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Comment: Re:Outsource polling (Score 1) 292 292

What interests me, though, is the demographic shift this will tend to have on any number of results. Landline use skews older and older each year, nevermind peoples' habits with the phone. I usually don't even answer my mobile unless I recognize the caller - if it's important, they can leave a message and I'll call back.

And I think things like that will end up driving polling behavior. They will have to adapt to the callback model, or offer people some form of payment to participate in a poll.

Longer term, I suspect the rules prohibiting auto dialers on cellphone lines will go away. IIRC, the nominal justification for that is based on the fact that cell phone users pay by the minute, so the time it takes for the pollster to connect has an actual financial impact. I suspect we are only a few years away from having unlimited talk and text become the norm.

What about SMS surveys? You might get better responses, especially if each respondent only get asked one or two questions.

Comment: Re:FDA Certification Part of the Problem (Score 1) 42 42

The problem is that the FDA is requiring that the patches/updates be 'tested the update for any effect on clinical function'--knowing how FDA testing can and often runs, this probably in practice translates to 'not at all.'

If the tests are limited purely to the ones relevant and necessary, it'd be one thing, but the FDA has a well-earned rep for requiring tests that are antique and/or irrelevant. This is approximately like having somebody in upper management decide that any change whatsoever to the computers can only be done after huge, time-consuming & expensive battery of tests, and that you cannot skip any step under any circumstances whatsoever, even if you would like to know exactly how 'applying humorous sticker to monitor stand' could possibly result in software issues.

It is not nearly that clear cut. Testing requirements vary depending on the risk classification level. Things like a pacemaker or insulin pump are Class III devices, and the requirements for that are indeed very strict. But PACS systems are Class II, which is not nearly as onerous. And both the FDA and the IEC-62304 standard are starting to acknowledge that not taking software updates is likely more risky than taking them, precisely because of the huge numbers of bugs and vulnerabilities found.

But vendors also have no interest in patching old software. The company I work for is good about updating our OTS/SOUP with new releases, and doing a risk analysis and testing of the update, but we do that for new releases, not something we released 2 years ago. We want our customers to take the update (most are on maintenance, so it is free), rather than spend our time releasing updates to 4 or 5 different versions of software.

Comment: Re:No, its a bad design (Score 1) 148 148

My point is that the ribbon is just a glorified toolbar. People use toolbars all the time without being bothered by the noun/verb dichotomy, so the ribbon is no more difficult than a toolbar, which are utterly common UI elements. Add in the text on the ribbon, tooltips on the buttons, and grouping of similar functions, and I don't see the problem.

Comment: Re:No, its a bad design (Score 1) 148 148

So the toolbar icon for things like open, print, save, etc. shouldn't exist?

The issue of the ribbon showing nouns for things that represent actions has existed ever since the first toolbar was created. Toolbars display icons, and pressing the icon causes an action to occur.

Like or dislike the ribbon as you wish, but don't pretend it has broken new conceptual design. I like it, but given the trend to widescreen monitors, I wish they would have laid it out as a panel on the left side of the window, rather than taking up precious vertical space.

Comment: Re:It's about raising the mean... (Score 2) 271 271

Except layoffs are determined by job title & tenure, not quality of work.

Absolutely untrue. I have seen situations where a dollar reduction was mandated, and the decision was to drop 2 high priced people instead of 3 low priced people, but outside of the case of an entire department being swept out the door, the managers/executives always seek to maximize the work they can get done after the layoff, meaning that they will do their best to keep the best performers. That doesn't require any altruism, just a desire to keep the company functional after the layoff.

Comment: Re:live by the sword (Score 1) 320 320

I live in a home with an HOA, and part of the reason why is that the HOA covers lawn work, exterior maintenance on the house, and snow removal. I could by an ordinary single family home and arrange to have all of that done, but I like letting the HOA take care of it. And just like you, I am on the board of the association because nobody else wants to be, and the same few suckers keep volunteering to keep the lights on.

No doubt some boards can be total asshats, and even worse, the nice laid back association you bought into can turn into asshats as soon as one or two busybodies decide they want to be on the board. But like you say, it is a form of local government. Go to the meetings, get a seat on the board, and speak up for being reasonable.

Comment: Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (Score 1) 448 448

If I want an alcoholic beverage on my flight, I HAVE to buy it from the airline -- I can't bring my own booze through security.

Calling airline costs "unbundling" is doing them a huge PR favor. Airlines are just price gouging, plain and simple.

Actually, the airline won't stop you from bringing your own drinks on the plane, that is the TSA. In fact, at Minneapolis airport there is a nice wine shop where I can pick up a sandwich and a bottle of wine to bring on the plane with me. I have seen the same thing at other airports as well.

