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Comments

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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Amigan Re:I don't like the IBM keyboards. (304 comments)

Specifically, the Ergonomic FlexPro. I'm typing from it now, 20yrs after buying it. It has a 5pin AT connector plugged into a pigtail (5pin -> PS2 connection) plugged into a PS2 -> USB connector.

about a month and a half ago
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Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

Amigan Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (385 comments)

I would argue that there is a difference between a user application (the web browser and Emacs that you've cited) and processes that the OS depends on to function. I would be more ok with systemd if it were an installation option. It isn't exactly new technology, as AIX (System Resource Controller) and Solaris (System Management Facility) implemented these same concepts before.

about 2 months ago
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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Amigan 35 yr member (213 comments)

I first joined as an undergraduate, in part because it was the Professional organization for Computer Scientists/Software Engineers. I was also eventually the student chapter president at my alma mater. Being a student member was relatively inexpensive and allowed me to see what current research was being conducted.

Once I became a working professional (Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, other titles) the Special Interest Groups (SIGs in ACM speak) became more relevant to me. The organization has always suffered from being more academically oriented than geared towards the working professional.

I don't subscribe to the digital library (DL) because I find the cost prohibitively expensive for what I would use it for. The monthly journal attempts to cater to all sorts (professionals, researchers, academics) and I find a few articles each month of interest.

Does membership carry any prestige? As one can read from these comments, the answer is an overwhelming no - unless you are submitting articles to be published. Making it through the peer review cycle is an achievement. SIG membership gives you access to like minded folks for discussion.

Many of the benefits are now just perception as the world-wide web has subsumed most of what they offer.

Why do I stay a member? Mostly inertia, but I still value a printed resource delivered to my postal mail address rather than only digital medium for information.

about 4 months ago
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FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

Amigan Re:Secure Border Before Amnesty (422 comments)

We had a way, it was called e-Verify.

Dem Congress killed the funding for it and objected to making it mandatory - even though it was required by the last comprehensive immigration reform (Simpson-Mazzoli, 1986).

30 yrs ago, this story was written - does it sound familiar? measuring compliance

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?

Amigan Soul of the the New Machine (352 comments)

I'll second the recommendation on Steve McConnell's Code Complete - I've used it as a college textbook in classes on SE I've taught. On a lighter note, I would recommend Tracy Kidder's The Soul of the New Machine. Somewhat dated, but gives a historical perspective on how/what it took to build a new machine and make it to market.

about 6 months ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

Amigan Declining crop yields (987 comments)

Assuming the projections are correct, wouldn't it make sense to eliminate using maize (corn in the US) as an additive to gasoline? When 30%+ of the corn currently being planted in the US is done so to get the Ethanol subsidy, it removes quite a bit from the food supply. I do not claim that all would be planted for food (corn price would plummet), but arable land is being used to for this 'not green' fuel additive. I say 'not green' because even the UN has acknowledged that the use is counterproductive.

about 8 months ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

Amigan best / worst? (512 comments)

I've always been partial to "Who watches the watchers" and thought that "Genesis" (final season) was one of the worst..

about 8 months ago
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Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

Amigan Re:Just curious (637 comments)

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-725R

  • Download the GAO report. Page 4 lists the total number of employees that were involved in waivers (~3M).
  • Of that total, ~50% were union members.
  • now, since unions represent ~12% of the US workforce (~65M at last count) = 8M
  • It would seem that Unions got a disproportionate amount of the waivers.

Does that mean that of the 1200+ waivers, that Unions got > 600? no.

Before you say that union contracts are negotiated, and therefore cannot be altered, ask yourself if the minimum wage gets increased, do union wages get automatically increased? Isn't that a change in federal law, outside the control of the unions?

about a year ago
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Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

Amigan Re:Just curious (637 comments)

If waivers were for the states, then why were waivers granted to labor unions? http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/03/06/labor-unions-get-lions-share-final-aca-waivers

If delays are acceptably part of the law, why then the veto threat and 100% Democrat party nay vote on the House bill that codifies the delay?

The rules on a federal exchange (not state exchanges), which is what the Congress and their staffs would be participating in, state that there is no subsidy. Since the law specifically moved them from their existing plan (so much for keeping the plan you have) to the federal exchange, one could argue that no federal government payment is allowed. Yes, they are only getting back what they had previously, but that is not what the law said.

about a year ago
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Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

Amigan Re:Real-time processing required (637 comments)

The federal government does not have the constitutional power to order the states to do anything. At best, they can coerce them by withholding federal aid, but that part of the ACA was deemed optional by the SCOTUS - hence the 30 states that have refused to create state wide heath exchanges. That forces the federal government to create the federal exchange, but the law says that there will be no subsidies to those in the federal exchanges.

about a year ago
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Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

Amigan Re:Just curious (637 comments)

By what legal authority did Obama delay this implementation?

None.

But then again, what legal authority did he (or HHS Secretary) have for:

  1. waivers
  2. delaying employer mandate
  3. giving Congress (and their staff) 75% price support

None are legal because the law itself doesn't give anyone the power to change it willy-nilly, as each changes the law without the necessary legislation to modify the existing law.

jerry

about a year ago
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Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

Amigan Real-time processing required (637 comments)

From what I heard today, the problem is as follows:

  1. 1) patient goes to pharmacy to get prescription filled
  2. 2) pharmacy contacts authorizer to find out what the cost of the prescription is under patient's plan
  3. 3) patient buys drugs for price returned by authorizer
  4. 4) authorizer sends bill on to insurance company

Step 2 is an immediate response, step 4 is handled in batch processing nightly. So far so good. Except that the Affordable Care Act makes it *illegal* to make a patient pay more than the annual limit. The authorizer and/or the pharmacy can be charged for forcing the patient to pay above the annual limit. This means that the authorizer must be aware of limit of each patient and be able to respond in real-time so that neither they nor the pharmacy will be sued. The insurance company doesn't have that information available real-time, nor do they make it available to the authorizer.

It is a computer issue, but as simple as everyone thinks. Putting individual insurance files on-line so that the out of pocket expenses can be tracked real-time isn't trivial. Now, maybe the Insurance companies were hoping the law wouldn't be implemented so they didn't do the hard work necessary to get set up, or maybe the rules were only written as to how to handle the annual limit must be handled.

Just remember, the last time companies put together a real-time on-line credit/debit system, the government decided that they charged too much to support the infrastructure, and started regulating it. That was the Durbin amendment to Dodd-Frank, which put a fixed limit on per swipe fees - regardless of what the infrastructure and support costs actually are.

jerry

about a year ago
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Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders

Amigan Re:Pretty obvious (768 comments)

There is a presumption of innocence in any criminal proceedings in the US - remember, everyone on trial in the .us is Innocent until proven guilty. The Fifth Amendment was put in place to make sure that the things you said wouldn't be used as the proof that the prosecution needed to convict. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to show guilt, not for them to have you testify (for them) to your guilt.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Developer Or Software Engineer? Can It Influence Your Work?

Amigan Areas of Responsibility (333 comments)

I would argue that a Software Engineer's role encompasses that of a Developer, as they are generally can also be expected to handle design (high and low level), testing (functional, unit, system), along with the writing of code. A Developer tends to fit the image of the guy with the keyboard cranking out code - software engineering is so much more than that. In fact, it is estimated that a Software Engineer will only spend 20% of the time actually writing code - due to the other responsibilities.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Actual Best-in-Show For Free Anti Virus?

Amigan AVG is my choice for free Anti-Virus (515 comments)

My son and I (on my Windows partition) have been users of the free version of AVG since 2006. We are both currently running Windows XP, and am glad that AVG continues to support it along with newer flavors of Windows. Free AVG is the download site, and it also includes ad blocking and other features.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

Amigan SciFi or Fantasy? (1244 comments)

From a SciFi perspective, I' still love Larry Niven - almost everything he's written. Of course, Ringworld is still the ultimate.

Alan Dean Foster (who novelized the Animated Star Trek series), has a set of novels revolving around Philip Lynx (Flinx) and his minidrag - Pip. His lesser known series is more fantasy based - Spellsinger...

more than 2 years ago
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Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

Amigan right of first refusal? (467 comments)

My employer also has such a policy. It even goes to covering things in business areas that they might get involved in.

One thing I have learned is that while they have the right of first refusal, if they choose not to pursue the idea, I can ask to have it reassigned back to me and pursue on my own. That might be your only option, assuming what you're pursuing doesn't compete with your current employer.

more than 2 years ago
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Psychics Say Apollo 16 Astronauts Found Alien Ship

Amigan Premise of Transformers 3? (285 comments)

Wasn't this the premise for the last Transformers movie ( Transformers: Dark of the Moon ) due out on video soon (or already available)?? Sure sounds like a publicity stunt for the movie to me.

more than 2 years ago
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Obama To Veto Anti-Net-Neutrality Legislation

Amigan FCC rules already struck down by Federal Courts (355 comments)

OK, I'm confused.

The FCC chose to re-implement rules that were already struck down by federal courts. By re-implementing something that the courts have viewed as outside the power of the FCC, it could be argued that this is a power grab. The proposed law, promised to be vetoed, is Congress' attempt to define the role that the FCC has - and codify what was already ruled upon by the courts.

Why should the FCC have the power?

about 3 years ago

Submissions

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Cringley writes on IBM

Amigan Amigan writes  |  about 6 months ago

Amigan (25469) writes "After a series of blogs written over the past few years, Robert X Cringley has now written a book on IBM, — and its future. From this excerpt, one has to wonder if the firms days are truly numbered."
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Parallella ships to Kickstart backers!

Amigan Amigan writes  |  about 7 months ago

Amigan (25469) writes "Adapteva went the kickstarter route for funding of it's Home HPC machine. It was successfully funded 10/27/2012 w/4965 backers. Shipment was originally thought to be August 2013 — which came and passed. They have now successfully shipped to over 2000 of the kickstart funders (16 core), and are working their way through the 64 core implementation delivery."
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Steve Ballmer this generation's Ken Olsen?

Amigan Amigan writes  |  about a year ago

Amigan (25469) writes "Many may remember that DEC's founder and CEO was quite dismissive of the original IBM PC, so much so that when DEC finally introduced their Intel based system it was incompatible with the 'industry standard.' Steve Ballmer has had just as much a dismissive attitude towards smartphones, at first. Here are three of Steve's quotes that sum it all up."
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Amiga - the movie

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Amigan writes "A fund raising effort for a direct to DVD movie about the Amiga computer history. How it was conceived, the Commodore years, and the fact that the machine will not die."
Link to Original Source
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EU approves Oracle/Sun merger with no alterations

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Amigan (25469) writes "After several months of investigation, the European Commission has approved the Oracle acquisition of Sun. MySQL, which had been seen as a sticking point, is a moot point — no divestiture, much to the chagrin of one of the co-founders, Michael Widenius"
Link to Original Source
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President Obama to recognize IBM's BlueGene

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Amigan writes "President Obama will be awarding IBM it's eigth National Medal of Technology and Innovation for it's innovative supercomputer Blue Gene family."
Link to Original Source
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Law of uninteded consequences - ozone hole

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Amigan writes "While it is argued that climate change is settled science and that the IPCC model proves it, there is now evidence that the model did not take into account the ozone hole repair. In this article, based on a new study out of Columbia University, the elimination of CFCs has in fact added to the climate change. So, yes, climate change may be caused by man, but more because of what we do when we do not understand the situation completely and insist on implementing a solution."
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Microsoft and OpenSource: Friend or Foe?

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Amigan writes "This article from Network World Magazine asks the question: "Is Microsoft a friend or foe of open source? Going by the company's actions, Microsoft can't seem to decide whether to make love or war. But if it's war, Microsoft appears to lack the legal weaponry to defeat or even disturb its adversaries.""
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Mathematical formula killed Wall Street?

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Amigan writes "Entitled Quants gone Wild , the financial meltdown of Wall Street was caused by a single math formula (Gaussian copula function). From the article: "For five years, Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.""
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Opera 9.50 released

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Amigan writes "On June 12th, Opera software released the latest The newest feature provided by Opera 9.50 is called Opera Link which keeps you synchronized between any Opera 9.50 desktop browser and Opera Mini — the free browser for your mobile phone."
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E-Voting alters Arkansas primary results

Amigan Amigan writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Amigan writes "In this report from Wired Magazine blogs, the results of a state representative primary were altered by an e-voting machine. To make matters worse, the primary in question wasn't even one that wasn't even on the electronic ballot!"

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