A Hacker’s Guide to Getting Old

It’s no surprise that things change as we age, and that tasks that were once trivial become difficult. Case in point: my son asked for help with the cord on his gaming headset the other night. The cable had broken and we could see frayed conductors exposed. When I got it apart, I found that I could barely see the ultra-fine wires to resolder them after cutting out the bad section. I managed to do it, but just barely.

This experience got me thinking about how to deal with the inevitable. How do you stay active as a hacker once your body starts to fight you more than it helps you? I’m interested mostly in dealing with changes in vision, but also in loss of dexterity and fine motor skills, and dealing with cognitive changes. This isn’t a comprehensive list of the ravages of time, but they’re probably the big ones that impact any hacker-related hobby. I enlisted a couple of my more seasoned Hackaday colleagues, [Bil] and [Rud], for their tips and tricks to deal with these issues.

The Vision Thing

It’s no secret that vision changes dramatically as we age. The one that impacts me the most, which I started noticing about 10 years ago, is presbyopia, or farsightedness. I’ve had myopia, or nearsightedness, all my life. But I was always able to shed my glasses and do really fine work right up against my face. [Bil] reports the same: “It was like having a built-in macro lens. Then one day, no more.” I find myself needing to hold work further away for it to be in focus, but now everything appears much smaller. I really need magnification.

ifm-2
Luxo IFM lighted magnifier. A classic design.

The classic for benchtop magnification is probably the Luxo KFM. With a history dating back to the 1930s, the classic articulated arm and huge magnifying lens still grace many an electronic workstation. The really nice feature is the 22W circular fluorescent lamp surrounding the magnifier – 360° lighting means no shadows and fewer artifacts due to odd reflections. Luxo makes all kinds of bench-mount magnifiers, some with LED lighting rather than fluorescent, and many other companies manufacture similar units.

But some hackers don’t want to be tied to one spot on the bench. Sometimes you don’t need to intently study one thing – you need to find a test point to probe, then look over to adjust the scope, and then fiddle with the signal generator. As an aside, you’ll be amazed how small the labels on instruments become the older you get. To keep seeing things clearly while his head is swiveling about, [Bil] recommends a head-mounted magnifier. These have a couple of different lenses that flip in and out and an adjustable LED light. I don’t think you can expect much optically from a $9 tool, but [Bil] reports that work in his shop grinds to a halt when he misplaces his, so they can’t be too bad. He also says that slipping a terrycloth sweatband around the plastic headband helps with the comfort factor.

Screenshot 2016-06-20 at 09.12.02
Geeks-eye view. [W2AEW] fixes a handy-talky. Source
Other age-related vision problems include cataracts, which is clouding of the lens, and ptosis, or eyelid drooping. The only real cure for cataracts is surgery; until [Rud]’s cataracts get bad enough to be fixed permanently, he relies on boosting the light level in his shop to help. As for the drooping, it causes blurring by having eyelashes in your field of view. Surgical correction is the answer here too.

Dexter’s Lab

One of the many milestones of human development is the increase in fine motor skills in toddlers. Kids go from flailing their arms around to being only able to crudely grasp a chunky pencil to turning out fridge-quality art in just a few years. But the other end of a lifetime sees a similar if somewhat more gradual decline in manual dexterity, too. We tend to think of age-related changes to motor skills being primarily a musculoskeletal issue, with arthritis being the usual bad guy. But it turns out there may be another reason – decreased brain volume. Yep, one of the many treats we get to look forward to as humans is that fact that our brains start to shrink once we hit middle age. Cerebral volume tracks pretty closely with fine motor skills, so the more gray matter you have, the better your manual dexterity is likely to be.

