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Comment Re:Yeah. Why not? (Score 1) 262

This exact problem has already been solved for a number of years, here in New Zealand of all places.

The government recognised there is a public health issue in school vaccinators/GPs having up to date info on immunisations, so they could schedule vaccination programmes and quickly know where low coverage rates existed in case of an outbreak.

So - the school carries out vaccinations, and the details get electronically transmitted (using HL7 protocol) to a central register managed/hosted by the ministry of health. Similarly, if a kid goes to their doctor and gets a jab there, the GP uses their own local system to query that register, download details of other immunisation events, and add ones they do there. It all syncs with this central register, and seems to work very well.

That way, in case of an outbreak in a particular region, they can easily know who is at risk and send nurses into a specific school to notify teachers and parents.

This is the *only* use case other than allergies I can imagine schools needing any contact with medical info, and even then - they should not be storing it locally or via any kind of cloud site, if an effective solution like this can be done in a small country like NZ. Is there a reason something similar couldn't be done centrally in the US, with federal/govt money or is the system that deregulated?

Comment Re:They are free to choose, as are you (Score 4, Insightful) 206

Yep agree. Lots of comments here go along the lines of "this is a free market, just take your business elsewhere". Fine - I can do that (and in this case I certainly will). But what proportion of the general internet using population do you think are even aware they are being tracked? This faith in the rational decision-making power of consumers relies on them having information about the relative pros and cons of accessing a particular service. I guess what I'm suggesting is that this 'expectation' to be tracked has just sneaked up on us, and there is no transparency from individual web sites, or these tracking services, about what is really happening with people's data. I don't believe any of us have made a rational decision that being tracked is 'OK' - it's just the way things are now, so we all just have to kind of accept it. It's pretty sad.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Should I expect to be tracked as a subscriber to a news website? 1

robot5x writes: I'm a fan of online privacy and, where possible, don't automatically permit cookies and tend to set Ghostery to block all trackers in my browser. This rarely causes a problem — I have lots of subscriptions to various sites which require me to login and have only rarely encountered minor issues.

Recently I had a present of a Slate Plus membership. I really like their content and was keen on supporting it financially. Activating it from the email they sent me required to first register as a user. I clicked on the icon, and nothing happened. Ghostery picked up 7 trackers which I had blocked.

Assuming that one of these was the cause, I activated each in turn and reloaded. None of them made any difference, except a single tracker from JanRain. Accepting this tracker let everything work perfectly. Reading more about JanRain though — and particularly its interaction with Adobe analytics (which it also tries to load) — I discovered that they wanted to "create a holistic view of your business by collecting, analyzing and reporting all customer interactions. To derive the most actionable insights, you must link your customers’ actions with who they are and what their interests are. Janrain bridges the gap by connecting demographic and psychographic data, collected through traditional and social login, with Adobe’s behavioral data, so you understand the whole customer journey".

I do not want them to do any of this, and don't think I should have to. Interactions with Slate's 'support' were excruciating and — while they at least didn't ask me to restart my computer — they actually ended up saying that allowing these trackers is tied to their login process and I have to either accept or get a refund.

My question to Slashdot is — is it acceptable to have to accept being tracked as a paying customer of a news site (or any site, in fact), or am I just being a big baby?

Comment Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

But no, you just focus on the fact that he also happens to work for Valve.

To be fair, the stupid article is somewhat to blame. You rightly indicate that a far more appropriate title would have been 'Widely respected Professor of Economics appointed Greece's Finance Minister'. Which has the apparent downside of:

  • actually sounding like a very sensible thing to do, and
  • apparently having no relation to 'news for nerds'

Comment Re:Oh, I wouldn't worry about it. (Score 2) 130


@ColdWetDog, I'm writing a thesis currently on Health IT interoperability (I'm in NZ but what I can tell is these problems persist across vastly differing policy/funding environments). Would be interested in getting your thoughts on the topic from the real world perspective of a health practitioner. It's been tricky 'recruiting' clinical people with appropriate technical expertise to comment on what the barriers are. I do have some US/Canadian people lined up already - only one is a currently practicing doc though.

Comment Re:"Crux is the smallest of all 88 constellations" (Score 3, Informative) 104

For anyone interested in reading a friendly introduction to the southern hemisphere I recommend Richard Hall's 'How to gaze at the southern stars'.

As you might imagine, there is a section specifically on Crux:

In your mind, draw a straight line through the axis of the Cross, through the tip and across the sky. You will find the arrow is pointing at another bright star. You cannot fail to identify this star, Achernar, because it is the only first-magnitude star in that part of the sky. Approximately halfway along the imaginary line between the cross and Achernar is the south celestial pole... Once you have established where the celestial pole is, you can determine your latitude. The celestial pole is always a number of degrees above the horizon equal to the latitude at which you are standing. Surprisingly, you don't need complex equipment to make this measurement. Polynesian navigators used a notched stick held at arms length, or sometimes nothing more than the outstretched hands and fingers.

Comment The self-fulfilling prophecy (Score 4, Interesting) 234

The Beta Version prophets of doom swamp every story with predictions that everyone will leave slashdot and hyperbolic comments about how awful the new version is...

The remaining few who visit to read intelligent posting on critical analysis of tech stories get served up page after page of hyperbolic comment on how awful the new version is instead. They also leave.

The end

Comment Re: Where are they? (Score 1) 324

Oh for mod points.

all this talk of how to circumvent or dodge our own govts abuses of power are totally wrong. If we have lost faith we need to use democracy to change things - this can be done, even in Americas narrow 2 party system. Anyone who sneers at this should think about how - for example - big business would fail overnight if we all stopped buying stuff. People really do have power! Use it!!

Comment Re:My data (Score 1) 84

Absolutely right. Despite finding some current apps really useful (currently using Glucose Buddy), they do tend to just focus on retrospective monitoring of glucose levels and insulin.

I'm finding this useful currently just because my phone is the only thing that goes everywhere with me, so it's easy to always record wherever I am. I would love to have them go the extra mile, though, and tell me:

  1. what my ideal insulin/carb ratio is
  2. suggest dosages for certain meals
  3. track injection times, and monitor the half-life in case of situations where insulin overlaps

I think there's a lot of potential for apps to help particularly with chronic disease, and I'm really looking forward to what comes out next - despite all the inverted snobbery and worst case scenarios elsewhere in this discussion.

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