Whose side are they on?

This is an interview in Wired with the principal deputy director of national intelligence (of the US). It’s all about how the tech industry should work closer with the goverment (US). It starts out in classic paranoid fashion:

“SUE GORDON, THE principal deputy director of national intelligence, wakes up every day at 3 am, jumps on a Peloton, and reads up on all the ways the world is trying to destroy the United States.1

…and goes on to:

“I think there’s a lot of misconception about those of us who work in national security and intelligence,” she says. “We swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. That means we believe in and swear to uphold privacy and civil liberties.”

Not once is there a mention in the text that “the” government is actually just one government. Not once does Gordon or the reporter reflect on that working closely with the (US) government means taking sides against the rest of the world. There is less and less common interest between the US government and the rest of the western world, not to mention the non-western world, so any initiative the tech companies join in with the US government is a big red flag for the market outside the US. Think Huawei.

I’m pretty certain the major tech companies do realize that the majority of their customers are not US patriots, and that being too cozy with the US intelligence services may not be good for business. Increasingly so.

I’m amazed, though, that this wasn’t even considered when interviewing for and writing that article. Maybe it would be a good idea not to distribute arguments like this beyond the US. Why do they even let us read “patriotic” claptrap like this? I can’t imagine the tech companies liking it much.

ESR

In the previous post I described another failure in my Razer Mako speaker system. I found a defective electrolyte capacitor and I said it started to “short out”, which isn’t correct. What happens is almost the opposite, namely that the internal resistance in the capacitor starts to rise, creating heat dissipation (which almost burned me) which ultimately destroys the capacitor. Meanwhile, before it actually gets destroyed, it becomes less efficient at doing its job of smoothing out variations in the voltage applied to it, which I saw as increased ripple on the corresponding power line.

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Razer Mako (no click of) death fix

About two and a half years ago, I wrote a post about fixing the “click of death” problem the Razer Mako 2.1 THX speaker system is prone to. My Mako worked fine until recently when it failed in another way, namely with no sound at all anymore. No clicks, nothing. While the “control puck” still kinda worked, it flickered and behaved weirdly.

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Q.E.D. – sick leave

These “doctor’s notes” or “sick leave” are the attestations we do for a patient when they’re ill and they need a proof of that for work and/or insurance. The contents will differ greatly in different countries, but the ones I describe here are similar to the Swedish ones1.

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Q.E.D. – templates

We can also greatly enhance and streamline the entry of running notes in the medical record. These notes are usually structured as a list of “items”, where each item corresponds to a type of data, or a clinical sign or symptom. The actual selection of which items to use depends on why we’re seeing the patient, as expressed through the “type of contact” (or “problem”). The content (value) of the items, however, is free text, but usually limited to a few variations only. These, the system can learn and present.

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Q.E.D. – referrals

While creating referrals in a record system, the workflow is fairly predictable. For any particular kind of problem, there’s only a relatively limited range of referrals you are going to write, so we can let the system record which ones we use and pop up a list of last used referrals the next time we see a patient with the same problem (“type of contact”).

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Q.E.D. – searches

When you’re seeing a patient, it’s very often useful to do a search for diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines, medical articles, regional or institutional recommendations and so on. These searches need to be restricted to appropriate sources, not just the wild internet. Once you’ve done a search and found some useful information, you’d probably want to save a reference to it and be able to locate it again the next time you see this patient, or another patient with a similar problem.

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Q.E.D.

As I see the structure of medical knowledge and its application to patients, there are three levels:

  1. Biological science, pathology, EBM, epidemiology, etc. In other words, everything we know about human biology and pathology in the large, not at the individual level.
  2. Applications and methods that apply biological science to the individual patient, and methods using the history of the patient to search for applicable science.
  3. Knowledge about a particular patient, signs, symptoms, treatments and diagnostics that have already been performed. In short, the individual patient history.

Each of these three levels correspond to particular processes and methods, and computer applications also fit one or more of these levels. For instance, IBM Watson sits squarely in level 1, while current Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) systems are fully in level 31.

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Mac Pro network drops

As I already mentioned, the Mac Pro 2008 (10.10.5) I’m running the Retrospect server on, dropped its network connection for the first time in nine years (that I’m aware of) after installing Retrospect. Since then, it’s happened more than ten times, three times just during the last 24 hours.

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