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Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-mouse-do-you-use-for-salad dept.

Microsoft 289

SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."

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289 comments

Innovation (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760885)

So this is "innovation", eh?

It's a feature not a bug (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760945)

So this is "innovation", eh?
It will result in The Most Broken Windows Yet(TM) once people get frustrated enough with devices that refuse to work.

Re:It's a feature not a bug (4, Funny)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761095)

No, no, no, it's a great idea, now they can say: "It's not working? ... Yeah, that's a feature not a bug, we've got a patent for that one." Sounds like a proper business strategy for me.

Re:It's a feature not a bug (3, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761763)

well, apart of devices, which scares the hell out of me is that there will be no authentication mechanism for the base station communicating policies.
what if someone forces my ferrary to crawl at 10mph and disables my phone for fun and robbery?
nice idea, won't work on this planet.

Re:It's a feature not a bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23762099)

That's a feature. It'll give you time to check the manual for the proper spelling.

Re:Innovation (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761049)

So this is "innovation", eh?

Don't you get it? They are just trying to establish Microsoft as most innovative and creative organization.

Prior Art ? (5, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761175)

This patent has just been filed, not just granted.

Details of similar systems have been recently described, including a summer of code project [openmoko.org] for OpenMoko (that wasn't accepted) which wanted to put a dbus architecture to let the user add conditions which cause profile to switch, for example: going to "silent mode" whenever the phone's gps detects it has entered into a meeting room.

The summer of code project wasn't accepted, thus this system isn't currently implemented. Never the less, it's described on the OpenMoko wiki, and similar strategies have regularly been described on the web, including here on /. each time some company tries to market a GSM signal jammer, where approach similar to openmoko and microsoft have been said to be safer.

To what extent can these description without implementation represent Prior Art ?

I also fail to understand why microsoft is trying to patent this. For this to work, it must reach widespread usage, which means it must be an open standard (a real one, not an OOXML-like one), so that both all constructor can implement it easily, and some places or legislation can require it, without those requirement forcing people to give cash to a particular private company.

Re:Prior Art ? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761313)

If you can't see legislation coming that would demand such a feature in various hardware, I can. And then imagine you have the patent for something that HAS TO be in your hardware. If there ever was a license to print money, this is.

Re:Prior Art ? (5, Informative)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761335)

> To what extent can these description without implementation represent Prior Art ?

legally? a written description is certainly adequate prior art.

the classic example is that of the waterbed [wikipedia.org] . which was unable to be patented in 1968 because Robert Heinlein had described it in three of his novels: _Beyond This Horizon_ (1942), _Double Star_ (1956), and _Stranger in a Strange Land_ (1961)

practically? you can patent whatever you want in the US these days. all your idea are belong to US.

Re:Prior Art ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761647)

Microsoft executives need to be taken out to the woodshed and shown some prior art regarding the installation and proper use of good manners within a polite society.

Re:Prior Art ? (5, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761695)

And it sounds like MS has found a stack of Popular Science magazines in a second had book store in Redmond somewhere.

Digital Manners? hahahahahahahahaha So much has been written that could be prior art for this in science fiction that it's not even funny. Since the first brick with an antenna on it, people have wanted to control when cell phones could be used. Enforcing driving habits? SciFi has it covered. In fact, I'm not certain, but I don't think there is anything you can call novel or non-obvious about it. It's just always been impractical or unpopular. Getting a patent on it won't make either of it.

Imagine a person at the movies. The theater forces phones to be shut off. The email from someone's alarm system saying there is a fire is never received. When they get home the fire and police departments take them to the hospital so they can watch their two small children die of burns. Yeah, that will work out nicely in the papers.

Say you try to control these things anywhere, there is a scenario not unlike that which could happen. Controlling speed of vehicles? Good fucking luck with that one pal. The remote kill switch functions some people have tried for stolen vehicles have NEVER passed muster for insurance companies. Why would MS get to do it?
All it would take is one fatality and the class action law suit begins.

In fact, where ever there is a human involved in controlling a machine or gadget there has never been any successful method to wrest control from the human in favor of a machine as far as I know. The cruise control is the best attempt that I know and that is a simple assistive technology.

Sure, alarm system replaces security guard, but does not take control from a human over a machine. There are gray area examples, but you see what I mean. Getting a patent for doing so is like trying to get a patent on breathing air.

