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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

maple_shaft Re:Is it more difficult? (238 comments)

It's like IT has become superficial and vacuous, and the decisions are being made by idiots who don't know which parts of technology add value to the business/support core business activities and are necessary.

I think it is pretty obvious that IT has become superficial and vacuous because the people leading IT in most organizations are superficial and vacuous status seekers. A long long time ago IT departments were typically run by the grey beards that were running network cables and standing up servers before they were promoted to management. Having had a long career of rolling their sleeves up, they were by and large adequately prepared to lead in IT services for the company.

Today organizations proudly proclaim that they merge business and IT so that the benefits of IT can be greater realized. It sounds good on paper, but what happened in reality is that business folks have dominated the old IT departments. We have MBA's running the show now that do not understand the first thing about upgrading a woefully outdated legacy software package or performing necessary server maintenance.

Companies that used to promote their people from within no longer do. These departments are now riddled with the same problem people you see in middle management of most companies. Status seeking, brown-nosing, buzz word feeding, cost cutting and blame passing. It is easy to see why the departments they run are also superficial and vacuous.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

maple_shaft Re:Snarky yet true (488 comments)

Why aren't companies paying more people to work on Open Source projects.

The same reason that companies would continue to dump chemicals into our rivers, burn sooty disgusting coal, put asbestos in our homes or pay their people a non-living wage if there wasn't regulations to prevent these kinds of societal abuses. It is frankly because a company has a sole motive to make profit for owners and investors, and in a truly free market capitalistic society void of such restrictive regulations would result in a mutually assured destructive race to the bottom. If everybody else is dumping nuclear waste into a river then I can't afford not to. If my competitors factory is paying under $10/hr then i have to do the same to stay competitive. Once every player reaches the bottom there is no more collective bargaining for the workers or customers to vote with their feet. Where would they go? They have no choice to improve their situation.

So open source projects are in essence a microcosm for societal wealth, in that companies exploit the benefits of the society that they operate in and in their race to the bottom choose not to contribute back.

about two weeks ago
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Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question

maple_shaft Why ask Slashdot of all forums?! (111 comments)

This is probably one of the most unfriendly forums to yourself that you could possibly engage for feedback. Do you feel that you must defend yourself to the most critical audience? Or did you pull a Malcolm Gladwell and jump into a topic that you know nothing about it and then when you realize your in over your head, decide to try and twist the evidence to fit your ill conceived hypothesis?

about 1 month ago
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

maple_shaft Re:Anyone actually compare before and after?... (739 comments)

You put a lot of thought into these things, here are my thoughts on various points you bring up:

Make healthcare prices more visible. I completely agree with this but to understand why they are not we have to think about how healthcare prices are determined. There is an annual (maybe bi-annual?) conference where some hundreds of physicians prominent in their branches of medicine and known as experts get together and discuss the appropriate costs and thus fair prices to be charged for just about any medical procedure that can possibly be billed for. The result of this conference is the price book for what Medicare will pay for anything. The medical community in its entirety basically uses this as their starting template for what private individuals and insurance companies should pay for their services as well. So some handful of people are setting some ridiculous prices year after year that are the very epicenter of rising costs. I bet you are already thinking in your head the major problem here. A handful of Gynecology physicians basically get together and decide what a fair price is for Medicare to pay them, it is the mother of conflict of interests. The higher price they set the more money they stand to make, especially if those physicians happen to be known as experts in a rare type of procedure that few know. They can come up with some extraordinary number and know people will come across the country to see them personally if one of those Gynecology experts doesn't happen to live in their city. Other factors for why they decide on a higher price usually have nothing to do with the procedure itself and sometimes if the insurance company decides to stop paying a proper amount for various medical supplies that are used in other procedures. They will often up charge with the anticipation that insurance companies will try to bilk them in other areas. The problem is a difficult one to solve especially since Medicare to be fair needs to know a fair market price and relies on experts in the field to tell them, so it really is the medical community in this country that really takes the lions share of blame here. How we solve that I don't know.

Send people a check and they can shop around. Assuming we solve the price transparency issue and rising costs, this might help to curb medical costs even more. I think market based healthcare can really only work if it is single payer to the patient and let them decide where to spend that money.

People abuse Emergency Rooms, they are always in the Red. Yes but if we had true single payer and people could actually get paid or reimbursed for non emergency healthcare then this problem mostly solves itself. Right now many hospitals pretty ingeniously recover a large chunk of that money lost in giving free and charity care to poor and disenfranchised peoples. They write off those losses on their books as charitable donations. If they can accumulate enough of these "charities" then they qualify for Non-Profit corporation status which gives them a slew of tax benefits that sometimes more than make up any operating losses in their emergency room.

Why don't people talk to doctors online and save money and time? This is already a thing and there are a lot of startups right now trying to solve this problem in an innovative way. People can post their symptoms and be connected with a physician or PA that can talk with them one on one and try to come up with a diagnosis. Perscriptions can be automatically filed and sent to your preferred pharmacy when applicable. Last I checked though, insurance won't pay for stuff like this until Medicare adds it to their price book and we come full circle back to the physician conference.

about a month and a half ago
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Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

maple_shaft Re:Conservatives don't accept that Humans are anim (330 comments)

Well no I didn't just preconceive an argument and try to find ways to support it. I did have an emotional reaction though but only because I used to be staunchly conservative and libertarian before I went through a period of transformation. I emotionally react to conservatives now with a disgust but also an understanding of the emotions that I had at the time. I had a particular disgust at that time with people that didn't live up to the standards of what i felt a quality person should be. I realized just how animalistic, primal and backwards the majority of humanity truly is and I lost faith that Libertarian values truly could better the human condition. I sort of became a Liberal in certain aspects, however in others I believe that an authoritarian government keeps our animal and predatory behaviors in line. Something akin to Socialism might work in a country with high amounts of wealth and only with high amounts of relative wealth, otherwise the country might do well if they are lucky enough for a benevolent monarchy. At least that gives a chance at a successful society. I very much believe a successful Libertarian society is never possible until such day that humanity transcends their more primal nature. Even moving in that direction is a bad idea as it allows bad behavior from powerful groups to further hurt people and cause societal unrest. It is in much the same way that in a third world African country without a strong dictator is run by powerful gangs that impoverish and hurt the common people. Strong government prevents abuses more often than causes them.

These are beliefs I built over my life based on my life experiences and triggered by deep emotional reactions. They molded the logic behind my observation just as you said. Pretty much what went through my head was that I had to google animal reminder disgust then it seemed obvious to me that since I view humanity as hopeless animals and since the birth of that belief in me was untenable with my previous Libertarian beliefs, that perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps a conservative or libertarian has a profoundly optimistic view of human nature and defaults to seeing people in the best possible light, that our default state is transcended human and not an ignorant ape. This thought gave me a positive emotional reaction (intuition).

about a month and a half ago
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Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

maple_shaft Conservatives don't accept that Humans are animals (330 comments)

From the article:

[quote]We proposed that conservatives, compared to liberals, have greater negativity bias [13], which includes both disgusting and threatening conditions in our study. Our finding that only disgusting pictures, especially in the animal-reminder category, differentiate conservatives from liberals might be indicative of a primacy for disgust in the pantheon of human aversions, but it is also possible that this result is due to the fact that, compared to threat, disgust is much easier to evoke with visual images on a computer screen.[/quote]

My take on this as a US liberal, is that this might be indicative of a conservative having an aversion to being reminded of how humans are little more than animals. If it disgusts a conservative to think of us as animals then that might be why they have less fear about how dangerous, barbaric and predatory humans can truly be to each other. Giving more freedoms and powers to humans might not seem something to be feared as much as a powerful government. If they accepted that human beings are primal animals when you peel away the layers, and if they witnessed just how private individuals can be more dangerous to one than a powerful government ruled by the people, then they might have a different perspective.

about a month and a half ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

maple_shaft Re:Usury turns Free Markets into Capitalism (839 comments)

Your model breaks down in the modern world where we have enormous amounts of automation and robotics to where capital can literally create more capital for their owners with little to no labor involved. In this system, labor has increasingly small amounts of value and the system collapses. No need for labor means no wealth flows to those who only have labor to offer, which means they have no wealth to spur demand meaning capital no longer flows uphill.

We can't all be engineers and we can't all be artists. There is no fair way to ensure that we don't end up in Neo-Feudalism. The only thing that can honestly be done to fix the problem is highly unfair which is theft of wealth from those who have accumulated it.

about 2 months ago
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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

maple_shaft Re:Here we go... (454 comments)

The decision to maintain the war with the Palestinians and spend crazy money on defense systems with a 5% success rate, as well as not just wiping them from the planet is that their economy is intrinsically linked to their defense and security industries. These defense and security industries which are a large part of their economy maintain their reputation across the world as leaders in defense and security systems precisely because of the ongoing conflicts that ensue to this day.

Considering that a large part of their economy, many large employers of high skilled workers in Israel, have an intrinsic bias in the continuance of the conflict, it wouldn't be a far fetched idea to assume that they have some kind of lobbying influence in their home country as well as the US to ensure that pro-war candidates get elected to public offices. Again, walling in the palestinians, burning their homes, targeting schools and hospitals indiscriminately, not allowing them to leave and suppression of their economy are the exact policies that one should enact on a people if they are counting and hoping on breeding terrorism, which in turn creates a market for their industries products.

I am not absolving the palestinians from their actions, but when you remove all hope from a people, then they burn with anger and are willing to go to extreme measures to lash out.

about 5 months ago
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Physician Operates On Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

maple_shaft Re:Healthcare IT in the US (143 comments)

Thank you for giving your input as a physician. It is nice to hear from your perspective. I admit that I was unfairly categorizing all physicians into this category of being disrespectful to other professions. It is a real thing though but admittedly small in the grander scheme of the problems at play here.

IT departments in hospitals are rampant with nepotism, incompetence, and wastefullness. The heads of the security, network, and support divisions have no clue when it comes to support clinicians including physicians, nurses, LPNs, or any other staff that requires using the computer for any health related work.

I see this in health systems big and small. You recognize the problem too, but you didn't really address my theory as to why this is, easy money and low accountability. Why in your opinion do you believe this is? I am very curious about your perspective.

about 7 months ago
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Physician Operates On Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

maple_shaft Re:Healthcare IT in the US (143 comments)

Allow my rebuttal...

The doctors are IT's customers not the patient. The patients are the doctor's customers not yours. It's the doctor's job to care for the patients. It's IT's job to make sure the computers doesn't get in the doctor's way while remaining secure and HIPAA compliant. I can see why the doctors would disrespect an IT department that doesn't cater to the customer's (as in doctors) needs.

If you haven't noticed, the nature of healthcare is changing because of IT. With analytics, data warehouses and artificial intelligence like IBM's Watson diagnosing patients with stunning accuracy, the role of doctor centric patient care is going the way of the dodo. Granted we are not there yet but in the next 20 years we will see computers diagnosing patients, medical breakthroughs occurring through the use of analytics as opposed to traditional medical research, and doctors just basically being delegated to QA on patient care. The point is that all of this will be patient-centric where IT begins to see the patient as the client.

In 80 some years of cardiac medicine, about the single most effective treatment that all doctors agree on is Aspirin. Healthcare breakthroughs move slowly if you haven't noticed. Now with analytics, doctors, researchers and analysts will be able to interpret correlations in a way never allowed before.

Really? Their budgets have been shrinking for well over a decade. With medicare payouts being lowered, unfunded mandates to provide "life saving" care to indigents which includes triaging cold and flu cases in ERs, increasing budget reserves in order to offset the growing malpractice risks (self insured hospitals) or paying higher premiums (non-self insured hospitals), and increase labor costs for staff I'd like to know where this easy money is coming from.

You make it seem as if the non-profit centers see this charity care as a bad thing. To the contrary, they are allowed to write off this "free" care that they are required to give mind you, as charity towards the requirements for them to maintain non-profit tax status. I promise you the cost of free care is a pittance compared to the corporate taxes they otherwise must pay as well as state and local property taxes and the like

Your arguments about malpractice risks and insurance for that are negligible.

In my region the nonprofit medical centers tend to be the regional charity or university based hospitals and they are outnumbered by the growing number of for-profit medical centers that offer specialized care. In plain english this means that the high-markup services are being performed by for-profit outpatient centers leaving the hospitals with convalescence services and indigent care.

This for profit, non-profit line is increasingly blurry though as I see the large non-profit health systems continue to act in ways that are increasingly similar to for profit companies. The chair-persons at such health systems often encourage for-profit ventures to be incubated in the healthsystem and with the support of it so that they have vehicles to move profits into investments towards these for profit institutions. Guess who the board of directors tend to be at these for profit institutions that operate under the non-profit umbrella? Profits find their way into the chair-persons hands in a very indirect way. You may not realize who is really calling the shots and who actually owns these for profit institutions but I do and you would be surprised.

This doesn't sound like any of the hospitals that I know about. I have friends and colleagues that are in the medical software business or an employee of a hospital throughout the southeast. My graduating class of engineers took advantage of the changes that HIPAA brought and a large portion of them work in the industry. We stay in touch and some of them are known to vent their frustration but none of it involved nepotism, mostly it involves having to manage tech school graduates and heroes.

