This morning I look the time to email the Durham area senators and representatives about this bill.  I will quote what I included in my email here:

I feel strongly that we should not restrict how towns and communities build their internet infrastructure.

I originally grew up in small town in Mississippi. We struggled to make ends meet. Realizing the future, my parents sacrificed so that I could have a computer and access to the primitive version of the internet.  This access allowed me to accelerate my education and computer skills.  I believe this early access to the internet was one of the key reasons for my future success.

The internet is the great equalizer. If a large company refuses to provide adequate internet to an area, these communities must have a way to provide internet to their population.  Most people will not even live in an area without adequate internet access anymore.

Equally, TWC already greatly limits broadband access throughout our area. Just because we feel that we have adequate broadband internet access today, do we know that we will tomorrow?  Do we know if we currently have enough roads and bridges to last us forever, for example? Restricting the methods that communities can compete and develop infrastructure hurts all of us.

Here you can see the list of representative who voted for and against this bill:

Democrat Republican
Ayes: Representative(s): Brisson; Carney; Crawford; Earle; Graham; Hamilton; Hill; Michaux; Moore, R.; Owens; Pierce; Spear; Wainwright; Warren, E.; Wray Representative(s): Avila; Blackwell; Blust; Boles; Brawley; Brown, L.; Brown, R.; Brubaker; Burr; Cleveland; Collins; Cook; Current; Daughtry; Dixon; Dockham; Dollar; Faircloth; Folwell; Frye; Gillespie; Guice; Hager; Hastings; Hilton; Hollo; Holloway; Horn; Howard; Hurley; Iler; Ingle; Johnson; Jones; Jordan; Justice; Killian; Langdon; LaRoque; Lewis; McComas; McCormick; McElraft; McGee; McGrady; Mills; Moffitt; Moore, T.; Murry; Pridgen; Randleman; Rhyne; Sager; Samuelson; Sanderson; Setzer; Shepard; Stam; Starnes; Steen; Stevens; Stone; Tillis (SPEAKER); Torbett; Warren, H.; West
Noes: Representative(s): Adams; Alexander, K.; Alexander, M.; Bell; Bordsen; Brandon; Bryant; Cotham; Faison; Farmer-Butterfield; Fisher; Floyd; Gill; Glazier; Goodman; Hackney; Haire; Hall; Harrison; Insko; Jackson; Jeffus; Keever; Lucas; Luebke; Martin; McGuirt; McLawhorn; Mobley; Parfitt; Parmon; Rapp; Ross; Tolson; Weiss; Wilkins; Womble Representative(s): None

To find out your representation, you may search by your county or zip code.

Here’s a nice reddit discussion about this issue.

On the evening of January 27, 2011, the government of Egypt stopped the majority of internet traffic going in or out of the country. Eighty million people were suddenly disconnected from the rest of the world. This was in an attempt to prevent the planned protests of the Egyptian people on January 28th to force a change in their government.

This is a visualization of the internet disruption:

Just two days prior to this event, it was reported that the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is attempting to pass a bill that would allow the US government to have similar powers to turn off internet access if needed. Essentially, this bill would allow the government to “turn off” the internet without judicial review. The events in Egypt should prevent this bill from passing.

First, the rulers of Egypt have proven that a government will abuse the “internet kill switch” for its own selfish causes. Likewise, arguments can now be made that the ability to stop internet communications is in conflict with the freedoms of speech and of the press as documented in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

More practically, however, just imagine what the financial devastation will be to companies that have all of their online presence located in Egypt. Who would ever place a web site or database on a server in Egypt now? Imagine how it would affect all the server farms and internet access providers if the US government had the ability to turn off the country’s internet access. Why would an international company risk placing servers in a country whose government could instantly disrupt internet access without limits?

The events in Egypt over the last 24 hours should show why a government’s power over an “internet kill switch” is such a horrible idea.

AT&T Sad Puppy Coverage

July 18th, 2010

The voice coverage for AT&T is awful. I often have “No Service” around my house. I decided to see what the predicted coverage was on their official coverage map. I’m in their “best” zone. Sigh.

I was inspired to create the following “AT&T Sad Puppy Coverage” image.

ATT sad puppy coverage

Each day tech-recipes gets a ton of comments. In fact, often the information that is left in the comments is more helpful that the original tutorial. 

Like on many other popular web sites, spammers frequently try to use our comments to gain attention for their own websites. 

Microsoft not only decided to spam our comments but is trying to steal our authors too?  Boo!  :)

microsoft blog spam

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Of course, nobody knows for sure yet if this swine flu epidemic will be more dangerous than the seasonal flu. However, the potential for extreme badness is there.

Many people are now saying that the media and the government is blowing the threat out of proportion. They like to quote that around 36,000 people die from influenza in the United States each year. The problem is that this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill seasonal influenza. This is an H1N1 influenza. These are very different germs.

Read the rest of this entry »

OpenEMR is Ridiculous

March 18th, 2008

Having “open” electronic medical records (EMR) is absolutely ridiculous.

ReadWriteWeb believes that we should be able to control and transfer medical records personally. However, this is felt impossible because health care is “controlled by big business and government.” Furthermore, they state that “decentralizing this network and giving the power for each American to control their own medical record could ensure higher reliability, less poor diagnoses, and can handle scale.”