If MS tries for the breathing air patent, I give up.

Re:Prior Art ? (5, Insightful)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762141)

Imagine a person at the movies. The theater forces phones to be shut off. The email from someone's alarm system saying there is a fire is never received. When they get home the fire and police departments take them to the hospital so they can watch their two small children die of burns. Yeah, that will work out nicely in the papers.
Yet millions of people enjoyed movies without email alerts on their cell phone for decades. Why aren't they at home watching their kids anyway? Were they really stupid enough to hire a babysitter that can't even manage to get the kids out of the house before they got burned? Or did they abandon their children to go see a movie? Sounds like the parents are the villains here, not the movie theater. Just turn off your phone, dude. The rest of us paid to watch the movie, not hear your phone call.

Re:Prior Art ? (2, Interesting)

nrdlnd (97720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762119)

'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' This is definitely Prior Art! It was demonstrated many years ago here in Sweden with cars equipped with a speed limit controller that was activated with a radio signal. Maybe it's already patented?

Re:Prior Art ? (1)

skolima (1159779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761479)

It's not "description without implementation", there are Symbian programs for Nokia phones doing precisely this. My brother's cellular switches to "mute" when he's on university campus and cranks up the ringer volume when he's at home (because he tends to leave his phone on the desk and close his room, then go out into the garden).
The difference is, this is not forced behaviour but user-configurable.

Re:Prior Art ? (0, Troll)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761681)

Might I risk a troll and speculate that, in fact, it was your SoC project that got rejected?

Re:Prior Art ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761749)

The summer of code project wasn't accepted, thus this system isn't currently implemented. Never the less, [...]
More over, the prospective summer of code candidates got to get her to discuss the topic. Further more, they strongly agreed that the project should take place. Google disagreed. There fore, it was abandoned.

Re:Prior Art ? (5, Interesting)

lolop (677387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761765)

The PhD student who was in my room one year ago (Cyril Rousseau) already worked on context adaptation of devices communication modalities.

See:
http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1148558 [acm.org]
http://www.limsi.fr/Individu/rousseau/most/index [limsi.fr]

He wrote a phone-like prototype and used his software in an industrial project.

Where is Microsoft innovation ?

Re:Prior Art ? (2, Interesting)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761779)

I call prior art [nokia.com] on the profile switching. There were many more apps similar to this back around '06 when I had my last S60 device.
(Yeah, I know the SoC project didn't involve trying to patent it - just sayin' it ain't all that new and fancy).

Re:Innovation (5, Funny)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761265)

So this is "innovation", eh?

dgtlmnrs.exe: WARNING: No Microsoft bashing.

Re:Innovation (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762133)

What? No Cancel or Allow?

Re:Innovation (1)

Slacksoft (1066064) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761705)

Yah, now we can go to psychiatrists to talk about our feelings about our devices. I imagine it goes something like this.... Consumer "My DVR doesn't understand me anymore; whenever I try to talk to it he just ignores me entirely!"

Stupid idea. (5, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760897)

'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.'


And I, the consumer, would buy a new device that is explicitly less functional than existing devices... why?

Re:Stupid idea. (1)

Escogido (884359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760939)

Because you still want to be polite and actually consider complying with a requests to shut off your phone?

As long as there is a switch to use/not use this 'manner enforcement', I doubt there is a problem.

Re:Stupid idea. (3, Insightful)

Pofy (471469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761033)

>As long as there is a switch to use/not use this
>'manner enforcement', I doubt there is a problem.

You must have missed the new laws comming that will outlaw the circumvention of any such systems set up to add manners to digital devices. If you circumvent a system that was set up to protect the health and safety of the public, extra penalties will be added. In fact, just possessing such a tool with the intent to circumvent a "digital manner" system will carry harsh criminal penalties. This is needed since criminal organisations and drug dealers tends to use such devices and we need to combat them. There will also be a separate "digital manners enforcement police" set up as this is top priority for the goverment!

Re:Stupid idea. (5, Insightful)

Clockwork Apple (64497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761199)

Expect this to me misused. Like police cars or police radios that will kill your video/photo ability on phones while they are in the area. Cops hate to be captured on film/video that they do not control. Or stoping photography/video in areas that would usually be legal, but due to actions that might be questionable like protest(riot) control where excessive force might be applied "don't tase me bro". Or where known/sanctioned violations are happening "terrorist detention/interogation centers", so that whitleblowers would have less evidence of the incident they need to document.

