* Posts by dylan 4

62 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jun 2009


Destroying the city to save the robocar

dylan 4

Re: Obviously the solution is....

"I do all these things, although even after years of driving in cities with bike lanes I'm still not sure if it's legal for me to cross into the bike lane before making a right-hand turn."

Not sure if it's legal? Ever consider RTFM? Seems unlikely a simple Google search wouldn't find a link to your road rules if you could be bothered.

The ‘subversive adult Disneyland’ where iPods track your every move

dylan 4

Re: Yeah...

For all the eccentricity of the art, choosing iPods as the delivery device is a classic example of a sound enterprise IT decision. Walsh may have made his money through "gambling", but not in the sense most people understand it.

You have to consider where Android was at 6 years ago when this project commenced. Even assuming a platform switch a year before opening were realistic, find me an iPod sized Android tablet that was on the market in early 2010. What were the specs and price point of that device, assuming it existed? Sitting in 2010 and using your crystal ball, what would you think the likelihood is that you could buy the same device (or another device with hardware specs, drivers, interfaces, and OS that would reliably run your custom app and hardware) in 3/6/12/24 months time? Consider the complexity of supporting multiple different OS and app versions, quite apart from whether it still fits in your custom charging station. Remember the furore from Apple changing the iPod connector this year after it stayed the same for 8 years? Until not so long ago, many vendors changed the connector design with every iteration, and even since standardising on micro USB you're still lucky if the port is in the same place on the next device version).

Having been to MONA, the devices aren't flawless - as another poster mentioned, you often have to select from a list of numerous artworks to find the one you're looking at. This would be a limitation of the number of active RFID devices in the walls as much as in the device itself. I also found them a bit of a distraction from the exhibits.

McAfee puts Barnaby Jack on car-jacking hackers' case

dylan 4

If only...

...somebody would hack my '11 Subaru, the UI for the factory satnav and stereo is so pitiful that it's remarkable its routing smarts are even worse.

OK, hands up: Who hasn't sold an iPad to a big biz?

dylan 4

Re: Put me down for an iPad

More realistic scenario:

IT: "justify your need for an iPad"

Manager: "Pardon? If you want the business justification, I am actually going to be using the iPad for email and reading meeting papers outside of office hours. Of course it's very likely I'll also read the news online, do some sudoku, and play angry birds for a while, as well as looking at facebook, but you already know that. I can give you the "I'm your boss, just give it to me" justification if you prefer?"

IT: "grumble grumble, lock-in, lock down, remote admin blah blah"

Manager: "meh, I've read about that somewhere before, could it have been in your job description? Better hop to it then. Oh, and make sure it's on a decent data plan and is enabled on our VPN, thanks."

dylan 4

Re: Most are Android here.

iPads are 75% of units shipped, UP from last year, leaving at most 25% for Android. Did you even read the article? The split may be 60:40 for Android in your little backwater, but "most companies shy away" is a load of rubbish.

Our IT department long ago got over itself and learned to deal with iPads and iPhones on the network. "Superior device administration" is moot when it's only the nerds that want Android, and they flash the device to a custom ROM the moment they pull it out of the box. Had exactly this conversation with one of our techs the other day who was touting the remote admin benefits of android compared to iOS- asked what rom he was running on his Galaxy phone and if it was still locked down according to spec...FAIL.

Three millionth Aussie LinkedIn today

dylan 4

I don't believe it either.

I'm not on LinkedIn, but keep getting invitations to join from "business associates", the only connection being that I asked them for a quote on an african safari 2 years ago. One of them is Kenyan, the other Tanzanian...

I fail to see the point of it TBH, though perhaps it's because I work in a fairly small industry, and have good enough real-world connections to people that I don't need virtual connections.

UK sight-loss charity sues BMI

dylan 4

Screen scrapers?

