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Comment: A few comments from the other side (Score 1) 336

by LeeMeador (#44428677) Attached to: How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay
Supposing we do something that ties the rates doctors are paid to the amount of time they spend doing something. The next batch of things we become incensed and appalled about will be how they always take too long to do something. That is, if we pay more when things take longer. Why shouldn't we pay the doctor the same amount for a procedure if they figure out a way to do it better or faster or with less side effects or a smaller possibility of significant damage? Perhaps its a little much to pay for 75 minutes, which it took 15 years ago, instead of the 15 minutes it takes now. But paying for just the 15 minutes is a recipe for disaster. People will maximize their own benefit. Things won't become better and faster and safer. That's just the way it works. Additionally, there has got to be some range of effectiveness in medicine. Some doctors, surely, can do a good job on a particular patient in 10 minutes while another will take 20 to accomplish the same thing or 10 to do a crummy job. To some degree, those that do poor work will eventually be weeded out or see their practice decline to some degree. Word does get out. People talk. The summary mentioned someone who got 26 hours worth of doctoring done in one day. Should we not reward him or her for efficiency. I see it as better when I get things done in less time than someone else provided I do a good job. Why would it be different for doctors? I'm not making any attempt at being fair minded here. The arguments for the other side of this are plain and well enumerated so far. But there's more to it than that. Be careful what you measure. Its true in software development and true in medicine.

Comment: Re:now there will be no bright spots (Score 1) 387

by LeeMeador (#44252101) Attached to: Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft
Typical solution is to fire all the truly innovative and effective people and keep the ones that caused the problems. Sometimes whole departments that were doing a good job will disappear. If a few good people are missed they can't stand the new politically charged environment and lack of common sense, so they quit before long.

Comment: When I first used a cell phone ... (Score 1) 330

by LeeMeador (#42524563) Attached to: How Old Were You When You First Got a Cell Phone?
The first time I used a cell phone was April 1981 at the National Computer Convention in Chicago. A friend worked at Bell Labs and had one in his car and one in a lunch box. We fooled around calling people from the car and where ever. One other friend was with us at the top of the Sears Tower and called his wife back in New York. When he told her he was using a phone in a lunch box she was convinced we had all been drinking. Didn't get one until 15 years later and that was for my wife to carry in the car. Turned out it was cheaper to get a phone than to get her a reliable car. If it broke she could call me. She got, and I'm not lying here, 3 free minutes a month with additional minutes at 80 cents. It was about the size of a coffee-top Bible and looked pretty much the same in black leather. (Not the wife. The phone.)

Comment: Re:It would be amazing but it won't work (Score 1) 113

by LeeMeador (#41734003) Attached to: Japan Getting Real-Time Phone Call Translator App
If you think about it, there are some interesting differences in understanding audio speech and written text. Think about English. In audio the problem is telling "synthetic" from "sin the tick" or some such phrase and there are no punctuation marks to delineate the sentences. In text the problem is telling "read" from "read" (the 2nd is past tense). Of course, there are a zillion (or so) such problems in just understanding things. You can use context to disambiguate. But the problems are different for text and audio. Its not as simple as converting audio to text and then text to the other language and then text to speech. (Oh and BTW, the problems are different for different languages.)

Comment: Newest Scanner Technology (Score 1) 570

by LeeMeador (#36122602) Attached to: Baby's First TSA Patdown
What I can't figure out is how we are buying all these new scanner machines and patting down everyone that can't or won't go through them BUT we don't seem to have the technology or extra money to get a machine that will scan you with your belt and shoes on.
I think people would applaud spontaneously when told by TSA that they could leave their shoes on and, no, the belt can stay on the pants. But millions of dollars later, you can't leave your shoes on and you now have to remove your belt.
(Bulky jewelry and clothes with grommets could be left on your person for version 2.0 of the scanner machines for another few million.)

Comment: Re:Requires iTunes (Score 1) 1079

by LeeMeador (#26352463) Attached to: Apple Intros 17" Unibody MBP, DRM-Free iTunes

And no, not all devices support AAC, although many do, in particular the most popular portable media player (with 70% of the market).

And what percentage of the car audio player market? And what percentage of the home stereo market? And what percentage of the DVD player market and ... There is more to audio than the portable player market.

Comment: Re:So,no more DRM (Score 1) 1079

by LeeMeador (#26352331) Attached to: Apple Intros 17" Unibody MBP, DRM-Free iTunes
Sounds like a car rental company's pricing. Run a big optimization program in the background. Add a little human intervention in case it makes stupid pricing choices now and then. Some cool code watches how things are selling and, eventually, the prices change based on your IP address, time of day, things you have bought recently and at what prices, gender and how fast you type or click or read. Sounds like an MBA's dream come true.

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