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Comment Thoughts of a Middle Aged Geek (Score 1) 651

I rarely post to Slashdot, but feel the need to weigh in on this topic. At 40, I am at an age where I increasingly am confronted with the end-of-life issues of loved ones. I have a dear friend who at 72 has been battling cancer for a few years. I cherish the fact that he is still with us for whatever time he has left. This man is more active than I am and is a real world character from the movie "The Bucket List".

There are some gut-wrenching decisions that need to be made about when to let the inevitable take its course. I do believe this is best left to the patient and their families. I do think that it is to be expected (and okay) that the majority of health care spending is at the end of one's life. Those who choose to battle on against odds do benefit society by providing subjects for the experimental. They are the pioneers whose treatment may one day lead to either a cure or successful management of the disease. Perhaps not for themselves, but for those on down the line.

I think that this article was also an indictment of the US healthcare system. The overhead and markup is horrendous. The system engineer in me dislikes inefficiency and believes strongly in process improvement. I think we can and should do better for all of us. The challenge is obviously that there are too many constituencies and stakeholders that are unwilling to work together toward a common good as they profit mightily from the status quo. They spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt when anyone tries to change the current system. This article illustrates again to me that medical care is not market driven service, so a market-based approach to health care delivery might not be effective.
Data Storage

Why RAID 5 Stops Working In 2009 803

Lally Singh recommends a ZDNet piece predicting the imminent demise of RAID 5, noting that increasing storage and non-decreasing probability of disk failure will collide in a year or so. This reader adds, "Apparently, RAID 6 isn't far behind. I'll keep the ZFS plug short. Go ZFS. There, that was it." "Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we'll have 2 TB drives. With a 7-drive RAID 5 disk failure, you'll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an [unrecoverable read error]. So the read fails ... The message 'we can't read this RAID volume' travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected — you thought! — data is gone. Oh, you didn't back it up to tape? Bummer!"

IE The Great Microsoft Blunder? 643

JordanL writes "Hot on the heels of the beta rollouts of IE 7, comes an editorial from John Dvorak declaring IE the biggest mistake Microsoft has ever made. From the article: 'All the work that has to go into keeping the browser afloat is time that could have been better spent on making Vista work as first advertised [...] If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column--billions.'"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot moderation abuse. 1

After posting a few controversial comments to slashdot my karma went from good down to terrible within 2 hours. So I can't post here for a while.
This supports my opinion that privacy advocates and Java users are immature and incapable of a civilized discussions.

Comment "generics" (Score -1, Interesting) 602

While some people always propagate the use of generics/templates, I'm strictly set up against it.
While you get at first sight nice stuff like reusability etc. there are several reasons for avioding generics like an STD:
  • The type checking is much weaker thus introducing new potential holes for error to slip through.
  • You must make some assumptions about the used classes however verifying the correctness of these assumptions in nearly impossible.
  • The reusabilty "argument" is rubbish: that's what we have already OOP for. And when you now claim performance problems due to heavy stack/virtual methods use: that's an issue of the processor design not of the programming language. When you think that running serious software on system compatible to 30 year old rubbish is cool, then you must accept the performance of 30 year old waste in the same turn.
  • The above mentioned problems create new security holes. That's why the use of generics/templates in strictly forbidden in e.g. the banking sector.
  • Due to turing completeness of most template/generics systems the compiler is slowed down to 30 percent performance. More evil is that templates push the grammars into the Chomsky-0 type making secure (=100%) correctness checking impossible.
  • In old languages like Lisps the use of generics is usually strongly discouraged to users unless they are ultra-gurus due to the bad experiences. It's not clear why this should be different for Java or C++.

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Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.