Software Patent Abstract
Visual Flow Interface (VFI) is a generic management software tool
for any user in different industries which is similar to implementing
a Graphical User Interface (GUI) on Database Applications for the
front end. VFI revolutionizes the principle of Management Information
System (MIS) design and will launch a new generation of MIS. VFI's
innovative contribution to MIS includes two key points: (1) A user's
specific managerial and technological process is independent from
the program of the MIS. Users can design their managerial and technologic
process themselves or make any change freely without redesigning
the program of the MIS; and (2) VFI focuses on the unique functional
common character of different flows in all different industries
and designs a visual image "Sandwich" to represent the
functional common character. The Sandwich is a very simple idea
but solves a very complicated problem for designing a generic MIS.
Software Patent Claims
What is claimed is:
1. A computer implemented development platform for designing computer-based
generic and visual enterprise management software comprising: a)
a system data source configured to connect to a plurality of databases
including at least one existing applied database of information,
said system data source made up of a plurality of fields, wherein
any one of the fields is selectable as a managed object; b) a visual
flow interface representing a plurality of units of user-selected-actual
flow, each unit of said plurality of units of user-selected actual
flow representing a separate managed object and having: i) a unit
body for processing user-selected input data sources obtained from
at least one of the existing applied databases, processing output
from user-selected output data sources retrieved from at least one
of the existing applied databases, and recording information about
said each unit of actual flow in one of the plurality of databases,
ii) an input display module for displaying the user-selected input
data sources and for displaying information about the user-selected
input data sources, and iii) an output display module for displaying
the user-selected output data sources and displaying information
about the user-selected output data sources, whereby a visual image
of said plurality of units of user-selected actual flow is loaded
from said system data source for displaying a plurality of information
about the user-selected input data sources and a plurality of information
about the user-selected output data sources, and for displaying
the actual flow, any part thereof or as a whole, by connecting input
lines of input data sources and output lines of output data sources
of the units of actual flow automatically; c) a plurality of dialog
boxes for indicating a plurality of fields for said system data
source, for displaying a plurality of current messages and for setting
a plurality of flow items; d) a graphical user interface tool for
designing a process for said plurality of units of actual flow using
data about said input data sources and data about said output data
sources; e) a process database for storing said designed process
including said data about the input data sources and said data about
the output data sources; whereby said development platform is configured
for use with an existing applied database structure by mapping the
structure of the actual flow automatically to the visual flow interface
without program coding changes, such that designing of computer-based
generic and visual enterprise management software is not dependent
on the existing applied database structure.
2. The development platform of claim 1, wherein said platform is
configured for use with an existing management information system,
such that designing of computer-based generic and visual enterprise
management software does not reciuire updating a new version of
the existing management information system.
3. The development platform of claim 1, wherein said graphical
user interface allows for design of flow lines representing input
lines and output lines to connect a plurality of units of actual
flow to be viewed using said visual flow interface.
4. The development platform of claim 1, further comprising a free
grouping module for grouping a plurality of units of actual flow
as an open group or isolating a single unit of actual flow as a
closed group, whereby said free grouping module is designed using
said graphical user interface and displayed on said visual flow
5. The development platform of claim 1, further comprising a module
for viewing a past process of units of actual flow recorded in said
process database to be viewed in real time.
6. The development platform of claim 1, further comprising a simulation
module for creating a production plan in real time.
7. The development platform of claim 1, wherein the existing database
structure is configured for retrieval through Open Database Connectivity.
Mobile Phone Patent Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to interfaces for database management
applications. More specifically, the invention relates to a visual
interface for database management which allows a user to design,
manipulate and view production processes of any industry and manage
input and output data from any existing database without having
to program specific database management applications or continually
update the program. The invention provides flexibility in database
management by allowing it to be applied to any industry process.
2. Description of the Related Art
From MIS (Management Information System) to ERP (Enterprise Resource
Plan) to ASP (Application Service Provider), management software
has been changing its face, and consequently, it has become larger
and more complicated. However, the principle behind MIS design has
never been changed internally.
A MIS includes two main parts: (1) The Applied Database and (2)
the Application Program (which is based on the applied database).
First, the Applied Database is only responsible for Data Management.
