Monthly Archives: April 2009

Old paper on pacemaker explosion

Check this out:

An 81-year-old woman with a mercury-zinc powered permanent pacemaker experienced the sudden pain on her pacemaker pocket followed by an explosion. We are aware of no other report of the spontaneous and symptomatic bursting of a generator battery with fracture of the pulse generator capsule.

Emphasis mine. It’s an old paper (1987) and you can get the full text for free at the journal’s site, here.

Crazy, huh?

How much energy is applied by a pacemaker?

I can’t find this information anywhere — how much energy is applied per pulse by a typical pacemaker? I’m sure it depends on lead implantation and so on, but there must be some reasonable range used for the design of the devices.

A related question I’m also having trouble answering is “what is the typical pain threshold for cardiac stimulation?”. Any pointers to answers are welcome. The fact that most of the (potentially) relevant papers are locked up and not indexed by Google is not helping.

Back to Windows

After many years of using and promoting Linux, and more recently the Mac, I’m giving up the fight and going back to using Windows. Perhaps ‘back’ is the wrong word, since I’ll be switching to Vista. I’ve gotten tired of not having the device drivers I need, having to research every accessory I buy to see whether it will work on the Mac or in Linux, futzing for hours with arcane commands and configuration files just to get my webcam to take a picture.

I’m also sick of missing out on current events, like the Conficker worm, which somehow made the top story on Google News last night. Top story! I was feeling really left out. Once I have windows installed on my Mac Pro, though, I should be able to join the Conficker party in no time.

Sure, it’ll be difficult to do my work, since it relies largely on UNIX-based software, but hey, that’s what Cygwin is for, right? And PuTTY. Got any recommended software for me? It’s been a while since I was a full-time Windows user. A Quicksilver replacement would be particularly welcome. And send me a copy of Conficker if you have it — thanks.