It takes a lot of computing power to sustain the rockstar lifestyle of an academic radiologist. Whether I'm reading my usual 4 GB of images per day or crunching numbers and statistics for research projects, I'd be dead in the water without my computers.
Therefore, I've spent quite a bit of my academic career dealing with medical center and radiology IT people. We generally get along just fine, but occasionally butt heads.
The main point of contention is that I am a Mac dude. IT has been on my butt for over 20 years to convert my office computer to a PC. However, despite their dire predictions and occasional threats of non-support, I have continued to thwart them. I grudgingly use our PC-based workstations to do my image interpretations, but use a Mac for everything else. It's not just my contrary nature -- the mix of Mac and open source programs I use in my research and teaching either isn't available on the PC (e.g. OsiriX) or isn't as easy to use.
It was therefore interesting to read that other medical centers and the new Obama administration have been having the same difficulties.
One member of the White House new-media team came to work on Tuesday, right after the swearing-in ceremony, only to discover that it was impossible to know which programs could be updated, or even which computers could be used for which purposes. The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on online videos.
Senior advisers chafed at the new arrangements, which severely limit mobility -- partly by tradition but also for security reasons and to ensure that all official work is preserved under the Presidential Records Act.
"It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of his new digs.