Anthem Blue Cross denies substantial part of home birth costs

March 27, 2010

Our son was born at home, with the help of the excellent midwives of Awakenings Birth Services. Happily the mother and child were very healthy, and everything worked out great. Except, of course, our health insurance. Our health insurance was through Anthem Blue Cross. They have just recently formally rejected our grievance against their decision to deny most of the claimed costs. They appear to be largely unaware of what was actually billed to them — our midwives sent them a bill for $5000 for the prenatal care and birth, but on the occasions I’ve spoken to a representative on the phone, they seem to be unaware of the number of times a midwife visited, or what they did on any of the visits. As such, it seems clear that their decision is based on ignorance, and is likely an example of “routine rejection”.

I’m now beginning to send them documentation of the various visits made before the birth, in the hope that they’ll see that they’ve made a mistake. I’ll also tell them that we’re more than happy to go to the small claims court over this!


PGAC denies my claim, after being rear-ended

March 11, 2010

I was rear-ended by John Sheehan, on Shattuck Ave at Delaware at 6:50pm on February 23rd. Permanent General (pgac), his insurance company, denied my claim (PA486199, if someone wants to fix the problem.)

HealthNet and incorrect physician information.

March 10, 2010

I’ve  just spent almost 2 hours on the phone trying to discover who my physician is. For reference, I have insurance through HealthNet, and I’ve found them extremely unhelpful throughout the entire process.

The number listed for my doctor is a different doctor’s office; they’ve never heard of him. Calling the Alta Bates Medical Group, they’ve heard of him, but have a wrong number for him and no other information. HealthNet, the insurance company, so they can’t change the information without receiving a correction from the Alta Bates Medical Group. They say that HealthNet should call them.

switching from svn to hg

December 23, 2009

Follow these instructions to pull your svn history down to a local hg repository:

easy_install hgsvn
hgimportsvn example
cd example

Now set up mercurial somewhere you have hosting. This follows these nice instructions.

tar xvzf mercurial-1.3.1.tar.gz
cd mercurial-1.3.1
make all && make install-home

Add the following lines to ~/.bash_profile and to .bashrc:

export PYTHONPATH=~/lib/python
export PATH=~/bin:$PATH

… then follow a bunch more instructions, per link above … 🙂

TikZ CVS builds, as zip files

October 31, 2009

Install in ~/Library/texmf/tex/generic

The TI-83 signing keys, from wikileaks.

October 14, 2009


This are the OS signing keys for different Texas Instruments calculators. The key for the TI-83 calculator was first published by someone at the forum in this message: He or she needed several months to crack it. The other keys were found after a few weeks by the community through a distributed computing project. The keys make it possible to sign your own operating system for the Texas Instruments calculators.

Texas Instruments now contacted several people with a DMCA notice to take down the keys from their websites. Some of the websites which got a DMCA notice are:, and One of these DCMA notices can be found here:

Here are the three keys:

TI-83 (Plus):


TI-84 (Plus):

prp77 factor: 67070508990537181066342707695603050521324524613874331879259881495826493920589
prp78 factor: 186923771200711284770368041572205320486346816476524340240220962467860568859381



prp76 factor: 2231124525637629443181963045297394875470510167130210300957267082210173784611
prp79 factor: 3226885534240147415018248397410101286362761128614350056368675111071170873486957

(these are factors of 71995834568684773636720438651160472297127884480206535156843307841378050889714332

Log in to even if you’re over quota, and the grace period is over

October 6, 2009
ssh bash --norc --noprofile -i

Printing to the printers from OS X

October 5, 2009
sudo sh -c "echo ServerName >> /etc/cups/client.conf"

HP printer and scanner drivers on OS X

October 4, 2009

The drivers that come with HP printers are a crock of shit. Don’t use them. If you’ve installed them, track down the uninstall program and run it. Instead, just install the drivers from If you need to scan, don’t attempt to use HP software, use the built-in Image Capture app.

Mathematica’s OpenSQLConnection causes the kernel to hang.

September 24, 2009

Running MMA6 or MMA7 on OSX 10.5, I have the following reproducible
problem that causes Mathematica to completely hang (ie, to close
either the frontend or kernel, I need to use Activity Monitor or the

Needs["DatabaseLink`"]; Needs["JLink`"];

x := OpenSQLConnection[JDBC["mysql", url],
 "Username" -> username, "Password" -> password,
 "UseConnectionPool" -> True]

Do[Print[k, " ", x], {k, 1, 20}]

(You’ll need an SQL server to connect to, and set url, username and
password appropriately.) At least on my machine, it manages the first
8 connections, and then totally hangs.

Of course, I don’t really need to open this many connections; it was a
mistake in my code, but one that took a day to track down. Still, it’s
a bug!