So the problems with accessibility of BMI's website for vision impaired people has nothing to do with BMI deliberately wanting to make it less accessible to competitors using screen-scrapers then ?(meaning competitors like expedia and similar sites, which reduce the ability of the originator to market hugely profitable add-ons like travel insurance, carbon-offsets and outrageous 'credit card surcharges') That would be a perfectly valid commercial reason for the opacity of their website.

Would it be reasonable to force a company to be competitively disadvantaged in order to reduce discrimination against vision impaired people? Offering a low-cost telephone number seems like a reasonable compromise - even though I can see perfectly well I would be tempted to use it simply to avoid clicking through pages of add-ons which are selected by default . "I'd like your cheapest one way airfare to nirvana please, any time in this date range. Just the airfare please, no priority boarding, travel insurance, carbon offset, affiliated hotel offers or hire car. "

Oz rail company sold USB keys from lost property in auction

dylan 4

If they weren't carless

they wouldn't have been on the tran.


Windows 8 fondleslabs: Microsoft tip-toes through PC-makers' disaster

dylan 4

Except it won't be "existing" infrastructure

Yes, companies are crying out for a tablet they can manage (i.e. cripple by pushing out bloated and inappropriate policy), but don't pretend it will use existing infrastructure.

It will be a whole new batch of management tools each running on their own instance of Windows server, with expensive licensing based on how many processors, how many clients, whether it's over intranet only or managing devices on cellular connections yada yada. You'll also need to upgrade all your existing infrastructure to the minimum OS/license version MS require you to have to connect this suite of management tools.

You know it's true, it's where MS make their profits.

Virus infects killer US air drone fleet

dylan 4

"not allowed on network"?

If the computers aren't allowed a network connection, how exactly are they supposed to control the drones? Very long wires?

Hospital data boob: Records left in bin room got binned

dylan 4


Opened in 2000 probably means designed in 1995, size of storage halved on plans in 1996 in a drive to reduce costs, because "_surely_ we'll be paperless by the time we open!"

Now Windows 8 goes into the ring to face Apple's iOS

dylan 4

Actually, it's all about what works, especially in the NHS.

In my direct experience, NHS trusts have been burned by attempted windows tablet computer deployments. They have tried them and they _weren't useful_.

They were completely crippled by the windows UI, and locked-down security using the domain security paradigm was part of the problem. The IT department thought they were neat, but nobody on the ward bothered using them. The bulky, heavy, battery intensive form factor and Atom powered sluggishness didn't help either.

The Metro interface looks like it goes some way to solving the UI issues, so long as the apps follow, which they probably will. But the tablet test platform based on Corei5 is a sad joke, and the duality of the full interface and Metro on the same machine bodes ill for use in a clinical setting.

In stark contrast, a number of Australian hospitals (also in my direct experience) are using iPads, and liking them a great deal.

Yes, if and when real tablets with comparable performance specs to iPads and the enterprise (including hospital enterprise) apps designed for a touch UI to match arrive, there will be pressure from network/domain admins to deploy them instead of iPads. But given the woeful history of windows tablets in places like the NHS, I expect support for this to be lukewarm even within IT, and downright hostile on the floor. "Lets replace something that works, is relatively cheap to buy and maintain, and is accepted by our end users, with something that was expensive to buy and maintain, and rejected by our end users the last two times we tried it" is not a proposal I would be advising our executive to support...

dylan 4


How do you keep a tablet sterile enough to use in a medical practice?

Exactly the same way you keep the rest of your practice "sterile". Do you people think the door handles, armchairs, reception desks, magazines and children's toys in the corner get autoclaved between patients? How about that pen that you filled in the form with, was it brand new out of a sealed packet?

Aside from use in a surgical theatre, with immunocompromised patients, or in a high infection risk setting such as a surgical ward, there is no problem using an iPad in a medical practice.

FWIW, I've personally overseen trials of two different "medical grade" windows "tablet copmputers" in an NHS hospital. Both designs were much more difficult to clean _effectively_ than an iPad, what with recessed screens, textured and grooved housings, carry handles, wrist straps and stylus-on-a-string. But when the nurses (and junior medical officers) are eating their lunch at the nursing bay on the ward, and chewing their pens in between filling out charts, it makes the notion of sterile equipment somewhat academic.

Acer founder: 'Tablets, ultrabooks just a fad'

dylan 4

fits my usage too

I just got one of the new Macbook Airs. Half the thickness and weight of my old laptop, nice screen and keyboard, great battery life, and performance-wise it screams.

I just can't see why one would bother with a 'traditional' laptop form factor given how good 'ultrabooks' can be now. Apart from price and limited capacity of the SSD, it's a no-brainer.

Apple vanishes MySQL from Mac OS X Lion Server

dylan 4

Maybe Apple could design their own Db...

...but why bother spending the money when there are free ones like Postgres and around? Apple's core business is nice shiny consumer toys, and this business model is supported by having nice shiny UIs/OS's to drive those toys, and platforms like ITunes to drive sales for those toys. Developing their own db to give away with OSX server would be colossally stupid. If they built something to drive their internal back-end platform ala google/fb it might make marginal sense, but that's not the kind of nice neat rdbms there would be much point running on a mac mini server.

dylan 4

Windows server doesn't "come with" SQL server...

it's an expensive additional licensing cost based on the number of processors you're running and/or the number of clients accessing the database. e.g. $3500 per processor for a web platform outside of an enterprise licensing arrangement.

NHS told: freeze all Microsoft spend

dylan 4


You call it "macro-twiddling", I call it "using the available tools to automate time consuming tasks and improve the accuracy of frequently performed multi-step tasks for semi-computer-literate workers".

I'm not suggesting VB macros are rocket science, nor that similar tools aren't available in open source alternatives. However, as it stands I don't have the resources to magically recreate all the macros I've twiddled over the years, nor to retrain all the (barely trainable in the first place) staff that use windows/Office.

The amount of productivity that would be lost by changing horses mid-stream would easily pay for our MS licensing for several years. The amount of money spent on training courses to use said FOSS would pay for another 6 months of MS licensing.

As for those who think buying an i5 with win7 enterprise is overkill for a basic ward PC, you really have no understanding of IT estate management do you? Machines have to be specced so that they have a reasonable prospect of being serviceable and supportable for at least a couple of years longer than the organisation's 'refresh cycle', and the image has to be standardised or helpdesk becomes unworkable. Can you imagine being the poor helpdesk drone asking "what processor and windows version are you running?" when you've got a shouty nurse whose "thingy doesn't come up when she clicks the whatsit"?

London Olympics shop in Union Jack outrage

dylan 4

I think you'll find the escalator capacity

would be substantially higher if everybody walked up the escalators using the whole width, as opposed to everybody standing still.

Man says he lost $500,000 in virtual currency heist

dylan 4

so apart from money laundering,

and Ponzi schemes, can anyone name a practical use for bitcoins? Are they any more than just the ostrich farm or tulip of a new generation?

Apple iOS 5 and iCloud examined

dylan 4

reporter living under a rock?

What rock has this reporter been hiding under? "Maybe if big business starts buying iPhones too, iMessage will take off"...?

I can't speak for the big corporates, but where I live, in the world of public administration (hospitals, police, public services) iPhones have taken over completely (if your phone was issued in the last 18 months, it's an iPhone). I know the same is the case for many large public hospitals nationally (Australia).

iPads likewise are infiltrating in large numbers, both in administrative areas (including IT departments) and clinical areas (e.g. clinical portal apps, theatre scheduling apps).

iMessage has the potential to be a MASSIVE hit. As far as clinical use, delivery and read confirmations alone make iMessage viable where SMS currently isn't. The potential cost savings from these devices using iMessage over wifi instead of voice calls billed by the telco are huge.

