• Hospitals fear overcrowding with high influx of RSV patients

    “There was a significant strain on hospital finances with the pandemic, as elective surgeries were delayed or declined. And we have seen, in the more community hospitals, a transition from pediatric beds to better-paying adult beds,” Reingold said.

    Hospitals fear overcrowding with high influx of RSV patients

    As we deal with the 4th straight week of sick toddlers (vomit everywhere!) this line really just makes me sad.

    Tell me again why it is so important for healthcare to be a business? I suppose we just don’t want to treat those lazy sick kids too well.

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  • First impressions of iOS 16.1 on my iPad Pro

    Look at those large icons! JUST LOOK AT THEM!

    I forget that I told my iPad to update itself last night, so this morning when I opened it up I was greeted with the latest and greatest iOS for iPad – 16.1 (or is it iPadOS? Who knows?).

    I’ve been using it for at least 15 minutes, so I think that means that according to the unwritten rules of the web I must share my thoughts with a cruel and uncaring world:

    • “Use Large App Icons” is great, though it is an iOS 15 feature that I just discovered, so no points to iOS 16 (If you want larger icons go to Settings > Home Screen & Multitasking > Use Large App Icons.
    • Not being able to put widgets on my iPad Lock Screen is just odd. Seems like a big miss.
    • Speaking of big misses – Stage Manager. This is the new windowing system that is supported on newer iPads. Folks in the know (I.e. people using the betas and reviewers) aren’t huge fans of it, and I can see why. It is one of those features that you can feel someone really believes in… but isn’t full baked. I see potential, but I turned it off very shortly after turning it on.
    • I’m sure there are a ton of other new features… but I gotta be honest: for the last several years Apple hasn’t really added any new features that have become indispensable to me on either iOS or MacOS (Live Text is probably the most recent feature that really changed the way I use my devices). Now, I think that speaks to the maturity of both operating systems and the very large challenge the fine folks at Apple face trying to pump out new features year after year. 🤷
    • I really need to re-evaluate the first page of my iPad Home Screen. I don’t use most of those apps.. so what the heck are they doing there? Truth be told, I mostly use the Dock for my app launching… and ignore most of the other apps I have installed (until I need to look up an address or something less lame).
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    Trump sure likes to send emails

    I know two things about Sandra McNulty:

    • She thinks my email address is her email address.
    • She wants to get emails from Donald Trump

    Sadly for both of us, I’m not getting those emails from Donald Trump. And Donnie sure likes to email! Over the course of a little under 48 hours I’ve received 14 emails:

    Now, I’ll never vote for Donald Trump to hold any elected office for as long as I live… and I suggest you do the same. That being said, even if I were interested in seeing Trump back in the White House these emails would be a bit much. Getting 7 emails like this from the same source over 48 hours would strike me as a bit desperate, so I’m not sure what 14 emails say about the state of affairs in Trumplandia.

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  • Romulan Waffles and Klingon Cupcakes

    What do you do when you have access to an “AI” that will generate art based on a text prompt? If you’re like me you type in “Romulan waffles” and “Klingon cupcakes” into DiffusionBee and wait to see what happens.

    I really like these waffles because they feel very Star Trek to me. They are basically waffles, but in odd shapes because… Romulans don’t like squares or something.

    And the cupcake makes sense because Klingons didn’t have cupcakes before they encountered the Federation. Once Klingon bakers got the recipe they couldn’t improve on the shape… but they wanted to butch it up a bit for those insecure warriors.

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  • What’s that?

    SwabThanks to the pandemic, I’ve been able to work from home a lot, which I quite like. I never really thought I would like it, to be honest. I figured I’d be distracted and just did not want to mix work and home.

    Turns out it is fantastic. However, I do come into the office fairly regularly (I’m typing this in the office right now, don’t tell my boss). This morning I headed to work and made my traditional stop: the COVID testing center.

    Every time I come to campus, I get tested for COVID. Why? Because we’re in a pandemic, silly! And why not? It is free, easy, and quick.

    I went in today, checked in, got my nasal swab and tube, and headed to the person who would observe my test. He asked me if I had done this before, and I nodded.

    As I struggled to free the swap from its plastic (I always feel like I tell the person I’ve done this before, and then it appears as if I’ve never encountered plastic wrapping as I try to get that damned swab out), he mumbled something.

    I leaned in and said, “Excuse me?” He looked at me, shook his head, and pointed to his ear.

    Then I thought, “Dear god! He’s deaf, and I’ve insulted him. But how will he confirm my date of birth since I’m wearing a mask and don’t know sign language? Should I know sign language? Maybe I could type it on my phone and show him the screen. Oh man, I hope he didn’t mind that I assumed he could hear.”

    He then continued with his phone call using the earbud that he had pointed out to me.

    Ahh, he wasn’t deaf. Just rude.

    I felt better as I liberated the swab and shoved it into my nostrils one after the other.

    Bonus tidbits:

    • My love of orange means that more and more things in my wardrobe are various shades of orange. Which means I’m perilously close to being one of those people who dresses monochromatically. I’m not sure if I’m okay with that.
    • The Wawa I frequent is closing because of “safety concerns.” I want the staff to be safe, of course, but I think Wawa is mostly concerns with the safety of the product in the store. Many times I have noticed someone stealing something. I sometimes think that maybe I should point this out to the people in the store, or say something to the person taking the item. Then I realize that the person taking it most assuredly needs it more than Wawa needs the profit. Plus, no one wants me becoming a convenience store vigilante. Though I’m bummed that is closing and now I’ll need to walk slightly further away to go to one of the other two nearby Wawas.
    • The odd graphic accompanying this post was generated using DiffusionBee. That’s right, I’ve harnessed the power of AI to make crappy blog graphics. SUCH IS MY POWER!
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    Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout ****


    My Book Prize reading starts with “Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout. She’s a very well-known author (though I must admit I confuse her novel “Olive Kitteridge” with the Kitt Kitteridge. I assume they are very much not alike).

    Anyway, back to the book at hand. I know what you’re wondering. Why start with this book? Because this is the one the library sent to me first (and it arrived before the book that I purchased did!). It is as simple as that. I haven’t read any Strout before… and I didn’t really know much about the subject matter she writes.

    This book is the third book in a trilogy, but it seems to me to stand on its own rather well. It is the story of Lucy Barton, our narrator, and a specific set of events that happen between her and her ex-husband, the titular William (who does rather seem like a horrible person to be married to… though Lucy has her own faults as well. Faults which Willam does take advantage of).

    I expect that a novel nominated for a fancy literary prize will try to do something different. That might include having an entirely experimental structure, playing tricks with the narrative, or having a very strong and well-written voice. To me, this novel is all about Lucy’s voice, and I have to say it is pretty stunning how well Strout realizes it in such a short book (which makes me think reading the other two will only deepen my admiration for her craft).

    Here’s a quote from the book that I think is a good example of what I’m talking about:

    I have always thought that if there was a big corkboard and on that board was a pin for every person who ever lived, there would be no pin for me.

    I feel invisible, is what I mean. But I mean it in the deepest way. It is very hard to explain. And I cannot explain it

    “Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout

    That really sums up how Lucy thinks and acts in the novel, but you shouldn’t think that she’s some weak or meek character. She holds her own with William, who you can almost feel trying to wrest the narrative from her.

    This is a book I would never have picked up on my own, but one I am certainly glad to have read. The process works!

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    Hangin’ with Mr. Booker Prize Shortlisted Novels of 2022

    I have no shortage of books to read. I probably own over a thousand books (some physical, some eBooks) that I have yet to read. Which makes me wonder why I keep finding ways to add to my reading list!

    Last week I decided it would be a fun thing to do to read all 6 of the 2022 Booker Prize shortlisted novels. Not familiar with the Booker Prize? It is one of those fancy literary prizes of which the long, short, and winner lists often cause a stir in bookish circles.

    It seems like a good way to find a list of books that were of (most likely) high quality and books that I wouldn’t normally of picked myself. I feel like I often get into reading ruts, and this is a good way to jolt myself out of it… and dare I say challenge myself with some books that might be a little more experimental than those I normally read.

    I’ll update this post with links to my reviews of the books as I read them. The short list is:

    • Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
    • The Trees by Percival Everett
    • Treacle Walker by Alan Garner
    • The Seven Moons of Maali Almedia by Shehan Karunatilaka
    • Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
    • Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
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  • I must admit I’m not a big fan of ‘Goodnight Moon’

    The majority of the 856 comments are honest and moving reflections from bookworms of all ages on their own dedication to this 131-word story of a small bunny getting ready to fall asleep. If you’re a regular in comment sections, you know how rare it is to enter one that’s overwhelmingly positive and supportive, honest and kind, with strangers trading memories, encouragement and solidarity. What a fitting celebration for a deceptively simple story that casts a long and comforting shadow. Here are a few of our favorite responses, edited for length and clarity.

    Readers Share Memories of ‘Goodnight Moon’ – The New York Times

    But, these comments about it are very nice indeed.

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  • ,

    Kobo Sage: A review of a bad eReader

    I’m a big fan of eInk readers. I’ve been a happy Kindle user for 14 years, which blows my mind! Heck, I wrote a book about the Kindle that was only available on the Kindle (that wasn’t a great decision, turns out, as almost no one bought it).

    Over the course of those 14 years I’ve used pretty much every major variation of Kindle plus some Nooks thrown in here and there. I was pretty happy in Kindle-land, and I didn’t feel the need to see if the grass was greener with other eReaders. But then my pal Jason Snell started to sing the praises of his Kobo. Since I respect Jason’s opinion I thought maybe I should consider a non-Kindle for my eReading needs.

    Now, I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the Kobo, but the only Kobo I ever used could almost be considered a novelty device: the Kobo mini. I fished it out of my “Tech Drawer of Fun” since I figured I could just check out the Kobo OS on a device I already had. That’s when I found out the 10 year old device was no longer supported by Kobo and couldn’t even connect to the Kobo service.

    I did what any normal person would do, bought an expensive modern Kobo: the Kobo Sage.

    Why the Sage? Because, dear reader, I’m a fancy ereader user. I love my Kindle Oasis, which is the top of the line Kindle, and it only seemed fair to compare top of the line to top of the line.

    The Quick Review

    If you’re looking for a premium ereader get a Kindle Oasis. The Kobo Sage feels cheap (things that cost $300 should never produce that “creaky plastic” sound under normal use) and worst of all: the page turn buttons sometimes just don’t work. Given the whole point of the device is to turn pages, that’s a dealbreaker. Don’t get this thing.

    Furthermore, the official case, which can be used as a stand whilst reading, is an abomination that Kobo should just stop selling.

    I will say, however, that it charges via USB-C which is nice and I look forward to getting a Kindle that does the same (I’m not getting another Kobo, you see).

    Slightly Longer Review

    The best thing about the Sage is also one of its biggest drawbacks: the screen size. Reading on the larger screen is great (when the frickin’ page turn buttons actually turn the page). Sadly, even without the cover the Sage feels a little too heavy in the hand for extended use and the weight isn’t balanced well. Adding the case makes it heavier, though the case does fold into a stand which is nice. Unfortunately, the cover in stand mode feels pretty flimsy and from time to time the Kobo slowly slides down as I read.

    Speaking of that damn cover, here’s my biggest issue with it. It, like the Oasis cover, has magnets in it. When you open it, the Kobo unlocks. When you close it, the Kobo locks. That’s nice, no complaints there.

    Now, I’m going to give you a glimpse into my personal life. Sometimes, when I’m reading, I have to pause for several minutes and do something else. Maybe run after a toddler, or take out the trash. Normal human stuff, mostly. Then, when I return to my Sage it is displaying the cover of the book I’m currently reading with my progress and the Kobo’s battery level. That, I like very much (especially the battery level indicator).

    And how do I unlock the Sage to jump back into reading? Simple, just press the power button and it unlocks like magic. However, if you’re using the dumb Sage cover you can’t press the power button because the cover, well, covers it so it can’t be pressed.

    You have to close the cover and open it again to unlock the Sage (or you can take it out of the cover and press the power button then put it back in the cover I suppose, but that’s more effort).

    I find this design baffling.

    Don’t buy this cover (and since you shouldn’t buy the Sage there’s no reason to buy the cover anyway!).

    Were the seats comfortable, Mrs. Lincoln?

    Clearly, I can’t recommend the Sage as a device, but what about the software? The Kobo UI is very nice, and I would have said it is way ahead of the Kindle’s UI before the latest major Kindle OS update.

    Now, I’d say they are about even with a few, notable, exceptions:

    Both will use the cover of whatever you’re reading as a Lock Screen – but you have to pay a little more to get this feature on the Kindle (most Kindles are sold with “special offers” enabled which display ads on the Lock Screen and in the homepage). Plus, on the Kobo in addition to displaying the cover of the book you’re currently reading it shows your progress (and the progress of charging if the Kobo is plugged in). That’s a very nice touch.

    The Kobo is very well integrated with OverDrive, the system of ebook lending that lots and lots of public libraries use.

    Adding your library card to the Kobo is simple, and it is a breeze to check out books. Even better, the Kobo treats books you have out, and those you have on hold, as basically part of your on device library.

    Plus, while you’re looking at books on the Kobo store it’ll note when a book is available from the library (though I will say I think it is easier to browse books on my computer… which means Amazon beats the Kobo in the book buying/browsing experience for my money) It isn’t hard to get ebooks from OverDrive onto your Kindle, but it is even easier on the Kobo.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re in the market for an eReader and you hate Amazon… you should probably check out a Kobo. Just don’t get the Sage because it is way too expensive for how crappy it is.

    And I should say that my sense of sticking it to corporate America by using a Kobo was totally undermined when the first login option I had as I set up my Sage was “continuing with Walmart.”

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