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Keeping Current

Posted: 12 Apr 2018, 18:31
by yogi
As you might have noticed, this website has been unavailable for a few days. That was due to what I thought would be a simple update to the next level software. It should in fact have been simple. Not many changes came down the tubes. However, the 'automatic' update script killed the database every time I used it. I had to get the hosting service involved to resolve that issue, which is why it took so long to get back on line. Needless to say the update was not a success. We are still using an old version of the software. However, we ARE still here. :mrgreen:

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 13 Apr 2018, 06:58
by pilvikki
well, it's not like us troglodytes could tell the difference.... :)

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 13 Apr 2018, 08:08
by yogi
We hardly use any of the features built into the software. That's why updates seem to have little effect. I like to keep current, but it's not always a necessity. It just gives me something to do by breaking it and trying to fix it again. :mrgreen:

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 13 Apr 2018, 09:43
by Kellemora
I never learned php, but even html changed a lot and I had to redo my websites several times.
Went from html to xhtml to xhtml/css to mobile friendly xhtml, then on to html5 and mobile friendly html5.
So many codes became obsolete between each step, I had to learn it all over again.
Of course, between the times I need to work on my website, I forget most of it and have to learn all over again.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 13 Apr 2018, 11:28
by yogi
When I had a real job, I used some php modules in C++ programs we were dealing with. I never really learned much about it, and certainly never wrote any scripts from scratch using php. phpBB is written by a development group much the same way Linux distributions are done. You don't have to know about coding in order to use it. Also, if the developers screw up, you are at their mercy, which is what happened here. Also like Linux, phpBB has support forums which are fully populated by self-proclaimed experts. Finding a solution for phpBB problems is about the same as trying to fix a Linux problem. Next to useless. Our hosting service is outstanding in that they tend to go above and beyond the call of duty if I badger them enough. At least THEY are helpful.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 14 Apr 2018, 13:08
by Kellemora
One of our local grocery chains of about six or seven stores is run on the Commercial Red Hat system.
They of course pay for a service contract, and have a full-time in-house IT pro who keeps everything humming along.
From what it looks like to me, his biggest job is just keeping the prices updated for everything in the store, because those powers that be who control the bar-code system do not supply small Linux databases. They supply UNIX and Large Linux Mainframe, but not for PC servers. That being said, I never heard of Large Linux, hi hi. I thought most of today's server farms were just thousands of PC motherboards, not exactly what I would call mainframe no matter how big.

As far as not having to learn under the hood Linux. Both Red Hat and Ubuntu have service contracts to do everything for you. However, I'll bet they are quite expensive.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 14 Apr 2018, 14:06
by yogi
Red Had was invented for business, and I'm not surprised that contract support is available. Linux in general is a kid's toy as far as mission critical enterprise operations go. You will find some Linux servers in large corporations, but the backbone of America is more UNIX/POSIX.

Retail groceries probably have more than one system if they are franchises. One could indeed do inventory control while another could do credit card transactions and one for financial reporting (back to corporate most likely). No doubt you can staff up with tech support in these stores, but should that staff run into a brick wall there is no place to go but the forums. That might not matter to a grocery, but would crash the stocks of any DJIA company.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 15 Apr 2018, 11:21
by Kellemora
I made the mistake of asking one of the IT guys at Covenant Health, the main company over several hospitals and doctors offices what OS they run on their mainframe? His reply was astounding. He said we run almost all OS's, whatever each department needs is available.
But what does the mainframe itself run on? The core is z/OS, but that part really is not all that important.
My doctors office has Windows computers, what system is he on?
After asking which doctor, he said my doctor is still using Windows XP and is linked with our Axiom system which handles XP perfectly.
My other doctor has all Windows 7 computers, and he is linked through a Kronos system.
He said they offer 22 different medical office suites, and some doctors offices may use two or three different ones.
He also added, it doesn't matter that XP is no longer supported, the Axiom OS handles all necessary upgrades for XP based computer systems. Almost everything is handled on-line, so computing power is no longer a factor.
He could tell I knew very little about how computer systems, especially the big ones, work.
So he put it this way for me. Whether you are running OSX, NT, or Linux, you install a browser program to access the Internet. It doesn't matter what OS the website is running on, you see the same thing everyone else does.
Businesses who connect to mainframes do so with a program similar to browser but geared to their business.
Your doctor uses the Axiom system, which is an OS enhancement to his XP system, which is actually an NT system at its core. So you see, it's not the computer, or the systems which are important, it is the program they are viewing to do their work. As far as we are concerned, it doesn't matter what OS a hospital department or doctors office uses. They just have to log into the programs set up for their specific operations.
I wanted to ask him more but he had to get going. He spent enough time trying to explain things to me as it was.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 15 Apr 2018, 13:21
by yogi
I'm only slightly surprised at the story of digitized healthcare. Somewhere in the Obama Era it was officially decided that it would be a great idea if all individual healthcare information could be transportable. Laws and orders were put in place to do away with paper/film records and replace them with ones and zeroes.

My first personal experience with this changeover was the Internet service for prescriptions. I was given a way to order pills and they were mailed out to me. The drug companies and doctors changed eventually to take the patient out of the loop. Now my doctor has a direct digital link to the drugstore where I buy my meds. All these guys are also linked to my insurance coverage, both private and Medicare. All this is fantastic in that it made the system more efficient and transparent to me the beneficiary. And, of course, I did all this drug management via a web browser. It's true. The operating system behind the browser was irrelevant. I just wanted a way to get the drugs I needed.

Medical visits are now handled in similar fashion, albeit not all my doctors have upgraded to digital record keeping. I've had about six different doctors over the past dozen years, and each one of them have a 'patient portal' wherein I can communicate with the office online and view my medical records. However, not one of them is identical to the other. While I get to see what I need to see, certain problems arise out of the diversity of software and OS's used in the healthcare industry. For example, when I moved down here to Missouri, I could not transfer my digitized medical records from Chicago down to the doctors here. The reason has to do with the different software each office uses (HIPPA notwithstanding). Technically my records conform to government regulations in that they are portable. Practically, the system doesn't work as intended because it is not standardized.

The Covenant Health IT guy is not to be faulted for supporting 20-odd environments to suit his clients' needs. He is taking on a HUGE maintenance issue because he needs somebody or a group of sombody's to maintain all this diversity. That adds cost to the process. Then again, his customers are happy because they are familiar with what they are using and need not learn anything new.

Embedding XP (or anything else) into a supervisory OS is old news. Think WINE. Windows 10 offers a subsystem that will run Ubuntu code directly. They just added a few other subsystems for SUSE and Debian and something else. These are not emulations nor virtual machines. There is actual machine code in the Windows kernel that will run Linux source code. WINE does the same thing. The supervisory layer protects and maintains the subsystem. No need to worry about XP run by z/OS because all the important stuff is handled on a higher level. Vulnerabilities and attacks are much harder to pull off when you have to penetrate several levels of system software to get to your target. I ran Windows 98 well beyond it's support cycle and would be running it today if I could get a 64-bit processor to execute the commands. There probably is such a beast, but I don't have the hardware or the software that the Covenant IT guy has. Then again, I might be perfectly happy with Windows 98, but could not send you an e-mail because the formats don't match. Standardization is a bitch.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 16 Apr 2018, 14:00
by Kellemora
Technology does march forward, or so they claim.
I think some of it has gone backwards instead of forward.
I was able to use a Windows95 & 98 program through XP, but not after that, except in an emulator on Linux.
The program was the original Windows WRITE, which had a marvelous global font increase feature not found in any other word processor to date.

Covenant Health handles the data for 1,500 physicians offices, over 300 medical surgical outpatient centers, and 9 Acute Care Full-Service Hospitals. So it's understandable they try to cover the needs of all those who have joined with them.
As far as I know, they can convert medical data from any doctors system to any other doctors system within their group, but perhaps not to doctors in other major medical groups which may have their own proprietary systems.

I know from the publishing houses I've worked with over the years, Mickey$oft really tossed a wrench in the gears for most of them by making the default word processing file type as .docx
They claimed it was xml, but they changed many of the standard codes to their own proprietary codes and kept them secret. So .docx was rendered as non-standard proprietary xml not compatible with any xml readers.
Publishers slowly figured out a few of their bogus codes, and made modifications to their meatgrinders, but they have never caught all the changes yet. Heck MSWORD.doc is not even compatible with MSWORD.docx in many areas of MSWORD. This has created even more problems for all editors who have difficulty working with their clients.
On social media, you could tell who was pasting from .docx because an apostrophe appeared and a black diamond with a ? mark inside. Some social media sites have changed their programming to catch this faux pas by Mickey$oft, but others don't bother going to the trouble of checking for bogus xml codes embedded in MSWord.docx, they treat it as a .doc file.
Most of the freelance editors I know and have worked with will not accept manuscripts in anything but .doc or .odt. If you send them a .docx, they will convert it back to .doc and send it back to the author to correct the errors and replace the missing track-changes and comment lines. Sad Mickey$oft tried to steal public code and make it proprietary!

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 16 Apr 2018, 18:42
by yogi
At Motorola, a global company, inventory control was critical to the success of the business. SAP was popular, but it had a couple competitors which were used within the global operations. Huge sectors of the company could not share date electronically because of the companies who thought they had better inventory control systems. There was an effort attempted to standardize throughout the company, but it was going on ten years and getting nowhere. It all worked out because there wasn't a lot of need to share data across divisions. That's like Covenant not having a need to share anything with Genesys Health System, Bay Regional Medical Center, or University of Michigan Health System, for example. So they don't need to be compatible. You, a patient, however, who may cross healthcare boundaries do care. It's just not practical for a large enterprise to cater to the needs of ALL it's customers.

I've read your lament about Microsoft's word processor before, plus a friend of mine in the graphic arts business as well. In addition to text problems there is the inability to standardize on color palettes across devices. The truth is that Microsoft supports and is a member of all the standards organizations. They don't have a problem with that. As a seller of software, however, they are interested in attracting more customers and earning even more profits. Being a clone of what everyone else is doing does not provide customers with incentives to use Microsoft's products. From a customer point of view, the variety of incompatible options is a nightmare. That's not Microsoft's problem. They are offering something they consider better. If it's not, don't use it. Simple as that. I'll offer the example of Hewlett Packard's notion of RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) being a better way to use calculators. I bought one of those, but never again after that first purchase. They offered all manner of White Papers showing why RPN is better, but, unfortunately, it was not intuitive enough to be adopted universally. So they lost out. Microsoft is in the same boat. Believe it or not there are many alternatives to .docx formats. Why anyone would willingly work with them is beyond me.

I also don't understand why Windows 98 and it's Write text editor is so attractive due to a single stand out feature. Perhaps it did something no other word processor has duplicated in modern times, but who cares? Only a handful of people would have a need for such a thing. If it is so critical to have a global font increase feature, there are ways to run the program on special systems. Why do people "upgrade" when they lose functionality doing so? My instinct says the lost feature wasn't all that great in the first place.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 17 Apr 2018, 13:33
by Kellemora
I agree, not much really is standard anywhere!

Nearly every company who published flyers on dodger stock, or dealt with engraved or screen printed plaques, all relied on the old original msWRITE program. msWRITE was the only SCALE-ABLE word processor that ever existed.

You could format a document until it looked just right and well balanced on a standard page.
Then scale the text document up or down to fit the media it would be used on.
This is NOT the same as scaling an image file, which causes pixel loss or a pixelated image.

If you had a topic line of text at 16 point bold.
A 12 point space under it.
A 14 point line of text under that.
A 10 point space under it.
And a few paragraphs all set at 12 point text.
With 8 point spacing between paragraphs.
In msWRITE you could do a global font increase or decrease.
If you increased by 2 points, the 16 became 18, the 12 became 14, the 14 became 16, the 10 became 12, the 12 became 14, and the 8 became 10. Using the new actual font sizes.

To do this in msWORD means you have to go to each line and manually change the font size for each line and space between lines. Very time consuming, especially if you have to try different sizes to find out what works best for the size media you need it on.

In recent years, since no modern word processor can do this, I know a few printing and engraving places that make a PDF of whatever they are sent, because PDF files are scale-able image files. But the text is not as sharp as using the actual font when enlarging like from 8x10 copy up to a full-page newspaper ad.
FWIW: When I worked for a small newspaper, in their graphics department, which is where all the display ads were made. Even though the ad itself was only a column or two wide and a couple inches in height, we always made the layout on 11x14 masks, then shot it down to size using a camera to get the paste-up.
This was back when we used typographic machines that used film to expose the galley strips, which we had to develop like you develop a black n white photo.
Although we did have large mainframe computers, the actual galley strips were still done on paper that had to be developed. I'm sure everything is done totally by computer these days.

At another job I had where their main product was company logo's and the like.
The design was drawn on a huge 3 to 4 foot wide mylar sheet, similar to mylar drafting film.
They didn't always use the entire sheet, if the largest copy of the logo was only going to be an inch or two in size.
But the logo would never be smaller than 2 feet x 2 feet to get a 2 inch x 2 inch reproduction.
This is how they made the small printed images so sharp and crisp.
They too probably do everything on computers now, but I'm sure they still make them large.
The original cad/cam drawing for a small candy box my step-daughter shared with me measured about 5 foot wide, although you could zoom in to see it about 4 inches wide, roughly the size in which it would be printed.

Sorry, didn't mean to go off on tangents again.

Re: Keeping Current

Posted: 17 Apr 2018, 13:47
by yogi
Tangents are fine, Gary. It's those sines and cosines we have to look after. :mrgreen: