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Comment HMO vs Real Insurance (Score 1) 146

While HMO plans are a choice people should be able to make, you should look into actual high deductible insurance. Our family of 6 pays $500/mo with a $5500/yr deductible. We pay "out of pocket" by depositing the money into a Health Savings Account (HSA) first, and paying from that. This deducts the expense on the same line as IRA contributions. Fully funding the HSA for the deductible, plus the premiums, is about the cost of HMO coverage with the same exclusions and tax benefits. BUT, if we don't spend the entire deductible from the HSA, the balance stays in the account which can be used for non-covered expenses (e.g. our plan doesn't cover dental) or saved for retirement (it can be used like an IRA after retirement age). Notice that if you hit the deductible (which our daughter did last year by breaking two fingers), your total premium plus "out of pocket" expense is about the same as HMO premiums.

One nasty aspect of the current Obamacare bill is phasing out HSA accounts by 2015 ("forcing" people to buy HMO coverage similarly to how people are "forced" to use public schools because of the tax induced expense of private school).

Comment Not really the internet (Score 1, Insightful) 175

The article says "internet", but it really means "the HTTP based family of applications that use the internet". Sometimes a customer gets me by mistake when they need help because "their internet is down". I start to get mad because of self contradictory statements, but then I remember that they really mean, "my web browser stopped working". (You can tell I'm not really tech support because next I try to find out what browser they are using, and they are never able to tell me. Which means they are using IE.)

Having cleared that up, I can only see consolidation of HTTP applications under some super googly company (perhaps one the article writer envisions heading) as making things worse. I suggest that clutter in your web browser is not much different that clutter in your house. Get a book on Feng Shui or equivalent and start deleting the stuff that isn't helping you (making you happier, needed for work, etc).

P.S. I discovered a very important, but little known principle of error page design. If you put something in giant type at the top of the page, no one reads it. It you put it in little bitty 6 point type at the very bottom, everyone will read it. Even if they need to use their magnifier app. I can't explain it (it must have something to do with lawyers), but now that I know, I save a lot of frustration by putting the most important message in little bitty type at the bottom. (I still leave it at the top in big type also in case any old fashioned types like me see it.)

Comment Middle ground (Score 1) 752

The script languages like Perl/PHP/Python/Ruby are dynamic, and fill a role that C++ can never fill. Further, while GC can be added to C++, it changes the programming style so much that it is nearly another language (makes using 3rd party libraries tricky).

Java is a middle ground between C++ and script languages. It has the garbage collection, dynamic class loading, "safe" execution model and extensive libraries like PHP/Python/Ruby, but long running programs like web apps get compiled to optimized native code as they run. Yeah, the language has warts, but it is still more productive vs programmer time than C++.

Comment University: yes, Teachers: no (Score 1) 835

My daughters have been to Messiah College, PA and George Mason, VA, and NoVa Community College. All three schools have no problem with non-Windows as far as infrastructure (network access), administrative web pages, etc. The big problem has been that teachers will require students to purchase some specific Windows application for statistics or whatever (and not a really pervasive one like Matlab, either - 3 different statistics programs "that real professionals use" so far that I've never heard of). The corresponding courses are short on actually understanding the math, and long on memorizing the menu layout du jour of the app. I wonder if the teachers get kickbacks. The one bright spot was an Arabic course where the teacher used a Java Applet - which works beautifully for all concerned.

Comment The really big hunch (Score 1) 313

is assuming file sharing == illegal file sharing. As others have pointed out, that alone makes the rest of the conclusions meaningless. My stat class said sample size should aim to be around sqrt of population. Of course, smaller samples just lower the confidence intervals. The 1000 people (sqrt(10^6)) is at least in the ball park for a population of 30 million.

Comment Not the whole cost (Score 1) 487

The $117K is just the computer hardware. You still need UPS, A/C, Power, and floor space. Add up those, and a reasonable profit, and I'll bet Amazon and EMC don't look so bad. But if you already have the infrastructure, and the marginal cost of adding the storage arrays is low, then the design could save money.

Comment Hidden variables and metaphysics (Score 1) 259

As I understand it, there are hidden variable theories completely in sync with experiment. But they are experimentally indistinguishable from true randomness - and hence serve no scientific purpose (although answering Einstein's famous objection, "God does not play dice"). A hidden variable theory where the "hidden" variables can be deduced by experiment "inside" the universe is no longer a truly "hidden" variable theory.

Comment Definition of "in writing"? (Score 3, Insightful) 277

Presumably, "opt-in" counts as "in writing", and my library will continue to robocall to announce that my book on hold is available. But on the flip side, I can see all sorts of obscure checkboxes when you order online that enable robocalls should you not notice and check/uncheck them.

Comment VOIP (Score 1) 635

I connected our in house phones to a VOIP adapter from Vonage. Another idea is to use the existing wires to pull Cat-5e through the walls. Start with the farthest away, because the phone wires are likely daisy chained, and you need a full run for each Cat-5e cable. You now have high speed wired network in house. You can even connect selected outlets to VOIP if desired. If you sell, the new owner can use it either way.

Comment You're joking? (Score 1) 437

The sandbox features are a key feature of J2EE. That is how servlets/webapps/apidujour are isolated from each other. That is how your J2EE app can share a JVM with hundreds of strangers at a hosting facility for lower cost (and lower security) than a Xen/Vmware virtual machine. That is how many people create their own custom multi-app platform to share a JVM that reliably isolates the apps.

Javascript is reasonable in the browser, and has a standard. Flash is an abomination. I let it run only when absolutely necessary (youtube, cough, cough). When I do let it run, it crashes the browser after 20 minutes or so to let me know it's time for bed.

While I agree that they are not as popular, Java applets (for which the sandbox is also key) are much friendlier to the browser, and I trust the Java sandbox a whole lot more than Flash.

Comment Java's software sandbox (Score 1) 437

While it had been done before, and will probably be done better (or worse), the Java software based sandbox security made a whole class of applications feasible, and enabled a new level of fault isolation for non-malicious software. *nix process based security and its predecessors were ground breaking. Java applies that within a shared address space at the ClassLoader level.

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