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Comment: Re: No alternative system is available ? (Score 2) 110

by Xest (#48045703) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

The authorities are actually pretty good on this, a friend completely forgot to renew his altogether and drove around for 6 months before realising, he phoned the DVLA to admit his mistake and they just told him not to worry, that people forget and as long as he's happy to pay it there and then that they wouldn't see any reason to pursue it as the fact he'd called them to explain was evidence enough in their eyes that it was nothing more than an honest mistake and I know my father forgot to display his new disc once, got pulled, but they took no action after checking he had renewed online (and this was back in 2004, so the ability to check online by the police has been in place at least a decade).

But most people don't know that, and even those that do generally want to avoid the hassle of being pulled over even if it would've meant no action would be taken against you so make the effort to avoid driving around without a valid tax disc anyway.

FWIW you most certainly can renew earlier than 2 weeks from expiration, that used to be the case when you could only renew from the 15th of the month, but you've been able to renew from the 5th for quite a while now just fine (at least 5 years), so you get the best part of a month to renew.

Comment: Re: No alternative system is available ? (Score 1) 110

by Xest (#48045453) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

I suspect that normally people renew a week or two or three in advance because they need the paper disc to come through in time so they can display it before expiration at the end of the month and hence the load is spread across a few weeks.

Now however, people probably just figured "Hey, I don't need the disc anymore, I'll do it last minute", hence why it was the last day of the month that it fell over- because everyone now figures they can wait until last minute to do it.

Comment: Rubbish (Score 1) 464

by ledow (#48044923) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

No. It doesn't. It hasn't for years. I had a WinXP image that followed me for 8 years and never got reinstalled. It had any amount of stuff installed over it and was in constant daily use (took it to work, worked all day on it, brought it home, played games all evening on it).

It's not an inherent property of Windows that it "slows down" or any such nonsense. If you ask it to run 20 services on startup, it will be slower than if you ask it to run 10. It's a given. The trick is to make sure that NOTHING IS RUNNING unless it needs to be.

Computers DO NOT GET SLOWER WITH AGE. They are the same speed to within MILLIONTHS of a second. If you ask them to do more then, yes, they will seem slower. Don't ask them to do more - remove unwanted programs but most importantly do NOT let things run on startup or in the background unless they are vital. Hint: Almost nothing is vital. QuickTime does not need to be in your startup. Java does not need it's QuickStarter. Adobe stuff needs NOTHING running in the background. And so on.

Do that, and the computer does not slow down at all. I have an 8-year-old XP image to prove it until I stopped using it a couple of years ago (and not because it was slow - because I was managing Windows 7/8 networks).

If you manage your machine properly (and you're working in IT if you post here, I assume), it does not happen. And it's no more a burden than having to reinstall everything after a format. I have NEVER formatted a machine to clean it. I've gone back to known-good images on work machines, but those images have histories going back years too - but kept PRISTINE so they could re-image nicely.

If you format, as far as I'm concerned, that's a harder version of the "reboot will fix it" mantra. A total cop-out. I have brought machines back from the dead (five minutes to get to Windows logon, down to 45 seconds on the same hardware) by proper management of the machine and pruning only third-party services and junk on startup.

Stop making excuses and doing the "Microsoft-fix". Manage your machine properly and it's never an issue.

Comment: Agree: doctors fall into EMR vendor lock-in trap (Score 1) 227

by KWTm (#48044919) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

As a physician who was dragged screaming and kicking into having to use EPIC, I have to agree.

I never knew I could hate a company more than Microsoft. Their client is a bloated horror that nevertheless acts like the thinnest client in the world: "Oh, look, the doctor pressed the Shift key ... I guess I'll send that over the network, and wait for a response ... oh look, s/he released the Shift key now -- I guess I'll send that over the network, too..." Apparently it's based on the Internet Explorer library, so there is no Mac version (at least not when I was using it)...

The interface was so bad that I learned how to program in AutoHotkey and probably spent in excess of 200 hours over a year to automate things. AutoHotkey was a lifesaver: open source and powerful. (In fact, the pitiful xdotool we have for Linux doesn't even come close to AutoHotkey for windows, and even if I weren't forced to use Windows for my work, I might have ended up choosing it over Linux just because of AutoHotkey and its ecosystem of experienced developers.)

