New Year’s – The Morning After

New Year’s Eve. Maybe just the words evoke a groan as you remember thatgreat party. Or maybe your friends remember it for you, your memoriesmore a haze only vaguely sharpened by their hoots of derision aboutactivities that, well, you’d never do… but apparently did.

And how did the house become such a wreck? Another hurricane? Musthave been a heck of a party. But cleaning it all up with a mushy headjust seems an impossible task.

Not to worry – there’s technology to the rescue! We engineers, inour sober moments, invent all sorts of goodies just for cases likethis.

Need to get all of those cigarette ashes off the rug? Don’t lug outa heavy vacuum whose cyclonic noise is the one thing your head can’ttolerate. Let loose a Roombarobotic vacuum which will stochastically clean while you sleep offthe poison.

No doubt the kitchen floor is smudged with dropped ice cubes, brokenglasses and canapés squashed underfoot. iRobot’s Scoobawill clean the linoleum as its Roomba cousin plows the carpets.

No one wants to hand-clean all those glasses smeared with lipstick,nor the plates crusted with dried brie. The solution? A microprocessor-controlleddishwasher  with a “semi-integrated control panel” (huh?) and(count ‘em) four washing arms.

If only something would automatically gather the dirty dishes andload the dishwasher!

Happily that’s not far away. The “MorningAfter Bot”  uses before-the-party pictures to move everythingback into place while you sleep off the effects of overindulgence.

Sadly, despite all of this technology, according to the New Scientist,it seems there’s still nocure for the common hangover. The article doesn’taddress a folk-medicine cure that’s worked for me – a bit ofself-control the night before… or drinking a big glass of water beforebed-time.

There are, though, a veritable cornucopia of anecdotal tales ofremedies, many outlined in theNew York Times Sunday Styles section. 

Perhaps some of us are mutant X-Men with a stunning ability to overindulge without ill effect. Researchers think a gene is involved, leading me to wonder if my Irish halfbequeathed me a better survival of the fittest (at parties, at least)adaptation.

I guess the moral is to know your limit. And then to, somehow,remember that before the bartender shouts “last call.”

But the embedded community is doing a fine job helping revelers keeptheir glasses full. A smart beercoaster alerts the wait staff when the glass is half-empty… or isthat half-full?

Jack G. Ganssle is a lecturer and consultant on embeddeddevelopment issues. He conducts seminars on embedded systems and helpscompanies with their embedded challenges. Contact him at . His website is .


suggest you listen to Amanda Marshall's “Sunday Morning After”

– Don Herres


Very interesting, in fact on an on-line forum, we were just discussing the Roomba and Scooba today.

Biggest issues we concluded:

1) Fitting a round peg in a square hole: How does a round device clean corners?

2) Consumables. The $300 device may end up costing you more if you have to buy THEIR cleaning solution. Like how printer companies make all their money on those expensive cartridges.

3) You still have to clean the device out and fill it.

4) $300 is a pretty expensive toy.

I liken these to the Segway. Cute, cool, seemingly revolutionary, but not useful enough to justify its price tag.

– “Tiger” Joe Sallmen


Jack, Jack! I had no hangover at all. How is that possible? Well I simply used my power of free will and chose to totally ignore New Years Eve as anything to celebrate, much less get drunk over. In fact, I can't think of a single thing that would induce me to drink like that at all. A cold brewski or a glass of wine or even a cocktail is nice now and again but when people feel that more than that is required to have a good time then they probably have a drinking problem.

– Don McCallum


Unfortunately the monster with a long tail and mighty roar is still alive. See the article

Robot Lessons

Dr. Dobb's Journal August 2003

By Ed Nisley

– Aki Peltonen

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