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Comment Re:What a waste of money (Score 2) 54

Hah! Not surprised.

Used to work for the NHS IT Programme ; we loved F/OSS there. It was my default position when selecting technologies for system implementation, largely because my experience with getting support from closed-sources vendors was .. you didn't.

With F/OSS stuff my experience if you can offer a coherent bug report to the original project, you get good support. Or you can patch it yourself. Or you can poke around in the source code and work out what particular quirk you're running into and how to get around it.

Commercial software? No source code, and no support.

I saved them annual license fees in excess of my salary while I was there. We were still stuck on Oracle though - that stuff has some lovely barbs like it's own SQL dialects, and of course, because we were a cost centre we never had the staff or time to move off it.

Comment Re:As much or more than the developer (Score 0) 350

I had a CEO that subscribed to this theory and used it to justify crippling the productivity of his developers by issuing them workstations that had the recommended specs for the software they were developing.

Of course, they were running the software... and the IDE, and the debugger, and the database server. And all the usual corporate crap like Outlook. So he was really just shooting himself in the foot for the sake of a few hundred quid.

I just bought myself an extra SODIMM before the disk-swapping gave me an ulcer.

Comment Twat ignorant of the shoulders he rides on (Score 1) 207

Some of the greatest games of the 8 and 16 bit era were conceived, designed, and programmed by those spotty nerds, in their bedroom, on their own. The concepts and ideas of those games live on today, and those programmers are the reason that Britain still has a thriving games industry today.

They had more talent than this blowhard will ever have.

Comment Re:It still uses other parts, though. (Score 2) 179

After I lost my first Littmann, I started using this one the Sprague Rappaport - I see them on medical dramas sometimes, I guess they look just as "doctory" to a props department without breaking the budget.

My colleagues liked to borrow it, it was objectively louder than the Littmann. It doesn't use the fancy free-floating diaphragm the Littmann has, it just has a thin piece of plastic. It also comes with a pouch with a bunch of different bells, earpieces, a spare diaphragm, and you can screw the fittings on and off. It was kind of the Russian Military Surplus stethoscope, being somewhat more bulky and heavy than a Littmann, but much cheaper.

Those nurses stethoscopes do cost about $5 though.

Comment Re:WTF, a "Top of the Line" Stethoscope?!? (Score 3, Interesting) 179

Littmann is mostly about brand recognition and status ; nurses buy £3.50 cheap mass produced stethoscopes, doctors buy £50 Littmanns.

The Littmann units are arguably superior in quality. On the other hand, I had a £10 stethoscope (it costs a bit more now) built like a piece of Russian miltary surplus that all my professional colleagues wanted to borrow because they thought it sounded clearer and louder than their expensive Littmanns.

It also lasted longer - the plastic Littmann use for their tubes is prone to fatigue and cracking. The rubber tubes on this thing lasted for years.

There's nothing in the Littmann that's inherently expensive or difficult to manufacture, it's just brand recognition, patents, and the fact that it's a niche product with a limited market.

Comment Re:30 cents... (Score 2) 179

If the design is possible to be injection moulded, just mass-produce the things for a few pennies apiece. But it's possible this is not the case - 3D printing can produce shapes that are impossible to injection-mould.

I had a cheap 10 stethoscope that I got from a nursing supplies store, was designed like a Russian military surplus device but my colleagues were forever asking to borrow it because they liked it's sound output better than their fancy £50 Littmanns.

I never saw anything special about the Littmann units but I have absurdly good hearing ; as med students we had classes in physiology labs and my hearing tested at -10dB across the board all the way up to 22kHz which is exceptional ; I can still detect those high-pitched whines that some shopkeepers use to discourage young people from hanging around.

If this thing can out-perform the Littmann Cardiology III for pennies or dollars then I seriously hope someone mass-produces it and makes top-flight stethoscopes a cheap commodity instead of a badge of elite status (only senior cardiologists would shell out for one of those, paying £150 for something you might lose on an exhausting 80 hour shift is not a choice that most junior docs would make).

Comment Re:Do doctors still use them? (Score 4, Informative) 179

You need the stethoscope to detect the return of blood flow in the artery - the sphygmanometer is used to apply measurable pressure to your arm to occlude the flow of blood, you use the stethoscope to listen for the turbulent flow.

And they don't need calibrating, because the numbers in blood pressure measurements are "millimetres of mercury" - and that's literally what these instruments use (they're a glass tube with a suspended mercury column attached to the arm cuff).

They're much more accurate, reliable, and fast than using the robot version which repeatedly inflates and deflates the cuff and has a sensor attached to the bladder which detects your pulse. As a bonus they're also much less uncomfortable and distressing to the patient (because you can do the reading much more quickly and not cut off the flow of blood in their arm for a minute or so...) and thus give less false positives of high pressure because of stress....

Comment Re:What is it with the UK/AUS and porn? (Score 2) 231

At a guess : Murdoch.

Porn produced by small producers and sold independently over the internet is media he doesn't control. That both gives money to people other than Murdoch, and draws eyes away from his media networks.

He doesn't like that. So he has his cronies in government oppose it.

Comment Re:Page 3 wasn't enough? (Score 1) 231

Indeed. My dad used to get the Sun and the Star and the Sunday Sport (which is basically a porn-newspaper with some bullshit stories made up as a pretence that it's anything else), and I used to rub one out regularly.

I found it very hard to buy porn magazines in the era that I did such things, I was always fairly embarrassed about it. Internet porn might have been a bit blocky in those days and not as convenient to use, but it was far less embarrassing to obtain.

What the internet HAS done is caused the collapse of the traditional porn media industry, which includes a large number of Tory party contributors. Why would you bother picking mags up when you can avoid the judgemental (in your imagination) stare of the lady behind the counter by getting porn online?

I'd imagine the Tory party are more concerned about the donations from it's media baron friends than they are about the moral fortitude of the young being eroded by seeing some tits. Regulation is a big overhead for a small business, and could drive them out of business and drive people into the arms of the larger publishers.

Funny how neolibs are all for less regulation.. except where it will benefit their mates...

Comment Re:It's badly written ad scripts (Score 1) 528

This.

I've never before considered running an adblocker - I run Linux, I'm proof against most malware (apart from that shiny new Firefox PDF reader bug, I guess).

Then I noticed that there are pages that bring my quad-core 16GB behemoth of a computer to it's knees. I'm now seriously considering installing one.

Some of the worst culprits are newspapers - they have so many scripts on their pages that the page chugs when it scrolls.

But there are other culprits as well, just because their page code sucks, like the Twitter web app. Runs up my CPU consumption. On my phone, it makes it warm up. (I refuse to install the Twitter app on my phone ever since the permissions list went from "intrusive" to "rectal probe").

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.

Working...