Saturday, January 23, 2010

Disabling proquota.exe in XP Home Edition

Windows is not a normal topic of discussion here, but I struggled to find any information to help me with this problem, so I thought I'd post my solution.

After running combofix to clean up some viruses, proquota.exe was found to be missing from my system32 folder and combofix kindly reinstalled it. Unfortunatly, proquota.exe limits the profile size of user accounts, meaning that you can only store so much (10 MB in my case) on your profile (which includes your Desktop, MyDocuments folders, etc.). As a med student, I have a LOT of documents that I like to store in MyDocuments, so this was unacceptable.

If you have XP Pro or Server2003 you can easily find instructions to disable proquota; however, if you have XP Home, you're more or less hooped.

To disable proquota I had to make the following change to my registry (remember, hacking your registry is ALWAYS risky if you don't know what you are doing):

First, go to Start->run and type in "regedit".

Then in the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER->Software->Microsoft->Windows->CurrentVersion->Policies->System

Finally, double-click on EnableProfileQuota and set it to 0.

Restart your computer, and proquota will not bother you again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Engineering vs. Medicine

When I was accepted into medical school, many people congratulated me with a "dude, you're leaving a good job to go back to school, med school's tough, why would you bother?!"

Friends who had graduated from engineering like I did responded a little differently, "dude, you're leaving a good job to go back to school, oh well, med school can't be that much tougher than engineering."

Having been through 1.5 years of medicine, I can certainly say that the engineers were very wrong. Conceptually, I don't think any single topic covered thus far in my medical education is any more difficult than the topics covered in electrical engineering. In fact, I would argue that courses on quantum mechanics and nanotechnology were probably more difficult to understand than anything I've been taught in med school. However, the major difference is volume of information. A single week in med school seems like at least half of an undergrad course. We have to read, understand, and memorize a ridiculous amount of information.

Which brings me to another difference between engineering and medicine. Engineering required very little memorization. For the most part, in engineering, you only have to memorize first principles and then you can usually derive any other equation you need. There is no way to derive the cranial nerves and their functions, nor is there any way to derive the different pathologies responsible for papulosquamous eruptions...there's no way around it, you have to memorize in medicine!

The workload in engineering is above and beyond that seen in most other university programs; however, the workload is much, much greater in medicine than even engineering. The only consolation med students have is that most schools grade on a Pass/Fail system, as opposed to a letter grade system. So for the most part,in med school, getting a 60% is as good as getting a 90% on an exam (not from the patient's point of view obviously), you don't have to worry about getting A's anymore.

The last difference that became very apparent to me last month is the difference in exams. My engineering exams were almost entirely math based; I don't remember ever seeing multiple choice on any of my exams. Med exams are entirely multiple choice, and there are a LOT more questions asked, which makes sense considering the significantly greater volume of information taught. After completing an engineering exam, most students have a good idea about how they did in that exam. After completing a med exam, most students have no clue how they did in that exam! A number of my classmates have seriously believed that they failed an exam, only to later find out that they aced it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Nerds Wear Glasses

Society and pop culture paint a picture of the smartest, most intelligent people (nerds) wearing thick glasses and rocking pocket protectors. Admittedly, I would normally advise against buying into stereotypes, but there may actually be some validity to this particular generalization.

Studies looking at myopia (nearsightedness) have found that the more educated a person is, the more likely they are to have myopia [1, 2]. Another study showed a correlation between myopia and time spent reading in children. This correlation may indicate that "close work", including reading or any other activity that requires the eyes to focus on some nearby object, results in myopia. Of course, correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, but the theory reconciles the two aforementioned findings nicely. If increased reading causes myopia, it is not surprising that a higher degree of education is associated with an increased likelihood of myopia as more educated people probably tend to read more.

Now, why do nerds wear pocket protectors?