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Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 1) 99

Yeah, I'm slow getting to this thread, but I had to reply to this one. Beating on Lenovo because it's not IBM misses some of the spectacular disasters that IBM put out in the last year or so before they sold the ThinkPad brand to Lenovo. We were an all-ThinkPad shop at that time and had great luck with T2x and T3x models. Then we got some T50s They all died within a year due to bad capacitors on the boards. That was at the same time that IBM hard drives were known as DeathStars...

Lenovo, of course, wants to keep making money on the brand next year, so quality seems to have gone back up since then. Are they as tank-like as the T22 I had was? No, but then neither was the T42 I had, although it was a fine lump of hardware.

After the sell-off to Lenovo, our shop went all HP. I like the desktops, and the Elitebooks have been mostly OK. But the fashion-victim apple-clone chicklet keyboards on the current batch of Elitebooks suck, so my next purchase is probably going to be Lenovo just to get away from that.

Comment Not a new idea (Score 1) 268

There's a commercial software product from EMC called DiskXtender. It does exactly what you want. It's also quite expensive by home use standards. I know of no cheap/free solution that does what DX does.

For all you wannabes hating on tape: you've obviously never actually had to do a cost analysis on tape versus platter storage. LTO is fast, capacious, reliable, and shockingly cheap per TB stored. Only the drives are expensive, and the hardware life cycle on them is 3-5 years, about the same as the design life cycle on server hardware.

For highest criticality storage (Say your ERP system DB), a SAN LUN mirrored offsite is the gold standard. And it costs like gold, too. But the world (and your server room) is probably full of systems that really only need a once/day (or maybe even once/week) snapshot, and if you need data for them, you can stand to wait a bit to get it back. For both sorts of system there's the other problem: how do you handle data archiving? Our business has all kinds of contractual and regulatory requirements for long term or even indefinite data archiving.

Using platters for archiving is just dumb. They suck power, require continuous maintenance (MTBF) and generate heat whenever they're running, and you just don't need low-latency storage for last year's business records. Once you're outside the DR plan recovery window, you're down to archiving, and there's no cheaper and more stable way to archive data than to high density tape. A $20 tape in offsite storage costs about $6/year to retain and stores 1.5 terabyte natively with optional hardware compression and/or encryption. You just can't touch that with a disk drive.

Disk dedup and consolidation is, however, a wonderful thing. It means that tapes can be written at optimum data rates regardless of what goes on in backing up the client. It also means that your onsite file recovery for the last few days can happen from the disk cache, which is very popular with the userbase.

Comment Re:And as usual... (Score 1) 90

And as usual, /. poster is stuck on arbitrary methodological constructs s/he learned by rote rather than bothering to understand a) the problem, b) the investigative process in use, or c) the assessable probability of a false outcome without a double-blind administered control group.

And now the answers to a), b), and c) above:

a) basal cell carcinoma varies from almost invisible to looking like acne rosacea. As it gets worse, it usually gets closer to the the acne/rash appearance. It's not generally fatal (although it often occurs on the face and head and can easily metastasize into nearby muscle, lymphatic, or bone tissue with bad outcomes). Traditional treatment is, however often disfiguring because of the necessity of removing all of the skin tissue to get down to the basal layer where the cancer is dividing. Patient ends up with a hole in skin down to the subcutaneous fat or muscle, and often needs a graft. Facial skin grafts are hard to match and can heal badly. What basal cell isn't is variably distributed within the afflicted population. You either have it or you don't, it's very easy and reliable to detect once suspected, and there's really no relevant difference between patients except number and size of carcinomas.

There's also no reason to suspect that a particular treatment will vary in effectiveness over history. IE: if you have ever put a band aid with skin cream or acne cream on ten (or more) randomly-selected BCC patients for a month and recorded the results, you now have a control group that can be compared against any future treatment trail pool of similar size and application method.

Conclusion: no need for a control group in this pilot study - we already know what a band aid will do for BCC.

b) This is a ten-patient pilot study. You do this mostly to see if the proposed treatment is safe for further study or not. If nobody gets sicker then you proceed with a second study. If you also develop some more data (like the 80% cure rate in the ten-sample group here), then great - you have something to put in the funding request for the next study. Trials where 80% are nauseous and develop lesions in seven days probably won't get a follow up. Publishing results at such an early stage of investigation is both a push for funding and for peer review follow-on studies. If such a study makes it into mainstream press (or /. for that matter) then it probably will be misinterpreted by people like the parent poster.

c) given b) above, the investigators are really just looking for a Boolean output signal: either the treatment warrants further study or it doesn't. They got their answer - nobody got sicker and 80% reported improvement. Off to the funding races for a bigger study with control groups and patient outcome tracking.

It's all about risk/reward. Why risk 10 people getting metastasis of their BCC just so that you can control a pilot study that's really more about safety and methodology than efficacy anyway?

It's not about blind, dogmatic adherence to what you learned in middle school about the scientific method.

Speaking as a former lab scientist, this is a perfectly OK methodology for a pilot study.

Speaking as the SO of a basal cell patient, I hope this works so that we can get away from cutting on people with knives to solve the problem. I'd be very curious to hear more about how big the carcinomas were and how well the surrounding healthy tissue filled in the void left by the dying irradiated carcinoma. If nothing else, it should be a lot cheaper treatment than Mohs surgery, and BCC doesn't discriminate based on patient healthcare coverage.

Comment Alternatives? (Score 1) 102

So does anybody have a decent alternative? It's really hard as it is to actually product search on google because of the SEO fake 'review' sites taking up the first 3-10 pages of results. Having them cut off Google Shopping at the knees like this is going to make it even harder for me to actually find stuff I need to buy.

Comment What about the Recording? (Score 2) 110

Does anybody have any review/comment on the quality of performance and recording? I know that it cost me nothing (as I didn't know about the Kickstarter project) but I hope for the future of this kind of project that it's topnotch. I'm enthused about the idea of funding a recording session in advance if the result is released under a nonrestrictive license like CC0 and there's a reasonable expectation of good outcome.

Comment Re:IANAB - I am not a biologist (Score 1) 66

Also not a biologist, but noticed years ago that field mice in near suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA are coal gray-black all over (good camouflage for hiding in the coal pile historically used as home heating fuel), unlike field mice in rural areas of the state, which are the normal lighter gray with white under. Are they actually a different species? By the reliable interbreeding standard, probably not, but by the distinctive behaviors or markings standard they are. Species with short generational cycles like mice or tropical frogs should show noticeable variation pretty quickly if isolated from the 'parent' population. There's absolutely no reason to believe that this expectation would be any different in a manmade environment versus a natural one.

Comment Re:A few more (Score 1) 1244

If we're on a Brunner kick, I must cite my personal favorite of his: The Tides of Time, which deals with the coming of age and eventual diaspora of a species of intelligent cephalopods on a planet with an asteroid belt problem. Fun stuff on the order of Asimov's Nightfall (which also deserves a read if you haven't - it's one of his better written stories.

Submission + - Copyright suit forces shut down unix timezone data (

Zecheus writes: The founder and maintainer of The timezone database writes:

A civil suit was filed on September 30 in federal court in Boston; I'm a defendant; the case involves the time zone database. The ftp server at has been shut down. The mailing list will be shut down after this message. Electronic mail can be sent to me at arthurdavidolson I hope there will be better news shortly.

The Internet

Submission + - Northern Canada in the Dark (

zentigger writes: At approximately 06:36 EDT Thursday, October 6, 2011, Anik F2 satellite experienced an attitude control issue and lost earth lock affecting C, Ku and Ka services. The satellite went into safety mode and moved from pointing to the earth to pointing to the sun.
This has put most of Northern Canada in the dark as all internet and phone services come in over F2.

Comment Re:Is Slashdot being astroturfed? (Score 1) 664

Yes, you are astroturfing for the 'clean coal' lobby. All of the complaints you cite as being wrong with nuclear power generation are also true of coal power generation. That's why other people were commenting that coal is still a net-lose to nuclear even with an every-20-years problem like TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima.

Comment Probably a good idea (Score 1) 7

  1. 1. You're using their network resources, and it's distinctly possible that they know something you don't, or the system may need some care/maintenance when you're not around,

    2. They're likely responsible for security auditing, etc. And unless this is a very unusual environment, they've already been trained/contracted about non disclosure (HIPAA in your case). It's a lot easier for them to do the job of proving that your box isn't a security risk if they can get inside of it, and providing there's need to know, it's an appropriate and justifed risk to get substantial benefit.


    3. Choose your trusted party carefully - different organizations have different trust and authority models for their IT departments. Most tend to concentrate administrative logins with particular people with ability and need to know on particular types of systems, so a Windows admin wouldn't have rights on *NIX boxes, an infrastructure admin wouldn't have rights on anything but routers and switches, etc. Depending on the size of the organization this might be one person or three different departments. In any case, verify that the person/group you're granting login rights is knowledgeable in general terms about your system. People who don't know anything about the box seldom have need to log in.

    4. Review your logs. A good idea in any event, but it keeps folks honest if you casually ask them why they logged into your box at 03:15 on Saturday. And if they didn't, you've just identified a possible data breach.

Submission + - Do I give IT a login on our Dept server? ( 7

jddorian writes: I am head of a clinical division at an academic hospital (not Radiology, but similarly tech oriented). My fellow faculty (dozen or so) want to switch from paper calendar to electronic (night and weekend on-call schedule). Most have an iPhone or similar, so I envisaged a CalDAV server. The Hospital IT dept doesn't offer any iPhone compatible calendar tool, so I bought (my cash) a tiny server, installed a BSD, OpenLDAP for accounts, and installed and configured DAViCal. After I tested it out, I emailed IT to ask to allow port 8443 through the hospital firewall to this server. The tech (after asking what port 8443 was for), said he would unblock the port after I provide him with a login account on the machine (though "I don't need root access"). I was taken aback, and after considering it, I am still leaning toward opposing this request, possibly taking this up the chain. I'm happy to allow any scan, to ensure it has no security issues, but I'd rather not let anyone else have a login account. What do the readers of Slashdot think? Should I give IT a login account on a server that is not owned or managed by them?

Comment Nobody remembers IVHS? (Score 1) 317

I see they've discovered platooning...again. Looks like the difference this time is that the lead vehicle is not autonomous. It's not a new idea - there was lots of research and hoopla over increased traffic density, increased safety, and reduced fuel consumption and emissions back in the late 90s. Simply put, a speeding car is very slow compared to speed-of-light communication between vehicles and cell towers, and the rules of physics are pleasantly consistent - it's an easy system to model, and not especially hard to implement - the trailing vehicle driving computer does not need to be aware of the whole road, just its position in the lane and its relation to other vehicles nearby.

The variant I remember used rare earth magnets buried in the center of the lane to give the cars an idea of where they should be on the roadway, and sensors and inter-vehicle communications were used so that each car knew where the others in its platoon were. There was an assumption that something like a cellular communication network and traffic management computer would tell entire platoons what a safe speed for this block of road was. Because the auto drive system had reaction times in the very low millisecond range, it was quite practical and safe to space cars a meter apart at 130 km/h, which offered big fuel economy benefits. Remove the cellular block command and control system and you have what the Europeans are proposing.

This is yet another thing that evaporated after 9/11 so that the US could afford to create the TSA and replace a dictator in Iraq with a power vacuum...

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