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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Matt_Bennett Re:Despicable tactic, but... (263 comments)

Once upon a time, the medical opinion about ulcers was that they were caused by stress, it was not until 1994 that the NIH published the opinion that most ulcers were caused by Helicobacter pylori, and in 2005 the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Marshall and Warren. About the first time I heard about antibiotics curing ulcers was by a radio call-in doctor (an actual MD) in the mid-80's- he also preached about a cure for asthma involving long term antibiotics. It may be only applicable to specific types of asthma- but there has been very little research into this cure (admittedly, there are real risks to long term antibiotic usage)- which involves not a new medicine, but the administration of an existing medicine.

Unfortunately, it is an economic decision by the drug maker- continue with an existing, proven (multi billion dollar/year) revenue stream, or risk that revenue stream by developing a treatment with a very small revenue potential (I believe your estimates for the cost are *way* higher than the market would bear).

The unfortunate part is that health care is not about health first, it is about money first.

about a week ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Matt_Bennett Re:Despicable tactic, but... (263 comments)

Well, if you accompany discontinuing the product with publicity about how dangerous it was (but then take the medicine, tweak the formula slightly, and re-release), nobody will be able to make the generic in a profitable way. This happened with Glaxo and Salmeterol inhalers (sold as Serevent). Like any other drug, it is dangerous when not used properly. I found it was the only drug that relieved my asthma symptoms (the discussion about how it is far more profitable to treat as opposed to cure asthma is something for another time)

Always very expensive, but shortly before it was to turn generic, it was discontinued. They then combined Salmeterol with a steroid, re-released it, and continued to make a huge amount of money off of it. It has since lost patent protection, but no company is willing to make a generic, for fear of lawsuits I'm sure. Glaxo can afford a reasonable defense, but I'm sure the generic companies don't have the profit margins to be able to afford the risk of a suit.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Matt_Bennett Please don't get an MBA (317 comments)

An MBA is a vehicle to convince other people that have MBAs that you believe that an MBA is necessary to work with other people that have MBAs that share in the misguided notion that having an MBA qualifies you to manage a business. Really, it is a ticket into a network of folks that believe that shortcuts and not actual work create a business.

Most certifications are like MBAs- except that they are shortcuts for HR resume screens, who use them as an easy filter and to avoid accountability that the people that they let through are qualified... "these applicants are CERTIFIED!" ... If you have the experience and you know someone, you will get the job, if not, you're in the pool of "everyone else" that has a certification. The most important factor in getting a job is networking.

about two weeks ago
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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Matt_Bennett Re:On the other hand... (700 comments)

No, that's not how CDC drivers work under Windows. Even *if* you work with the standard microsoft CDC drivers, you still need a signed .inf file, and you have to get that through the WHQL process. FTDI used their own drivers because the built in CDC driver from Microsoft was an unreliable POS (historically).

about 2 months ago
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Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

Matt_Bennett Look back to why the laws were there originally (149 comments)

Vast generalization here (I'm not a legal scholar)- but it looks like laws have been put in place to 1) encourage something viewed as good by the legislature or 2) discourage something viewed as bad by the legislature. What is viewed as "good" or "bad" is up to the legislator, the folks that the elected the legislator, the folks that the legislator represents, and most important to our current system of campaign finance, the folks that pay for the legislator's campaign. Airbnb is ostensibly a mechanism to allow people to profit from use underutilized space. Unfortunately some of the underutilized space is contained in clauses in lease agreements that the Airbnb hosts chose to ignore.

