The Insulin Pump

Things you learn from wearing an insuling pump after 27 years of taking shots:

  • Three days seems like such a long time — until you’re counting the days to change your infusion set. Then, it flies by. Just when you’ve gotten comfortable with one site, it’s time to change it out.

  • Checking your blood sugar is no longer a chore. It will never mean having to poke yourself with a needle again right afterwards.

  • Those annoying blood sugars somewhere between “perfect” and “just slightly high”? Not a worry anymore. Since the pump can dole out insulin in teeny tiny steps, let it do the work. You can think of 135 as a high blood sugar now if you want, since the pump will push out a little insulin to bring you back to 100. (Mine just gave me .1 unit for just that reading.) You never would have wasted a needle for less than a unit like that before.

  • You’re so hip wearing a pager on your belt!

  • Carbohydrates are measured in grams. OK, you likely knew that before, but you likely didn’t care that much.

  • Being in peak physical shape is awesome and all, but having a couple extra pounds around the belly makes for a far easier injection site, I have to think.

  • Women have a slight advantage here: With all their pants being low-rise, they have more room to plug themselves in.

Deserving a Special Oscar

Mandy Patankin.

Just give it to him for this scene in “The Princess Bride”:

It’s 25 years too late, but he still deserves it. This scene is a masterpiece in line delivery. Just the one line.

The Morning TV Show Format

O.A.R. was on the VH-1 Morning Buzz show this morning. They were performing a new song I hadn’t heard before, so I watched the show.

It was painful. Not O.A.R. They were great, even with a stripped down four piece version of the band. (Chris and Benj were absent.) It’s the television show: A cheap, stripped-down, grasping-at-straws-for-content version of Today or GMA, which are similar poor shows just with bigger budgets.

I don’t watch much television anymore, and I definitely don’t watch any of the morning shows. So while I’m familiar with the format from so long ago it feels like a previous life, I haven’t sat through an example of it in years.

It’s bad.

In the half hour or forty minutes I saw, host Nick Lachey and his two co-hostesses ran through a ridiculous number of spots, one more hollow than the next. There was the bartender showing them how to make fancy mixed drinks. There was the pole dancer showing the three hosts how to pole dance (I notice the second hostess stood by and never got on the pole — she must be the smart one). There was a three minute interview with Akon, following by two questions asked from tourists on the street. Nick Lachey sang 20 seconds of a song coming out of a break. An even more annoying co-host helped introduce O.A.R. and smiled like a doofus when Lachey teased the next show. Lachey went out into the “crowd” of about 20 people in Times Square to answer a couple of Tweets, and then took a selfie or two with the people.

Bam bam bam bam. Don’t blink or you’ll miss a segment. Better idea: Blink and you WILL miss a segment. One more vapid than the next. Lachey reading his questions off index cards is painful, especially when he can’t pronounce the name of an artist he just referred to as a “major” one, like he had never heard of Matisyahu before.

Later on, I listened to a Nerdist podcast where the host and friends interviewed Donald Fasion for an hour.* Sure, the topics were a bit scattered, but there was a flow of conversation that didn’t seem scripted or rehearsed. It felt natural. It was funny. It was entertaining. I learned a thing or two and had a couple fun flashbacks to things I had forgotten about. Obviously, they went into the podcast with topics to discuss, but it wasn’t carefully planned. All the proof you need of that is the awkward way it ended, like all Nerdist podcasts. There’s about three rounds of good-byes before the tangents stop and they actually end the recording.

Morning Television is the true vast wasteland, showing us on a daily fast-forwardable basis just how scattershot and minimally attentive television audiences are assumed to be. I’d rather sit in a chair, close my eyes, and listen to a podcast, where there’s no commercial breaks, no need for multiple segments, the freedom to talk about anything using whatever language they see fit, and a sense of spontaneity not created by cringe-worthy audience interaction.

Give me podcasts or give me — well, boredom!

Apple’s Healthbook and Diabetes

This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking | 9to5Mac.

9to5Mac has a scoop of what might just be coming up in iOS 8. It’s called Healthbook, and it’s one central place on your phone to put all your health data.

The most interesting section to me, of course, is the “Blood Sugar” part. Some immediately jumped that it meant that (A) the iWatch is coming and (B) the iWatch would magically check your blood sugar readings.

That last part is never going to happen. But — there’s a solution here for diabetics that’s awesome, if Apple can pull it off. There are things called CGM — Continuous Glucose Monitors. They stay attached to you around the clock and measure your blood sugar levels through your interstitial tissues every minutes. They then beam the numbers to another device you keep on you to show you your readings. The insulin pumps these days can read those numbers, but the displays make for an ugly look into the data. Imagine a custom iOS app with nice graphs and tables of data? It would be much easier to use, and more likely for a diabetic to use it.

There’s no reason the iPhonecan’t graab that signal, aside from the proprietary nature of the data format? If Apple can strike a deal with the medical device manufacturers who make the CGMs, they can unlock those signals and make apps that show you how you’re doing.

I’m not sure if Apple would go so far as to add this data to the iOS 8 framework — I’m sure HIPPA would not make it easy, and users would at the least have to approve it on an app by app basis — but it would be nice if they could…

AI 13 Week 1 Results

Let this be a lesson to all contestants: Do not try to perform a song with a title like “Beautiful Disaster” as if it’s an upbeat pop song that makes you smile and validates all of your life choices.

America will kick your butt back home.

Is there a holiday coming up?

This is my “Promotion” tab on Google for less than the last week.

