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A Veterinary Perspective on Current Topics

(Feel free to borrow liberally for your clinic's website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages!)

Getty Images Settlement Letter / Email

Out of the blue you've just got a letter from Getty Images claiming an image infringement on your website and asking for an astronomical amount of money as a settlement. What do you do? Is this real? Having had a few clients go through this, here are our thoughts (note: This is just information, not legal advice - you need to decide how comfortable you are with your actions and get appropriate legal counselling).

The Letter

Here is a sample of what you might receive:

Our file no: #123456
Re: Getty Images/[Your Clinic] #123456
Settlement Offer: $1,900.00

Please be advised that [third party company] has been retained by Getty Images with regard to the settlement of an image infringement claim in the above referenced matter...

(See entire letter >)

Is This Legitimate?

Short answer: Probably. Getty is well known for doing this. These letters / emails are an automated process - they are generated by "robots" that crawl the web and send out thousands (millions?) of these each year.

However, this is a prime opportunity for a fraudulent operator to create similar letters and ask for money, simply hoping people will send it. As these letters do not actually come from Getty (and it's only the third-party company's say-so that they represent Getty), there is no way to know if the letter you have received is legitimate.

What To Do

The first thing you must do is get the image off your website. Thereafter, you can consider a couple of options:

  1. Pay the claim: Not recommended as the amounts asked for are exorbitant
  2. Ignore the letter(s): Actually quite reasonable based on the following:
    • You took the images off your site as soon as you were informed
    • Your violation is probably very small (a few images)
    • Getty is asking for an exorbitant amount (well over the fair-market value of the use of the images) - the amount would likely never hold up in court
    • The cost of them coming after you would probably exceed the cost of the infraction
    • If you are not American: Getty is US-based; you are not, so the chance of them coming after you is probably greatly reduced (if you are American, this doesn't apply!)
    • The letter / email is NOT from Getty, so you can argue (and may well be right) that this is spam and/or phishing (We would NEVER send a company money based on this without verification from Getty directly!)
  3. Respond offering to pay fair-market value for the images. Perhaps something like the following:
    • "We were not aware the images were from Getty and the images were removed as soon as we were informed. We are willing to pay fair-market value for these images at $20 each, however we do require proof from Getty that your company is contracted by Getty to collect payment and that this is not a 'phishing' scam or other type of fraudulent activity. Please send us an invoice for the amount stated and, once we have received verification from Getty that this is a legitimate request, we will send payment. We now consider this issue closed".

Hopefully that helps!

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Bionex!

Automatic Laser Toy for Cats

Freakin' Laser Beams!

Lasers and automation: Together at last. Finally you don't even have to pick up a laser pointer to play with your cat!

The Laser Chase Toyautomatically projects a couple of laser dots which dart across a floor in different, unpredictable patterns. Not a bad idea for an overweight indoor cat (ahem, Russell...).


Kittens Learning Physics

More great fodder for your clinic website or Facebook page!

Tech for Pets: Bacon Bubbles! Yes Bacon Bubbles

Bacon Bubbles!

Dogs are easily amused. But face it, they do require constant attention. They always want to be in the action, but frankly it can get exhausting. So why not combine two canine loves and help keep your clients' pooches entertained?

Dogs go bonkers for bubbles (check out YouTube).

Dogs love bacon.

So it was only a matter of time: The Bubbletastic Bacon Bubble Machine will entertain dogs for hours on end. This crazy contraption cranks out bacony bubbles of all sizes for hours.


Simon's Cat

Don't know Simon's Cat? It's a perfect example of great content for your clinic's website or Facebook page (post one a week - your clients will love it and you'll have fun posting it!).

Here's the classic Simon's Cat video to get you started:

Pig Rescues Drowning Goat!

Google's Bacon Number

This has very little to do with either vet medicine or website tech, but it is just too good not to post:

Google's just put out an update with a highly important new feature: The Bacon Number. It shows every actor's degree of separation from Kevin Bacon. Seriously. In Google, type:

"bacon number [actor's name]"

It's surprisingly addictive (who knew? Miley Cyrus is a 2).

Haiku Computer Errors

The usual computer error message is so bleak. Straight from Japan, these impersonal and unhelpful error messages have been replaced with (not quite tranquil) Haiku poetry messages.

Haiku poetry has strict construction rules: The first line must have 5 syllables, the second line has 7 and the third line has 5. Haiku is used to communicate timeless messages, often expressing powerful insight through extreme brevity - the essence of Zen. Here are some examples:

Your file was so big.

It might be very useful

But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek

Cannot be located, but

Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.

Reflect, repent, and reboot.

Order shall return.

Program aborting:

Close all that you have worked on.

You ask far too much.

Windows has now crashed.

I am the Blue Screen of Death.

No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.

Today it is not working.

Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.

This thousand-dollar screen dies

So beautifully.

With searching comes loss

And the presence of absence:

"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen

Is not the true Tao-until

You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.

A crash reduces

Your expensive computer

To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:

Death, taxes, and lost data.

Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,

But the water has moved on.

This page is not here.

Out of memory.

We wish to hold the whole sky,

But we never will.

Having been erased,

The document you're seeking

Must now be retyped.

Serious error.

All shortcuts have disappeared.

Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Computer won't boot.

Should have bought long warranty.

To Best Buy you go.

Heartwarming Friendship: An Old Man and His Goose

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Change your Facebook Address to Get Rid of those Nasty Numbers!

Like your Facebook page, but hate the address? Most new Facebook pages have an address something like "www.facebook.com/pages/Really-Long-Clinic-Name/1343098309583" - not very memorable. The good news is that it's now easy to change. Just do the following:

  • Login to your clinic's Facebook account
  • Go to http://www.facebook.com/username (go to this actual address; don't sub the "username" for your clinic's username - this threw me the first time!)
  • Under "Each Page can have a username" select your clinic's page and type a username in the box next to it (e.g. "MyGreatVetClinic")
  • Click the "Check Availability" button - change your username until you find one that's available
  • Click the "Confirm" button and you're done!1
  • Your Facebook address is now "www.facebook.com/MyGreatVetClinic". Cool.

Hey wait! Don't I need 25 Likes before I can do this? Not any more: Facebook recently dropped the need to have 25 Likes to change your page's address, so change away!

1 Note: You can only change your username once after setting it, so make sure you're really happy with it!

Veterinary Students' Attitude Toward Facebook (and Why You Should Care)

A veterinary research paper on social media? It had to come eventually... That being said, this is worth looking at. The paper concludes:

  • Many posting were professionally inappropriate
  • Most students did not understand the consequences of their postings

So why should your veterinary clinic care? These same students will be your future associates. It's worth considering this now and adopting policies for appropriate social media postings related to your veterinary clinic.

It's also a great idea to find out what your staff is posting on their Facebook accounts. In my experience, staff members have usually not been informed of what is appropriate and inappropriate to share. For example, a clinic that I work with discovered that staff members (especially younger animal care attendants) were posting:

  • Details about specific cases, "Just saw a dog, Fluffy Smith, horrible case of pancreatitis - but still tried to bite me! Crazy"1
  • Their (minute to minute) frustrations, "Just finished with a surgery, now got a dental then a lion shave - will I ever get lunch?!?"
  • Unintentional negative comments about the practice: "So sad - just had a sick cat - so thin and in pain - doesn't have a chance - but we're going to TREAT IT. Poor cat!!"

These postings were all done without malice, but can do a lot of damage to a clinic's reputation. This is happening in your practice too. Don't avoid it! Have a talk with your staff yet about social media policy now.

1 This particular posting also contravenes privacy requirements, which creates a liability for the clinic


Henri the Cat & Le Vet

Voice Recognition Software in Your Practice

Tired of typing up stacks of medical records? Worried you’ll forget about those observations you meant to scribble down during the morning’s first exam? Need to send a quick email while on the go?

New dictation software and apps are making it easier for practitioners to manage and transcribe medical records, and to communicate hands-free on the go.

Perhaps the most popular and versatile dictation product currently on the market, Dragon Dictation by Nuance Communications offers users multiple ways to capture text hands-free. Dragon Dictation is available as both desktop software or as a downloadable app to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch; its Android counterpart, FlexT9, is also available for download on Android phones.

Dragon claims to be able to transcribe text up to five times faster than typing on a keyboard. However, users need to be conscious of the way Dragon handles the contacts in your phone. Dragon Dictation for the iPhone goes through your contact list and uploads the names to its server, since people often dictate names from their address book and expect the program to recognize those names.

Other than the privacy concerns with your contacts, Dragon apps do most every dictation and transcription task. Here’s the rundown on a few of Nuance’s most popular apps and software:

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (computer software): The Dragon Dictation software for your computer is downloadable to your desktop and can be handy for transcribing medical reports. The software will set you back about $200. Don’t forget to purchase an additional headset for recording!

FlexT9 (Android app): FlexT9 is Nuance’s Android equivalent of iPhone’s Dragon Dictation. The app captures the sound of your voice and transcribes it into emails, texts, social network updates, web searches and instant messages.

Dragon Dictation (iPhone app): Allows users to enter text by speaking. A pop-up toolbar enables users to access email, text, social networks, or the clipboard for notes. An Auto Save function also preserves dictated text in case a user is interrupted by an incoming phone call.

Dragon Search (iPhone app): Allows users to speak any search query and find information and answers from the mobile Internet. Dragon Search includes search results from Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, iTunes, Wikipedia and YouTube.

Dragon Go! (iPhone app): Need to know the square-root of 10, or how many cups in a pint? The Dragon Go! app has a broad amount of knowledge in thousands of subject areas. Together, Dragon Search and Dragon Go! can provide you a wealth of information – simply by speaking a question.


Teach Your Clients Responsible Web Surfing

When your clients ask you where they can go for more information about their pet’s health, where do you send them?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Provide favorite sites that you have already vetted (no pun intended). Spend some time looking around online and come up with a list of recommended sites for your clients
  • Teach your clients the difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence. Once they know to stay away from information without any scientific backing, they can learn how to be responsible searchers online
  • Suggest that your clients put the words "veterinary college" in their search query when looking for information online. The veterinary college websites have reliable and scientifically backed information
  • Recommend searching breed-specific sites for information about particular breeds and diseases that you might not know everything about. This can help prepare your clients for testing for certain diseases – many clients often find online support groups where communities share an interest and information about specific breeds
  • Tell your clients to avoid business sponsored sites – the information there will usually be paid for and could be biased

Getting your technicians into exam rooms to offer suggestions on Internet searching can also be a useful tool, and saves time.


3 Cs for Veterinary Social Media Success

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Fun Vet Fact

There are approximately 30,000 veterinary practices in North America.