Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pulmonary Consult

A week ago, before leaving for California, I had my latest pulmonary function consult. I have to go in for a special test where they get me inside this chamber and I have to perform several exercises by blowing into this machine that measures my pulmonary functions, then I get to talk with the doctor about it.

Overall it was good. The test basically gives three sets of numbers that measure three distinct properties of the lungs: volume (the amount of air I can get in my lungs), lung elasticity, and diffusion (the ration of oxygen that passes into the blood stream). The first two improved compared to my last visit, and the doctor said that I am already in the range of what could be considered normal (in the low end of course). The last number, that is, the amount of oxygen that gets in the blood stream, didn't improve much, and is very far from normal. The doctor mentioned that a normal person absorbs 70% of the oxygen in the air taken in one inspiration. I take in only about 40%. He also mentioned I shouldn't expect this to get much better...

Well, at least there were some good things in there :-) That was the last doctor's visit before I move to California. Then I'll have to find new specialist to follow up on everything, but I'll get to be with my family :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Amazon Police

So everybody has heard of the recent recent actions with respect of those allegedly 'pirated' copies of a couple of George Orwell's books on the Kindle. Well, they deleted them remotely. It must be noted that customers actually bought these books through the Amazon store, but apparently there had been a confusion regarding the copyright status of those copies, so Amazon decided to silently delete remotely those books from their customers' Kindle devices and refund them.

There are many things that I see that are wrong with this, and it turns out, Amazon itself agrees with me. What I can't believe is how a few bloggers and news sites I guess, went on to post pieces on how this was all OK, Amazon was in its right to do it, and everybody should shut up about it. In fact, they went as far as suggesting that it was actually commendable, and Amazon had to do it. My favorite argument was that of comparing Amazon with the police... yeah, that's right. The Amazon goes something like if you had something that was stolen, then the natural expected action from the police was to come into your house and snatch it from you. I don't think that, for the intelligent reader, I don't have to go on and explain all the different levels where this argument is horribly wrong, but I'd just like to point out a few things:
  • First off, Amazon is not the police!!! I am sure it is perfectly within Kindle's TOS to do what they did, but to suggest this was some sort of policing action is preposterous! I mean, is that what we want? Private companies policing private citizens?
  • Even in light of the argument above, Police itself doesn't have the right (yet) to come into your house, unannounced, without any court order, just to check whether you have anything stolen... which is pretty much what Amazon is doing.
I don't know about Kindle owners, but if I had one of those things, I'd be pretty uncomfortable knowing that Amazon can come anytime into my device and do whatever they want with the files currently stored there. No, it was not right for Amazon to do that! And they have recognized the bad image all this incident gave them, which is why they apologized and vowed to do it no more. I was very worried that this would set a trend for other companies to think this was OK, with the way technology is advancing, and everything moving to 'the cloud'. As it is, it seems to have set a precedent that this is unacceptable (for now), which makes me feel better.

No, it was not OK for Amazon to delete those files! And NO! Amazon is not the police!