The hotel laws were put in place because of abuses. Rent control was put in place because of abuses and to encourage affordable housing. The "bad actors" are those that are abusing the system at the potential risk to their customers- and they are customers, not guests. Because of the immense amount of money moving around, there will be abuses and bargains. Leave it up to a company to determine the bad actors, and they will invariably call out those that pose the greatest risk- and since it is a profit driven company, risk is about money, with no consideration given to public welfare (ostensibly the government's arena).

about 4 months ago
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Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

Matt_Bennett Re:Took the USB organization close to 20 years... (191 comments)

It most definitely is *NOT* 100W with 5V- the power delivery is negotiated to figure out what each end (and the cable) can handle, and it boosts the voltage (decreasing the resistive heating in the cable). The USB Forum has been working on this for quite a while- don't know how it will all work out, but as most things committee based, nothing was put in the specification without a great deal of discussion and analysis.

about 4 months ago
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A 32-bit Development System For $2

Matt_Bennett Re:PIC (138 comments)

Microchip's ICD is awful? Well, it isn't JTAG (for most chips, but the PIC32 does support JTAG debugging), but the ICD hardware supports all PICs (8, 16, 32 bit) and is available at what appears to be competitive to Atmel's tools (Atmel as an example- their low-end programmer the AVRISP is about the same price at Digikey as the PICKIT3) You can spend more and get more capability no matter what. It seems to me that the debugger that people complain about the most is the one they use the most, no matter the architecture. An ICD is not an ICE- and it doesn't seem like a true ICE exists anymore since nobody was willing to pay the huge price for the development system- ICDs pretty much rely on hardware in the part itself. The cheap generic JTAG debuggers at sparkfun don't get stellar reviews. My experience is that debuggers are a lot like Camaros- everybody has one, and all of them are limited by the person in control.

about 7 months ago
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A 32-bit Development System For $2

Matt_Bennett Re:PIC (138 comments)

Higher speed? The max speed on a 32 bit AVR is 66MHz, with 1.5 DMIP/MHz, the max speed on a PIC32MX is 80MHz at 1.65 DMIP/MHz. You can do development on Windows, Mac or Linux with MPLABX for every 8, 16, and 32MHz PIC in Microchip's stable. Microchip's 16 and 32 bit compilers are GCC based (but free versions are limited to -O1 optimization). The newest PIC32, the MZ, will do up to 200MHz.

If you prefer using AVR, great, but at least make your comparisons based on reality. The hard part of doing any development is not the core you're working on, but the code you put into it.

about 7 months ago
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Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

Matt_Bennett Re:seems like a back door (566 comments)

This is anecdote, not data. The median wage for all approved H1B visas during FY2011 was $70,000, the median wage for in the category that includes engineers was $78,000, $72,000 for computer related (source data, www.uscis.gov). Companies like H1B holders, because, in terms of total cost, they are less expensive to employ than US citizens/green card holders/otherwise legal residents. Without H1B, more jobs would be offshored, we do get the benefit of the money the H1B holder being spent in the US.

Believe me, if they could find an American to do this job, they would have, and believe me, there's no one passing up $3-400,000 a year engineering positions at top flight companies. There really are jobs that need immigrant workers to fill, because there really are no Americans to do them.

You left out a very important part, after "there really are no Americans to do them" at a salary companies are willing to pay.

about 7 months ago
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DIY Wearable Pi With Near-Eye Video Glasses

Matt_Bennett Re:That VGA cable it's using... (59 comments)

This doesn't use the VGA output from the Raspberry Pi- it uses the composite video output. 75 ohm coax isn't necessarily thin, but for short distances and the type of video they are talking about, even audio cables may be "good enough." As in "good enough" to get the resolution you would expect from composite video.

about 8 months ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

Matt_Bennett Re:What's the range of an EMP? (271 comments)

In Forstchen's book (and according to what I've read) it would take a minimum of well placed 3 nukes in the upper atmosphere to cover the continental US- basically line of sight. I believe it doesn't take a particularly big nuke.

A Faraday cage may protect your devices, but only if the cage is complete- any wires in or out could defeat the purpose and propagate the high field strength (at least high enough to do damage) inside the cage. Since the risetime of the signal is very, very fast, even a tiny crack in the cage would be enough to let in a damaging amount of energy.

about 8 months ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

Matt_Bennett Re:mass in motion (262 comments)

Counter-rotate the flywheels and #4 isn't an issue, no matter what the orientation is.

about 9 months ago
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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

Matt_Bennett Pedal Placement Failure (394 comments)

I thought the biggest failure in pedal placement on the Tesla was placing them in a $75,000 car.

about 9 months ago
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Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

Matt_Bennett Re:A faraday cage has to be grounded to earth. (202 comments)

Oh my, AC has absolutely no idea about how electricity works.

Electricity always flows in a loop, every time, without exception, period. No loop, no current. No current, no energy. Sometimes the loop includes the capacitance of one disconnected piece of metal next to another, but that also limits the current, and therefore, energy. Sometimes the insulation breaks down, or the field is strong enough to cause an arc to jump the gap.

If welding on your vehicle caused a problem it is because you put the ground clamp in the wrong place, and current passed through something it shouldn't have, which could be because something you thought was a good ground wasn't. Battery connected or disconnected makes no difference.

about 9 months ago
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Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012

Matt_Bennett Re:ZOMG a bad thing didn't happen! (202 comments)

Yes, we can actually physically disconnect the transformers- that's what circuit breakers do- and pretty much, they're automated- given the warnings that the satellites give, I suspect that a Carrington event sized CME, at least for modern systems (like in the US) won't be a surprise and can be accommodated- maybe taking significant time to switch everything back on, but without major damage to the infrastructure.

about 9 months ago
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Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

Matt_Bennett Re:am i the only one (914 comments)

No, you're not the only one. As a punishment, this is simply torture, but I wonder how the mind really acts under this type of drug- how much more the great thinkers (think Einstein and his thought experiments) could have done. It would take a special kind of mind to actually take advantage of this, though.

about 9 months ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

Matt_Bennett Return to very old models? (279 comments)

This seems to be a return to some very old models of research- think Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, where research was not government supported, but either the hobby of the very rich, or the very rich paying someone. I suppose that it could be considered as government supported, as the very rich *were* the government. The institutional government supporting research appears to be a 19th or 20th century change, and that is dominated by military motives.

The super rich have more money than they could possibly spend- why not let them spend that money in the way that they want? Be it driven by guilt or by the desire to make more money... I'd much rather them spend the money on science as opposed to spending their money on becoming part of the government (think Mitt Romney and Michael Bloomberg in the US and Silvio Berlusconi in Italy).

about 9 months ago
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Austin Has Highest Salaries For Tech Workers, After Factoring In Cost of Living

Matt_Bennett Re:Downside (285 comments)

One thing Austin does *NOT* have a lot of is Texans. They are about as rare here as liberals are in the rest of Texas.

about 9 months ago
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Diet Drugs Work: Why Won't Doctors Prescribe Them?

Matt_Bennett They are scared (670 comments)

I'm guessing that the one big reason that they aren't prescribing- they are scared of legal action- remember the Fen-Phen debacle. Fen-Phen also worked, but apparently caused cardiac issues, resulting in lawsuits and legal damages of over $13B USD.

1 year,14 days
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Driver Arrested In Ohio For Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing

Matt_Bennett Re:Not the only state with this law (670 comments)

A hidden compartment in the car, is, essentially, security through obscurity. If someone knew enough that the supervisor had the receipts, they probably know enough to tear the car apart looking for the safe. What you get with the Brinks truck (or the big vault door at the bank) is a big showy way of saying that what I have is protected- which would draw in the folks that don't really know what they are looking for- think "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"

1 year,25 days

Submissions

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What's all this Bob Pease Stuff Anyhow?

Matt_Bennett Matt_Bennett writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Matt_Bennett writes "Bob Pease, a legend of analog engineering and writer has died while driving his 1969 Beetle. He was brilliant and never afraid to speak his mind. A frequent user of the term "floobydust" and many wrote many articles with a spin on the phrase "What's all this ... stuff, anyhow?""
Link to Original Source
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Current state of DSL Providers?

Matt_Bennett Matt_Bennett writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Matt_Bennett (79107) writes "I'm moving, and I'm shopping for new high-speed internet service. I've been using speakeasy DSL for 7 or 8 years, and I've been very happy with the service. They give me static IP, no restrictions on servers, a really fast link, and incredible uptime. With Speakeasy, by my rough calculations, my uptime (not counting scheduled outages) has been on the order of 0.99991. When I've had to make changes, the customer support has been quick and knowledgable. I run my own servers (SMTP, HTTP, DNS). It hasn't been cheap (but not incredibly expensive). I do know that AT&T UVerse and Time Warner Cable are available. (For television I use DirecTV, and I do not want to change, particularly to Time-Warner... when DirectTivo comes back in HD, I'm on it immediately- that was the way TV was meant to be watched).
A couple of years ago, I tried to order DSL for a business we were starting up, and frankly, the business side of speakeasy was kinda crappy- we couldn't get the speed they promised initially and support was kinda iffy.
I'm opening up my options.

        * * I want to retain at least one POTS line for the reliability. (doesn't POTS service have some regulatory responsibility for reliability that VOIP does not?)
        * * I have a cell phone, and I don't want to bundle
        * * I want at least one static IP, with options for others
        * * I want no restrictions on servers- all ports MUST be open (I will sign the appropriate "I understand the consequences of running a spam server and I am not, will not, nor have I ever been a spammer"
        * * I'd like to keep the budget of at something * Access to a NNTP (news server) is a plus- I get 5 GB a month with speakeasy, and have found that it can be really useful.
        * * As far as I know T1 is not available, and I've gotten better download speeds off of ADSL than T1. I can't remember what my package speed is, but I see >3Mbit/s typical download speeds.

What is out there?"
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Matt_Bennett Matt_Bennett writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Matt_Bennett writes "A somewhat disturbing proposal from ICANN: "Following extensive consideration and discussion, each of the proposed new .BIZ, .INFO and .ORG registry agreements provide for the lifting of price controls formerly imposed on the pricing of registry services." An interpretation of this is a what the market will bear sort of pricing scheme. Variable pricing for domain names based on the name itself?"

Journals

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The State of DSL?

Matt_Bennett Matt_Bennett writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I'm moving, and I'm shopping for new high-speed internet service. I've been using speakeasy DSL for 7 or 8 years, and I've been very happy with the service. They give me static IP, no restrictions on servers, a really fast link, and incredible uptime. With Speakeasy, by my rough calculations, my uptime (not counting scheduled outages) has been on the order of 0.99991. When I've had to make changes, the customer support has been quick and knowledgable. I run my own servers (SMTP, HTTP, DNS). It hasn't been cheap (but not incredibly expensive). I do know that AT&T UVerse and Time Warner Cable are available. (For television I use DirecTV, and I do not want to change, particularly to Time-Warner... when DirectTivo comes back in HD, I'm on it immediately- that was the way TV was meant to be watched).
A couple of years ago, I tried to order DSL for a business we were starting up, and frankly, the business side of speakeasy was kinda crappy- we couldn't get the speed they promised initially and support was kinda iffy.
I'm opening up my options.

  • * I want to retain at least one POTS line for the reliability. (doesn't POTS service have some regulatory responsibility for reliability that VOIP does not?)
  • * I have a cell phone, and I don't want to bundle
  • * I want at least one static IP, with options for others
  • * I want no restrictions on servers- all ports MUST be open (I will sign the appropriate "I understand the consequences of running a spam server and I am not, will not, nor have I ever been a spammer"
  • * I'd like to keep the budget of at something * Access to a NNTP (news server) is a plus- I get 5 GB a month with speakeasy, and have found that it can be really useful.
  • * As far as I know T1 is not available, and I've gotten better download speeds off of ADSL than T1. I can't remember what my package speed is, but I see >3Mbit/s typical download speeds.

What is out there?

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