This is like a proactive confiscation of your electronics, without having to ask for it.

C.

Re:Stupid idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761887)

whitleblowers
You can blow my whitle baby.

Re:Stupid idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761953)

Sure it would of great help to any thief or murder, who wants to disable the security cameras or the movile phones when it do his deeds.

Re:Stupid idea. (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762097)

There will also be a separate "digital manners enforcement police" set up as this is top priority for the goverment!
There's no real need for this. All those devices will contain a small quantity of C4 for this purpose.

Or here's an idea (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761151)

Well, or maybe we'll just vote that if you scream into your phone in a train, the cops shove your phone up your arse. It has to be good for the economy too, since it'll stimulate a market and R&D for smaller devices ;)

So, really, which would you rather buy? The one which forces you to not disturb the others, or the one which will make you walk bow-legged to the nearest hospital? ;)

Well, more seriously, currently the only choice is to disable them completely, for example with EM shielding or with a pico-cell that doesn't let anything through. If we can enforce some manners, maybe we won't need to go that far. Maybe we'll even let the heart surgeon in a movie theatre get his emergency phone call, if we're sure that (A) the phone is capped to vibrating inside the room, instead of playing a retarded tune at 80 dB, and (B) he'll have to walk out to actually talk.

So basically, we're not going to give you the right to be an antisocial retard and annoy everyone else, one way or another. So you can choose between (1) losing any use of that phone in some situations and places, completely, or (2) having some lesser restrictions enforced by it. I hardly think that #2 is the less functional.

And that's not even getting into situations where retards on cell phones actually endanger everyone else. Like retards who pay more attention to their phone when driving, than to the road.

Yes, you may think that you're way above average as a driver, and you'd _never_ possibly cause an accident. Guess what? So does everyone else. Over 90% of the people think that their driving is above average. It's mathematically impossible.

At any rate, it's already proven that talking on the phone impairs driving more than being a little inebriated. So I'd like to see that enforced just like DUI. Forget points and fines, I want to see a few people go to PMITA state jail if they get seen doing that too often.

No, I don't care how simultaneously that call is the most important call in your life, and you also absolutely need to be in some meeting in 5 minutes. Neither is _that_ vital as to be a blank pass to endanger other people's lives. Whoever called you, is still going to be there in 5 minutes or an hour or whatever. Whatever important customer you're running to, well, if it's that important, postpone the phone call. If you can't prioritize, well, it's not anyone else's fault, so they shouldn't be the ones taking extra risks.

I'm guessing that it wouldn't be that horrible to have the phone remind you to park or use a headset then. Or not worse than the alternative.

Re:Or here's an idea (3, Funny)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761243)

Yes, you may think that you're way above average as a driver, and you'd _never_ possibly cause an accident. Guess what? So does everyone else. Over 90% of the people think that their driving is above average. It's mathematically impossible.

Not if the other ten percent are really, really bad.

Re:Or here's an idea (2, Funny)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761347)

And they really [youtube.com] are.

Re:Or here's an idea (1)

transiit (33489) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761293)

This is mostly just a curiosity for me...

"At any rate, it's already proven that talking on the phone impairs driving more than being a little inebriated. So I'd like to see that enforced just like DUI. Forget points and fines, I want to see a few people go to PMITA state jail if they get seen doing that too often."

I'm a bit lazy when it comes to doing the research, so I've not seen these studies. I'm curious if they found a discriminator that proved the cell phone was any worse than having a conversation with a passenger in the same vehicle.

Perhaps the next step from some of the "must use hands-free whatsits" (18 days until that becomes mandatory around these parts), should we also find ways to protect the driver from the living/breathing distractions that are in the same vehicle, demanding the same level of conversation?

Pull that off, and the average road-trip family vacation homicide rate would likely get knocked down a little.

Re:Or here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761893)

Well, or maybe we'll just vote that if you scream into your phone in a train, the cops shove your phone up your arse. It has to be good for the economy too, since it'll stimulate a market and R&D for smaller devices ;)


So, really, which would you rather buy? The one which forces you to not disturb the others, or the one which will make you walk bow-legged to the nearest hospital? ;)

Even nowadays phones are much smaller than even medium-sized dildoes, and you don't walk bow-legged to the hospital after using one of these.


