Monday, June 28, 2010

The girl who must eat every 15 minutes to stay alive

Lizzie Velasquez has a rare and undiagnosed syndrome
that prevents her from putting on weight

Lizzie Velasquez weighs just four stone and has almost zero per cent body fat but she is not anorexic.

In fact, the 21-year-old from Austin, Texas, must eat every 15 minutes to stay healthy.

Miss Velasquez has a rare condition which prevents her from gaining weight even though she eats up to 60 small meals a day.

Despite consuming between 5,000 and 8,000 calories daily, the communications student, has never tipped over 4st 3lbs.

"I weigh myself regularly and if I gain even one pound I get really excited," said 5ft 2 ins Miss Velasquez, who wears size triple zero clothes.

"I eat every 15-20 minutes to keep my energy levels up.

"I eat small portions of crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, cake, doughnuts, ice cream, noodles and pop tarts all day long, so I get pretty upset when people accuse me of being anorexic."

She was born four weeks prematurely weighing just 2lb 10oz. Doctors found there was minimal amniotic fluid protecting her in the womb.

"They told us they had no idea how she could have survived," said Miss Velasquez's mother Rita, 45, a church secretary.

Doctors speculated Lizzie might have the genetic disorder De Barsy syndrome but soon ruled it out as it became clear she did not have learning difficulties.

"They kept on trying to figure out what was wrong with her but we treated her like any other child," said Mrs Velasquez, who charted her daughter's health in dozens of notebooks.

She was taken to see genetic experts but they still could not diagnose her.

Miss Velasquez's case has fascinated doctors all over the world and she is part of a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg, MD, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Professor Garg and his team now believe Lizzie may have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS) which causes accelerated ageing, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. People with PRS often have triangular and prematurely aged faces with a pointy nose.

He said: "I am aware of a small number of people that have similar conditions to Lizzie but each case is slightly different.

"We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS.

"However Lizzie is lucky to have healthy teeth, organs and bones so the outlook is good. We will continue to study her case and learn from her." Miss Velasquez has helped to write a book about her incredible experiences.

It is due to be released in September.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Batteries! I hate fucking batteries. Why they piss me off.

A clusterfuck of Batteries...

Batteries... They're the one thing that nearly every portable electronic device relies upon.  And yet, they're the one thing that nearly everybody hates (or should).

While technology is constantly advancing, it seems like there's one thing that isn't: fucking batteries.

Batteries are the bane of any electronic device you have.  I have several portable electronic devices: an iPod Touch, an HTC EVO 4G, Nintendo DS, PSP, Laptops, etc...  Yet, the one thing that always becomes an issue for me are the fucking batteries...

Maybe it's just me I don't know but I find that the battery life on my electronic devices are never near my expectations.  Whenever I'm using one of my gadgets, there's always that thought I have where I ask myself "How much longer I do have before the battery runs out?"

That thought is like a fucking thorn to my side... It's always something I have to worry about.

About two months ago I had to buy a new battery for my Nintendo DS because the original one couldn't hold a charge anymore.  The ridiculous thing is I rarely even played it.  So I get my new battery, charge it up, and I get about 3½ hours worth of gameplay before it's dead.  The FUCK?! Now I'm not an idiot, I rarely run my devices on the maximum settings.  On a scale of 1-10, my screen brightness and volume settings are usually at a 7.  So one would think the battery would last longer yes?  Not in my case.

There are all sorts of different batteries.  Some are nickel based, some are lithium based.  Every battery has a mAh setting, and the higher the mAh, the longer it should last.  But man it certainly doesn't seem that way to me... I suppose it's because I'm a heavy consumer of these devices.  The thing is, the purpose of these devices are to be mobile, yet more then half the time these devices are tethered to the wall while they charge.

I wish the battery technology would hurry up and get in line with the rest of the electronic industry already...  Battery technology has been around for well over 100 years now.  Looking back at the history of battery, the technology behind batteries has been evoloving every 10-15 years.  The latest type of battery that the majority of all electronic devices use now are lithium or lithium ion, which now have been around since the early 1990's...  You would think after 15 years of using them we'd have a new battery technology by now.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad if these devices had solar technology that could provide a constant charge to the battery.  That would make sense right?  Solar energy has been around since the early 1960's which means it's been around for 40 years.  You would think after it being around for so long, the technology would be mature and cheap enough to deploy but it's not.  That's a whole other story I can bitch about later.

All I know is with the constant release of new technology, these things are getting smaller, faster, and are including more bells, whistles, features, kitchen sinks, etc... These gadgets are becoming more sophisticated, yet it feels like the technology that keep these gadgets running are not.

I want to see batteries that can run my small electronic devices for at least 5 days straight (120 hours) without requiring a recharge.  Once we can reach that point, I'll be a happy camper.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

EVO $10/month premium has outraged alot of customers

It wasn't too long ago Sprint announced the HTC EVO 4G (code named Supersonic).  They had a promotional party a few weeks back in New York focusing on the EVO 4G.  The irony is that New York doesn't (yet) have 4G.  What we got out of the party was the cost of the phone, the plan, and the release date.

The cost of the phone (subsidized) didn't surprise many people as it was priced for $200, the same as other similar phones on different mobile networks.

Sprint did announce with this particular device that there would be a $10/month additional charge on top of its compatible plans.  This caused confusion at first because people were under the impression the $10/month charge was for 4G access.  Seeing as 4G is so limited right now, it didn't make sense to charge people access for 4G service where there is none.

Shortly after the announcement, posted on their site claiming the $10 fee was optional if you wanted 4G access but then after some confusion from what the Sprint execs told them, they found out the fee was mandatory.  Why you may ask?  This is Sprint's official response explaining the mandatory fee:
The $10 per month Premium Data add-on gives the user a richer data experience on HTC EVO 4G than ever before at both 3G and 4G speeds, taking advantage of features including an 8MP auto-focus camera with HD-capable video camcorder and front-facing 1.3MP camera, superfast Snapdragon processor so navigation on the phone is quicker and apps load faster, 4.3” touchscreen for a great multimedia experience and 3G/4G capability. The combination of features and services on the HTC EVO 4G provide capabilities that were never previously available on a wireless device so customers will have a better experience and higher data usage on both the Sprint 3G Network and Sprint 4G Network.

Bullshit.  Just bullshit.  Yes I do believe this phone will access more data, but at some point, the customers data usage will plateau.  Seeing as Sprint already sells "unlimited" data plans this cost makes zero sense at all.

An illustration of a pissed off customer after
listening to Sprint's bullshit $10/month premium fee explanation.

This $10 premium has sparked outrage among the community, I believe due to the way Sprint explained themselves which has zero merit.  If Sprint needed to charge more to make up for the loss they've had the past few years, then wouldn't it make more sense to give this phone its own plan at an increased cost?

One user created a site called "Explain the Fee!" where he's trying to get Sprint to give him a straight answer.   He also is encouraging users to email Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse as well some executives at Sprint to come clean about this premium charge.

Consumerist reported this story after several people (including myself) tipped them off. You can read their posting here: Sprint Charges A $10 Monthly Awesomeness Fee To Own The HTC EVO

It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to complain to the FTC or FCC either about this "premium" charge as well.  I don't want to give you the impression that I'm against Sprint charging more money, it's how they're doing it.  That would be like your car dealer charging you a $10/month premium because you chose the red colored car which they claim give you a "better" experience...  Exactly how would it be any different from the blue or black car?