2014-02-07 at 9.38 PM

The iWatch to Save All Diabetics

I’m still extremely cynical and pessimistic on this one. With evidence now that Apple met with the FDA to discuss wearable medical devices, the iWatch rumor mill is back at it.

9to5Mac is putting together the pieces and sees:

>Besides fitness tracking, a marquee feature of “Healthbook” will be the ability to monitor a user’s vital signs.

>The application will be able to track a person’s blood pressure, hydration levels, heart rate, and potentially several other blood-related data points, such as glucose levels, according to our sources.

I’m still not believing it. Measuring blood glucose is still reliant on blood samples. Measuring it by the moisture on your skin is still too science-fictiony for me.

Pointer to Tech Blog

I should also point out that the Various and Sundry CS blog is back up and running after a two month hiatus due to — ironically enough — technical issues.

Expect lots of Elixir on there in the weeks and months ahead.

Jack Is Back

I have to be honest. I never watched the last couple seasons of ’24.’ Or that television movie that led into the one season. I’m not even sure where we left Jack.

But it’s been just long enough that all the nostalgia flows through me and I’m super excited that Jack Is Back:

Besides, once upon a time, ’24′ talk was a regular feature around here. I didn’t forget you.

Book me a flight to Japan, quick!

Squirrel Gardens.

What more do I need to say?

How awesome is that?

Abe Lincoln, My Little Pony

The things a father draws for his daughter…

“What if Abraham Lincoln was a My Little Pony?”

lincoln_pony

Cutest Thing of the Week

(I may need to change tons of WordPress settings so I can embed YouTube videos and tweets around here. In the meantime, click on that link. NOW your day is complete.)

Two Spaces After a Sentence. It’s Really OK, People…

The topic of spacing after a period (or “full stop” in some parts of the world) has received a lot of attention in recent years. The vitriol that the single-space camp has toward the double-spacers these days is quite amazing, and typographers have made up an entire fake history to justify their position. [...]

Unfortunately, this whole story is a fairy tale, made up by typographers to make themselves feel like they are correct in some absolute way. The account is riddled with historical fabrication. Here are some facts…

Such a good read ripping apart the modern notion that using two spaces at the end of a sentence is wrong. And he backs it up with a ridiculous amount of proof and history

My New Computer Programming Blog

If you go to VariousAndSundry.com/cs, you’ll find my new blog. Spinning off from this one, it’s for all the computer programming things I want to talk about. That’ll be mostly Ruby, with some Perl, iOS/Objective-C, and whatever else strikes my fancy. (Elixir? Go?)

Could Apple Save Glucometers?

Reading this article (it’s from 2012) is as frustrating today as it must have been to write back then. What’s changed in the glucometer industry since that was written? Absolutely nothing.

But the author makes an interesting point, and it made me put a random two together with another random two to create a piece of wild speculation that would be cool if it actually happened. Follow along:

A point in the article is that syncing your glucometer up to your computer, let alone your iPhone, is a ridiculous process. At best, you can buy a special wire to hook up the two, whose standards are not open. So you’re forced to use the manufacturer’s piss poor software. And you’re still connecting a cord. People don’t want to do that with their phones, let alone their glucometers.

We have wireless technology today. Bluetooth standards have only gotten better over the years. Recent upgrades mean Bluetooth chips use a miniscule amount of power. They won’t drain the batteries of glucometers anymore. It’s bad enough we’re stuck on oddly-shaped black and white 8-bit screens, but why can’t we get the data off the glucometer without writing it down or manually re-typing all the results into the computer? The data has already been entered. Why does that effort need to be duplicated? I’d rather get a half hour more exercise each week than spend time in front of an Excel spreadsheet or web site’s form to enter all those numbers in.

I know this sounds like a classic First World Problem, but it’s the reality of the situation. It’s how Apple has become such a huge company, by removing the little obstacles that technology presents to getting things done that matter in every day life. Why can’t the diabetes world have a savior like that?

What if it IS Apple, though?

From a recent 9to5Mac.com report:

Apple has also hired several experts in the field of non-invasive blood monitoring sensors from C8 MediSensors. This firm is a company that became defunct in February of this year, according to its former CTO Rudy Hofmeister (who departed the company in late 2012).

The company’s technology provides a non-invasive way to measure substances in the human body such as glucose levels. [...]

During a phone call, the former CTO told us that the company broke down because the glucose-level-analysis technology was facing issues surrounding the consistency of data readings. When the company dissolved, Apple moved aggressively to hire several C8 MediSensors directors and engineers, including designers and scientists that specialize in machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence that focuses on interpreting forms of data), Hofmeister said.

Could an iWatch have a blood sugar reader incorporated into it? While I would love that idea, I’m not sure it’s feasible just yet. It would be the ultimate solution, particularly if it kept a constant read of your levels, even if only every 15 minutes. But what if there’s a middle ground here?

One Touch Test Strips for diabetes

What if those two were hired for their connections with the diabetes industry? What if their job is to schmooze key players in the diabetes world to add Bluetooth to their Glucometers so that they could sync up with iPhones directly, or indirectly through an iWatch? Wouldn’t a company like LifeScan love to be featured at the iWatch roll-out as having a new glucometer that ties in with this “stunning” new device?

Maybe.

It would be cool, and it would certainly be less impossible sounding than an actual watch that read blood sugar magically through the skin.

Just a theory.

P.S. My glucometer’s time stamp doesn’t automatically change for Daylight Savings Time. I’m a professional computer programmer, and I have not been able to figure out how to change it manually. I think if I pulled out the battery, everything would reset so I would have to reset the time. But then I’d lose my history of readings. That’s an awful user experience.