At the time I was with a large clinic chain that had about 40% of the market in our large sprawling metropolitan supercluster location. They surveyed the doctors, who said that on average they were spending an extra hour per day using Epic. And in the end, it was a lot of *data*-generation and not a lot of *information*. Our specialists complained that everything was being crammed into a template form, and they really couldn't tell what we were thinking, just checklists of what the patient did/did not have.

Having vendor lock-in, they have no incentive to improve. They can do whatever they want... if the clinic/hospital is already stuck using Epic, why would they spend money on fixing their problems instead of recruiting more clients?

Having said all that, even Epic is better than what I'm stuck using right now ... eClinicalWorks. That's even worse than Epic. All the problems of Epic, plus even worse interface. Right now I type my notes in a plain text editor and then use AutoHotkey to cut-n-paste it into eClinicalWorks. What a nightmare.

OpenEMR all the way!

Comment: Re: the solution: (Score 1) 512

by nbauman (#48044329) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

The earliest "gun control laws" were applied by Imperial governments to colonists, to control a growing civilian population with a remotely managed and badly outnumbered Imperial military in _every_ nation's colonies. Then there was a long gap, due to the War for Independence and the 2nd Amendment, then it started up as a US federal policy in the 1930's applied to machine guns and sawed off shotguns. It grew in the 1960's _due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King_, which illustrated the growing risk of assassination for respected leaders.

Not quite.
April 23, 2012 Issue
Battleground America
One nation, under the gun.
By Jill Lepore

As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

Although these laws were occasionally challenged, they were rarely struck down in state courts; the state’s interest in regulating the manufacture, ownership, and storage of firearms was plain enough. Even the West was hardly wild. “Frontier towns handled guns the way a Boston restaurant today handles overcoats in winter,” Winkler writes. “New arrivals were required to turn in their guns to authorities in exchange for something like a metal token.” In Wichita, Kansas, in 1873, a sign read, “Leave Your Revolvers at Police Headquarters, and Get a Check.” The first thing the government of Dodge did when founding the city, in 1873, was pass a resolution that “any person or persons found carrying concealed weapons in the city of Dodge or violating the laws of the State shall be dealt with according to law.” On the road through town, a wooden billboard read, “The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Prohibited.” The shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona, Winkler explains, had to do with a gun-control law. In 1880, Tombstone’s city council passed an ordinance “to Provide against the Carrying of Deadly Weapons.” When Wyatt Earp confronted Tom McLaury on the streets of Tombstone, it was because McLaury had violated that ordinance by failing to leave his gun at the sheriff’s office.

The National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 by two men, a lawyer and a former reporter from the New York Times. For most of its history, the N.R.A. was chiefly a sporting and hunting association. To the extent that the N.R.A. had a political arm, it opposed some gun-control measures and supported many others, lobbying for new state laws in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, which introduced waiting periods for handgun buyers and required permits for anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon. It also supported the 1934 National Firearms Act—the first major federal gun-control legislation—and the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, which together created a licensing system for dealers and prohibitively taxed the private ownership of automatic weapons (“machine guns”). The constitutionality of the 1934 act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939, in U.S. v. Miller, in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, argued that the Second Amendment is “restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security.” Furthermore, Jackson said, the language of the amendment makes clear that the right “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The Court agreed, unanimously. In 1957, when the N.R.A. moved into new headquarters, its motto, at the building’s entrance, read, “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation.” It didn’t say anything about freedom, or self-defense, or rights.

Comment: Re:What about Israel? (Score 1) 67

All governments spy on each other, and they have since the invention of espionage. And they all know they all spy on each other, too. They just need to exercise the good sense to not get publicly caught. Not getting caught is getting harder in the digital age, as everyone from airports, customs, trucking, retail, and city infrastructure is beefing up their security. They may suck at it, but it makes hiding invisibly that much harder.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 512

by Antique Geekmeister (#48043695) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Then you need to review the Ninth Amendment, which spelled out that rights not explicitly mentioned by the Constitution may still exist and be recognized in a Constitutionally relevant way. There had been hesitance about stating rights in the Constitution explicitly meaning that rights _not_ spelled out would no longer be acknowledged as valid.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 512

by Antique Geekmeister (#48043677) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

I've seen people harassed by the police for carrying costume swords, with no edge, at a Shakespeare performance fresh from a day at a Renaissance festival. The police tried to confiscate his sword, without any receipt. When it was clear he would not surrender it without being arrested and creating a paper trail for his confiscated property, they eventually turned him loose.