Another fun fact of aging is the tendency to develop hand tremors. [Rud] says his doctor calls it an essential tremor, which is a clever way of avoiding the more descriptive term, benign idiopathic tremor. “Idiopathic” is just med-speak for “we don’t know what causes it.” Sometimes tremors are bad enough to require treatment with beta-blockers, botox or even deep-brain electrostimulation, but usually dealing with a tremor is more of an exercise in self-directed occupational therapy and ergonomics. I found that even as a budding electronics hobbyist of 12 or 13 I would get a tremor during long soldering sessions; properly supporting my forearms and building some upper body strength were helpful then, and I’d bet they’d help now.

Another way to fight the shakes: a fume extractor. This may seem a stretch, but hear me out. [Bil] and I both did EMS work back in the day, and he reminded me of a simple clinical fact – people tend to get shaky when they aren’t getting enough oxygen. Breathing control is critical to fine motor skills – hold your breath and you’ll eventually start shaking. This is where fume extraction comes into it. I know I tend to hold my breath while soldering and welding to avoid inhaling flux smoke and metal fumes. A fume extractor or even a simple fan can go a long way to clearing the workspace and keeping your hands under control.

Senior Moments

Sagittal_brain_MRI
Nobody you know. Source.

Perhaps the most subtle and insidious age-related changes are the cognitive changes we all experience. It sort of creeps up on you – is red-red-brown 220 ohms or 2.2k? What was that part number again? But it adds up, and it can get to be a real burden. My dad, a life-long woodworker and cabinetmaker, started complaining about five years ago that he couldn’t follow plans and instructions anymore. I’ll be thrilled if I make it to 75 and still be as sharp as he was, but I know it’s going to happen.

Writing stuff down helps, as does engaging in any intellectually challenging activity. Our readers can and often do disagree that what we Hackaday writers accomplish counts as an intellectual pursuit, but as [Rud] points out, the challenges we get from reader comments are a great way to stay sharp. “I always do additional research to limit the number of ‘gotcha’ comments. That’s good for keeping the brain cells perking.”

A positive attitude and a little good humor are probably worth having too. As [Bil] quips, his essential bench accessories now include “a drool cup and portable defibrillator.” And [Rud] is quick to point out the silver lining of being a silver fox: being retired means you have more time for hacking.

The clock only spins in one direction, and entropy is a cruel fact of life. Changes will happen, and they happen much sooner than you think. Your only defense against it is to know what’s coming, plan ahead a little, and to face it with a little grace and a lot of humor.

95 thoughts on “A Hacker’s Guide to Getting Old

    1. You ARE lucky to have that. But is there a product to do something about that “gradual cognitive decline” where you can’t follow plans and instructions anymore?

      1. Two low/no cost options come to mind:

        1. Make your plans and instructions like Heathkit used to make them- small steps with a checkbox next to each one. Don’t try to remember several steps at a time, just follow the detailed steps.
        2. Quite often children/grandchildren/neighbor kids/etc are very excited to help with a project. Not only do you get to keep the tradition alive, but you make them the supervisor and have them keep you on track.

      2. If you have cognitive decline you need to get to a doctor fast as something is wrong. Normal Healthy people do not get a cognitive decline. At nearly 50 I learn as easily and think as freely as I did at age 18. Those that start having problem when they get older have something very wrong with them and they need to get to a doctor to figure out what is wrong instead of saying “oh well old people do that.”

        I can out think the 20 somethings at work easily, and add into it that I have 30 years of experience ahead of them they have zero chance.

        Now if you end up thinking like an old codger and “I always did it this way” then you deserve to be left behind. I spent at least 3 hours a day learning something new or updating my knowledge on different things. I started with wirewrap electronics, then soldered DIP and now do surface mount because it’s as easy as all the rest, just smaller and different. I started programming in assembler (KIM-1) then to Basic (Commodore/Tandy Color Computer/TI-994A) then to C, C# (OO programming is still stupid to me) Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, ADA and beyond..

        If you are not always learning then you are failing.

        1. I did 20 to 30 hows a week study / research on things of my own choosing up till very early 50’s and now only a year or two later I don’t have the mental organization to study much at all. I try but I get distracted and loose interest.

          So it set on me quickly. I have a family history of age related cognitive and motor neuron conditions but I thought keeping my mind active would keep that cognitive conditions at bay. Perhaps it did for some time. Fortunately for me (and my family) I have other conditions that will prevent older age deterioration.

        2. I’m a radiologist and read a lot of head CTs from the ER. Old people fall constantly! The vast majority show brain atrophy and lots of changes we nonspecifically call “small vessel ischemic disease” or tiny strokes. Every once in a while, a CT scan of an 85 year old will come through that looks like a 35 year old brain. You may have one of those brains and the genes responsible for it. The other 95% of us aren’t as lucky.

        3. Of course “old” is relative. 50 isn’t old., unless you have 30+ years of tough physical labor in and your is wearing out.. Yes if you are having cognitive deficits at 50 or earlier do have a medical exam. Unfortunately if you are experiencing them at that early of an age most likely there’s not much that can be done, other than learning coping skills. Consider yourself fortunate and everyone should be be aware it could all change for anyone before that get to take their next breath. Increase your odds with a healthy lifestyle.

    2. I firstr noticed this decline 15 years ago (61 now) ebay was just starting and I was in the states working and got some stereo microscopes off ebay, brought them back tot he UK and tried them out and sold the ones I didn’t like in the UK for gross profits. I still have the one I kept.

      What I did find odd was that I kept the Olympus and Nikon and sold the Bausch and Lomb, not what I expected to find at all.

  1. This head-mount-thing is great after a little modification. Remove the LED light and take out your favorite die grinder and cut away all the stuff needed for that shitty LED light and the huge black stuff around it. Only leave the edge to keep stability.

    Then it is very lightweight and does a great job while soldering drunk. As we do in Russia.

      1. Remember “Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Goes Willingly” as the mnemonic for the code? I’ve found my binocular magnifier, bought from Edmund Scientific as I reall more than 30 years ago when I was still building N-gage model railroad stuff, quite handy these days — but when I need to install a drive or make any serious wiring changes, I simply call my friendly repairman. I’ve recommended him to others so often that he doesn’t charge me much any more. And BTW, I turned 85 a couple of months ago. You young’uns have lots to look forward to!

        1. No offense to you but I wish those old and inappropriate memory cues would just die!

          Fortunately for me, I am color blind so I didn’t have to remember color sequences. Resistor color codes were selected to fit into a grey scale until china stated mass producing them. Color coded cable uses different lengths and widths of stripes to indicate the sequence.

          For reference – I learnt the e12/e24 color sequence this way –
          black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, grey, white

        2. The (slightly) more PC version of this is: Bad Booze Rots Our Young Guts But Vodka Goes Well. No Help for he people with color vision issues, but sticks in your mind and can be told to a female colleague without being a rude old dog…

  2. You forgot hearing. When it starts to go you get to pay $1000 to $6000 per ear for a DSP, microphone and speaker worth less than $100 that does not work very well… This area is ripe for many hacker and open source projects.

    1. I’m often surprised by the entrenched nature of assistive technology. I think once items like hearing aids get approval for insurance coverage the company has no incentive to keep improving on them.

      I have, at this point, I think what will actually move hearing aid tech forward is the headphone industry. As we see more high-end BTLE earbuds without any wires (hearing aid form factor). They’ll already have high-end microphones in them because of noise cancellation. Then it’s just a firmware hack, but the smartphone connection should make it possible to for you to tweak how the thing is working using a UI on your phone.

      1. I always thought it was related to manufacturers. The price you pay for certain things never seem to drop but manufacturers churn out millions of units over its life. How does one not realize that in that entire span of time manufacturers aren’t actively seeking ways to cut production costs but still charge an arm and a leg?

        We see it all the time with cutting edge tech. Early production units have high cost. Later production units are lower cost. This happens in the medical industry in a very limited scope and, in some instances, is inverted.

