The jury is still out on whether personal smartphones (iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberries) are going to be welcomed as on-duty tools for nurses working in hospital settings.

Many hospitals have banned nurses and support staff from carrying or using any type of cellphone in patient areas.  I’ve heard from hospitals where inappropriate use by a few, such texting or Facebooking in front of patients, has resulted in phone bans for all.  I’ve also been told that bans have been instituted at other institutions due to concerns about smartphone cameras being used to violate patients’ privacy. Read more…

www.flickr.com/photos/spence_sir/2292757408/in/photostream/If you own a smartphone, you should have a flashlight app for it.  And know where to find it on your phone and how to use it.  Period.

Even if you don’t usually bother with downloading apps for your phone, make an exception in this case.  You may work in a hospital with big backup generators and lots of emergency lighting but when the main power goes out, you’ll want a handheld light of your own.  Even when the power is on, you will occasionally need to read a label on the back of a device or plug a cord into a small socket in a dark corner.  You may be organized enough to keep a flashlight in your car glove compartment AND keep the batteries fresh.  (I never have been, or even known anyone who was, but I admit the possibility that such people exist.)  That still won’t help you on a dark rainy night, standing outside your car, when you can’t see the lock well enough to get your key into it. Read more…

Having to think up and remember lots of passwords is an unhandy fact of modern life.

Some people go for the simple solution and use the same password everywhere, or try to.  But different systems have different password requirements, and some systems demand you change your password regularly and not re-use an old one, so the one-and-only-password technique generally doesn’t go very far. Read more…

I knew, when I conceived the idea of publishing a list of iPhone and Android password manager apps, that volume would be an issue.  Of course, that was part of the point.  I thought that, if I could even just keep a list of the available apps up to date, I might be able to provide a bit of a service AND, possibly, gauge interest in such products.

But, as my daughter Becky would say, “blergh.”  When we first pulled together a spreadsheet list and posted it, there were 45 some apps in the iPhone app store.  The next time I looked, I found 65 and then, a few weeks later, 85.  I can’t keep up; I’m busy making a living and writing apps of my own.  So I’m officially declaring that approach to be a non starter and will be taking those pages down soon.   Read more…

Recently, when my father had a cancerous lump removed and decided to follow-up with chemo and radiation treatments, my mother was understandably frantic – for herself, of course, because they’ve been together almost 60 years and are rarely separated, but mostly for him.  She thought long and hard about what she could do to make the whole ordeal go more easily for him.  Her conclusion?  In a leap of logic that might be peculiar to my family, she decided she would buy him an iPhone.

When she called me up and announced this, I understood her reasoning in a flash.  My dad never met an electronic gadget he didn’t love and want to have.  He is willing to go through endless rounds of setting-up and tinkering to get a new toy to work.  He has always liked music and video and has recently come to enjoy e-book reading.  She couldn’t see how to help him with the physical side of his treatments.  But she could, at least, try to help with the mental game:  providing him with distractions for the whole hurry-up-and-wait cycle of appointments and waiting rooms and the inevitable illness and weakness that would follow.   Read more…