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  • Fred Obermann - Smaller, lighter, cheaper, what's not to love?They say there are two times of great joy in a boat-owner's life: when he buys his boat, and when he sells it. Perhaps the same can be said of photographers.

    Some eight or nine years ago I bought a Canon 10D, and subsequently upgraded to a Canon 40D over time. This past summer I did a road trip around Oregon with a Tamrac photo pack in the back of the car stuffed with the 40D and lots of lenses. After that experience, I came to the realization that at 60, I was not up to hauling so much equipment about the countryside, as I was when I was 50. I just don't have as much cartilage in my joints as I used to.

    So I began looking at four-thirds system cameras. They provide much of the quality of the APS-C sensor DLSR cameras, and they are smaller, take smaller lenses, they are lighter, and they are cheaper. (Canon 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, every model upgrade would cost me another $1200. Enough of that!) After much research it came down to a decision between the Panasonic Lumix G5 or the G6. At the time the G6 was of limited availability and cost $(well you know what they list for). Used G5s on the other hand were quite plentiful on E**y and on Amazon. I ended up buying two used G5s for less than the cost of a G6. Yes, I gave up some bells and whistles, but I got a camera that provided the basic functionality (and beyond) that any professional or serious amateur would need. (I am addressing only still photography here, I can't comment on video.) "Used?" you ask. Well, yes, only a relatively few photographers use their equipment day in and day out. Most of us haul it out for vacations, and holidays. Other than that, it sits in the closet. (Sewing machines and Kitchenaid mixers fall into the same category) So used camera equipment is generally a very good deal.

    I purchased a Lumix 45-150mm telephoto zoom, and the ultra-compact Vario G X 14-42mm zoom, and some macro extension rings. And some day, I'll pick up the 7-14mm Lumix wide angle zoom. The ultra-compact Vario G X zoom replaces the 'standard kit lens' because I wanted an ultra-portable camera+lens combination. It also has the advantage of zooming much more smoothly. If you have pants with cargo pockets, your G5 is now a pocket camera.

    Digital cameras in general (not just Lumix) have become burdened with complex menu systems, as manufactures have struggled to outdo each other and provide all things to all people. The G5 menu system is not so bad, you can get used to it, and the quick menu is an oft-used (and useful) shortcut. The ergonomics are not as refined as on say the Canon 40D, but I can deal with it.

    The G5 with the two zoom lenses with the extension rings have made making good-quality macro photos very easy.

    So as I sell off the Canon equipment, I am content that I got good use out of it, and I am happy to see it go. I really like the smaller, lighter Lumix G5, and the associated Lumix lenses. The image quality is better than that of the oder Canon 40D, and I didn't have to spend $1200 to upgrade to newer technology. The rainy season is arriving in Oregon, and as I put away my camera equipment for the next nine months, I feel better at having tied up less money in equipment that must sit in the closet until the sun comes out again.
  • Miguel A.Tovar - An essential reading for physicians and medical studentsThis book is the first of its kind and a must read for anyone interested in Social Media in healthcare. Despite his youth, Dr. Bertalan Meskó (or Berci) is already an acknowledged authority in this field. As the founder of the world's first university elective course focusing on Medicine and Social Media for medical and public health students Berci is an authoritative voice on the subject. You just have to Google his name to check that I'm not exaggerating.

    By writing this educational book he has again demonstrated his passion and commitment in guiding medical students and physicians to acquire skills in digital literacy to improve patient experience and clinical outcomes.

    As someone who has a vast knowledge and experience in the practical use of Social Media the book is well structured, clearly written and full of useful tips and well-chosen examples. Each chapter ends with a self-test and next steps to encourage you to think about how to apply the concepts in your own practice. How to deal with privacy concerns and the protection of the confidentiality of patients have been definitely highlights for me.

    All links and further reading recommended in each chapter have been grouped at the end of the work, which can be useful for later review.

    As a conclusion, 'Social Media in Clinical Practice' is an essential reading and I will be suggesting it to everyone I know in healthcare who wants to take advantage of the Social Media space professionally but is not sure about how to proceed.

    Disclosure: Social media brought us together about four years ago and now I am honored and proud to have Bertalan Meskó as a friend.
  • R.Suarez "R-Suarez-" - An absolute must read"I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best"
    - Jim Henson

    As a child of the 80's who grew up watching 'the Muppets' and movies like 'Labyrinth' and 'The Dark Crystal', I can say The Muppets have become one of my most treasured childhood memories; I own many of the DVD's (the only three seasons made available at least) and the movies that have been released so far. I guess what I am trying to say is I considered myself a big fan of the Muppets, so when I was given the opportunity to read the first ever official biography of their creator, I did not hesitate and took it.

