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Sep 10 2012

Ice days

I may as well follow my last blog on “ease of use” with a really obscure feature of eTemperature that not many people know about. It’s the concept of ice-days.

The theory is fairly simple – if you kept items at 0°C it would last for x days. But as it becomes warmer it won’t last as long. In fact there is a reasonably simple formula to work out how much shorter the life will be.

But rather than talking about a shorter life, they talk about consuming ice-days faster. So in one day it may consume multiple ice-days.

While slightly confusing to a new comer, it does have some benefits. If you know how many ice-days an item is good for, and you know how many ice-days old it is, then you can easily calculate how many days of life it has left. You can tell how many days it will have left at whatever temperature it is stored at.

There is work being conducted to help calculate the ice-days of fish. I first heard about it at the Sydney seafood market. This is using simple techniques such as the appearance of parts of the fish, the texture and the smell. All tangible things. But you have to be there to see the fish.

With eTemperature, it allows you to place a temperature logger with the fish from the moment they are caught. Then when they are ready to be sold or handed over, eTemperature can actually calculate the number of ice-days. There is no need see the fish, and you know the quality of the fish.

The theory also applies to most items that need to be refrigerated including dairy, meat, vaccines, and drugs. The life span in ice-days may vary considerably, but the speed at which ice-days are accrued is the same.

One quick disclaimer, the calculation is only reliable for low temperatures. As a rule of thumb, once the temperature exceed about 15° then other aging processes will come into play that will speed up the process.

About the author

Shane van de Vorstenbosch

Shane is Managing Director of OnSolution and their chief software engineer. With 5 years of training experience and then 15 years programming experience, he feels that too many programmers are out of touch with the end user and what they are trying to achieve. So as many of these blogs show, he is keenly interested in the end use of his software, and not just in the creation of software. He will gladly sit down and discuss any issue from running a business, to programming, to the ideal cappuccino temperature, to a person’s self-perceived age.

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