BitDepth 598 - October 16

A BitDepth two-fer, a report from the third Orthopaedic Surgeon's Lime and my first impressions of a Digicel BlackBerry.
Black humour and Blackberries

Arturo Corces chats with Jeff Chase and Derek Lousaing at Orthopaedic Lime III, held at the Marriot Hotel. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

It didn't seem like it would be a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but after a few hours spent at a meet up of orthopedic surgeons, I began to feel right at home. Think of it this way, this is a group of guys (and most of them are, evidently, guys) who think that spending a couple of days huddled around a projector looking at highly technical diagrams and alarmingly raw pictures of surgeries in progress while trading quips in a jargon-heavy language is a "lime."

So what I found at the Caribbean Orthopaedic Association's third annual meeting, or "Orthopaedic Lime III" was just like a computer society meeting, apart from all the blood.
The other striking thing about the event was the bluntness of the information sharing, complete with the kind of black humour that you might expect among a group that routinely deals with severely mangled flesh and broken bones.

Horatius Jeffers a leading surgeon from St Lucia summed it up in his presentation this way, "Good surgery is based on good judgement, good judgement is based on experience; experience is based on bad judgement."
So the lime proceeded, with problem cases opened to the floor and successful experiences shared. Not surprisingly, surgeons from several islands shared war stories about cases without enough money for needed procedures, medical resources in need of drastic improvement and clever low-cost replacements for fundamentals of their business like traction weights. I dropped in on the evening of the second day to hear about improvements in metal on metal hip resurfacing by Arturo Corces of the Miami Institute for Joint Reconstruction.

Corces was brief and to the point, detailing the long history of hip replacement and the previous issues with metal on metal joint replacements.
The procedure has been largely replaced by metal on poly replacements in recent years, which interface a metal ball head with high impact plastics.

The new metal on metal procedure has a narrower potential patient focus (basically, healthy, active patients younger than 60) than metal on poly and uses a much larger disc and ball system that's machined to much tighter tolerances than ever before.

Marlon Mencia, a local orthopaedic surgeon who has been doing the new total hip replacements since the end of 2006 reported on some of his experiences using a large cobalt-chrome head on 11 cases ranging in ages from 43 to 59. All reported satisfactory results and improvements in walking range, but Mencia is still monitoring progress.

Picking the Blackberry
Digicel dropped a Blackberry Pearl on me for testing recently to coincide with new rates for their business focused data and voice service. The new rates compete directly with TSTT's offerings in the 5MB and unlimited data categories and introduce new pay as you go and 1MB offerings to suit the needs of the users with an occasional or low volume need for e-mail on their mobile phone. Research in Motion's Blackberry is the most web driven of all so-called "smart" phones, devices that expand the capabilities of a mobile phone into the realms of portable computing.

The Blackberry's focus has always been e-mail, and it remains unbeatable as a way of communicating that way. I set up a custom address for the Blackberry with my hosting service and getting it up, and running on the device was faster than with any computer based e-mail client I've ever used.
The fonts available for the device aren't pretty, but they are very readable and browing and responding to e-mail using the phone is much easier than on any other web-enabled phone I've ever used.

The device ships with Windows software for linking data on the phone with your computer, allowing synchronisation of e-mail, contacts and appointments. Mac users can download PocketMac for Blackberry, which RIM has wisely licensed, making the software free for the Macintosh platform.
You get options to access your e-mail on Entourage and Mail and contacts and appointments from a number of popular Mac contact managers.

It's easy to see why folks can get excited about using a Blackberry. E-mail isn't an afterthought on this device, it's front and centre, with new messages arriving as fast as the system's server can push them to you.
There was a time, for years in recent memory, when getting a steady flow of business related e-mail would have been the most important thing in my life. While I had a hoot setting everything up and getting my first messages, I've also figured out that I'm really not that type of person anymore. If anything, I'm too damned connected as it is to look forward to getting buzzed on yet another point of contact.

What's Blink? Out of space here, but you can find more
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