Pump Vacation’s End


When my Lantus pen finally neared empty after my evening dose on Wednesday, I knew that I was just about ready to reconnect to my insulin pump.

It’s been almost a month since I started this pump break and it’s been just what I’ve needed to clear my head and feel a little more “free” from my diabetes.

But I’m also beginning to feel a little over the effort required to physically inject my insulin, moreso at this time of the year.

When I was in the comfort of my own home with all the time in the world to spare, injecting wasn’t really a big deal. But when I was on the go and short of time, I was really starting to miss the convenience that wearing an insulin pump allowed me.

I really had to make a big point of injecting before I could go and have my morning tea or lunch. This meant finding a place where I wouldn’t be disturbed, pulling out my iPhone, opening up the RapidCalc app, calculating my insulin dose and then concentrating on actually injecting it.


Yep, concentrating.

If I didn’t put all of my focus towards the task of actual injecting, I ended up with those annoying little drops that manifested on the end of my insulin pen. I was left wondering how much insulin actually went in, shooting out half a unit to compare while deliberating over whether or not I should top up.

In case you’re wondering, there is a technique to avoid this. Gently lift the skin beneath your injection site (don’t pinch), inject your insulin, hold the pen in for 15 seconds after the injection, release the skin and then pull the needle out. I’m not sure I’ve quite mastered it yet, but I have successfully revealed a few clean needles by using this technique.

Then there was the effort required to swap out blunt needles. Because they sure did hurt when I forgot to change them.

Injecting is a lot of effort to put in during my break when I really want to be savoring my coffee and Walkers Shortbread. Or when I’m in the car, trying to give a quick correction in between traffic light changes. Also in the middle of the night, when I actually have to switch on my lamp and physically get up out of bed to make sure I properly administer my correction dose.

I fully get that these are all first world problems and I’m super grateful that I have the luxury and choice to choose the style of management that suits my needs.

On Wednesday evening before bed, I inserted a fresh pump site on my left side and loaded a fresh insulin cartridge. When I woke up on Thursday morning, I skipped my morning dose of Lantus and clipped my pump line into the clean infusion site on my hip. I rode out the day as the rest of my Lantus tapered off. By 3:30 p.m. I thought I could safely switch my basal rate back on and I was pumping insulin once again.

Candy Crush Saga: The Science Behind Our Addiction.

A year after the game’s mobile launch, we still can’t stop playing. The app’s designer and psychology experts weigh in on exactly what makes it so irresistible

If you haven’t heard of Candy Crush, it’s the mobile game that’s so addictive, players say they have left their children stranded at school, abandoned housework and even injured themselves as they try to reach new levels of the game.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush has been played 151 billion times since it launched as an app on mobile devices exactly year ago. And it’s the first game to ever be No. 1 on iOS, Android and Facebook at the same time. Candy Crush’s creator, King, a Stockholm-based company, says 1 in every 23 Facebook users plays it. And while Candy Crush is free, the in-game purchases that some players choose to make add up. Think Gaming, which releases gaming analytics, estimates that it takes in $875,382 per day. (By comparison, another insanely popular mobile game, Angry Birds, takes in an estimated $6,381 daily.)

All that adds up to some seriously distracted users. A survey by Ask Your Target Market polled 1,000 players and found that 32% of them ignored friends or family to play the game, 28% played during work, 10% got into arguments with significant others over how long they played, and 30% said they were “addicted.”

But there are lots of amusing games out there, so what’s so addictive about this one?

We asked Tommy Palm, one of the game’s designers, what the King team did to get us hooked. We also called a few psychology experts and players to understand the backstory on why their tactics worked so well. Here are the nine reasons they say Candy Crush is so irresistible:

1. It Makes You Wait

Perhaps the most genius element of Candy Crush is its ability to make you long for it. You get five chances (lives) to line up the requisite number of candy icons. Once you run out of lives, you have to wait in 30-minute increments to continue play. Or, if you’re impatient, you can pay to get back in the game — which is why it’s bringing in so much revenue. “You can’t just play all the time. You run out of lives,” says Andy Jarc, 22, one of the few players to reach level 440 in the game. “So the fact that they kind of constrain you — the whole mantra, ‘You always want what you can’t have.’ I can’t have more lives and I want them.”

“I think it makes the game more fun long term,” says designer Palm. “If you have a game that consumes a lot of mental bandwidth, you will continue playing it without noticing that you’re hungry or need to go to the bathroom. But then you binge and eventually you stop playing. It’s much better from an entertainment point of view to create a more balanced experience where you have natural breaks.”

2. We’re All Suckers for Sweet Talk

You flick four candies in a row, and they zap away. Candies above begin to cascade down, making even more matches. At the end words pop up on your screen, accompanied by a voice that says “Sweet” or “Delicious.” This feedback is essential for player immersion. “Positive rewards are the main reason people become addicted to things,” says Dr. Kimberly Young, a pioneering expert on Internet and gaming addiction who treats those addicted to the cyberworld. “When you play the game, you feel better about yourself.”

3. You Can Play With One Hand 

According to Palm, the icons and setup were created so players could multitask. You can play Candy Crush while carrying a drink, toting a purse or bag, clinging to a subway pole, or hiding your phone under the table. That’s a huge advantage and makes this game perfect for a train ride, a distraction while you’re waiting to see a doctor, or something to get you through boring meetings. Plus, you can play offline as well — so even if you’re stuck in a tunnel, you can be “crushing.”

4. There’s Always More

According to Palm, the Candy Crush team updates the game constantly and creates new levels every two weeks. Right now there are 544 levels. “Just three years ago, a game with 30 levels would be astonishing,” King says. “And now with this game, it has raised the bar with how much content a mobile game should and will have.”

Plus, on any single level, there’s no way to fail. If you run out of options on a board — and that happens once in a blue moon — the board immediately resets. You never get stuck. You can’t lose. “I believe this is part of the reinforcing pattern which keeps you playing,” says Dr. Dinah Miller, a psychiatrist who has written about the addicting elements of another popular game, Angry Birds. The game only ends when you’ve run out of your allotted number of moves “and you can end that frustration by buying your way out.”

5. You Don’t Have to Pay – but if You Want to, It’s Easy

King reports that of all the players on its last level — 544 — more than 60% of them didn’t pay a cent to buy extra lives or chances to get there. But if you want to pay, it’s easy. Connected to Facebook or the app store? Just click to pay.

6. It Taps Into Our Inner Child

“Many people have had a very positive feeling about candy since they were kids,” says Palm. “And it makes for a really nice visual game board with a lot of color and interesting shapes.” In fact, when you play you feel as if you’re transported into an entire Candy Land experience. The game pieces are candy, and the homepage for the game looks like the traditional Candy Land board, with your Facebook friends’ pictures displayed as pieces on that board, sitting at whatever level they’re stuck on.

7. It’s Social

Social games — any game that allows you to connect with your friends through a social-media platform like Facebook — have taken off. Whether it’s Words With Friends, Kingdoms of Camelot or Candy Crush, the ability to play with, or compete against, friends is irresistible. “Look, nobody’s coming to me because they have a clinical addiction to Candy Crush,” says Young. “It’s more of a social addiction, if you will.”

8. It’s an Escape

“When you read the research about gaming,” Young says, “you’re often looking at people who are distracting themselves from something in their lives.” The relaxing exercise of lining up candies to the tune of upbeat music is a perfect stress reliever.

9.  It Grows on You

This isn’t your average “line up three” game. “I started playing, and at first I was like whatever, it’s just bejeweled,” says Jarc. “But as I played more and more, it became addicting.”

King’s high-level of attentiveness toward updating gameplay has made it better quality than most casual games that are out there. When players took to Facebook to express their frustration with level 65 — notoriously one of the hardest levels in the game — King went into the game and altered the level to make it easier (though not too easy) multiple times.



Modular Robotics.

Fifteen years ago, Lego released the Mindstorms Robotics Invention System, and amateur roboticists went wild. With it, they could snap together motorized creations that they could program with an intelligent brick. Since then, the Mindstorms online community has shared more than 17,000 designs—as varied as automatic toilet flushers and bumper cars—and started robotics leagues and engineering curriculums. This summer, Lego will release the EV3, the first Mindstorms update in seven years. The kit will allow builders to create tens of thousands of new robots, all of which will be smarter, faster, and more responsive than before.


