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Well, now I have another project once I return home. I bought an IGEPv2 single-board computer, and I'm going to try to put it to good use. It has an OMAP3530 SoC, which consists of a 720MHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU, a PowerVR SGX GPU and a DSP, the guts of which I'm not too familiar with. Theoretically the GPU and DSP together can provide h.264 decoding. I was planning on using it as a thin client, light server and light desktop machine.

The wrinkle in this comes from the fact that I also have a Beagle Board. Now, the Beagle is a bit less powerful - its Cortex-A8 runs at only 600MHz, and it has 256MB of RAM and Flash instead of 512MB for the IGEP - but the Beagle can run RISC OS, which AFAIK the IGEPv2 can't. I'm going to do a bit more research on that. For a light desktop, being able to dual-boot RISC OS and Linux would be great. So would the extra RAM, Flash and CPU speed. If I can have both, awesome. If not, then I'll use the Beagle as the ultralight workstation and the IGEP as a sort of HTPC-cum-DIY-game-console. That ought to be enough power to emulate anything up to a PSX or N64 with 480p output, and up to an SNES or GBA at least in 720p or 1080p output. For now it'd be connected to an old NTSC TV or maybe a 24" Viewsonic panel, so that should work just fine.

I can't reasonably use either one to record TV, but then, I don't have TV worth a dang anyway. Either good old UHF (digital, but who cares?) or cable with horrible signal attenuation and noise. So that's OK. I can just drop the tuner card directly into my storage server. Two Opterons probably don't have the grunt to transcode to Xvid on the fly, but again, no problemo.

So anyhoo, yay for projects. In the meantime I just found out I'm on midwatch now, so I'm off to hit my rack. Zuuba zuuba zuuba!

I have a very good memory for people so long as I can attach them to a bit of their story or a medical condition. Especially a medical condition. I remember them for many years, maybe forever. I remember names and voices and members of their families just because I happened to speak to them briefly and enter them into a database. I read the obituaries every day because I hate to find out someone has passed away with an unexpected phone call from a family member or nurse in the community. It catches me off guard and I am poor with condolences at the best of times. It is surprising to people that I work with that I can remember so many names and details.

Very few people in my life have remembered me for any length of time. It always bothered me slightly that I could recite their life story and they could scarcely recall why they had a faint blip of facial recognition when they saw me for the first time in ten years. These days I understand that I am just a little odd in this respect. I like to observe and retain details.

It was three weeks ago. He called with simple questions about drug funding for his wife. I asked the standard questions and explained that my organization doesn't necessarily facilitate that type of thing but often are able to connect people with those who can help. Rather than simply providing a phone number I asked for the name of his wife and pulled her up in our database. Cancer, end stage and involved with our Supportive Care Resource Team. I noted that his last name was different from hers and wondered briefly about the circumstances surrounding that for no particular reason. He sounded terribly sad and overwhelmed as he went on to relay some disjointed information he'd heard about a form her doctor could sign. I know the form and explained what it is for and that it can take some time to process. He indicated that he didn't think she was going to last long enough to worry about this particular form. He felt guilty trying to figure out funding options, it was thick in his voice. We connected him with some much faster help for most of the medication. It's difficult to feel very good about that, honestly, given the circumstances. His words were kind and gentle and reminded me a lot of my father any time my mother is ill.

I rarely stay in the same place at work for very long. Float around wherever I am needed. Today I covered the reception desk and recognized the phone number and his name when it appeared on the call display screen. I remembered the conversation and the outcome and thought it had been at least three weeks. I passed the call along to the requested individual and went on with my other various duties.

A few hours later I decided to pull up the obituaries and cross reference with our database. Perhaps it sounds morbid but it is just a fact that notifying the agency that organizes home care is not always the first thing on someone's mind when a loved one passes.

She was there, amidst several others. His wife whom he had clearly adored. And I had spoken to him hours before not knowing. It feels so sad and empty that my connection was peripheral and largely useless. I held back tears for him as I answered a few more phone calls.

I hope being a nurse feels a little less futile, at least some of the time. I am tired of only ever knowing people through database entries.

(Dreamt while house-sitting, just before awakening for the day, after sleeping a scant four hours in a one-storey house I've been to many times over 25 years but never slept in before)

I was with some people in some unfamiliar house.  It was raining outside and there was water running down the interior walls, even the walls dividing rooms.  Upstairs I found added rooms and an expanded bath, all of which had clearly been done outside of local building codes.   These weren't the cause of the water on the walls below, though.  Then I was talking with a medical school professor, an immigrant from India or Pakistan or such, and he was telling me about all the makeshift clinics that were run in homes in the immigrant community, staffed by immigrant medical students.  They were largely ignored by the authorities because they were such a benefit to the community and eased the workload at publicly-funded hospitals and facilities.  He then said "I can tell by the look on your face that you already know of this" as I was realizing that I was an immigrant medical student of similar origins and had in fact had a procedure done at such a clinic years before.  I also realized that my having served in such a clinic from time to time could be an issue later in my professional career.

(I have absolutely no clue where all of this came from. I'm Anglo-Saxon, American by birth, mother a naturalized citizen, as are the homeowners.  I have no medical training, I'm not a plumber or construction worker.  I had watched some TV before retiring, but just news and talk shows - no Bollywood take on "Scrubs" or anything.)


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