    I have to say I had mixed feelings after reading the book, it made me realize I knew very little about the man behind my favorite childhood characters, and on the other hand, it gave me so much insight and made me feel good. Literally, the book had me smiling, learning about Henson and how many of the characters I love came to be.

    Brian Jay Jones does a great work telling Jim's story, and how not to? Not only he had access to many of the people who worked with Jim, but to his family and Henson's personal journal! The level of insight this book provides is unbelievable! I loved how the author does not spoon-feed the reader, if you pay attention here are there, you should be able to find many references as to where the name and inspiration for many of his characters and shows came from.

    While I knew of some of the characters prior to the Muppets, there were many others I had no clue about, imagine my surprise after searching for videos on the web and actually finding them! 'Visual thinking', 'Time piece', many of the Wilkins coffee spots, most of them are there, and having the opportunity to watch them knowing all the background and details the author provides was a very unique experience.

    The author does a great job on documenting Henson's life without giving into any type of judgment (I guess that is up to the reader), which is appreciated as some very personal situations are also documented, and while they may or may not change the idea you may have of the man, is great to see the family didn't hold on anything as those particulars are also relevant to understand Jim as a person. From his early attempts to get into television, his influences and his more than justified obsession of not selling what he owned to his sudden and unexpected fame as the man behind 'Sam and friends', this has to be one of the most comprehensive biographies I have ever read, even the reason why he grew a beard is explained!

    I considered myself a Jim Henson fan mostly because I grew up watching many of the characters and universes he created, this book is a must read for any person who likes Henson and his work, the amount of details provided and the way they are presented will take you on a roller coaster of emotions, I smiled all the time I was reading this and my heart broke when reading about his death and memorial (for which I had only seen the few videos available on the web)... reading this book was definitely an incredible experience...
  • Tekus "The Chaos Within..." - Convenience deliveredI never considered myself a fan of Symantec products but this particular version of AV software is good for the money The program itself integrates well with Windows OS but I feel is often lacking in flexibility as other AV software out there. I think this is both good and bad since many users are happy with a system that works to protect them instead of having a system they have to work 'on' to configure.
  • Norberto Feliberty "Norberto" - Windows 8 Pro UpgradeWindows 8 is the best operating system that Microsoft has come up with. While I understand why many people do not like Windows 8, to me it is very innovative. With Windows 8, Microsoft took a bold step in unifying the operating system both for PCs and tablets and while many people do not like the fact the Windows 8 is different because it geared more towards tablets, tablets are the trend today. Windows 8 introduces a new interface called Metro in addition to the current desktop interface found in previous versions of Windows. The Metro interface has two windows which are the main start screen and the all apps screen. Navigating through Windows 8 is quite different than what is used to. For starters, there is no longer a start button and to access settings a user must move the mouse to the upper or lower right corner of the screen which is the equivalent of swiping in this direction on a tablet or touchscreen. To close an open window that is running on the metro interface, one must move the mouse to the upper left or lower left corner of the screen and right click the window that they want to close and click close. To get to the Apps screen in the Metro interface, one must right click in the start screen and click on the all apps icon which appears in the lower right hand side of the screen. To get back to the Start Screen from the Apps screen, one needs to right click in the Apps screen and click on the all apps icon found in the lower right hand side of the screen.

    I like many things about Windows 8. To start with, I like the idea of having a Windows Store where everything is located.and because of this set up, I feel like I now have everything that I am interested in right at my fingertips. I have my news, sports, weather and pretty much anything else that interests me right at my fingertips without having to open up a browser and go searching for things. Now all I have to do is just open up the app that has what I am looking for and read about it. Also equally as important if not the most important thing to me since I am visually impaired, are the improvements made to the Narrator screen reader in Windows 8 over Windows 7. Narrator is a basic screen reader for Windows that works via text to speech. In Windows 8, Narrator reads text on web pages aloud which is something that just did not work well in Windows 7. Narrator works quite well with many of the apps that use the Metro interface so I can have things such as my news read to me instead of having to read them. While Narrator is not an ideal solution for a person with little to no sight, it is nice to see that it has improved.

    The upgrade process from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was a very easy one though not entirely smooth. The user is guided step by step through the entire process and once the upgrade was complete for me, I had some issues with playing flash content. Installing windows updates fixed the issue but not before an update for my graphics card driver crashed my PC and made the magnifier not work anymore which lead me to having to reinstall everything. Thankfully I do backups on a regular basis and did not lose anything. Second time around everything is working just fine.

    I give Windows 8 5 stars because it makes using the computer more enjoyable and accessible than the previous editions of Windows. I would recommend Windows 8 to anyone who likes to learn new ways on how to use computers and anyone who would like to really have everything at their fingertips and who would be willing to take the time to learn how to use Windows 8. It is a great operating system regardless of whether it's running on a PC or a tablet.