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Comment: Boeing Engineers... (Score 2, Informative) 200

I have talked to Boeing Engineers about this in the past. They say that (both with present systems and new all IP based systems) there is a total physical and logical separation between the three types of networks on a plane (basically, pilot command and control, airplane maintenance networking, and passenger facing networking). They were pretty firm on this separation being inviolable, due to the obvious safety aspects. Either Chris Roberts is blowing smoke, or some pretty smart people made some pretty basic mistakes.

Comment: Re:HIPPA is healthcare's "classified" (Score 2) 532

by mbone (#49629763) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

She called them up on the phone to ask what the codes mean.

Not telling this to someone over the phone really is a measure to take to protect privacy. How do they know who's calling them over the phone? Anyone can say "I'm the patient, tell me".

I am going to guess that you don't have much experience dealing with either hospitals or medical insurance. All sorts of things (including "mission critical" ones like prescriptions, tests and even surgery schedules) are arranged, discussed and argued about over the phone. Yes, you have to answer a set of challenge questions (i.e., social security number, policy number, etc.) to show that you are indeed the person in question, but pretty much all of the organizational business of patient care is done over the phone.

Comment: They just make it up (sometimes) (Score 4, Insightful) 532

by mbone (#49629687) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

Anyone who has had an involved relationship with the US medical care system is likely to come to the conclusion that sometimes they just make their bills up, either to increase revenue or because their record-keeping is so chaotic.

If you doubt this, consider an analogy. Suppose you took your car in for major engine repair, it was in the shop for a week, and you paid the hefty bill. Now, suppose 4 months later you got another bill from a "muffler specialist" or a "catalytic converter specialist" for $ 300, with a code saying that they worked on your car while it was in the shop, but no indication as to what they actually did (except, maybe, look at your muffler or catalytic converter). Would you consider it legit? Would you assume you are being gouged? Would you pay? (They'll take you to court if you don't.)

In my experience, the medical version of this happens every time I have a family member in a US hospital. Not occasionally, not once in a blue moon, but every time. This is one reason why you never know how much a procedure is going to cost; you don't know what bills are going to show up months later.

Comment: It doesn't require perfection (Score 2) 164

by mbone (#49621425) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

If you want to search an audio or video recording, even a fairly poor speech to text can be very useful. A 90% success rate (1 word in 10 being incorrect) would provide a very frustrating transcript if you wanted to read it. However, if you are looking for a certain set of keywords or phrases, then 90% is likely to be perfectly adequate - after all, the point is to select "conversations of interest" that can then be listened to more intently.

Comment: Long Tail (Score 1) 425

by mbone (#49620545) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

If you could measure programming ability somehow, its curve would look like the normal distribution.

Says who? It would in fact look like a Pareto distribution, with some sort of long tail. Such distributions are common and to be expected in human affairs and human mental capabilities, which are not subject to the central limit theorem (which is what typically leads to a normal distribution in physical measurements).

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson