St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wounded Knee

Well, the knee wounds from the surgery are healing. The area on the shin between the two rows of stitches is all numb, but feelings like someone running a chainsaw up and down the area indicate that the nerves may be coming back. The pain keeps lessening and I manage to do a little more each day--in crutching around the house. Hope to try some car travel on the weekend--a trip to the family Christmas Party in Cushing.

I am working on Stories of the Trade River Valley II, the latest history book from the River Road Ramblings column I host in the Inter-County Leader in Frederic WI. This will be the 4th local history book in 5 years.

With lots of time and finally having high speed Internet at home, I am also working on a book or booklet or DVD on the Paulson line of of family ancestors who came to WI in 1872 from Vikna Norway. I have lots of stuff, pictures, stories etc. I think it would be interesting to try to make it all available on a DVD where if you wanted more details you could click to drop deeper into the raw data.

Back when I was a programmer at Mayo in research, in 1994, I proposed publishing research papers where links could take you from the research publication directly down to the raw data by the use of links. I wanted to do it inside of Mayo only (this is proprietary stuff). It was too early and although my son (who was working that summer with me) prototyped it and demonstrated it, we were too early in the process for people to really understand what it meant and how useful it might become. I moved from research to working on hospital monitoring technology before I sold this to the researchers. I liked the click to go deeper into the details paradigm!

I worked at Mayo 25 years. It was always on computers doing something either beyond what could be done by humans or automating something they did. In the research and hospital areas people were quite open to change and doing things better, especially if you could show how some routine boring things could be automated. The last 6 years, I was in an administrative area. Change was harder to accomplish with administrators and their processes. Often, their goal was keeping information from people rather than making it more available. I couldn't get my mind into this mode and got into problems with my desire to let researchers see their own online budgets, paperwork etc., when it ran counter to the administrators need to control by withholding information. I should have stayed working in research or medicine. People tell me administration is the same for most big companies.

I call my newspaper column, River Road Ramblings, because of my facility with moving from telling about my knee to talking about administration at Mayo!