I will grant you that medical software businesses have less of this good ol' boys club that I speak about but it certainly is a real thing in all three health systems in the north east that I have worked for directly or indirectly. Perhaps it is a regional thing?

about 7 months ago
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Physician Operates On Server, Costs His Hospital $4.8 Million

maple_shaft Healthcare IT in the US (143 comments)

Having worked in IT and software development for a number of different health systems some common themes run true.

1) Over emphasis on the needs of the physicians over the needs of the patients and the other areas of the healthsystems. Many important IT choices are made by doctors and not the professionals who were hired to be experts in these areas. That and the physicians are notorious for having almost no respect for other professionals who are not a doctor.

2) Easy money. Money comes easy to these organizations. This plus...

3) Non-profit tax status and requirements to spend or invest profits earned. This creates an environment of plentiful budgets where waste runs rampant, and concern over things such as nepotism and incompetence aren't as important as they would be in other companies.

Of course with nepotism you get politics so thick you couldn't cut it with a carbide blade. This causes a technical brain drain to the point where you have a bloated IT department with 20 incompetent people for every person who knows what they are doing and is always taking the role of the Hero. The Hero can get things done and keep things secure despite all of the problems but eventually like everybody else, the Hero is a human being and has flaws like a human being. The Hero occasionally makes a mistake.

about 7 months ago
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Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

maple_shaft Re: Ridiculous. (914 comments)

People know that only a handful of criminals get caught and punished. If I know that I have a pretty good chance of getting away with it and I make enough money to feed my family and have some nice things in an environment where I had grown up in rampant poverty and all I have ever known was poverty, then I would probably do the same thing and just hope for the best.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

maple_shaft Re:what you need them for? (306 comments)

I love how the OP is asking about how to stay current with new languages and technologies that employ the programmers of today and tomorrow, and the best you can come up with is some working-class hero grey beard defamation and unfair characterization of the "bloated inefficient framework". You sound like a person that tried one framework with little guidance that turned out to be bad, or it turned out that you didn't like not having fine control over every byte of memory so you wrote them all off as being a bane to proper programming.

It is sad and makes you sound really old and out of touch. Nothing in your post will help an older programmer stay current and will in fact do more to separate him from the rest of programmers and software developers that are gainfully employed and networking together. I would not hire you for my company, not because I don't think you are indeed a talented programmer which no doubt I am sure you are, I am sure you could teach a guy like me a number of things. I would not hire you because you sound like every prima donna perfectionist cowboy coder that refuses to compromise technically and quite frankly doesn't mesh well with a team. That one guy that is still coding in Vi and is still writing clever (hard to maintain) code when others are utilizing IDE's, writing explicitly clear and easy to debug code in a generation of cheap hardware. It is always better to use standard frameworks and accept a few limitations of those when you can find somebody off the street relatively quickly who can hit the ground running on a team and frankly not have to spend months deciphering a custom low level module for a specific OS.

But that is okay if you feel the way you do after all. Walmart always needs more greeters.

about 9 months ago
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The Tangled Tale of Mt. Gox's Missing Millions

maple_shaft Re:Spaghetti code? (191 comments)

I love this quote.

about 9 months ago
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Indian Hustle: How Fraudsters Prey On Would-be US Tech Workers

maple_shaft Re:Why the exodus ? (124 comments)

Can't They just live and work in India?

Why in the world would they want to do that if given a choice? Sure they have a growing middle class and an Indian software developer lives pretty well considering he is living in India. He/she can afford to live in a reasonably furnished apartment without rats or vermin, afford to feed their family and eat well, and even achieve the pinnacle of middle class success in India, possession of your very own A/C unit to keep you cool in the sweltering summers (as long as the power actually works).

The one thing they will always live with however is the gross overpopulation, the crumbling infrastructure and the graft fraud and bribery that becomes a part of just daily living. A friend of mine from India told me to imagine your day, you get stopped by a cop for a minor infraction, pay a bribe or go to jail. You wait 8 hours in line to get your drivers license renewed unless you bribe the guy at the door to be queued ahead. Somebody can break into your home and steal what little you have and the cops just don't care.

He told me Americans are spoiled not because we are wealthy, but because we don't see Justice as the luxury it really is. Until you live in an overcrowded country that has 400 million starving people in the streets and has rampant corruption and a generally low value on human life, then you will never truly understand how valuable Justice in a society really is. He is slightly amused watching our countries political battles and scandals.

I appreciated his perspective and where he came from in life, and I wouldn't begrudge anybody who would want to come live here if they didn't care for that life anymore.

about 10 months ago
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Healthcare Organizations Under Siege From Cyberattacks, Study Says

maple_shaft Re:Simple solution (61 comments)

That doesn't work in many areas where many of these healthcare systems have a practical monopoly in their respective regions. There is often no other choice for customers (Let it be known I find that term offensive, they are really patients). They really aren't broken up because they are also "non-profit" which is lately becoming an ethically dubious term for many health systems.

about 9 months ago
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Healthcare Organizations Under Siege From Cyberattacks, Study Says

maple_shaft Re:Why is C# .Net used for medical devices? (61 comments)

Right now their big push is adding Business Intelligence to their software.

If you ask any IT upper manager or executive in a US health system what Business Intelligence is then if they can give you any answer at all it is some recited drivel fed them by the plethora of vendors selling snake oil at the last HIMS conference.

Having nearly a decade of experience working as a software engineer for healthcare ISV's and healthcare systems, I have earned a bit of a perspective to why healthcare IT struggles behind nearly every other industry. To understand why things are dysfunctional and why such organizations are teeming with incompetence you need a bit of history into how many of these healthcare systems came to be.

These large non-profit organizations didn't spring up overnight, they usually started as a loose agreement between a university medical school in need of bright medical professionals for research and teaching, and a number of different hospitals that always have a need for top medical talent. These resulted in a loose confederation of hospitals. When healthcare became big business then the ranks of many of these healthsystems started to be run by MBA's and other executives with more of a business background. At this point things began to be more centralized and federated by consolidating all of the IT resources in the different facilities into one place. Many of these people though used to be nurses or were self educated kids who really knew nothing about IT outside of installing software on a doctors workstation in a small community hospital. Through tenure many of these people rose through the ranks and became the very managers and executives that run many of these healthsystems today.

So now we have a world today where non-profit health systems reaping MASSIVE profits and having MASSIVE budgets need reasons and excuses to spend so much of their money or else they risk losing their non-profit status. Incompetent management that is in over their head, highly political system of rank and advancement, duct-taped together legacy systems from a number of different hospitals with medical records, money-hungry vendors cashing in on easy sales for "Business Intelligence" and "Analytics" software packages that either don't work or aren't needed, and grueling death march projects that at times seem like a government jobs program with no other reason to exist than to spend money because the board of trustees in these health systems can only take so much of the profits.

This is all really a massive bubble propped up by massive amounts of money that must be spent, run by people who don't know what they are doing.

about 9 months ago
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Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

maple_shaft Re:American poor (717 comments)

Making some bad choices when you are younger in life in America can ruin any chances of making something better of yourself. A friend of mine was charged with a felony and did jail time because he happened to be in a car that his friend had stolen unknowningly. He was poor and his parents could not afford a good lawyer. He got a very callous and uncaring public defendent who didn't even believe that he was innocent.

He is college educated and still can't get more than a job delivering pizza because he has a felony on his record. He is being punished for not even bad choices but just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Society shouldn't fail you on a few points. There should for non violent crimes always be a path to redemption or a path to recovery. To believe otherwise shows how callous and out of touch from your fellow man that you really are. You should be ashamed for believing such things.

about 10 months ago
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Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

maple_shaft Re:American poor (717 comments)

Yes, if you're living on the edge, then small calamities become disasters. One hopes those are the circumstances where your community (church, neighborhood, or government) pulls together and helps you through.

Typical libertarian safety net of praying for a miracle. Thats not so much a net but more of falling from a tree and hoping a branch catches you on the way down.

about 10 months ago
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Star Trek Economics

maple_shaft Re:Yeah, that was about 75 years ago (888 comments)

And yet given the choice to be a French citizen or a Chinese citizen, I as would a vast majority of people if I can speak for all people in this one area, would still rather be a French citizen. Hell most people would rather be a Venezuelan citizen than a Chinese citizen. Happiness and contentment studies show Venezuela being one of the happiest places in South America despite not being a terribly rich country.

Why do you think that is? The safety net in France is a sure thing. If I get sick I know I can be taken care of. I have more personal freedoms and liberties. I have peace of mind in knowing that which is something that in capitalistic nations you need to spend or save an exorbitant amount of money to guarantee. Hell personal freedoms and liberty, freedom of speech and assembly, a non-corrupt justice system (for the most part...) are things that simply can't be bought on any market that I am aware of. Nobody can afford that in China unless you are politically connected.

In a socialist country you start out 10,000x as wealthy as you would in China by default because of the very popular government programs in place. So China's middle class has unprecedented growth. Cool whatever, I can show you a bunch of penny stocks that have had over 100% growth but they are still risky as hell. I could get rich on them but more than likely I will lose most of my money on them. Some people would rather buy a blue chip stock that tend to be much safer.

about 10 months ago

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