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173 comments

Air freshener (5, Funny)

mattb112885 (1122739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329317)

Did they patent a virtual air freshener too? Because I really need one.

I'll say! (5, Funny)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329347)

Did they patent a virtual air freshener too? Because I really need one.
I'll say. I can virtually smell you from here. :D

Re:I'll say! (0, Troll)

DirtyFly (765689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330959)

hummm smell

'The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... BULLSHIT. Someday this war's gonna end...'

Jorge

Horn (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329405)

..is more necessary. Nothing sucks more than traffic jams on the Information Super Highway. No way to signify that better than being as absolutely obnoxious as possible

Re:Air freshener (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330729)

something definitely smells fishy about this...

Obviousness Criteria (4, Informative)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329343)

Hopefully this will fail the new obviousness criteria; note that it is still just an application. Basically, they are combining existing technologies in their obvious functionality: methods to change configuration information and display various information to vehicle operators.

I don't see any innovation here at all; they are combining elements and the result is the expected result for combining those elements.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (2, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329607)

This sucks:

GM/Ford/BMW (or whoever) patents putting information on the windscreen -- Hmmm useful.

Microsoft [attempts to] patents putting more information on the windscreen -- WTF?!

Wasting the patent office's time should be a crime. I wonder could patent a bigger wheel - I'd make a fortune.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (3, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329723)

I'm not sure it would even be that useful if GM/Ford/BWM or whoever did it. It would probably be ad-supported anyway. Can you just imagine?

Hey, driver - you need new wiper blades. Check out the specials at Pep Boys (tm)! While there, get an oil change!

I just hope that never comes true!

Re:Obviousness Criteria (3, Interesting)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329841)

My dell here does that for me. It's let me know for the past 6 months that my battery "is still working, but nearing the end of its useful life." The same notice provides a handy "come on down to the web dealership..." notice and link to dell's shop. It does this each time the laptop starts. Oh, and the laptop is one year old, so it was six months old when it started this crap.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (3, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330877)

Oh, and the laptop is one year old, so it was six months old when it started this crap.


Seems to me, that'd be a great time to call Dell for a warranty replacement of the battery. Make their advertising scheme cost them. "Your app tells me that my battery, which is only 6 months old, is already crap. Send me a new one."

Re:Obviousness Criteria (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330981)

Dell will in fact send you a battery in this condition. Call *before* a year is up please. I'm sick of getting calls from people whose batteries died within warranty waiting 6 months and then trying to get a free one. (And quite literally the day after the one year is up, they won't do a thing for you except make sure you're AC adapter is working right, those go bad nearly as often as the batteries)

Re:Obviousness Criteria (2, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331185)

except the battery is fine. There's just some damn bit stuck somewhere that it's reading and setting off this ad/nag ware. My beef, and the GGP's beef is with the ad/nagware. I don't want it there, and I can't find a control panel item or other overt way to disable it, though it hasn't gotten annoying enough to send me registry hacking yet.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330013)

Elite Plus for RiscOS had a set of virtual fuzzy dice. They were quite useful, since they gave a good indicator of your current roll speed, without having to look down at the roll indicator. I wonder if they would count as prior art for this. The only difference is that the input for a real car comes from a sensor, rather than a simulated environment.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330203)

I don't see any innovation here at all;

Oh come on this is Microsoft we are talking about, we dont expect innovation. MS hasnt been all that innovative since win 95 and maybe NT.

Even there it had been done before. But to ward off the flame modders I have to put this stipulation in. What MS is really good at is taking existing proven technologies and putting them into an attractive package. I am a mostly M$ shop with about 1/5 being Mac and some linux servers splashed around here and there. If you want innovation you are looking at the wrong company, innovation comes from companies like Nintendo, Apple, Sony, Toshiba and the like who get burned here and there but keep the industry moving forward due to taking risks.

Personally I think MS has the opportunity to combine a lot of tech they control in this patent and make a pretty damn good product. Although I would expect someone like Magellan to come out with a much more innovative product.

OMG... Chase those tail lights!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330577)

Quick... someone write a FOSSie app for teh Lunix which displayes fuzzy dice.

How dare MS do anything without the approval of teh FOSS users. As punishment, we must rip them off again.

Re:Obviousness Criteria (2, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330609)

Hopefully this will fail the new obviousness criteria

I, on the other hand, hope that all of microsoft's other patents fail, and this is the only one they're left with in their entire portfolio. Fluffy dice.

I have some... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329355)

I have some fuzzy dangling things that they can try and patent.

Re:I have some... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329671)

You can't patent man-breasts.

Re:I have some... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329789)

Yes, I suspect Mr. Ballmer has already claimed that particular goldmine.

Great (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329363)

Just what we need from a heads-up display: something which conveys no useful information and serves only to distract the driver from their main job of keeping the car on the road. This strikes me as a perfect example of the rule that, simply because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329589)

"Simply because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

I thought that was one of Microsofts' main beliefs.. simply because they can put out (largely) pointless new versions of Office and Windows, they do. They also charge insane amounts for little extra functionality, just because they can. At least people are catching on a bit with Vista.

Nothing new here (2, Insightful)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330365)

Unfortunately, consumerism isn't driven by the "ability does not dictate necessity" mentality. Just take a look at the cars on the road to see this in action. How many SUV's do you see? There would be no Escalades if people didn't want lots of "chrome". We're all guilty of feeding this cycle, as I see it.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330539)

Not that many SUVs in the UK, but I get your point. The thing is, that Microsoft (and car manufacturers, though cars do rust over time, while software only goes 'out of style') kind of forces this on consumers by only selling the latest and 'greatest' versions of their products. All software companies do this, but with Microsoft the effect is a lot stronger because so many people use their software, and the formats aren't great for backwards compatability.

Re:Nothing new here (2, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330813)

That's a very good point; I think that companies 'forcing' software on people is the other half of the viscous cycle - if they don't, their competitors will.


I think we're all partly responsible for Microsoft being what it is. And I'm saying this, mind you, as a Linux user. If Microsoft didn't 'push' software on us, Apple would; if Apple didn't, IBM would... Sun... Novell... your friends neighbors brothers nephew ("...and everyone says he's a real whiz with computers, and he's writing this software that...").


Sometimes I think we deserve this monster we've built. Everyone is falling over themselves to get our money, and we walk to the slaughter like the cattle we are. As a fan of irony, and an esoteric dichotomy, I should note that while I complain about this, I've also used it for my own gain on several occasions. I guess that's just part of my inner turmoil.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331373)

After thinking about it a bit more, he vicious cycle that you mention - which I guess we can basically just call 'progress' - is in the end a good thing because you do get genuine benefits occasionally. Even in Microsoft Office I guess, which is my favourite product to get pissed off at when people want to upgrade just for the sake of it (next in line would be Windows, and then comes the CAD programs the engineers use here). Through the last few versions of Office the only thing I've noticed being different (apart from things like PST formats >.
The vacuousness of our natures does show up in all parts of life, and we all do encourage it, things like wanting a new shape on our car, or wanting shinier graphics in our games. I love shiny graphics too, but I'd take gameplay over graphics anyday. Well, okay.. 9 out of 10 days - you have to be able to go "oooooh that's cool" occasionally ;) 90% substance, 10% style seems like a good balance!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329605)

Just what we need hanging from the rear-view mirror: something which conveys no useful information and serves only to distract the driver from their main job of keeping the car on the road. This strikes me as a perfect example of the rule that, simply because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Just what we need sitting on the dash: something which conveys no useful information and serves only to distract the driver from their main job of keeping the car on the road. This strikes me as a perfect example of the rule that, simply because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Re:Great (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331903)

Some people just don't see the usefulness of a visual horizon monitor. I must say, driving a Yukon (3 kids, a wife, and living in the country its not just for fashion), being the slightly top heavy vehicle it is, I watch my drinks and the tassel I have hanging from my rear view mirror. It gives me a good idea of how much more I can give it before I become to top heavy and roll.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329741)

So should radios and CD/MP3 players be eliminated from vehicles too?

Re:Great (1)

scatters (864681) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331545)

I'm sure many pilots would disagree with you about the usefulness of HUDs. The idea is that you can see critical information (speed, remaining fuel, etc) without having to look down at the instrument cluster, which requires that you take your eyes of the road momentarily and refocus your eyes.

I'd be totally in favor of a well designed HUD, but I'm not sure that Microsoft is the right company to provide it (Vista anyone?), and it should /never/ have unnecessary 'features' such as swinging dice...

What will they patent next... (3, Funny)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329367)

I can't wait till the virtual dancing hula girl arrives.... She could probably even dance to show you the direction to turn when plugged into your GPS.

Re:What will they patent next... (2, Insightful)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329845)

You should patent that before someone from Microsoft reads your post!

Re:What will they patent next... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330753)

Virtual bobbing chihuahua head. It detects when someone is tailgating and then, while bobbing up and down, it flips the driver the bird.

queue microsoft crash jokes (0, Troll)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329377)

And all the microsoft-crashes-your-car jokes start in 3...2...1...

I'll throw in one: Does the blue screen block my view of the road for when the dice program crashes?

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329449)

Will there be a GPS-based clippy that gives directions to places you don't want to go?

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329629)

Yeah - you can't use your brakes until you answer his questions.

The questions use Microsoft's excellect speech recognition technology :) ( http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-112322121 7782777472 [google.com] )

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (3, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329863)

"You appear to be in an accident, air bags are about to deploy. Cancel or Allow?"

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330229)

Heh.
"You appear to be crying out in pain, do you wish help writing a complaint to the manufacturer?"

"You appear not a DMV certified driver, HUD functions will be limited to wanted stars and health levels"

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330679)

- Allow, dammit, allow!!
- 'Let's set so double the killer delete select all' doesn't seem to be a valid answer. You appear to be in an accident, air bags are about to deploy. Cancel or Allow?

Re:queue microsoft crash jokes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331857)

Kind of strange how teh FOSSies keep making Windows crash jokes, while Windows Server 2003 keeps replacing teh Lunix in the data center.

Someone must be doing something right... and I don't spewing anti-MS FUD is going to help anyone figure that out (nor is writing another text editor).

Wonder if they will assist.. (5, Funny)

CIANCHAMBLISS (955013) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329399)

First Clippy, now Dicey?

Re:Wonder if they will assist.. (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329871)

That would be redundant; everything coming out of Redmond lately is already pretty dicey. ;)

mod 04 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329409)

posRts. Theref0re Munches the most

Patent Coverage? (2, Funny)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329431)

Does this patent cover anything that sways when hung from a virtual car and virtually sways?

I'm really concerned about the virtual nutsack I have hanging from my virtual trailer hitch on my virtual truck.

er... loophole? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330295)

While the patent obviously covers fuzzy dice, it also covers dangling CDs, native american dream catchers, and other things that are hung by a string. It does not cover things like Hawaiian leis, or for all you single guys out there, wedding garters.

Great (1)

epseps (39675) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329467)

Now cars will become part of a massive spam sending botnet.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329675)

Yes.. except now when the Chinese government's mercenary botherders assume control of your vehicle and crash it into their high-profile targets, you'll be the one in Guantanamo.

Arcades (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329515)

I once played an arcade racing game where you race trucks and one of them had purple dice that showed up on screen and bounced around in your view.

Re:Arcades (3, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329805)

Sega's Rad Mobile [wikipedia.org] had a virtual, fuzzy, Sonic dangling from the rear-view. He bounced and swayed with the movements of the car.

