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October 21, 2013

Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary

While Android is open, it’s more of a “look but don’t touch” kind of open. You’re allowed to contribute to Android and allowed to use it for little hobbies, but in nearly every area, the deck is stacked against anyone trying to use Android without Google’s blessing. The second you try to take Android and do something that Google doesn’t approve of, it will bring the world crashing down upon you.

This the modern technological definition of a flip-flop.

Windows 8 support will end in two years

Windows 8.1 falls under the Windows 8 lifecycle policy, which ends on January 10, 2023. However, the company also states thatWindows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 starting this Friday.

Well, 8 isn’t going to last that long. Hopefully in version 9, Microsoft clearly goes down the road of the desktop or tile world.

Why does Windows have terrible battery life? 

I have a Surface RT – the first generation – and as such, I know why. Windows 8 might have Metro running on top of it hiding a lot of it, but Windows 8.x carries just as much baggage, cruft, and outdated shit with it as previous versions of Windows have. Windows 8/8.1 – and Metro in particular – simply suck. Slow, clunky, jarring, cumbersome, battery-sucking, restricted, and limited, with a crappy selection of rush-job, rarely updated applications. You know how resizing windows on Windows 7 or OS X is all nice and fluid? Why, then, is it a slow and jittery operation that brings Windows 8 Metro to its knees?

It’s simple: just like battery life, it’s a symptom of Microsoft’s Windows team not having the balls to truly go for a clean break, as the Windows Phone team have done. And lo and behold, Windows Phone – even WP8, which runs on the same NT kernel – has none of the slowness and crappiness issues that continue to plague Windows 8 Metro (although WP has its own set of issues unrelated to these).

Again, I have no idea why Microsoft is confusing customers with two completely different UIs in the same device. They must know that it also drains the crap out of battery life. Pick one!

IBM’s Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors

According to Sloan-Kettering, only around 20 percent of the knowledge that human doctors use when diagnosing patients and deciding on treatments relies on trial-based evidence. It would take at least 160 hours of reading a week just to keep up with new medical knowledge as it’s published, let alone consider its relevance or apply it practically. Watson’s ability to absorb this information faster than any human should, in theory, fix a flaw in the current healthcare model. Wellpoint’s Samuel Nessbaum has claimed that, in tests, Watson’s successful diagnosis rate for lung cancer is 90 percent, compared to 50 percent for human doctors

Working in the health care and medical field, I can say that there is nothing like the human-factor of caring for a patient. Yes, machines will be able to compute and call up data and information way faster than humans, but it will miss out on emotional and psychological symptoms. On the other hand, human-error is to blame for a lot of misdiagnosis in the world. Only time will tell.

BBM for Android and iOS now available, but there’s a wait list

But unfortunately it appears that BlackBerry is still very much concerned about an initial surge of users. It’s implementing a registration wait list; upon opening the app, you’ll have to enter an email address to reserve your spot. Anyone that signed up for information about the mobile apps at BBM.com won’t have to wait, but new signups will have to deal with the virtual queue.

I still care a little. But does the vast public?