Hey, if the policeman was a hairy hunky guy, I might even scream extra loud into that phone :)

Re:Or here's an idea (2, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761997)

So basically, we're not going to give you the right to be an antisocial retard and annoy everyone else

Actually, if you read the US Constitution you'll see that people already have the inalienable right to be antisocial retards. What you're proposing is taking that away.

Re:Stupid idea. (4, Interesting)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761227)

Because it'll be enforced by law, probably for reasons of safety, or by some company policy that effects you.

Re:Stupid idea. (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761235)

Because none of the carriers available where you live sells devices that do not implement this functionality?

Re:Stupid idea. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761319)

Don't worry, thanks to this patent, these devices will only be Microsoft devices which few people buy anyway...

Re:Stupid idea. (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761333)

Because I could well see our governments passing laws that cells MUST have some sort of function that turns them off in hospitals or planes, I could even see a law mandating chips to keep your car under the speed limit.

When you have no choice, you have to buy what you are offered. This isn't free market anymore. Do you want region locked DVD players? No. Of course, you would prefer region free players. But if there isn't anything offered like that, what do you buy?

Re:Stupid idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761977)

Of course, most of the DVD player manufacturers don't seem to want region coding either, and so make it trivial to change the code unlimited times or remove it altogether. I can see this happening with any feature which makes phones less useful too, especially as they want to keep as much commonality of parts and software with their overseas models, where competition will dictate that such lockdown is a bad idea.

Re:Stupid idea. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762019)

What competition?

We have five phone providers here. Five. For a market of maybe 10 million people. One should assume that there is some fierce competition.

Still, you only get phones bundled from one single phone manufacturer. The reason is simple, all five phone providers have contracts with this phone manufacturer. And of course there is the clause that you may only bundle these phones if you want to get them cheaply enough that you can bundle them "for free" (and a 2 years contract...).

So where's any competition?

Re:Stupid idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761563)

the same reason that people buy windows vista preloaded on a system without a choice.. or when hd-dvd was coming out.. all the "security" features used to keep the user from using it

Good job (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760929)

this technology is not already in Windows say I can still say what a bunch of

[Bad manners deleted]

Re:Good job (4, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761383)

Will this technology prevent someone from throwing chairs, though? I think that is considered good manners by Microsoft!

Re:Good job (2, Insightful)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761509)

no, throwing a chair at someone is always bad manners. However, its well known that manners don't apply to rich people, they can be as rude as they like to poor people.
That's pretty much how it's always worked everywhere.

manners (5, Funny)

alxtoth (914920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760951)

..No Windows at MacWorld/Linux conferences

Bank robbers cheers (5, Funny)

Pofy (471469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760961)

In other news, bank robbers cheers at their new tool to bring along that will disable all cameras when performing robberies.

Cell phone users are also wondering why their phones tend to stop working every other minute. Investigation shows one out of five person in the public carrying their own "no phone calls here" devices arround.

Finally paparazzis express no worries. They will just keep a slightly longer distance to their targets and thus avoid any "no photos here" devices carried arround by most celebrities.

paparazzis (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761069)

They will just replace the firmware, or shortcut a chip.

So, Microsoft patented the broadcast flag?

Re:Bank robbers cheers (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761823)

Mobile phone blockers already exist ... and are banned because they might effect equipment outside your property

Unless a government embraces this technology it is also likely to be banned .. it's an all or nothing

if this is ever released as described (5, Insightful)

aeiah (937509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760963)

i give it one month until someone gets around the restrictions, and two months until someone makes a transmitter and shuts off all mobiles (or cars) in the area

They just don't get it do they (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760975)

Wow, Microsoft really don't get it.

I bet they peed their pants just a little when they finally found something in the world of tech that has little/no prior art.

Never did it occur to them that the reason there's very little prior art is that the other people to try using technology to be restrictive, and annoying, go out of business quickly. Because -- like DRM -- it's a shit idea and consumers will hate it.

Re:They just don't get it do they (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761161)

That's your typical patent in the IT world these days. Amazon one-click: "hey everyone, let's store credit card numbers and make it effortless for people to buy things.. we won't even make them enter a password!" An idea so brain dead that they even stopped doing it.

Re:They just don't get it do they (3, Funny)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761255)

That's your typical patent in the IT world these days. Amazon one-click: "hey everyone, let's store credit card numbers and make it effortless for people to buy things.. we won't even make them enter a password!" An idea so brain dead that they even stopped doing it.

To be fair, they stopped everyone else doing it too.

Re:They just don't get it do they (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761377)

Yep, MS will apparently never learn that there are sometimes good reasons to channel the behaviour of users (Mac OSX does it quite well, or maybe Gnome or Python come to that) but there is nearly never a good reason to hinder a reasonable usage of something.

Okay (4, Interesting)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760979)

So the camera I have now will magically follow this, as will the untold millions of cameras currently in use.

I prefer the good old fashioned calling people out method of enforcement. I've had a professor who answered peoples cell phones, I've seen a recital stopped completely because of a camera and the person kicked out. Anyhow, anything I own should never be under your control. Sorry, but it's just that way.

The only reason ideas of this caliber get used in mass is so that those who have power can remove what little power the rest have. Organize protest, sorry you cameras can't work, it's for the safety of those around you.

I'm also seriously beginning to think that there is a group of people in this world who consider better communication and record keeping on the part of the masses is a bad thing and should be stopped.

Re:Okay (4, Interesting)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761747)

"I'm also seriously beginning to think that there is a group of people in this world who consider better communication and record keeping on the part of the masses is a bad thing and should be stopped."

The English language, expressive beastie that it is, already has a term for such groups of people: governments.

Governments classify monitoring and recording technology using the following simple rule:

Technology which allows governments, their agents, and wealthy and powerful people who own both to monitor and record the activities of those who aren't part of the government or its owners is good, and therefore compulsory.

Technology that allows others to monitor and record the activities of the government, its agents, or the wealthy who own them is bad, and must be outlawed or carry the capability to be disabled whenever there is a potential for inconvenience to government, its agents, or their owners.

Re:Okay (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761865)

Asking politely to not use phones/cameras, and then embarrassing the hell out of them when they do is much more effective than any blocking technology could be ...

Social pressure and fear of punishment stops most crimes

So now (4, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760981)

So now police will disable any cameras in vicinity of "action"?

Only if it's voluntary opt-in (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760991)

If you can select "Manual" or "Follow Local Convention" on something, it's fine. If it's meant to override any setting I put in, there's obviously going to be problems and abuse. In short, it should be there for the customer -- not big brother.

Re:Only if it's voluntary opt-in (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761373)

You haven't been for too long on this planet, have you?

Re:Only if it's voluntary opt-in (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761737)

If you are going to do that, why not just follow what the signs tell you? I don't really need my phone to tell me not to talk on it in places where I shouldn't be talking.....

Re:Only if it's voluntary opt-in (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762151)

A 'ringminder' feature that shifted your phone over to silent or vibrate or whatever might be handy. Incredibly lazy, but it would be handy if the device response to the signal were configurable.

Military/Industrial Recipe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761007)

1. "Digital Manners" Patent
2. Pentagon Gets Kill Switch For Planes
3. Profit!

Self-prior art? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761015)

Didn't they already do this when they politely acquiesced to the broadcaster's non-copy bit in their Media Center (or whatever braindead application it was)? That cant-record-"American Gladiator" stuff I saw referenced here?

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

Hopefully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761135)

it comes with the function "No acting like a douche" built in

Imagine... (1, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761169)

... no, not a beowulf cluster of those. Imagine if this was $good_company making this patent:
- Hooray, now everyone will be less obnoxious!
- Yeah, it will be easier now to obey those "no calling" in theaters. It was such a pain to remember to turn of phone.
- Good, no more accidental flashes when I'm in a museum.

//$good_company==apple||google||...

A good company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761323)

wouldn't try for a patent this stupid.

For proof, see the fact that they haven't.

Re:Imagine... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761391)

Well, $good_company would probably have created the patent to ensure nobody gets the braindead idea to actually build something like this.

If they had the idea to patent something like this at all.

That's the difference. The potential of abuse for such a "feature" is high enough to make sure no $good_company would want to implement it.

Then again, I recently checked $good_company returns an empty set when queried against $corporations.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761871)

Good, no more accidental flashes when I'm in a museum.
I don't think this works on your pants.

