Wednesday, April 22, 2015
With Lollipop OS now reaching Galaxy S4 users this week, I expect more than a few people are going to be having trouble making their RWATCH work. Never fear! I've blogged about this before but let's cut thru the junk, huh? HERE ARE THE FILES TO MAKE YOUR RWATCH M26 AND U8 WEARABLES WORK AGAIN ON LOLLIPOP: FOR M26 CLICK HERE and FOR U8 CLICK HERE. If you have questions, feel free to comment! Have fun out there, Android Wearables people!
Friday, April 17, 2015
So as I recently blogged I bought a "classic car" with no title. It's a 1972 VW Type 3 Fastback. I bought it as a hobby, just something else to do, as if I don't have enough. I probably don't have the time or money to fully "restore" it, for now I just plan on making it run and making it look presentable. The car has no title. It was lost literally multiple owners ago. So I began the process of trying to get a title for it before I dump any money into this thing. 1st I Googled how to do this, and I printed out multiple forms: VTR-130 SOF "Bonded Title Application or Tax Collector Statement of Fact", VTR 131 "Application of Title Only", Request for Pencil Tracing, 130-U "Application for Texas Title", VTR-270 "Statement of Physical Inspection", and VTR-275 "Request for Texas Motor Vehicle Information". I carefully and neatly filled out all of this paperwork before I even went to the country tax office. So I go in there on a Fri morning and wait in line. When it's my turn I greet the super smiley, very personable and cheery (are you catching my sarcasm here?) person and tell them I have purchased a classic car with no title and I need to apply for a bonded title. She curtly informs me that she cannot help me, and instead I need "line 4", not the line I'm in (line 6). OK off to line 4. Here I am met by an equally cheery man who after he says "NEXT!" in the manner of Jebidiah Atkinson from Saturday Night Live, listens to me quickly explain that I need a bonded title for an old VW. He takes all of my paperwork, looks it over and starts frowning. "You don't need THIS or THIS or THIS...or THIS. You only need THIS (Request for Pencil Tracing) and THIS (130-U "Application for Texas Title"). He hands all of these back to me. "Send those to the office in Waco. The address is on here" and he hands me a packet of all the same forms. OK so at least I have made a little progress. I know what forms to send and where to send them to. So that same day I send just the pencil tracing and the Application for Texas Title, along with a check for $15 to the Waco office. Two weeks go by. I get a letter in the mail from the Waco office! It says that I need to send in all the forms: VTR-130 SOF "Bonded Title Application or Tax Collector Statement of Fact", VTR 131 "Application of Title Only", Request for Pencil Tracing, 130-U "Application for Texas Title", VTR-270 "Statement of Physical Inspection", and VTR-275 "Request for Texas Motor Vehicle Information". Haha! BRILLIANT! I have officially wasted my time based on the wrong facts from the county tax office. Hooray! Knowing this would not be a fast process and knowing what dealing with a government entity is like, I am not too fazed by this. I already have all those forms, I just made more copies of them for my records and sent ALL of the forms to the Waco office. Yesterday (about a week later) I receive a letter saying that they "cannot" issue a title because there is no "properly assigned evidence". This is actually VERY GOOD NEWS. It means they did a search for the title and title owner and came up empty, which means I don't have to worry about trying to contact the old owner and now I am free to apply for a bonded title or "surety bond"! Yay! This was what I was hoping would happen! I am now going to call my buddy who owns an insurance company and have them sell me a surety bond and then I can have a title. There are services that do this online, but I want to give my buddy some business (unless they want to charge me an arm and a leg haha!). So I'm calling them next week, probably. It's Friday afternoon and I am not assuming anyone will start this today anyway. Hmmm maybe I'll call him today. Yeah, what the heck let's get this party started! EDIT: Called my insurance guy, he said "no problem, we do this all the time", had me scan and email him the "no properly assigned evidence" letter, which is apparently the Golden Ticket, along with a copy of my bill of sale, and he says they will charge me $100 which is exactly in-line with what I have read that the online companies do it for. So...the process has been officially OFFICIALLY started! I'll get the surety bond then apply for a bonded title and I should get it! THEN the real work begins...overhauling this thing to make it run and look decent haha
