Be still my heart

This is going to sound like a commercial that has been popular for the past decade: people with an irregular heart beat – known as atrial fibrillation or AFib or AF – are at a higher risk of blood clots and stroke. AF – in a nutshell –  is the condition of having disorganized electrical impulses driving your heart beat. The impulses normally start from the top chambers of the heart (atria) and travel to the bottom chambers of the heart (ventricles). This causes your heart muscle(s) to contract. When this happens on a regular basis you have a normal (sinus) rhythm. During AF, the electrical signals are fast and chaotic. The atria quiver rapidly and irregularly, so blood pools in the atria instead of being pumped properly to the ventricles. Pooling can lead to clotting and clots, when pushed out, can go any place in the body. If the clot goes to the brain it can cause a stroke. Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

On Wednesday, September 16, I started feeling heart palpitations in the afternoon. Thursday morning we went to see my doctor. He got an EKG on me and promptly sent me to the ER – I was having a paroxysmal atrial fibrillation event – and the hospital could administer the drugs to help slow down my heart. As I recall my heart beat was bouncing between 160 and 60 beats per minute. My blood pressure was high – something like 170 over 110.

The ER took another EKG, a chest xray, then started one IV in my right arm with medicine – something like amiodarone (Cordarone). Then they started another IV with medicine in my left arm to regulate the first medicine; it took two techs and two sticks to get the IV to take – OWW! Then I got a CT scan with contrast. This is where I thought tests were getting a little excessive. Eventually (about 5pm) they put me in a hospital room in the critical care unit (CCU). Around 7pm my heart “reset” itself and I returned to sinus rhythm.

Friday morning I got an echocardiogram – an ultrasound of the heart. I didn’t get a run down of the results – probably not much to say. The echo went to a cardiologist who came by around 2pm. By 4pm I was walking out of the hospital.

They prescribed the following meds: metoprolol tartrate (25mg), flecainide acetate (50mg). And I had to add low dose aspirin (81mg).

My doctor wanted me to start Lipitor 3 months ago, but I didn’t – I wanted to try diet and exercise. A week after the night in the hospital I had a checkup with my doctor and afterwords I went to get the generic Lipitor – so September 26 I started taking generic Lipitor (atorvastatin 20mg).

If you’re keeping score at home that’s 4 medicines or 6 pills per day. Ten days ago I didn’t take any meds now I’m stuck with 6 pills. My goal is to get off of the meds as quickly as possible; some internet pages say 2 years.

Just FYI, I started a new category, Health, with this post. I plan to put my health news and other things I find useful into this category.

Texas earthquakes

Have you heard? We have earthquakes in Texas. The USGS thinks its because of oil drilling technique know as fracking. The oil and gas companies are silent about the earthquakes. This is a growing problem. It’ll will take several deaths and property damage before it goes to court.

Officially, the cause of the earthquakes is inconclusive, according to the USGS, but on Tuesday, a Southern Methodist University-led research team found that in Azle and Reno, towns northwest of Fort Worth, the oil and gas activities in the vicinity were “most likely” responsible for several earthquakes in late 2013 and 2014. Source: CNN.com

This was a really well-written article. I encourage you to read it. Fracking has been going on in Texas for several years now, and the amounts of earthquakes (tremors if you will) has dramatically increased: from a few every few years to 40+ in one year; most concentrated in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Here’s a fracking term to look up: flowback.

Happy 10th Blogiversary

I started this blog on this day in 2005. Happy 10th Blogiversary!

Like a lot of blogs I don’t write much here now, just the occasional rant about Texas politics. I mainly have used this blog to capture moments in time so that I can go back and read them and be nostalgic.

HighEdWeb 2014 Wrap Up

Portland-Old-Town-Sign It’s been 3 years since my last High Ed Web conference, and a lot has changed. This year I attended the 3 events – Welcome Reception: Punch Bowl Social, HighEdWeb AfterDark: Porto Terra, HighEdWeb Big Social Event: World Forestry Center – but I didn’t stay long at any of them. I had more face time with Texas A&M employees this year. I was also producing a vlog everyday in October. After the conference Barbie flew in to Portland, and we took a 3 night vacation around northwest Oregon.

The conference website: http://2014.highedweb.org/

The LINK blog site of the conference: http://link.highedweb.org/category/2014-conference/

I think the most comprehensive wrap up blog came from Karine Joly at collegewebeditor.com: Missed the #heweb14 conference? Check this selection of slides, posts & resources.

One big change was the track names. The new ones are:

  • AIM Applications, Integration and Mobile
  • DPA Development, Programming and Architecture
  • MCS Marketing, Content and Social Strategy
  • MPD Management and Professional Development
  • TIE Technology in Education
  • UAD Usability, Accessibility and Design

Here are the sessions I attended – note the heavy use of AIM track:

  • There Are No Break Points in Your Web Strategy: Going Responsive Without Screwing Everything Up #UAD1
  • Moving to Git-based Version Control with Small Teams #DPA2
  • Node.js + Higher Ed = Awesome! #AIM3
  • Connecting Reusable Disconnected Content: Our CampusData Project #AIM4
  • Automate all the things with Yo, Grunt and Bower #AIM5
  • Beyond the Buildings: A New Generation of Campus Maps #DPA6
  • Agile in higher ed? Yes you Kanban! #MPD7
  • Extreme APIs for a Better Tomorrow #AIM8
  • Putting students first: The uOttawa.ca redesign #UAD9
  • Taking the Web Offline #AIM10
  • Just another bughunt? Tools to improve your site without nuking it from orbit #DPA11
  • Building a room reservation system with a $0 budget #AIM12

Takeaways from #UAD1

Put call-to-action buttons (or emergency alerts) at the top, and keep them in the same place for all devices.

Beware the burger. Don’t just use the icon, add the word “menu.”

Remember that a cell phone is also a phone: click to call service is good to have
also, take advantage of features = enhancement

Dig into analytics and see what mobile is doing differently. That may drive their altered experience.

Subnavigation and breadcrumbs: alot of mobile sites drop them – no one clicked on them for psu.edu.

Takeaways from #DPA2

How Git works (master branch):

  • Working directory on desktop
  • Add these files to staging area
  • Then commit files to local repository
  • Then push files to remote repository

Three phases of going Git:

  • plan
  • execute
  • use

Plan

  • step 1: identify remote repository – external or self hosted
  • step 2: select a workflow – centralized, integration manager, feature workflow, others
  • step 3: identify users and roles
  • step 4: identify what files you want to commit – necessary to run website – ignore all others (.gitignore file)

Execute

  • step 1: steup hosting
  • step 2: create user account and setup machines
  • step 3: create repositories
  • step 4: implement a workflow
  • step 5: push first commit

Use

  • step 1: commit, commit, commit
  • step 2: evaluate what’s working and what’s not

Takeaways from #AIM3

Look at

Gulp vs Grunt – the jury is still out. Gulp is awesome, but Grunt is stable.

Next year the conference goes back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m not going.

They didn’t announce where 2016 was, but they said it will be “in the south.”

For reference, here is a list of the past 6 years’ conferences:

  • 2014 Portland
  • 2013 Buffalo (Did not go)
  • 2012 Milwaukee (Did not go)
  • 2011 Austin
  • 2010 Cincinnati
  • 2009 Milwaukee

 

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 30

“Three Bullet Points”

1] Our cyber security campaign was a success. It got nearly 6000 sessions. Tomorrow is the official end of the campaign, but we decided to let it roll over to Monday.

2] Speaking of tomorrow – Halloween – it’s the last day of October and thus the last day of Vlog Every Day (in) October. I can’t say I’ll miss having to come up with ideas of what to talk about or producing video.

3] OMG TripIt – the trip help app – is getting creepy close to me. The Wife made a hotel reservation today (using my Honor’s number & email address) and they sent me a confirmation email. Well TripIt “saw the email” and told me “we noticed your email and added it to your itinerary.” That’s a little too personal.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 29

“One Bullet Point”

1] My busy week continues. I ate lunch at McDonalds – they ripped me off and I had a fly as a dining companion. I’m never going back to that place. Then I early voted. Then I sat for jury duty for over an hour on the hardest bench ever. The good news was they pleaded and I still got paid $6.

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 28

“Three Bullet Points”

1] So many things are happening this week. I’m trying to write a blog to summarize my High Ed Web conference, and produce this vlog every day in October. I got a flu shot today. I plan on early voting before noon tomorrow, and I have jury duty in the afternoon.

2] Some TV shows are having their season finales while others just started their season a couple weeks ago. Fall sure is the season of change.

3] It’s the countdown to halloween – 3 nights left. It doesn’t feel like halloween. Next year, the Wife said, we’ll do something, but this year is too late – even to pass out candy.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 27

“Three Bullet Points”

1] Temperatures in Texas are above “normal” for fall. In Oregon temps were averaging 50 – 60. In Texas we’re still in the 80’s. That’s one for moving to the northwest.

2] It was funny watching The Wife trying to recycle in Oregon/Washington. She tried so hard to separate trash from recyclables. That’s how Oregonians and Washingtonians are though – not like Texans.

3] We agreed that we need to see more of the northwest and the rest of the country. In order to get there we need to work out, lose weight and get healthy.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 26

“Three Bullet Points”

1] That last 3 days we have been traveling. Please excuse the videos.

We came back and everything was fine (aside from the smell). We watched the the Purge 2 tonight. I figured now was a good time to purge old pictures and videos from my computer. I think the oldest was from 2010.

2] If your wife likes Oregon and your step-son like’s Washington – what do you do? Travel more! Both have seen a specific example of both states and neither has seen many examples of both states. More travels in both states will alleviate that problem.

3] Travel is cool but establishment is better. When we travel we see the here and now. When we rest we see the established order of things. Me and my wife both agree we like Astoria for its “wilderness” feel and not the Portland-city feel.

#vedo14 or #vlogtober

Vlog Everyday October 2014 | Day 25

We traveled from Portland to Dallas to College Station. It was a long day. No video or photos were taken.