Re: Different take on "No Computers"

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Posted by MHK on July 20, 2001 at 11:14:30:

In Reply to: Different take on "No Computers" posted by Ken Kurtis on July 20, 2001 at 10:54:31:


I think you are incorrect.. Actually I know you are but I'm trying to be kind.. JJ and I have had numerous conversations about this subject and I'll call him and see if he can jump in, but I'm not sure if he is in town...

As far as I understand JJ's position, and you have it ALMOST right, is that given that most diver's today have limited understanding of the issues we are discussing that it would be a terrible idea to abandon the use of computers.. So while you are in the process of weaning yourself off the computers the idea is to do the things you cited..

However, the overall goal is to get to a point where you don't need them..

I posted this a few weeks ago, perhaps while you were gone, but it's a direct quote from JJ's book and it's reprinted with his permission..

Computer Diving

Divers have three primary methods by which to calculate dive and/or decompression time. These methods include the use of tables, wrist mounted computers, and personal computer decompression programs. Substantial debate exists over the use of wrist mounted decompression computers. These computers are worn by divers and calculate dive time limitations and decompression obligations during the dive. Some educators have discussed abandoning the learning of decompression tables, which is very similar to eliminating the teaching of basic math skills such as addition and subtraction instead using a calculator.

The most obvious problem with diving computers is that divers could be left without essential diving information should the diving computer fail. Many divers prefer to learn the proper use of decompression tables striving to learn the actual process of decompression diving. Divers that choose to use computers should do so after becoming well versed in the diving limits and then using the computer primarily as an educational tool. The following list includes concerns about decompression computers.

A Bakerís Dozen Problems With Computer Diving

1) Dive computers tend to induce significant levels of diver dependence, eliminating the awareness so common and essential to all diving but particularly obvious when divers begin decompression diving.
2) Dive computers do not allow proper planning, as divers can't properly "study" the impact of various mixture and decompression choices.
3) Dive computers are of very limited educational benefit as they do not induce questioning, or proper planning discussions as can be found with tables and most particularly with PC based decompression programs.
4) Many real time dive computers use algorithms that heavily pad decompression time, sometimes resulting in odd and often ridiculous levels of conservation.
5) Dive computers are expensive and in some cases leave divers with limited resources carrying equipment that is of far less benefit than other equipment that may have been purchased.
6) Dive computers significantly limit the likelihood that divers will track their residual nitrogen groups, leaving them less informed in the event of computer failure.
7) Dive computers do not allow for Helium diving in any formats but the bulkiest and most questionable format. It is very likely that new Helium based decompression computers will be inordinately conservative and suffer from all the limitations of air and nitrox diving computers.
8) Dive computers will often generate longer decompressions than could be figured by an astute, well-educated diver with experience.
9) Dive computers often create confusion by giving the user to much useless information, sometimes even obscuring depth and time in favor of blinking CNS and/or deco limitations.
10) Some dive computers become very difficult to utilize if a deco stop has been violated. Some computers lock up completely while others just beep or generate erroneous and distracting information.
11) Dive computers do not allow for the educated diver to properly modify their decompression to account for advancing knowledge such as the use of deeper stops in a decompression profile.
12) Dive computers do not offer divers as much flexibility in the generation of profiles with varying conservation. For example the right mix would allow 100 min at 60 vs 60 at 60 but the diver might prefer to do one or the other and indeed might like a compromise. Computers confuse this issue by not providing divers with the proper information.
13) Dive computers users often ignore table proficiency and therefore do not learn tables properly. When confronted with a situation where they can't dive the computer (failure, loss, travel etc) these divers are at a serious handicap.

It seems clear to me that while you have part of it right, I believe strongly that you missed the ultimate direction that JJ was going...


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