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Comment Re:Their Goals (Score 1) 411

This is a great example: were the important protocols and general structure patented, what you know of as the internet would not have been delayed or more expensive, it would have never existed.

I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that it would have existed, in a different form.

Remember SNA? When TCP/IP was young, SNA was better. There is no reason the web couldn't run on SNA. But it would be a really different web; your ISP would (auto-)generate device configurations so you could connect. But it would still provide the same basic functionality to those with access to it.

TCP/IP prevailed over SNA because it was unencumbered and readily available, not on technical merit.* Ditto Ethernet over Token Ring. The web we have prevailed over all its stillborn competitors because it was unencumbered.

(* I make no judgement of technical merit, I merely point out that it was not the principal factor.)

Comment Re:In the land of the free... (Score 1) 554

I also have run my own "hobby" mail server for about a dozen years, and host a half-dozen domains that receive mail. My tool chain is Postfix/Dovecot/Amavis/ClamAV/SpamAssassin/Squrirrelmail on OpenBSD, and I also do my own DNS (with two secondaries in Europe).

Every couple of years, I need to do a technology refresh, but other than that the system runs itself. Yes, the power fails at my house, but the UPS under NUT lets it all come down gracefully and come back up unattended..

Thanks to the great care I took in setting it all up, this stuff is so reliable that I can afford to leave it alone for months at a stretch. It can be done.


RIP, SunSolve 100

Kymermosst writes "Today marks the last day that SunSolve will be available. Oracle sent the final pre-deployment details today for the retirement of SunSolve and the transition to its replacement, My Oracle Support Release 5.2, which begins tomorrow. People who work with Sun's hardware and software have long used SunSolve as a central location for specifications, patches, and documentation."

Comment Re:test results are largely irrelevant anyway (Score 1) 203

When has Microsoft ever forced someone to upgrade their browser?

This really happened, in about 1996.

I'm too lazy to recall the details, but my computer was unusable until I allowed the upgrade to complete. Multiple reboots, cancels, retries, etc.; I even pulled the power cord during the process at one point, to no avail. My work depended on using the currently installed version, so it mattered.

It was the thing that pushed me over the edge with Microsoft. I have recently eased off (I'm typing this on a Windows media center PC), but I STILL have a Microsoft-free server room.

(Actually, it's also Linux-free; go OpenBSD. And there's an AS/400 in there too.)


Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"

Comment Re:What might this look like? (Score 2, Informative) 158

I want to log in and instantly know how much money I have, while still being able to drill down into individual accounts to access the transaction history.

CIBC offers this in Canada.

I want to be able to transfer money between my accounts quickly and easily, without fees or limits.

This too.

I want to be able to pay bills on line,

This too.

have checks cut and then mailed to me, I want to deposit checks by scanning them at home and I want to generate disposable credit card numbers for online purchases.

No luck on this stuff. The disposable credit card numbers would be nice.

Comment Re:What might this look like? (Score 1) 158

A few years ago I ran a service business with a monthly fee.

I was able to generate a transaction file (in the service's operational software) to send to my credit union to debit this fee from my customers' accounts and credit mine, but the file had to be manually uploaded to the credit union's secure web site.

My billing was completely automated except for that one manual intervention. It would have been really nice to automate that step as well, via upload to an internet-accessible endpoint.

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