Comment: Re: the solution: (Score 1) 512

by Antique Geekmeister (#48043669) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

The earliest "gun control laws" were applied by Imperial governments to colonists, to control a growing civilian population with a remotely managed and badly outnumbered Imperial military in _every_ nation's colonies. Then there was a long gap, due to the War for Independence and the 2nd Amendment, then it started up as a US federal policy in the 1930's applied to machine guns and sawed off shotguns. It grew in the 1960's _due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King_, which illustrated the growing risk of assassination for respected leaders.

Comment: Re:FP? (Score 1) 839

by MightyYar (#48043615) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

The weirdest mixture is how the American military uses meters for horizontal distances, but feet for vertical distances.

We use "mils" in the semiconductor industry, and they also did in the paint/coating industry when I worked in it 20 years ago. A "mil" is a thousandth of an inch... a milli-inch! This can lead to some funny mixes, like "grams per square mil" for shear force measurements.

Comment: Anything can be controlled (Score 1) 1

by plover (#48043415) Attached to: Is Windows 10 really that "business friendly?"

That's all pretty much a non-argument. Live tile content can be turned on or off by application, or live tiles can be completely disabled. So if a business wants to turn off live tiles for Twitter, they can send out a Group Policy Object to disable live tiles on the Twitter app. They could also add custom live tiles for the corporate share price, company newsletter, web server status, or whatever they want. Don't worry about them.

And as far as I'm concerned, live tiles have never been an issue with Windows 8. I turned off a few I didn't want, but that's only because I hate the distraction of blinky flashy things when I'm looking for something else. But tor the most part they're ignorable. As for the maligned start screen, it simply isn't much different from the Windows 7 start menu button, although it needs the tree-structure metaphor returned as that's how people group their apps.

No, the problems with Windows 8 were the "charms" and the "gestures". With a mouse or on a trackpad they are unintuitive, difficult to control, difficult to remember, difficult to discover, and almost impossible to activate. And that's coming from someone who loves his Surface Pro!

On a Surface or phone, Windows 8's UI is mostly harmless because the interface take place where the hands and fingers are already located. But they are an overflowing truckload of stinking horseshit on everything else. I'm unaware of any big corporate American business that ever installed it on their desktops (it crept in on a few Surface tablets and Windows phones, but no sysadmin was stupid enough to roll it out to the desktop.)

Microsoft learned several big lessons from the spanking they took on Windows 8, but the biggest is "listen to your corporate beta testers. If they tell you it's shit, IT'S SHIT. AND YOU DO NOT ROLL OUT SHIT."

The other day I had a 'softie tell me over lunch that "Windows 10 is our way of saying 'oh god, oh god, we're all so very very sorry about Windows 8 and we promise we'll never ever do it again.'" So from here on out, I think we can count on Microsoft to cater to the business and desktop users, as that's where a huge chunk of their money comes from.

Comment: Re: Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 1) 464

by jd (#48043385) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Agreed about anecdotes. However, I can say that I have to reboot my Windows 7 PC weekly because of serious degradation in performance. I have installed a fair bit of software (the PATH can no longer be extended) but there's only about three games (Freeciv, Kerbal Space Program, Elite: Dangerous) and no apps, toolbars or junk. The rest of the software on there? MariaDB, Ingres, GRASS, QGIS (OSGEO is basically Cygwin, so I've now three incompatible Cygwin distros on Windows), HOL 4, Active Python, Active Perl, Erlang, Rust, Blender, PoVRay, BMRT - the sort of stuff you'd expect to find on any PC, nothing fancy.

And Netscape. Which is a horrible resource hog and is honestly not usable in its current form. I have abandoned all efforts to get Chrome usable. I'll probably deinstall both and switch to Amaya. Which barely does anything, but it does it tolerably.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang