Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mobile Phones Adding to Tinnitus?

Maybe not from talking, but from music and headphones.  This problem is only going to get worse as kids spend more time in earphones without any sort of training or awareness of what high decibel music can do to ears over time.

Mobile phones are damaging hearing as number of teenagers with tinnitus reaches ‘alarming levels’

Scientists at McMaster University, Ontario, tested 170 students’ hearing and found over a quarter are already experiencing chronic, persistent tinnitus.

This increase is due to ‘risky listening habits’ like listening to loud music at parties, in clubs and on personal listening devices like phones – which almost all of the students engaged in, according to the researchers.

“It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse,” said Dr Larry Roberts of McMaster’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, author of the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing.”28 per cent of the study participants had already developed persistent tinnitus.The tests found those experiencing tinnitus were more likely to have a significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise.

This is considered a sign of hidden permanent damage to the nerves used in processing sound, which can lead to serious hearing impairment later in life.

Friday, March 31, 2017

More Hearing Loss, Tinnitus in Coming Generations

This article has a lot of stats, but not a lot about prevention about the upcoming  demographic increase in hearing loss (emphasis mine)

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore predict that 44 million — or 15 percent of U.S. adults — will have some hearing loss by 2020. That will increase to 23 percent of all adults 20 and older by 2060....The rise in Americans with hearing loss will be especially pronounced among the 70 and older set. In 2020, 55 percent of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 or older. In 2060 — 67 percent.
Like eyesight, there is age-related hearing loss for which there is not a lot someone can do.  What people can do is for people to take common sense approaches to protecting their ears.  I see all sorts of activities every day which can lead to hearing loss (plus tinnitus) in later years:
  • Extremely loud music in the car - If I can hear your music through both your closed window and mine, you are putting too much pressure on your ears.  This goes double with loud concerts.  Go to Tinnitus Talk and just a brief browsing of people show dozens of young people who got permanent tinnitus or hearing problems after being at a loud concert.
  • Extremely loud musing with headphones - This more than anything is why there will be an upward trend in hearing problems for the next few decades.  Smartphons, ipods, tablets and the like have people with earphones in for days at a time.  I have sit next to people on airplanes where I can hear their music quite clearly - even though I have my own earphones on.  The key is to keep it at a reasonable level.
  • No use of ear protection around heavy equipment (including chain saws, lawn mowers, etc).  I am seeing better use by professional lawn crews (but not always).
  • No use of ear protection when hunting or shooting with friends.  Gun ranges require ear protection, but people on their often skip this.  Several people in Tinnitus Talk have "T" because they did not take gun safety (which includes ear protection) seriously.  Also, if you having a hunting dog, get him protection as well - they sell ear protection specifically for gun dogs.
  • Skipping the Dentist (who can often see signs of bruxism) - This is the one that got me.  The dentist noted I had early signs of bruxism, but then I didn't go back for two years.  If had gone back and she had noticed increased signs, she might have gotten me into a biteplate before my TMJ got further deteriorated.
I now carry earplugs with me for things like sporting events and surprise situations that I might find myself in, like being near heavy equipment.  Much hearing loss (and the tinnitus that comes with a lot of it) is preventable with some pretty easy precautions. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Some American Beer Taste Like it Is from P#@$, This One Really Is

Enter this into the category of taking recycling way too far: San Diego Brewery Uses Recycled Toilet Water to Make Beer
I like Stone Brewery, but come on guys.  Coors advertises its pristine Rocky Mountain water, and this is sort of the opposite.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Yoga and TMJ Tinnitus

I have covered before my now eight-month ordeal with tinnitus, caused by TMJ disorder.  It has been a slow recovery, and it could be one without an end since there is no guarantee that my "T" will ever get to zero.
However, I have gone from a 7/10 to a steady 2/10, and now with increasing incidences of 1/10.  And at a 1, the ringing is well below ambient noise level in a restaurant or bar.  I don't hear it at all in those situations.
Like most recoveries the improvement has been asymptotic.  I was stuck at a steady "2" it seems for months, but I finally started hearing more days of "1" after I started yoga.  It could be a coincidence, but I think there is something to it since TMJ disorder is related to tendons, joints and musculature.  It makes sense that stretching and strengthening would have some benefits.
The pose that I think helps the most: Standing Separate Leg, Head to Knee Pose (they have an Indian name for it that sounds like all of them: blablabla-strassena).  Having to twist my forehead to touch my knee seems to do all sorts of stuff in my ear area (and my knee is way bent unlike the model in the link).  Maybe it increases blood flow, maybe it is stretching the tendon, but something definitely happens in my TMJ area with that pose.
Here is a summary of my T improvement curve and the tools I have used.  The question is will I ever get to a 0?



Monday, March 13, 2017

The Restaurant Experience is Declining in California

But my guess is that California restaurant revenues are up due to inflation and steady traffic at very high-end restaurants that serve the upper-crust in LA and SF.  But I think the mid and low-end of the spectrum is flat to down as this segment massively makes cuts to offset increases in wages. 
I have watched over the past two years as an ever increasing number of restaurants become  "countertop ordering" where customers order at the register.  You then get a number and someone brings you your food, or even worse, they call your name and you have to make your way up and fetch the food yourself.  This is fine for a pizza joint or fast food, but the problem is that this is happening everywhere at places that are supposed to be family or casual dining.  At a mall close to my house there are over a dozen places to eat, but only one has wait-staff.
Outside of pizza or lunch I simply refuse to eat at a place like that.  There are a couple of mom and pops that I frequent that have wait-staff, but they are not exactly cheap to eat at any more. 
I think counter-top dining and $8 beers seem to be the future of most California dining.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Democrats Hate Americans?

I watched the President's speech last night, and I can't find any reason anyone would find it objectable.  I was quite angry, however, watching the democrats sit on their hands when the president said his job was to advocate for the American people.
After eight years of Obama the democrats are that far gone - democrats hate Americans and think their job is to promote the interests of someone from Guatemala over some poor American from Middle America.
I am especially surprised that blacks would continue to support democrats as mass immigration has taken away the vast majority of low-end jobs typically occupied by their constituency.  But maybe I shouldn't be surprised  - the majority of democrats don't worry about their constituents, but rather are more concerned about their own power and how to maintain it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tech Boycotts Work Both Ways

Most technology engagements aren't "buy-sell" relationships.  They usually are for commodity items like capacitors or memory, but everything above the commodity level requires a closer relationship, often custom or joint development. 
This means that for advanced technology engagements someone in the selling organization has to filter through many interested companies, pick only a few to engage with, then effectively act as an internal agent for the potential customer.  This means running down the non-disclosure agreement (NDA), grabbing the right people in development to tweak this or change that, and make sure the busy engineers make time to customize the product or do development for the customer's specification.  Without this internal agent the customization won't happen, and the customer won't get the tech he is interested in.
There are 800lb gorillas who get attention from a tech provider no matter what they do (Apple for example), but there are lots and lots of tech companies (especially start-ups) working on various gizmos that need the help and support of vendors.  By definition only a few customers can be customized at any one time, so a selling organization can pick and choose who to work with.  What many tech companies don't realize is that their left-wing hatred is putting them on an enemies list, and they won't ever get served.
Just last week I got an email from an extremely large company that isn't yet into tech hardware, but apparently is interested.  However, based on their left-wing positioning and stated boycotts of those who don't agree with them, I let their inquiry fall on deaf ears.  They are welcome to buy my commodity products that are on the open market (like anyone else in the world), but since I can pick and choose who to cultivate and serve for advanced technology they are not getting my time.
Of course they will never know this.  They are just one of many left-wingers who cannot imagine someone having a different point of view from them, and don't even realize their intolerance is backfiring on them in myriad ways.  Just like the election itself.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Long-Term Layoff

M&A layoffs by acquiring companies come in two main flavors: immediate layoffs after the acquisition is closed, and long-range layoffs once the knowledge of the acquiree has been assimilated into the acquirer. 
I have been on the acquisition side a couple of times, and few people know how medieval it can get during initial cuts.  Managers go through lists of names and simply check off boxes on who will be eliminated.  They are just names and checks, but the result is a few hours later that person is gone.  It would make Stalin proud.  And few people have any clue how simple statements can get them doomed. For example, one engineer at an acquiree company mentioned in passing that he might want to go into marketing one day.  That simple comment got him the axe when the culling came.  The company was acquired for their engineers, and anyone who didn't want to stay an engineer wasn't wanted.
I am now on the receiving end of an acquisition, but it was a "friendly" buyout and there were no immediate cuts after SuperGiantCo bought the little start-up.  But this is covering up the long-range plan to assimilate the smaller acquisition into the collective whole of SuperGiantCo. 
The main way they are doing this is by "boiling the frog slowly" on engineers and "salami slicing" the management.  By the former, they create ways of "knowledge sharing" between acquiree engineers and SuperGiantCo engineers that are really "knowledge transfer" from the former to the latter.  But this is done a little at a time, in a very natural, friendly way through exchange programs, meetings, joint projects and the like.  What the acquiree engineers don't realize is that they are slowly transferring their brain to SuperGiantCo engineers, and in 2-3 years they will not be needed.  They are basically training others to do their job, but in a way that seems benign.  Already SuperGiantCo has "shadow design centers" doing the exact same thing as the acquiree company used to do.  Once those shadow design centers are up the learning curve, my engineers will become redundant and ready for the chopping block.
On the management side (my side) they are doing "salami slicing".  Instead of removing responsibility of the old managers all at once, they do it one small piece at a time.  No single piece means much, and in fact the offload sometimes might be welcome, but after a while you realize that your whole job has been sliced away piece by piece and given to various managers at SuperGiantCo.  This is also about a two year process.
At the end SuperGiantCo won't need either the engineers or managers from the acquiree company.   At that time they will either let us go, or for a few lucky ones might be Borg enough to land a position in the parent company. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Note to the President

At the recommendation of Ace of Spades, I sent President Trump a short note of support today:
Dear Mr. President,

I just wanted to send a short note of support, and say how happy and proud I have been since you became President.  You are taking on not only the democrats, but also the press and a good portion of the republican party.

No matter how much screaming and negativity you hear, know that there are millions of us that are behind you. 

Also know that a large number of business people in tech are behind not only your immigration plans, but also any restrictions you can put on H1B visas.  I have worked in technology for over 25 years, and am appalled by the rampant abuse of H1B visas at tech companies who pass on seasoned American engineers in favor of cheap laborers from India, China, and other locations.   These CEOs have benefited from being in America, but then purposely turned away from American workers to fuel their growth.  

Keep up the good work and remember that we believe in you.