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:Is that including "contracters"? (Score 1) 138

by punker (#45769017) Attached to: Percentage of Self-Employed IT Workers Increasing

I am a self employed contractor, and it's not a matter of being "forced". It's not for everyone, because you have to manage your own accounting and benefits, but you can make it work just as well or better than working for someone else's company. I have a group health plan (my wife also works for our company), 401k, and my annual income is substantially greater than my last W2 job. I get a couple unsolicited contract offers every week, which is what I view as my income security. I'm pretty good at what I do, and even though contractors usually go first when layoffs happen, exceptions are often made for the people who perform well (although it's also a sign to start looking at your other options).

So while that number may include contractors, you should recognize that many contractors were not forced into it.

Comment: Re:before anybody pops pills (Score 2) 670

by punker (#45626267) Attached to: Diet Drugs Work: Why Won't Doctors Prescribe Them?

Calories in, calories out is true, but the form of the calories is also significant. We are not simple systems. The starch issue is about glycemic response. Essentially, when your body digests starches, it produces insulin. More sugars, more insulin. When the insulin falls off, your body tells you that you're hungry again. It's sort of like a boom/bust cycle, and the result is an urge to overeat because of the hormone response. It's significantly more difficult to maintain proper portions when you're hungry.

Comment: Re:Pros vs Cons (Score 3, Informative) 549

by punker (#45587993) Attached to: RF Safe-Stop Shuts Down Car Engines With Radio Pulse

I think he may have been reappropriating the term "drive by wire". It would not be in reference to the ford "drive by wire" system (electronic control system that appears the same as a traditional mechanical column). More likely meaning that power steering and power breaking require the engine chip to be functioning to operate.

And he is correct that those subsystems cut out with the engine. My vehicle recently had a vacuum leak. The engine stalled out as I was breaking. No power steering, no power breaking. It was not a good situation. The car behind me very nearly plowed into me when the light flipped to green.

Comment: Re:Eastern Europe joined in 2004 (Score 1) 304

by punker (#45532119) Attached to: European Health Levels Suddenly Collapsed After 2003 and Nobody Is Sure Why

Excellent point. If you change your target population significantly, then comparability goes out the window. I've done alot of health stats work, and that sort of change would probably mean the results were denoted as not comparable. In a related example, I had a heart disease analysis, and we had to break it in two parts because there was a significant change in the way that the diagnosis were recorded around 2005.

Now you could regenerate the pre-2003 numbers including the populations of the soon to join the EU members, and use that for comparison if the data is available. It would show a more accurate relative change.

Comment: HIPAA - population size issue (Score 2) 100

by punker (#45374561) Attached to: OSHA Wants To Post All Workplace Injury Reports Online

I've done reporting work at a state health department. In general, information was suppressed if it was to small of a population (incident population or rate population). In general, a population under 50 is considered too small to report publicly without exposing protected health information (PHI). With accident records, you population is employees. Suppressing site information may help, but it also reduces the effectiveness. It's also likely that most small businesses would never have a large enough population. Most likely, the results would need to be aggregated over a long period of time. I don't think this works under the law as it currently stands.

Comment: Transparency is the problem here (Score 1) 273

by punker (#45199827) Attached to: USB Implementers Forum Won't Play Nice With Open Hardware

These guys won't be able to pull it off now, but they could form a new corp with a new name, say they want to build usb connected gadgets, get their ID, *AND THEN* start sharing. It would probably help to get a device in the wild first so there isn't some sort of revocation issue.

Comment: Just like airplanes (Score 1) 736

by punker (#44709881) Attached to: Technologies Like Google's Self-Driving Car: Destroying Jobs?

There are plenty of circumstances where we have machines that are extensively automated and we still have highly trained people operate them. Commercial aircraft have pilots there because there are too many circumstances where a person is going to be best able to make the right decision. Most of the time, these planes are running on autopilot and they do very well. But the circumstances where the autopilot fails (i.e. does the wrong thing) can have catastrophic consequences. So we have multiple pilots there for safety.
Freight trucks are the same way. These machines are require a fair amount of skill to handle troublesome situations. A loaded truck will weight in excess of 45000 lbs. That's more than 20 times the mass of most cars. I do not expect truck drivers to be overly affected by this for quite some time.

Comment: Re:Employers already know the loophole (Score 1) 600

by punker (#44178633) Attached to: Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

This happened to my girlfriend. They cut all the full time employees to working 25 hours and under. They went on a mass hiring spree to compensate. It's something Walmart has been doing for years and years. The problem is, it's not 2014 yet, so the affordable exchanges are not available to everyone yet. At that point all those people will be able to get health care for basically nothing, as their pay scale will determine how much in assisted aid they get. If they get paid $15k a year pumping gas, their health care will basically be entirely covered. Companies are using this as a method to push expenses from their pocket to the tax payers pocket.

Not that I don't have any problem with this. It's speeding up the process to get everything straight up nationalized. By the end of 2014, I am guessing most of the workforce will be covered by the government. At which point they will just say there is no point in having companies pay for it, and just move everyone to it. Then we can get all the providers under control with cost requirements.

This is actually an interesting observation. I never liked the form of this law. I always thought that the way to improve health care for the working poor was through expansion of medicaid. While I disagree with your perspective on the amount of workforce receiving coverage and overall nationalization, I think you have very astutely recognized how the coverage expansion will work. And I agree that it will be followed up by cost control measures (likely episodic pricing as opposed to a la carte pricing).

Comment: Re:Employers already know the loophole (Score 1) 600

by punker (#44178517) Attached to: Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

The real problem here is this law was intended to require a benefit (i.e. minimum compensation) for people who do not generally receive it already. So now, not only will they not get insurance, but they're also facing a 25% cut in income.

What percentage of those people voted for the politicians who enacted this law? I bet it's in the high 90's.

Highly unlikely. We never get voter turnout on that scale.

Comment: Employers already know the loophole (Score 5, Insightful) 600

by punker (#44175875) Attached to: Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

They don't have to pay the fine, or provide insurance. They just make their employees part timers.

I've seen some anecdotal evidence of this (from waitstaff at a couple different restaurants, security guards at my parking deck, blog posts). Unskilled labor positions (i.e. the people that were targeted to receive this benefit) are just having their hours cut to 30 hours/week because part time employees are not subject to the insurance requirement. With current employment trends, it's easy to hire some extra part timers to fill the gap. It's a non-issue for skilled laborers, because most already receive employer provided insurance.

The real problem here is this law was intended to require a benefit (i.e. minimum compensation) for people who do not generally receive it already. So now, not only will they not get insurance, but they're also facing a 25% cut in income.

Comment: Re:Screw The Big Traders (Score 2) 152

by punker (#44040781) Attached to: HFT Nothing To Worry About (at Least In Australia)

That's highly inaccurate. The big HFTs no longer make much money, because like most technologies, it has been understood and adopted. Their margins have dramatically receded since the mid-2000's, because all the market-makers (i.e. the bank you place your order through) also have their own high speed machines.
            Now, to the part about giving nothing of social value, well that's not really true (and in this context, social value applies only to stock market participants). What they provide is liquidity. When you place your order, the HFT programs are often buyer that make sure your order clears as you entered it. They do capture a very small amount of bid-ask spread (on the order of .1 cents/share these days), but they aren't taking it from the traders. They are really taking it from the market-maker banks that clear the orders. These banks have always captured the bid-ask spread (the positive difference in price between the seller's price and the buyer's offer). And this is where the positive part of HFT comes in. Spreads used to be fairly large (on the order of 10 cents/share in the late nineties). Now, they are measured in tenths of a cent. So the buyer and seller (i.e. the people in the market) now keep 9.9 cents of the 10 cents they used to lose to the market maker banks, because the HFTs keep spreads tight.

Comment: Re:wtf (Score 1) 662

by punker (#44038253) Attached to: Supreme Court Decides Your Silence May Be Used Against You

You always have your rights... it's just a question of if and how you exercise them.

The difference here is the guy who went to talk to the police on his own (ie voluntarily) vs being arrested (ie unwillingly).

The court ruled that in the prior, you have to make an affirmative statement as to you exercising your 5a rights.

Still bullshit to me. The fact that not explicitly stating that one is exercising one's rights implicitly means forgoing them? Does this mean that if I don't affirm my right to free speech or a fair trial that I cannot speak freely or will not get a fair trial? From the article:

This seems precisely correct, and this ruling seems very, very wrong. My understanding is that the law requires an "express waiver" for you to forgo any of your constitutionally declared rights, and there is no indication that he signed any such waiver.

Comment: Re:Isn't unwillingless to learn a big problem? (Score 2) 192

by punker (#43995629) Attached to: Red Hat Confirms GNOME Classic Mode For RHEL 7

I don't think that's it at all. I think Gnome3 has been weighed pretty well on it's merits. Many people consider it unusable. It made me jump ship for Mint (and I've been primarily running RH/Fedora since the mid nineties). I've tried alot of different desktops (Enlightenment, Gnome 1-3, TWM, KDE 1-4, and then some) . I'm not unwilling to change, and I think that's generally true of linux desktop users. We will try new things, and embrace the good ones. We will also harshly reject the bad ones. That's our culture.

And BTW, linux admins all have the same desktop. It's usually black w/ green monospace characters. ;)

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue