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Microsoft Patents "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn"

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-grandfather-had-prior-art dept.

Patents 350

An anonymous reader notes that Microsoft has been granted a patent on "Page Up" and "Page Down" keystrokes. The article links an image of an IBM PC keyboard from 1981 with such keys in evidence. "The software giant applied for the patent in 2005, and was granted it on August 19, 2008. US patent number 7,415,666 describes 'a method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed.'... The company received its 5,000th patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2006, and is currently approaching the 10,000 mark."

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350 comments

Ok by me. (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824727)

That's ok; I don't RTFA anyway.

Re:Ok by me. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825067)

Wow, mods are touchy tonite!

Re:Ok by me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825535)

Aren't they?

I guess someone had bad luck with the girl today.
That or the porn site is down.

No they didn't (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824749)

sounds more like they patented scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor.

Re:No they didn't (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824763)

Which minus the legal lingo, is equally stupid. Page Up/Down does the same in most document-viewing applications.

Re:No they didn't (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824781)

It doesn't in OpenOffice, KOffice, Word, Notepad, VI, emacs or vim. OK, the last few don't have a notion of 'Page.'

Re:No they didn't (2, Insightful)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824829)

You're right, it's not exactly the same. Still, the difference is ludicrous, and getting a patent for this would make a very sad joke.

Re:No they didn't (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824989)

No, it makes total sense. Microsoft is in the idea business and uses patents to extend its financial viability.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825025)

The difference is enough that the problem here isn't MS, it's the patent system. But we knew that. We're vilifying the wrong people. Our efforts should be focused on demonstrating the inferiority of this system, and exposing any corruption involved in maintaining it.

Re:No they didn't (5, Funny)

archkittens (1272770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825389)

I have to imagine that redmond feels frivolous patents like this are an EXTREMELY funny joke. Bet you it went down like this:

SB: come on guys, you've got to think of some way to simultaneously shaft millions and demonstrate, once again, the inadequacy of patent office oversight.
HG: well, we already patented double clicking, how can we top that?
TS: we could patent breathing....
JD: no, that might infringe on Dell's pending (at the time of this conversation) copyrighting of the term "cloud computing"
BG: let's patent being fat, bald, and sweaty. SB needs to have his name on something for once.
SB: fuck it, lets just patent these two buttons on my keyboard, pg up and pg dn. no one but *nix users will notice the difference anyways.
USPTO: allow us to lick your testicles, mr ballmer!

no, that's not a leaked microsoft email, but you and I both know it may as well be.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824889)

In other words, someone in QA opened a bug that the Page Up and Page Down didn't do the right thing when the doc was being zoomed. Then there was lots of email back and forth about what "the right thing" was supposed to be, and they settled on one. At the same time, other email chains in the Outlook inbox were reminding developers of the importance of filing for patents early and often, "even if you don't think it is especially original, things could turn out differently", with the implication that one's compensation and prospects for advancement (or not getting laid off) were at stake.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824899)

Not even. They patented a method for scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor. Not all methods, and certainly not pgup/pgdn.

Why is it that every patent story on slashdot always obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas? Is it naive to think that this isn't a purposeful ommission?

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824931)

This is a kdawson post. kdawson is the epitome of stupidity and sensationalism. If a story sounds like it is too ridiculous or belongs in Idle (but is not), it's most likely a kdawson post and you should just disregard it.

Re:No they didn't (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825005)

obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation

Because you're wrong? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_equivalents [wikipedia.org]

Re:No they didn't (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825177)

The Doctrine of Equivalents still requires something to be done in substantially the same way as a patented method to be considered infringing. It exists to prevent someone from taking apart an invention, changing something trivial, and then trying to pass it off as their own. It does not mean MS or anyone else can patent ideas.

But go ahead, link to a case where someone has been sucessfully sued for infringing on a software patent where the methods of implementation in question were independently developed. I'd love to see it.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825341)

But go ahead, link to a case where someone has been sucessfully sued for infringing on a software patent where the methods of implementation in question were independently developed. I'd love to see it.

There is absolutely no need for someone t have successfully done that for absurd patents to become problematic. Essentially no one can afford to be sued by, say, MS, even if your implementation of Page Down is provably different to theirs.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825395)

Of course, by that logic, any patent what-so-ever is potentially "problematic". So all you're saying is that if Microsoft wants to sue you then you're in a mess of trouble and frankly, that's not very insightful.

Re:No they didn't (5, Insightful)

drcln (98574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825323)

Why is it that every patent story on slashdot always obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas? Is it naive to think that this isn't a purposeful ommission?

Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor [wikipedia.org]

The only part of a patent that matters are the claims. So, no this patent does not cover all PgUp / PgDn, but only paging that is carried out according to the formula in the claims. Still, it seems that paging through a document as if it were a book with fixed pages and always showing the same part of the page would have been obvious.

Re:No they didn't (3, Insightful)

Harry8 (664596) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825445)

Is it naive to think that an Anonymous Coward apoligising for an unconscionable microsoft patent is paid for doing so? We know they've paid to push propaganda on wikipedia. Clue: the "method" is to press the Page Up or Page Down key. Or you're arguing that the "method" they've patented is the use of basic arithmetic.

Re:No they didn't (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825587)

Yes, it is. Not only is it naive, it's hopelessly paranoid. Worse still, it stifles discussion, much in the same way calling someone who disagrees with you a troll does. The poster is most likely a random person posting their honest opinion, who was afraid that the corrupt moderators /. has would abuse their power because they didn't like what he was saying (thankfully, he was wrong... we must have the decent moderators on tonight). Sweet Jesus, some people must have an "omg astroturf!!!" macro, because they're ready with their bullshit cries the instant someone defends a product/company they don't like.

Re:No they didn't (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825037)

sounds more like they patented scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor.

To gett arround the patentt, just be sligghtly offf. I ussed a simmilar techniqque to gett arround a speling patentt.

     

Re:No they didn't (4, Interesting)

Repton (60818) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825079)

Isn't that what Acrobat Reader does? You hit space, and it scrolls you down to the next screen-sized bit of document. Or, you hit pagedown, and it scrolls you exactly one page worth (which takes you to the same place on the next page).

Re:No they didn't (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825435)

I just clicked through the badsummary tag, and there are now 6 stories that have the word patent in the title.

Any chance we can drop the FUD and raise the writing standards a bit, gentlemen?

Thought not.

Next up: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824755)

Microsoft patents the process of securing a patent.

Lawsuit time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825487)

Finally, my patent on patenting the process of securing a patent pays off!

Re:Lawsuit time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825589)

Really, then we must talk because I own the following patent:

patent on patenting [n] anything

Where n >= 1.

The real patent they need... (5, Funny)

lucm (889690) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824767)

... is the three fingers salute. A "standard mechanism allowing end users to terminate faulty operating system processes without having the possibility to save their current work".

Ok it's an easy one.

Re:The real patent they need... (5, Funny)

PsychoElf (571371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824853)

My lawyer will be contacting you for the emotional damage I have suffered as a result of your post. I wasted a mouthful of BEER as a direct result of your post.

Re:The real patent they need... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825137)

Fantastic! They could sublicence it to everyone who ever added a power switch to their computers for extra cash, too.

Re:The real patent they need... (2, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825325)

Fantastic! They could sublicence it to everyone who ever added a power switch to their computers for extra cash, too.

Yeah, I suggest they try to get a piece of the action for every PC sold by a major vendor.

Oh, wait...

Re:The real patent they need... (3, Funny)

whosaidanythingabout (1144725) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825315)

The real origin of the three fingers is explained buy the inventor (David Bradley) on youtube [youtube.com]. So, Microsoft could not have patented it ... well they probably could have anyway in light of the PageUP PageDN patent.

Re:The real patent they need... (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825397)

How about "A method to horrify employees with the realization that their financial future is tied to your company". The "Dance Monkey Boy" video of Steve Balmer's little motivational "speech" should suffice and heaven knows no one's going to have prior art that covers that. If you can't submit the video, get someone to storyboard it. I think it would make a lovely comic. "Wwwoooooooooooooooooooooooo. Developers, developers, developers. WWWWWWWWWWWOooooooooooooooooooooooooo".

This is getting ridiculous... (5, Insightful)

monsul (1342167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824793)

Although the point here is not how ludicrous the patent is. Small companies simply can't afford the legal fees necessary to show this on court. Every single software patent out there, no matter how silly, is effectively enforced to everyone who doesn't have the resources to show up in court. The system is broken. I hope someone "up there" notices before it's too late

Re:This is getting ridiculous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825159)

Unfortunately, everyone "up there" is making money off it. Welcome to the real world, where injustices do remain. At least until everyone important has made enough money off the rest of us. For more information, google "define: capitalism" I expect this will be modded down for obviousness.

Re:This is getting ridiculous... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825195)

i am afraid it is already too late, it is going to take WW3 and the total destruction of the existing corporate & governmental infrastructure to clean up the mess they created...

What now? (1, Insightful)

Proud Virgin (1354837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824795)

I wonder what those keys will be named on non-MS keyboards from now on!

Re:What now? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824819)

If you can afford to manufacture keyboards on a large scale, you can probably afford to get into the lawsuit needed for this...

Re:What now? (1)

monsul (1342167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824915)

If you can afford to manufacture keyboards on a large scale, you can probably afford to get into the lawsuit needed for this...

That makes it right then!....oh wait, it doesn't!

If you can afford to manufacture keyboards on a large scale, I'm sure you didn't get there by paying lawyers to fight nonsense lawsuits

Re:What now? (1)

westcoast philly (991705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824873)

Well, the Lenovo laptop I'm reading this on allowed me to PgDn to the bottom of the page... and I'm conected through a RDP connection to my PC at home. so does that count as 2 seperate instances of copyright violation?

Re:What now? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824905)

so does that count as 2 seperate instances of copyright violation?

No, since it's an article about patents, not copyrights.

Page + 1 Pixel Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824843)

Problem solved

Other Inventions (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824847)

Microsoft announces today the patenting of P-En-IS

Gates: "P-En-IS is one of our most stable products yet! in fact at most it'll need a soft reboot now and then"

Ballmer: "Thats right, Buffer overflows are a FEATURE on this one!"

Didn't read article (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824851)

I have said keyboard. How much do I owe M$?

Re:Didn't read article (4, Informative)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825021)

At least read the summary next time. If you had you'd have noticed it's quite clearly not a patent for the keys themselves, but the practice of scrolling a specific amount regardless of the current view settings (eg. zoom). As such your keyboard is irrelevant, a peice of software that implements those keys in the standard way however is absolutely relevant.

To quote the patent text [uspto.gov] itself (emphasis added):

Briefly, the present invention provides a method and system for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as a row height corresponding to a row of one or more pages of a page set, so as to display a next page set from the precise vertical location into the page that the previous page set started, regardless of the current zoom percentage. For example, if the middle of a page set is at the top of the viewing area, after scrolling, the middle of the next page set is at the top of the viewing area. This operation occurs on receiving specific user input, e.g., a Page Up or Page Down key command.

Notice that the use of the Page Down/Up keys is an example of input that would be used in concert with the patent, so it's crystal clear that they're not trying to patent the keys themselves.

Not that what they're patenting is any less ridiculous, but let's at least get straight what ridiculous thing we're talking about.

Re:Didn't read article (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825391)

So what they 'invented' is pretty much the same as the Keep functionality (ie, what you get from having "xdvi.keepPosition: True" in your ~/.xdvirc) that's been in xdvi for the last age?

Birds of a feather, patent together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824855)

"mpany received its 5,000th patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2006, and is currently approaching the 10,000 mark.""

So how many does ,friend of OSS, IBM have?

