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Comment: Re:Knowing could be Useful (Score 1) 86

See "Final Exit" method. As for knowing, though, you may be disappointed. Brain disorders are fascinating and terrifying. When reality doesn't make sense to your brain because of physical errors in processing, your brain simply confabulates whatever details it needs so that things do make sense internally. These confabulations are not amenable to outside reasoning or exposure to evidence that contradicts them. This is equally true with dementia disorders such as Alzheimers as it is with brain damage from trauma/stroke or psychotic disorders. What I'm getting at is that if you are afflicted, you may not retain the level of insight necessary to intervene on your own behalf: you might not be capable of understanding there's a problem.

Comment: try this (Score 1) 418

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#43088155) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Best To Set Up a Parent's PC?
A tried and true method for migrating parents from IE to a safer browser is to just install firefox or chrome, then change it's desktop icon and name to "Internet Explorer". They then go on to seemlessly use it, thinking it's just a slight interface change that happened in an upgrade... Too bad AOL's interface is probably a bit too different to pull that trick off. As for tying up permissions: unfortunately, WinXP guest account was never fully implemented. Last year, I tried setting up my parents to using the guest account for most activities and logging in as admin when they needed more permissions. They understood, but it caused a lot of problems with certain things not functioning between the accounts. The printer alone turned out to be an intractable pain in the ass. Win7 with "classic shell" is probably a better option.

Comment: First of all (Score 1) 173

Anyone who uses the term "the cloud" to promote anything is a moron and can be safely disregarded because they speak by spilling out buzzwords.

Secondly, even though technology is much more common (particularly with the younger generations), technological sophistication is still fairly rare. The vast majority of people use the technology of their jobs in the most narrow ways possible, and further they expect technology to "just work". When it doesn't, they call on the IT guys, or they call on their uncommon coworkers like me who aren't in IT but are still the unofficial IT guys by virtue of having more than modest computer knowledge.

Comment: a related problem (Score 1) 128

A major related problem is that hospitals and other organizations get stuck using poorly-implemented devices because they are too fucking expensive to replace with something else. The expense in and of itself isn't totally unreasonable, because manufacturers of medical devices need to comply with a great deal of regulations and safety testing. However, that doesn't help the users any.

The hospital I work at, for example, bought a software suite years ago for our pharmacy and financial departments to use, and about a year ago it was rolled out to all other departments in our transition to electronic records. This software is some of the most clunky, ham-fisted crap I've ever seen. We despise the software for a great number of reasons (not the least of which is that it actually takes 2-3x LONGER to do anything than it did with our old paper records), and with the push to get all hospitals and medical offices using electronic records, something better would be most welcome. Unfortunately, with what we paid (and continue to pay) for the software contract, there's no budget to get something different and probably never will be because as far as the board is concerned it does what we need it to do.

Comment: Re:Data ownership (Score 2) 183

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#40207013) Attached to: Why Facebook's Network Effects Are Overrated

Agreed. A lot of people are so quick to suggest that Facebook is going to turn out like Myspace in a matter of months but in reality that really couldn't be further from the truth...

If you want to see the digital equivalent of tumbleweeds, go check out MySpace. Just for the hell of it, I logged into my MySpace the other day for the first time in many months, and the only thing I saw there was dozens of bulletin posts by one band whose posts I used to ignore every couple days. About 4 years ago, MySpace added a bunch of worthless features (apparently trying to copy the increasingly popular Facebook) and increasingly in-your-face advertisements, and not coincidentally most people made the migration to Facebook. Then about 2 years ago, Facebook started adding a bunch of features that reminded a bunch of us of MySpace's missteps... but oddly enough, people didn't migrate away. They do seem to have a much better thought-out system, and their people-searching is top notch. Facebook probably will go away in a few years and be replaced by something else, but it's definitely not fading away in the foreseeable months.

Comment: Re:this is stupid (Score 1) 171

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#40178083) Attached to: Using QR Codes To Save Lives
Exactly. Now take that a step further: these tardfucks can't even find their own collection of accurate information about you IN THEIR OWN FILING SYSTEMS. Can you even imagine the headache of trusting so many of these incompetent, dysfunctional organizations to keep your information current and accurate in such a centralized database?

Comment: this is stupid (Score 5, Interesting) 171

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#40177555) Attached to: Using QR Codes To Save Lives
I work in the healthcare field, and I can assure you that at least 95% of people don't even bother to keep an updated written list of their medications in their purse or wallet. The tiny minority of people who would even CARE to input their information and keep a QR code sticker handy are the same people who know their medications/doses, so do not even need this service. The only way this could possibly work is if each person used only one pharmacy ever, AND if the pharmacy was allowed to provide this information to anybody with the software to scan the QR code (a very dicey proposition, given that HIPAA outlaws access to "protected health information"), AND if everyone was willing to carry something with this QR code on them at all times. I can tell you right now, I wouldn't carry anything extra, so unless the QR code is added to my drivers license I won't have one with me.

Comment: also don't forget (Score 1) 407

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#39556827) Attached to: Best Buy Closing 50 Stores
About 5 years ago, Best Buy was called out for deceiving customers. People started noticing they'd get a price off Best Buy's own website, go to buy it in the store, and find that the sticker price was higher. They'd ask an employee and be told they were wrong, and the employee would pull up the product on the computer and show the customer that the price was actually what's marked on the sticker and that sale must have ended. What they had actually done was set up an internal website that looks identical to the online version, BUT THE PRICES WERE HIGHER.

Comment: Re:We all know why (Score 1) 504

The reason we have overtesting in the U.S. is because doctors get paid by procedure, not because patients don't have to pay for it.

That's a bit of an oversimplification. Though that definitely does occur with some (I'll even grant you many) doctors, a more accurate simplification is that we over-test for liability reasons, (and if the patient has insurance or medicare, they are much less likely to refuse needless tests that they can't afford). Consider a patient presenting to an ER with a complaint of chest pain. This is a very common complaint with many possible causes, and I'd roughly estimate that at least 95% of them are not having a heart attack. Much more commonly the chest pain is due to anxiety, or muscle pain, or inflammation of the cartilage attaching the ribs to the sternum.

However, only a handful of ER doctors would be comfortable sending the patient home, so these people are almost always kept overnight for observation ($) and receive a series of blood tests ($$), EKGs ($$$), a cardiac echo ($$$$) and cardiac stress test ($$$$$), and many have a cardiologist consulted for his opinion ($$$$$$). After all of this, the patient is discharged the next day with none of us knowing anything more than we knew before they arrived. We're not like a restaurant: even if the meal came with all kinds of toppings and sides you didn't ask for, you're still responsible for the bill.

This quandary is similar for many health problems (abdominal pain being another very common complaint with dozens of possible causes but only a handful of them serious). As the expression goes, "when you hear hoof-beats: think horses, not zebras". It's a sensible expression, but instead of following it we do every test conceivable for zebras, because we're terrified that one of these times the zebra's going to come charging out of the shadows and trample our finances in court. The worst part is, the insurance companies tacitly encourage this needless testing because the zebra tests are a lot cheaper than the actual zebra and its accompanying lawsuit if it's not caught.

Comment: Re:I have wondered... (Score 1) 83

by s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (#39472635) Attached to: Magician Marco Tempest Talks 'Open Sorcery'
This is a good point. Largely, though, most of the people in any given audience aren't the inquisitive type, they're just there to be mystified and entertained. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but the rest of us are in the minority of people who are always looking to figure out how everything works.

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!