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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

Weedhopper Re:None (570 comments)

There are bad seeds in any organization, from for-profit corporations to religious organizations to charities. Why judge by the bad apple?

Which one was travelling first class? If they were, you should tell us.

None I've ever worked with have authorized business/first class travel. Most fly NGO rates. When airline staff find out who I'm working for, I am often offered free upgrades, which I more often than not decline. Most NGO and charity workers are very aware of the appearance of impropriety.

FWIW, I've also stayed in some incredibly nice hotels as a part of the job and in every instance, the room/stay were in-kind donations.

Seems to me you had 2-3 (?) negative experiences in high visibility circmstances that you might have misinterpreted and are using that to paint all charitable organizations with the same brush and are stating so in a public forum. I'm sorry your experiences have been negative, but that's not even remotely close to being fair.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

Weedhopper Re:None (570 comments)

Which ones were you disappointed by and why? And what is your profession?

If you're doing IT or accounting or legal work at HQ offices in major cities, then I can see how your expectations would be out of line with reality.

OTOH, if your professional contact was actually in the field (or on the streets) in the actual program activities and you're still profoundly disappointed, then I'm going to call you a cynic or label you as having an agenda other than that of the economics of charitable giving.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

Weedhopper Efficiency does not necessarily mean Effectiveness (570 comments)

I've worked as a "professional volunteer" for the past ten years with several of the big, international NGOs.

"Administrative cost" in percentages is a terrible measure and organizations with high admin costs are just the ones that haven't been around long enough to set their accounting to move as much as possible into their field project budgets.

Even for extremely well set-up organizations with good, well meaning people, maximizing administrative efficiency isn't necessarily the thing that the person who donated money to you would have wanted you to do if he or she were standing there. Responding to humanitarian emergencies, such as natural disasters, outbreaks or conflicts is an enormously expensive task. If you donated money to my organization and I failed by not being quick enough, then you'd be pretty upset. You and other like minded people are donating a little bit each to put me in a position where I can be effective. Sometimes, efficiency is the trade-off.

Find a cause you like with what you believe to be trustworthy people, then donate.

more than 2 years ago
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The Rise and Fall of Kodak

Weedhopper Re:Obviously feeding a troll, but... (352 comments)

Ars.

But yeah, its been a while and I always learn more from the comments than from most linked articles.

more than 2 years ago
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Discouraging Playstation Vita Details

Weedhopper Re:How long until they're hacked? (275 comments)

You're just old and out of touch. :) I mean that in the nicest possible way.

You're also in that age range where you probably don't socially interact with geeks in their mid/late 20s to early 30s.

Let me tell you about them. In this age range of guys who need portable systems, hacked PSPs were king. PSPs were the portable system of guys like me, who did overseas development and emergency response work, guys like my BIL, who deployed multiple times to the sandbox(es).

I haven't touched mine since about 2 iOS revisions ago, but hey, there you go. Still a small percentage, but a pretty big market while there were a lot of young, tech savvy Americans running around with a gaming fix to meet.

more than 2 years ago
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Discouraging Playstation Vita Details

Weedhopper Re:"Security" (275 comments)

Cinavia is what broke the camel's back for me.

Trying to legally rip my own movies and having to jump through hoop after fucking hoop for that shit not to work. Fuck that.

I'm not going to give away the movie. I SURE as shit am not going to sell it. People are giving that shit away for FREE on the internet.

And it's a better product.

I used to think the "content-corporations drove me to piracy" excuse was hollow and a post-hoc excuse. Not anymore.

more than 2 years ago
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Discouraging Playstation Vita Details

Weedhopper Irrational, religious hatred. (275 comments)

Yup.

Had a lot of Sony products over the years. Walkman, Vaio laptops, Wega TVs, a MiniDisc player, one of the first noise canceling earbuds back in 1997, etc. Camped out in front of a Best Buy in rural West Virginia to buy a PS2.

My PSP (fat) was the last Sony product I ever bought. I refuse to buy another Sony product.

Not only that, I go out of my way to discourage all of my friends and family from buying Sony products. Since I'm the guy everyone listens to - they have to, because I'm not going to install OR fix their Sony gear - no one around me buys Sony stuff.

Yes, I know, that's not 100% rational. It's really quite irrational. In fact, my irrational hatred is approaching religious amounts of fervor.

Don't care, because that's how I feel about Sony.

It's your most loyal customers that become your zealous enemies.

more than 2 years ago
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TV Ownership Declines For Second Time Since 1970

Weedhopper Re:Reasoning (349 comments)

You gotta be kidding.

BBT used to be smart. BBT used to be funny.

It's basically drivel now.

When was the last geek/nerd joke that felt like a natural part of the converstion? Hint: Not in the past two years.

Now it Star Trek Joke, laugh track, explain that it was in fact a Star Trek joke, laugh track, explain why Star Trek joke was funny, laugh track.

Brilliant? Please. I loved the first season or two of the show because all four of the main characters were somewhat relatable. Now they're just caricatures of the characters they used to be and the nerd/geek pop humor exists either as throwaways or excuses for the characters to do completely outlandish things.

more than 2 years ago
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Philippines Call Centers Overtake India

Weedhopper Re:Names and Lies (165 comments)

Mike is an uncommon name for an Indian.

India = South Asia
Phillipines = SouthEAST Asia

The whole point was that when I speak with a man with a Filipino accent and he says his name is Mike (or Victor or James), I have no reason to disbelieve him. I assume Filipinos have Christian names from their Catholic baptisms.

more than 2 years ago
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China To Cancel College Majors That Don't Pay

Weedhopper Re:Now why can't doctors have a 2-3 year pre med (463 comments)

I am a medical epidemiologist and I am speaking from direct experience.

I did my MPH at Johns Hopkins before doing a medical degree, where roughly a third my classmates were MDs. Another third were nurses, the rest of the class being filled out with various other health professionals. I was the lone engineer. I found that as a graduate student, my MD classmates consistently overestimated their own statistical abilities, to the point where in group work/assignments, the joke was to not let the MD do the statistics.

In general, MDs from research oriented universities who have been publishing through med school, with the goal of a competitive match at a high prestige research departments have good working knowledge of basic biostatistics and research methodology. These are the exceptions.

Although it's been a while since I've done basic research and published out of US based institutions, my opinion remains the same. Most American MDs are practitioners, not academicians. Not even close. IME, most private practice MDs don't even understand the statistics they're reading in their own journals in their own fields.

And yes, the English system is what I was referring to. I favor the M.Med to D.Med/MD progression because better distinguishes academic vs practitioners credentials. I'll probably end up with a DrPH.

As for a one line statement on health outcomes being a bad example, we can engage on this subject, but it's my suggestion that if you don't read too much into the statement, you'll find yourself being less of a contrarian.

more than 2 years ago
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Philippines Call Centers Overtake India

Weedhopper Re:Names and Lies (165 comments)

Okay, you got me. You found the exceptional 0.05% of the Indian population, a subpopulation of which has enough Christian names to refute my statement.

more than 2 years ago
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Philippines Call Centers Overtake India

Weedhopper Re:Names and Lies (165 comments)

Not that much in India, they don't. I went to school with a lot of Indians. I've gone to a lot of Indian weddings. I've done some small bit of traveling in India. Guess how many Mikes, Joes, Alberts, and Thomases I've met over the years.

I grew up in Germany. Went to elementary school there. Please, tell me more about German geography.

Also, FWIW Russell Peters (Indian and that's his real name), one of my favorite comedians. He's not who we're talking about, are we?

more than 2 years ago
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Palantir, the War On Terror's Secret Weapon

Weedhopper Palintir - HBGary- Anonymous Idiots (276 comments)

Aren't these the bunch of idiots who were involved with the HBGary and Aaron Barr when they collectively stuck their dicks into the Anonymous hive?

These are not the good guys. They are involved in some shady shit.

They've also shown very bad judgment regarding who they choose to work with.

Fuck these guys and everything to do with them.

more than 2 years ago
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China To Cancel College Majors That Don't Pay

Weedhopper Re:Now why can't doctors have a 2-3 year pre med (463 comments)

Oh please. Like most graduates with MDs have the slightest clue about statistics, hypothesis testing, selection bias, etc.

What's even worse is that most of them do believe they've got a clue and believe themselves to be more competent than they really are.