Apple Mac OS X: A decade of Ten

dylan 4

"relatively new" PPC owners?

Snow Leopard was released just over 3 years after the G5's were discontinued. I would posit that "three years old" is not "relatively new" in the life of a desktop PC, and that even if it were, anyone who bought one of those final machines should have been well aware they were buying obsolete, legacy hardware. Perhaps not "obsolete" in performance terms, but certainly in terms of the development roadmap.

Whatever Jobs may have said about supporting PPC "for many years to come", one would be naive to think that would mean indefinite active development of the OS. The death of PPC on the Mac desktop was obvious 18 months before the G5s were finally discontinued.

If when Lion comes out it doesn't support my first-gen intel iMac, I won't be surprised or upset - I'll recognise that SL still works fine as do the apps I currently run, and that any apps that require Lion would probably run better on newer hardware anyway.

Cobalt-barrel machine guns could fire full auto Hollywood style

dylan 4

unless the mandrel contracts at an equal or greater rate as it cools...

that is all.

Canon EOS 60D DSLR

dylan 4
Thumb Up

likely buyer for the same reasons you don't like it.

I also consider myself an abuser of camera bodies, and some of the same points you list as negatives look very much like positives to me, perhaps due to a different use-case. You're probably right that you're NOT the target market for this camera, and Canon want you to buy the 7D instead, but I still think think some of your objections are spurious.

Body strength: If you truly drop your camera often enough that you're worried about breaking the body, and you take yourself even half seriously as a photographer, your budget for replacing damaged lenses must be phenomenal...

Swivel screen: may be an insta-break if you're into dropping your camera, or grabbing it by whatever protrusion is nearest, but if you think a swivel screen is such a bad idea, you don't have to use it that way - it's very unlikely to break when it's folded in!

From my POV (pun intended) a swivel screen would be an incredible boon for composition in difficult spaces, and the option to have it LCD-inwards protects the LCD from scratches the rest of the time when composing through the viewfinder.

And while I can see that many photographers couldn't care less about a little extra weight or bulk, to me a lighter (and smaller) body means I can take it places where taking another camera increases personal risk or at the very least discomfort; down canyons, up mountains and rock climbs, travelling out of the way places. Steel chassis/plastic body construction is plenty strong enough for me, and I've been shooting outdoor activities since before the label "extreme" was applied to anything and everything, back when camera religion was as much KR64 vs Velvia as Nikon vs Canon. The only reason I use an entry-level body is size and weight, this being equal I would have bought a high-level prosumer camera years ago.

Assange fights extradition in court

dylan 4

re "He could potentially face trial in his homeland of Australia too btw..."

Actually, he couldn't. The Australian government has already been chastised by the Solicitor General for saying "he should be charged", all legal advice to date supporting the contrary opinion that nothing he has done in the operation of Wikileaks (that is so far known) is in contravention of any Australian law.

ICO slaps NHSBT for wrong organ donor data

dylan 4

We've come for your liver.

"But I'm still using it!"

UK doctor loses unencrypted laptop containing patient data

dylan 4

fail yourself

...for not reading the article. This data was sent by email to his personal email account, and the laptop stolen was his privately owned laptop, not NHS property.

There is no easy fix for this sort of data breach. Doctors have legitimate need to access bulk data, and 99% of the time they will be doing audits and research at home, unpaid, on their personal computers. It's part of their training, a requirement in order to get job advancement, and a significant benefit to patient care. These doctors work ludicrous numbers of hours at the hospital, put in more time unpaid at home, and then get rubbished for circumventing security...

Yes, in an ideal world bulk export features would anonymise identifying information, but none of the (many) client information systems I have worked with (in NHS and other govt and private areas, both health and otherwise, UK and Australia) can do this. IT budgets simply don't stretch this far, there often being insufficient funds to implement even key functional requirements. Similarly, hospitals might provide doctors with access to data administrators to do the data extraction for them, but there is rarely the budget for enough skilled DB admins to write the queries for the hundreds of junior docs doing audits and research at any major NHS trust, nor are the docs routinely able to articulate what they actually want to do with the data, making extracting the right data doubly difficult.

As far as whole disk encryption, blocking USB storage, blocking email attachments, of course these area all relatively easy to implement. There is also no technical reason why doctors couldn't be using a remote desktop or citrix session via VPN from home instead of 'storing' the data locally. Unfortunately however these things make getting work done a right pain in the arse and incredibly inefficient for people who already very busy (both medicos and understaffed IT support). And most trusts have remote access locked down so tight that VPN isn't a practical solution for more than a small number of users (i.e. locked to specific machines accessing from specific IP addresses), let alone the costs of hardware involved in giving every junior docs, and VPN account charges, citrx licenses, and reimbursing docs for their home internet usage.

Seagate takes a terabyte of the storage apple

dylan 4

Server class drive?

But is your 1TB WD a 7200rpm, hardware encrypted, server class drive? Thought not.

iPad to lose weight, gain eye

dylan 4

No USB or SD...

but at least it exists. As for the iPad 'competition': vapourware = no thanks!

Android out-runs Windows Phone 7 on price comparison site

dylan 4
Jobs Halo

Noone wants the same phone as everyone else...

...unless it's an iPhone.

BlackBerry boss renews disdain for Steve Jobs

dylan 4
Thumb Up

RIM to developers: we don't want your apps, go make money elsewhere?

A Thumbs Up to you sir, and a FAIL to RIM.

Whether or not a web-only model can achieve native-app like speed and efficiency is only a small part of the equation, and a minor one when it comes to attracting the dev community.

Re native apps vs web, how exactly is a developer supposed to _sell_ "the web"? "Come buy the emperor's new clothes"?

App developers are loving Apple and the App Store because they are making money selling applications to users. Some of these apps accomplish things which are still possible with a web-only model, but who the hell is going to want to develop for that model when it's much harder to make money?

Fanbois howl as OS X update bricks PGPed Macs

dylan 4
Black Helicopters

paranoid much?

"any other environment than tech there would be compensation" - name ONE such environment where a company hands over compensation for a repairable fault when the user failed to follow basic commonsense precautions?

I would do (and have done) the second wallet, spare credit card, spare passport thing in seriously dodgy places like crowded marketplaces in La Paz or Nairobbery, when no money/no ID would mean missing flights and being stuck for days/weeks, but couldn't fathom living my life with this attitude.

Oz docs prescribed iPads by Premier

dylan 4

Why 3G? Two words:

On Call.

BTW, your opinion doesn't matter because your lack of understanding of healthcare is unfortunately not offset by your intimate understanding of manga. Short-skirted buxom schoolgirls injured in battles with flying fire breathing tentacled penises just aren't as big a part of day-to-day medicine as manga may have you believe. As for listening to podcasts about NAS, my condolences, how very sad.

FWIW, you're right about 64GB being overkill, but it's a cheap way of keeping a very picky, very expensive workforce happy. You're talking about people who can earn $500k plus per annum easily in private practice working for a public hospital for $200k per annum. Shallow as it sounds, you earn a lot more goodwill from buying them "the top model" than you save in $ by buying them "some worthless crippled cheap model, as if I don't slave away day and night blah blah blah".

Ofcom to TalkTalk, Tiscali: Stop over-billing

dylan 4

what is it with telephone companies?

Another frustrated ex-telco customer here. I moved to Naked ADSL2+ earlier this year, and while my line rental cancellation seems to have gone through, I still keep getting an "overdue bill" reminder every month, both on paper and elctronically through online banking.

The bill amount you ask? "$12.57CR" (yes, credit!). I'm grateful that they feel obliged to credit me the unused portion of my final month's line rental payment, but somewhat bemused that the plonkers can't work out a way of actually doing it! All the call centre can say is "we'll take it off your next bill", which isn't very useful since my next bill is always "$0" since I'm no longer a customer...

ZTE calls foul over senators' 'xenophobic' letter

dylan 4

goals and ideals?

American goals and ideals? Mind edifying us as to what those are? As far as they have been exported abroad, they appear to have precious little to do with democracy.

Ends justify the means? If you've checked lately on how well the US has actually furthered any of its _professed_ ideals in it's favourite foreign policy stomping grounds (whether above board or clandestine) you may find yourself more than a little disappointed...

Perhaps "as ye sow, so shall ye reap" is more apt given how the US is currently marooned in a quagmire of its own making over decades of interference in the middle east.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trust the Chinese government any further than I could throw all 1.2 billion Chinese people at once, but their goal these days is much more transparently "we want what you've got, by whatever means is most convenient", than anything ideological, which seems fair enough if you try to look at it from their perspective.

The fact that they have taken some of the US' finest exports (ruthless political oppression, cynical exploitation, market protectionism, currency manipulation and unashamed environmental destruction) and effectively nationalised them as a tool for long-term economic dominance is an irony that would be doubly galling to you and most of your compatriots, if they could only comprehend it as they slide into un-genteel poverty, tea-party stupidity and increasing irrelevance.

The Hardware mid-life crisis

dylan 4
Big Brother

Full HDD encryption...

...is in the vast majority of cases a solution looking for a problem, that only creates more problems than it solves. How many people could honestly say they work with data that are either remotely sensitive, or remotely likely to be a target for theft, let alone both?

The computer privacy conspiracy theorists seem to have taken over Blighty!

Android phone auto reverts jailbreaks

dylan 4

so what happens to official firmware updates then?

Is one to assume that there will never be an official firmware update to this device? You'll be stuck forever(*) with firmware version 1.0 regardless of bugs or potential for new/improved functionality?

*forever = until you give up on your crippled device and buy a new one...

Moses' parting of the Red Sea: New sim explains whole thing

dylan 4

wind was theoretically at their backs

With the wind at your back like in this scenario, a 65MPH gale would help rather than hinder.

Still don't believe it happened;-P

Apple iPod Touch 4G

dylan 4

Prices increases in blighty not Apple's fault this time...

...it's more to do with the fact that your currency has gone through the floor.

iTouch 4 prices in Australia have actually come DOWN significantly over the previous version, to the extent that close-out discount prices on iTouch3 a couple of weeks ago were higher than the full price of the new model.

LG touts 'surprisingly productive' iPad killer

dylan 4

Who buys iPads? IT departments for starters...

You probably _have_ met iPad owners, you just couldn't identify them because they're not 'branded' by carrying a bulky laptop bag + charger.

Who is buying them? In addition to gadget-freaks, after the last 15 years of anti-Apple crusades, IT departments have ended their resistance and are now among the early adopters of iPads.

The IT support department of the organisation I work for is one [health department with thousands of desktops, 4 acute hospitals etc etc]. Perfect tool to carry on call-outs, sure beats carrying a laptop + charger around all day. They started off with a small trial of 20 iPads and are likely to roll out another 80 in the next couple of months.

At the higher corporate levels, they also look set to take off in a big way - plenty of people that at the moment 'get by' with a blackberry, who would like a bit more screen real estate and functionality, but who don't have time to mess around with a laptop, and have "people" to do the "content creation" thing for them.

Tablets are never going to be a primary tool for people whose productivity is related to word processing, spreadsheets etc, but that still leaves a large and lucrative market.

dylan 4

troll all you like, but

it seems to me Apple built the iPad with very clear ideas about what it was _not_ meant to be for, first among which was use at a desk with a keyboard.

But hey, if you want to not only buy an iPad but turn it into a second-rate under-powered small-screen desktop/laptop replacement by connecting an accessory foldable keyboard, all your USB peripherals, and watching flash ads, you're obviously not wrong about the "fools and money" part.

