Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snoopy (Charles Schultz) Museum Trip

For the holidays, we went to visit the Snoopy Museum in Santa Rosa. It is adjacent to the Redwood Empire Ice Rink, which Schultz started with his wife.

The museum has a little of interesting memorabilia (including some items that I once owned as a child).

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I've been reading "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"

I remember reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain when I was in Junior High, but I don't really remember how much drawing I did as a result.  But it insired to try a quick drawing, so I picked up the Ford Edge mailer I got today:



So I probably need to work on the perspective a bit, but at least I remember some of the things about "switching to R-mode".  Maybe I should try "switching to R-mode" more often...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Code Hygiene and Medical Devices

I've been thinking about code hygiene of late.  I recall Ekkehard (at the time the VP of engineering for Siemens OCS) giving a talk about code hygiene, arguing that diligence about design and coding was an essential part of device development. This was based on his experience involving a few instances where sloppy coding resulted in malfunctions in the field.

Having experienced similar field issues due to non-hygienic design practices, I do feel quite strongly that meticulous coding and design are an important part of medical device development. I guess you can't always know that a 'sloppy' design will invariably increase the likelihood of a malfunction, but it is a feeling probably somewhat akin to the OCD-like behavior that surgeons often exhibit outside the operating room (i.e. once you've developed a sense of hygienic vs. non-hygienic, its difficult to turn off that sense even in situations where there is a low likelihood of something bad happening).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Trip to Point Reyes Lighthouse

Drove out to Point Reyes to traipse around the peninsula, and eventually we made it to the lighthouse. Interesting history about the Point Reyes Lighthouse, though I don't quite remember any of it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Open Source Patent

Does patent rhyme with open source? Think about it this way - the original GNU Public License is a form of managing intellectual property based on copyright protection. A restriction _is_ being placed on the intellectual property licensed with GPL, specifically that modifications cannot be held proprietary. If open source did not place any restrictions on intellectual property, then Public Domain would have been sufficient and there would be no need for the GNU Public License. That the restriction is a permissive one (aimed at increasing the availability of the source code) does not affect the fact that open source licensing requires being able to legally restrict the kinds of things that can be done with the intellectual property.

So, is copyright a sufficient mechanism to propagate open source? If a closed-source company encounters a particular piece of code that it likes, why couldn't it simply take the code, make some nominal change so as to avoid copyright infringement, and then incorporate it in to its proprietary products? This has probably happened on a number of occasions already.

If the source code embodies a truly novel or innovative feature, then the copyright basis of current open source licenses may be too weak. In this case, adding a patent (provided the feature is patentable) as an adjunct to the open source license can help to minimize the temptation of closed source companies to simply reverse engineer the feature and incorporate it in to their product. Of course, it should be agreed that the patent should not be used to restrict the open source propagation of the intellectual property (which is specified in more recent versions of the GPL, I think).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trip to Armstrong Redwood

Drove to Armstrong Redwoods (just outside Guerneville) to look at the trees. Not as big as the Avenue of the Giants up north, but nonetheless impressive trees). Plus we could have diner in Guerneville after we were done.

Got a little lost, as the sun was setting and we were trying to find our car, but it ended up being that the roads inside the park are a little convoluted. We found our way out, and made it home safely.

A picture of IEC Table rotations

I have always struggled with a mental picture to help understand how rotation directions work in IEC table coordinates.  As we were looking...