        1. The key to this is that there is little direct payment and no incentive. Anytime there is third-party payment (insurance, Medicare etc.) there is no reason to lower price even in the face of technology savings or excess capacity. There have been recent studies showing that *nobody* understands the actual costs of any particular item or procedure and “market competition” is an illusion since there is no grasp of competing alternatives.

          This is dated, but accurate.

          https://hbr.org/1994/07/making-competition-in-health-care-work

      2. By the time you get approval and acceptance you don’t want to go through it again for an incremental improvement. Healthcare regulations are not conducive to rapid innovation.

        1. Correct, and there is a kind of good reason. Like some drugs, one “tolerances up” to assistive listening devices. By the time it’s loud enough to help, it can also do further damage. As someone who once designed such prosthetics I learned the score, sometimes in painful ways. One “customer” – a very nice lady who lead a group for hearing impaired, had custom aids made (not by us), which worked for her, but in the end, wound up making her profoundly deaf years ahead of where her condition would have left her otherwise. It’s not a simple problem. Now, when we get to OSHA coming to check a hearing aid proto manufacturer for rat droppings, the .gov is full of it, but not everything they do is stupid (merely the bulk). We did what we could with a combination of peak limiting and “intelligent compression” that didn’t boost sounds you would have ignored anyway – to spare the ear a continuous blast. But there’s only so much you can do when the subject’s effective dynamic range drops to a low number of dB – do you blow off the top, or get claims of it not working nearer the bottom?

      3. The headphone industry cuts both ways. A relative works in the labor & delivery ward of a hospital, and deals with a lot of women in the 20’s and 30’s. She’s noticed a remarkable increase in the number of them with hearing impairment. The iPod generation.

    2. Already possible a pocket DSP and standard headphones with a binaural mic glued to the outside works fantastic.

      Is it tiny and fashionable? nope. does it work better than the “professional stuff”? yep. Plus I can notch my tinnitus frequency out and it really reduces it by adjusting the phase.

      And no I am not ready to share it yet as it has some bugs. but you can start on your own easily. get some tiny capsule electret mics and a set of earbuds. glue the mics to the outside of the earbuds and then form your own silicone ear pieces. I cut two pairs of headphones and use the L for the mic in and R for the headphone out. then I can plug into the DSP board and start tweaking and programming.

      1. Wow, I have been dealing with tinnitus for decades. Unfortunately I have never done any DSP so this is going to be my motivator.

        Can you recommend a DSP board that would be suitable and not too expensive?

        I have however done micro-controllers, VHDL and I completely understand the analogs of sound.

        I would love to hear about your project when you are ready!

    3. I have 40 years of experience with hearing aids. I needed them when I was 25. There hasn’t been any degradation over the years so presumably it’s something in my hardware. My latest set I got a couple years ago for $5,000. They were state of the art. All the hearing aids I’ve had over the years helped considerably. The DSP techniques are very advanced today. You don’t get just one microphone but two. They use the back mike to filter that sound out so you can focus in front of you, when necessary. I’ve got three levels of focus on mine so can narrow down to hearing the person right in front of me.

      I have some strong advice. Get tested once you get to be 65, or 60 if you can stomach it. If nothing else it establishes a baseline. Then get retested every 5 years or if you notice _any_ decline. If a decline occurs and the audiologist agrees get the hearing aids then. If you wait the brain loses the ability to hear the missing sounds just like a muscle atrophes when not used.

      Then wear them. If you waited too long they are going to be annoying because you’re now hearing stuff you haven’t in a long time. The brain takes time to readjust to handle the new situation. If you only put them in “when you need them” you’ll just get frustrated with them.

      If you aren’t getting the results you want go back to the audiologist. The programs can be changed and multiple programs setup for different situations. “They don’t work well in noisy restaurants.” Fine, beep beep beep and new program is loaded to handle restaurants.

      Go to a good audiologist not a retail store. You need the expertise for measurements, fittings, and long time adjustments.

      1. It all sounds good and confirms what I have read from other sources – thank you for this input. Costco will test for free every 6 months. Some of my rubs are: The cost for what you get. They do not work with phones well for sound. They are not integrated with smart phones. I want the thing to beep when I get a text. I want the thing to beep when my doorbell rings and I am outside in back. I want it integrated with my TV. I want really really good sound. I want to be able to hack it. I want it to track my eyes and block out all the noise except the person I am looking at. I want it to work so well that people that can hear just fine will want one because it will do things that a normal person cannot do. Also, it should not be small and hidden, everyone is running around with ear buds these days anyway.

        1. Internet of Earbuds ??

          That’s a tall order but doable. Most of it would be achievable with a smart phone and app but other things would require custom hardware anyway.

          I did see a demonstration of sound focusing done in a busy shopping mall where the talker was several meters away and talking quietly. I will see if I can find it.

  3. I use a lamp similar to the Luxo magnifier shown above. The key is to get one with a minimum 6″ (150mm) diameter lens to allow comfortable stereo vision. It makes a tremendous difference trying to read parts, breadboard them, solder or even assemble small screws/hardware when you can use both eyes..

    I’ve tried the head mounted magnifiers but it’s awkward when alternating between locating a scope probe on a component leg (magnifier needed) and looking over at the scope (magnifier in the way).

    I’d like to try using some kind of magnifying camera (perhaps USB microscope) that would allow me to just have a VGA monitor on the bench to look at but I’ve not settled on an affordable one that will give a good depth of focus and a field of view similar to the 6″ magnifying lens

    1. I’ve been thinking about dental loupes, those magnifying glasses your dental hygienist wear while peering into your mouth. Couple that with google glass, and you might have a really useful tool….

  4. Older people are not the only ones that loose sight. I have a bad case of glaucoma, with nearsightedness and one eye not working at all, so no stereo vision for me. Soldering anything as small as 0603 is quite an adventure in clever imagination and dexterity. I must take photos of parts to read their numbers. I take photos of all my SMD work to check it for bad joints or shorts. Once I soldered a TQFP package with help of my wife, who placed the part and clipped it carefully, so I could work without bumping it with soldering iron tip. The worst part however is that my eye is sensitive to changes of air pressure, so whenever it drops too fast, I can’t work at all. Still I manage without any magnifier or microscope – I can’t afford them.

        1. Well they arrived and unless I am doing something wrong (probably the case) they’re next to useless for me.

          They magnify very strongly but the focal range is so short that you have to be millimetres away from what your looking at.

          They would probably be ok if you are already used to sticking your soldering iron in your ear.

  5. Well, my take out of this is: “Don’t leave your planned projects for later. Later, they’ll become either obsolete, or too hard for you, or you will not remember you had the plans. Do them now, or lose that part of the fun forever.”

    1. I remember a guy selling all his vintage computer gear from his shed because he’d collected it all over a long career working with computers, but by the time he retired he could hardly see well enough to do anything with them anymore. :(

  6. Don’t forget arthritis – for any DIY person it has got to be the most maddening. Not only is there pain, but a lack of fine control along with a loss of strength. But the only thing that keeps the osteoarthritis at bay is constant activity so the last thing you do is stop. It’s just a bitch.

  7. This sound all familiar to me. After leaving electronics for so many years, I came back to it after retirement. I was so disapointed at my tremors and bad sight but I persisted with the aid of lighted magnifier, binocular microscope and third hand to old thing steady.

    1. I started in electronic in the days of DIP, Wire Wrap, Color Codes and big fonts then One day I sat in front of a computer and people like it and payed money. Before long I had big collections of computers and I had to go fleeting from one to the other all day. Then bosses would pay me to receive phone calls at 2AM and jump on planes to travel ten of thousands of km’s to go sit in front of even more computers. At the end they paid me to talk to people about computers.

