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Comment Re:Same Thing Happened to Me (Score 1) 699

The same thing happened to me, but I turned around and found another way without Google's help.

What makes this a problem in my mind is that Google Maps doesn't offer a "detour me" feature that allows you to easily avoid specified nodes in the commute graph.

Likewise. The point at which I turned a corner and found myself on a dirt path with a sheer drop to my left and a two lane highway to my right was the point at which I decided to stop following my iPhone's directions. The route I should have taken (and now take) is effectively the other three sides of a square. At the time, there was no way to derive this from Google Maps, but it was pretty obvious that I shouldn't proceed on the suggested route.

Comment Re:Watched it, impressed! (Score 1) 379

As much as I loved RTD's writing for the series, he had the idiotic tendency to keep committing genocide towards the recurring villains.

As much as I hated most of RTD's writing for the series, I have to say that the Daleks were all killed off in their very first appearance in 1964, as (I think) were the Cybermen in 1966, so you could say he was upholding the series tradition.

Comment Re:Unpopular position on Slashdot...I LIKE the iPa (Score 4, Insightful) 1634

"From what I can tell, the only thing you get with the iPad is the app-store."

And perfect synchronisation with my iPhone and Mac: contacts, events, documents all available without having to rely on web-apps (e.g. Google Docs) when I'm in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and an interface that's been vetted by an obsessive perfectionist.

An interface that doesn't get in the way of what I'm trying to do is a major selling point for me.

Comment Re:Misses the point (Score 1) 1634

I carry my 13" MacBook Pro every day. I make home visits to clients and have a suite of presentations, elements of which I may need to show them. I have a couple of spreadsheets into which I need to enter data about twice per week at a remote clinic. My iPhone serves to take brief notes and remind me what's next on my calendar, but I prefer the month-at-a-glance view in iCal on my Mac for booking new appointments. I have a load of textbooks in PDF form which I can either read sitting at my desk or through a window on my MacBook (unless I turn it sideways, which is ungainly).

The iPad is one-third of the mass of the MacBook Pro: it would allow me to show my presentations at a size my clients can see, run my spreadsheets, has a usable full-month calendar display and can show PDF books & magazines at roughly "actual size" when I'm sitting on the sofa or on a train without the awkwardness of a keyboard hanging off the side of the document. I have a sleeve case for my MacBook Pro: the iPad would fit nicely into a similar -- possibly even the same -- case while I'm on the move.

There are still many tasks for which I would use a full Mac, but most of those would be desk-based activities (e.g. programming, extended writing). I could see myself replacing my MacBook Pro & Cinema Display combination with an iMac and iPad, or even just leaving the MacBook Pro docked to the Cinema Display most of the week (but with the option to go mobile if I need extra power with me, e.g. when I'm travelling abroad).

The MacBook Air wasn't for me, but the iPad meets *my* needs exactly.

Comment Re:Copyright on his name? (Score 5, Informative) 205

The twitter account in question is @blaneysblarney, which is the name of Mr Blaney's blog. The account photo is copied from Mr Blaney's blog. The first post of @blaneysblarney says "Comrades, I thought I would set up a more political twitter and keep my other twitter account for more personal stuff."

So it seems he's trying to prevent someone using his photo and the name of his blog to pass off their words as his. I'm guessing he's asserting copyright on his photo and the name of his blog, which seems reasonable.


Submission + - Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep ( 1

reporter writes: "According to an article by the "New York Times", "Researchers have found a genetic mutation in two people who need far less sleep than average, a discovery that might open the door to understanding human sleep patterns and lead to treatments for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The finding, published in the Friday issue of the journal Science, marks the first time scientists have identified a genetic mutation that relates to sleep duration in any animal or human.

... [People possessing the mutated gene] routinely function on about 6 hours of sleep a night; the average person needs 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep.

Does 2 less hours of sleep mean 2 more hours in writing comments on SlashDot?"

Comment Re:People definitely neglect science... (Score 1) 656

I think you need both to be well equipped to be a scientist, or be able to have a meaningful debate on a scientific topic.

Or indeed any topic. I guess I'd assumed that "critical thinking" would, of itself, *require* the facts & figures: argument without supporting evidence may be fun, but it isn't science.

obligatory xkcd:

Comment Re:People definitely neglect science... (Score 4, Interesting) 656

In "The Demon Haunted World", Carl Sagan recalls a taxi driver who professed to be very interested in science ... then asked Sagan about flying saucers, Atlantis, etc.

Sagan describes his sadness at having to tell the guy that so many of his interests are "baloney" ... and his anger at an educational system that didn't equip the guy with the knowledge to distinguish science from pseudo-science.

A couple of decades later, school science teaching still seems to be less about critical thinking and more about absorbing facts handed down from on high. I imagine that most science *teachers* wish it were otherwise, but are bound by the curriculum.

Comment Re:Too few computers, too little bandwidth (Score 1) 294

I've no idea about the real costs of servers and their maintenance, but as for re-purposing old computers: last time I saw someone (our department secretary) have their computer replaced before it died - or was stolen - was 2001!

As you say, all that's really required is a dumb terminal that can run XP with IE6 (or even IE5!) ... but that just reduces the cost of replacements for dead machines. There's no incentive to upgrade from existing machines, so few older models to repurpose.

Comment Too few computers, too little bandwidth (Score 5, Insightful) 294

I can't speak for the US or private medicine but I've seen numerous electronic record systems piloted in the NHS.

My colleagues would love to have fast access to up-to-date clinical notes rather than play pass-the-parcel (or more often, hide & seek) with a patient's paper case-file(s), but wards tend to have one or two computers per ward and community services may have one computer between three to five staff. So at the end of a shift, when ward staff would be writing their notes, there'd be a queue for the computer. Similarly, before setting out on their visits at the start of the day and after returning from their visits at the end of the day, all community staff want access to the computer at the same time. Also, security dictates that as little information as possible is stored on the user's machine, so the intranet is swamped at these times and users face frustrating lags (I've been unable to access records in time for an appointment as the system was "oversubscribed").

To increase computer access to usable levels in my former service would have required a 3-400% increase in the number of computers provided to healthcare staff. I have no idea what the resource implications would have been for the service's intranet, but I imagine that a commensurate increase in server capacity (and in the IT department staffing, to take care of all of this) wouldn't be cheap. As a health service manager, having to decide between enough hospital beds or enough computers, which do you suppose is more likely to keep you in your job?

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