Tuesday, November 28

Geek

It's A Scam, Dammit!

256GB on an A4 sheet of paper? The solution to all your storage needs?

No. It's physically impossible.

Also, about 50% of the people on Slashdot have no understanding whatsoever of information theory. More surprisingly, the other 50% do.

Same goes for the discussion here. Half the people are pointing out that it's completely impossible, an obvious scam, and the other half are saying "But what if I use lots of colours/shapes?" Even after it's been explained fifty times that this does not help.

A bit is a bit is a bit. Yes, with a 3x3 grid of pixels, you can display 512 different shapes*, but that is still just 9 bits of information. If each pixel can be one of 256 colours, that's 256^9 different combinations (not 256*512), but only 72 bits of data.

* Ignoring all types of symmetry for the moment.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:54 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1

There have been a couple of cases where companies have announced that they've come up with magic compression algorithms that could reduce data vastly better than Huffman encoding does, and recover the data without losses.

And a lot of people go "Oh, wow! How cool!" And anyone familiar with Papa Shannon's work rolls their eyes and says, "Oh, brother! Negative entropy!"

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, November 29 2006 04:23 AM (+rSRq)

2 I think I'll come up with a lossy algorithm for compressing web pages.

After all, who would notice?  And you could have all sorts of fun tweaking the "quality"  slider.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, November 29 2006 05:40 AM (7Z+6r)

3

Yeah, the compression scammers actually get millions in VC money every year. 

Ah, the timeless wisdom of PT Barnum...

Posted by: TallDave at Thursday, November 30 2006 11:54 AM (oyQH2)

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