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Comment: MN- good turnout early (Score 1) 821

by cunamara (#41897627) Attached to: U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?
My wife went to vote at 7:30 and had a 45 minute wait. I went at 8:45 and had a 15 minute wait. Minnesota typically has high voter turnout (and paper ballots that can be recounted) and the pattern I saw today seemed about on par with the past 5 presidential elections. Vote as if your country depends on it... because it does.

Comment: Better than during the Bush years (Score 1) 524

by cunamara (#41544355) Attached to: Are you better off than you were four years ago?
I've been in my career 22 years and by now am one of the leading practitioners in my field, so at the level of income it's a wash. But my 401(k) looks a lot better than it did when the Republicans let the economy hurtle towards the abyss (with the able collusion/incompetent opposition of the Democrats). My wife was unemployed by the end of the Bush regime and has had a job for 3 years now that includes health insurance and a retirement plan, so she is much better off than the job she had before that. But lots and lots of people have been hurt. Heck, millionaires have been collecting unemployment!

Comment: Not getting the picture (Score 1) 1154

by cunamara (#41269085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Would You Fix the Linux Desktop?
Reading through many of these comments I think I see the problem you don't: Linux sucks to use unless you are skilled in using it. The market share of Linux/BSD/etc. is less than 1% because it is too hard to use for 99% of the computing public. Compile their own applications? Seriously? Write a shell script- what's that, a play written for mollusks? Try to find a driver for their printer? Sync their iPhone or iPad or Android phone? If it's not plug and play most computer users cannot operate it. Thee folks want to bring their new computer home, turn it on and be able to use it. They don't want to configure stuff. They don't want to read a manual. They don't want to learn about it. They don't give a baboon's ass crack about the differences between the GPLs. They just want to use it and look at Facebook and Pinterest and send Aunt Martha an e-mail with a LOLcat they found. Why do you think the Web browser is the only application most computer users run? They've figured out how it works. That's why people buy Macs and Windows- those companies have spent time figuring out how to make software usable and make the interface work. Linux geeks tend to wear unusability like a badge of honor. They like having 400 ways to make their interface unique to their needs. That scares off everybody else. You want to make Linux catch on? Figure out an interface that is as simple and elegant and attractive as the Mac, not the 20 year old quasi medieval look that most Linux interfaces sport. Too much of it still looks like Windows95.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 303

by cunamara (#30552602) Attached to: Jobs Finally "Happy" With Unannounced Apple Tablet

Here's what I want a high quality, fast and truly usable tablet for: medical care. It should be possible to walk into a patient's room carrying a clipboard sized device that resembled a giant iphone.

As a psychologist working in medical settings I want a similar thing. I want an integrated system with a touchscreen that allows me to take notes while talking to my patients and generate a readable, final report from that information. I'd probably have to get the devkit and write the app myself. Using a laptop creates too much separation from the patient- they feel you're paying more attention to the computer than to them. As a jazz guitarist, I want an 8.5 x 11" or A4 form factor that will allow me to use digitized lead sheets instead of having to lug 500 pages of sheet music with me.

The biggest technical problems I foresee are back end problems, problems with the EMR software, and battery life.(hospital IT departments tend to fuck things up. If they bought a bunch of apple tablets, they probably wouldn't build and maintain the back end servers and wireless AP correctly)

Hospital IT departments and EMR programmers can't even manage sane password and username requirements ("passwords must have twelve characters with at least one and no more than two capitals and three digits, and must not match any of your ten previous passwords." Meaning everyone has to write down their username and passwords to keep track of them, creating a security risk. Duh.). They are a particular subtype of paranoid electron jockey who fail to understand that their job is to make information *available* to providers, not hide it from them.

Remember, YOU (the typical slashdotter running Linux with a windows box for games on desktop machines) are not the intended users for this tablet. YOU probably sit at a desk all day. You have enough technical expertise that tinkering is fun for you, and you don't mind the idea of a tablet on kludgey, cheap hardware that is running open source software.

There's always an inherent culture clash between computer enthusiasts and information appliance users. The majority of users fall into the latter category while the majority of Slashdotters are in the former group. If you understand regexps, you're probably out of touch with most users.

Comment: Re:As we've seen. (Score 1) 294

by cunamara (#26997971) Attached to: The Future of Google Chrome
I agree. When considering the statement "The web is becoming an integral part of the computer and the basic distinction between the OS and the browser doesn't matter very much any more," one has to consider the bias of the source. My laptop spends the majority of its time not connected to the internets and that time is its most important use as a tool- I make my living in part with my computer offline. The OS matters much more to me than the browser- I can use Safari, Camino, Firefox, etc. with equal outcomes (Google hasn't yet released Chrome for OS X). The browser is just an application. Google is positioning the browser as middleware- more than a browser, less than an OS.

Comment: DUH! (Score 1) 583

by cunamara (#26765543) Attached to: Microsoft May Be Targeting the Ubuntu Desktop
"what is it about desktop Linux, and specifically Ubuntu, that has Microsoft spooked?" How dumb a question is that? Linux runs on the same hardware as Windows and is free. OS X does not (without more hacking than the vast majority of computer users can do). With distributions like Ubuntu, Linux becomes an easily installed option.

Comment: Re:How is this bad? (Score 1) 282

by cunamara (#26647677) Attached to: Cox Communications and "Congestion Management"

As long as the P2P apps and file transfers can run at full speed when nothing time sensitive is using the network, this is the RIGHT way to do things.

But it won't. Look at what's being throttled: decentralized services that are not controlled by a content provider. The point is not Web congestion, data flow, etc. The point is to centralize access to data by disadvantaging decentralized services, so that it's easier to wring more profit from the Internet. This is about nothing more than separating users from their money.

Comment: With added power comes the risk of abuse (Score 2, Interesting) 136

by cunamara (#26506323) Attached to: Electronic Medical Records, the Story So Far

I'm a psychologist and work for a large clinic (93 clinicians, 25 support staff, five clinic locations and a lot of "out in the field" services). My specialty is nursing home services; there are about 15 of us in the nursing home division and we work in about 150 nursing homes. Often a client is referred to me and it turns out they were seen by a colleague in another nursing home. If we had an EMR that I could query remotely, I could find that out and streamline the delivery of services and provide better care. This would be the "added power" part of the discussion and the rosy picture that EMRs present

The flip side is that computer security is not reliable. Any system connected to the outside world can be hacked remotely one way or another. We have thousands of clients with a lot of sensitive data sitting in our files, currently in locked cabinets behind two locked doors with limited access to maximize security as much as we can. The risk of data exposure is minimal and happens as a result of sloppiness by practitioners (e.g. leaving a file sitting on a desk unwatched). With an EMR, however, the risk of exposure is potentially much higher (e.g., downloading *all* the files instead of swiping or reading just one).

We have made no provisions for using an EMR in our clinic. We have a computerized billing system which contains insurance information and diagnostic codes- only the information required to send out a bill- but none of our clinical records are in an EMR. AFAIK we are not required to do so.

The typical page layout program is nothing more than an electronic light table for cutting and pasting documents.

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