what they’re about really except what number they are and what key they’re in.

And I miss lyrics. I miss lovely little self-deprecating bridges and resolving choruses and shouty backing vocals. I have no point of reference with classical music.

Though I am perhaps learning.

Thanks to the wonders of Spotify (via the office) I can now get any music I want streamed online – I can hook you up with an invite if you’re interested… With my level of ignorance I can simply type Classical music and be presented with reams of the stuff in all it’s “western European dead guy in a wig” glory.

Now there are strict rules for when you play it. The house will be empty, and tidied, and I will have a clear agenda ahead of me, largely involving coffee and books. It is also good to revise to. It is even good for lying down on the sofa and simply plain listening to. Which is something I do far too rarely and too often use music as a literal soundtrack to whatever else I’m doing with my life.

Anyhow the dead guys rock. Someone get me my harpsichord.

The same deep water as me

At least it keeps the pigeons off the square…

[Thanks as always to the Big Picture]



August 2022