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6 Jul 2012
Emergency Preparedness
On the way to Scout Camp, our caravan came across a motorcyclist, down on the shoulder of the road, barely responsive.
We quickly surmised that an accident had happened just seconds ago, and quickly, but carefully deployed our Boy Scouts to help with traffic while our best First Aid instructor (LISA BASS!) triaged the victim.

At the scene of something like this, you immediately start thinking of the things you wish you had at the ready: the First Aid kit shouldn't be under all those packs and boxes! We should have safety vests stored with the emergency stuff. Water would be nice for victims & witnesses...

Then, what about after the accident? Here's a family who's vacation and rest of the month is probably now upside down. Traveling from out of state, first priority (beyond medical) is to contact the victim's family. Get the basics of medical alergies, current medical conditions and prescreptions. It is going to be a while before the victim can get back and take care of the simple stuff: feed the dog, cut the grass. All of these things turn upside down in an unforseen split second.
Howard Sadler has been busy writing about being ready for life-changing emergencies. His product, now in its second version and with 6 solid years of sales is Record Tree, a person's important life information. It's worth a look, even if you're not a Boy Scout.
Family , General
posted by  henry at  14:53 | permalink | trackbacks [83421]

15 May 2012
RoboParade feature
Saturday we hosted the 2nd Roanoke Roboparade at the Science Museum of Western Virginia as part of the outreach for STEM in the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council.

In this video you get a good feel for the event. We had about 70 folks attend, with a respectable amount of casual foot traffic stopping to see the parade. The Roanoke Robotics Club had several entries, and took some GREAT photos.

The video also shows my family at various points: Lisa is helping with workshops, Ethan appears in his panda hat, and Eric was featured as a Team 401 member with their basketball robot. I'm mostly with my back to the camera, helping build some robots in the workshops and announcing the parade.

Note the commentary at the end: Kalista's remarks about penguins eating you in your sleep brought the cameraman/interviewer to a halt!
Backstory: we were helping two sisters, ages 5 & 9, build a robot in the parade. Their mom told us that they had made a family decision to delay moving today in order to build a robot, which has been a dream of their daughters. As it turns out, their dad was so impressed with the activity that he drove in to work and got his camera gear- he's on the staff of Fox 21/27 news!

Original Fox 21/27 News Story on the Roanoke RoboParade

Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Councily RoboParade
ACI , Family , STEM
posted by  henry at  16:00 | permalink | trackbacks [408]

23 Apr 2012
Throw Down at BestBuy
Eric and Ethan square off at our local BestBuy.

Actually, it's pretty amazing that Kinect can focus in on two people at the same time, in a busy store, and translate their actions quickly to to the onscreen avitars.
First Person Shooters in the future?
Family , General
posted by  henry at  15:50 | permalink | trackbacks [552]

22 Mar 2012
The New iPad: Backups from the Future!
I was smitten with the new features Apple announced for the new iPad. I have an iPad2, and it has replaced many notebooks, laptops and clutter in my life. The rumored features of the new iPad (Quad processor, 4x resolution with retina display, and possibly, dare we dream, 4G network?) all came true. Plus, an unexpected new feature, time travel. Take a look at my iTunes screen capture below.

Mine arrived this weekend. I backed my old one up, then noticed that my PC's date was off: it was set a day forward. I fixed that, then connected the new iPad to restore.
Thus, the very interesting message above, "Last Backed Up: Tommorrow, 11:14AM." Now THAT would be a cool feature. Take a look at tomorrow's closing stock prices today, and stop myself from writing that damaging email before I even send it out. Well worth the price!
ACI , General
posted by  henry at  08:00 | permalink | trackbacks [11797]

20 Mar 2012
Record Tree Revisited
In 2006, ACI started working with Howard Sadler and his development team on a great concept: software to organize your life.

That’s only stretching it a little bit: Record Tree is an expertly designed tool to collect all the important things in your life, so that if you become seriously ill, someone can manage your affairs. This has immense appeal to those of us who have served in the military for any long deployment, anyone in healthcare who has seen the impact a sudden illness has on a family, and anyone who wants to be proactive for the benefit of loved ones.

We built an extensive inventory of important documents, and the key details about those documents, but we do not try to duplicate or store those documents. That wouldn’t be admissible in court, and might not be the latest version. But, knowing where every document is, and who the important contacts are, from your attorney to your lawn care, is essential in carrying on.

In 2006, our software was built around a SQL-Express database and enterprise-level tools. We made a robust application when what we really needed was a light, single-client application. Now, in March 2012, we have our new product! Thanks to the persistence of Howard, tireless work by Jason, and valuable input from many enthusiastic customers, we have a java-based version. The premise is the same: a standalone application that needs no Internet connection, and allows up to six family members to store every document and detail, then print reports from a handy wallet-card, to what we call the refrigerator report*, to an entire inventory.

Record Tree has a clean, new website, and is now compatible with all Windows platforms, and Macintosh systems above 10.6. Six years later, the vital documents and research is still just as relevant. Keeping this information private, until it needs to be shared with the right person, is still just as important.

Record Tree has a website, hosted and maintained at ACI.

*Refrigerator Report: a one to two page report you hang on your fridge. Emergency Response personnel often check this location for quick info on medications, emergency contacts, preferred physicians, allergies and medical alert conditions.
ACI , General , Startups
posted by  henry at  10:49 | permalink | trackbacks [54681]

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