DRM for your actions (2)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761191)

First they try to foist "Digital Rights Management" on us, to the applause of many organisations, and now they try to force digital management of my right to be a prick on me? I hate hearing a phone ring at the movies (even more, I hate hearing someone answer it) as much as anyone, but people shouldn't have to have good manners forced on them by their tools/toys. If I may compare control of one's manners to control of one's bladder, this is worse than grownup diapers. It's like underwear that plugs your urethra against your will.

Similar to DVD players... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761261)

"And I, the consumer, would buy a new device that is explicitly less functional than existing devices... why?"

Because you have no choice, perhaps? Take DVD players as an example. DVD region-codes have no legal basis, that is, makers of DVD-players do not have to respect them. Yet all major manufacturers do, in fact, respect the codes.

For the electronic manners, it could easily go the same way...

misnamed (4, Insightful)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761267)

it's interesting that they call it 'Digital Manners'.

it's almost as if they want people to think it's just benign reminders and opt-in enforcement of polite social niceties rather than a method for enforcing mandatory external control over all your devices.

All hail Ms. Manners... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761283)

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING....
And he looks just like Martha Stewart!!!

Manners? (1)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761289)

Does this mean that I have to be rude to avoid paying M$ a royalty?

New slogan (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761339)

Microsoft. We KNOW what's good for you!

Demolition Man, anyone? (2, Funny)

joefish_only_one (1138079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761353)

"You have been fined one credit for the violation of Digital Manners Act."

Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761363)

I don't like this idea here.

I do not know how they are going to even make a control system like this, and it seems like they would use the patent system to force companies to code for them.

I think that Microsoft is looking for a lot of control here and I hope that the system denies this action, because not even Gates can code for this.

Potential for good (2, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761379)

I think this kind of thing could have potential for good, as long as it isn't enforced. The classic example is the mobile phone in a theatre or cinema - it would be nice if the phone could know to automatically switch to silent mode, with user override possible.

In other areas like not being able to record things with your DVR it's just evil. In other words, it needs to act like a polite sign that a device can "read", rather than be enforced.

Why stop with digital gadgets? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761387)

Wow! Once we have computers in our body that control and supplement our being, then we can implant this technology in every citizen.

That allows us to enforce the wishes of the religious right and disable the mothers that attempt abortion. But that would be counter productive, wouldn't it?

We could also zap those pesky homosexuals and zap the libido of everybody that makes love to anybody he is not married to. Amend the constitution!

And off course we can disable everybody's arm that does attempt to vote the wrong party at the ballot box. Then we can finally use clean voting machines that can't be tampered with.

NO MORE TOP-POSTING (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761393)

I'll settle for a kill switch on users who top post. Thank you so much, Microsoft, for innovating that ...

http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/Net_Resources [linux-mips.org]

Re:NO MORE TOP-POSTING (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761665)

What's wrong with top posting?

I'll settle for a kill switch on users who top post. Thank you so much, Microsoft, for innovating that ...
http://what-is-what.com/what_is/top_posting.html [what-is-what.com]

Digital Manners Patent Royalties. (1)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762003)

Thank you so much, Microsoft, for innovating that ...
...you now owe Microsoft 5 cents.

Follow social conventions people, its the law! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761415)

Yeah people are so rude these days. The other day I saw some pictures by reporters from a warzone!! What would become of the world if you can not even commit war crimes in privacy of your own prison camp? And remember when ABC did that terrible rude thing an filmed the giant halliburton logos on the trucks at an Iranian oil field? How rude!

I am sure the "You are being rude [Cancel], [Continue] dialog will work just as well when I try and take a picture of the chemical waste coming from a pipe outside the canon factory. Afterall with Canon, you can!

In fact why not let technology enforce all humanities morals? Smart card chastity belts for everyone!!! Yay!

Where do you want to go today? (1)

Yousef (66495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761447)

Well you can't go there cos it is restricted.

You spent HOW MUCH on that Digital Camera? Well, we'll still tell when and where and how you can use it - for your own good, of course...

You think that you're free to use your purchases as you see fit? Well Big Brother Bill knows best. He'll even tell you what accessories you must buy to get it to work.

Technology versus normal user (1)

Exlee (1306341) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761451)

And once again Microsoft "invented" technology which will work against normal user.

People who will be aware of the technology will either accept it, try to avoid devices with it, or simply disable it in devices they own.

However the ones who won't know about this will be unpleasantly surprised. No harm done if Microsoft "invention" will prevent them from making photo of a bee in restricted area. But - for example - what if law enforcement agency will overuse their power combined with no photographing/video recording portable device?

