Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:As if the terms weren't draconian enough... (Score 3, Insightful) 260

So you're saying you don't want them to have backups of their systems?

Not being a facebook user I would find it amusing if a meteor took out their data center today and the site can't be restored on account of the ToS not allowing them to keep backups.

As in many cases with updated contracts (not even sure a ToS counts as a real contract), this is mostly just the paper being adjusted to reflect reality.

Comment Re:That estimate seems really high (Score 2, Interesting) 563

$100billion? There are millions of patient records, but they do not reside in millions of databases. Let's be generous and say there are thousands of databases. But most of those databases are already manned by DBAs.

Nonsense. There are thousands of hospitals alone and perhaps they all have single-system record keeping, but I doubt it. To take a famous example, the Cleveland Clinic is local to me, they employ about 800 IT staff; I know for a fact they have a cadre of Oracle DBAs as well as a team of SQL Server DBAs. I also know for a fact they have 200+ production databases throughout their organization--most of which contain patient records of some sort.

However my family doctor employs 0 IT staff. She uses commercial off-the-shelf software to manage her records, having gone digital a couple years ago. Yes, there's a database in there somewhere, but no DBA. And she still has tens of thousands of paper folders with paper records in them and no plan to digitize them--and don't forget this plan requires such records to be digitized. The logistics of doing such a thing for tens of thousands of single-doctor practices nationwide are staggering.

Again, I think it's a great project and we'd get way more than $100B back out of it in a generation, but if anything they underestimate the size of the project. I'm not saying it's complex, it's just huge and labor intensive.

Comment Re:stupid question but..... (Score 1) 563

Because they don't have any notion of interoperability and because an individual practitioner (or hospital, for that matter) won't realize any direct cost savings.

But interconnected health systems are key to patient well-being and cross-the-board cost savings. Health care specialists are great for fixing localized problems, but if my cardiologist and my dentist don't talk about my prolapsed mitrial valve, I can get an infection and drop dead sometime between having a mouth full of cotton and spitting into the little sink you can never quite reach from the chair. (OK, maybe not that fast but you get the point I hope.)

This is a big idea initiative that can benefit our society so greatly in so many ways it's staggering (consider the medical research possibilities of mining such a database, not to mention the possibility of genuine customer care). This is the kind of thing that government has to do because private industry has no motivation.

The problem is that precious few people around here (including me) would want to get involved doing technical work for the government. I have a feeling it won't be as easy or as cheap as they seem to think, even though at its heart it's a really easy (if labor-intensive) project, because a lot of the high-grade nerds can't stand the way government does things.

United States

Voters In Many States Must Register By October 6 182

Will F. Johnston writes "Voters in AK, AR, AZ, CO, DC, FL, GA, HI, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, OH, PA, TN, TX, and VA must register to vote by tomorrow, October 6, in order to vote in November. Other deadlines coming up soon: IL and NM are October 7. MT is Oct. 6, but you can do same-day registration at the elections office. UT is also Oct. 6, but you can register in person until the 20th."
The Media

Jobs Rumor Debacle Besmirches Citizen Journalism 286

On Friday someone posted a false rumor that Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack on CNN's unverified citizen journalism site, iReport. Apple's stock price went vertical, losing 9% before Apple stepped in and denied the rumor; the stock then recovered most of its loss. The SEC is investigating. PCWorld looks at the hit taken by citizen journalism as a result of this incident. "[The] increasingly blurred line between journalism and rumor is a serious concern for Al Tompkins, the broadcast/online group leader at The Poynter Institute — a specialized school for journalists of all media forms. 'How could you possibly allow just anybody to post just anything under your [CNN] label unless you have blazing billboards that say, "None of this has been verified, we've not looked at any of this, we have no idea if this is true"?' he asks."

U2's Manager Calls For Mandatory Disconnects For Music Downloaders 658

sleeplesseye writes "In a speech at the Midem music industry convention in Cannes, Paul McGuinness, longtime manager of the band U2, has called on Internet service providers to immediately introduce mandatory French-style service disconnections to end music downloading, and has urged governments to force ISPs to adopt such policies. McGuinness criticized Radiohead's 'In Rainbows' pay-what-you-want business model, saying that 'the majority of downloads were through illegal P2P download services like BitTorrent and LimeWire'. He also accused ISPs, telcos, device makers, and numerous specifically named companies such as Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Oracle, and Facebook of building 'multi billion dollar industries on the back of our content without paying for it', and of being 'makers of burglary kits' who have made 'a thieves' charter' to steal money from the music industry. The full text of his speech has been posted on U2's website."

Slashdot Top Deals

"It says he made us all to be just like him. So if we're dumb, then god is dumb, and maybe even a little ugly on the side." -- Frank Zappa