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Comment: Re:But that makes sense anyway. (Score 1) 185

by dogugotw (#34830226) Attached to: Hospital Wireless Networks May Be Regulated Medical Devices

The ability to share data across the world improves medical care. If a local physician can't quite read a scan, the scan can be shared to instantly which improves the overall care the patient receives. That's why you want this stuff on a network.

I work in the medical device industry and none of this is all that new. It's clear that the FDA wants companies it regulates to THINK ABOUT RISK and then show that you've mitigated the relevant risks and can prove that's true. It's not rocket science, and doesn't have to be that expensive. When you build a network, you figure this stuff out anyway; all the FDA wants you to do is WRITE DOWN what you did.

It can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be any more painful that good basic application control and change management.

Comment: Re:The six-million-dollar car (Score 1) 509

by dogugotw (#33170560) Attached to: Building the Zero-Fatality Car

So, I had this friend several years back, who looked at driving safety another way. The goal is to make the driver VERY careful. His recommendation was to remove all safety gear; no seat belts, no head rests, no radar, nothing. Now, put a big metal spike right in the middle of the steering wheel and point it at the driver's solar plexus. Oh yeah, I'm not gonna hit anything EVER with that setup.

Comment: Re:Separate them (Score 1) 467

by dogugotw (#33170500) Attached to: Web-Based Private File Storage?

Our work email is explicitly 'for work only' and we're alerted that nothing is private.
Anything that enters or leaves our inbox, even if deleted immediately, is stored on a separate system for 10 years. It's available to us via a search plug-in to Outlook (email Xtender) so it means you don't have to keep every email you ever get, just search for it when you need it.
All outbound mail is scanned before it's sent to see if it might include anything secret (we make stuff for the military) or if it's being sent out of the US and we have to answer a prompt box if anything looks hinky to the system.
All files copied to any external drive are scanned to see if anything secret is on the way out. I haven't tried encrypting a file to see what happens.
All http traffic is scanned and logged.
Any call out of the building is logged (we have to punch in a personal code to dial out).
I'm betting the printers store data as well.

The hardware and software belongs to the company and they make sure we know it. If you're keeping anything personal on a work system, you're not using your head.

Comment: Learn VBA (Score 1) 346

by dogugotw (#33094258) Attached to: How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming?

Here's the tip off... "for example marketers or small business owners"

These folks LIVE in Excel and Word. VBA is a perfectly good language that integrates with what they use all day, every day. There are tons of examples available. They typically have real problems to solve where the data exists in Excel. For that matter, LEARN Excel. That app has enough bells and whistles to keep a person busy for a lifetime; do they know how to use pivot tables? How about the offset method for chart ranges? Stats? IRR and other financial computations? Connect to remote data sets including web pages? It's all in there.

The main point, as others have mentioned, is that the key to getting into programming is to have a problem to solve, then pick a tool to solve it. Excel/Word/VBA provides an easy entry point for exactly this to happen.

If they can do VBA, they can then branch out and learn other languages.

Comment: Damn, shoulda read this before I did the upgrade (Score 1) 567

by dogugotw (#32042478) Attached to: Ubuntu Linux 10.04 Review (Lucid Lynx)

Crap crap crap....should have read all the doom/gloom/you're gonna die if you update too soon stuff last night before I upgraded to 10.04 LTS...CRAP...

Oh wait...it's working perfectly, no problems during or after the upgrade...I'm being set up, right? WHEN OH WHEN will it all fall in the crapper and my life be RUINED?

I've found that the last couple of upgrades on both my desktop and laptop have gone swimmingly well. Hat's off to the release teams!

Comment: Re:Dogs can fly too (Score 2, Interesting) 143

by dogugotw (#31435846) Attached to: New Phone Allows Bosses To Snoop On Staff

A few years back, the Iditarod added GPS trackers to some of the top drivers sleds so their position and speed could be displayed to users who subscribed to the 'Iditarod Insider' service. One of the guys wasn't too happy about this and gave his tracker to one of the supply aircraft...Lookie... is now going 150 mph, in the wrong direction, at 3000' agl...awesome dog team!

Actually, the experiment went over really well with those who follow the race so this year everyone got a tracker. It's pretty cool to be able to see how everyone is doing in real time. The mushers don't have access to the data so they're still going cross country using old school technology (eyes and brain).

Comment: Re: FDA approval, etc. (Score 2) 422

by dogugotw (#30814568) Attached to: Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money

So here's the rub. If 'the government' backs off and lets device and drug companies be less rigorous and more nimble in their work, whoo whoo...more change in less time, innovation, costs drop, new products stream onto the market...yeah.....happy day....
Until someone gets hurt because the company didn't do the things you should do when designing products that are supposed to save lives. A couple of years back the FDA did exactly this to a company making...ohhh flu vaccine. Seems they cut the company a bit too much slack and the entire batch was crap, had to be recalled, and people didn't get flu shots. Guess who spent time sitting in front of a congressional committee explaining what happened? YOU want to explain the congress why companies are killing people?
I work in the industry and as much as I chafe under the paperwork, I have to admit that the only thing the FDA is doing is making us do what we SHOULD be doing. Is it expensive? You betcha. But I, for one, don't want MY health damaged because someone wanted to get product x to market just a bit faster and for a lower cost.

Comment: Not exactly (Score 1) 422

by dogugotw (#30814490) Attached to: Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money

Medical devices, like drugs, cost money because the company has to prove to the FDA that their device does what it says it does and that the risk the device presents is less than the benefit derived from the device. It's not uncommon for a device to take up to 5 years to get through the design/validation process. If Nintendo decides to offer the Wii balance board as a medical device, you can bet your bippy it'll cost more than $100.

Comment: Lotus Notes (Score 1) 438

by dogugotw (#28301975) Attached to: How To Manage Hundreds of Thousands of Documents?

If you don't want to go the google appliance route, Notes works great, is cheap to set up, and simple to administer.
One db.
One form with a couple of fields
One view
Render to the web
Write a simple agent that crawls your directory structure, snags the files and attach each one to a Notes doc. Stuff in the directory/file name if you care.
Let Notes build an index (and it can index damn near any file).
Poof - done.
Remove user's rights to leave crap in file directories and make 'em put new stuff into Notes and you have something that's maintainable without a ton of work.
If you then want to get fancy, you can make users enter some meta data before they can save new docs.
You can set up access control, etc, etc, etc.

Documentum costs about a quarter mil just to get it in the door and a boat load of cash to make it useful. (at least it did in the late '90s).
Notes server license a couple grand. If you need user authentication, it's around $150/client (ask your rep for prices because IBM is working tons of price schemes). If you don't need authentication, all you need is the server license.

Comment: Re:Excel. (Score 1) 186

by dogugotw (#28148271) Attached to: Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits?

Notes really isn't all that expensive. The server software can be had for less than a couple of grand and the clients cost about $150. If you opt for an ongoing service agreement, you pay per year and get updates. If you opt to buy and hold, your initial cost is the total cost. It handles email, apps, security, your web presence, etc. There are any number of third party apps built on Notes so if you don't have a developer, just buy a package. If you're a fan of 'Getting Things Done', it's been done (nicely) in a Notes app.

Comment: Re:Old Computers (Score 1) 289

by dogugotw (#27793711) Attached to: Hospital Equipment Infected With Conficker

If you look at pretty much any 'big' software (Oracle for instance), it includes the same exclusion.

In regulated environments, it's the responsibility of the system user to define the intended use of a system then validate to that intended use. Just because the vendor says 'do not use for important stuff' doesn't mean WE can't validate that the system works for us the way we want.
The comments others make about the validation effort are spot on. If I patch one of my production servers, I'm supposed to do a risk assessment, determine what might be affected by the patch, develop a test plan to address the potential risk, get the test plan approved, execute the test plan, document the results, write a report, get that signed, then get signed authorization to implement the patch. Think 'Service Pack' which contains a hundred or more discrete patches...
Toss hands in air, patch and pray...
It's worse for medical devices because you CANNOT patch and pray.
Oh, and while you're trying to figure out how to manage software that's not in your hands, you (the software engineer) are supposed to be creating the 'next big thing' for your company so you can keep making money.
That's why we have a couple of systems on our production floor still using Win 98. Not stupid, but a practical choice.

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