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Last month I was lucky enough to get a “friends and family” discount code last month for $50 off of 23andMe, a consumer genetics company offering very basic genotyping (thanks, Anthony!). What they look at are called SNPs, or snipsyour genotypes, information at certain locations on your chromosomes you’ve received from your parents.

What is most valuable is the raw data, which is available for download in a non-proprietary format. Through using 3rd-party software with the raw data, I’ve been able to learn more than 23andMe reveals. (The raw data also comes in very handy if you’re not 100% European because 23andMe has a self-acknowledged Eurocentric model.)

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During mid-January 1991, a few hundred people gathered from across the world in an Internet Relay Chat room to share and seek any information they could on what was to become known as “Operation Desert Storm” of the Gulf War. Among the participants were Israeli eyewitnesses to Iraqi Scud missiles.

Saturday evening, I was minding my own business when my phone (G1/HTC Dream) shut itself off and wouldn’t turn back on. I try everything, but it’s as if something inside of it had either died or hit a fail-safe mechanism to prevent it from fully starting up. It would intermittently blink a little red light.

From looking online, I learned that it could be a battery issue. I knew my phone was still under warranty because I had bought it new in October (when Amazon drastically lowered the price) so Sunday I hit up a T-Mobile store to see if they could diagnose and fix the problem.

As it turns out, it was a battery issue. It also turns out that a phone’s battery is now classified as an “accessory,” instead of being an integral part of an electronic device. My phone itself was under warranty until this October, but my “accessories warranty” (what?) had expired in January.

Now, wouldn’t you come to the conclusion that a phone’s battery should last longer than 8 months, and that if it didn’t, it were defective in some way? And if it were defective, shouldn’t T-Mobile give me a replacement? Not so, says T-Mobile.

The guy I dealt with at the store was sympathetic and searched around to see whether he could find any used or returned G1 batteries to give me for free, because new batteries cost $50. When he couldn’t find any, he suggested BatteriesPlus, Craig’s List–anything other than buying a new one. But I decided I just wanted my damn phone to turn on again, soon.

My problems:

  1. This isn’t a AA battery, and it should last longer than one. If a phone’s battery dies after 8 months of normal use, that means it’s defective. It doesn’t matter whether the company considers a battery to be an “accessory.”
  2. A battery shouldn’t cost $50 if it needs to be replaced every 8 months. At this rate, I would pay $150 over the course of two years (entire length of my contract) which is more than I paid for the phone itself.

And let’s see: nope, as much as I try, my phone won’t turn on without a battery. So how is it an accessory? Simply because it can be swapped out and replaced by a consumer? That’s bullshit.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Trending Topic that needed an explanation.

This is an hour and 45 minutes of my evening while tracking my mouse’s movements with IOGraphica. The lines are the cursor’s paths, and the dots are where the cursor stopped moving. Now I’m feeling self-conscious about where I leave my cursor.

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