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Comment Example of the JBIG2 compression fiasco (Score 4, Interesting) 103

Let's hope Google has had the forethought to have the image recognition algorithm pre-screen for images containing numbers, letters, and diagrams. Pattern-matching compression can be pretty scary when it decides two patterns are close enough:


Comment Picovir (Score 2) 193

A drug called "Placonaril" by Viropharma.

Pleconaril (Picovir) failed FDA trials, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think at first glance. The problem is that the FDA considers common colds to be a trivial health issue for the general public, with very low mortality. Easily treatable with supportive care. However, the segment of the population that might take this drug is very, very large (most of the population). As a result, the FDA will demand perfection from any clinical trials, with the bar set at an impossible to meet standard. Back when this drug was in development, I knew this is exactly what would happen -- the moment Viropharma decided to go after the Common Cold patient population, I knew it was doomed.

The only way something like this could ever pass, is if they defined the drug's indications to be a more dangerous member of the Picornavirus, affecting a much smaller population. Like Enterovirus D68 post-exposure prophylaxis in a child, Poliovirus post-exposure prophylaxis in a non-immune patient, or something like Fulminant Hepatitis A or post-exposure prophyaxis in a non-immunized patient. They didn't understand the politics of drug approval, and so they got squashed. And so it is too late now.

Comment Phone crashing without a Google Account (Score 2) 236

This is another "handle things yourself" situation. I have an Android Phone. No Google Account is attached to it.

I had a supervisor who started having problems with his Verizon android phone crashing frequently. Couldn't figure out why at first, but it turned out there was some aspect of the phone that would crash with no Google Account attached. He barely had any apps installed, so it was likely something that came in the ROM. No Google Account for him of course, he never made one not being a tech savvy person (he didn't even have his own e-mail address, his work e-mails went to his secretary, and any personal emails you had to send to his wife).

I doubt he would have wanted to root his phone to get rid of whatever crap was crashing (it would have been difficult to explain to him what "rooting" was in the first place), so I just showed him how to set up a Google Account (with everything turned off or forwarded elsewhere), and that fixed the problem.

Comment Re: Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

How can atheism be a religion? Be specific, and provide your definition of "religion"

There's a fable in Hinduism regarding this question. I don't know the details very well, but it concerns an atheist who, upon dying, suddenly found himself face-to-face with God (or maybe a god, I don't know). Startled by this turn of events, the man asked the god how this could be, and the explanation was given -- upon the moment of his death, his last thought was "There is no God".

Paradoxically this meant the concept of God was the foremost thing in his mind when he died, and this was sufficient to connect him to the realm of the gods in his afterlife.

Comment Re:That headline is three words too long (Score 1) 92

Apple's special treatment I can understand, with Job's reality distortion field and behind-the-scenes arm twisting backed up by the Apple juggernaut. But what about all those little crappy little landfill Android makers back then? Somehow, they were getting smartphones on the market with functional GPS and functional E-mail, at no additional cost.

You sound like an engineering-type, and it sounds like the engineering side of things knew what were the right decisions that needed to be made. But I suspect the Blackberry upper management was busy "synergizing" with the telecomm upper management, and mutually cooperating to figure out how to extract extra value (value from their perspective, not from the customer's view) with each subscription.

I'm also guessing Blackberry management was also busy figuring out how to extract the maximum value from the telecomm companies at the same time, with the various licenses and special servers required to run Blackberries -- and then the carriers passed the cost on down, along with a nice mark-up. Meanwhile, Google was probably giving away all the needed support for "free", with everything being handled by their cloud.

Either way, when I first got my smartphone, the extra monthly cost of owning a Blackberry was simply too much. Early versions of Android were pretty crappy in various ways, but they were just so much cheaper to buy and cheaper to operate.

Comment Governmental pressure? (Score 1) 66

"it's possible Microsoft found it easier to impose its Android patent tax on Xiaomi as part of a broader deal that also involved a transfer of patents."

Perhaps "easier" in the sense that the PRC government hinted that Microsoft could find itself highly inconvenienced in China, if it acted otherwise? Or perhaps they didn't hint anything, and Microsoft is choosing to be pro-actively obsequious.

Comment Nico~Nico~Nii! (Score 1) 321

Something similar has already been happening to weeabos, who use the term Nico, meaning a smile. Usually either in context referring to the video website Nico Nico Douga or to Nico Tanigawa's catchphrase "Nico-Nico-nii".

Unfortunately, there's also some Iranian corporation by name of NICO, so the term ends up triggering a flag somewhere.

Comment Re: Suzie can vote. Suzie can get a pitchfork. (Score 1) 954

But the damn fool does not realize, his machines won't need food, would not buy entertainment, would not buy a home or pay for college. As more and more employers automate more and more functions and lay off more and more people, he will end up with lots of shiny new machines willing sell food at great profit.... if only there are people with money to buy them.

And this is the point at which he instead tasks his machines with making more and better machines (instead of now-worthless food).

And that's how the singularity happens.

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