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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.

Security

40 Million Identities Up For Sale On the Web 245

Posted by kdawson
from the big-fat-target dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Highly sensitive financial information, including credit card details, bank account numbers, telephone numbers, and even PINs are available to the highest bidder. The information being traded on the Web has been intercepted by a British company and collated into a single database for the first time. The Lucid Intelligence database contains the records of 40 million people worldwide, mostly Americans; four million are Britons. Security experts described the database as the largest of its kind in the world. The database is in the hands of Colin Holder, a retired senior Metropolitan police officer who served on the fraud squad. He has collected the information over the past four years. His sources include law enforcement from around the world, such as British police and the FBI, anti-phishing and hacking campaigners, and members of the public. Mr. Holder said he has invested £160,000 in the venture so far. He plans to offset the cost by charging members of the public for access to his database to check whether their data security has been breached."
Medicine

Merck Created Phony Peer-Review Medical Journal 213

Posted by timothy
from the do-they-meet-atop-the-space-needle-or-what dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Don't believe everything you read on the internet is a good rule to follow, but it turns out that you can't even believe a 'peer reviewed scientific journal' as details emerge that drug manufacturer Merck created a phony, but real sounding, peer-review journal titled the 'Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine' to publish data favorable to its products. 'What's sad is that I'm sure many a primary care physician was given literature from Merck that said, "As published in Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, Fosamax outperforms all other medications...."' writes Summer Johnson in a post on the website of the American Journal of Bioethics. One Australian rheumatologist named Peter Brooks who served as an 'honorary advisory board' to the journal didn't receive a single paper for peer-review in his entire time on the board, but it didn't bother him because he apparently knew the journal did not receive original submissions of research. All this is probably not too surprising in light of Merck's difficulties with Vioxx, the once $2.5 billion a year drug that was pulled from the market in September 2004, after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke in long-term users resulting in payments by Merck of $4.85 billion to settle personal injury claims from former users, but it bears repeating that 'if physicians would not lend their names or pens to these efforts, and publishers would not offer their presses, these publications could not exist.'"
Networking

Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables 837

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We have a T1 line coming into our satellite office and we rely fairly heavily on it to transfer large amounts of data over a VPN to the head office across the country. Recently, we decided to upgrade to a 20 Mbit line. Being the lone IT guy here, it fell on me to run cable from the ISP's box to our server room so I went out and bought a spool of Cat6. I mentioned the purchase and the plan to run the cable myself to my boss in head office and in an emailed response he stated that it's next to impossible to create quality cable (ie: cable that will pass a Time Domain Reflectometer test) by hand without expensive dies, special Ethernet jacks and special cable. He even went so far as to say that handmade cable couldn't compare to even the cheapest Belkin cables. I've never once ran into a problem with handmade patch cables. Do you create your own cable or do you bite the bullet and buy it from some place?"

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.
Government

Washington State Wants DNA From All Arrestees 570

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-feel-safer-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes in to say that "Suspects arrested in cases as minor as shoplifting would have to give a DNA sample before they are even charged with a crime if a controversial proposal is approved by the Legislature. "It is good technology. It solves crimes," claims Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Under the bill, authorities would supposedly destroy samples and DNA profiles from people who weren't charged, were found not guilty or whose convictions were overturned. Others believe that this is just another step in the process to build a national DNA database with everyone in it."

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.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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