Better them than a troll (4, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824859)

I can't say I remember hearing of Microsoft sue a bunch of companies over a broad patent like this before, so I guess it's better that they have it than some stupid IP holidng patent troll company.

Re:Better them than a troll (3, Insightful)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824973)

No, they'll just use it along with rest to force smaller companies into licencing deals, you got something microsoft wants? well you give it to them, other wise they'll throw a couple thousand invalid patents at you, wouldn't cost that much to strike them down right?

Re:Better them than a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825081)

Care to list some sources?

Nonetheless, (4, Insightful)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825107)

They still use patent threats and indemnification as a way to scare companies off Linux distributions.

Re:Better them than a troll (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825201)

Exactly what I was thinking. The system forces companies to try to patent trivial, non-novel things.

Almost makes you wish there were more patent troll companies to annoy the likes of MS to the point where they actively lobby for patent reform. Maybe the EFF should start raising money for patent trolling...

Re:Better them than a troll (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825469)

I'm pretty sure MS is among quite a few major companies that have lobbied for patent reform.

Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824869)

I believe Wang had PageUp and PageDn keys on their terminals back in the 1970s.

What? (5, Funny)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824911)

I think the response my father gave when I read the summary to him nicely sums up what we're all thinking: "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825541)

what else would you expect from Darth Vader

OBPoll: %age of bogus software patents (0)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24824929)

Best guess at the percentage of software patents that are bogus:

* sqrt(-1)
* e
* pi
* 0%
* 100%
* 2%
* 10%
* Just the ones issued by Examiner C. Neal

well, as long as they don't have one on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824959)

ctrl-v and meta-v.

smash clwefsa fsdah9ih0phph ;nkn;das;d ksan, m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24824971)

I can typej without inmpramint,. SUCKA

Why corporations should not be "a person" (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825001)

They have no guilt, no shame and no conscience. If corporations were people, there's a good chance they'd be just a little bit embarrassed in filing for a patent as obvious and pre-existing as this.

Instead of a corporation being required by law to be beholden to the shareholders interests, let's have that law changed to make corporations beholden to the interests of the people in their community.

Re:Why corporations should not be "a person" (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825243)

Instead of a corporation being required by law to be beholden to the shareholders interests, let's have that law changed to make corporations beholden to the interests of the people in their community.

Also, let's make it a law that everyone who asks for one gets a pony!

Re:Why corporations should not be "a person" (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825431)

In this case it is likely just a simple stupidity by M$ management. They are likely paying bonuses for every patent successfully obtained, M$ lawyers are also gaining payment for every patent gained, ballmer the insurance salesmen that he is, is just to dim to differentiate between useful and useless patents and, establish clear guidelines for patent filing.

So just a rush to gain as many patents as possible in some hair brained B$ marketing scheme to pump up M$ stock values. When they start boasting about having 10,000 patents which investor is going to review them all to see in they have any meaningful value, so it is a quick and dirty way of pumping of the value of the M$ portfolio, of course in reality they are simply throwing away the shareholders money.

DOA (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825049)

Can't be tied to a particular machine, it don't result in the physical transformation of an article, so this [slashdot.org] should apply, and the patent could be invalidated.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825199)

You are missing the point. Microsoft doesn't have just one or two of these utterly braindead patents. They have over 5000 of them. Soon they will have 10,000. Other corporations are doing the same thing. Patenting everything. The point in this is to make it nearly impossible for you to really comoete with them. You don't have the resources to fight Mirosoft and its 5000+ patents in court. You would very quickly be bankrupt or your lifetime would have expired. Microsoft is a corproation, they don't die the way we do. So fighting you for a hundred years in court is not a problem to a corporation.

And anyway, if you really were a threat they would either counter-sue you or get the GOP to pass more 'torte reform.'

The point is you are not likely to even try. The point is for you to feel powerless, and you do, and you are. So they win. You lose.

