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Comment Re:Great! (Score 4, Insightful) 172

There are too many details missing from the article for it to be of any use. One of my family members works with young people with autism every day, working towards teaching them to communicate, express one's self, and, if they are lucky, to be able to integrate into mainstream society as independent adults rather than being dependent on aid workers or being a burden of the state. The ability to maintain a steady job, a relationship, and a career in general, is, in my opinion, a very significant pursuit, and worth the investment.

Are these individuals diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome? How far along the ASD spectum are they? Once you are so far along, the ability to talk and interact with external information sources is gone. I doubt SAP will be hiring people that are completely mute and unable to communicate with other humans via computers or sign language of any sort.

Also, in the EU, you can have nine doctors diagnose you as free of autism, but a tenth says you have autism, that final diagnosis sticks. A lot of parents take advantage of this in North America as autism is one of the few behavior-affecting conditions that is funded by the government for subsidized care, teaching, etc. It's fairly common for parents of "hyper active" kids to intentionally seek out an ASD diagnosis just for the funding. It's pretty shameful, actually.

For all we know, SAP's idea of "autistic" could be little more than very mild Asperger's syndrome or even as little as being slightly eccentric and being misdiagnosed.

Comment Re:"Enhance, zoom in!" (Score 1) 205

Don't forget features like uncrop, infinite data due to impossible upsampling, and reflect off anything. Gotta love the "enhance" button: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EnhanceButton


A decade ago I would have laughed at this. These days, it just makes me sad how many people cannot explain why this is impossible, when I already figured it would never be possible, even when I was a kid.

Comment Re:60 K is so small it isn't even roundoff error (Score 1) 280

Normally I'd let this go, but when using the literal "e" as a symbol, it is generally only accepted as anything other than the base of the natural logarithm when expressing a sequence of handheld calculator commands. I work with a lot of DSP and physics gurus, and 3.5e12/100 would be frowned upon, as it actually means 3.5 * exp(12) / 100. The statement 3.5E12/100 would be barely acceptable, and even a lengthier equation, like (3.5)*(10^12)/(100) would be preferable.

step one 3.5e12/100 = 3.5e10 step one 5689.3 = 22003.6 (FAIL)

Comment Re:Jury wasn't the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 186

I usually avoid posts with several ALL CAPS sentences (so I must ignore my own post after committing in :) ), but you make a good point. I've personally gone through hundreds of patents for my own entrepreneurial work, and can't believe the sheer number of patents that are "XYZ, which has been around for 20+ years, but now on a phone/mobile_device/tablet".

I was actually surprised Nokia won that patent suit against RIM. Wifi on a mobile device? The first thing I said to myself when Wifi came out was "Man, imagine this on a phone. Cheap calls and zero data plan overcharges". That was, of course, until telcos and ISPs decided that rather than innovate or improve infrastructure, they would just litigate against tech that benefits the customer (ie: anti net neutrality, fees for tethering your phone even though it costs the carrier nothing, likewise with SMS messages, which have been around for 20 years apparently, potentially forcing a voice plan on you if you are just using a data plan with Skype).

Regardless of how this affects my business personally, it seems the absurdity with patents and monopolistic practices amongst ISPs (whose money was used to lay the cable in the first place anyway?), there is a constant war on the consumer. I really wish the layperson (ie: 75%+ of voting individuals) would at least realize this so we could effect change. No wonder critical thinking isn't taught until university (if at all) and one can go through his or her whole life without a single course on formal logic, fallacies, and statistics.

Comment That's nice... (Score 1) 108

Why not also discount the hard copies as well? The cost of distribution, printing, and so on is only a small fraction of the cover price. I like to keep a personal library of technical books that won't expire or become useless when the auth-server goes down for good. When I'm done with them, I can either donate them to local libraries, give em to a friend's kid who is in post-secondary, or recycle them if they are truly outdated and irrelevant.

I have been burned by small time eBook publishers, M$'s music store, etc. If you deal in virtual goods, you have no rights, no bargaining power, and you can't even reverse the charges on your credit card due to implicitly signing into an asymmetric legal contract by purchasing them.

Comment Re:Both sides of the coin (Score 1) 684

This is the reason why in my family, we were taught advanced math and science along with military martial arts at a very early age. Think of the "300" movie, but academic studies were held paramount. Also, the legal notion of self defense and "never strike first" reinforced these teachings.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, picks on the muscular brainiac who broke the school bulley(s) arm(s). I am really surprised more academics don't make an effort to excel in every facet of life (ie: build up the body, mind, travel and gain some culture and critical thinking abilities, etc).

Comment Autism != Genuis Savant (Score 5, Insightful) 385

The problem with these articles is that they suggest that in order to be a brilliant savant (ie: can do difficult arithmetic mentally without a calculator, or can play chess at an expert level with minimal tutoring), one must be autistic. This is not the case. One may be autistic, and not brilliant, just as well someone could be a brilliant savant, but not be on the autism spectrum. The two cases are effectively statistically independent of each other.

Another issue is that autistic savants often get much more attention than their typical (ie: non-autistic) counterparts due to being able to carry out an apparently amazing mental feat despite suffering from a crippling set of mental limitations and/or deficiencies. Someone not suffering from such a condition is just generally thought of as very smart, and being an educated savant is not such a crowd pleaser, especially in an age where anti-intellectualism is on the rise. Everybody likes a hero story, but few people are comfortable accepting the notion that there are much smarter people out in the world.

If parents are lucky enough to have the funding to send their kids to private schools with a Behavioral Interventionist (BI), then the strengths of the child are usually discovered early on, and it can make the kid's life a lot easier. If the parents don't have the cash though, the kid likely won't enjoy that benefit.

On a side note, one should consider noticing talent amongst the non-autistic population in a school. How does one filter on this criteria when kids are not challenged? I turned out to be a math whiz in school, and was doing calculus by the time I was entering high school. If it weren't for my parents, I would've had to endure 5 years of boredom in high school math, as most of the teachers just came with a hangover, passed the daily readings out, and sat at their desks playing minesweeper. Thanks to my parents, I was allowed to fly ahead in math, and use my spare time for more shop and science courses. If the teachers don't care in the first place, the odds of them helping out their brightest students is minimal.

Background: Been debating this topic with a colleague who has 10 years experience in this field for years over lunch.

Comment Probably Not (Score 5, Insightful) 186

Sorry to seem harsh, but this is probably not the best idea. If it's fun little web app, then you could pull it off. Anything that will deployed in a professional environment should not have something like this present. I think the only time I've ever seen this in practice was in the "Help -> About" section of a proprietary DB app used in automotive shops. I think it was addressed to the office pet (a golden lab) for the small office of coders that wrote the app.

Why do you feel compelled to draw attention to the loss of your grandmother? My condolences for this loss, but there are probably more appropriate ways to commemorate her memory. Pay for a spot in the obituary in the local paper, so that the people in closest proximity (and are likely the largest demographic which may have been affected by her actions) would know. It's always a shock for people to learn years after the fact that a local pillar of the community or old friend has passed away. It might do some good to make sure all the people that knew her are aware of this.

I hope this helps.

Comment Re:Paintballs. (Score 2) 437

I would wear a cup and body armor (ie: from martial arts), then put on baggy clothes and stuff my clothing with newspaper and straw so I look like those makeshift "scary" people props a lot of people leave out in the burbs. I think have the candy bowl not too far away. Kids will debate if it's a person or not. Some little shits even kicked me HARD a couple times (hence the cup). When they are convinced I'm not alive, I wait until they are just close enough, then JUMP at the lot. I've even had parents running away faster than their kids. Funny as hell. One one occasion some 15-year old ass tried to boot me in the head. Caught his foot and screamed obscenities. Boy did he cry!

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.