Two factor authentication

Two factor authentication
I have previously highlighted the importance of using strong yet unique passwords when protecting our increasingly important online accounts. Although this certainly improves security, there are a number of ways in which a strong password is still vulnerable. Increasingly, sites of high value are introducing optional two-factor authentication. This feature strengthens the security of that particular account. I use two-factor authentication for Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Lastpass, Paypal and Ebay.
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Apps, Passwords and an Easy to Swallow Tablet

Apps, Passwords and an Easy to Swallow Tablet

App updates
NICE BNF App
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently released an official British National Formulary (BNF) App for both Android and iPhone devices (see Figure 1). The App works without mobile reception as the data is stored on the smartphone / tablet. This makes for a  large App, but it works really well! There is a bookmark feature, so you can quickly get to the diamox section or the section on contraindications in pregnancy. It’s available in the respective App stores for free. You will need an Athens username and password to access the App. Visit bit.ly/nicebnf to see the official NICE page describing the recent release.

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Word and Excel Tips

Word and Excel Tips

Although not ophthalmic specific, it’s unlikely a project or a CV edit goes by without using Microsoft Word or Excel. Both are almost ubiquitous in hospitals and home computers. Even if you try and use alternatives (like Google Docs) you are likely to be working on Work and Excel for
many projects. What follows are some easy to implement features that can make life
easier when working with these popular products. Most of these tips work for PC and Mac versions of Word and Excel, though the keys needed to activate them are often different. I have provided both variations where applicable. All tips work on the current versions and many previous versions. At the time of writing, the latest PC version is Office 2010 and for the Mac it is Office 2011. Screenshots are from Office 2010 on the PC.

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Basic Video Editing

Basic Video Editing

Whether it’s simply trimming some clips of your own surgery,creating a video for a presentation or making a skiing video, some basic video editing skillscan come in handy. This article is aimed at those of you who have done little or no videoediting and are not sure how to get started. You will need to obtain your video file fromwhatever source you are using. That could be a dedicated in-theatre recorder, a personalrecorder or camcorder or (hopefully not) a DVD recorder. I say hopefully not, as DVDs arenot always very straightforward to work with. I have done plenty of editing on both PCsand Macs, so I can provide advice for both platforms.

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Capture Slit-lamp Images with a Phone Camera

Capture Slit-lamp Images with a Phone Camera

Taking digital images on a slitlamp is a valuable facility. Sadly it’s a service that often has limited availability, depending on the time of day and location. One way to get around this limitation is use a personal digital camera connected to a slitlamp. Historically, the only effective way to achieve this was with an expensive custom adaptor connected to one of a few specific digital cameras. The bulk of the camera and the expense of the adaptor makes this set up unappealing. Current smartphones are often fitted with fairly good quality cameras. Unfortunately, they can be tricky to use with a slit-lamp. It is possible to hold a smartphone freehand and take a slit-lamp photo. This is far from easy as the camera lens needs to be held steady a short distance from the slit-lamp eye piece. Coupled with triggering the camera, holding a Volk lens and focusing the slit-lamp, this can be a difficulttask.

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Creating a Course or Event? The web can help

Creating a Course or Event? The web can help

How would you take online payments from your delegates if you wanted to set up a meeting or conference? This article describes some easy ways to create a quick website for your event that can also process payments. Providing information and taking payments online is increasingly expected. Setting up a website from scratch, especially one that can take payments, is sufficiently difficult that several companies now offer easy to use packages that will do all the heavy lifting. In general, all that is needed of the user is information about the event and a bank account to pay the money into. There are a number of competitors in this space, so choosing one can be difficult. The merits and shortcomings of the popular sites are described here.

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Refresh you Presentations

Refresh you Presentations

Making a custom presentation background. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the standard PowerPoint templates. One easy way to do this is to use a custom or ophthalmic image as your background. The problem is that most images are way too busy and distracting to use as a background. This guide illustrates how to mute the colours and blur the details of an image, so you can use it as a presentation background. Some basic picture editing features exist in PowerPoint 2007 & 2010 to allow you to achieve this. The method described here is very similar  for both versions. The screenshots here are from PowerPoint 2010.

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Mobile Ophthalmology Apps

Mobile Ophthalmology Apps

Lots of us now use smartphones, especially those capable of downloading apps (short for applications). The main devices that qualify are iPhones, Android phones and Blackberry phones. Although I use the term 'phone' I also include tablet devices, which are available in Apple, Android and Blackberry flavours. Apple (iOS) and Android have very large numbers of applications available for download. This article highlights iOS and Android apps of potential use to an ophthalmologist. All apps mentioned here are available in the Apple App Store or the Android Market, or both. I have used all the apps in question and consider them of use. Some of the apps are not specifically ophthalmic, but are nonetheless of use.

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Sending Big Files Via Email

Sending Big Files Via Email

The content of this article is in response to suggestions from colleagues about information technology (IT) problems they face fairly frequently. In this article I am addressing the challenge of
sending files to another person when using email doesn't work. Email works fine when you just need to send a few small files. Problems start to appear with larger files or if many files need to be sent. The actual size, above which there are problems, depends on the email provider that the sender and receiver use.

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Navigating the IT Minefield (Part 2)

Navigating the IT Minefield (Part 2)

Following on from last issue here are some more tips.

Security software. What virus killer software should I use? This is now a very easy question to answer if you use a PC. Microsoft now make their own very good antivirus software and distribute it for free. It's quick and easy to install and doesn't slow computers down much. The software is called Microsoft Security Essentials and it really can replace those yearly licences to bulky security software such as McAfee, Norton 360 and others. Why not save the money spent on a virus killer and invest it in some offsite backup software. If you're using a MAC you're probably okay without any security software as they are a less frequent target. If you do wish to have good security software for a MAC, Virusbarrier comes well recommended (www.intego.com) but it's pricey.

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Navigating the IT Minefield

Navigating the IT Minefield

As a trainee with substantial experience and interest in technology I'm often approached
by friends and colleagues for help and advice in this domain. When the problems relate to data loss from hardware failure or online accounts being hacked, the treatment is often much more painful than a prophylactic approach would have been. To that end I present a variety of tips that  may help those of you with only the necessary knowledge of IT required to live life and practice as  a health care professional. Although most of what is presented is of relevance to both MAC and personal computer (PC) users there is some bias to PCs as they are more common and my area of most experience.

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Creating Local Ophthalmology E-Learning Resources

Creating Local Ophthalmology E-Learning Resources

This article attempts to provide a straightforward view of a freely available system that can be used to create all manner of elearning activities. An example would be a red eye module, with multiple choice questions that could be provided for local ophthalmology SSC students. An actual working example is a current course provided by the North Western (NW) Deanery for its ophthalmology trainees.

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