Another year has flown by.

It seems that no matter how much I want to keep this site updated, I never get around to it. Today I replaced the hard drive in my 2011 iMac with a 3TB WD Black drive because it seemed like the 1TB Seagate drive that was in there was starting to fail. Everything was just sluggish. I can report that the new drive has done what I expected. Everything is speedy once again (not SSD speedy, that upgrade will come later). I used the OWC sensor temperature sensor inline SATA adapter cable to keep the fan from going crazy and that seems to be working as well. The only thing I’d suggest for someone who hasn’t opened an iMac before (I hadn’t) is to have a flashlight or headlamp and watch the VSYNC cable. It’s very thin and hard to see in poor light (for instance I had the iMac laying flat on a spare bed with the fan lights on). If you don’t know what you’re looking for I can see how it would be very easy to rip this cable, and that would be bad, mmmmkay. Additionally it was reasonably difficult to get the connector for the VSYNC cable out of its socket, and again since the wires are so small, you don’t want to do anything too drastic. I ended up using two hands, with my fingernails on either side of the connector and walked it out of the socket. The plastic tool in the OWC kit just wasn’t getting the job done. Other than that the process was easy, just like replacing the disk in a PC.

On the R&D front, my work with Kearns, Fozard, on Fractal Dimension and cognitive impairment is coming along. We’ve collected data that shows D calculated from GPS outdoors gives similar results to UWB indoors. As a result, I’m putting together an iPhone app that will collect and analyze the motion of the owner and report D values back to them. Additionally, we hope to use this to collect a large data set for our research. Another project I’m working on is a fishing app. I really don’t like any of the marine charting /fishing apps out there, so I’m slowly putting my own together. It will be awesome.

Finally, at Silent Partner Technologies we’re narrowing our focus to public safety, government, and commercial asset & inventory management. Wander management is taking a back seat as everyone who wants to track people wants something different. Asset & inventory tracking has proved to be pretty much the same across the board. I’m also doing more R&D which is going to lead to custom SPT branded hardware and allow us to scale out our web app as we increase our customer base. Some of our newest clients in Fire & EMS have been able to show savings of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in saved time and reduced carrying costs by using our IntelliView system. The South Metro Fire Department in Colorado was able to reduce their inventory overhead by about 50% and reduced the time to take inventory in their warehouse from about 6 hours to 2 hours. They have similar reductions at each of their 17 fire stations. Pretty cool.

Silent Partner Technologies – New Product Launch

Well, it seems another year has gone by since I posted an update on the blog. That means I’ve been busy with work, right? Right! I’ve spent the last year designing and implementing new products at Silent Partner Technologies, and they are finally ready for launch. Our online asset management system, IntelliView, is one of the most full featured cloud-based asset management systems available. It is the only asset management system that I know of that supports both active and passive RFID technologies out of the box. In addition to assets we provide an Inventory (consumables) management section and a Service (work orders) section. The most interesting part of the product suite, however, are the tablet based RFID reader apps. We have had our Windows CE passive RFID application running on a CSL 101 for 6 months now, but this month we are introducing Android based apps for active and passive RFID readers. Now you can take your Android phone or tablet and use it as a real-time heads up display showing what assets are nearby. We have several specific use cases for this, but our big push is for mobile equipment tracking. Lets say you’ve got a truck full of equipment, and you need to make sure you have everything you need before you head out on the road. Our IntelliVan readers and app will let you know, instantly, what equipment is in your truck and if certain predefined items are missing. During beta testing, these product were used by our EMS, fire/rescue, landscaping, and auto and motorcycle racing clients. The app is Android only for the moment, once we sort out Apple’s MFi program we will have and iOS app available as well.

But wait, there’s more. In addition to IntelliVan and building MyAssetsFaster we’ve been working with our partner company Oil Country Tubular Goods in a joint venture, called Oil Country Asset Management, to integrate yard management capabilities into MyAssetsFaster. Our yard management product allows pipe manufacturers & processors to keep tabs on their pipe. No more pencil and paper to keep track of where pipe gets laid. We use a GPS-based Android app along with batch processing on MyAssetsFaster to provide shipping and receiving logging and pipe location tracking throughout the processing cycle. This product is still in beta testing and will be ready for launch by the end of the year.

And just one more thing, we developed a parking management system this year for collaborative parking management between tow companies and property managers. This system is applicable to hotels, universities, apartment complexes, condos, municipalities, etc. Anyone who has a fixed amount of parking space, reserved for paying customers, but ends up with lots of moochers. Using a vehicle-mounted RFID system and RFID enabled parking tags we have been able to increase the productivity/income of our beta tow companies by 30%. Instead of having to visually check every single car in every parking lot, they use our Parking Management Android app as a heads-up display in the truck. As they drive by a car, -beep-, that car’s info pops up to the top of the list. If there if the car doesn’t match the information in the database, someone is sharing a parking tag. Give them a warning. Next time it happens. TOW ‘EM. If there is no -beep-, the driver can search by license plate. If no record found, TOW ‘EM. If a car comes up highlighted in red, the tag is expired. TOW ‘EM. In the case of universities and municipalities, GIVE ‘EM A TICKET.

Wireless telesurveillance system for detecting dementia

A new article on my work with Drs. Kearns, Fozard, and Nams on using RFID and fractal dimension to monitor patients in assisted living facilities is now online and due to be published in Gerontechnology, the journal of the International Society for Gerontechnology, shortly. You can also find a pre-print copy of the article in the Publications section of this website. In this article we show that fractal dimension generated using my RTFPA algorithm was superior to the MMSE (Mini Mental State Exam) as a classifier for discriminating between patients with and without (a diagnosed case of) dementia.


So, we finally broke down and purchased a cheap Android device at work for development work. I figured I don’t need anything too expensive, I just want to test and make sure my Unity apps run on Android as well as iOS. We picked an Archos 32 “tablet”. It arrived today and I start tinkering.

The first thing I found out is that the Android SDK doesn’t detect Archos devices without intervention. You have to add the manufacturer ID (0x0e79) to the adb_usb.ini. Fine I did that and was able to deploy my app to the device. Yay!

Then I tried to install Unity Remote. I try to go get it on the Android Market…. Oh, I need an account. Fine. I go and try to set up my GMail account as my Market account…. Argh, how do I do this?!? Ah, on the device, fine…. Setup Failed!!!! Argh!!! WTF. Right, my iPhone connected to my iTunes and Gmail accounts without so much as a peep. This experience with Android isn’t impressing me.

So I do some hunting, I find out that Google, even though Android is “open”, doesn’t allow all devices to access the Market. Manufacturers must officially license Android for that feature. WTF. No one from Google ever mentions this publicly, and no one from Archos says, “Oh, BTW, we haven’t licensed Android, so you’re not going to have access to Market or any Google apps, or half of what Android can do.”

Also the device looks kind of crappy, the screen sucks, and the responsiveness is quite lacking (you get what you pay for). Perhaps that’s why Archos isn’t on Google’s approved devices list, however my apps run just fine.

Summary: I bought these things because everyone (other researchers and hospital staff) keep whining about my insistence on iOS and claim I should support Android because it’s more open and they love theirs. So I go to do this and find that all Androids are not equal. Google has way, way, way, way more catch up to do than I originally thought. My first day with Android is quite disappointing and any time someone waves an Android device at me when I use my iPhone4, I’m just going to laugh until Google fixes this crap. Maybe I’ll try a more expensive device later and compare to this one. In any case, stay away from Archos devices.

New Article In Press

An updated version of “Using Fractal Dimension to Assess Robot Operator Search Skill” will appear in a forthcoming issue of Intelligent and Robotic Systems. This lengthier article has a very thorough discussion of my RTFPA algorithm and a preliminary comparison of RTFPA to other fractal path analysis algorithms.

New Visualization Project

I’ve started working on a new project to identify hotspots in some of data from one of the projects I’m working on. (Specific details to come later). In any case, I was inspired by the “Earth at Night” photos and some network traffic visualizations (I like the “hot spots” look) and whipped up a Java app this weekend to do something similar.

It’s been a while…

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been busy at work being a “Mad Scientist (TM)” and the Internet connection at the VA doesn’t work so well. So I’m finally getting a chance to update things at home (Alex keeps us busy). I’ve updated my About, Research, and Publications pages and added a new video of Alex reading. I finally tried a Kindle. I like the eBook concept and the eInk screen, but the Kindle 2 was too small for reading PDFs, so I sent it back and will either get a Kindle DX or a Plastic Logic QUE depending on availability of the QUE. We’re going to buy a few Apple tablets at work, but I don’t think that will be a good eReader solution unless Apple surprises everyone with some new display technology. I’ll post an update on Thursday when I find out about the QUE (announcement at CES). I’m hoping they’ll be available immediately at B&N.