Managers can manage their business by relying on the data in a database,
but if the idea of a process is still in their mind and not in the
software, the system cannot function as a true MIS. The Data Management,
must rely on the user's specific Database System and Applied Database
Secondly, the Application Program, must fit the user's Organization
and Structure, and must include the idea of a process in its program
for Production Management. There are two kinds of processes included
in early MIS's application program: Managerial Process and Technological
Overall, an MIS must rely on the user's three specific conditions:
(1) User's specific Database System and Applied Database Structure;
(2) User's specific Organization and Structure on production; (3)
User's specific Managerial Process and Technological Process.
To design a specific MIS, the software company must research and
understand the user's three specific conditions, and then write
these conditions into a particular program. This results in four
disadvantages to the user: (1) Long development period; (2) High
costs; (3) No secrets; (4) Always updating a new version of an MIS
program to follow the changes of the user's three specific conditions.
Unfortunately, the user's three specific conditions are constantly
changing and thus perpetuating the four disadvantages. Essentially,
the four disadvantages are the four original problems in MIS design.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) includes some strategic elements
along with technique in its applications, and thus called the Resource
Plan. The ERP integrates all areas of the business such as planning,
manufacturing, sales, and marketing. However, MIS is still the central
ASP includes many ERPs developed for different industries and is
implemented from a central data center like a third party company.
Therefore, the company can provide its service to all users in these
industries through a network, like the Internet.
As shown, there is a hierarchy in which MIS at the bottom of the
pyramid, ERP in the middle of the pyramid which includes MIS, and
ASP is at the top of the pyramid which includes both ERP and MIS.
As a result, all applications based on MIS, ERP or ASP contain the
four original problems in their design. MIS' reliance on the user's
three specific conditions mentioned brings on the four original
problems. Currently, there is a design in one industry for a generic
MIS software, with the principle according to the following: A.
Programming based on the common characters of different users' systems
in one industry; B. Setting many choice parameters to include as
many of the specific requests as possible from the user's three
However, there are some obstacles to overcome. If one cannot find
any common characteristics for all the users' system in all industries,
then initiating the first sentence of the program seems impossible.
On the other hand, if one is able to create such a comprehensive
software package to accommodate all industries, the user must make
choices from thousands of parameters, resulting in software that
is too inefficient, costly and burdensome. Therefore, many professionals
dealing with MIS design find it hard to envision the possibility
of designing a truly generic MIS for all industries.
This is the basic principle underlying MIS, ERP and ASP. But, the
challenge is to design generic management software that can be applied
to all industries.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
This invention provides the solution of having a generic database
management system that can be incorporated into any existing system
and implemented for use in any industry. It meets the need for lowering
costs for database management systems and eliminates the problem
of creating specific programs for every different industry and whenever
changes in the database management are required.
Even though actual flows (which defines the flow process of input
and output data of goods occupying space and time) in different
industries are complicated and varied, they can still be divided/into
units. Each unit performs a specific function. Each unit in every
different flow includes three components on function: an input,
a unit body to process the input, and an output. This is true, regardless
if the unit is a machine, a truck, a flight, an operator, a group,
a department or a company.
This invention provides a generic visual flow interface. Any industry,
any company, any group and any person who needs to manage more than
one process will find it useful and convenient. Visual Flow Interface's
features make it much more advantageous over traditional MIS design.
VFl's key feature as a "one size fits all" system has
the potential for being the model for the new generation of MIS
in various industries.
To function in a variety of industries, software should: A. Be
programmed based on common characteristics for any user's system
in all different industries; B. Set a large number of choice parameters
to include all possible specific requests from all users' three
Economically speaking, an embodiment of the present invention is
only approximately 1/10 the cost of traditional MIS. Therefore,
cost benefits of VFI will result in reorganizing the whole management
One object of the present invention is that it solves the problem
in traditional MIS design of having to determine the database management
system before designing the MIS. In traditional MIS design, once
the database management system is substituted or no longer used,
the MIS will become useless. The present invention resolves this
problem by providing a set of interfaces for any database.
Another object of the present invention is that users can set the
mapping from their database to the VFI of the present invention.
This advantage, thereby eliminates the problem in traditional MIS
design of first having to design the applied database structure
in order to design the database application in reliance on the structure.
Another advantage of the present invention is the versatility and
convenience it offers whereby the VFI remains in the front end.
This is unlike traditional MIS design where the MIS must fit the
user's organization and structure while the database structure and
database application remains in the back end.
Moreover, the present invention has the advantage of adaptation
to any change in an industry process by allowing the user to design
and adapt to the change using the VFI. This is not the case in traditional
MIS design where changes or updates to a process require the underlying
program of the MIS to be changed or updated too.
VFI is a very friendly interface and easy to use. There is no complicated
system that requires professional training, thus allowing all managers
to implement and maintain it step by step with documented help.
As described, there is a large difference between VFI and traditional
MIS design. VFI accommodates any type of industry and can accommodate
any change necessary without requiring the purchase of new MIS designs.
Traditional MIS designs requires a constant update whenever a new
system, structure or process is used and results in highly inefficient
and expensive new programs. The flexibility of VFI is its advantage
by quickly and inexpensively adapting to any user's required needs.
In addition, an object of the embodiment of the present invention
is a method and application of creating a multi-level, multi-platform
hierarchical organization using the VFI to design, manage, organize
and display database contents of multiple processes in a large-scale
system. The VFI allows for managing a number of units representing
servers or an end which comprises of a Sandwich. This Sandwich is
made of an input displayer, the body and the output displayer. The
VFI connects the units through a network structure through a connection
to the Internet or an intranet wherein the input displayer can be
up level IP addresses, the body contains information and data in
local files and the output displayer is the down level IP addresses.
A user can view the hierarchical organization of a number of processes
and both visit and manage the processes directly on a screen conveniently
These and other embodiments of the present invention are further
made apparent, in the remainder of the present document, to those
of ordinary skill in the art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In order to more fully describe embodiments of the present invention,
reference is made to the accompanying drawings. These drawings are
not to be considered limitations in the scope of the invention,
but are merely illustrative.
FIG. 1 illustrates a generic structure of a unit of flow as displayed
on a computer screen when designing with the embodiment of the present
FIG. 2 is an example of VFI production flow management in which
the present invention is embodied.
FIG. 3 is an example of the tool graphical user interface to design
and set specific processes of flow in which the present invention
FIG. 4 is an example of the free grouping feature of the embodiment
of the present invention.
FIG. 5 illustrates some examples of different industry applications
which can be units for the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates how the examples of FIG. 5 can be represented
as flows and be designed and displayed as a visual image showing
a unit of the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 illustrates an example of a database interface for opening
various databases of the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 illustrates an example of a dialog box for setting the fields
in a data source as the managed object that will be represented
on screen by a unit body "sandwich" of the embodiment
of the present invention.
FIG. 9 illustrates an example of a dialog box for setting the field
in a data source to display current messages (from newer records)
on Input, Output and Unit Body of the embodiment of the present
FIG. 10 is an example of a dialog box indicating flow management
or unit management of the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 is an example of a dialog box for setting flow items in
a data source to facilitate connecting flow lines between unit bodies
or "sandwiches" according to an embodiment of the present
FIG. 12 illustrates a visual flow loaded from a data source as
set by the dialog box of FIG. 11, wherein all relational data and
tables in a database are connected according to an embodiment of
the present invention.
FIG. 13 illustrates a process design interface where a user designs
a managerial or technological process; a relational database is
viewable as shown at the bottom of the figure, according to an embodiment
of the present invention.
FIG. 14 illustrates a grouping from the actual flow shown in FIG.
4 where units of flow are grouped then closed into a single group
unit according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 15 illustrates the grouping of FIG. 14 as a structure tree
according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 16 illustrates a contents portal screen shot of the VFI according
to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 17 illustrates another screen shot representing the actual
flow of the VFI according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 18 illustrates the framework structure of the multi-level,
multi-platform hierarchical organization created through VFI according
to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 19 illustrates an example of using the embodiment of the present
invention for managing condominium unit sales.
FIG. 20 illustrates an example of using the embodiment of the present
invention for the airline industry.
FIG. 21 illustrates an example of using the embodiment of the present
invention for airport/terminal management.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS
The following discussion describes in detail one embodiment of
the invention and several variations of that embodiment. This discussion
should not be construed, however, as limiting the invention to those
particular embodiments. Practitioners skilled in the art will recognize
numerous other embodiments as well. For a definition of the complete
scope of the invention, the reader is directed to the appended claims.
The embodiment of the present invention is a visual flow interface
used to design and display the different industry processes organized
in a database management system. The invention functions as a database
application and runs with a database structure, either already existing
or provided with the visual flow interface software.
The key point of the invention is that it transfers the functional
structure of a particular process of flow called the unit into a
geometric structure, and then creates a visual image for the generic
structure of any unit in any flow.
As shown in FIG. 1, a unit (10) of flow is comprised of a unit
body (15) for processing input data (20) and handling all information
about the unit (10) in an actual flow (45) recorded in a database,
an input displayer (25) displaying input values of something moving
in the unit, and an output displayer (30) showing the output data
(35) of something moving out of the unit. It looks like a Sandwich
as shown in FIG. 1. The Sandwich represents the unit (10) as an
In essence, this visual image represents a Unit (10) in an actual
flow (45) such as a machine, an operator, a group, a company, and
then such items as materials, money, or information that can move
into or out of the Unit (10). As shown in FIG. 5, there are different
industry applications that can implement the use of units (10).
Actual Flow (45) means a flow took time and space, and its occurrence
could be recorded in a database.
As FIG. 6 illustrates, the units (10) in all these flows are different
in terms of their physical feature or geometric structure. The unique
common character is based on function: every unit (10) in the flows
includes an input data (20), a unit body (15) for processing the
input data (20) and an output data (35) from the processing. Once
this is established, the next step is to design a visual image to
represent the unique common character. A simple result is that the
graphic looks like a Sandwich. If one wants to design a program
to process all different kinds of flow, then one designs the program
around the Sandwich because it represents the unique common character
of all flows.
In the second step, VFI can load a visual image to represent an
Actual Flow (45) recorded in a database. FIG. 2 gives an example
of VFI depicting the visual image of the production flow (Left)
(50) versus the database-recorded procedure (Right) (55).
VFI connects all flow lines (60) between all pieces of the Sandwich
automatically by the Flow Items (70) of the database. As shown,
the simple Sandwich can visually represent any Actual Flow (45)
in all different industries, and this enables managers to visually
watch any Actual flow (45) on their screen.
In the third step, VFI provides a tool graphical user interface
(GUI) (75) for users to design their specific managerial and technological
process. However, it is not a normal tool for designing a flow chart,
but rather it must include the Sandwich as a unit (10) and set all
parameters for its Input data (20), Output data (35) and the Unit
Body (15) with the relational Actual Flow (45). FIG. 3 is a sample
of the GUI (75).
FIG. 3, illustrates a specific technologic process as created by
a user and eventually saved in a process database. The GUI (75)
is used to design the theoretical flow which is generic and must
be set up in the process database in order to control an actual
flow (45). An actual flow has its own actual flow database as well
(controlled by the process database). In using the GUI, a user can
indicate the contents of the units (10) with relational actual flow.
Relational actual flow is relational to a specific user-specified
process as saved in the process database. For example, looking at
LatheG2 in FIG. 3, it includes unit 0001 and unit 0002, with its
input data (20) set at BCD.sub.--500A and BCD.sub.--600B, with quantity
of 1000, and the output data (35) set at STU.sub.--500A, XYZ.sub.--6008,
with quantity of 2000. An example condition set here is "Temp.>2000".
The user sets the relational database name and its path and includes
user-defined conditions. Essentially, the relational database monitors
the actual flow database in relation to the process database. (See
also FIG. 13). It further records the actual flow.
Finally, VFI saves the user's process design and all contents into
a process database as mentioned, which allows the user to implement
their own specific process to monitor and control the Actual Flow
Traditional MIS design incorporates the user's process in the program,
but VFI does not require any of the user's process in its program.
VFI allows users to do so themselves, thereby making VFI highly
flexible to changing needs. When a managerial or technological process
controls change, traditional MIS programs must change to fit the
new process, while VFI never needs to change its program.
VFI is completely generic because the program is independent from
the: (1) User's specific applied database structure; (2) User's
specific organization and structure; (3) User's specific managerial
and technologic process. These items comprise the biggest difference
between VFI and traditional MIS design.
