Saturday, November 21, 2015

UnitedHealth Group "opting out" of Affordable Care Act? BULLSHIT.

The news is all over mainstream media: United Healthcare will probably bail out of Obamacare.

Let's call this what it is: An outrage to every taxpayer, and intolerable.  It also reveals yet more incompetence in the crafting of this so-called healthcare "reform."

It's bad enough that insurance companies are allowed to sell half-assed policies under Obamacare, policies that care providers can identify as subsized; those providers usually don't accept them, even when they accept supposedly identical non-subsidized policies.  Care providers should have no knowledge of who's paying for a PPO (for example), and insurance companies should not be allowed to reimburse doctors at different rates simply because of how a client is paying for his insurance.  If Blue Shield has determined that $200 is a fair rate for setting a broken arm, then why would that vary because of how the client is paying for it?

The fact that it's ALLOWED TO means that this healthcare law is corrupt and incompetent.

Now we have a company "opting out."  THAT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.  It is our country, and these companies do business at our discretion.  The health of this nation should NOT be a for-profit enterprise in the first place.  But it is, and despite the gravy train we taxpayers trowel out to these scumbags, they're now "opting out" of their responsibility to provide what we pay for?


Look up your Congressional representatives here.

Write to them.  Tell them that we can't stand for companies ripping off our citizens and undermining what little "reform" we've been able to enact.  Tell them that insurance companies should not be allowed to "opt out" of our national healthcare plan, and shouldn't be allowed to sell plans that are identifiable as subsidized or reimburse at different rates because they're subsidized.

Citizens get fined if they "opt out."  So why don't insurance companies?  They should be fined so heavily that it's more economical to simply deliver what they're supposed to be delivering: insurance to all of us.

The fact is that this "reform" didn't go far enough.  We should have abolished for-profit healthcare and detached insurance from people's jobs entirely.  This idiotic association cripples our country and renders all talk of "entrepreneurship" or "small business" a sham, an insult, and monumental hypocrisy.  We can't quit dead-end jobs and start a business or be an entrepreneur when our insurance is still inexplicably tied to OUR JOBS!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Covered California Web site is a defective pile of shit.

I don't even know where to begin excoriating this monumental offense to every California taxpayer.  From beginning to end, there is absolutely no excuse for the incompetence and defectiveness of this Web site, TWO YEARS IN.

This year I was denied a health-insurance subsidy.  Why?  Because I MAKE TOO LITTLE.  That's right: I want to pay for health insurance, but the government is TURNING MY MONEY AWAY.  Now that should offend every taxpayer in the country.

But that's not all.  I actually want to report more income to "qualify" for a subsidy.  But I can't, because the CoveredCA Web site can't do simple math.  Look at this pathetic functionality:

What are we to do when we're denied healthcare because a Web site CAN'T DO MULTIPLICATION?

Oh, but there's more.  You can't even fix this mess because if you change anything, even if it's only your income, you're presented with this baffling (and of course defective) list of alleged changes that you made.  Except, of course, that you didn't make any of them except one:

Yes, this will claim that you changed your coverage, even if you didn't.  And there's no harmless "reason" option to select.  For the other entries, you can just select "other."  But not the change of insurance coverage.  Every available "reason" is potentially disqualifying.

And want to get "help" from Covered California?  Good luck.  The "live chat" button has NEVER worked.  Not once since this debacle launched.

It's unbelievable.  Somebody got paid OUR MONEY to create this inexcusably defective pile of shit. And it has sat there, steaming, for two years.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Mac OS Finder: defective, incompetent, embarrassing

It's hard to know where to begin when criticizing the world's worst file browser.  This is going to take a while and a few installments, but let's start with probably the most idiotic defect: its failure to sort with folders at the top.  Year after year, and even after a claimed "total rewrite" of Finder a few years ago, it still doesn't even offer the option to sort folders correctly.  And when I say correctly, I mean following the sort of hierarchical organization most of us learned in junior high school at the latest.

Just another defect that Apple will plead ignorance of.

iPhone pictures and videos are upside-down. Just another embarrassing bug Apple refuses to fix.

We all know that the iPhone and iPad have orientation sensors.  They know which way the camera is turned when you take a picture or video.

Instead of using this information to simply encode the image right-side-up (putting the pixels that belong in the upper-left corner first in the file, and progressing from there), Apple stores the pixels in whatever haphazard orientation the phone is in and sets a metadata flag on the file to record that orientation.  It then becomes the job of every other piece of software on the planet to cater to this flag and rotate the image accordingly when displaying it.

Typical Apple solution.  Instead of simply recording the image right-side-up and thereby enabling any JPEG viewer ever written to show it without a problem, Apple implements a hokey hack and expects everybody to rewrite their applications to pander to it.

According to Apple, this is everybody else's fault.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

United Healthcare audits your passwords for swears

You'd think that setting up a user-registration page with reasonable validation rules would be pretty easy.  But as we've seen, there apparently aren't enough sensible people available to do this work.

United Healthcare takes the incompetence to a new level by judging the vulgarity level of your password.  And the best part is that they keep this policy a secret.

So not only does United Healthcare inappropriately examine confidential passwords for their semantic content, but UHC also deliberately wastes customers' time by not telling them why their passwords are rejected time after time, despite following the rules spelled out on the page.

And they know the policy is causing problems, because if you call their support line and tell them your new password is being rejected, the first question they ask is, "Does it contain curse words?"

Of course the appropriate question for you to ask in response is, "What business is it of yours?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Responsive design" doesn't mean what you think it means.

For some reason, somebody thought that "responsive" describes a user interface with a flexible layout that fits on screens of varying resolution and aspect ratio.  But it doesn't.  The word "layout" is missing from the phrase "responsive design."  Even "flexible" alone would be far superior to "responsive."

Responses come after events.  The simple presentation of a UI isn't an "event" that hits the UI, because the UI doesn't exist yet; its dimensions and layout have to be determined before it's presented.  THEN it's ready to respond.

A responsive design would be one that responds to user input or other events, using AJAX or some similar technique.

With so many words available to us, why would we label something with such a meaningless (or worse, incorrect) term?

Good GUI design is not skeuomorphism.

Many of us wanted Apple to reverse its embarrassing slide into amateurish, cartoonish interfaces; the much-derided "skeuomorphism."  Unfortunately Apple has also abandoned proper GUI design. Getting rid of tacky, asinine, and incorrect crap like controls disguised as the paint on a blackjack table is good. Getting rid of CONTROLS is stupid, and that is what Apple and Microsoft have done in a great many cases. Disguising controls as static text (or hiding them altogether or relying on secret "gestures") represents total ignorance of what made GUIs "revolutionary" to begin with. If you don't demarcate controls, they might as well not be there. Are users supposed to tap on every letter and glyph on the screen, looking for hidden goodies? Or swipe in every possible direction and every item on every screen? That's sheer stupidity.

"Flat" design suffers from other regressions. If a button is "flat", how do we know what state it's in? If it is rendered as something resembling a real button, it can be "up", depressed, or greyed out. One of its three possible states is clearly and instantly conveyed to the user. But if it's just a colored rectangle, what state is it in?

The question is where all of the decent designers have gone at these companies. Did they just get bored and quit altogether? The regressions at Microsoft and Apple in basic user interfaces just make you wonder how these bad ideas are percolating to the top. There are plenty of things to fix in both companies' products, without this desperate flailing to do something "different." Desperate and defective.