The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: January 2010

My news bits on iPad and Facebook Security

Double news day on Wednesday.

I did some bits for and article in the Durham Herald-Sun on the iPad and education — even before the product was unveiled. I think this last part isn’t great for journalism, so you can see that I hedged my bets on what the thing would do or had I seen it and the DRM implications I would have given different quotes. As it was, I got to close the article with a whimsical quote:

“One of my goals in life is to be rich enough so that I could have an account with Apple,” he [Paul Jones] said. “That way, whatever they develop they can just take money out of there and send me what[ever] it is.”

Then I did a little on camera for the UNC Carolina Week Program about Facebook, Privacy and the new settings and controls. That’s not out yet that I know of, but I did shoot the crew as they were setting up.

New Journalism – No Writing, No Reading, All Vernacular Video

Secure Transactions for Electronic Medical Records

Just after hearing a great, if quick and concise, discussion “Toward Health Care Reform Through Electronic Medical Records” featuring Jonathan Oberlander, Tim Carey and Deniese Chaney at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health this evening. Louise Winstanly turned to me and said “Why not let banks to it?” This was not only a good insight but one in keeping with the class discussion that I had been planning for tomorrow in the School of Information and Library Science. Not about banks nor about health records, but about the sources of disruptive innovations as described by Clayton Christensen (for my class in this video from this past summer).

Banks, Louise had realized, have been experts at secure, reliable, authoritative transactions between institutions as well as delivering money and records to the correct individuals anywhere in the world. If an individual and the country of Qatar can trust the fiscal transactions handled by banking systems, then surely UNC Hospitals, Duke Medical, Medicare and you and me could trust them with health information.

In fact, if banks concentrated on what they did well — that is not the content so much as the secure transfer and reliable delivery — you could have access to your health records by just a card swipe from an ATM-like machine or on your phone or a computer display. Authorized entities could update the records much like direct deposit is done. They could download appropriate parts of the records much like drafting your checking account or receiving an electronic transfer.

Banks could err bank the records. The bank of your choice holding all or part of your records as you deemed appropriate.

The network and the controls and the security are already in place. The banks need not, let me say again, be concerned with the content, nor with the format of the records. Those are separate issues that could be decided by other entities be they medical groups, government, insurance or even individuals. Standard formats would make sense but banks need not even be aware of those standards to perform much of the work of interchange and transactions.

What does this have to do with disruptive innovation? Banks have a proven and transferable competency with technical infrastructure in support of secure transactions. Medical organizations do not. Yet we see medical organizations, governments and insurance attempting to create new networks right beside the world’s best networks for secure transactions. If banking networks were to conceive of themselves not as financial exchange networks bit instead as secure information exchange networks, then they would already be in the business and would by now own it. Less replication, less useless reinvention, less time to build trust (you may not trust banks as investors and makers of loans but you do trust the ATM), there is already a culture of cooperative exchange that is well understood. All of this is under very long term construction in the medical area and in fact may not be accomplished in my life time. Banks and banking networks would have to do more than turn the switch, but not much more.

Margaret “Peggy” Rabb (1953 – 2010)

This Friday, I was at the funeral, burial, and an informal gathering of friends for the poet and teacher Margaret Rabb who most of us knew as Peggy. Peggy had a rich life much of which was spent on making other peoples lives richer. I knew her as a poet, but also as someone who worked in international health issues, put together documentary film festivals, was a lawyer (not practicing but much informed by her legal education), a mother, and an all round creative person and teacher who brought out the creativity in others.

Her obituary tells a part of her story, but it doesn’t say how hard she worked to complete her dream as a poet and teacher culminating with her last job as the head of the Creative Writing Program at Wichita State University.

Here is Peggy reading two late poems that capture her love of words, word play and of precise observation:

Low Owl Illusion

Transvestites in Waukegan

If I am he, is he now me? Mixed up with @jaykaydee by Indy

Thanks to Google Alerts, I learned that I was cited in the Independent Weekly’s food section for my blog. Not this blog. In fact, not even a blog that I’ve ever posted too. Perhaps I should have posted to Jacob Kramer-Duffield aka JKD aka @jaykaydee’s Piedmont Review of Food a long time ago; it’s a great blog with good stuff to say about food.

Nonetheless I’m in the ink as the author of the Piedmont Review of Food as the writer for the Indy didn’t bother to try to contact me or JKD. If Claire Cusick had, then her article “Eat with your mouse instead of your mouth” would have been corrected like this:

Even Paul JonesEven a busy PhD candidate has a food blog. The local online pioneer and director of ibiblio.orgJacob Kramer-Duffield, an insightful researcher on metadata, also writes about food and drink at the academically named Piedmont Review of Food (, subtitled “Food, beer, &c. from Carrboro, North Carolina.” He began in 2007 with these words: “This blog will be about food, which is to say it’ll be about a lot of things,” and he’s kept faithful to that vision, sharing recipes with annotations and verdicts, a review of a brown ale and a discussion of stevia that begins “What on earth is that stuff??!”

Overall with this fix a fine bit of a bigger article.

Still the article omitted the Best Food Blog of the Triangle! Grace Talks About Food. You must read and view Grace’s videos — especially on Hannah Montana Cereal

UPDATE: Just heard from Claire who is correcting now. And JKD has updated Piedmont Review of Food so it’s easier to see who writes it.

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