Watson becomes a doctor

It started out as a master bedroom sized beast, and its first task was to beat two world champions at Jeopardy™.  Once it had handily mastered that task, the fine folks at IBM scaled it down to the size of a pizza box (while increasing its processing speed by 240%) and taught it to assist in making medical decisions.   I’ll let you read the full article from the Forbes here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/02/08/ibms-watson-gets-its-first-piece-of-business-in-healthcare/

The bottom line as I see it is there there is an amazing opportunity here to add a sanity check to health care decisions, reducing the cost of medical mistakes by billions of dollars, and also to extend health care knowledge to regions that are lacking skilled practitioners.   As its abilities are fine-tuned, and costs go down, this could lead to a sea change in how health care is provided.  

Quick Nexus 7 Review

I’ve been thinking about a tablet for awhile now, and I’ve finally just recently acquired a Google Nexus 7.  These are my thoughts on it after the first couple of weeks of ownership. 

  • At $249 for the 32GB version, the price is right.   It’s WiFi only, so I don’t have the luxury of being connected anywhere like you would with a 3G or 4G device, but I don’t have the monthly bill that goes along with that capability either. 
  • The 7” screen form factor is super handy.  It’s easy to hold, easy to pack around, just the right size for working with apps…I really like it.  It’s significantly more convenient  to me that the 9.7” screen on my wife’s iPad. 
  • The down-side of the 7” screen is that it’s a bit to small for general web browsing.  I end up either holding the tablet too close to my face or having the zoom in on the text too much of the time.  The larger iPad is certainly less work for every day surfing.
  • The processor speed is amazing.  I never have to deal with lag.  Everything is fast on it, all the time.  The difference between the Nexus and my HTC phone, which also runs Android 4 (albeit 4.0, and not 4.2, like the Nexus) is night and day. 
  • The built-in keyboard is horrendous.  It’s fine for entering passwords, but the auto-correct was so terrible it became virtually unusable the first time I tried to type anything longer.   It was bad enough to immediately drive me out looking for a third party keyboard replacement.  A friend had recommended the Adaptxt keyboard for Android phones, and I saw that they’ve come out with a tablet  version as well, so I decided to give that a try.  I’ve been happy with it so far. 
  • The only other thing I think people might miss (I personally don’t) is a back facing camera.  It’s got a front-facing camera so you’re fine for Skype, or Google Hangouts or what have you, but you can’t take pictures with it easily.   I’m content to use my phone (and my actual camera!) for that instead, so it doesn’t bother me. 

So for me so far, it’s been a great tool.   It’s significantly reduced the amount of time I spend on a regular computer for non-work stuff, and it’s really a pleasure to use.  I definitely recommend it. 

Xanderland Relaunched

After the better part of a year as a black hole on the web, I’m re-launching Xanderland.com.   I’m using a new blogging engine, so the content from the previous blog hasn’t automatically come over.   I’m going to bring the bits that might still be interesting to readers, or search engine users over, and add them to an archive category as I find them time, but most of the content is either no longer relevant, or wasn’t that interesting in the first place, so I’m going to let it rest in piece.

Here’s to hoping I a do a better job keeping the site fresh this time around.