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Comment: Re:Medical services need total billing clarity (Score 1) 570

by darkfuture (#47596323) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
Sounds like a huge scam to me. A business that can't tell you the cost up front is hiding something. Either they are a poorly run business or are trying to over charge you. Maybe the extra co-pay is just an attempt at extra billing and they know that only some percentage of people will pay it. Maybe it all is coordinated by the different facilities to get as much as they can out of those that do pay.

Why is it that you have to pay more than the insurance company pays?

I come from Canada but live in far away country where I pay for insurance myself. There, all costs are known in advance, even if required services are not. The insurance company pays the total bill and then pays me money for missed time at work.

Back in my own country for the summers, I have recently had the misfortune to need medical service. While the service providers are frequently surprised that there is someone who is not covered by the government run system, they know upfront and exactly what it will cost. I can call around to find the cheapest walk-in clinic. There it is cash only paid in advance.

At a privately run lab test company, they told me exactly what the cost was for each test and billed my credit card, in advance.

Even at the ER of a hospital they told me the cost in advance and again I paid in advance with a credit card. The doctor filled out the forms and I was reimbursed by my insurance, 100%

What surprised me the most was how low the prices actually were. I was shocked to learn that various blood tests at the private lab cost from $3 to $11 each. Walk-in general visits varied from $40 - $70
Back when it was all free for me I had the impression that it was all very expensive and that somehow our taxes still paid it all.

Just like the idea that paying a toll for every turn that you take on the street not an ideal system and that government pays for all roads, without argument from the craziest of right wingers, I think the same goes for medical care. I have heard that 2 million people in the US are employed in processing medical insurance claims. All of that money could go into medical care.

Comment: FreeCommander (Score 1) 531

by darkfuture (#46385811) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?
For Windows, everything is listed by others, except:

FreeCommander

The best way to see your files and keep them organized.
Dual pane, drive letter across the top. You don't get lost deep in the tree where drive letters are several levels down already.
Most functions available from the keyboard
Tabs
Directory size option.
Preview files with F3, many file types supported.
Image thumbnail option.
Compare directories.
Handles LAN connections and FTP
Everything is configurable.

This is one of them main reasons that I don't use Linux all the time.

Comment: The company is 100% incompatible with the users (Score 1) 2219

by darkfuture (#46207447) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
The whole problem is the "company"

Ultimately, management does not care one little bit about the community that is slashdot. The only purpose that slashdot exists for them is to generate a profit. If the company alienates it core users but gets twice the number of new people and make a profit, then that is what they want. They may actually think that way, and either way, they don't care at all about the core users. They only care about how to use the slashdot.org domain name to make a profit. What they are less likely to think is that after the core users go away, the site will slowly die. But we see this happen all the time.

It is the current mindset that all societal functions should be owned by companies and thus are not worth existing if they are not profitable. We know that this is false because many functions are filled by non-profits and government. Government is inefficient and non-profits lack funds. However, that does not mean that the knee-jerk reaction that everything should be privatized is correct.

In general, the current idea on companies is that the customers and users exist for the benefit of the company. That is the wrong way around, companies exist for the benefit of the people. If a company serves of no use to society and/or harms people or other things more than the benefit to society, it really shouldn't exist. The "company" is an artificial legal entity, it is not just sanctioned by the government, it is defined by government. The reason for the company is to allow society to benefit from a business that doesn't end with the lifetime of the proprietor. (Sorry, no citation, but I do have a business degree. However, does it not stand to reason alone?) Rules are added to be sure that companies do not harm society. These days, companies have run amok and some are damaging society. Companies are even controlling governments now.

That is a really sorry state of affairs for the world to be in, and it is the reason for what my username is.

Slashdot currently serves a very useful function for it's users and thus it is useful to society. However, with the current methods to value assets of a company, that means nothing. In general, there is no know solution to this conundrum.
However, given that slashdot is a dot org, why is slashdot not a non-profit entity supported entirely by it users? If it was a non-profit, then the management goals would truly be aligned with those of the users. Given who the slashdot user community is, the entire site could be run by the users.

Why not just get a new domain like slashdot.cc and recreate the functionality required?

Comment: The End of Science in the US (Score 1) 253

by darkfuture (#46207405) Attached to: A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back
There seems to be a huge lack of objectivity in science in the US today. Without government support for objective science, it all become politicized. When business runs science, it is just propaganda. Eventually people will become less healthy as the environment dies.
Everything in the US seems to be about ideology now. Fact do not matter, reality does not matter. It seems that nobody cares about reality, just ideology. Even on slashdot, ideology arguements abound.
The trouble, the ideologues can never see factual reality, they are blind to reason.

A business that makes a profit, while destroying the environment is just a wealth transfer vehicle. In economic terms that is a transfer of wealth to a few private hands from the people of the country. It would be cheaper overall just to tax the poor and hand the money to the rich, that way you would save the environment.

Comment: It is the substance that counts not style (Score 1) 2219

by darkfuture (#46194423) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
Especially to the /. audience. People are tired of following trends for the sake of following trendiness. It seems that people follow trendiness when they have no idea of what better to do. That is essentially what you mean, above. My impression of trendiness is that it goes against good ui design principles. Every time a website is "updated" I find it less useable, less informative, I use it less, I buy from them less. The concept of making something both trendy and easier for new users is worst of all for current users.
I have a business degree, I know the theory, how it is supposed to work. However, through my life experience I think that the basic premise is wrong for product based companies. Product trumps marketing. Marketing slowly destroys product based companies. I think that the reason may be that the true value, to the customer, of product based companies is not measured by any method taught in business school. If it can't be measured, the MBA don't know it exists and it gets lost in changes made by them. For marketing base companies, the 4 P's apply. For product based companies, product is central, marketing is on the outside and should not interfere in the product. The people serving the customers are the ones that know how the product should be changed. The management should be partly formed from promoted product people, they are the business experts. At least that is my personal theory. And, it is the actual way business worked until the MBA's came along.

/.'s product is the unique user base. I hope that I am right to call them product people. They are technical people who create products for their companies. (correct me if I am wrong.)
Looking trendy is not important for these people. I think this is correct, given the feedback. People like this are not surface people, they care about substance, not your trendy ui. I would venture to say that you don't want users attracted by trendiness, they are surface people, not into deep meaning and will never be valuable contributors.

In my opinion, the most valuable new users will come by referral of some way, not by finding the site and evaluating it on it fashion-ability.
I got into /. for the content. Many comments are valuable insights by very knowledgeable people. A bad, or incorrect comment is quickly called out by an expert in the relevant field. You do not want to dilute this value with less technical people. Fewer knowledgeable people will make /. less valuable.
UNLESS that is the plan. Do you want to triple the users and you don't care if you alienate and reject the current user base? Is that the secret plan?

Everyone know that the value of a discussion forum goes down when it is diluted with less relevant comments.

Comment: Batteries not included? (Score 1) 284

by darkfuture (#42485551) Attached to: Scary Toothbrush Prompts Shutdown of World's Busiest Airport
Aren't batteries banned from checked in luggage? Or is that only for international flights?
I have had to remove batteries from checked in suitcases before, that was before 911. Also, I was not allowed to pack a spare notebook battery in checked baggage.
This was not in the US.

Comment: What an Amazing Opportunity! (Score 1) 402

by darkfuture (#40154987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Find a Job In China For Non-native Speaker?

The two most important languages of the future are English and Mandarin Chinese. You have mastered one, now do the other. Take a night course to start, you will meet other, employed Westerners. Who you know counts for a lot in Asia and you can frequently get a job this way. You might also find a Chinese reading and writing course for English speakers. It is not that hard once you understand the logic of Chinese characters. Learning to read and write Chinese is the most amazing thing that you can do.

Sending resumes before you go does not work, so don't let it get you down.

You also have the chance to get into the real Chinese social network, because your fiancée will. There are opportunities here, as another writer said above. Having a job is a good way to get a better one. Business is booming in Asia, there are new opportunities all of the time. It is not stable and level like in Canada.

Thing aren't like back back home, image counts for a lot. Looking the part gets you into places that you want to go. Get a custom made suit, get some nice casual clothes, it will be expected of you. You can watch the way people treat you differently depending on whether you dress up or dress down, it is almost funny. Like it or not, people will form opinions on you depending on how you dress. Don't be timid, to really fit in you will learn to do some things in a way that you would not do at home. Everything is completely different than what you are used to. so don't see problems when what you know doesn't work. Be sure to see the new things that you don't know. Some people can't take it, they go home quick, some people see an exciting new world to get to know and become adept at, then end up staying many years more than they intended.

Disobedience: The silver lining to the cloud of servitude. -- Ambrose Bierce

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