The heart of the EV3 is an upgraded processing brick. A 300-megahertz processor runs up to 10 times faster than its predecessor, so the brick can control more appendages and monitor more sensors at once. The system also has 64 megabytes of RAM to boost response time and 16 megabytes of storage.


EV3 robots can navigate autonomously. Designers embedded an infrared proximity sensor in the eyes, so robots can follow, attack, or run from what they encounter. Users will be able to buy additional bricks with gyroscopes, which will enable the robot to balance itself.


Each kit comes with three motors. Two large ones transfer their 170 rpms to double-sided output drives; each motor can move pairs of legs, arms, or tentacles independently of one another. The third, smaller motor spins at 250 rpm and handles minute actions, such as firing ammo or flicking fingers.


A Bluetooth radio on the processing brick’s circuit board lets builders control and program their robots through an iOS or Android app. They can also connect a Wi-Fi radio via a USB port on the processing brick; with a robot linked to a router, it’s accessible from anywhere.


For massive, complicated creations, builders can daisy-chain up to four processing bricks together. A “master” brick sends commands to the other three bricks that rely on it and relays instructions to extremities, such as a command to pinch together a thumb and forefinger.

O2’s Tu Go aims to challenge Skype and other Voip apps.


O2 has launched an app which lets users make and receive phone calls and texts via a tablet, computer or smartphone.

Tu Go is available for Android, Apple’s iOS devices and Windows 7 PCs but limited to “pay monthly” subscribers – so excludes corporate accounts.

Tu Go deducts charges from the user’s existing call minutes allowance, unlike Skype and other chat apps which involve the purchase of credit.

Analysts suggest this billing innovation could prove disruptive.

O2’s owner Telefonica has experimented with Voip (voice over internet protocol) before with its Tu Me app which was launched in 2012 with limited success.

However, the earlier program required both parties in the conversation to be using the software, while Tu Go only needs the the caller to have launched the app.

Web mail

Tu Go has been available through Apple’s iOS store since October last year, but had previously restricted its functions to about 1,000 testers.

It works over wi-fi or 3G/4G data connections. The cost is the same as if the user had made a normal call through their O2 mobile.

The aim is to free people from being tied to a single handset, said product manager Caroline Dundas.

“Customers can now take their mobile number wherever they like, even away from their mobiles,” she said.

Users can be logged into the service on up to five devices at once – meaning all will ring if they receive a call – including handsets using Sim cards associated with different networks and internet enabled gadgets such as iPods.

Ms Dundas likened the service to the way email developed.

“In the early days you could only access email from the machine it was installed on but then web mail came along and that allowed you to access messages from any device,” she said.

“This is opening up comms in the same way.”

Declining profits

The effort represents the telecom industry’s latest attempt to tackle competition from Skype and other third-party Voip services.

These typically do not charge for app-to-app calls, but do require the user to buy credit if they want to call or send a text to a standard mobile or landline number.

BT already offers its own service – SmartTalk – offering its residential customers the ability to make calls on their smartphone for the same price as if they were using their landline.

Orange and T-Mobile are also finishing work on their own facility which they plan to roll out later this year,

But the scale of the threat was highlighted earlier this week when the chairman of China Mobile – the world’s largest telecom carrier – said his firm was now more concerned about the challenge posed by Microsoft’s Skype and Tencent’s WeChat services than it was about competition from China’s rival mobile networks.

“The networks are losing revenue from declining voice traffic,” Chris Green, tech analyst at Davies Murphy Group, told the BBC.

“Some of it is down to services such as Skype but we are also just making fewer phone calls.

“So, they are all thinking of wacky new ways to get us making more calls – there is a lot more profit in voice than in data.”

There are already dozens of Voip apps on the market including lesser-known names such as Tango, Fring, Bria and Zerofone as well as manufacturer’s own services including BlackBerry BBM and Apple’s Facetime.

But the Ovum telecoms consultancy believes Tu Go will stand out from the crowd.

“The application is more than just another “me too” Voip app by an operator,” said analyst Jeremy Green.

“It is intrinsically linked to your existing telephone number and bill, so any charges are just deducted from your bundled call deal rather than you having to buy extra credit.

“It merges the best of internet telephony and old fashioned calls and and is a lesson for O2’s peers in the industry.”


Apple working on iPhone 6 running on iOS 7.