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    This morning I went to our local lab test location to get a blood test done. Normal medical checkup for cholesterol and all that. The first time I wen
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2454428

      Just out of curiosity, was that testing site run by either one of the two of the biggest lab testing entities in the country? I’m not looking to name names or put shame onto any one company, so just a yes/no will be great.

      Call me old fashioned or maybe just cynical, but that (what you experienced) just seems so cold and impersonal, even though it was for a routine set of lab tests.

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      • #2454447

        Five letters, starts with a Q ends with a T. Does that give you a hint?

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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        • #2454633

          OK, I thought it might have been either that company or the other leading lab testing company with a nation-wide presence. Thanks for the confirmation.

          With my HMO, which has a very prominent presence in areas here and there of the country, for lab tests our physician just puts the order into their system and then notifies us to schedule a lab appointment to get the test done.

          At the lab, there’s no kiosk whatsoever. I simply go up to the window at my appointment’s time and the person behind the glass confirms my info and collects any co-payment necessary, after which the actual lab technician then tells me which station to go to for the drawing of the sample needed.

          BTW, my HMO does indeed have an app that allows a person to do anything that can be done on their web site. However, the use of said app is in no way mandatory for anything at all. They have it as an added convenience for those who choose to use it, plain and simple.

    • #2454432

      I hear you, Susan! I have wondered the very same thing regarding customers/clients/patients who are not tech-savvy. And the lack of actual human beings to talk to means that any glitches that arise with your information will fester indefinitely, or continue to get worse.

      Decades ago, a short story came out about a guy who was issued an automatic parking ticket or some equally trivial issue, but due to a series of unfortunate computer and data input events, his case kept getting escalated and he ended up getting the death penalty. He never got to actually talk to anyone to resolve the situation. It was a warning about the dangers of excessive automation and removal of the human element in human affairs. (Darn, I wish I could remember the title of the story or the name of the author. Does the story ring a bell for anybody reading this?)

      A much lighter approach was adopted in one  of the funniest-ever episodes of “The X-Files,” which featured Mulder and Scully dining at a completely automated restaurant, with the predictable technical foul-ups. IIRC there wasn’t a single word of spoken dialogue in the episode, at least until the final minutes.

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      • #2454637

        The story as told here is a variation on an old burlesque skit called “Pincus Pay the Two Dollars”. As I recall, the two dollars was for a parking ticket and the skit is set in a courtroom before a judge.  Pincus, who owed the fine, repeatedly refused to pay it each time the judge increased the amount. And each time the wife told her husband, “Pincus, Pay the Two Dollars”.

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    • #2454433

      GDPR isn’t that redigulous, isn’t it❓

      * _ the metaverse is poisonous _ *
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    • #2454444

      I don’t have apps installed on my phone except for email, calendar, alarm and so on. Apps that are actually useful to me. I’ll never pay with my phone or check-in. Fortunately, there are 2 blood testing sites where I live, one is in the local hospital where there are real people. I refuse to use self-checkout at the supermarket. If there’s no check-out person, I’ll just leave the full trolley and walk out. My doctor’s office has self check-in and 2 receptionists. If they get rid of the receptionists, I’ll change doctors. I refuse to let my life be dictated to by a computer. I started working with computers back in the Honeywell H200 / IBM 1401 days and always considered it a joke to rub candle wax into punch cards I used to get from the electric company. You had to send them back with the money so they could automate payments. They would run the cards through a card reader and had to manually process any cards rejected by the reader. It was my protest, in 1972, against computers taking over.

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    • #2454452

      A few years ago I went to a new doctor’s office. To check in, they handed me a tablet and asked me to answer a bunch of questions on the tablet. I wasn’t feeling well, and I wasn’t in the mood to fill in a questionaire on a tablet — I hate touch screens, especially on that day when I was under the weather. I asked them to let me fill in everything with pen and paper. They didn’t want to let me do that, but in the end I believe they did, because I never did relent on that issue, and they did end up letting me see the doctor.