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Yes, our current medical record system needs to change. As a practicing physician, I frequently see test duplication and delays in diagnosis due to our current closed system. Doctors at one hospital will likely not get results from other hospitals in a reasonable amount of time. Even if a physician knows to request the records, often the physician may not know specifically what to request. Worse yet, these records are usually faxes from one hospital to another.

With these problems, the brainstem reflex is to let each person control his or her own medical history. Let me, the patient, control who and what accesses my medical records. It is romantic. It is crazy and flawed.

Actually, if the patient was always YOU, then an open EMR might work. You are probably not crazy. You probably do not abuse the system, drugs, or your body. But you are the same person who actually accurately keeps up with medical history now. Any medical record system works well for you.

Let me a take common ICU admission for you. Young lady found down unresponsive and barely breathing. Maybe by searching her house or testing her urine we can estimate that she has overdosed. Maybe she has been in the hospital before and we know that she has been depressed or has a history of overdose. Maybe she also has a rare disease like adrenal insufficiency that can be fatal if not also concurrently treated.

Assume that we fix this lady up and forward her medical records to her EMR carrier of choice. If it is truly open, she can forward it to anyone. Perhaps she forwards it to a “lockbox” carrier who promises to keep it hidden from other systems. Her physicians will never know about her suicide attempt or her potentially life threating illness. Perhaps she forwards it to a “edit” carrier who promises to sanitize or grossly edit the medical record for her. She pays a little extra so her medical record will now show that she has a crippling pain syndrome and requires narcotic pain medications.

Open is open. An open medical record system is an untrustworthy medical record system. Now, I agree that people should have the ability to view and make comments about their personal medical records. Doctors and tests are not perfect, and a patient should have the right to make his/her opinions known.

Luckily, this is not complicated. Just get the EMR companies to come together a establish a universal document standard and communication API. The government would host and secure the common database that would store all the information. Patients could log in and make comments to clarify the record, but information could not be removed or edited.

Medical records are as essential as legal records. Should legal records be open too? Frequently life and death decisions are based upon these documents. A truly open EMR system allows for manipulation and abuse. A universal medical records system will save money and lives. It is vital and essential to insure that the record is inclusive and precise. In this circumstance, being “open” is not the solution.

I will be glad to detail and debate further issues in the comments below.

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I have been weeding through my feed subscriptions. Seeing “links for” is an instant unsubscribe…

unsubscribed from my feedreader

This shows why Microsoft has outgrown itself. This January 23, 2007 kbfaq support document from windows is supposed to tell the user how to print a folder listing on a windows machine.

Read this garbage…


To print a listing of files or folders, you can copy an image of a My Computer or Windows Explorer window to the Clipboard, paste it into an image editing or word processing program, and then print the image.
To create and print an image of a listing of files or folders using Microsoft Paint, follow these steps:

1. In My Computer or Windows Explorer, open the folder you want to print, and then press ALT+PRINT SCREEN to copy an image of the active window to the Clipboard.
2. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Paint.
3. On the Edit menu, click Paste, and then click Yes to display the image.
4. On the File menu, click Print.
NOTE: If there are more files or folders than can be displayed in the My Computer or Windows Explorer window (in other words, you must scroll to see all the files or folders), you must scroll to view these files, and then repeat steps 1-4.

So Microsoft wants the user to actually print a screenshot from explorer to print a directory/folder listing? Crazy.

The way a real person would do it…

1. Drop to a terminal / command prompt window
(Run -> cmd.exe)

2. Navigate to the directory/folder you wish to list

3. dir > folder.txt

4. Open folder.txt in whatever application you wish to edit it or print it.

Today I discovered one of the weaknesses of badges, gadgets, and embeds. Users who are behind restrictive web filters may never correctly see a web page that contains an “include” from a blocked site.

On my XP machines at work, the Facebook Badge does not time out in a graceful manner. This has been the source of my thinking that my blog has not been working incorrectly. Today I installed firebug and yslow for firefox and noticed the following…

slow facebook badge

The site was stuck on waiting for the facebook badge — eternally. This is likely because of the websense restrictive filtering policy of the hospital. If I try to directly visit facebook, that never resolves either. I receive an eternal “Waiting for…” message in the tray in both IE6 and firefox.

Eventually, IE6 just quits waiting for the badge and never renders the rest of the page. After a minute or two, firefox gives up and does render the page; however, it is such a long delay most people would give up ship and move to another page.

Certainly, you can complain about the way the browsers handle timeouts on javascript. However, the more important point is the following:

How many users are we missing because we are using these embedded objects?

The huge spikes in internet traffic during the work portion of the week suggests that a large majority of internet traffic is from people at work. People at work often have some type of internet filter between them and the rest of the world. It makes sense to me, then, that these hot new embeddable objects may be making many web pages inaccessible to many users.

If a browser fails to load an image, it fails gracefully. If a browser fails to load a gadget, the rendering of your entire page may choke.

Hey, multi-piercing shumck with the SO with fake red hair:

If somebody is sitting behind you, it is rude to recline the seat.

Done. That’s it.

I don’t care if you are 8 feet tall and dying of sleep deprivation. Reclining the seat is basically saying that you are going to claim 6 in X 30 of my space. If you recline your seat, it practically impossible for me to work on my laptop because your headrest is almost directly above the entire portion of my tray.

Of course, it’s a one hour flight and you are not trying to sleep anyway. You are just a tool.

(And I know her red hair is a desperate attempt to hide her premature graying… even if you stopped paying attention long ago.)