Re:Arcades (1)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331899)

I remember seeing a big rig transport driving game that has been around for years and had objects in the rear view mirror that bounced and swung as your truck ran over or bumped into objects. I can't recall the exact name of it right now.

Prior art (2, Funny)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329561)

I have had fuzzy dice that move with the car movements for as long as I can remember. And it's a mechanical device too, not your fancy digital dice. Now excuse me, I gotta go put holes in some punchcards.

Another driver's distraction! (2, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329577)

Just what the motoring public needs, another source of distraction. I can see it now. People will hack the fuzzy dice to do all sorts of amusing things, notice them while driving, and crash (physically, not in the software sense).

On the plus side, I would imagine this "feature" will get the device banned under California's no "entertainment" video displays in sight of the driver whilst the car is in motion.

Re:Another driver's distraction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329777)

People will hack the fuzzy dice to do all sorts of amusing things
All sorts, no. Boobs, yes.

One good thing though, when Bazzer dumps Sharon for Na-alee, he'll just have to edit his registry settings.

Re:Another driver's distraction! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329817)

Virtual displays? Who needs 'em? Why, when I was young, you were lucky to have a windscreen at all, let alone a roof over your head. And these fancy 'automatic' transmissions. Who needs 'em? And now they have six, seven, even eight speeds! Why, we only had three, four of you counted reverse, and you had to select them yourself using a stick that came up through the floor boards. Why, the clutch was so heavy, my left leg was near twice the size of my right. And power hydraulic brakes, we had good steel links running to our drum brakes and they worked fine! Sure they would fade out on a long hill and leave you hanging on the horn hoping nobody pulled out in front of you while you zipped through town, but we liked 'em just fine! Intermittent wipers? We had 'em! Those old vacuum motors were about as intermittent as you could get! Stomp on the gas going up a big hill and the manifold would drop to zero and wipers would just freeze, leaving you charging up the hill with water streaming across the windscreen, if you were lucky enough to have one, the whole world a blurry mess. Of course, if you didn't have a windscreen, you could just wipe your glass goggles with the chamois back of your driving gloves, if you were lucky enough to have them.

Re:Another driver's distraction! (1)

Zwack (27039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331303)

we had good steel links running to our drum brakes and they worked fine!

So you've been in my car then? Actually, it's my wife's Mustang, but it has four wheel drum brakes. They are hydraulic, but doing a mechanical linkage would be kind of interesting given the way they work... (The hydraulic pressure created by you pushing a piston into a cylinder with your feet pushes two pistons out of another cylinder in each wheel which pushes the brake pads against the inside of the drum. The parking brake is a mechanical linkage, using a cable that only applies one of the two pads in the two rear wheels...

Still, it's an improvement on that leather block on the end of a lever that they used to use...

Z.

Re:Another driver's distraction! (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330661)

> Just what the motoring public needs, another source of distraction. I can see it now. People will hack the fuzzy dice to do all sorts of amusing things

I can't wait to hack into these remotely and turn ALL the pixels opaque black!
Or better yet, have a virtual motorcycle turn into your lane and head straight for you!

Distractions (2, Insightful)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329627)

Okay, if done nicely, I wouldn't mind a heads-up display (HUD). But does the general driving population need more driving distractions? Also, would other drivers be able to see it (say from behind)? Other vehicle's TVs and crap dangling from the rearview mirror always bugs me.

Re:Distractions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331969)

To me your comment raises the real issue. HUD's have been around for a long time hence there's nothing innovative about this patent. It should fail. It may be an innovative use of microsofts products but it's not in anyway a new concept or idea.

Dig that law firm name (0, Offtopic)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329699)

SHOOK, HARDY & BACON L.L.P

Granted, that's not exactly Dewey, Cheatum, and How, but would you be able to tell your friends, with a straight face, that you had enlisted the services of the law firm Shook, Hardy, & Bacon? If you answer yes, well, then I offer you a laurel, and hardy handshake, and I hope they don't shake your bacon too much.

