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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Deal With A Non-Paying Medical Client

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a freelance computer consultant. Basically everything from programming to network infrastructure and systems deployment. I've run into a bit of a snag with one of my oldest client. He's a local dentist and it started off great, plenty of work, prompt payments, good communication. Over the years, the payments started becoming less prompt. Since I'm doing my job right, there is less work but when there is something that needs to be done, such as new PC installs or practice management upgrades, the payments are taking longer and longer to be completed. At this point, it's taking around a year for him to pay off a $3000 invoice, and that is only with me visiting his office and actually sitting there waiting to catch up with him regarding his invoice. Two months ago his entire system crashed and I had to rebuild and recover everything since many of the PCs weren't backed up. About 6 months ago, the office staff kind of just stopped backing up the equipment because it was taking too long. On top of that the client's son started getting involved in the picture and started messing around with the software installs to try out new ideas that seemed to end in disaster. He had the office staff report error messages to him and he used his "best" judgement regarding what was going on. Apparently smart errors regarding failing hard drives aren't a real concern in his world.

As of a few days ago I had everything sorted out. Between group policies, password security and online backups things were humming along. Now for the reason for this post, it's been 2 months and still no payment. The bill ended up being for a little over $10k. Given that the last invoice for $3k took a year, I'm not looking forward to this one taking 4 years to be paid off. On top of that, the client's Comcast account was just suspended for non-payment so there go the nightly online backups. I'd love to hear what others would do in this scenario. Please, provide more details than just drop him as a client. I really would rather not have to write off this invoice since there was a good deal of new replacement hardware on it and about 100 hours of work. Also, his entire practice management system is running on hard drives that haven't been paid for by him yet. Does this mean I own his data? What happens if I repo his hard drives?

Submission + - Step aside CISPA, SOPA, DMCA, PIPA, ACTA. Introducing CTAIP.

Aaron B Lingwood writes: Cory Doctorow unearths a plan by the US entertainment industry to lobby for the legalization of deploying rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates. The hilariously named "Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property" has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there's a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally.

Submission + - Scientists Say Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "NPR reports that although organic fruits and vegetables, grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizer, is a $29 billion industry and still growing, a new study of 200 peer-reviewed studies that examined differences between organic and conventional food finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods. “When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” says Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy and co-author of the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “I think we were definitely surprised.” Some previous studies have looked at specific organic foods and found that they contain higher levels of important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. For example researchers found in one study that tomatoes raised in the organic plots contained significantly higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds. But this is one study of one vegetable in one field and when the Stanford researchers looked at their broad array of studies, which included lots of different crops in different situations, they found no such broad pattern. Here's the basic reason: When it comes to their nutritional quality, vegetables vary enormously, and that's true whether they are organic or conventional. One carrot in the grocery store, for instance, may have two or three times more beta carotene than its neighbor but that's due to all kinds of things: differences in the genetic makeup of different varieties, the ripeness of the produce when it was picked, even the weather. Variables, like ripeness, have a greater influence on nutrient content, so a lush peach grown with the use of pesticides could easily contain more vitamins than an unripe organic one. So there really are vegetables that are more nutritious than others, but the dividing line between them isn't whether or not they are organic. "You can't use organic as your sole criteria for judging nutritional quality," says researcher Crystal Smith-Spangler."

Submission + - Overcoming Irrelevancy: Making Hyperlocal Actually Work!

THPN writes: I have never seen any organization get hyperlocal completely right. So, I wrote a simple algorithm that accurately derives the formal place name of any populated area in the United States. It works perfectly in the largest urban centers, as well as the most sparsely populated rural areas. One major site has already agreed to use it and best of all, it's in the public domain!

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