But I've copyrighted "Pg Up." Bwahahahaha! (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825095)

I've copyrighted "Pg Up," "Pg Dn," and every variation thereof. So, Microsoft can program a couple of keys to perform a Page Up and a Page Down, but they can't call the keys that do it "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn" without paying me a royalty.

They'll have to use something else, maybe Ctrl-Q E and Ctrl-Q X.

Bwahahahaha!

Don't believe me? Why do you suppose the key that copies the screen says "Prnt Scr" instead of "Copy Scr?" Because I hold the rights to the "Copy Scr" legend!

what's next? (0, Offtopic)

dmrobbin (560931) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825117)

what's next? a "do" loop??? if you can read this, thank a teacher if it's in english, thank a soldier

Easily overcome (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825171)

Simply make Pg Up and Pg Dn scroll an "inexact" amount of lines, ie, every 4 billion presses make it scroll 1 extra line in a random direction.

Re:Easily overcome (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825253)

Why bother to overcome it? I bet you can find applications dating back way before the patent was filed to cover almost every use case you could ever want in your app. This ought to be prior-art'd to death.

Finally! (2, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825207)

Jeez... why did it take them so long? I've been waiting for 25 years for this! This is a killer feature!

Oh, wait.

So, does this apply to.... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825231)

If I rotate a book 90 degrees either direction, and turn the pages, I am pretty much doing the same thing.

It is a very specific amount of movement (one page), regardless of how far I have the book from my face (zoom), and I can go either direction, up, or down.

So, they basically got a patent for doing what people have been doing with books for most of recorded history.

They obviously disallow common sense when it comes to patent applications. I guess someone patented it already.

What about the Space Bar? (1)

themoneyish (971138) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825287)

I think they'd be better off patenting the space bar, since its bigger and probably more profitable! =) Plus, if you use a fixed width font, the space bar moves exactly the same amount as each letter! woo hoo!

Acrobat (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825297)

So, does this apply to what happens when you view a PDF in Adobe Acrobat ?
How long has that been around ?

This is PATENTLY ridiculous. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825357)

Sorry for the pun, but in fact it is. Patently. Ridiculous.

WHEN is the PTO going to straighten itself out?

Here's the finger I use to page up and down (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825495)

It salutes the patent trolls.

Hehe lawyers create great software don't they???

Exemplifies quite well how desperate MS or rather Ballmer is...

Let's see when he came in their stock was around $112.00 in January 2000, today $27.29.... Great job Steve.

Perhaps for your next hat trick you could go run Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they can only go up... LOL you loser!!!

The "t" util in Decus C had this... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825497)

...published, with source code, certainly by 1984 and maybe several years earlier.

The t utility did not use PgUp/PgDn keys, had some others since it was for most any crt terminal, but it had and used the concept and was certainly published and possible to date publication. There are funny rules about publication, but this is a well documented bit of code, for almost any machine that could compile C code, given away freely.

The number says it: 7,415,666 (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825523)

"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

Software patents....Who cares (1)

dinther (738910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825559)

Software patents are rapidly becoming irrelevant anyway, due to the sheer number of them. I suspect most patents are files just to ensure access to the solution rather than protection of it.

After all, ideas are cheap but turning it into a profitable business is the hard part.

Re:Software patents....Who cares (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825605)

Well I know many users who tried Linux and laughed at it when they found out it was so primptive that it didn't support mp3s, clear type fonts, and dvd playing.

I explained it did and I used to do it and got a strange look back. The fact that its been removed and many users such as myself switched back to windows to not have to deal with the inconvenience does show that patents are relevant.

My guess is Microsoft is planning to launch the mother of all assaults on the free software foundation, sun Microsystems, and IBM. The CIO's of most companies will enact a ms only plan to prevent potential liabilities and ms can make more money.

That it! (1)

mcbutterbuns (1005301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24825571)

This must be the patent that Microsoft claims that GNU/Linux infringes upon!

The other ones include the power button and the space key.

Which others ones did I miss?

priori art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24825585)

In 70s I used a book that had next/previous page, aka page up/down! Damn should have patented it.

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