Archive for April, 2007

Software: Brief Look at MediaMonkey

J. uses iTunes because it syncs with his iPod mini. Also, because he finds it fairly well designed. However, it’s a real resource hog on his Acer Travelmate 8104 running Windows XP Professional.

That’s why he’s just recently switched to MediaMonkey. Having loaded 16gig worth of songs into its library, MediaMonkey takes up 37,728 KB of memory usage without playing any song. iTunes, on the other hand, takes up 63,700 KB. Of course, it lacks the deal-breaker of Windows Media Player – natively unable to sync with iPods.

When playing a song, Aerosmith – Just Push Play.mp3, iTunes used 3.5 – 6.7% of the CPU (as indicated by Process Explorer) while the same song played by MediaMonkey used 1.2 – 2.4 %.

On preliminary usage, MediaMonkey looks good. J. likes to rename his mp3 files to a standard format, and he was pleasant surprised to find that he could directly edit filenames along with the external tags within MediaMonkey’s playlist. Awesome. Also, any ratings, etc. etc. are ported over from either WMP or iTunes on first installation and running of MediaMonkey. Very convenient for the switch.

It’s been said that there might be some problems with syncing to iPod, but J. hasn’t tried it yet. MediaMonkey doesn’t support .aac files but does pretty much everything else (including .ogg) unlike iTunes which is unable to play .wma files.

J.’ll play around with the program a bit and see if there’s anything else that he likes or dislikes.


Neurosurgical Case: Down Syndrome

It’s interesting how much a topic comes to life when you have the pleasure of encountering a real-life case.

Last time, J.’s first week in Internal Medicine allowed him to meet a cheerful, tall, skinny, lanky young man whose feet stuck out the end of the bed. He was in for spontaneous pneumothorax. He’s never failed to consider Marfan Syndrome or fail to look out for the signs of Marfan Syndrome ever since.

Simillarly, J. met a friendly, pleasant young 27-year-old man and his family. The young man in question had Down Syndrome, looked quite normal (not dysmorphic) yet had so many of the associated complications of Down Syndrome that J.’s unlikely to forget them anytime soon. That’s partly because J. also had the opportunity to scrub in to observe and do very, very minor assistance (e.g. cut threads) during his surgery.

Despite his lack of obvious cranial/facial dysmophisms (e.g. hypertelorism, low-set ears, open mouth with protruding tongue), he did have the horizontal palmar crease (“simian crease”) and increased space between the great toe and the second toe. Most of the rest was on his history.
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Thoughts on Gun Control

Singapore is a small island with very, very stringent gun control, where guns are banned except for certain professions such as the police, security forces and the military.

A person found in unlawful possession of any arm or ammunition gets 5-10 years and at least 6 strokes of the infamous Singapore cane. A person who has on his person any arm while comitting a crime/being arrested for a crime gets life imprisonment and at least 6 strokes.

A person who uses or attempts to use any arm at the time of his committing or atetempting to commit any scheduled offence (regardless of whether he intended to cause physical damage to person or property) gets the death sentence.

Anybody who trafficks arms (being found in unlawful possession of more than 2 arms unless proven otherwise) gets either death or life imprisonment with at least 6 strokes of the cane. It’s tough, but it’s also a small island country with a low crime rate, stable political climate and effective police force and its situation can hardly be extrapolated to the world.

For more information, check Singapore Statutes Online.

There are a few points that J. thinks bout.
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Perspective on Salsa in London, Ontario

Reading websites such as LB: Your Nightlife Source for London, Ontario! , J. learnt that the main salsa dancing place was Old Chicago at 153 Carling Street on Wednesday nights. J. also heard good things about Orlando Valencia & The Pachanga Band, the in-house live band. So he went to check out the place on a Wednesday night.

The music was very good.

J. doesn’t think he’ll be going back there anytime soon. Maybe not ever.
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Medical Elective: Getting Used to Canada Part 1

Singaporeans visiting Canada for the first time might be slightly taken aback at a few of the differences between Singapore and Canada. For the most part, however, both of these countries are Commonwealth countries, considered developed nations and speak English as their native tongue (despite Singapore’s national language being Bahasa Melayu).

If friendly banter does not come naturally, please memorise the following exchange, for it will be used perpetually:

Two people are walking by each other.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Good. How’re you?”
“I’m good.”
They walk past and keep moving.
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Medical Elective: J’s First Week in Neurosurgery

When neurosurgery is mentioned, the tough-as-nails, practical, go-getter kind of personality is conjured up. These are neurosurgeons. They’re badass, you know, they’re the only ones who dare to go into the cranial vault. Otolaryngology and dentistry muck about the rest of the head, orthopaedics do spine and sometimes brachial plexus/peripheral nerve injuries, plastics and ophthalmology also use microscopes but nobody messes with the big boss itself: the brain.

It came as a bit of surprise that the neurosurgery residents give off such a laid-back vibe.

That said, they’re there at 6.30am in the morning and usually leave past 6.30pm in the evening. Excluding night calls, they’re pulling 12hr shifts and having to take care of baby kids in the meantime (one of the residents’ baby girl’s picture was on the OR computer, she was ADORABLE).
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Medical Elective: Chinese in Toronto, Canada

A popular choice of university of medical students in the University of Toronto (Faculty of Medicine). It is conveniently located in downtown Toronto with the student residences about a 2.5km walk away from Toronto Western, one of the hospitals affiliated with UToronto.

There is a sizable Chinese population in Toronto (10.6% of 2.48 million), a city known for its racial diversity. In a way, the Chinese majority areas in Toronto, such as close to the junction of the 404 and 407 expressways are a home away from home for Chinese students.

In general, eating out in Canada is an expensive affair and it’s ridiculous to eat Chinese food which isn’t prepared by Chinese people. But wait! There’re options!
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