Monday, January 9, 2017

Dying in palliative care

A simple but meaningful article about what it is like to live in hospice (palliative care unit), from the patient's perspective.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Best Wi-Fi antenna position

What is the best position for your Wi-Fi antenna? The answer depends if you value 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz performance, but a combination of positions probably provides the best result.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Updated Download Time Calculator

Download Time Calculator

One of my first JavaScript programs and web sites, the Download Time Calculator, went without service after the ISP that hosted it for more than a decade, Stormloader, appeared to go out of commission. It has been moved to my University of Toronto web space.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Page limits

An article from Ars Technica laments arbitrary page limits imposed by publishers and journals.

I think we've all had the situation where our manuscripts are 600 words over limit and we find ourselves trimming content or relegating important details to the Supplementary Information file. However, publishers do not make it easy to access Supplementary Information. For one, these important files should not be located behind paywalls. Second, it often takes a detective to sleuth out where to download the Supplementary Information file - sometimes it is buried on the main journal site, on ScienceDirect, or on a university database. Publishers should make this easier by providing a direct, shortened permanent link in the main manuscript. Finally, sometimes the Supplementary Information file is not made available until some time after the corrected proof or in-press main article is posted online.

Given that a majority of papers and journals are read online via PDF nowadays, arbitrary word limits should be reconsidered. Word limits do have a role in helping writers hone their discussion and write succinct, concise scientific prose, but this should not be at the expense of understanding the science behind a study.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Does "better" transit mean longer wait times?

Although the new Toronto streetcars provide better comfort and more capacity, not enough of them means longer wait times in the future, according to the Toronto Star. Is this truly progress? The city must look at finding the funds to purchase additional streetcars to maintain reliable public transit for the passengers of today and expected service requirements in the future.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ford Nation excludes people with autism

The Toronto Star has an article about Doug Ford's opposition to a home for people with autism.

According to the article: “My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house,” Ford was quoted as saying. “If it comes down to it, I’ll buy the house myself and resell it.”

I take it that Ford Nation excludes the inhabitants of this home?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Better transit for all: public health MDs

The Toronto Star has published an article on a call for better public transit made by Ontario's medical officers for health.

Not only would better public transit help keep citizens more physically active, it would reduce pollution and improve air quality, as well as reduce the psychological stress of gridlock.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A look at the lives of PSWs

The Toronto Star has published an excellent commentary from an Ontario PSW (personal support worker). It provides a glimpse at Ontario's home care system and some of the challenges that our system faces.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Leaving AMA? A bad idea.

A newly published CMAJ study confirms what we probably all intuitively know: leaving hospital against medical advice (AMA) is bad for your health.

This CMAJ study by Garland et al. (DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.130029) used multiple demographic, socioeconomic and clinical factors in consideration of the risks of leaving AMA; the odds ratio of 90-day mortality was 2.51. The effect on mortality persisted 6 months post-discharge.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cultural diversity & medical practice

This helpful Globe and Mail article provides insights into culture-specific practices and how they could impact on delivery of medical care in Canada.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Calculate your daily sodium intake

Health researchers in Ottawa and Ontario have teamed up to create an online calculator for your daily sodium intake. Find out how much sodium is in your diet: BiGLiFE Salt Calculator.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Want a free ultrasound with your flight?

Kenya Airways is now offering free medical tests in India with your flight. The package includes:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Echocardiography
  • PFTs
  • Treadmill test
  • ECG
  • Labwork
I wonder if they will throw in a free biopsy for your occult incidentaloma?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Make Health Last: Heart & Stroke Foundation

As a resident physician, I see the consequences of poor health in old age. This video does a very good job of comparing and contrasting the difference between aging well and aging in sickness. To learn more, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation's Make Health Last website.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Maybe we're doing something right?

The Globe and Mail assesses the Fraser Institute's Provincial Healthcare Index 2013, which provides a favourable assessment on Ontario's health care system.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The Globe and Mail reports that flu season is in full swing. This is also evident from a graph from Google Flu Trends (below) - it appears we are approaching peak influenza activity.

It's still not too late to get immunized against influenza (Toronto Public Health)!

For more information: FluWatch (PHAC)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

TV Review - Insignia 39"

Review of Insignia 39" 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (NS-39D240A13)

We bought this TV during Cyber Monday 2012 for $325 from Future Shop. We were looking for a TV that was 37-42", 1080p, LED, PC input, and this TV fit the bill. It also has a built-in ATSC tuner for free over-the-air (OTA) HDTV with an antenna.

The TV came by Canada Post in perfect condition. Setup was simple, and the TV actually discovered more OTA channels than our previous unit.

The TV settings needed adjustment to optimize picture quality out of the box (initially, the whites were blown out and details were lost, but once we adjusted the brightness/contrast/backlight, it was great). Since then, we are very happy with the picture quality. PC input works well, and the picture quality from our computer is actually superior to other Samsung TVs I've seen.

Audio leaves something to be desired, but we hooked up a set of 30W computer speakers with subwoofer to provide some 'oomph'. The unit also has a USB drive which allows you to view photos from a USB stick.

Pros: Very good picture quality, excellent price
Cons: External speakers needed for 'home theatre' experience
Overall: We are very pleased with our purchase!

For shoppers in Canada, Best Buy and Future Shop appear to be selling this unit for $299 on Boxing Day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Can't get rid of a line in Word 2011!

I ran into an issue when creating a survey in Word 2011 for Mac. I typed a long line of underscore marks to create a blank line for writing, but Word automatically converted the characters into a moveable but non-deletable line. It turns out this mark was attached to a paragraph, and  may be deleted by going into the "borders" properties of the paragraph.

See this TechRepublic post for more details.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SMS costs

DSLReports highlights a story decrying SMS (texting) costs in North America. In fact, it costs less to send data to Mars than to send a text to your friend, spouse, or family.

Their analysis assumes a text costs 5¢; some Canadian carriers charge as much as 25¢ per text.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bonus offers

Dropbox Space Race
If you are a post-secondary student, you can gain extra space (anywhere from 3-25 GB, depending on your school) by giving them your university e-mail address. Sign up here: Dropbox Space Race

Orange Key
With savings interest rates so low, it is difficult to save up! ING Direct Canada (now owned by Scotiabank) is offering a $50 bonus for new customers with an Orange Key until December 31, 2012, at which point the bonus reverts to $25. For your referral key, see below.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Another reason to take the subway?

An article from The Star on how obesity contributes to fuel consumption in passenger cars. It makes sense: the greater the weight of passengers, the lower the fuel economy.