Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Friday, April 9, 2010

More evidence of Taser International's incompetence

See story about taser malfunction [via TNT] that caused a taser to emit an uncontrolled 20 second duration shock.

The gist of the story is that the taser in question was reportedly rebooting and "therefore" the taser continued to emit the shock while it was going through the lengthy boot-up sequence.

If you're unfamiliar with the intimate details of how embedded processors function, then this explanation might appear to be reasonable. But that's not a correct conclusion.

In fact, this explanation reveals that the systems designers and the management of Taser International are flaming idiots (as if we didn't already know). Stupid and obviously ill-informed of normal best practices for embedded design.

To be clear - It is absolutely trivial to choose a circuit architecture and default hardware logic polarities such that uncontrolled shocks would be inherently eliminated. For example, when making a choice between active-high versus active-low logic for a given internal control signal, you simply stop and think which choice is safer. It adds 5 seconds to the design process. But you have to have to concept of "safe" somewhere in the corporate thought process.

Given this hardware design mistake, then the obvious workaround is to update the software so that 'hardware state cleanup' is done as the FIRST order of business at boot-up. You change the code so that it makes sure that (for example) the shock is OFF as the first thing on boot-up. This fix would at least reduce the duration of the uncontrolled shock to a small fraction of a second. This sort of work-around is a poor second choice compared to designing the hardware properly in the first place.

Plaintiff lawyers could use this as yet another example that clearly highlights the incompetence of the designers and management of Taser International.

Assumning the reported facts are correct, my follow-on conclusions (above) are beyond dispute.

1 comment:

Critical Mass said...

Taser International just filed an SEC Form CT, known as a "Confidential Treatment Form", meaning they left information out of their recent 10-K Filing.

A good guess would be that they left out "lawsuit settlement dollar amounts and details", as these settlements often include "non-disclosure" language.

CM