Aussie parties trade blows over fast broadband

dylan 4

forgot your point about the "on time" bit?

People 'round here seem to have no clue about any of the recent economic stimulus projects, and the difference they made to people staying in jobs.

Because the _only_ part of the project that was key to being delivered "on time" was _spending the money_, and nobody would argue they din't spend up in a hurry. Actually delivering the infrastructure was always a secondary consideration.

The fact that examples like the schools projects showing that they "overpaid" by 6-20% (IIRC) for the works actually demonstrates that they got pretty good value for money.

If you think the GFC is an Australian Labor conspiracy, you need to go visit Europe, UK, USA.

There are many companies in Australia, employing many, many people, across building, planning, infrastructure consultancies etc that would have gone bust if the Govt hadn't boosted infrastructure spending through projects like this, including NBN.

Regarding who does or doesn't have a record of delivering, private industry has no record in Australia of delivering large-scale national infrastructure, and never will, because shareholders expect profits.

It is part of the role of governments to "waste" money by delivering infrastructure to all parts of the country, even where arguments of viable economic return don't exist. Whether our country-cousins need FTTH is debatable, but the same could have been said back in the day about extending the postal network, or copper telephony, or GSM (where our much maligned Telecom, previously Post Master General, delivered a network that outside mainland capital CBD areas is still vastly better than any competitor's).

I think there are rational arguments for scaling back the scope of the NBN (sorry country cousins), but chopping it off at the knees really is opposition for it's own sake. The $7B "policy" is the emperor's new clothes, delivering essentially nothing we don't already have, and ensuring that sunk costs in the current NBN really are wasted.

dylan 4
Thumb Down

While I don't deny he's a screwball...

...he probably pays his taxes too, so you're not the only a******e in the world.

Personally I'm quite happy to pay my share, but call me an overpaid idealist with unrequited socialist tendencies and a profound disbelief in the ability of an unfettered free market to deliver a society worth living in.

dylan 4

more About Murdoch

Furthermore one might point to the downright reactionary behaviour of "content providers'" in engaging in digital distribution of the works they earn their money from.

At the moment they still seem far more interested in selling you a physical disc than in allowing you to download content.

Ballmer's 'lost generation' note finds resonance

dylan 4

IIRC it was the other way around!

"And then I left. Not by choice ... 9/11 hit airlines hard..."

MS Office for Mac 2011 out in October

dylan 4
Gates Horns

Wrong on that one - Office:Mac INCLUDED in site licensing...

...at least where I work. I could purchase Office Mac 2008 discounted under our business site license "Home Use Program" for all of A$28...if I wanted to...

Aussie broadband is slower than a slow thing in a slow town

dylan 4

You're a year out of date, competition is in Tasmania now.

Stop complaining and start investigating.

1. Aurora fibre across Bass Strait went live in June 09.

2. Internode has progressively been rolling out ADSL2+ in Tasmanian exchanges since then

I went naked ADSL2+ at the beginning of this year (about a month after my exchange went live with Internode). My old plan was 1.5Mb theoretical, usually about .9Mb, had 30% less download allowance, now I'm getting 9Mb/s (1.6km from exchange, old cabling inside house) and I no longer pay $22/month for a landline I never use).

Check out http://whirlpool.net.au/ to see if coverage is at your exchange yet.

iPads for hospitals: is this a good idea?

dylan 4

Re purchasing in Australian health system vs NHS

I've worked in IT in both, and in most cases procurement processes in the NHS are MUCH easier than Australia in government run health systems. There is of course some dependence on which NHS trust you work for and internal procurement policy, but for many items from bandages to million pound x-ray devices there is agreed pricing provided by vendors to NHS Supply Chain, and you just pick whatever you want from the shopping list. In a year as project manager in NHS I helped spend several million pounds on IT systems, medical equipment and PC hardware without once having to go to open tender. Back home in Oz and I'm about to go to my second full-blown tender for the year, this time for a system where I know there is only one potential vendor in the market...

FWIW, we trialled several Windows based tablets including the Panasonics (then in prototype) and they just didn't cut it - available apps needed keyboard & mouse input to be practical, the fact that the tablets were too chunky, too heavy and had poor battery life was the smaller part of the issue. If Apple's iOS makes development of practical touch-friendly apps simpler, that's all to the good. Much of the hoo-ha about "medical grade" devices being washable is pretty irrelevant whan A) nobody washes their keyboards and mice properly now anyway B) anything with lots of corners and crevices is never going to be easy to disinfect properly C) nurses and docs chew on pens and eat their lunch while writing in patient notes (seen it happen in a Gastro ward in lockdown mode!), poo-glove-file-pen-mouth-pen-keyboard-colleague-next patient...

Apple don't claim the iPad to be infection-control certified, but as a form factor it has a lot going for it being all smooth surfaces with minimal edges and crevices and nicely sealed. So long as the front panel can withstand some alcohol (it's glass, right?) I believe it is lower infection risk than any other tablet I have seen, medical or no.

Just don't drop it, or let it get nicked!

dylan 4

Stuck on Windoze? you would be surprised

Many places historically "stuck on windoze" are looking at the iPad, and it's being driven both from the clinicians and from IT.

I know of a couple of iPad trials ongoing in my local health department, which has always been Windows to the core. iPhones have already gained wide traction across the upper echelons of IT staff in the health department, and a number of specialized iPhone apps have sprung up for the increasing number of doctors using them. IPads are a logical extension now that people have realised that the sky doesn't fall in if you don't buy it from Bill.

Our local police service (previously Windows centric) have also been using iPhones on patrol for the last year, and the avaiability of vehicle databases through an iPhone app has been credited with numerous arrests that otherwise wouldn't have happened.

Open standards are great, but there's nothing like "consumerising" a device/standard to lower costs and increase acceptance. People may think iPhones and iPads are pricey, but compare them to the custom kit that for decades has been flogged for medical use and they are dirt cheap.

dylan 4

you want one HOW MCUH?

The iPad more "at the mercy of the manufacturer" than a Panasonic tablet? Have you seen how many apps there are out there that take advantage of the iPads features? Vs how many apps available from third parties taking advantage of windows tablets features? That's hilarious.

And have you seen how crippled devices like the panasonic can be by issues with custom drivers for their limited-run hardware on patch tuesday, and how infrequently such drivers are updated?

As for the price, your panasonic tablet costs double what an iPad does. Broke one? Good luck picking up a replacement on the high street!

Your head must be scrambled if you really believe all you wrote and want one SO MCUH!

Linux to eclipse Microsoft's 'all-in' tablet enthusiasm

dylan 4

not just about handwriting recognition

I trialled several different windows tablet PCs in an NHS acute trust setting in 2008, and the limitations with handwriting recognition were as much about multi-user medical dictionary support as software actually recognising the handwriting, and hardware knowing where to put the cursor, and knowing whether to accept the stylus input or the touch input.

The custom dictionary needed to be installed individually for each user. The most likely users (in a ward setting, for clinical rounds etc) are junior medical staff (interns & rmo) who rotate through different wards on about a 10-12 week basis. Any one ward might have 15-20 staff at any time that might use the tablet. What you're looking at is every time a new user logs on to the device, a whole bunch of configuration has to be downloaded and installed...meanwhile half the ward round is over...

As far as broad applicability in hospitals (i.e. beyond just specific implementations where historically an embedded system has been used):

The hardware isn't ready.

The applications aren't ready (biggest problem IMO)

The networks aren't ready (changing quickly)

The users aren't ready (woeful lack of basic IT savvy across buth nursing and medical staff)