Furthermore, VFI includes another special function that is called
free grouping (90). This is a development on a database application
as illustrated in FIG. 4, which shows the grouping feature of VFI.
The visual images of units (10) can be grouped to form a group Image,
also known as an opened group (95), and then can be "Closed"
to form a single Group Unit, also known as a closed group (100).
FIG. 4 shows an actual flow (45) of an opened group (95) (Lathe
Group), the group that has multiple visual units (10). There are
also two closed groups (100) (Miller Group and Grinder Group), the
groups that have one visual representation called group unit (100).
The group units (100) could be grouped again into a higher level
of groups in a hierarchical structure. The grouping feature of VFI
enables managers to easily retrieve information at different levels
of the hierarchical structure of the production organization. Managers
can group and layout the GUI (75) as they see fit, then save it
for everyday use. Such a free grouping function (90) is not available
in the current software market.
VFI is a GUI (75) that remains in the front end facing the user.
The present embodiment of VFI version 2.X is designed for Windows'
users. A business may install it as a Windows Application for every
front end PC. If the business already has an existing MIS, VFI will
never disturb the MIS's performance, allowing users to have the
option of using both VFI and the existing MIS to manage production.
VFI's users may compare VFI with an existing MIS to find the differences
of function between the two. Users will find that VFI eliminates
the four original problems of traditional MIS, and converts them
into the four new advantages for users: (1) Zero development period;
(2) Low cost; (3) No disclosure of business secrets to a software
company; and(4)No need for updating VFI's program to allow for the
changes of a user's three specific conditions.
VFI has a complete set of Data Management tools. A user can enter,
edit, delete, or update the data with a user-friendly GUI (75).
A user may do statistics and various calculations with the data.
A user may create many kinds of charts and graphs from the data
as well as design and print report forms. The present embodiment
of VFI uses an Access based working database that could be used
to save all intermediary results. In addition, if a small business
has no existing database system, VFI's working database is an ideal
For real production management, VFI provides a set of new functions
to help a user to manage visually and conveniently. A user may open
a table or sheet including data in a database (105). VFI is a database
application; therefore an applied database structure is the foundation.
VFI uses a set of interfaces to popular databases such as FoxPro,
Paradox, dBase, Access, as well as spreadsheet Excel. VFI can connect
databases through Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) to open databases
such as Oracle and SQL Server. Once a database (105) is opened by
VFI, the user can implement VFI to manage the items recorded in
the database (105). FIG. 7 illustrates how various databases may
be opened through a database interface. VFI therefore provides a
set of GUI (75) for mapping from a database (105) to an actual flow
FIG. 8 illustrates the dialog box that allows the user to indicate
a managed object (110) which is the unit's ID. A user then utilizes
a dialog box (115) to set a field in the data source as the managed
object (110) that will be represented by the Sandwich on screen.
A managed object (110) may be any entity: a machine, a flight, a
warehouse, an operator, a group or a company, for example. FIG.
8 illustrates the dialog box that allows the user to indicate a
managed object (110).
A user opens a dialog box (115) as illustrated in FIG. 9, to set
all fields in the data sources to display current messages on input
data (20), the output displayer (30) and unit body (15) of the Sandwich
are also available for viewing by clicking on the tab. Current messages
are the messages from newer records in the database. For example,
current messages would be from today's records but not from yesterday's
or last week's records. These current messages can roll from right
to left on the screen. A user can also open the input, output and
the unit database to see the details.
Using a dialog box (115) to set "Flow Items" (70) in
the data source helps in connecting flow lines (60) between Sandwiches
if there are items (70) flowing between units (10). FIG. 10 illustrates
this situation, which is called flow management. On the other hand,
if there is no flow, it will be known as Unit Management. FIG. 11
illustrates the dialog box for setting flow items (70) in a data
source for facilitating connecting flow lines (60) between Sandwiches.
Next, as illustrated in FIG. 12, a visual flow will be loaded from
the data source where all relational data and tables in the database
have been connected to the Sandwich. The user may double click on
the 3 parts: input displayer (25), output displayer (30) or the
unit body (15), where relational data will be shown on an opened
database window (85) (See also FIG. 13). The loaded actual flow
(45) could be saved allowing the user to open it next time without
indicating fields again.
Another feature of the embodiment of the present invention as shown
in FIG. 14, allows the user to select some units (10) to group,
then combine these grouped basic units (10) into a single group
unit (100). This group unit (100) may be grouped again with other
units (10) together into a higher level of group. This operation
could be done continuously to create a hierarchy. This innovative
operation enables different levels of managers to access different
GUI and data.
FIG. 15 illustrates how the grouped units as shown in FIG. 14 can
be organized and viewed in a structure tree. Each group unit may
be displayed in a hierarchical format and managed conveniently in
The past process of actual flow (45) recorded in the database can
be revisited in real time with the visual flow chart shown on FIG.
12. This function helps managers locate problems that have occurred
in past procedures.
With the same process as that for revisiting past process, a production
plan could be simulated in real time to obtain a quantitative result,
for instance a daily job list.
The design process of VFI as shown in FIG. 13 allows a user to
open a database table that has recorded an actual flow (45). When
designing the process, the relational database table (85) (or target
database) that will be monitored and controlled by the process must
be opened first which is illustrated at the bottom of FIG. 13. This
database or table is relational to the managerial or technologic
process, as further mentioned in FIG. 3. Based on that relational
database table (85), a user can design or change specific managerial
and technologic processes with the Process Design Interface (155)
of VFI, then set all parameters according to a user's actual production,
organization and structure. The designer may test the process with
the actual data, then save the design into a Process Database. Each
time a user loads the actual flow (45) from the table, the relational
database (85) will be opened automatically to monitor and control
the actual flow. Every time the relational database (85) is recorded
the actual flow (45) is updated; the VFI will check every record,
monitor and control the entire procedure with the designed process.
According to FIG. 16, a screen shot is illustrated showing an example
of the organization portal to begin using the VFI of the embodiment
of the present invention. As shown, the Data Application, Organization,
Actual Flow, Control Process, and Strategy & Plan components
of the VFI are manipulated and designed visually for any industry.
Data Application allows for the design of interfaces using the design
GUI wherein any executable file may be run. Actual Flow displays
a visual representation of the processes and databases running in
the management system. Data may be loaded and grouped automatically
from various databases and the history of changes may be displayed.
Visual plans including simulated plans, plan tables, efficiency
tables may be designed with the VFI to generate a working plan.
The Control Process manages and controls the actual flow and traces
the results. Any problem in the system can be displayed in the control
process component. The control process is user-friendly and need
not require any request for a development by a software engineer.
This facilitates the user's confidentiality in the control of the
FIG. 17, is another illustration of the actual flow of the VFI
according to an embodiment of the present invention. Again, the
flow lines (60) are displayed and each unit (10) may be accessed
to display the managed object, input values and output data and
the relationship of the unit bodies to each other.
As illustrated in FIG. 18, an embodiment of the present invention
is a method and application of creating a multi-level, multi-platform
hierarchical organization using the VFI to design, manage, organize
and display database contents of multiple processes in a large-scale
system. The VFI allows for managing a number of units (10) representing
servers or an end which comprises a Sandwich. This Sandwich is made
of an input displayer (25), the body (15) and the output displayer
(30). The VFI connects the units through a network structure through
a connection to the Internet or an intranet wherein the input displayer
can be up level IP addresses, the body contains information and
data in local files and the output displayer is the down level IP
addresses. A user can view the hierarchical organization of a number
of processes and both visit and manage the processes directly on
a screen conveniently and comprehensively. The VFI may connect all
units into group units and combine individual or group units in
a visual and manageable hierarchy.
FIGS. 19, 20, and 21 are some examples of using the embodiment
of the present invention for different industries such as condominium
unit sales (FIG. 19), airlines (FIG. 20) and airports (FIG. 21).
Throughout the description and drawings, example embodiments are
given with reference to specific configurations. It will be appreciated
by those of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention
can be embodied in other specific forms. Those of ordinary skill
in the art would be able to practice such other embodiments without
undue experimentation. The scope of the present invention, for the
purpose of the present patent document, is not limited merely to
the specific example embodiments of the foregoing description, but
rather is indicated by the appended claims. All changes that come
within the meaning and range of equivalents within the claims are
intended to be considered as being embraced within the spirit and
scope of the claims.