Sunday, 22 January 2012

Data Capable CPAP machines are NOT a luxury item.

Okay, this drives me slightly more bonkers than usual

What makes doctors, insurance companies, DME's, etc. think that with the advent of data capable CPAP machines, people actually want the compliance only (and similar) pieces of junk?

So they've got a stash of old crusty machines from all the patients who gave up.. and they are peeved because now nobody wants them, and people who they tried to palm them off on want to shove them back in their face.. Boo-freaking-hoo!

Have they ever considered the REASON a large number of those patients gave up might be not having the option of tracking their treatment progress in the first place?

Personally, tracking data has for me been the absolute KEY to being able to deal with this crappy sleep disorder. During the development of SleepyHead, I've met many others along the way who have expressed the same sentiments.

What I find most disgusting is the difference between a data-capable and compliance only machine these days is mainly in the firmware.

These are not complicated devices we are talking about here.. A sturdy PWM controlled fan, power supply, pressure sensors, buttons and some kind of LCD display and a simple on-board computer. The algorithms used certainly aren't anything special or new.

It's pure greed that has inspired the creation of these overpriced monstrosities, and it gets worse with each passing year..

A recent example, Philips Respironics has released their "IQ" machine.. Perhaps the most evil abomination so far.. It has all the capabilities of an Auto machine, yet destroys them after 30 days of combined use, reverting to a plain CPAP machine for the remainder of it's working life.

What's even more evil, is they are actually PROUD of this feature..

Congratulations Philips on being an equal opportunity employer.. Village Idiots need jobs too I guess.. But I'm pretty damn sure most of us would prefer you'd keep them out of marketing and engineering.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's name and shame time..

Warning, angry incoherent 3am rant...

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly shame a certain American Sleep Apnea Association, for making it their policy to do their best to keep Sleep Apnea sufferers in the dark about managing their treatment.

They put up a facade of being non-commercial in the best interest of their members, yet they try to stamp out any real efforts to educate and help people.

I'm particularly disgusted at the web forum they host.. ok, so I was banned from their forum quite a while ago, for "abusing their moderators and admin staff". Apparently they considered "abuse" as taking a serious interest in ones treatment and encouraging others to do so, and having the nerve to disagree with their (seriously flawed) principles. (I was not advocating changing pressures, merely the importance of monitoring treatment)

I'm well and truly over that, big deal.. I don't fit in with their (did I mention very flawed?) ideals, and I have no desire to post or participate there further.. So why rant about it now?

Whenever I follow links or google searches that take me to posts people make over there, I'm finding people being spoon-fed crap and being told to like it. It disgusts me that people can treat their fellow man this way.

Unluckily for me, I am well aware of what it's like to be knocked utterly flat from a sleep disorder. When I hear people in a similar situation, begging for feedback and knowledge on how to improve their situation, and then hear ASAA moderators spout their elitist CRAP, it really makes my blood boil.

Lighten up ASAA! If you really want to help people with Sleep Apnea, teach them the importance of being proactive.. Hate my silly little software project? that's fine! it's nothing great.. But at least recommend the commercial software to your users so they have some control over this crappy affliction. rather than treating reading CPAP data like it's some kind of arcane art only knowable by those bearing the sacred douchemark of the ASAA.

I'm not suggesting boycott of this organization or forum. and please don't let anyone sway you from going there to help others.. but I'd love to see people continue talking about monitoring and managing your CPAP treatment.. until the mods ears bleed.

Maybe they will eventually get it through their thick skulls how important this really is!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My computer sucks at maths.

Computers are excellent calculators.. Not.

Now I'm pretty much used to dealing with floating point precision errors, but this one is just silly..

A fun example trying to calculate a ResMed pressure from a stored integer value, converted normally.

470.0 * 2.0 / 100.0 = 9.39999962
470.0 * 0.02 = 9.39999962
470.0 / 50.0 = 9.39999962

An even simpler example:
float var=9.4; // ie, the real answer, which even my foggy brain can work out..

the result that actually gets stored? 9.39999962!

Gah!! A standard floating point variable can not hold the number 9.4. It must be a dastardly evil unholy number.

Using 64bit double precision gives the answer for all of the above as 9.4000000000000004, also wrong.

Rounding to two decimal places is enough to get it to display right, and of course it won't really effect calculations (except the particular one I was working on that exposed it), but there is a heck of a lot to be said for using integer maths..

Did I mention I'm starting to hate computers.. ;)

Some more info as to why this happens for anyone who's interested:
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19957-01/806-3568/ncg_goldberg.html