Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Online Health

I've seen a heck of a lot of bad press for the NHS and its IT overhauling - mostly in IT trade magazines which I pretend never to read as it's bad for my street cred.

But as an end user, I have to say, the simplicity of the online 'Choose and Book' scheme is fantastic.

If you need to see a consultant at a hospital, your GP can sign you up for 'Choose and Book.' What this means is that you can check online for all the hospitals in your area offering the care you need. Here you can see the average wait time for each hospital, so you can make an informed decision about where to go for your care based on wait time and location.

OK - so when I went to choose and book there was no difference in wait time for each hospital, but I actually felt in control of the process. It may sound silly, but this sense of control as opposed to the feeling of waiting for 'them' to write you with your appointment, not being sure where you'll have to go etc etc, makes a huge difference to how a patient feels and their experience of the care system.

It means a lot to people to feel in control of their own destiny...in so far as they can be when it comes to health.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Powerful and Stylish

I've made my bugbears about power cables quite clear in the past, so you can imagine my excitement at this prototype space saving number. Sleek, stylish, and it even looks like it's easy to change the fuse.

Sadly it seems there are no plans as yet to go into production, which is a shame; as the video says, product designers work so hard to get the devices themselves sleek and stylish and the poor old power cable is left sticking out of the box, or lurking, 3 pins up, ready for a misplaced step...owch.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

You can please some of the people...

Whilst perusing the forums of one of my clients I came across this post:

I'd love to see a contest

I have seen so many interesting books in the blurb bookstore that I could spend thousands of dollars in one mad afternoon buying books. But I can’t afford that.

So what I think would be great is if blurb would run a contest with the prize being blurb bookstore credits. Lots of credits. Lots and lots.

I don’t care what the subject of the contest is. Just as long as it’s something I have a chance of winning :-) I don’t want it to be a "my book is better than your book" sort of thing. Perhaps a scavanger hunt for specific images found in books in the bookstore? Something that would not turn into a competition about what book is better, and which would encourage people to investigate the richness of what’s on offer in the bookstore.

But any idea would do. But, as I said, it has to be something that I could possibly win.


Now - Blurb is running a competition, Photography.Book.Now. And so one of the Blurb guys responds and points that out. To which the original poster replies:

"I’d like a contest that 1) I have a chance of winning and 2) Doesn’t cost US$35 to enter."

You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time...


Friday, 5 June 2009

Why women won't play with Natal

The big news in games this week (coming out of E3) is Microsoft's Project Natal. This pretty nifty gaming interface lets you kick, punch, throw, headbutt - basically use any part of your body in the game - with no need for a controller; real Minority Report stuff.

By negating the need for fiddly button controls that give your thumbs RSI and with the introduction of games designed to improve fitness via its clever Wii system, Nintendo has done a lot to get the fairer sex interested in 'gaming.' Personally I got hooked by Sony with Rocky on Playstation 2 - the undefeated champion weighing in at 140lbs *ahem - give or take* Singstar was also a favourite - although that novelty soon wore off.

But Project Natal feels like it can push the boundaries even further - if it's easy to use, with no need to set up, learn how to use controls or indeed even have controls to store when not in use, suddenly we have something that slips seamlessly into the living room and I can start playing with easily.

That said...reading one of the articles coming out of E3 by the chaps at CNET has set off a couple of alarm bells.

Natal works using 'magic' to recognise peoples skeletal structure and how we move. It's so smart, it recognised that one of the journalists getting up to have a play was a woman and so displayed an avatar to reflect her feminine form.

So why won't I play with Natal? Because every woman suffers from body dismorphia, even in its mildest form, and will dread the possibility that Natal will represent her with a big, butch, manly avatar.

Oh the shame!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Paranormal Pics

Everyone loves a gimmick, so why hasn't a camera manufacturer launched a SLR specifically designed to help the amateur photographer capture the spirit world. It could feature Derek Acorah in the ads - I'd buy it.

We all love a good ghost story, and the news is full of tales of inexplicable images; the BBC recently ran with this one about the image of a man who could either be kneeling by a bed nursing a sick child or an executioner holding the severed head of one of his victims....easily confused.