Most of the rest of the world does fine with 6-7 year combined medical programs. One could make the argument that as a whole, they do better as measured by health outcomes of the general population.

The real issue in the US is this absurd notion that the MD is the equivalent of academic doctorate.

more than 2 years ago
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China To Cancel College Majors That Don't Pay

Weedhopper Re:Fuck China (463 comments)

There's a Yo Dawg joke in there somewhere.

more than 2 years ago
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3-Way Price War On Black Friday: iPad, Nook, and Kindle

Weedhopper Re:$2500 could be accurate (230 comments)

Hey, that 17" MBP is overkill for me for a lot of reasons, too. I grab a top spec 15" every 2-3 years.

I'm pointing out that it's not even close to being a correct comparison to take a 17" MBP, which only comes in the fully optioned flavor, with a $1000 17" Toshiba, which anyone with more than a couple brain cells to rub together knows is not going to be spec-comparable. They're not even going to be in the same league.

A Suzuki XL7 4WD seats seven. It's not a Landcruiser. Not even close.

more than 2 years ago
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Philippines Call Centers Overtake India

Weedhopper Names and Lies (165 comments)

I automatically trust the Filipino call center drone more than his Indian counterpart.

The Filipino doesn't start our conversation with what I know to be a lie.

"Hi, my name is Mike. How can I ...."

Bullshit, man with a South Asian Accent. Your name is not Mike.

Irrational, I know, but I have a low level of contempt for the guy I'm speaking with when things start off that way. Has nothing to do with race or national origin.

more than 2 years ago
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3-Way Price War On Black Friday: iPad, Nook, and Kindle

Weedhopper Re:$2500 could be accurate (230 comments)

Screen size is your only metric? There are $500 17"+ Toshibas out there but they're not spec comparable.

Let's actually compare the real specs between what the Toshiba unit he actually bought and a comparable Apple at the date of purchase.

People give examples of 100%+ prices differences all the time, but once you actually start comparing specs, they usually end up in the same ballpark. Let's talk about the display panel, the GPU, ports, etc.

more than 2 years ago
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Lego Bible Too Racy For Sam's Club

Weedhopper No, not good (484 comments)

This is religious satire. More kids need to be exposed to religious satire.

more than 2 years ago
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3-Way Price War On Black Friday: iPad, Nook, and Kindle

Weedhopper Re:Price War? (230 comments)

Okay, I'm calling your story.

When did you your Toshiba i5 and what are its exact specs?

Because Apple only has a few product lines and each price change is widely announced, we ought to be able EXACTLY how much the equivalent MBP cost. I doubt it it was $2500.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Weedhopper Weedhopper writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Weedhopper (168515) writes "I work for an NGO that builds specialty pediatric teaching hospitals in developing countries. We have hospitals in Afghanistan, Uganda, Malawi, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Ethiopia and Zambia will be up within the year.

One of the aspects of being a teaching hospital is enabling the surgeons and physicians we teach to be able to conduct research, either by contributing knowledge back to the medical community and/or developing treatment protocols/algorithms better suited to the setting. For example, one of the neurosurgical hospitals did some pioneering work on using ETV and ETV-CPCs for children under two years as it was more appropriate considering the obstacles for access to follow-up medical care. Usually, by the time the mother and child get to us, they're completely out of money and we end up paying for their transportation back home. As you can imagine, getting them to show up for regularly scheduled followups is unrealistic.

Here's my problem. I somehow ended up as the de facto IT guy but I'm out of my depth when it comes to databases. The original database that was set up here five years ago was based on MS Access/Jet. The number of patient records have grown tremendously and number in the tends of thousands. I'm skeptical about MS Access but have done some reading that says Access is stable, just slow and can be unreliable when it comes to multiple simultaneous read/writes. This has been a non-issue so far but the organization's grown to the point where the surgeons we've trained have started up their own programs. We'd like to start aggregating our data into a global database for a better N for our studies. There would be at least four hospitals submitting to the database on a weekly basis.

Can I stick with a strict update and merge schedule with Access or should I be seriously looking for another database solution to migrate to? We're a nonprofit NGO so I'm looking for a low cost solution. I've checked out the Access to MySQL migration tools but I'm not even sure that MySQL is the right solution, much less possible considering the level of local technical expertise. How do I even go about finding the right people for the job?"

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