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Comment: Re:plastic is for junk (Score 1) 266 266

I think for some (and I'm not saying mschuyler fits this, as I don't know the person at all) it's the status thing. Example.. this is an actual conversation I had with the CEO of the company I worked for:

Him: "Hey.. I got a new truck this weekend!"
Me: "Really? Cool - what did you get?"
Him: "Oldsmobile Bravada"

For him, it was status/look/etc. The thing never left pavement, ever. The most he hauled was groceries in the back seat. Same guy used to park his sports car under the sidewalk awning when it rained...

For some though, having the perfect paint job on their truck just means they take better care of it than most, and that's not a bad thing either. Or maybe they only use it for it's truck functionality occasionally, which is fine too. Mine never looked perfect when I had it, but I hauled stuff, towed stuff, etc all the time.

Comment: Re:As a Canadian now living in the US (Score 1) 532 532

I don't know if the figure is accurate, but could be. I know it was a constant battle with physicians who always wanted more money, the carrier trying to both keep costs low *and* hold physicians accountable for patient care. For example, Patient sees Dr and Dr recommends an MRI. This can go one of two ways:

1> Dr. "My patient needs an MRI"
          Carrier: "Ok, please provide the medical documentation to prove it's a necessary procedure"
          Dr. "Sure, here you go"
          Carrier: "Looks great - go for it"

2> Dr. "My patient needs an MRI"
          Carrier: "Ok, please provide the medical documentation to prove it's a necessary procedure"
          Dr. "No.. they need it because I said so."
          Carrier: "Please provide the medical documentation to prove it's a necessary procedure"
          Dr. "Don't you know what I do for a living? (lengthy argument follows)"

Frustrating because in the time it took 2 to have the argument and whine, they could have gotten the documentation in and had approval and had the procedure done and paid for. Unfortunately with 2, the patient is caught in the middle, and because the Dr. is someone they have known for some time, tends to be believed when they say "I just don't know why your insurance carrier won't approve this - I mean, I told them you need it!"

Case in point.. Chiropractor in California. The member had coverage for Chiropractic care, and the plan, as determined by the employer, asked the Chiro to send in medical notes after 5 visits to prove that progress was being made to correct the injury. Most had 0 issue providing this. This one refused. Flat out refused. The notes (I read them) basically stated, 'patient came in for adjustment and 2 modalities" No documentation or measurement of progress at all. I call the Chiropractor. Either they wouldn't pick up the phone, or when they did, spoke perfect english until I identified myself as calling from the insurance carrier to discuss what we need to pay patient x's claim. Suddenly the call would mysteriously disconnect and on callbacks, if they did answer, english was no longer an option. (this isn't me with a dig on any non-english speaking persons.. this is purely their reaction to my call). Frustrating for me, frustrating for the patient who finally had to go confront her Chiro face to face and demand they provide medical documentation, after which the patient had the expense of time and money to fax in to me so I could get the claim paid.

This is part of what is broken in the medical system. And yes, your insurance carrier isn't always part of the problem. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it's just as frustrated as you are.

Comment: Re:As a Canadian now living in the US (Score 2) 532 532

As a former employee of a large insurance carrier in the US, I can tell you that the insurance carriers would love it to be simpler as well. My daily job was to sort out insurance claims and billing issues for customers, contacting Dr offices and hospitals. Some were great to deal with, and happily corrected the occasional error. Some were a constant may-as-well-put-you-on-speed dial and they were never wrong, just ask them. So many hands in the mix, so many variations on training, and so often, easily corrected errors that should never have happened in the first place. And from the carrier side, you can't tell an office, "you billed this with the wrong code" - legally hands are tied. Have to guide them and hope the light goes on.

And they'd never tell the patient that if you go in for a procedure, you'll be billed by the facility, the doctor, the anesthesiologist, the labs, and maybe assistant surgeon all separately.

I left to get back into my original IT career, but I can tell you the people, at least where I worked, really did care about the customers/patients and were just as frustrated with the system. The executives constantly were both asking for and implementing ideas from the rank and file, and were very open to any suggestions. They all wanted a simpler system, and were doing what they could do to make it like that, while still following the plethora of laws that need to be followed.

+ - NASA's Abandoned Launch Facilities

trazom28 writes: I ran across an interesting slideshow of NASA's abandoned launch facilities. Interesting piece of scientific history. It is described as images from "photographer Roland Miller's upcoming book, 'Abandoned in Place, titled' "Abandoned Space Graveyard Photos". ‘Abandoned in Place’ is a visual study of the deactivated launch and research facilities that played an essential role in early American space exploration."

Comment: Like little children (Score 1) 360 360

What's that old saying? War is politics by other means.

I completely agree with you.. we could better spend resources on more important things and yet, the world we live in leads us to this. Too bad the entire world couldn't pull its collective head out of its butt and realize that we're all pretty much the same, and want the same things from life - no matter where you're from.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 219 219

The cost to run cable in the floor of the classrooms that are already built would far outweigh the benefit gained from wired, and you'd never get that cost passed by a school board or the community. There would also be the additional expense of PoE switches (about $6K+ a piece if you go Cisco, about half that if you don't), and a mess of patch cables (financially and physically). Nice idea on paper, but honestly wouldn't be practical in a classroom environment. WiFi AP per classroom is where it's headed - and you don't need to power it down. If setup correctly, each AP knows the APs around it, and will work together to provide bandwidth where needed (in range). Disclaimer: I work in a K-12

Comment: Time Warner Experience Not Uncommon (Score 1) 223 223

Not with Internet, but with regards to cable service - I called around a couple of years ago to TW, Dish, DirectTV (the providers in my area). Dish and DirectTV were able to tell me exactly what my costs would be Time Warner was advertising it's "First year for $X.xx" plan - so I asked them what I thought would be a simple math question - "What is my bill going to be after the yearly promotion ends?" The answer, "We can't tell you that." (that's a direct quote). So I further inquired as to why they couldn't tell me - and the answers varied between "We don't know" to "We can't tell you". Guess who didn't get our business.

Whether it be poorly trained customer service reps, or actual business practice remains to be seen - but when you can't quote me a price for a service you want to sell me - I have an issue with that.

Comment: Re:The Holy Grail of all IT? Really? (Score 1) 168 168

You shouldn't stereotype. I've been in IT for over 20 years professionally, another 10 as a hobby prior. In past lives I've been everything from NetWare Admin, support of OS/2 before and after Warp, dabbled in Unix shells, and have used and supported various flavors of Windows from it's early days. I consider myself pretty well rounded and open to suggestions and change in the IT realm. The district where I work happens to run AD. I've brought myself up to speed on it, and feel pretty comfortable with it, but I'm not one of the "AD or Bust!" types that you may have run into in the past. Those folks just irk me :)

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (5) All right, who's the wiseguy who stuck this trigraph stuff in here?

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