Virtual.... (2, Funny)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329705)

I cant wait to get one so I can have...

My own....
Virtual......
Jesus

Re:Virtual.... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330483)

That's not a bad idea. They should give it an animation, mood sensing technology, and make it say "What would Jesus do?" everytime you scream at the other cars.

Wow, virtual fuzzy dice. How useless (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329825)

There are already heads up displays in some cars. Just another "Me Too" Microsoft Innovation that they probably bought from some startup.
I'm not putting out some flame bait, I'd think Linux powered fuzzy dice were lame too.
How about we develop better combustion technology, and better renewable resource technology, not more electronic crap to further distract the driver.
The virtual fuzzy dice idea is about as good as replacing the airbag on the steering wheel with a flat screen TV.

Re:Wow, virtual fuzzy dice. How useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330033)

The virtual fuzzy dice idea is about as good as replacing the airbag on the steering wheel with a flat screen TV.

That's a great idea, as long as they include a razor wire seatbelt with the TV option. Time to start thinning the herd... ;)

Re:Wow, virtual fuzzy dice. How useless (2, Funny)

goldenrod3 (1146587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330855)

Better combustion technology, efficiency etc. blah blah, that would be far too sensible! How about a fast, small footprint, reliable, secure operating system with a clean, responsive interface? Instead we have Vista!!

How about a targeting system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329847)

Hopefully this will include a targeting system with cross hairs and frickin' virtual lasers I can use to blow up the car in front of me with virtual fireballs.

 

Re:How about a targeting system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330345)

Do they HAVE to be virtual?

Re:How about a targeting system? (1)

Drgnkght (449916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331465)

Yes, the last thing you want while driving on the freeway is to have to dodge incompetent drivers and their flaming wreckage.

Besides, road conditions are bad enough without every clueless driver on the road shooting at it.

Question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329861)

Question... Is virtual gravity patented yet? If not, I'm going to do it...

Adaptive means (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330007)

that this covers anything anyone else makes that does anything, see it's adaptive.

ah, technology. (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330133)

Back in my day, we had REAL fuzzy dice, not these fancy fake moving pictures you kids have these days.

Re:ah, technology. (1)

harlemjoe (304815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330481)

So wait -- do physical fuzzy dice count as prior art in patent challenge? I thought obviousness was a grounds for dismissal. Although the need for "virtual fuzzy dice" is far from obvious, the patent proposal itself slaps you in the face. I mean, it's the same concept as a bloody "digital" speedometer or fuel guage isn't it? Then again, one could hardly have foreseen the popularity of a "virtual" solitaire. Thank God the US Supreme Court seems to agree [technologyreview.com]

Curious (1)

goldenrod3 (1146587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330403)

Microsoft love their eye candy don't they. Will the pretty fluffy dice be a cover up for a rather sluggish and bloated underlying system? I wonder what kind of OS they will be using for the heads up display, and if you don't connect to the activation server after 30 days will it put your car into enhanced reduced functionality mode?

Ooh, how many sides? (1)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330405)

I hope they offer an icosahedral version.

Re:Ooh, how many sides? (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330931)

Oh, that's brilliant! I've got a rabid RPG-playing friend with a birthday coming up. I'm going to make him a pair of fuzzy d20's to hang in his truck.

Yo home? (1)

iviv66 (1146639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330423)

I whistled for a computer and when it came near the license plate said fresh and had a dice in the mirror If anything I could say that this program was rare But I thought now forget it, yo home to bel-air

Rear window heads up display (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331317)

I want a heads up in the back, facing outward, so I can put 'get off my (picture of someone mooning)' for tailgaters... I can't wait till people start playing GTA on this thing and get a little confused... Or playing halo, hop in a warthog and do some real 'war driving'... here's to hoping they never had more capability in graphics than needed, to keep creative hardware hackers from being a road menace.

That's the Dumbest Fucking Idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331669)

since I've been at Microsoft.
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