Countdown to cataract surgery

So I’ve started the countdown to my first cataract surgery. I wasn’t going to blog much about this, but I’ve found that although the web is full of text and video links for cataract surgery (in humans and other animals!), most are commercial or professional pieces. There seem to be relatively few first-person accounts of what it’s like to experience lens replacement. And since it’s a really cool technical fix, it’s worthy of the “Geek” tag.
I’m having my right eye operated on this Wednesday, September 21; the left eye will be done on October 18. In preparation for the surgery, I’ve just started eye drops three times a day: Vigamox (an antibiotic) and Nevanac (an anti-inflammatory). The pre-op tests took place on September 6, when they measured the interior and exterior geometry of my eyes using an ultrasound device; they’ll use these numbers to choose the right lenses for my replacements.
In peparation for the experience, I’ve been reading up on the subject and watching a number of videos. The best (lengthy) discussion of the subject is this lecture from UCSF:

For a quick presentation of the actual procedure, this video is good, though rather low-res:

One of the things I’m particularly intrigued by is how much difference I will experience in my vision. Yes, I know that my eyesight has been getting increasingly poor – my right eye is around 20/80 – but the deterioration has been gradual enough that I probably didn’t notice the changes. I’m really curious about how my color perception will shift. In some areas I’ve noticed the changes – increased glare during night driving, for instance – and I’m looking forward to improvements there. I just read an interesting piece by an ophthalmologist who himself had to have cataract surgery; as you might imagine, he was keen to document the experience carefully. (And it changed his professional outlook completely.)

Anyway, more and more of you will be going through this process over the next few years, so I’ll try to blog regularly about what it’s like.

Shockwave traffic jams


(Via Abstruse Goose.)
In my first year at Essex University (1969) I took a maths course which introduced us to the topic of partial differential equations. I had studied ordinary differential equations at the RGS in High Wycombe (part of the syllabus for “A” Level Maths), but PDEs were mind-blowing by comparison. (No, I don’t think this was due to any other mind-blowing substances that we were playing with.) Anyway, I remember that the lecturer started with the role of PDEs in fluid dynamics, and then switched to modelling shockwave traffic jams. Today it would be easy and natural to visualize the wave propagation on the computer, but in 1969 such techniques were still pretty esoteric.
Nice to see that the experimental side of applied mathematics isn’t being ignored.

AT&T 3G snafu in Seattle

TechFlash confirms what I Twittered about last night:

We’ve been experiencing ongoing problems trying to connect to the Internet using AT&T’s 3G network via our iPhones over the past two days. As it turns out, we’re not alone. iPhone users in Seattle report sporadic service

I had an important call scheduled for 8am today; at 8:10am my interlocutor emailed to say that he’d tried to call twice, but my number was busy. Fortunately the third time was the charm.
AT&T blamed a software upgrade. Sounds familiar….

Earliest UUCP postings

Terry just posted a piece about UUCP, blogging, and digging back in Google Groups for early signs of life…
The first UUCP posting that I can find of mine is dated November 20, 1985 – but that was just an administrative posting, announcing the addition of “suneast” to the UUCP network. My first real posting was to net.unix on December 4, 1985, asking if anyone knew of an unencumbered version of the Unix “crypt” command – even then, source code licensing was an issue. And my first contribution on a non-work topic was to net.followup, on April 27, 1986, about Reagan’s decision to bomb Libya. ((Re-reading this, I’m struck by how close it is to the piece I just posted about “No End in Sight”. As Terry put it, “While one can’t step twice in the same river, from the banks it looks much the same.”))

Blogging from Ignite

Everybody here at Ignite Seattle! seems to hve a Macbook [Pro]. The talks start in ~20 minutes. Conveniently, this place is just around the corner from Elysian Fields…
[LATER] I thought that was an excellent evening. Less time on fun and games, and more (and higher quality) talks. My favourites:

  • Sheer fun: Scotto Moore on Make Art Not Content ((Small world department: Scotto (Leri) says “hi” to Spivey, and admires what you’re doing.))
  • Essentials of business: Dave McClure on Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!
  • Prognostication: Beth Goza on Is 2008 the year the “Third Screen” takes center stage?
  • Just do it: Brian Dorsey on An embarrassment of riches – the story of Noonhat
  • The bigger picture: George Conard on Mifos: Open Source Software for Microfinance ((Hint: when you’re living on a dollar a day, you don’t care if your microfinance provider uses OSS.))

But they were all good. The next one is in October: I’m planning to be there. (There were a few Amazonians there tonight: more next time.)