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Comment Re:How can there be? (Score 1) 622

These services are built around the idea of a normalized distribution of usage. If one user uses a million times the average of the rest of the users, then "unlimited" offers can't be economically sustained.

You don't have to agree that it's "abuse". It just makes "unlimited" service models impossible -- one user can ruin it for everyone else. ...

Yes and no. Since the unlimited plans are time based, and the speed of the connection is fixed, the maximum potential usage of someone is speed * hours in a billing period. That means that the outliers aren't as far out there as you might expect. 24 hours * 31 days = 744 hours in a month. If most broadband users manage to use 2 hours a month (no idea, but that feels low to me), then the outliers are at most using 372 times the amount of an average customer. That doesn't seem like an amount that is going to destroy the business model.

I do think that usage based pricing makes sense - in the end the big providers pay for bandwidth, so why wouldn't that be reflected in the pricing you and I pay? But I do have a hard spot for the providers trying to wiggle out of what they have been offering. Why don't they simply refuse to offer/continue the "unlimited" plans and just be honest about it?

Comment Re:Stupid people are stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 956

You make a judgement call, and the teachers here erred on the side of caution. Imagine if this kid was a terrorist and it actually was a bomb, and they had done nothing. I bet you would be the first first person screaming "A muslim kid who no one knows shows up to school carrying a box with a timer on it and NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING??"

Sorry, but erring on the side of caution would be to look at the clock and inspect it for explosives. Or to politely say that because of nervousness around things that look like bombs, they need to take it away and ask the police to look at it. And then when it turns out to be a clock, apologize profusely and say he can pick it up at the end of the day.

Intense questioning, perp walk in handcuffs, and fingerprinting at juvie is an epic level of overreaction. Nobody disputes that it was anything more than a bomb. He didn't leave it somewhere where it would be mistaken for a bomb, he had it in his backpack, and it only came to light because it had an alarm he had to silence. I like the notion that somebody else posted - a public apology by everyone involved, either in the form of a letter to all the parents, a student assembly, or both.

Comment Re:"Drug Companies Seek to Exploit"!!! (Score 1) 93

Drug companies have no intrrest in researching cures.

Drug companies are for-profit. While there is obviously immense profit in providing treatment for maladies, there is a very limited profit available in cures.

Thus, drug companies do not have any intention of curing anything. It would be bad for business, you see.

And yet, I was just reading that there are multiple new (and phenomenally expensive) drugs that cure Hepatitis C. Insurers don't want to pay for the cure, because the course of drugs necessary for the cure can run in excess of $100K. And the latest drug is better than the previous cure, but even more expensive.

Presumably the companies bringing the cure to market are different than the ones selling the palliative care, so they have an incentive to sell the cure.

Comment Re:Outsource polling (Score 1) 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall