Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:They said that about cell phones (Score 1) 386

by maple_shaft (#48704953) Attached to: The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

Robotic cars are not about creating a new transportation system, it is about fixing a design flaw in the current system that causes tens of thousands of deaths each year: the human driver.

Forgive me being pedantic about this but robotic drivers are not necessarily going to prevent all accidents and all auto fatalities even in a perfect world where every driver is robotic. We still have acts of God, things outside of a computers control that can't be reacted to fast enough to prevent an accident. I am thinking about deer and fauna specifically jumping into a highway. Many people die from this alone every year. /pendantic

Comment: Hardware keyboards not the issue with Blackberry (Score 2) 132

by maple_shaft (#48632881) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

I used to be a Blackberry fan back in the day when it was ahead of the curve. It wasn't until a year and half ago that I tried an Android phone for the first time and I was shocked at how much better quality I have. There simply is no other way to describe how BlackBerry fails on every mark in the current day.

The OS crashed frequently. The app store had a terrible selection and the apps that existed were poor quality and buggy. The browser was slow and difficult to use. The speaker was awful quality whether I was on the phone or playing music, and it got even worse when I connected my headphone jack or auxilliary cable into my car's stereo. The sound quality was easily 4x improved on my Android. Voice command? Laughably bad. I couldn't even get it to recognize the word "Call".

The only thing I miss about it is the physical keyboard which I do type faster on, however that is just simply not enough to keep their dwindling customer base. They didn't keep up and now they are essentially dead. Just like with the Republican party, I will never go back again as long as I live.

Comment: Re:I absoluetly bet it is Sex Blackmail! (Score 1) 580

by maple_shaft (#48632791) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

It amazes me that people can't REALLY see what is going on here. You are almost at the inevitable conclusion and I agree with everything you said, however...

The evidence is pretty weak that North Korea was involved. Decompilation of the malware on Sony machines revealed that there were hard coded file paths to extremely specific targeted resources on their network. This isn't the kind of information that a hacker would just be able to figure out and code to. Add into this mounting skepticism over the threat letter by linguists claiming that the misspellings and poor english in the letter looked intentional and even speculated that it appeared to read like an American trying to possibly come off as Korean. Let me further also add that the information obtained would have been incredibly valuable if the attacker had blackmail in mind. This information could have made the attacker wealthy if the threat of revealing it to the world still existed, however if the attacker were truly motivated by money then why put it out there for the world to see?

North Korea is incredibly unlikely to do this without help from the Chinese, and what would the Chinese stand to benefit from helping them hack Sony over a comedy?! The attackers didn't reveal the threat until after speculation about the Interview and N. Korea started occurring. It seems too convenient that the attacker can latch onto this dialogue to turn a potential criminal investigation away from himself(s).

The most likely conclusion is that this was clearly an inside job. The evidence overwhelmingly points to this and to the fact that the insider was not motivated by money but by a deep hatred and revenge for Sony and its executives. It must be a disgruntled employee. The government of course wants to push the dialogue that N.Korea was involved so that they have justification for action against N. Korea and/or China. Perhaps they want justification for cyber war with the Chinese and governmental control and protections for American Corporations that run our government.

Comment: Re:Is it more difficult? (Score 1) 241

by maple_shaft (#48587269) Attached to: Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

It's like IT has become superficial and vacuous, and the decisions are being made by idiots who don't know which parts of technology add value to the business/support core business activities and are necessary.

I think it is pretty obvious that IT has become superficial and vacuous because the people leading IT in most organizations are superficial and vacuous status seekers. A long long time ago IT departments were typically run by the grey beards that were running network cables and standing up servers before they were promoted to management. Having had a long career of rolling their sleeves up, they were by and large adequately prepared to lead in IT services for the company.

Today organizations proudly proclaim that they merge business and IT so that the benefits of IT can be greater realized. It sounds good on paper, but what happened in reality is that business folks have dominated the old IT departments. We have MBA's running the show now that do not understand the first thing about upgrading a woefully outdated legacy software package or performing necessary server maintenance.

Companies that used to promote their people from within no longer do. These departments are now riddled with the same problem people you see in middle management of most companies. Status seeking, brown-nosing, buzz word feeding, cost cutting and blame passing. It is easy to see why the departments they run are also superficial and vacuous.

Comment: Re:Snarky yet true (Score 1) 488

by maple_shaft (#48505403) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

Why aren't companies paying more people to work on Open Source projects.

The same reason that companies would continue to dump chemicals into our rivers, burn sooty disgusting coal, put asbestos in our homes or pay their people a non-living wage if there wasn't regulations to prevent these kinds of societal abuses. It is frankly because a company has a sole motive to make profit for owners and investors, and in a truly free market capitalistic society void of such restrictive regulations would result in a mutually assured destructive race to the bottom. If everybody else is dumping nuclear waste into a river then I can't afford not to. If my competitors factory is paying under $10/hr then i have to do the same to stay competitive. Once every player reaches the bottom there is no more collective bargaining for the workers or customers to vote with their feet. Where would they go? They have no choice to improve their situation.

So open source projects are in essence a microcosm for societal wealth, in that companies exploit the benefits of the society that they operate in and in their race to the bottom choose not to contribute back.

Comment: Why ask Slashdot of all forums?! (Score 2) 111

by maple_shaft (#48413757) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
This is probably one of the most unfriendly forums to yourself that you could possibly engage for feedback. Do you feel that you must defend yourself to the most critical audience? Or did you pull a Malcolm Gladwell and jump into a topic that you know nothing about it and then when you realize your in over your head, decide to try and twist the evidence to fit your ill conceived hypothesis?

Comment: Re:Anyone actually compare before and after?... (Score 1) 739

by maple_shaft (#48315069) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

You put a lot of thought into these things, here are my thoughts on various points you bring up:

Make healthcare prices more visible. I completely agree with this but to understand why they are not we have to think about how healthcare prices are determined. There is an annual (maybe bi-annual?) conference where some hundreds of physicians prominent in their branches of medicine and known as experts get together and discuss the appropriate costs and thus fair prices to be charged for just about any medical procedure that can possibly be billed for. The result of this conference is the price book for what Medicare will pay for anything. The medical community in its entirety basically uses this as their starting template for what private individuals and insurance companies should pay for their services as well. So some handful of people are setting some ridiculous prices year after year that are the very epicenter of rising costs. I bet you are already thinking in your head the major problem here. A handful of Gynecology physicians basically get together and decide what a fair price is for Medicare to pay them, it is the mother of conflict of interests. The higher price they set the more money they stand to make, especially if those physicians happen to be known as experts in a rare type of procedure that few know. They can come up with some extraordinary number and know people will come across the country to see them personally if one of those Gynecology experts doesn't happen to live in their city. Other factors for why they decide on a higher price usually have nothing to do with the procedure itself and sometimes if the insurance company decides to stop paying a proper amount for various medical supplies that are used in other procedures. They will often up charge with the anticipation that insurance companies will try to bilk them in other areas. The problem is a difficult one to solve especially since Medicare to be fair needs to know a fair market price and relies on experts in the field to tell them, so it really is the medical community in this country that really takes the lions share of blame here. How we solve that I don't know.

Send people a check and they can shop around. Assuming we solve the price transparency issue and rising costs, this might help to curb medical costs even more. I think market based healthcare can really only work if it is single payer to the patient and let them decide where to spend that money.

People abuse Emergency Rooms, they are always in the Red. Yes but if we had true single payer and people could actually get paid or reimbursed for non emergency healthcare then this problem mostly solves itself. Right now many hospitals pretty ingeniously recover a large chunk of that money lost in giving free and charity care to poor and disenfranchised peoples. They write off those losses on their books as charitable donations. If they can accumulate enough of these "charities" then they qualify for Non-Profit corporation status which gives them a slew of tax benefits that sometimes more than make up any operating losses in their emergency room.

Why don't people talk to doctors online and save money and time? This is already a thing and there are a lot of startups right now trying to solve this problem in an innovative way. People can post their symptoms and be connected with a physician or PA that can talk with them one on one and try to come up with a diagnosis. Perscriptions can be automatically filed and sent to your preferred pharmacy when applicable. Last I checked though, insurance won't pay for stuff like this until Medicare adds it to their price book and we come full circle back to the physician conference.

Comment: Re:Conservatives don't accept that Humans are anim (Score 1) 330

by maple_shaft (#48306919) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

Well no I didn't just preconceive an argument and try to find ways to support it. I did have an emotional reaction though but only because I used to be staunchly conservative and libertarian before I went through a period of transformation. I emotionally react to conservatives now with a disgust but also an understanding of the emotions that I had at the time. I had a particular disgust at that time with people that didn't live up to the standards of what i felt a quality person should be. I realized just how animalistic, primal and backwards the majority of humanity truly is and I lost faith that Libertarian values truly could better the human condition. I sort of became a Liberal in certain aspects, however in others I believe that an authoritarian government keeps our animal and predatory behaviors in line. Something akin to Socialism might work in a country with high amounts of wealth and only with high amounts of relative wealth, otherwise the country might do well if they are lucky enough for a benevolent monarchy. At least that gives a chance at a successful society. I very much believe a successful Libertarian society is never possible until such day that humanity transcends their more primal nature. Even moving in that direction is a bad idea as it allows bad behavior from powerful groups to further hurt people and cause societal unrest. It is in much the same way that in a third world African country without a strong dictator is run by powerful gangs that impoverish and hurt the common people. Strong government prevents abuses more often than causes them.

These are beliefs I built over my life based on my life experiences and triggered by deep emotional reactions. They molded the logic behind my observation just as you said. Pretty much what went through my head was that I had to google animal reminder disgust then it seemed obvious to me that since I view humanity as hopeless animals and since the birth of that belief in me was untenable with my previous Libertarian beliefs, that perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps a conservative or libertarian has a profoundly optimistic view of human nature and defaults to seeing people in the best possible light, that our default state is transcended human and not an ignorant ape. This thought gave me a positive emotional reaction (intuition).

Comment: Conservatives don't accept that Humans are animals (Score 1) 330

by maple_shaft (#48301439) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

From the article:

[quote]We proposed that conservatives, compared to liberals, have greater negativity bias [13], which includes both disgusting and threatening conditions in our study. Our finding that only disgusting pictures, especially in the animal-reminder category, differentiate conservatives from liberals might be indicative of a primacy for disgust in the pantheon of human aversions, but it is also possible that this result is due to the fact that, compared to threat, disgust is much easier to evoke with visual images on a computer screen.[/quote]

My take on this as a US liberal, is that this might be indicative of a conservative having an aversion to being reminded of how humans are little more than animals. If it disgusts a conservative to think of us as animals then that might be why they have less fear about how dangerous, barbaric and predatory humans can truly be to each other. Giving more freedoms and powers to humans might not seem something to be feared as much as a powerful government. If they accepted that human beings are primal animals when you peel away the layers, and if they witnessed just how private individuals can be more dangerous to one than a powerful government ruled by the people, then they might have a different perspective.

Comment: Re:Usury turns Free Markets into Capitalism (Score 1) 839

by maple_shaft (#48176129) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Your model breaks down in the modern world where we have enormous amounts of automation and robotics to where capital can literally create more capital for their owners with little to no labor involved. In this system, labor has increasingly small amounts of value and the system collapses. No need for labor means no wealth flows to those who only have labor to offer, which means they have no wealth to spur demand meaning capital no longer flows uphill.

We can't all be engineers and we can't all be artists. There is no fair way to ensure that we don't end up in Neo-Feudalism. The only thing that can honestly be done to fix the problem is highly unfair which is theft of wealth from those who have accumulated it.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 454

by maple_shaft (#47517621) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

The decision to maintain the war with the Palestinians and spend crazy money on defense systems with a 5% success rate, as well as not just wiping them from the planet is that their economy is intrinsically linked to their defense and security industries. These defense and security industries which are a large part of their economy maintain their reputation across the world as leaders in defense and security systems precisely because of the ongoing conflicts that ensue to this day.

Considering that a large part of their economy, many large employers of high skilled workers in Israel, have an intrinsic bias in the continuance of the conflict, it wouldn't be a far fetched idea to assume that they have some kind of lobbying influence in their home country as well as the US to ensure that pro-war candidates get elected to public offices. Again, walling in the palestinians, burning their homes, targeting schools and hospitals indiscriminately, not allowing them to leave and suppression of their economy are the exact policies that one should enact on a people if they are counting and hoping on breeding terrorism, which in turn creates a market for their industries products.

I am not absolving the palestinians from their actions, but when you remove all hope from a people, then they burn with anger and are willing to go to extreme measures to lash out.

Comment: Re:Healthcare IT in the US (Score 1) 143

by maple_shaft (#46968015) Attached to: Physician Operates On Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

Thank you for giving your input as a physician. It is nice to hear from your perspective. I admit that I was unfairly categorizing all physicians into this category of being disrespectful to other professions. It is a real thing though but admittedly small in the grander scheme of the problems at play here.

IT departments in hospitals are rampant with nepotism, incompetence, and wastefullness. The heads of the security, network, and support divisions have no clue when it comes to support clinicians including physicians, nurses, LPNs, or any other staff that requires using the computer for any health related work.

I see this in health systems big and small. You recognize the problem too, but you didn't really address my theory as to why this is, easy money and low accountability. Why in your opinion do you believe this is? I am very curious about your perspective.

Comment: Re:Healthcare IT in the US (Score 3, Interesting) 143

by maple_shaft (#46967303) Attached to: Physician Operates On Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

Allow my rebuttal...

The doctors are IT's customers not the patient. The patients are the doctor's customers not yours. It's the doctor's job to care for the patients. It's IT's job to make sure the computers doesn't get in the doctor's way while remaining secure and HIPAA compliant. I can see why the doctors would disrespect an IT department that doesn't cater to the customer's (as in doctors) needs.

If you haven't noticed, the nature of healthcare is changing because of IT. With analytics, data warehouses and artificial intelligence like IBM's Watson diagnosing patients with stunning accuracy, the role of doctor centric patient care is going the way of the dodo. Granted we are not there yet but in the next 20 years we will see computers diagnosing patients, medical breakthroughs occurring through the use of analytics as opposed to traditional medical research, and doctors just basically being delegated to QA on patient care. The point is that all of this will be patient-centric where IT begins to see the patient as the client.

In 80 some years of cardiac medicine, about the single most effective treatment that all doctors agree on is Aspirin. Healthcare breakthroughs move slowly if you haven't noticed. Now with analytics, doctors, researchers and analysts will be able to interpret correlations in a way never allowed before.

Really? Their budgets have been shrinking for well over a decade. With medicare payouts being lowered, unfunded mandates to provide "life saving" care to indigents which includes triaging cold and flu cases in ERs, increasing budget reserves in order to offset the growing malpractice risks (self insured hospitals) or paying higher premiums (non-self insured hospitals), and increase labor costs for staff I'd like to know where this easy money is coming from.

You make it seem as if the non-profit centers see this charity care as a bad thing. To the contrary, they are allowed to write off this "free" care that they are required to give mind you, as charity towards the requirements for them to maintain non-profit tax status. I promise you the cost of free care is a pittance compared to the corporate taxes they otherwise must pay as well as state and local property taxes and the like

Your arguments about malpractice risks and insurance for that are negligible.

In my region the nonprofit medical centers tend to be the regional charity or university based hospitals and they are outnumbered by the growing number of for-profit medical centers that offer specialized care. In plain english this means that the high-markup services are being performed by for-profit outpatient centers leaving the hospitals with convalescence services and indigent care.

This for profit, non-profit line is increasingly blurry though as I see the large non-profit health systems continue to act in ways that are increasingly similar to for profit companies. The chair-persons at such health systems often encourage for-profit ventures to be incubated in the healthsystem and with the support of it so that they have vehicles to move profits into investments towards these for profit institutions. Guess who the board of directors tend to be at these for profit institutions that operate under the non-profit umbrella? Profits find their way into the chair-persons hands in a very indirect way. You may not realize who is really calling the shots and who actually owns these for profit institutions but I do and you would be surprised.

This doesn't sound like any of the hospitals that I know about. I have friends and colleagues that are in the medical software business or an employee of a hospital throughout the southeast. My graduating class of engineers took advantage of the changes that HIPAA brought and a large portion of them work in the industry. We stay in touch and some of them are known to vent their frustration but none of it involved nepotism, mostly it involves having to manage tech school graduates and heroes.

I will grant you that medical software businesses have less of this good ol' boys club that I speak about but it certainly is a real thing in all three health systems in the north east that I have worked for directly or indirectly. Perhaps it is a regional thing?

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll