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Comment Re:I think you don't understand technology (Score 1) 566

a smartphone is (or was supposed to be) a general purpose computer that fits in your hand and can connect to a cell network. although apple has (thru marketing) changed that definition to "phone with touchscreen".

The term "smartphone" was coined by Ericsson, for the r380. It ran Symbian and had a touchscreen. Oh, and "users could not install their own software on the device." So what was that about a general computing device? Sounds more like a smartphone is a phone that can run purpose-built applications. Or perhaps a PDA that can connect to a cell network.

i'd like to have control of my own device. i'd also like everyone to have control of their own devices. i care about other people because the runaway success of iphone impedes on my freedom too. i can't get a nice symbian or windows mobile phone right now. because corps now understand that selling is about tricking unthinking dumbasses, not actually providing a powerful smartphone.

No corporation is stopping you from getting a Symbian or WinMo device. I'm sure there are even some very nice ones out there, for certain values of "nice". I understand that you're upset that you can't or haven't found something that suits your purposes, but companies are not obligated to fulfill your desires. The success of devices that don't do what you want is not an impingement on your freedom.

Comment Re:I think you don't understand technology (Score 1) 566

iphones still cannot do basic smartphone stuff like run arbitrary code.

Running arbitrary code is what delineates a smartphone from a "dumb phone"? First off, what is the advantage in running arbitrary code? What do you mean by "arbitrary code"? What are you looking to do?

I've been using my iPhone for about 3 years, and not once have I lamented the lack of a file manager. Now mind you, I'm not toting around spreadsheets, etc, but it's done a pretty fantastic job of managing my music, audiobooks, tasks, notes, as well as myriad other functions. Compiled, purpose-built applications have done a pretty great job of elevating this device above the status of a so-called "dumb phone".

I'd like to know what arbitrary code you want that can't be put into an application. Or are you bothered by Apple's code vetting process?

Comment Re:Unique != groundbreaking (Score 5, Insightful) 350

The vast majority of the population are stupid as rocks, apple is making things accessible for them.

Wow, way to be a condescending prick. The whole point of computing devices is to make tasks simpler.

I wonder how you would feel if, in order to feed yourself, you had to hunt or grow your own food. Do you know how to do that? I sure don't. I wouldn't care to be catagorized as a "dimwit" by a hunter, because I don't know how to kill my own deer for dinner. But I'm sure glad that the agriculture industry has come around, and made it simpler to put food in my stomach.

As a software engineer, I'm glad to make shit easier for people to do. Your attitude can go crawl under a PDP-11.


Prehistoric Gene Reawakened To Battle HIV 360

Linuss points out research published in PLoS Biology that demonstrates the reawakening of latent human cells' ability to manufacture an HIV defense. A group of scientists led by Nitya Venkataraman began with the knowledge that Old World monkeys have a built-in immunity to HIV: a protein that can prevent HIV from entering cell walls and starting an infection. They examined the human genome for any evidence of a latent gene that could manufacture such a protein, and found the capability in a stretch of what has been dismissively termed "junk DNA." "In this work, we reveal that, upon correction of the premature termination codon in theta-defensin pseudogenes, human myeloid cells produce cyclic, antiviral peptides (which we have termed 'retrocyclins'), indicating that the cells retain the intact machinery to make cyclic peptides. Furthermore, we exploited the ability of aminoglycoside antibiotics to read-through the premature termination codon within retrocyclin transcripts to produce functional peptides that are active against HIV-1. Given that the endogenous production of retrocyclins could also be restored in human cervicovaginal tissues, we propose that aminoglycoside-based topical microbicides might be useful in preventing sexual transmission of HIV-1."

Major Cache of Fossils Unearthed In Los Angeles 215

aedmunde sends along news from the LA Times: "A nearly intact mammoth, dubbed Zed, is among the remarkable discoveries near the La Brea Tar Pits. It's the largest known deposit of Pleistocene ice age fossils... in what might seem to be the unlikeliest of places — under an old May Co. parking lot in L.A.'s tony Miracle Mile shopping district. ...huge chunks of soil from the site have been removed intact and now sit in large wooden crates on the back lot... The 23 crates range... from the size of a desk to that of a small delivery truck... There were, in fact, 16 separate deposits on the site, an amount that, by her estimate, would have taken 20 years to excavate conventionally. ... Carefully identifying the edges of each deposit, her team dug trenches around them and underneath, isolating the deposits on dirt pedestals. After wrapping heavy plastic around the deposits, workers built wooden crates similar to tree boxes and lifted them out individually with a heavy crane. The biggest one weighed 123,000 pounds."

Comment Re:Diseases (Score 1) 1397

At my work, all the computer names are purely functional. However, when I was in school, it was better: Native American tribe names, for example. But my favorite was the natural disasters in one lab (earthquake, tsunami, headcrash, etc.).


FBI Issues Code Cracking Challenge 222

coondoggie writes to tell us that the FBI has issued another cracking challenge for a new cipher on their site. Tens of thousands responded to a similar challenge last year. In addition to the challenge, the FBI is also offering a few primers on the subject. There are a number of sites offering cipher challenges, but it's funny to see the FBI encouraging such behavior.

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