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Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 430

Well now you know, Facebook is left/liberal biased (which was kind of obvvious before this stunning revalation) much like the overwhming majority of the tech sector. Get over it. They are doing nothing the right wing media and players like the Koch brothers haven't been doing for years.

With the acknowledgement that the above may well be completely true, recently I've been flooded with unhinged Trump posts. From FB friends I'd never expect to see it from. So much so that for the first time I've had to unfollow somebody.

For a long time prior to that I was seeing posts/shares from my left-leaning friends from high-school oh-so-long-ago. Which made sense since I came of age in the 70's in a very liberal part of the Northeast. So seeing liberal/progressive messages from my former classmates wasn't so much an indictment of the medium as much as the demographic with which I was affiliated.

Comment This is a big deal, but not the Apocalypse (Score 3, Informative) 440

Trust me, as a driver developer, this has been causing me an immense amount of headaches, and Windows 10 is only part of the story.

But the blog entry has a key detail which nobody here seems to understand. Existing Drivers signed by a certificate that was issued prior to July 2015 will still be accepted by the kernel. What this means is that the new rollout is not going to cause the entire ecosystem of Windows legacy drivers to implode. If they were signed correctly for 64-bit Windows before, they will continue to work on Windows 10. Really, truly, I've tested this myself on preview editions of the Windows 10 AE

Where you get screwed is when a vendor needs to update a driver going forward. Then things get to be hairy. Logistically, signing became much harder, everything from obtaining a certificate to performing the actual signing. Pain. In. The. Ass.

Our company just released an update of our product just under the wire of when our legacy "get's a free pass" certificate expired so that we'd have some runway to incorporate the new driver signing nightmare into our tool chain. So we're good up until the next showstopper bug comes along, which fortunately is rare. You'll be able to use our latest release just fine on AE, even though it didn't get signed by Microsoft.

Comment Re:My PCP has a "scribe!" (Score 1) 326

Fair enough, but it seems like all that gets focused on is the cost without weighing in the (lower than for specialists, but non-zero) benefits. Even if it isn't a zero-sum outcome, I would think at this point that most near-the-brink-of-burnout doctors would seriously consider absorbing some of this load.

It's not a given mind you, as when I witnessed controversy over what should have been the no-brainer of adding a Hospitalist staff into the mix. That meant there was an inpatient-specific doctor staff to offload torturous middle-of-the-night admissions, among other things. Most of the doctors were fine with the tradeoff of losing some of the billings associated with the admissions, as it turned "on call" in being a telephone-only affair, rather than a Russian Roulette game of "am I going to get any sleep tonight this time?". There was a small but vocal contingent that balked, but in the end the Hospitalists were hired, which was a win for both doctors and patients alike.

Comment Re:Burnt out doc here: (Score 1) 326

From my view into what my spouse and the other doctors in the practice go through, this is spot on. Right down to the "I'll just go part time", which actually translates into 40 hours (in our case, 25 patient-hours easily is a 50-hour week, and more when an inevitable heavily-loaded week comes along). The only solutions I see are to either get out altogether, utilize the MD for something that's not patient care, or find one of those rare institutions that's enlightened enough to understand how bad this problem is and takes it seriously enough to keep it under control.

Sadly, the last option is probably all but impossible right now, though there are promising signs that the industry is slowly waking up to just how unsustainable the situation is.

Comment Re:Slow data entry (Score 1) 326

Yes. The UI's I've seen suck to high heaven. It's not hard to be five levels deep in nested dialog boxes as they have to navigate checkboxes and codes that are spread all over the place. The visual context-switching that has to be done to enter the information for a single visit is staggering. Not only is it slow as hell, but mentally taxing. A huge waste of the physician's mental bandwidth.

Comment Re:My PCP has a "scribe!" (Score 1) 326

Your PCP (as well as you) are lucky. My PCP spouse is a total burnout case because of the data entry problem and lack of organizational support. I see two factors here: (1) the doctors just suck it up and put in countless hours of unpaid overtime to feed the beast, and (2) the suits that run the place don't have the business acumen to realize that a scribe would easily pay for themselves in increased billings since the doctors could handle a larger panel.

It kills me because it seems like the specialists have figured this out, just not Primary Care. My eye doctor always has some sort of assistant present to help out with the mechanics of dealing with the electronic charts. Been that way for years and years. Why the hell have the highest paid guy in the room be spending time that doesn't require his skillset when that can be offloaded by someone cheaper? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Comment Re:Nice website (Score 2) 41

Not to mention the retro attitude towards Shareware, which was novel back in the day but is now more-or-less how most commercial software is distributed. As a former Shareware author myself, which morphed into a more commercial version, the vitriol is puzzling, especially in this day and age.

People back then were used to buying software as if it were a physical good: you got a book, media such as floppies or a CD, and perhaps a box to put it all in. But by golly if that same software was something you could download alongside items that were free, then it damned well better not cost anything either! How dare an author try to recoup development costs, at the same time they give a potential customer the ability to actually try out the software before committing to buying it?! The nerve of those guys!

This seems to have evolved into folks who think that all software should be available at no cost, economics be damned, and those who appreciate that there is a FOSS option alongside a more traditional business model (with a much improved distribution system)

But I digress. It was just striking to see the old school hate posted on the site. I guess it is a blast from the past in more ways than one...

Comment Re:My Favorite (Score 5, Insightful) 263

Four point text on some street names.

So you zoom and and they shrink all the text back to its original four point font.

This. And it's been this idiotic for quite some time now. I mean seriously, how hard is it to detect the threshold of where you're zooming in for more streets and/or detail, and when you're just trying to f'ing read the goddam names?

Comment Impossible Project indeed (Score 5, Interesting) 81

If their efforts end up anything like their non-peel-apart lineup, then it's truly doomed. I have an old Land camera and a 600 series camera that uses the integrated battery pack in the cartridge (and develops in open air). The film from Impossible for the 600 is dreadful. I've gone through 3-4 cartridges and got nothing but a blurry, faded-looking mess. At best.

You also can't point/shoot/eject/watch-it-develop like you could the original Polaroid. The Impossible film remains sensitive to light for at least 10-15 seconds if not longer, requiring hacks and tricks to eject it into either a box or under shade to make it develop properly at all. A real pain, all for vintage pictures that look like they're 40 years old the minute they fully develop.

A shame really, as they have been at it for quite a number of years now. I would have hoped they could have recreated a more faithful and reliable facsimile of the original film. I know some people have reported good results, but I was never able to come close

Comment The irony of course... (Score 1) 167

...being that my older Comcast DVR's used CableCard technology. If you looked on the back you could see the slots for them. Of course there was secret sauce in there that allowed OnDemand access and what-not that a Tivo+CC wouldn't do. But for all the pushback against CC's it seems like it probably saves them quite a bit of money as the cost of designing a carrier-locked box must be a lot lower for the OEM's if they can use CC as the starting point and lowest-common-denominator.

Of course, Comcast's new Xfinity platform (finally becoming a platform in addition to a brand) seems to be something altogether different, since they now essentially push the DVR storage back up into Comcast's private cloud. And near as I can tell there's no CC tech inside these new boxes, and for all I know use a completely different content delivery technology.

Comment Re:stress is the systemic killer in modern workpla (Score 5, Insightful) 60

Secondly, nobody is forcing the employees to work in such condition. The stressed out employees are always free to use the door and switch employer.

People always make that sound so easy. For entire categories of workers, the ones often under the highest stress because they are being eaten up by not one but two jobs to keep themselves afloat, are the ones least likely to have the kind of job mobility that would result in any tangible improvement.

Back in the 90's when I was a young buck and had every employer convinced of my high technical prowess, combined with an employment market that was seriously in the engineer's favor, I used to think that way too. And for me, I did have that kind of freedom. Several decades later, along with many changes to my life circumstance and the job market in which I inhabit, I have a much greater appreciation for limitations of how much control one has over their career. And that's if you're lucky enough work in a field where "career" is an appropriate term

Comment Re:Awful lot of money for some big flaws... (Score 1) 37

it became a nice alternative to stencils and ovens

I'm slightly curious about that. If you're already sending your board out to get fabbed, you can get a stencil done at the same time. They cost about a tenner for as many stencils as you can fit on an A4 sheet of transparent film. If you don't need very fine pitch (I did 0.5mm pitch LGA-16 packages no problem), then you can do one at home on a vinyl cutter.

