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October 6, 2011

How Steve Jobs and Apple enhance my professional life

Today i Sad…

Steve Jobs has passed on, and I will mourn the incredible life of a wonderful creative human being. One who has no notion of popular opinion, one who didn't care about what others think, one who only cared about how we will create and enrich our lives and activities – with the gadgets that he and his company created.

I have been the recipient of many of his devices over the last 8 or so years. These devices have had a significant impact on my life in general, but I want to share with you the incredible impact it has had on my professional life.

First was the iMac, which became our home PC… Hang on, even before that were the iPods, but these were mainly the domain of my kids, especially daughter.

In late 2007, I manage to convince my sister visiting from Denver to purchase 3 of the first generation iPhones and bring it with her. But it took another 3 months before I could jail-break and use it !! There has been many other generations of iPhones in the Szto household since…

Our first Apple laptop was a Macbook, for my daughter at her school. Before that it was an IBM laptop, which she could turn the screen around to write on, and the teachers were thrilled. But the Macbook created some problems for Han, because it was not supported by the IT department. Never mind, because of Han's persistence, the IT changed to accomodate her, and the rest is history. Now you see Macs at Toorak College everywhere…

I bought a Macbook Pro, for work. My office has a server based on Microsoft Windows, and so is the Electronic Medical Records software. My IT support manager was not sure if the Mac would be able to access the Windows-based software. No problems, it connected via a VPN tunnel the very first time we tried, and I have not have any problems ever since connecting remotely to my office computer, even when I am attending a conference in New Orleans, Paris or Beijing. I can connect to my desktop computer in my office and report echos, type letters, and send them out, all from the other side of the world. When I am consulting in Rosebud or Mornington, I use the Macbook Pro to access the patient's electronic records and letters and results. When I travel to conferences overseas, I usually bring along the Macbook Air, since it is lighter and easier to carry, and I can use it to access my office as well.

When I have seen my patient, I pick up my latest iPhone, and using the Dictate app, start dictating my letter, which will be formatted and sent to the office computer for my transcriptionist to pick up and start transcribing… No more dictaphone in my pocket.

I also have my iPad 2 with me when I consult. It has the Skype app in there, and periodically it will be used to connect to my medical colleagues, who use the Skype app to discuss a live case with me (videoconferencing). This way, using Telehealth, I can see the patient remotely in the GP's office, and advise on treatment all without me touching the patient. Telehealth is a fully funded program by the Australian government to encourage doctors to communicate with each other when the tyranny of distance prevents the patient from getting access to a specialist easily. Imagine if you are somewhere in remote Australia and you got sick, no worries, ask the local doctor there to fire up a webcam and Skype and lo, I will be in your face in no time…

After performing a coronary stent or pacemaker procedure, I use the Macbook Pro or even the iPad to access my office clinical records software via wi-fi, and type my report, before sending them out to referring doctors instantly via the internet, and generate faxes and electronic records instantly.

In all these activities, Apple and its products have helped me perform my tasks in the most seamless fashion, everything works and so intuitively. I don't have to hunt for the latest printer driver, the mindless wi-fi settings, and never has a virus been sighted or even thought of….

I can also download a PDF document, edit or write on it using the TextEdit software that comes with the Mac, and print it our or send it off, without a hitch. Needless to say all my talks and presentations are done on the Mac again without any hitches when connecting to projectors etc. I once sat and watched in embarrassment for a top-rank world-renowned cardiologist, who was on his first visit to Australia, and giving a presentation where NONE of his videos would play (using Windows of course), and I thought that if only he had used a Macbook….

So there, you can see how I don't read the Green Guide anymore, because I don't need to find the latest solution to a technical problem, or buy another gadget to make my Windows laptop work etc… I also don't need to visit Sim Lim Square or Hunan IT mall in S'pore for the same reasons.

Once you own an Apple product, there is no need to find other solutions, everything is there, and works perfectly, right out of the box.

This is my small tribute to Steve Jobs.