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    The Googling of GPS

    (marketing piece for the Mio corporate blog)

    Mapping the Differences between Off-line and On-line Navigation

    "The explosion of mobile technology has led to intersection of the asphalt and information highways. Vehicle navigation has gotten onboard by connecting to online information resources, maps in particular."

    "On its surface, Google Maps Navigation seems to perform many of the same functions as other modern PNDs. There are some key differences worth considering if you are in the market for a GPS device. Let’s take you through some of the pros and cons of preloaded vs. Internet-connected maps, then you can decide for yourself whether this new kind of connected navigation device suitable for you. Here are our observations."

    Read entire article


    Taiwan Health Care: How Good Have We Got It?

    A bout of what may or may not have been pneumonia landed our three-year-old son in the neighborhood hospital for the better part of five days last week. The experience got me thinking about the state of health care here in the Taiwan on the eve of what is supposed to be the do-or-die moment for President Obama’s health care reforms back in the U.S.

    In 1995, Taiwan instituted a relatively comprehensive single-payer health care program in the form of its National Health Insurance, based largely on the Canadian model. This is funded through a combination of payroll taxes, direct government payments and small out of pocket payments generally made at the time of treatment. The average visit to one’s neighborhood doctor for a case of the flu might set you back US$10 for assessment and medication.

    Some families, ours included, choose to supplement NHI coverage with private health insurance. We pay the equivalent of about US$30 a month for our plan. On this particular visit to the hospital, the extra insurance paid for a private room for our son that included a small fridge, shower and a couch that either my wife or I could sleep on when staying with him. The extra space and comfort were well worth the monthly premium.

    On the surface it seems NHI offers a tremendous value for what one pays into the system. Coming from the U.S. where a visit to a hospital emergency room can cost a small fortune if one is uninsured, it took a while to get used to having these resources at my disposal. I would never consider going to the doc for a simple case of the sniffles back in California. Here a tickle in the throat sends most locals scampering to their neighborhood clinic.

    What are we really getting for all this public health care? As mentioned, the biggest plus is the peace of mind that comes with easy access. One doesn’t have to sit up late wondering if a child’s fever is high enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Concerned about that mysterious rash, go get it checked out before it turns into something really nasty.

    Recently I was suffering from mysterious back pains. The doctor wasted no time in sending me in for a sonogram test for kidney stones and an X-ray of my spine for what turned out to be nothing more serious than being over the age of 40 and trying to swing a softball bat like a 20-year-old. The bill for all these tests and a prescription for muscle relaxants: less than US$15.

    It is worth noting that Taiwan’s system has not plunged the country into the pit of godless socialism that the right-wing demagogues, pundits and politicians back in the U.S. seem to believe is the natural outcome public health care. On the contrary, the country remains a robustly capitalistic and relatively democratic society.

    This is not to say that the system is without its flaws. Pharmaceutical companies have unprecedented access to health care professionals. The result is that doctors tend to overmedicate in my opinion, prescribing a cocktail of multicolored pills for even the common cold. The quality of health care professionals and individual hospitals can vary greatly, as well. I plan to deal more with the negative side of Taiwan’s health care system in the second part of this article to be posted later.

    Taiwan’s public health care system does what it was designed to do, make health care accessible to the entirety of the local population. It’s not perfect, but nor is it the bloated, unwieldy and inefficient mess that some would have us believe is the outcome of government stepping in to provide health coverage to the masses.

    Taiwan’s National Health Care System

    Taiwan Takes Fast Track to Universal Health Care

    NY Times Article--Health Care Abroad: Taiwan


    Post Tweet-Up

    Last night's Taipei Tweet-Up seemed a rousing success. I know I had a blast and met several interesting peeps including several long-time Taipei epats in various fields. A lot of people were on hand from the local tech industry, a few web admins and a smattering of international students.


    Site Overhaul

    OK, we have finally gotten our action plan together and will be making some major changes to this site. Focus will be shifting from purely being focussed on my editing work, to a more complete picture of what I do professionally, while also highlighting some other remarkable professionals and there stories. I will also be sharing some of my experiences as a professional writer, traveler and dad. I hope it works.


    Finally making new tweaks

    After a long hiatus (writing books) I am back to getting the site up and running. If visitors have any questions about our services, please feel free to write me through our contact page. Thanks for your patience.