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 1) 556 556

I can also believe that the WSJ editors didn't want to start a flame war in letters to the editor, which discussions of God/creationism inevitably turn into, doing nothing but infuriating the true believers on both side of the issues and providing entertainment to those egging them on.

I haven't read either one, but I think the first error was printing the original piece, and they were correct to leave it at that.

Comment: Re:Longtime employees? (Score 1) 74 74

No government agency should have longtime employees. It's supposed to be a service, not a career.. It's these oldtimers that are making all the problems we endure. The bureaucrats are the "secret government".. We must purge them completely every few years.

So right about the time people start getting good at their jobs we should fire them all? If your goal is to ensure that the old stereotype of government being incompetent at everything gets reinforced, then that is a great idea. If you value things like, you know, competence, this sounds like a horrible waste of my tax dollars. And in many cases I trust the bureaucrat to do a better job than the politician who has honed everything to a 10 second sound bite without any real substance behind their ideas. At least the bureaucrats have skin in the game, in that they have to implement the policies.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 294 294

like this will just make you look stupid and change averse to your employer.

No... it's obviously just aversity to excessive, unnecessary and crippling micromanagement. It's obviously some idiots in suits who are change averse and feel they need to justify their existence by "approving" or "disapproving" of each and every required security update or patch or system admin action.

In my experience, managers are lazy. If patches are going smoothly, with no unanticipated downtime and no obvious problems, it is unlikely that somebody will be pushing to implement a CAB, knowing it means more paperwork and more meetings. I suspect that there was some high profile downtime, or an unannounced outage that led to this.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 0) 630 630

The projectiles are also much less affected by gravitational drop and windage - I would think proportional to the velocity - so accuracy will be better.

Um, no. Gravity cares not how fast it is going. It will still start falling towards the earth the moment it is launched. Now it is true that while traveling at mach 5 the horizontal distance it drops will be much less over a unit of distance traveled than a slower shell, but it is still falling. I would be shocked if the targeting computers did not take gravity into account - unless they are skipping the computers and just using the force.

Comment: Re:Not Cost! (Score 2) 473 473

All that said, I don't think the complexity or cost is the issue. I think the primary change is social. People returned from military training wanting to do some of the things they did in the service. So amateur radio grew, aviation grew, recreational shooting sports grew, sport diving grew... but if you look at the statistics today, there aren't as many who make the transition from military to civilian life. It ended when the draft ended --and those baby boomers are retiring and dying off.

Great post, and I agree that for aviation the reduction in number of military pilots is certainly a factor. But I am going to quibble about SCUBA diving - equipment has gotten vastly better and relatively cheaper over the last 30 years I have been certified, and I don't think people who were trained by the military has ever been more than a tiny fraction of the diving population. My impression is that diving is getting more popular, not less, but I admit that I don't have any statistics to back that up.

Comment: Re:NoScript (Score 3, Interesting) 731 731

If you take the view that the purpose of the website is to promote the company, and the purpose of the Ad is to, err, advertise (either the company, one of their services, or an affiliate), then the Adblock arms race will probably be ultimately won by that company's competitors:

That is fine for a site that exists to sell products or a service, and indeed in many of those cases you will find no or very limited ad presence.

The problem comes about when the site exists to sell advertising, with the content on the site being the hook to get people to the site to see the ads. This is the model for most every news site, even news for nerds. Paywalls have not gone over well in the market, and everybody wants content to be free, but the reality is that these sites have to pay the bills somehow.

Comment: Re:So what happens to the hydrogen? That's usable. (Score 2) 375 375

"Anyway, the tank could have some N2 in it to start with so the problem could be mitigated."

You don't want to be breathing any N2 at depth. Ever heard of the bends.

They used to use a Helium mixture for deep dives, I am not sure what they do these days

Outside of specialized mixtures for deep dives (well beyond the usual recreational dive limit of 130 feet), divers breathe either ordinary compressed surface air (80% nitrogen), or nitrox/EAN, which is a mix with increased oxygen content. Interestingly, the increased oxygen in nitrox is not there for its own sake (i.e. with healthy lungs there is no physiological benefit to breathing an increased fraction of oxygen), but rather as a cheap way to displace some of the nitrogen, allowing longer bottom times before having to worry about decompression stops or getting the bends.

Dive organizations love to push nitrox since it is another certification and an upcharge on fills from a dive shop, but in my experience it is used by less than 10% of the divers I have seen.

Comment: Re:BLINDED BY THE LIGHT !! WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCH (Score 1) 295 295

Springsteen is Mr. Mumbles. It's difficult to understand anything he sings.

While that particular lyric is indeed hard to understand (and for the record: "revved up like a deuce another runner in the night"), in general I don't think Springsteen is hard to understand.

But I will also note that the most popular recording of that song (at least in the states) is not Springsteen, but Manfred Mann's Earth Band

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

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