      I have never been to any other doctor’s office, before or since, that requires that I check in by answering a bunch of questions on a tablet. In fact, as I recall, they are the only ones who have ever handed me a tablet when I arrived.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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      • #2454571

        As an aside on this topic, there was an article on NPR a couple of days ago about a medical reception app that completed with a text screen and an “agree” checkbox. It turns out that the “agree” was to allow the firm running the app to use you medical info (which they had access to through the doctor’s office records) to market medications to you. Isn’t that swell?

    • #2454455

      Another thing: Some stores are beginning to require that you have a smart phone in order to participate in their discount program. I don’t have a smart phone, and I don’t plan on ever getting one. It is fun to see the look on their face when I show them my flip phone. Some of them have never seen such a thing as a flip phone! I ask them how I am supposed to get my discount when I don’t have a smart phone. They don’t have an answer to that, except to say that when my wife is with me, I can use her smart phone to get the discount.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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      • #2454573

        Earlier this year Home Depot started requiring registration with a smart phone to be able to get the 10% military discount that they have offered for many years. You call up their app and get the discount using a QR code that pops up. I don’t have a smart phone and when I went in and tried to use my military retiree ID card to get the discount as I had done many times over the years, the employee at the register acted sympathetic but said she couldn’t do anything. As I was complaining and asking what do people without smart phones do, pointing out that a great many older people don’t even have them, she quietly pulled a card out of her pocket and swiped it across the screen. It wasn’t for the military discount, but it was a generic 10% discount and she applied it against my purchase. I thanked her profusely and went on my way.

        Lowes will still apply their 10% military discount after just seeing your military ID as it has always been.

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        • #2454638

          One more detail to add about the Home Depot military discount program. Aside from having to use their app on a smartphone to display a QR code at checkout to get the discount, the Home Depot military discount is limited to a yearly maximum of $400, whereas the Lowes military discount program currently has no annual limit.

          OK, enough of this, as this topic is about apps and their current uses in our daily lives, not about discount programs.

          However, if an app on a smartphone is needed to participate successfully in the discount program, then that’s another story I suppose.  😉

      • #2454645

        kohls ??


        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2454457

      I wish I could remember the title of the story or the name of the author.

      I found it!!!

      The story is titled “Computers Don’t Argue”. It was written by Gordon R. Dickson and published in 1965.

      Still well worth reading as a cautionary tale.


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    • #2454467

      Five letters, starts with a Q ends with a T. Does that give you a hint?

      Ah!! Not in my state and while tests that needed a reference lab to do them went there automatically (San Juan Capistrano location usually) for some years now the patient has to demand that the local lab send the test there otherwise they automatically go to a cheaper reference lab on the mainland that doesn’t have the capabilities of the San Juan Capistrano one). Of course, patients are usually oblivious to all this. Since these tests require a reference lab on the Mainland, usually blood is drawn only on Monday or Tuesday. These days though many tests that had to go to the Mainland can now be done on any island and processed at the central lab of the the testing entity here in Hawaii on Oahu.

    • #2454468

      My drivers license and medical information is now digitized into computer system

      … that certainly will be hacked some time in the future.

      I schedule my Doctor’s and Nurse’s appointments with my medical health service using their web site.

    • #2454499

      Not only there. In the UK today, there is an an announcement that all  train ticket offices will be closed and all tickets will have to be bought online or on your smartphone. (In the UK, very large numbers of people commute or travel by train). As for the estimated 3 million people who either do not have smartphones (elderly, poor) or do not have decent broadband at their homes – well, tough. We need to get the infrastructure truly ubiquitous before we do that kind of a thing, not use such moves to try to force progress that has other reasons for not happening.

      Win 10 Pro x64 Group A

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    • #2454505

      We need to get the infrastructure truly ubiquitous before we do that kind of a thing, not use such moves to try to force progress that has other reasons for not happening.

      Has there ever been a decent discussion whether total reliance on automation and digitization would be a desirable step in the so-called Progress? Not here, here the business case of making money prevails; well-being as comodity is forgotten, until it is too late.

      * _ the metaverse is poisonous _ *
    • #2454516

      all the while I’m looking straight ahead to not look at the needle

      I hate injections when I can not see the needle.

      I want to see the needle.

      I want to observe the needle go in, so that I can stay 100 % relaxed, even if it were somewhat painful.

      I want to know precisely when to possibly expect a little bit pain.
      Every six weeks I carefully watch my physician sticking a needle in my arm for a blood sample to check my coagulation level.
      Twice each year (October 1st, January 1st) I inject myself with an influenza vaccine. I could hardly do that without looking at the needle.
      I wanted to inject myself with the Covid19 vaccine, but they refused to let me.

      Some of the injections that I don’t like, are those applied in my mouth by a colleague dentist, not because he is a dentist, but because I can’t see the needle go in, even though I know very well what is happening, having myself given countless such injections to my patients.

      You can perfectly well train yourself to get used to seeing the needle. Not all at once, but gradually in baby steps, until it doesn’t bother you any more. Highly recommended. You will never again have to hide your wimpy behavior from young children.

      1 Desktop Win 11
      1 Laptop Win 10
      Both tweaked to look, behave and feel like Windows 95
      (except for the marine blue desktop, rgb(0, 3, 98)
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      • #2454599

        I could have seen the needle.  I don’t want to see the needle 🙂

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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      • #2454600

        I’m one of those people with a needle phobia that originated more than a half century ago. Needles used back then to draw blood were crude compared to what’s in use today.

        Having drawn a 71 in the draft lottery to participate in a war that I didn’t support, I went to the induction center where a medic proceeded to break a needle off in my arm. This was just the start of a series of bad experiences involving needles (e.g. burst/collapsed/scarred blood vessels, radioactive tracers) that has nurtured my phobia over the decades.

        The phobia is so complete that I still turn my head when someone is receiving an injection on a newscast or in a movie. Pathetic, but true. I just can’t get the image of that broken needle out of my mind.

    • #2454542

      Machines (attempting to do) the jobs of two people, now out of work – yet the PRICE of health care doesn’t go down one iota. We’re expected to put up with more and pay more, to create “record profits”.


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    • #2454544

      It’s nice to have these features as an OPTION to improve efficiency where possible. However it shouldn’t be mandatory to ONLY rely on a piece of personal technology (which has to be kept up to date, have specific versions, apps, etc). After all a mobile phone is indeed personal, it shouldn’t be the only thing relied on.

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      • #2454558

        However it shouldn’t be mandatory to ONLY rely on a piece of personal technology (which has to be kept up to date, have specific versions, apps, etc).

        This sort of thing is exactly why the MFA now being implemented for a lot of web services shouldn’t require you have a smart phone.

        There should “always” be an option to use another method (especially for those of us who don’t own a smart phone) but a lot of services don’t provide one (the people in charge just assume everyone has a smart phone.)

        I ran into this problem back when the SSA first implemented MFA and the only option they provided was to use a smart phone.

        Thankfully, they quickly realized that wasn’t working and provided several other options to complete the MFA login!

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    • #2454554

      My husband goes to the same chain of testing labs. He doesn’t own and doesn’t want a smart phone. (Think old school flip phone) He wants a phone merely to call me or the AAA in an emergency.

      Fortunately the testing lab chain does send emails which he picks up on the computer. He prints out the QR code so it can be scanned when he goes to the lab. He was waiting a few weeks ago when someone ahead of him was having trouble entering things into the terminal. Some older people don’t see very well and their fingers aren’t as limber as they used to be. Yet, all these places expect folks in the 70’s and 80’s will be able to use the tech gear without a problem.

      Got coffee?