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
It always makes me chuckle when someone complains to us about the cost of a box of soft contact lenses. Soft contacts are the cheapest and best they have ever been in history. There was a time in the 80's & 90's when optometrists were making a killing selling non-disposable soft contacts for $200+ each from their office, and even selling "contact lens insurance"...a $30 or so fee that guaranteed you a replacement at reduced cost (not a free lens, mind you, just the promise of a CHEAPER replacement!) if the lens was lost or ripped. This was before disposables and "before the dark times...before the EMPIRE!", the "Empire" being 1-800-CONTACTS. Right now as of Tax Day April 15th 2015 our office "makes" about $4/box selling contacts. WHOOOOO where are we going to spend all that extra dough? I'll tell you: $4 a box is not even enough to pay for the staff to order the lenses or call you when they get here, etc. Our overhead swallows up that $4 lighning fast. 1-800-CONTACTS brought the cost of a box of contacts so far down that it made contacts a commodity. We lose money selling you contacts. This is why we all charge that pesky "contact lens fitting fee" that patients hate so much and insurance companies mostly refuse to pay. So why even bother with contacts? A lot of doctors don't. But those of us docs practicing here in the real world know that glasses have their limits and not everyone is a LASIK candidate, and so contacts are a great, cheap alternative. Very cheap. Cheaper then they have ever been...and they're about to go up. Multiple manufacturers have announced plans to institute "unilateral pricing policies", which are going to drive the cost of a box of contacts up for the first time in 25 years. The age of dirt cheap contacts is coming to an end, mostly brought on (ironically) by 1-800-CONTACTS...the same people who slashed the prices years ago. Coming up soon the oldest, cheapest brands are probably going to be discontinued, replaced by more expensive premium lenses like Dailies Total 1 by Alcon (the best lens on the market right now IMO). So I guess the point is: if you're complaining about the cost of a box of contacts today, you are probably in for a rude awakening in the next few years. Don't look a very cheap horse in the mouth...you're very likely going to be forced to buy a thoroughbred.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Practicing in East Texas we have a large hispanic population, many of whom need high - astigmatism or "high cylinder" contact lenses. Our options for these patients have been woefully poor for my entire 15 year optometry career. Until a few months ago the ONLY disposable soft lens that came in anything over -2.25 cylinder was B&L's Soflens Toric, now a 25 year old product. I like it ok, except that it's plastic and 90+% of the rest of the world who are not wearing dailies (also not avail in high cyl) are wearing silicone. Any Rx over 3 diopters of astigmatism gets the dreaded CooperVision Frequency 55 Toric XR for $85/box, or the Coopervision Proclear Toric XR (XR stands for "entended range"), both also over 20 years old and both also made of plastic. We need a disposable silicone toric in high cylinder Rx's. This cannot be THAT difficult. Alcon, B&L & J&J have exactly ZERO products available in ANY material for high cyl patients, and Coopervision only has $85/box 20 year old designs. Now I understand the manufact's traditional comeback to this complaint: "there are not enough of these" (i.e. low demand). The reps will also tell us how we can "mask" a diopter of cyl, which I often do. But in the age of silicone dailies (DT1, the best lens on the market right now and the lens I choose for my own family), can we really feel good about "masking" that much cylinder or telling these folks they have to wear a lens design from 1994? I mean I have 2 of these patients a day, so it can't be that rare. I'm selling more high cyl torics than I am multifocal dailies, and multifocal dailies are made by multiple manufacts. Come on, contact lens industry. We need for you to step up now. It's past time. As the band INXS once said: "21st Century's YESTERDAY!" (from "Need You Tonight").