It did take me a while to get the hang of using a stencil though I must say.

Agreed that these days if you have some way to reflow, then getting a stencil at the same time as the board is painless. I'm still getting the hang of applying the paste, so having the machine do it seems a good alternative as it will likely do a more precise job of it. But I won't know until I get a unit of my own.

As I said before, in light of the OtherMill and DIY reflow oven, it's no longer clear what niche the Voltera will fill in my workshop. At the very least it will be cool to have been part of early development of this type of prototyping, which seems like it has the potential to get a lot better with more R&D. Even if I end up selling it or donating to a worthy cause like a school or Maker Space, I don't think I'll have any regrets.

Comment Re:Awful lot of money for some big flaws... (Score 3, Interesting) 37

Full Disclosure: I'm a backer, though not early enough to get an early-bird unit.

I look forward to trying this tech when I finally get mine. I have lots of reservations, but am still happy with my decision. I'm glad they seem to have found a way to paste/reflow boards that are inked. During the Kickstarter is was going to either be able to lay down ink, or paste/reflow. I.e., you could only paste/reflow a traditionally fabbed copper board, not a prototyped ink board that was fabbed by the Voltera. That was a pretty serious limitation, making the unit somewhat bipolar: you could quickly prototype boards in ink but then had to deal with soldering yourself. Once you were more confident with the design to send out for traditional copper boards, it became a nice alternative to stencils and ovens

I can't speak to the resistance issue, but in my mind the other huge limiter is the feature resolution limit. Sure, there's a bunch of things you can prototype within the limits of the Voltera, but you don't have to move much beyond Arduino-class designs to bump against the ceiling. Things like the Intel Edison connector is way out of reach for this thing, and even a DIMM connector (think Raspberry Pi Compute Module) is too dense. They will have some breakout boards for common footprints that are too tight, but that's a half-measure in my book and only adds to the number of things that have to get redesigned on the path from a Voltera prototype to a real board.

In the meantime I went ahead and bought an OtherMill, which can handle much smaller feature sizes, and uses traditional copper-clad boards. You have to connect your own vias, but it will at least drill them for you. And getting the alignment between both sides of the board can be tricky. But I've already done some interesting prototypes with that board, including stencils, and now have a toaster-oven-based reflow box. Had I known about the OtherMill I may not have sprung for the Voltera. Hopefully they complement each other---even if the Voltera becomes mostly a solder dispenser that's a win over what I'm dealing with now.

Comment Re:Children or not (Score 2) 200

Yeah, I got nailed in a neighboring town which couldn't be bothered to do any more than the "when children are present" hiding-in-plain-sight signage. And the school in question was not visible from the road you're on, given it's laterally a full block away, but was apparently close enough to justify the sign. I simply had no idea it was a school zone, and no idea when the school zone hours are enforceable even if I had known. Despite the hard-ass reputation of the local cops for that town, he let me off with a warning.

In the end I had to go look up in the town's by-laws (fortunately web-accessible) to determine what that town's ordinances are for a school zone and what the hours they are in effect. Even with only getting the warning I was feeling entrapped and pretty annoyed.

I'm more and more noticing that my own town seems to actually care about child safety, as the school zone signs are large, with two lights (one above, one below) that alternate in their flashing. It's pretty hard to miss. And all the ones I've seen are actually within sight of the school in question. They do occasionally post a cop at the school to crack down on the inevitable "I'll slow down but not close enough to the school zone speed limit" offenders, which I take to be a good faith effort to demonstrate that they are serious about enforcing speed in the zone.

I had another case where I wasn't let off the hook. Again, this was another "main road, not enough indication the speed zone is in effect", and in this case the zone was so small and the sight lines so short that you all but had to slam on the brakes if you didn't know it was coming, otherwise you were over the limit and they got you. Initially I passed it off as bad luck being in an unfamiliar area during a crackdown period. But I happened to be back that way the next week and saw another unfortunate driver pull over in the same spot. That tells me that particular town is more interested in revenue than child safety.

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