Real Life

Riverside Hospital tech

The family waiting room at Riverside hospital has a neat web based (I assume) application that shows you the list of patients in the hospital and their progress. When you checkin at the hospital, the accompanying person is given a piece of paper with a number on that relates to that person. They can then look up the patients status on the various monitors around the waiting room to see if they have checked in, awaiting surgery, in surgery, recovery or what room they are in. This makes it easier to keep up to date on someone’s status. They also tannoy announcements whenever a doctor has new news for the family. It’s a cool system but would be really good if this was available outside the hospital on a website so that a patient could let people know their number (and I guess they’d also need a passcode to prevent unauthorised disclosure) so people would know how soon to leave their home to come visit and what room they would be in.
They also have free wireless for internet access and a couple of phone jacks for the poor souls who have to use dialup to access the internet. Each room also has incoming telephone access (in comparison to the hospital in the UK which had premium rate dialin access for each bed which is a despicable practise and I think there is actually talk of dropping this charge) and you can even Send an electronic greeting card to patients.

Kristen in surgery.

For those of you who don’t know, Kristen is undergoing surgery at the moment for the removal of her thyroid. Before she went down for surgery she seemed pretty relaxed and was joking around like crazy – I’m not sure if they put something in her drip or whether it was the fact that she’d only had 3 hours sleep in the past 49.5 hours. For more updates, keep an eye on Kristen’s blog where I’ll post updates.

Blackberry Blogging and other ways to waste time

I really should have taken today off and gone geocaching as the weather is absolutely wonderful today.instead I have 4 client sites to go to. I did manage to schedule a lunch break though and as it was so nice I had pizza in the park in downtown Columbus. Although it wasn’t very quiet it was relaxing. – thought I’d try a bit of blogging but I can’t remember which symbol is above which character on the keyboard so I can’t log in to my MovableType installation as my password contains the shift 5 character but the blackberry already has 5 as an alt key so there is no shift 5. I also have a similar problem when I hit a voicemail tree that asks me to spell the users name. As the bb doesn’t have the phone letter combination like a normal phone does, it is hard to spell a surname correctly when you are guessing which numbers to press.

On a unrelated note how many people does it take to paint a green line down the middle of the street in Columbus for Saturday? The answer is an incredibly tax wasting 9 (or 10) –

  • 3 police bike escorts (2 at the front and one at the back),
  • 1 poor painter bloke who has to walk miles on the hottest day of the year pushing a smelly green paint machine,
  • 1 bus driver (who knows what he was there for),
  • 1 paint truck in case he runs out of paint,
  • 1 truck to carry traffic cones
  • 1 person putting the cones in the middle of the road so people don’t drive on the green paint
  • 1 truck with flashing lights to warn people that they may shortly run over orange cones and get green paint on their tires
  • And I think there was another person running around to make sure the other 9 were still ok.

Aaaah the things you see during the lunch break (and the things you blog about!)


Not only has work been incredibly busy recently, but tomorrow night we are hosting a games night at our house to play various board games – apples to apples and cranium are typical favourites.
I’ve also got a nice reason to get a nice shiny hard disk to put in one of the machines at home – partly because I want to play around with features in Microsoft Office 2007 such as Groove but also to do some more work with System Center Essentials and other beta products 😉

Busy woodpecker


This little beast has been busy in the tree for the past couple of days – he can get really loud sometimes. Unfortunately he’s quite a way up, well camouflaged, its freezing cold yet bright outside and I’m at the extreme end of the zoom on the camera so the picture isn’t brilliant.

Belated Happy Christmas!

Sorry this is late but I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a wonderful new year….
I came down with a cold on the Wednesday before Christmas after working 12 hours in a cold airconditioned room and catching it from Kristen on the Monday previous. The annoying thing was that my throat was sore for 2 days and I knew the cold was on it’s way but it took ages before it started to hit in earnest. I was off sick on Thursday and Friday (but still got calls from work) and Saturday and Sunday I was still coughing and sneezing a little (and still got calls from work). Sunday I felt much better and we had 2 christmas services which were nice although the evening service was not very well attended – I think most people had either settled in for the evening or had gone to visit family and friends. (We had to drive back from some friends after spending a wonderful afternoon laughing at “my little ghetto pony” – a pony made from a plastic toy box upended with a pompom tail, cucumber neck and a lambs head – a very funny frankenstein contraption but the child loved it).
Monday was Christmas day, of course, and we opened presents at our house (well some of them- the order I placed with Shutterfly for Kristen’s present didn’t turn up until Boxing Day despite ordering it before the cutoff and paying for priority handling) and then headed over to her parents for Lunch – fondue and tea – Egg Rolls and English Apple Pie – hardly the traditional Christmas Meal. I enjoyed the meal but it did feel weird not having Roast Turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas Cake and Baked Alaska (the latter we had for Thanksgiving instead). Thankfully there were no calls from work.
Tuesday (yesterday) was meant to be a day off from work as the office was closed but started with pages from work as the monitoring system detected a customers box down – turns out that isp hosting their dns had both dns servers unavailable and there was no 24 hour support or phone number easily visible on the website and there was still an hour to go for the company to start work. Eventually one of the dns servers came back online so they were ok (although the customer was actually ok as their outgoing access was fine – just incoming mail and web hosting was unreachable by name). At the same time I had calls about the phone system from another company (this phone system has been in for 13 months and I am still debugging, supporting and fixing it on a daily basis) and several helpdesk tickets that needed answering to as they weren’t taken care of whilst I was off sick.
Eventually I was able to unplug the laptop and go out to Microcenter to get a new computer, monitor and peripherals for us – more on that later…….
So today is Wednesday, I woke up early and I have no idea what is in store for me at the office today – should be interesting…..
Friday we are off to a wedding so a very short work week! (Thats the good great news)

Geotagging photo’s made very easy

I’ve been trying to use Microsoft’s WWMX application to geotag some of the photos that we took on holiday ready to upload to zooomr, but the level of mapping detail for Jamaica and Grand Cayman Islands was pretty awful However I have found that by using Garmin’s mapsource to load the track data from the gps and then saving the tracks to a gpx I can then use wwmx to automatically tag the photos if I had the gps on at the time the photos were taken.

However, for the rest of the photos that were taken without the gps I needed a better way of marking where they are taken. A combination of picassa and google earth makes the job very easy. First the photo’s need to be loaded into Picassa – this will probably be done automatically (although for some reason Picassa doesn’t like to find my cruise photos and they disappear from the folder view even though I can see them being scanned). Anyway, once the photos have been loaded, select the photos that need to be geotagged and then go to the tools menu, geotag, geotag with google earth. Then use Google Earth to navigate to the spot that the photos were taken -the satellite view does an outstanding job for this. Then just hit geotag, select the next picture and repeat (or do geotag all if they are all in the same place. At this point, the locations are written to the picture (exif data I presume) and can then be uploaded to flickr or zooomr already geotagged for you.

As it will take some time to load the cruise photo’s, I took some pictures of the Pumpkin Festival at Oakland Nursery including the Worlds Fastest Pumpkin Carver and entries for the Worlds biggest pumpkin.