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    • #2454572

      I live in Victoria BC Canada but we have the same trend here even though our medical system is entirely publicly funded. But the system is struggling with a variety of social and economic issues. Now, only the technician who gives you the needle is human.

      Retired after a forty year career in IT I now write near future science fiction about what is called “Friendly AI”. Here is a short story (1k words), a vision of our future “family doctors”… https://acompanionanthology.wordpress.com/as-if/

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    • #2454609

      It’s everywhere. Got a new modem from C*****t and while you used to be able to activate it on their website, now you have to download and use the app – the online page is referenced but removed. At least my medical places haven’t gone all-app – yet.

    • #2454616

      Some retail stores want an App on the phone in order to do curbside pickup. You use the App to signal you have arrived and are waiting. Calling the store instead can result in slower service. Luckily, some stores support text messages for curbside pickup. Often times, you can’t figure out how order pickup really works until you arrive, since the web site is vague. Sometimes you have to walk inside to the service desk and get exposed, in order to pickup your online purchase.

      Windows 10 22H2 desktops & laptops on Dell, HP, ASUS; No servers, no domain.

      • #2454695

        You can still do the curbside pickup without the app. Just call the store number and tell them you are waiting in the parking lot. I’ve never had them give a fuss about it. I don’t do texting or apps… when it is time for pickup, it’s a voice call only. Ideally, there is an automated system in place for that, but if they’d rather me bug their employees, that’s fine too.

        I used to be part of the non-smart-phone-having group, and I might well rejoin it, but for now I do have one (a degoogled AOSP device), but I essentially never use it except as a pocket watch and as a mobile hotspot for my XPS laptop (which is why I want to get rid of it… it’s unnecessarily large for what I use it for. The first iPhones had 4″ screens, but now anything that small is hard to come by.

        I may sometimes use the thing if I happen to be lost somewhere (which has not happened yet since I bought the thing a year and change ago, but it is hypothetically possible) or if I really need some bit of information while I am still out and about, but that happens very rarely. I would much rather wait until I get home to make calls or browse the web.

        I will not download any given app for a retailer, a medical establishment, or any other such thing. I find the idea of that to be unbelievably ridiculous on its face.

        I have seen those digital coupon things on the shelf at some stores, and if it is for something I was thinking of buying, the presence of a digital coupon I cannot use pushes me to not buy the thing. I won’t download an app for a discount, and I won’t pay full price for something that is discounted, so I walk away. That leaves a negative impression of the store, which I most definitely do remember the next time I consider whether to shop there or not.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

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    • #2454632

      This has been a bit of news to me although not surprising.  The last couple of times I visited a lab for a blood test they did have kiosks, but still had two people there if you couldn’t or didn’t want to use the kiosks.  I’m going this coming week for a blood test, and after reading this I’m  really hoping they haven’t changed.  I go to another lab, not the starts with Q and ends with T.

      Also, it’s a bit disturbing (to me anyway) that they are now putting QR codes on TV and just assuming that everyone has a smartphone to scan it, and a TV screen big enough and clear enough so the tiny QR code can be scanned even if you do.

      Being 20 something in the 70's was much more fun than being 70 something in the 20's.
    • #2454639

      I’m delighted to see that I’m not alone in my fight against smart phone requirements for MFA, shopping, etc. And I especially want to thank Susan for acknowledging that the problem exists (Dealing with MFA – 6.6.2022).

      As some of you know, I have Parkinson’s disease which makes it extremely difficult to do anything requiring precise motor skills. I can assure you, tablet touch screens and smartphones aren’t exactly tools of the trade for “dexterity challenged” individuals.

      Awhile back, Microsoft told me that voice calls (closed caption phone in my case) for MFA was being dropped as an option and that I would need to use a smart phone to receive an authentication code. Telling them that I didn’t have one seemed to fall on deaf ears. That is until I told them that lack of suitable options for MFA was prejudicial toward people with disabilities. Immediately, MS management joined the conversation – shades of ADA.

      Their immediate solution was for me to create another MS account so that I could authenticate one (Outlook/MS primary) against the other (HotMail). Presumably, this is an option for everyone now (as bad as it is). About a month ago, I set up Yubikey for MFA on my MS account which doesn’t work consistently across different MS services/properties. To say I’m disappointed in Microsoft is an understatement – their implementation is the worst I’ve come across yet for security keys.

      The second worse was Bank of Boston which required a smart phone for MFA before setting up security keys for MFA. Huh? After that hurdle was bypassed (via tech support), all is good now.

      My AT&T account insists that I provide a mobile phone number for authentication before accessing my email with no other options available for authentication.

      My regional supermarket chain recently implemented smart phone app “digital” coupon only specials. I complained to management that this was prejudicial toward the economically less fortunate and you guessed it – the dexterity challenged. Now one need only verbally request the digital discount during checkout.

      I don’t understand how the new generation of programmers and UIX people can be so ignorant (intolerant?) of the needs of others. When I was working for the Federal government, any programming and web site development I did had to be Section 508 compliant. No, you can’t put white text on a light gray background using a 9pt font!

      The fight continues ….

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    • #2454654

      The fight continues ….

      Carl I feel so sorry for you being ignored with your illness. Your sad experiences in government programming ending in this neglitance. The same sad story was over here trying to bring some IT sence at strategic level for servicing people. Though then the struggle was lost to making as cheap possible.
      Now some has changed, but to late for you and me, for it will take many years to make digitalisation friendly to all in the population.

      * _ the metaverse is poisonous _ *
    • #2454701

      I used to have a flip phone, but only for asking my wife’s preference when shopping by myself, for information services and hotel reservations while away from home, or for never-occurred emergency calls, i.e. all outgoing calls only. That made for maybe 10 phone calls per year, at most.

      By the time I retired, I had grown a definite hatred of telephones too often interrupting my work. So I kept a subscribed landline with a secret number and my flip phone, which was only charged per outgoing calls.

      After finding a new physician (because of moving to another town), he told me that, being swamped with useles mail and spam, he used his email only for sending outgoing mail. He did read all incoming SMS though.

      So whenever I wanted to send him a more or less lenghty email, I had to announce it with a very short SMS. That method worked well.

      Unfortunately typing even a very short message on a small 11-key physical keypad is very laborious. So I bought me a cheap smart phone with touch screen 6 years ago. But I use it only for information services and hotel reservations while away from home, or potential emergency calls AND -this is new- for messaging my physician. Also new is the Itsme app for 2FA with a fingerprint.

      I have 2 bank apps in my phone, secured with Itsme and when connecting with my home computer my phone with its fingerprint sensor and Itsme securely eliminates passwords altogether.

      These days, a fingerprint reader really is apt.

      Any other apps I installed in the beginning, have now been wiped because of uselessness and/or intrusiveness.

      1 Desktop Win 11
      1 Laptop Win 10
      Both tweaked to look, behave and feel like Windows 95
      (except for the marine blue desktop, rgb(0, 3, 98)
    • #2454704

      My drivers license and medical information is now digitized into computer system

      … that certainly will be hacked some time in the future.

      I schedule my Doctor’s and Nurse’s appointments with my medical health service using their web site.

      Indeed, with the amount of apps appearing, the number of apps not properly coded to protect personal data, or data buckets stored in the cloud, will just increase, so each time this sort of thing is introduced just increases the chance of you losing all your data to someone nefarious.

      In Australia, I have a govt services ID for our healthcare system that has a secure (albeit as a result, annoying) MFA process to ensure the data is only kept in places where it absolutely has to be. But it works, and when I visit the doctor, the system works so well that my Medicare rebate for seeing the doctor is processed and transferred into my bank account sometimes before I even leave the doctor’s surgery.

      No matter where you go, there you are.

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