This week, the young men of The Prompt are taught many things by the good Dr. Drang. This is probably my favorite episode we’ve done so far.
Adrianne Jeffries at The Verge:
More than 55 companies worked on Healthcare.gov and its state counterparts. It’s difficult to tell exactly who worked on what, but the contractors that worked on technical aspects of the site are Beltway regulars.
Noticeably missing from the list are companies with a reputation for excellence in technology.
Without a doubt, the rollout of Healthcare.gov was a clusterfuck.
I work for a web shop. I know websites can be difficult to build — feature scope can creep, designs can go sideways and clients can get grumpy. That said, I think any one of the many Internet giants that call America home — Amazon, Facebook or Google to name a few — could have done a much better job than the jumble of contractors who were awarded the work.
(Granted, maybe Oracle should be left off the list.)
There are lots of reasons the website struggled, but the main one is this: the federal government sucks at purchasing things. Thanks to federally-mandated Indefinite-Delivery Contracts, companies who have no business building complex websites end up with that exact task, and farm it out to companies who are in over their heads with such work.
While it is the government’s fault that Healthcare.gov sucked at launch, there’s not much the White House could have done differently. Federal procurement are complex and deep-rooted.
Republicans have pointed to the website’s failure as a sign or reason that the Affordable Healthcare Act should be repealed.
That — of course — is a hilariously childish response. It’s akin to saying I want to move my family out of our neighborhood because I don’t like the color of my neighbor’s new car. It’s a massive overreaction.
Instead of trying to repeal the law, if the government should be spending time revisiting how it purchases and deals with IT. If that can’t happen, more than just healthcare will suffer in the future.
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Smile is now using x-callback-url to share snippets, meaning users will need to manually update apps to see new snippets, but it’s a lot better than nothing. Developers using the TextExpander SDK will need to update their apps to pick up the changes, however.
The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles.
Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.
I have many, many questions about this, but the biggest one is this: will this ever actually happen? My guess is no.
Jokes about my neighbor’s BB gun aside, I know the FAA says it will have rules in place to govern this sort of thing by 2015, and that the company will be ready by then.
That said, this just feels too futuristic — too riddled with problems. If there’s a thunderstorm, will my new HDMI cable’s arrival be delayed? What happens if a drone crashes in a park full of kids playing? What about the inevitable privacy concerns of citizens who don’t understand what’s going on with these buzzing copters? What about Amazon’s relationship with UPS?
A week from today, tens of thousands of people from around the world will run races, winding across the city of Memphis to raise money for St. Jude.
Over the past four and a half years, the hospital has spent millions on my son’s treatment. He’s had four brain operations, 18 rounds of chemotherapy, over a dozen MRIs, countless CT scans and is still undergoing weekly rehabilitation services.
Josiah’s medical record number starts with a 3, followed by four more digits. He’s in the low range of 3xxxx numbers, and staff used to always comment on the fact that his number seemed so big. Just the other day, I overheard another father checking in his child for an appointment.
Her number started with a 4.
Since July 2008, over ten thousand patients have stepped across the threshold at St. Jude. Josiah’s cancer may be rare, but he’s not alone. We may be scared about starting chemotherapy again in four weeks, but we aren’t alone.
The reality is that St. Jude depends on all of us to keep the doors open. Last I heard, it takes $1.8 million a day to run the hospital named for the patron saint of lost causes.
Join us. Be a part of the cure. The team members listed at the link are all running Saturday for my son, but the race — the fight — against cancer isn’t over yet.
Google Glass has been available to early adopters for nearly nine months, and some merchants are doing their best to keep it out of their establishments. Nick Starr, a network engineer in Seattle, learned that the hard way this month on a visit to the Lost Lake Cafe, a 24-hour diner in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. According to Starr, he had eaten at the cafe several times while wearing Glass, but on his last visit was asked to remove the $1,500 headset or leave. Starr demanded to see a written policy banning Glass, but when the server held her ground he left. “I would love an explanation, apology, clarification,” Starr wrote on Facebook, “and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination.”
I laughed out loud several times reading this.
The CyanogenMod team:
After reaching out to the Play team, their feedback was that though application itself is harmless, and not actually in violation of their Terms of Service, since it ‘encourages users to void their warranty,’ it would not be allowed to remain in the store.
We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of installations of the application, proving the demand for more choice, and that the need for an alternative Android experience exists. As we work through this new hurdle, we will continue to make available and support the installation process via our own hosting services.
Something something open platform.
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With the future of TextExpander touch uncertain, I started to look into Apple’s own basic keyboard shortcut system built in to OS X and iOS. With Mavericks and iOS, these shortcuts can synced via iCloud’s vaguely-named “Documents & Data” feature.
While Apple’s tool doesn’t allow for the complexity that TextExpander offers, for simple stuff, I though it’d be fine.
Sadly, the feature is half-baked.
While shortcuts created on iOS sync to OS X, those created on Mavericks aren’t pushed back to mobile devices, as seen in these screenshots:
While this doesn’t rule Apple’s system out as a semi-replacement for TextExpander, entering my mission-critical snippets via iOS doesn’t sound like much fun at all. Moreover, it’s yet another example of Apple being sloppy around the edges of its software products.
Update: According to lots of people on Twitter, bi-directional sync *does* work here, but even after nuking my
com~apple~TextInput iCloud container, I can’t get it to work. I’ll update again if I can jumpstart it.
Two of my favorite nerds.