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Comment: timing - which year (Score 2) 72

by SteveWoz (#47628049) Attached to: Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

I travel a ton and stay in dozens of different hotels every year. Domestically, and in maybe 50% of the foreign cases, the high priced hotels had worse and slower internet up until a couple of years ago. For the last 2 years they have gotten better, on the average. Oh, I was in a 5-star Vegas resort last night that had horrible bandwidth. In the past, my joke was accurate that the difference between a Four Seasons (just an example) and a Super 8 is that at the Super 8 the internet worked and was free. The most important thing to me in a hotel is computer use. The fancy suites in major hotels are often set up for entertaining friends and DON'T even have a computer desk. I ask my wife to book me into Super 8's whenever possible.

Comment: Instead of a degree, try this (Score 1) 637

by johnnyb (#47619807) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

I actually noticed this trend about 8 years ago, and wrote a book to solve it. The book is called Programming from the Ground Up. It is a Linux-based assembly language book, but also teaches a lot about systems programming in general, but without being too technical.

For the other CS-oriented stuff that they don't teach, the two books you should get are how to design programs and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. After that, I have written a series of articles to apply those ideas to "real" programming languages on IBM's developerWorks. You can find links to them here.

Comment: Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

by SteveWoz (#47357639) Attached to: Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

Comment: Early Detection (Score 5, Informative) 22

by johnnyb (#46445141) Attached to: Sniffing Out Cancer With Electronic Noses

The problem with early detection is that many diseases are actually benign in their early stages, and, when detected, their detection can actually cause more harm for the patient. For instance, early cancer detection increases the likelihood that the patient will start chemo. Some cancers wind up being handled by the body, but *all* chemo treatments harm patients. So, early detection sometimes leads to more harm than benefit (plus an unfortunate issue with "success" rates - the cancer treatments get to include in their "success" count cancers that the body would have cleaned up anyway).

Comment: Re:Still profitable.. (Score 1) 132

by johnnyb (#46413133) Attached to: Oregon Withholding $25.6M From Oracle Over Health Website Woes

"Or are those contracts written so horribly that the company gets paid for a nonfunctional product?"

The problem is that a lot of these types of contracts are written with a clause such that launching them publicly is an implicit acceptance of the project as a finished product. So, since they at least tried to launch it, that means that the project is "finished", and everything else is billed hourly on top of it.

Comment: Re:Oracle Services (Score 2) 132

by johnnyb (#46413099) Attached to: Oregon Withholding $25.6M From Oracle Over Health Website Woes

It has been over a decade since I last worked with Oracle, so things may have changed. But when I worked on an Oracle project, it cost a huge amount of money, took way too long, didn't work well, and required double the number of staff to manage the application. After Oracle left, a second company came along behind who specializes in fixing stuff that Oracle broke. This company, I don't remember its name, literally does its business as cleaning up Oracle's trash. They didn't even promise good results, only "I know how much pain you are in, we'll make it not hurt quite so much." Interestingly, this particular project wound up as a "success story" on Oracle's website.

Comment: Does Everything Have to Be Electronic? (Score 1, Insightful) 108

by johnnyb (#44568843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Printing Options For Low-Resource Environments?

I know everyone wants an electronic everything, but it sounds like in your situation paper records may actually be optimal. If you have to have a paper system in place anyway, why do the added expense of going digital as well? Sometimes, what is really needed is to optimize the paper system, rather than replace it with an electronic one.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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