|Jack Ganssle's Blog
This is Jack's outlet for thoughts about designing and programming embedded systems. It's a complement to my bi-weekly newsletter The Embedded Muse. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm an old-timer engineer who still finds the field endlessly fascinating (bio).
|For novel ideas about building embedded systems (both hardware and firmware), join the 40,000+ engineers who subscribe to The Embedded Muse, a free biweekly newsletter. The Muse has no hype and no vendor PR. Click here to subscribe.
May 30, 2019
I haven't blogged for some time as Marybeth and I spent most of May in Europe for business. A hectic schedule, we never spent more than two nights in the same town. I met a lot of great engineers, and we did get some touristing time in Copenhagen and Paris.
Before that, in April I had cataracts fixed in both eyes.
This is a short missive on cataracts; younger readers may not be interested. But these are a fact of life for many of us as we age.
Cataracts are a cloudiness in the eye's lens. They are progressive and can lead to blindness. By age 65 90% of us will get at least one.
I have had them developing for the last couple of years. They got worse, to the point where I stopped driving at night a year ago because headlights were blinding. The doctor said he was surprised I could see anything out of my right eye, though my vision seemed reasonable to me.
They're fixed by completely removing the eye's lens and replacing it with a plastic version. Sounds gruesome! I was a bit uneasy about the prospect of the surgery, which is done with the patient awake.
The doctor fixes one eye and waits two weeks before doing the other. That's the law here in Maryland as the fear is if something goes wrong, one doesn't want to lose vision in both eyes.
I was a bit nervous going in for the first surgery. They're going to cut into my eye! Yikes! A nurse does inject a mild sedative; I said "barkeep, give me a double!", but got the usual dose.
The surgery is... a big nothing. It's weird, you see funny lights and feel a little pressure on the eye, but there's no pain. It takes around ten minutes. The second eye was a breeze as I knew what to expect.
For a few days the fixed eye sees poorly. But then, a magical thing happens. You can see.
I've worn glasses full time for 55 years with pretty bad myopia. Without them I could read if the book was no more than 5 cm away; anything further was a blur.
Post-surgery my distance vision is almost 20/20, though, somewhat ironically, I can't see anything closer than a 30 cm.
Marybeth was cheated. She had one eye fixed some years ago by a different ophthalmologist who didn't bother to explain the options; we didn't even realize there are any. It turns out a routine cataract surgery gives you a lens much like the one you had. Myopic? You still will be. She went from a -6-diopter correction to -4, still pretty nearsighted. My ophthalmologist explained that there were several kinds of lenses available, and I picked that which gives pretty good vision. It's a $400/eye option, and I still need glasses, especially for reading, but it's incredible to me that, after an entire lifetime of being so vision impaired, I can see quite well if imperfectly at a distance with my naked eyes. For the first time ever I don't have a vision restriction on my driver's license.
Being 65 and in the USA I'm on Medicare, which covered all of the surgery other than the $400/eye lens upgrade. So, workers of America, thanks for your FICA contributions!
Feel free to email me with comments.
Back to Jack's blog index page.
If you'd like to post a comment without logging in, click in the "Name" box under "Or sign up with Disqus" and click on "I'd rather post as a guest."
Recent blog postings:
- Marvelous Magnetic Machines - A cool book about making motors
- Over-Reliance on GPS - It's a great system but is a single point of failure
- Spies in Our Email - Email abuse from our trusted friends
- A Canticle for Leibowitz - One of my favorite books.
- A 72123 beats per minute heart rate - Is it possible?
- Networking Did Not Start With The IoT! - Despite what the marketing folks claim
- In-Circuit Emulators - Does anyone remember ICEs?
- My GP-8E Computer - About my first (working!) computer
- Humility - On The Death of Expertise and what this means for engineering
- On Checklists - Relying on memory is a fool's errand. Effective people use checklists.
- Why Does Software Cost So Much? - An exploration of this nagging question.
- Is the Future All Linux and Raspberry Pi? - Will we stop slinging bits and diddling registers?
- Will Coronavirus Spell the End of Open Offices - How can we continue to work in these sorts of conditions?
- Problems in Ramping Up Ventilator Production - It's not as easy as some think.
- Lessons from a Failure - what we can learn when a car wash goes wrong.
- Life in the Time of Coronavirus - how are you faring?
- Superintelligence - A review of Nick Bostrom's book on AI.
- A Lack of Forethought - Y2K redux
- How Projects Get Out of Control - Think requirements churn is only for software?
- 2019's Most Important Lesson. The 737 Max disasters should teach us one lesson.
- On Retiring - It's not quite that time, but slowing down makes sense. For me.
- On Discipline - The one thing I think many teams need...
- Data Seems to Have No Value - At least, that's the way people treat it.
- Apollo 11 and Navigation - In 1969 the astronauts used a sextant. Some of us still do.
- Definitions Part 2 - More fun definitions of embedded systems terms.
- Definitions - A list of (funny) definitions of embedded systems terms.
- On Meta-Politics - Where has thoughtful discourse gone?
- Millennials and Tools - It seems that many millennials are unable to fix anything.
- Crappy Tech Journalism - The trade press is suffering from so much cost-cutting that it does a poor job of educating engineers.
- Tech and Us - I worry that our technology is more than our human nature can manage.
- On Cataracts - Cataract surgery isn't as awful as it sounds.
- Can AI Replace Firmware - A thought: instead of writing code, is the future training AIs?
- Customer non-Support - How to tick off your customers in one easy lesson.
- Learn to Code in 3 Weeks! - Firmware is not simply about coding.
- We Shoot For The Moon - a new and interesting book about the Apollo moon program.
- On Expert Witness Work - Expert work is fascinating but can be quite the hassle.
- Married To The Team - Working in a team is a lot like marriage.
- Will We Ever Get Quantum Computers - Despite the hype, some feel quantum computing may never be practical.
- Apollo 11, The Movie - A review of a great new movie.
- Goto Considered Necessary - Edsger Dijkstra recants on his seminal paper
- GPS Will Fail - In April GPS will have its own Y2K problem. Unbelievable.
- LIDAR in Cars - Really? - Maybe there are better ideas.
- Why Did You Become an Engineer? - This is the best career ever.
- Software Process Improvement for Firmware - What goes on in an SPI audit?
- 50 Years of Ham Radio - 2019 marks 50 years of ham radio for me.
- Medical Device Lawsuits - They're on the rise, and firmware is part of the problem.
- A retrospective on 2018 - My marketing data for 2018, including web traffic and TEM information.
- Remembering Circuit Theory - Electronics is fun, and reviewing a textbook is pretty interesting.
- R vs D - Too many of us conflate research and development
- Engineer or Scientist? - Which are you? John Q. Public has a hard time telling the difference.
- A New, Low-Tech, Use for Computers - I never would have imagined this use for computers.
- NASA's Lost Software Engineering Lessons - Lessons learned, lessons lost.
- The Cost of Firmware - A Scary Story! - A hallowean story to terrify.
- A Review of First Man, the Movie - The book was great. The movie? Nope.
- A Review of The Overstory - One of the most remarkable novels I've read in a long time.
- What I Learned About Successful Consulting - Lessons learned about successful consulting.
- Low Power Mischief - Ultra-low power systems are trickier to design than most realize.
- Thoughts on Firmware Seminars - Better Firmware Faster resonates with a lot of people.
- On Evil - The Internet has brought the worst out in many.
- My Toothbrush has Modes - What! A lousy toothbrush has a UI?
- Review of SUNBURST and LUMINARY: An Apollo Memoir - A good book about the LM's code.
- Fun With Transmission Lines - Generating a step with no electronics.
- On N-Version Programming - Can we improve reliability through redundancy? Maybe not.
- On USB v. Bench Scopes - USB scopes are nice, but I'll stick with bench models.