      Anyway, then I came back to electronics and my sight was failing by then.

      All was good in a way. There were no color codes for me not to see. The skinny little wire wrap wire only exist in hobby workshops of serious die hards, as was DIP. And wiring was replaced by PCB’s and that’s done on a largish screen.

      Parts are so small that you need optical assistance anyway. My memory is so poor that I have to document everything with picture as well for my own sake :(

      Most fault finding is done on screen with things that plug into USB. Analyzers – scopes – software debugging tools – programmers.

      So I find it a bit easier once I got used to some new tools.

      My new tools are –

      No zoom microscope as they’re too expensive – but contemplating
      ) Desk lamp converted to 5700 kelvin LED light for pictures and vision.
      ) Super Zoom DSLR camera and tripod that is good at macro, has eye-fi on LAN so I take pic and it immediately uploads to PC while I am taking the next pic.
      ) Then I look at the pic on my 37 inch monitor – god dam that solves the font size problem lol
      ) PC for documenting / net research with quad core for HDL synthesis.
      ) A selection of glasses ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 – you need plenty of them because they’re hard to find when your not wearing them.
      ) long fluro 38Watt for room lighting
      ) Little helping hands soldering assistant with the crocodile clippy things – never needed this when I was younger
      ) Software tools – I write several of them for each project and often in HTML / JavaScript so I should put then up on a site some time – I have about 20 domains on about 4 servers that basically do nothing much at the moment. JaverScript of complex tables graphs waveforms data analysis timing analysis. LUA for data processing. HTTP / Apache / PHP / MySQL for communications and storage.

      Some time savers like – when a part comes in – I mark the inventory then use a camera (if necessary) to identify it then put it in a bag with the part number on it and download any datasheets. Then it is NOT as time consuming in future to find and identify parts.

    1. When I have to work away from my microscope, I use the Baush and Lomb headmount magnifier over my reading glasses and it works well. If you set it a little high, you can look under it for reaching across the bench or getting up to get something from across the room. MSC/Enco sells them on sale for about half the regular catalog price: http://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/86107448. When I got mine, I got the other lens options with it, but found that the standard lens works very well.

  8. One of the factors that is always ignored in favor of prosthetics is social contact, as antithetical as that is to the typical nerd’s lifestyle.

    At 59, I’m neck-deep in undergraduates and graduate students and it keeps you sharp – I have a colleague who’s still in the lab every day and hitting on all cylinders at 102. Yes, 102.

    Similarly hanging out with a diverse group of friends, teaching in a hackerspace or some other public activity can keep the gears turning properly and the ideas flowing.

  9. I’ve been dealing with this more and more, as a sometime tinkerer and member of the exclusive over 50s class. I just take things a little slower, be a little more considered and make a few more notes than I used to. Nothing can turn back the tide on aging, but it’s not all bad.

  10. Started with a pair of reading glasses. Quickly followed by higher powered reading glasses. Last year I realized I could stack reading glasses to get higher powers. Once in a while I’ll use a jewelers loop for the really small stuff.

    I found bifocal reading glasses so I can switch between the looking at the fine pitch stuff and the computer/datasheet without having to swap glasses.

    I guess it’s time for a head-mounted magnifier.

  11. This article really hits home. Good point about breath control. I have a fume extractor, but I tend to tense up and take infrequent, shallow breaths while doing precise work. Interesting to consider that the practice may be counterproductive.

    It’d be interesting to explore coupling gyros or some type of active stabilization to precision tools: soldering iron, tweezers, or even a stabilized probe might help. Use those to bootstrap construction of micromanipulating waldos, with a palsy-calming active servo loop.

    https://hackaday.com/2013/10/05/self-stabilizing-spoon-for-people-with-parkinsons/

  12. While not exact old, at 32, i already feel things change for me. with 29 I started develop Keratoconus in the left eye leving me virtually blind i this side. And when I was 30, I sufered a back injure while trainning Aikido, that gave me Spinal disc herniation. Both problems take a toll today of my work as a coder, since I got disconforts in my back staying in the same position a lot of time.