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Acuvue has a new color-enhancing lens out. It's a daily-disposable lens made of their very popular "Etifilcon-A" material. It's an older, plastic material but it has performed well for them and in a daily-disposable modality material probably doesn't matter as much since in theory the lens is never being slept in or re-used. The reps say it makes the eye appear "larger", which is actually true b/c it darkens and expands the appearance of the "limbus" or outer ring. I was skeptical but I agree when you look at it the eyes do, factually appear larger. It works. It also makes the iris appear "more interesting" by subtly inserting the appearance of varying colors. It DOES NOT change your eye color. If you have brown eyes this will not make you look like you have blue eyes or green eyes. It just makes your eyes appear larger (more "doe-eyed") and more interesting. More "defined", hence the name. So...it's interesting! I'm not sure how well this is going to go over for 3 reasons: 1) The color contact lens market has been shrinking for many years now. Will a new product give us an uptick in patient interest? I don't know. 2) The lens does not change your eye color. In my view, MOST people who are asking about colored contacts are people with brown eyes who want blue/green eyes, which this lens does not do. And 3) this is not a new material. Acuvue doesn't get to advertise how great and new and comfortable and healthy, etc etc etc their "new" material is. Etifilcon-A is a tried-and-true material that has been very popular in the past (same material that Acuvue-2 and Acuvue 1-Day Moist are made of)...but it's not shiny and "new". Anyway, more types of contact lenses are better than less so we eye care professionals are always looking to offer people more options! We'll see how well it goes.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Nope. Improbable. I get a few of these a week, and I've blogged about this before, but some things bear repeating. Everyone thinks their contact scratched their eye. Now I'm not saying an abrasion is "impossible"...but it's not the contact. It's your finger. If you scratch your own eye with your finger while inserting or removing the lens, that's one thing. But if your eye just starts hurting out of the blue, it's pretty dang unlikely that it's a "scratch", no matter what the scenario. A scratch happens when your eye gets hit by something. If you didn't get hit by anything, then it's not a scratch. The end! I have all these patients who are heavy contact lens wearers and their eye starts hurting and they think it's a "scratch". And maybe someone (nurse, PCP, etc) even told them it's a scratch! But it's not. It's something else. Statistically it's MOST likely to be an "infiltrate", which is a common inflammatory condition (not "infection"). As I always say, "WHEN IN DOUBT, TAKE IT OUT", which means if you have some eye problem, any eye problem, your best bet is to remove the contact lens. A lot of people sleep in their lenses, which for most people is ok IMO if they're wearing silicone lenses. Then they'll wake up in the morning with a lens still on, and it hurts, and they'll come in and tell me their lens scratched their eye. How? How is that possible? It's not. If you're a contact lens wearer and your eye is red or painful or light sensitive, TAKE THE LENS OUT and go to the eye doctor. Not the PCP or the ER b/c they're going to tell you it's a scratch as well, and it's almost certainly not.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
This weekend by brother-in-law gave me a car! He collects and restores 60's & 70's Volkswagens or "Vee Dubs". He has 3 restored vehicles: a 69 Beetle or "Type 1" that is his prized car, a 70 (I think) "Type 2" or VW Bus, and another early 70's Beetle that he has painted to look like Herbie. He didn't give me any of those! :P He sold me (for a very low price) a 1972 Type 3 "Fastback". It is in "fair" condition. Most of the parts are there but it does not run, needs some body work, engine needs rebuilding, has some rust, etc etc. It needs some pretty major work, but the engine ran as of 3 years ago or so, so it seems possible to once again make that happen. So I guess I am now entering the world of the Vee Dub! I need to start reading up on how to build/rebuild air-cooled engines, I guess! The biggest problem so far is the title. It was apparently lost multiple owners ago (brother-in-law got this car as a "parts" car but never used any parts from it) and I am having to file for a "bonded title", which is a moderate pain-in-the-rear. I'll document my trials here, as I am going to the county title office this Fri to start the process. Here's a pic of my "new" car (no, the Karmann Ghia behind it is absolutely NOT for sale! :D )