Category: tech

Digg v4 Sucks

The new Digg version (v4) is up and running, and it sucks.


The reasons :

  1. less content (way less than before, 3 stories were on top news in 8 hour period)
  2. very buggy (getting better)
  3. the my news section being default (may be fixed shortly)
  4. links don’t open in separate tab (may be a bug)
  5. no picture section
  6. no videos section
  7. Digg is trying to be a like Facebook and/or Twitter (hint it’s not and shouldn’t try to be)

The less content/stories issue the biggest.  I use Digg as a filter for all the articles/pictures/videos on the internet.  If it can’t do that, then whats the point in Digg at all.

I really don’t understand organizations that take away features that many users/customers like or demand.  And when they don’t succeed they just try again latter.  Case-in-point the pictures section on Digg.  Digg got rid of it in a previous update and the users complained until it was put back, and now Digg has removed it again.

Ares I Launch

Ares I launched this week, after several delays.  I watched it live, it was awesome.  But two of the three parachutes malfunctioned and caused some damage to the booster.

ISA Expo (ISA100.11a)

wireless-iconBack from ISA Expo 2009 in Houston.  Attended several class for wireless technologies and ISA100.11a.  It looks to be a very good standard and should help bring order to the wireless landscape to the instrumentation/process/industrial automation industries.

I attended a one day class taught by Dr. Peter Fuhr, and several technical conferences about wireless systems and technologies.  A tool that Dr. Fuhr was using caught my eye.  He had a RF spectrum analyzer on his computer that only cost $200, that would be get for my work.  It’s from Metageek and comes in 2.4 GHz and a 900 MHz version.

“This standard is intended to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open loop control, and closed loop control applications. This standard defines the protocol suite, system management, gateway, and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable, and moving devices supporting very limited power consumption requirements. The application focus is to address the performance needs of applications such as monitoring and process control where latencies on the order of 100 ms can be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.

To meet the needs of industrial wireless users and operators, this standard provides robustness in the presence of interference found in harsh industrial environments and with legacy non-ISA100 compliant wireless systems. As described in Clause 4, this standard addresses coexistence with other wireless devices anticipated in the industrial workspace, such as cell phones and devices based on IEEE 802.11x, IEEE 802.15x, IEEE 802.16x, and other relevant standards. Furthermore, this standard allows for interoperability of ISA100 devices, as described in Clause 5.” – ISA page (ISA-100.11a-2009)

ISA100.11a Released

wireless-iconISA has released the 100.11a standard on September 9th 2009.  I’ve update the Wikipedia entry for it.  I’m going to a conference and several classes at ISA Expo 2009 this year that cover the new standard.  Hopefully this standard will bring some order to the wireless gas detection and industrial control industries for wireless devices.  It uses IEEE 802.15.4 for the lower level which dictates a center frequency 2.4 GHz and uses DSSS for the modulation technique.   It also uses some of TSMP from Dust Networks for the mesh and networking protocol.  This should allow for battery operated devices with automatic routing capability, via time synchronized sleeping.

EN 13980 Assesment Audit

Document-128x128Just got finished with a EN 13980 assessment audit for work.

EN 13980 is an EU (European Union) standard for companies that are looking to produce ATEX (EU Directive 94/9/EC and 99/92/EC) rated equipment.  It’s based off ISO 9001, with specifics to components and products in explosives atmospheres.  It is not a free standard but the cost is small and can be purchase at many different website, usally depending on the language (BSI for English).

For a company, such as Otis Instruments, that is looking to produce ATEX rated equipment two certifications are needed; and they are the Quality Assurance Notification (QAN) and the EC Type Examination Certificate.  The Quality Assurance Notification is issued to a company that has had an assement audit for compliance to EN 13980.  A  EC Type Examination Certificate is a certificate issued for specific hardware that has passed testing from the ATEX standard (usually based of EN 16079, among others).

Once that is complete the company can build the product and issue a Declaration of Conformity.  The Declaration of Conformity states that the product is built and tested to comply with ATEX.

This process is very different than what is normally done in North America.  In North America the equivalent standards, testing, and certifications are done/controlled by UL, FM, ETL, and CSA.


Here is a quote from the BSI site :

Potentially explosive atmospheres – Application of quality systems
Executive summary

Requirements and information for establishing and maintaining quality systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Abstract

This European Standard specifies particular requirements and information for establishing and maintaining a quality system within potentially explosive atmospheres.

It is intended for use by manufacturers, notified bodies and regulatory authorities.

When notified bodies assess the quality systems of manufacturers this standard is intended to be the basis of the initial assessment and subsequent visits.
History and related standards

This European Standard is complementary to EN ISO 9000 and EN ISO 9001 and is applicable to products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

This standard includes the following cross references:

prEN 13237-1, EN 45012, EN 45014, EN ISO 9000:2000, EN ISO 9001:2000.

Potentially explosive atmospheres – Application of quality systems

Executive summary

Requirements and information for establishing and maintaining quality systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Abstract

This European Standard specifies particular requirements and information for establishing and maintaining a quality system within potentially explosive atmospheres.

It is intended for use by manufacturers, notified bodies and regulatory authorities.

When notified bodies assess the quality systems of manufacturers this standard is intended to be the basis of the initial assessment and subsequent visits.

History and related standards

This European Standard is complementary to EN ISO 9000 and EN ISO 9001 and is applicable to products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

This standard includes the following cross references:

prEN 13237-1, EN 45012, EN 45014, EN ISO 9000:2000, EN ISO 9001:2000.