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Routine DNA Tests For Newborns Mean Looming Privacy Problems 268 268

pogopop77 writes "CNN has an interesting story about how newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent. However, many states store that DNA information indefinitely, and even make it available to researchers with little or no privacy safeguards. Sometimes even the names are attached! Here is information on state-by-state policies (PDF) of the handling of the DNA information."

Comment 150: 1 is Decent.. (Score 4, Interesting) 414 414

You have more than double that so i'd say you are pretty understaffed. I saw a video once that was actually pretty intelligent in talking about standard support ratios. Basically, there isn't a "standard" the answer is almost always "it depends". You start with your userbase - how tech savvy are they? How many applications are you supporting? What kind of hardware do you have? How many remote supporting tools do you have to use? Each of these answers adjusts the support ratio up and down and sometimes something as low as 75:1 is needed and other times 300:1 is just fine.

Still, in the place I work now we have 600 machines and 40 servers or so (most virtualized) and we have 13 IT people (with 1 open position right now). This includes 1 helpdesk person, 2 programmers, 2 systems support personnel (they support specific software we use), 2 hardware techs, 2 network analysts, 3 systems engineers, a secretary, and the boss.

Comment Re:Block Data? (Score 3, Informative) 178 178

Except according to the FCC Letter and the NY Times article, even after blocking this particular mobile web data access, you still have to PAY for the blocked notification to come up since it uses data to show you that! Slick business practices Verizon has going on here.

Comment Re:Android WILL take over. (Score 2, Insightful) 330 330

Arguably, Apple has had great success by having a completely closed system which is why the argument that Android will succeed because it is open is such a fallacy in my opinion.

Android may be great, but its implementation is different on every Android phone. Different hardware, different features, different amounts of android functionality. You don't really have a consistent user experience any more than you do with Windows Mobile. Also, I bet that apps will not run the same across the hardware since so many different phones running Android have a wide variety of specs. I can see it turning into the nightmare that game/application developers have when making an application for the PC - you have a few hundred million permutations of possible hardware combinations in your potential user-base - good luck getting it to work properly and consistently on all of them!

Even to this day nearly every app made for the iPhone/iPod Touch will work very consistently across every version. Granted, the newer versions of the iPhone and iPod touch run and load the applications faster than their predecessors but the overall hardware that the developer has to deal with is very nicely uniform. This is also one of the core reasons why I think that the 360 and PS3 and Wii have such success compared to the PC for gaming. When you buy a game for those platforms you expect that you can take it home and it will just work.

I'm excited to see Android provide some real competition to Apple but realistically, even if Verizon does get the iPhone because Apple is facing strong competition from Google's mobile OS, do I really want to go back to Verizon? They have a great network sure, but they also had crappy customer service, dicked with their phones by disabling features and then trying to sell them back to me, doubled their smartphone cancellation fee and employ all kinds of scumbag tactics including selling unlimited data plans that aren't unlimited. Why is everyone so keen on being their customer again?

Comment Re:Free market (Score 3, Interesting) 555 555

One of my friends unlocked his Blackberry and enabled tethering without paying Verizon the tethering fee. He was playing MMOs via the phone's internet connection and this lasted for about half a month before Verizon noticed and disconnected him. When he opened up a web browser they showed him a message telling him that he was tethering without paying for it and offered to re-enable it for a few dollars a month. All he had to do was click "ok" and it automatically added tethering to his bill and re-enabled the access instantly.

They are doing something to track if you are tethering and not paying for, possibly just by watching the usage and what kinds of things you are doing (for example - WoW packets showing up on the phone automatically means tethering since the phone itself isn't capable of playing World of Warcraft).

Comment I have a G1 Intel X-25M (Score 5, Informative) 195 195

..and it is fantastic. This was the largest performance increase i've seen on computers in over a decade. I was going to go with a Velociraptor because I knew how important drive access latency was but then Intel patched the fragmentation issue that was worrying me.

I got mounting rails to fit the drive into my desktop case so i'm using it as my primary desktop drive for OS, some applications (Adobe Design Premium Suite runs great on it! Photoshop CS4 loads in 3-4 seconds!), and my main games. I then have a 1.5 TB secondary drive to store my data and music collection etc. I paid around $430 for my 80GB Intel X25-M so being able to get the 160GB for that same price is a fantastic improvement. I will definitely only be going SSD in my machines from now on. Everything loads faster, I get consistently fast boot times even after months of usage.

It is amazing to see Windows XP load up and then all of the system tray apps pop up in a few seconds. You can immediately start loading things like e-mail and Firefox as soon as the desktop appears and there is no discernible lag on first load like you will get with SATA drives since they are still trying to load system tray applications.

Comment Re:I would hardly call that Hulu competition. (Score 2, Insightful) 66 66

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the PlayOn software that i've been using for the past year. It only cost me $30 and as long as you already own some sort of game console (360 and PS3 are supported now, Wii support coming soon) it is a better solution than the Roku box.

You run the PlayOn software on your machine and it transcodes internet streams into a format your console can recognize as a media server over your home network. I can watch things from Hulu, CBS, ESPN, Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon VOD. I can also watch movies or listen to music stored on my computer's hard drive itself. This lets me easily watch Hulu on my 50" HDTV instead of at my computer monitor.

The last few updates have vastly improved the reliability of the streams and you have the ability to pause, fast forward and rewind streams. The ads on Hulu are still included and PlayOn pretends to be a browser so I think that is why Hulu hasn't gone after them yet to stop the streaming. Hulu only does 1 ad per commercial break though (so far) so it isn't very annoying at all.


Scientists Find Hole In Earth's Magnetic Field 200 200

Velorium writes "The Earth's magnetic field has been found to have two large holes that are making Earth's surface vulnerable to solar winds. Despite what scientists originally thought, these holes allow 20 times the normal amount of solar particles through when they are facing away from the sun. This is the opposite of what the scientists had first speculated."

Comment Re:Wii got it right (Score 0, Redundant) 583 583

I think you missed the point, this /. summary is just a typical hit-job against Microsoft. The discs only get scratched if you re-orient the console WHILE the disc is being USED. This is a stupid idea to do with ANY disc-based system. Shut the console down and re-orient it and it works 100% fine.

I've used a 360 on its side and vertically and it works fine either way - just don't change orientation while a game is being played!

Comment Re:hate up ... not necessarily (Score 1) 278 278

I'd argue that those countries don't have nearly the global influence and impact (good or bad) that the United States does. I'm not saying that out of national pride, it's just the truth.

The U.S. is a bigger target because our policies and funding affect more people. We choose to support a country such as say, Israel, and now we have 10 other countries hating our guts because they don't like Israel. What you are arguing for is isolationism, but that has its own issues. If we quit allying with other countries many will then complain that we have so much power and influence but don't use it to help those less fortunate, either through foreign aid or defense.

Comment Maybe it is just me... (Score 4, Insightful) 278 278

I'm not a warmonger or anything like that, but if the system has a 1 in 10 chance of stopping a nuclear missile or other rogue missile launched at a U.S. city (say mine), i'd rather have that chance than zero chance if we don't have the system.

You say Obama will just fix all the countries hating us with his new world diplomacy, but there will always be people who don't like us (this isn't Star Trek Utopia), so the likelihood of there being at some point in the future some sort of threat similar to this to us or one of our allies, is highly likely.

They've had many successes with the system so far and already have it deployed on some ships and land-based areas. Also, who says if a real missile were launched at us we wouldn't launch multiple kill vehicles. If we have 50 interceptors sitting at one base and a missile coming in, nothing says you can't launch more than one to try to take it down and/or deal with the counter measures.


Submission + - Spam King commits murder and suicide

kooky45 writes: Eddie Davidson, the Colorado "Spam King" who escaped from Federal custody on Sunday has committed murder and suicide. News article

Convicted penny-stock spammer Eddie Davidson has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, apparently after killing his wife and three year-old daughter in his home town of Bennet, Colorado, the US Department of Justice has said

Happiness is a positive cash flow.