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Comment: Re:Tyranny of the majority (Score 1) 530

by zraider (#44202639) Attached to: NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Horribly Wrong
Correct. It's frustrating that so many people believe and perpetuate the flawed notion that democratic elections and/or referendum legitimize any and all actions of government.

We currently have a Supreme Court justice who invoked Oliver Wendell Holmes in her confirmation hearings and recently lamented that the majority decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District would lead to "heightened constitutional scrutiny" in other cases. Yes, the horror of constitutional scrutiny.

Not to mention President Obama who told a bunch of Ohio State graduates to pay no attention to people who warn about government tyranny- "You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted." You got that? As long as we have democracy, then no problem. Trust us.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to "trust" that the State and/or political majorities will not violate my rights. Indeed, the NSA is bluntly demonstrating that they cannot be trusted. History has also plainly demonstrated that unrestrained State power leads to corruption at best and human atrocity at worst.

We need to understand the extreme importance of written, respected, and enforced limits on State power. Democracy alone is not enough to save us. Unfortunately those limits become inconvenient for those who seek to wield power in pursuit of their own preconceived social outcomes or personal benefit.

Comment: Simple solution? (Score 1) 267

by zraider (#42931137) Attached to: Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors?
Why don't we amend patent laws such that a condition of being granted a patent is to have an implementing product on the market within a certain period of time (say, 6 months or a year). If the patent holder fails to come through, the patent is then voided. Same rule applies for patents transferred or sold to others.

Comment: Re: How are we going to pay for it though? (Score 1) 291

by zraider (#42919023) Attached to: President Obama Calls For New 'Space Race' Funding
Nobody's suggesting putting business people in charge of SS funds, but keep in mind that millions of Americans earn modest interest on their own retirement investments outside of SS. The interest point is moot anyway. Wouldn't you rather have you SS payroll dollars kept in the fund even if they generated 0% interest, than have to PAY interest out of your income tax so the government could restore the money they borrowed from it?

Comment: Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (Score 2) 291

by zraider (#42917357) Attached to: President Obama Calls For New 'Space Race' Funding
That is not true. Getting rid of Social Security obligations would indeed affect the Federal budget because the Social Security Administration holds over $2.5 trillion in government securities. This is because, by law, Social Security is required to buy government securities with surpus funds. The money raised from the securities purchases becomes part of the general fund, where it is immedialy spent by Congress. So, instead of your surplus payroll tax dollars remaining in the Social Security fund where they could bear interest on the open market, they are now completely spent and the interest must be paid for out of your Federal income tax.

Comment: Re:The third option (Score 1) 536

by zraider (#42228089) Attached to: The Scourge of Error Handling
I agree with the above. Most developers turn exception handling into a god awful mess. In our shop, we have rules with regard to Java return values and exceptions:
  1. A method should do one thing, and be named for exactly what it does or returns.
  2. If the method is unable to successfully perform the one thing it's supposed to do, it must throw an exception.
  3. Returning null is not an acceptable course for error situations within a method. Null values indicate non-existence of the return data the caller is seeking, not an error.
  4. It is the caller's responsibility to determine whether it can safely continue if a method cannot complete its task successfully. If not, it must throw the exception upward, as it then cannot complete its own task successfully. This includes the entire program itself.
  5. For methods that return a Collection, a null value should generally never be returned. The caller is seeking a Collection of something, so it's either empty or it's not.

Nothing profound here, but putting these together and articulating them has helped our staff to write better, more reliable code.

Comment: Re:if you can't beat them (Score 1) 181

by zraider (#39661171) Attached to: Medicaid Hacked: Over 181,000 Records and 25,000 SSNs Stolen
Failed uploads do not constitute incorrectly filed or non-timely claims. The payers are not off the hook for them. This is especially true if the systems at fault are owned by the payer or its vendor. I have personally been involved with cases where delays due to technical issues delivering the claims caused payment penalties. If the provider's systems are at fault, that's a different story. In most cases, the claims are resubmitted by providers until paid, or their billing office intervenes and contacts the payer directly.

Comment: Re:if you can't beat them (Score 1) 181

by zraider (#39622119) Attached to: Medicaid Hacked: Over 181,000 Records and 25,000 SSNs Stolen
Actually, you don't know what you're talking about. Insurance companies pay claims based on contracts with their members and providers. I've worked with scores of insurance companies and every single one is trying to adjudicate and pay claims as fast as they can. Ignoring the claims does not release them of their obligation to pay according to the contract. In other words, the claim WILL be paid if they have contractual responsibility. It's just a matter of if it will be paid with penalties, lost discounts, and unhappy customers or not.

The additional issue with this breach is the exposure of medical data. Thousands of claims transactions were lifted. Claims contain identifying information (demographics), medical diagnosis data, medical procedure data, etc. That information can be used for blackmail and discrimination purposes.

Comment: Communication (Score 1) 672

by zraider (#38612458) Attached to: Are Brain Teasers Good Hiring Criteria?
I do hire developers, and I see brain teasers as a waste of time, meant to feed the ego of the interviewer rather than sort out people who are good fits for the company.

Communication skills are paramount in determining who has the best chance of success. That includes the ability to understand information being communicated to them, digest it, and respond by exporting that information clearly and appropriately based on an audience. It therefore follows that programming is every bit a communication skill as written, verbal, social, and listening skills are, and they are indeed correlated.

In my years of hiring experience, those with superior skills in the above categories make the best programmers. Even though we're all enamored with the idea of the asperger's guy in the corner who is a coding wizard, I've never come across anyone with poor written, verbal, social, and listening skills that could produce anything but garbage code. That may just be the programming/business environment we have, but it is still my experience and observation.

But getting back to the original question- we give candidates an hour-long programming test that is representative of the kind of work we do, weeds out those without basic skills, evaluates their coding decisions, and tests their ability to understand a business scenario and turn some requirements into reality. Brain teasers tell me none of this.

On a lighter note, you may or may not be surprised that over 50% of candidates who put "Java" on their resumes are unable to get past the first instruction to extend a given class. Completing this instruction concludes the first half of our technical test. Simply astounding.

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 254

by zraider (#36438512) Attached to: Federally-Mandated Medical Coding Gums Up IT Ops

Insurance company profits are ridiculous and hopefully this will force them to invest a lot of those profits in the American economy to do this work.

This is so moronic I don't know where to begin. How long have you worked in Healthcare IT? It's completely inaccurate to say that insurance companies are making ridiculous profits, and even if they were, who cares? Are you referring to any particular company? If so, which one? Are all types of health insurance companies making enormous profits, because I can tell you a lot of TPAs are losing business fast. Do you have any citations at all? All but the largest of insurance companies are struggling with compliance and investing in the American economy isn't the go-to solution. Try "investing in the Indian economy." Fixed that for you. I'm not making it up. It's not my personal theory. I work in the industry and see Americans lose their jobs every day due to cost pressures resulting from ill-conceived regulation. I don't disagree that the new code system will be beneficial, but the government took a disruptive approach in rolling it out.

they only have to change a few programs, over billing and other risks will be mitigated due to better identification of injuries.

Astoundingly inaccurate. The thing that people don't understand is that ICD-10 is not really an IT problem but an administration problem. Insurance companies must entirely redesign their benefit plans around the new code systems AND maintain payment neutrality at the same time, AND support dual code sets. Their adjudication platform vendors will be charging them massive amounts to upgrade and convert, not to mention their own resources. And when things go to hell, IT will be blamed because managers assumed that a one-to-one crosswalk was all that needed to be implemented. The cost of the conversion will be enormous for EVERYONE, and I predict the compliance deadline will be extended as a result.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis