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Comment: 35 yr member (Score 1) 213

by Amigan (#47576437) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM
I first joined as an undergraduate, in part because it was the Professional organization for Computer Scientists/Software Engineers. I was also eventually the student chapter president at my alma mater. Being a student member was relatively inexpensive and allowed me to see what current research was being conducted.

Once I became a working professional (Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, other titles) the Special Interest Groups (SIGs in ACM speak) became more relevant to me. The organization has always suffered from being more academically oriented than geared towards the working professional.

I don't subscribe to the digital library (DL) because I find the cost prohibitively expensive for what I would use it for. The monthly journal attempts to cater to all sorts (professionals, researchers, academics) and I find a few articles each month of interest.

Does membership carry any prestige? As one can read from these comments, the answer is an overwhelming no - unless you are submitting articles to be published. Making it through the peer review cycle is an achievement. SIG membership gives you access to like minded folks for discussion.

Many of the benefits are now just perception as the world-wide web has subsumed most of what they offer.

Why do I stay a member? Mostly inertia, but I still value a printed resource delivered to my postal mail address rather than only digital medium for information.

Comment: Re:Secure Border Before Amnesty (Score 1) 422

by Amigan (#47232903) Attached to: FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists
We had a way, it was called e-Verify.

Dem Congress killed the funding for it and objected to making it mandatory - even though it was required by the last comprehensive immigration reform (Simpson-Mazzoli, 1986).

30 yrs ago, this story was written - does it sound familiar? measuring compliance

+ - Cringley writes on IBM

Submitted by Amigan
Amigan (25469) writes "After a series of blogs written over the past few years, Robert X Cringley has now written a book on IBM, — and its future. From this excerpt, one has to wonder if the firms days are truly numbered."

Comment: Soul of the the New Machine (Score 1) 352

by Amigan (#47008275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?
I'll second the recommendation on Steve McConnell's Code Complete - I've used it as a college textbook in classes on SE I've taught. On a lighter note, I would recommend Tracy Kidder's The Soul of the New Machine. Somewhat dated, but gives a historical perspective on how/what it took to build a new machine and make it to market.

+ - Parallella ships to Kickstart backers!

Submitted by Amigan
Amigan (25469) writes "Adapteva went the kickstarter route for funding of it's Home HPC machine. It was successfully funded 10/27/2012 w/4965 backers. Shipment was originally thought to be August 2013 — which came and passed. They have now successfully shipped to over 2000 of the kickstart funders (16 core), and are working their way through the 64 core implementation delivery."

Comment: Declining crop yields (Score 4, Insightful) 987

by Amigan (#46624709) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
Assuming the projections are correct, wouldn't it make sense to eliminate using maize (corn in the US) as an additive to gasoline? When 30%+ of the corn currently being planted in the US is done so to get the Ethanol subsidy, it removes quite a bit from the food supply. I do not claim that all would be planted for food (corn price would plummet), but arable land is being used to for this 'not green' fuel additive. I say 'not green' because even the UN has acknowledged that the use is counterproductive.

+ - Steve Ballmer this generation's Ken Olsen?

Submitted by Amigan
Amigan (25469) writes "Many may remember that DEC's founder and CEO was quite dismissive of the original IBM PC, so much so that when DEC finally introduced their Intel based system it was incompatible with the 'industry standard.' Steve Ballmer has had just as much a dismissive attitude towards smartphones, at first. Here are three of Steve's quotes that sum it all up."

Comment: Re:Just curious (Score 1) 637

by Amigan (#44567605) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-725R
  • Download the GAO report. Page 4 lists the total number of employees that were involved in waivers (~3M).
  • Of that total, ~50% were union members.
  • now, since unions represent ~12% of the US workforce (~65M at last count) = 8M
  • It would seem that Unions got a disproportionate amount of the waivers.

Does that mean that of the 1200+ waivers, that Unions got > 600? no.

Before you say that union contracts are negotiated, and therefore cannot be altered, ask yourself if the minimum wage gets increased, do union wages get automatically increased? Isn't that a change in federal law, outside the control of the unions?

Comment: Re:Just curious (Score 1) 637

by Amigan (#44563939) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
If waivers were for the states, then why were waivers granted to labor unions? http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/03/06/labor-unions-get-lions-share-final-aca-waivers

If delays are acceptably part of the law, why then the veto threat and 100% Democrat party nay vote on the House bill that codifies the delay?

The rules on a federal exchange (not state exchanges), which is what the Congress and their staffs would be participating in, state that there is no subsidy. Since the law specifically moved them from their existing plan (so much for keeping the plan you have) to the federal exchange, one could argue that no federal government payment is allowed. Yes, they are only getting back what they had previously, but that is not what the law said.

Comment: Re:Real-time processing required (Score 1) 637

by Amigan (#44560377) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
The federal government does not have the constitutional power to order the states to do anything. At best, they can coerce them by withholding federal aid, but that part of the ACA was deemed optional by the SCOTUS - hence the 30 states that have refused to create state wide heath exchanges. That forces the federal government to create the federal exchange, but the law says that there will be no subsidies to those in the federal exchanges.

Comment: Re:Just curious (Score 1, Insightful) 637

by Amigan (#44560137) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

By what legal authority did Obama delay this implementation?

None.

But then again, what legal authority did he (or HHS Secretary) have for:

  1. waivers
  2. delaying employer mandate
  3. giving Congress (and their staff) 75% price support

None are legal because the law itself doesn't give anyone the power to change it willy-nilly, as each changes the law without the necessary legislation to modify the existing law.

jerry

Comment: Real-time processing required (Score 4, Informative) 637

by Amigan (#44560081) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault
From what I heard today, the problem is as follows:
  1. 1) patient goes to pharmacy to get prescription filled
  2. 2) pharmacy contacts authorizer to find out what the cost of the prescription is under patient's plan
  3. 3) patient buys drugs for price returned by authorizer
  4. 4) authorizer sends bill on to insurance company

Step 2 is an immediate response, step 4 is handled in batch processing nightly. So far so good. Except that the Affordable Care Act makes it *illegal* to make a patient pay more than the annual limit. The authorizer and/or the pharmacy can be charged for forcing the patient to pay above the annual limit. This means that the authorizer must be aware of limit of each patient and be able to respond in real-time so that neither they nor the pharmacy will be sued. The insurance company doesn't have that information available real-time, nor do they make it available to the authorizer.

It is a computer issue, but as simple as everyone thinks. Putting individual insurance files on-line so that the out of pocket expenses can be tracked real-time isn't trivial. Now, maybe the Insurance companies were hoping the law wouldn't be implemented so they didn't do the hard work necessary to get set up, or maybe the rules were only written as to how to handle the annual limit must be handled.

Just remember, the last time companies put together a real-time on-line credit/debit system, the government decided that they charged too much to support the infrastructure, and started regulating it. That was the Durbin amendment to Dodd-Frank, which put a fixed limit on per swipe fees - regardless of what the infrastructure and support costs actually are.

jerry

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