    So today I counter this problems with this: a better work chair go a lot ways o letting you rest your back, and take a little walk 45 minutes eache time and strech.

    For the eye eydrops for the good eye in order to keep it health, and I’m current in the transplant line for a new cornea in the bad eye.

  13. I guess I am blessed with bad myopia, so I just take my glasses off and have super-human closeup vision. I did hack a pair of old glasses where the lens cracked in two. I ground out space for a 10x or so barrel lens mag, and glued it up. The problem is you have to rest head in hands to be stable but it works on tiny surface mount hand work.
    A few years ago a prof from Purdue came in to buy some very fine piano wire, something about cleaning very tiny tubing in a particle smasher. He needed some stock for a project on sabbatical, at CERN. Upon seeing the wire he pulled out closeup glasses to hang onto his thick farsighted lenses the epitome of … pocket protector… When your sights are really small as the Higgs particle things like seeing small wire… whatever works!

  14. this past saturday my brother (59) a banker and myself(60)retired do it all guy cut a large 50+ ft. tall cedar tree down in moms yard. during this my brother famous for handstands on skateboards said he had embarrassed himself in front of some kids as he couldn’t do the handstand from shoulder pain. this man plays rugby on the weekends.softball,NFL flag tag games and is a semi-retired bare knuckles boxer. i myself had just fallen and removed 4 trees on my property 10 years ago in 2 weekends.
    moms tree will be there for us this coming weekend and the next and the nex……! i have the helping hands holder, various picking-up tools, magnifiers and a homemade resistor/capacitor chart i can see(big). now if i could remember where i placed those plans

  15. I don’t normally recommend specific products but the value for money of these is very good,

    http://www.dx.com/p/classy-alloy-framed-presbyopia-reading-glasses-with-protective-case-4-00-13050

    They come in a strong dust proof case and being so cheep you can get enough to leave them around where you may find yourself needing them rather than wondering where the hell you left them. The optics are very clear and well made.

    N.B. the link is for the strong +4 lenses, there are other values available.

  16. For close work I ordered reading glasses to my prescription from Zenni optical, quite inexpensive and far superior to dime-store reading glasses. Use the Cylinder and Axis readings from your prescription, but enter whatever power you wish (in diopters) for Sphere.

  17. Finally got the dream TIG welder I wanted so badly in the 90’s (Syncrowave), but now my eyes aren’t nearly as good, my hands not quite so steady (started drinking coffee since then). I also don’t do so much fab that benefits from TIG.

    Youth is wasted on the young.

    1. If you brace your hands properly and skip the caffeine on welding days, you will get much better results. A good helmet with reading glasses under it will help out with the vision issues. Syncrowaves are NICE machines. Good Luck!

  18. We have the basic tech to make old people work almost like youngsters again. Strap yourself into an exoskeleton with smart sensors and drivers gets rid of the twitchy, weak muscles. Head mounted display and cameras take care of the bad eyes (and ears), and if you have a bad brain, there is an abundance of digital storage available to outsource your bad memory into.
    Kinda scary in a way that by the time i could get into retirement age (25 years to go), maybe i will have to work even longer because we basically get augmented into a granddad-cyborg-workforce.

  19. Indulge me with a pet peeve from reading some of these posts: Loose vs Lose. You can LOOSEN your tie, but if you LOSE your tie you won’t have a tie.

    I thought it was just the millennials making this grammar mistake, but it’s popping up everywhere. Thank you. That is all.

  20. “..this grammar mistake..” surely that should be “..this grammatical mistake..” or am I mistaken? To be honest, I think I might be loosing it.. or is that losing it? … :¬{

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s