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Comment: ISDS is the real stinger (Score 5, Insightful) 160

by Dr_Barnowl (#49629113) Attached to: Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership

Or Investor-state dispute settlement


Corporations get to sue your sovereign nation if they think your laws are impeding their profits, decided by a "court" consisting of three "independent" lawyers.

So, for example, many EPA regulations would probably be contested very soon after the passing of this treaty.

This is what they want to hide. The fact that they are preparing to sign governance of the USA (and every other signatory) over to Big Corporate.

Comment: Single Payer (Score 1) 453

by Dr_Barnowl (#49628969) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery


Sod Single Payer, if they have to pay fraudulent bills like this.

The cost (and confusion) of all this admin is one of the reasons the USA has the most expensive healthcare on earth.

Code sets like the International Classification of Diseases have been *enormously* bloated over the years. You might think this has less to do with collating accurate statistics, and more to do with providing a means for insurance providers to claim that the "wrong code was used" and deny claims. I couldn't possibly comment.

Comment: Re:Mistakes? what mistakes? (Score 3, Informative) 179

by Dr_Barnowl (#49627815) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

Sorry for the vocab nazi-ism but I see this one very frequently and it's finally pushed me over the edge.

It's toe the line. As in "conforming to the order of things by putting your toes on the line like everyone else".

How does "tow the line" make sense? Is fishing somehow conformist?

Comment: Re:Go Linux! (Score 1) 137

If you have the source, you have the option of hiring a team to update it. The NHS is large enough that they can afford to hire their own. Indeed, many hospital trusts do already have their own in-house teams of developers maintaining home-grown applications.

OTOH I've seen in-use hospital systems where the source code has actually been lost and the last person who worked on it died some time ago. That should be illegal. On products I've worked on in the past, there have been source escrow agreements. These days I'd go one further and insist on escrow of a working development machine, in OVF format, complete with a full Git repository of the source code, refreshed on each release of the software. Don't mind if it's encrypted as long as the encryption key is lodged in escrow and released on the demise of the company concerned.

Comment: Re:Go Linux! (Score 1) 137

Firstly, the thing about NHS funding increasing every year is a lie, and our politicians have been told to stop lying about it repeatedly (that link is to the Telegraph which is usually considered to be a Tory paper, so extra truthiness points).

Secondly, we have a rate of about 4% inflation for healthcare costs. Even if they are increasing funding, are they doing it 4% year on year? No.

Thirdly, a lot of the money is going on the stupid PFI contracts which bleed money away from clinical services and go to debt repayment instead. They were transparently a massive con trick from the out - the NHS is the largest employer in Europe. They have a budget larger than small countries. They should be able to borrow money like a small country (ie - by issuing low interest bonds), not have to be sent cap-in-hand to a private company and directed to sign a sweetheart deal with 300% returns for the private company. The citizens of this country are justifiably proud of the NHS and would probably be more than happy to buy those bonds.

Are UKIP right about waste in middle management? Probably. But that's because the middle management are being directed by targets, which are a blunt instrument. If the middle management were tasked with enabling the clinicians to do the most healthcare possible, instead of directing them to waste their time and effort meeting their numbers, it would be a different story. But the targets are there specifically to cut budgets, because they get paid based on the results of those numbers.

Comment: Re:How this could be awesome. (Score 1) 72

by Dr_Barnowl (#49592105) Attached to: How an Open Standard API Could Revolutionize Banking

Currently most non-routine transfers in the UK for personal accounts are authorised by 2FA - you get a PIN terminal, you stick your debit card in the slot, and it interfaces with a challenge-response app on the smartcard in your plastic.

I hope they keep that air gap in there. There's potential to use the NFC loop in your phone to cut the separate device out of the loop, but that would mean your phone might be running malware that takes the opportunity to run some other transactions. Better to have a simple separate device with no opportunities for malware "upgrades".

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 210

What we really need is a career track that goes

Level 1 Engineer -> Level 2 Engineer -> Level 1 Manager -----> Level 2 Manager
                                                                                                                                                                          \------> Level 3 Engineer

With the lower track being taken when promoting the engineer to a manager is noted to reduce productivity.

Comment: Re:So far so good. (Score 1) 210

> Any fucking idiot can program.

Any fucking idiot can program badly. When you work for a bad manager, programming badly is all you need because they will only let you do exactly what they think you should be doing. As we've established, they are not competent to make that decision, so it all turns out the same in the long run.

Not every person can program well, or at all. There are scientific papers devoted to this topic.

Comment: Re:So far so good. (Score 2) 210


The main thing that moved me into management (which I suck at) was the lack of a promotional track for engineers.

We actually had it written into our pay grading that we couldn't ascend above a particular grade unless we managed at least 2 people. I was way more productive as an engineer than a manager. By the time I got to that point, I was paying for more than my annual salary just by dint of having written software replacing stuff with expensive annual license fees. If I'd had a clause in my contract that said for every piece of commercial software I removed the need to pay for, I get a 10% cut of the licenses that would have been paid out, I'd have been laughing.

Instead, whoever was managing me on that project probably got the credit.

Comment: Re: The good news is... (Score 3, Interesting) 210

> The problem isn't the managers, it's the cats.

If you're a manager that thinks like that, you're a shitty manager (which according to the above, is the norm).

The process of software development isn't a factory process, despite all the attempts to turn it into one. The qualities that make someone a good software developer does mean that they are more like cats - they've had engage in self-directed learning about their chosen field for most of their career, because it's continually refreshed. It's literally so new, that the gap between those writing the book, forging new tech, and those reading it, learning the new tech, is usually measured in months. This leads to an independent mindset. They are not pack animals. If you want good work, you need to learn to manage this kind of people.

The alternative is what we see in Indian outsourcing outfits. The reason Indian shops are so prized for outsourcing isn't their exemplary skill, it's the Indian culture of deference and respect - which means they are obedient, and toe the line, and work hard on what you told them to work on. They're not cats, they're dogs.

Managers love this because it seems like they are getting exactly what they wanted.

Alas, it means they are getting exactly what they wanted - and the Peter Principle reminds us that this is the wrong thing, because they are not competent to decide this, which means they are spending a lot of money on developing the wrong solution.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter