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Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
I had a long day at work. Two hours of 'own time'. (unpaid overtime) We're working on a very low-end x-ray crystallography product. But in the process of merging with (I.E. buying out) other companies, instead of this increasing our product range into something with good margins in every price range, we've (more or less) taken all of the different quality parts and then made some even higher-end products. So basically, we have no low end anymore. (Which is killing our margins.) Thus trying to come up with a low-end system is a bit ... daunting.
The cheapest that that we can get one of our own detectors into this low-end system is still looking to be about a 25 grand. Give or take. So instead we're looking at a low-end detector used a lot in dental work (and I believe oil pipeline monitoring?) made by another company. It only costs around 5 grand. But it operates at room temp. As opposed to ours cooled to well below freezing temps. The difference? Noise, noise, and more noise. We also seem to be losing a lot of intensity in general, but it's really the background noise wiping out the low intensity spots that is killing us. The big vertical lines that are the gaps between the sensors don't help, but we can filter out data mining from those regions in software. They just look bad visually. It's mostly the noise hiding our low intensity peaks that is killing us. That and to even get intensities work working at, because of that noise, we have to collect the data for about four times as long just so that we can get peaks that are that noticable above the noise.
So we've (strangely enough, our software department) spent a good number of hours today pouring over raw uncorrected frames hastily thrown into a simple viewer in an effort to decide if writing software to properly process the frames is even worth the effort, not to mention if the detector itself can at all meet the software's criteria for providing data to calculate with. Because the human eye and brain can process things like pattern recognition and just simply spot things better than any software can, we're trying to decide just how likely our software can handle the data based on what we can see.
It's bad when you can't even decide if the thing can provide you with enough quality to even consider trying to work with it enough to decide if it's worth it or not. We haven't even remotely answered the question of if it's worth the effort to try and get it to work yet. We're still trying to decide if there's even enough hope there to bother spending the time to see if we can get it to work. It's that bad. But it's also that much cheaper, and providing just that much of a chance of a ray of hope.
I guess the good news is that if we could tell that it met our needs right on the spot then our own much more expensive detector wouldn't be worth its price.
So anywho, it was a long day at work with a lot of frustration, debate, bouncing of ideas, and contemplation on the forces of Chaos and the redeeming qualities of futility.
Then I get home. Which took some time thanks to yet another accident on the beltline. Go figure. I wanted to take a normal walk, but I also wanted to eat sometime before my bedtime. So I compramised, and chose a maybe 1/2 mile easy walk that'd take me past some of my favorite flowers. Especially one house on second street with a patch of lilly of the valley that smell so nice and look so cute.
Well, damn. The first thing I noticed is that all of the tulips seem to have lost their petals already. The second thing I noticed is that the lilly of the valley barely have their scent anymore. **sigh**
I guess, like cherry blossoms, pretty flowers don't last forever. A star that burns so bright can never last as long. Or something like that. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.
I can't help but feel that this spring we've been royally shafted though. It seems like the weather just isn't right. Even my poor apple tree is only half blossoming. The other half is green, but it isn't flowering at all. It's totally confused by what is going on. And if summer turns out to be hot, it's looking like a very bad year for plants in general.
I wonder what the farmers are saying.
5/23/2006 3:41 pm
Actually, we got better results once we figured out that we were processing the data in the wrong endian order. So it's looking much better now. It still looks like crap compared to the real thing, but for the price, and for convincing customers of the value of the real thing, I think it's perfect for the low end. Now to see if it'll actually work...|
I'm sorry your lilacs died so quickly. I love lilacs. My aunt brought in a huge boquet of them from her yard for my grandpa when he first went into the hospital. It's a shame yours didn't last longer.
And I guess corn doesn't need much rain then? I wonder what other crops will do well and what ones will do poorly. I know if I were a farmer I'd be biting my nails right now.