Talk talk (4, Funny)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761467)

You will be nice to your copy of Microsoft Vista at all times. If it registers dissatisfaction about Vista through the use of the webcam or via voice control, Vista will shut down until you start giving it nice thoughts like "Bill Gates is great really", or "I didn't really mean to attack my machine with a chair".

Any relation to... (4, Insightful)

klecu (1144347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761519)

...kill switches in planes [slashdot.org] ? Seems like a frightening trend toward behavior enforcement.

And tell me, Mr. Anderson... (3, Interesting)

katz (36161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761585)

...what good is a phone call if you're unable to speak?

"According to the article the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and ****'No talking out loud'**** to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely." [emphasis mine].

Manners are patented? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761635)

HI! YES, IT IS ME!

Sorry, I do not want to be rude, but being polite would be a patent violation here. Even if I am not a device, obeying the signal would be a patent violation, yes? (IF it gets granted, off course)

Bizarre twist on old theme (4, Insightful)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761637)

When they enforced digital rights, I didn't raise my voice, because I didn't have any rights.

When they enforced digital manners, I didn't raise my voice, because I didn't have any manners.

When they enforce digital voting, it will be too late to raise any voice.

New Market Genius (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761703)

It's pretty smart, in an evil way. What to you do when you foresee the end of your days as a darling of the consumer? Create products for Big Brother!

the irony, (1)

zakkie (170306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761773)

oh my god, the irony. It broke my irony meter.

Prior Art (2, Interesting)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761839)

I believe there was a patent applied for sometime around 2000 for cell phones to voluntarily go to vibrate or silent mode if it was within range of a special code transmitter, which could be installed in theatres, churches, etc. I know because I thought up the same thing were I was working at the time, but was just a few months too late. I don't have the patent number, but I know it was in the US and I saw a photocopied newspaper article on it when I got the "close but no cigar" letter from upper management.

I can't wait to get one of these servers in my car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23761895)

All the overtaking manouvers.
Sigh, these will be the days.

WHY OH WHY (1)

Woy (606550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23761961)

WHY IS EVERY MICROSOFT INNOVATION ABOUT DISABLING SHIT????

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

in a wonderfull world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23762055)

Well, I think on this kind of devices more than twice, They would be wonderful for a perfect world, but here where we live in let me car get orders from a third party device when I'm at 100 mph, is not something that I would be comfortable with.

Wonder how much time will get some bad guy to hack one of them to do something like stoping you in the middle of a highway and take your car, or simply turn right to make you crash.

Again, I'm glad I live in Brazil (1)

protomala (551662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762089)

A pre-requisite for field a patent here, besides not being commons sense as US allows, is to have MADE a device that works and implement the patented method. You can't patent ideas here.
I do not know how a country allow such a thing, exepts... that they want to enforce those patents in the rest of the world to make money.
Sad, really. :-(

Is this new? (1)

Nodamnnicknamesavial (1095665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762101)

Isn't this just a kind of DRM for 'other stuff', trying to dictate how someone uses a product after they bought and paid for it?

Rude (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762103)

I anyone ask me politely to turn my cell off or not take pictures, I will gladly oblige. But remotely turning them off? Now that's rude.

I know the perfect application for this (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762123)

To kick trolls off of Slashdot or to automatically mod down posts.

Of course, just by saying it, this post will be mod'd as a troll.

A patent for good manners on Slashdot- could it really be done?

Even without hackers... (1)

smwny (874786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23762129)

Lets just say for a moment that these machines could not be used badly. Also, people would actually buy them. Now what?

Case 1: The car that won't move
So, there is a fire in the parking garage I am in. Being nice to their customers they only allow them to drive at 5mph. Well... I won't live to sue

Case 2: NO ME GUSTA CELL

I don't like people talking on cell phones. I think it is not nice. When I walk past people on the street their cell phones stop working. It turns out one of them was calling 911. Of course the powers that be made sure 911 works even with a kill switch. What they did not expect is that a defect in the phone causes it to malfunction when it gets the signal after the call has been started.

I could continue. But limiting people by technology does not work. If a person enforces a no phone policy, he will make exceptions in the case of 911 or something else. He will not care you are driving 50mph in a 5mph zone do to fire about to engulf you. Computers are just not smart enough to know when to bend the rules.
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