Thursday, July 16, 2009

Indexing the book

Twelve thousand seven hundred thirty one citations in the indices (so far), and going blind from the process. B-trieve datatables and search terms for pdf. files are helpful, but not perfect. For example, Hennessy (a big name at Stanford, and this is a Stanford Press book, recall) was spelt correctly on the submitted pages, but not on the pageproofs. And a search block didn't find the misspellings, which of course are what you are looking for primarily.

Speaking of going blind, I thought that I was -- this is a lot of text, and reading/rereading has taken a toll. Mostly psychologically, I tried to convince myself. But upon reflection, I had had one of those funny little incidents, where some big reddish floaters appeared in one eye after awakening one day. I don't know about you, but I usually go to the Web to do some investigative self diagnosis. This said, go see an eye doc. Well, I was in Italy, and the floaters sank out of sight in a few hours, and ...

Anyway, more recently I seemed unable to focus on small print stuff, and lo that eye doc idea resurfaced. After an immodest four hours of tests, and learning about optical coherence tomography, I was pleased (I think) to learn that I have Macular Pucker, which is somewhat better than a lot of other things it could have been. First of all, it is not degenerative, and is not particularly disabling. So that's great. Second, it is to some degree amenable to surgical fix -- though not able to restore what was once (hell, I've got lots of things that will never again be as they once were).

OCT was basically invented circa 1995 at MIT, and this version of equipment dates to early 2003. There is stuff now that is 100x as sensitive, able to pinpoint tumors and all manner of problems. Now if we could just match real-time surgical tools to these highly accurate imaging tools, what a breakthrough that would be. The OCT technique relies on a combination of sonar, backscattering lightwaves, and transmission differences in sub-surface retinal tissue -- oldtimers at HP might call it Time Domain Reflectometry ala Barney Oliver's old thesis that Lee Moffitt productized beautifully before he left for a career at Bell Labs. Damn, now that I think about it, I didn't include TDR or Lee in the book.

Ah, well, viva those medical instruments that rely on great physics...

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