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How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

Bearhouse Have they proved the root cause? (97 comments)

Yup, that old /. chestnut; correlation != causation.
Maybe they just "proved" that some firms invest less when they realise they don't know how to do innovation / R&D.

In any serious organisation these days, spending serious money on R&D, there's a multi-layered approach to all this, ranging from building portfolio of defense/attack/trade patents (Google buying Motorola phone division), (or joining a group who does), through researching prior art to finally building a attacking others (think Apple vs. Samsung).

You could say that that's the real "tax on innovation", since it's far more costly than the impact of a few "trolls" (defined as someone who holds a patent for the sole purpose of using it to attack others)

about two weeks ago
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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted

Bearhouse Re:Forget the Purple Hearts (359 comments)

Indeed. While you're at it, you can produce some for us (the "West").
I'm no leftie nutjob, but you've got to admin that the a lot of such problems are historically down to us...Africa, Middle East...)
We brought technology without knowledge - if we had spent as much time educating these people over the centuries as we had killing and exploiting them, well, maybe things would be better.
As it stands, this thing spreading out of control is just a short flight away...

about two weeks ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Bearhouse Power grids are complex, fragile and expensive (442 comments)

Other posts have covered most of why this (interesting) idea won't work. Here's another - grids and grid management systems around the world are already struggling to cope with the current setup, mainly due to years of under-investment.
Feed-in problems are not trivial; (causing more grid management issues), "green" sources of energy are expensive and tend to be in the wrong places...
I'm all for "alternative" energy, but is everyone prepared to invest the bazillions required to do it properly, and live with the massive price increases that would require?
Nope.

about two weeks ago
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Correcting Killer Architecture

Bearhouse Plenty of other examples - my favourite (98 comments)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

Inwards-facing ramps turned the 100M-square arch into a massive venturi, sweeping people off their feet, off the top of the plaza and then flinging therm down a conveniently-placed steep flight of hard stone stairs.

Genius.

Cue hastly rethink with a nasty plastic "roof" inside the arch to slow the wind...a little.

about two weeks ago
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Injecting Liquid Metal Into Blood Vessels Could Help Kill Tumors

Bearhouse Re:Why do I have the feeling... (111 comments)

Well, most workable "solutions" tend to have started with a crazy but creative idea, that gradually gets refined and other good ideas added to it until you get something that's acceptable.

So, for example, you could imagine making the fluid magnetic, so you could then maybe guide it into position and then hold it there. But this brings another issue - you can hardly hold the patient in a strong magnetic field forever.

So, then you could imagine adding some kind of slow-setting glue into the liquid that sets hard after it's had time to be guided into the target and clogged it up.

about three weeks ago
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Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

Bearhouse Re:Useless (177 comments)

It depends - there's a difference between saying 70% "in general" and "this one will be part of the 70%".

Of course, since the percentages seem very close the practical implications would seem to be the same.

about three weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

Bearhouse Re:Great idea - forget it. (205 comments)

Good reply - shame you did not get modded up

about three weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

Bearhouse Great idea - forget it. (205 comments)

It sounds superficially appealing, letting people choose what interests them or what they think they need to learn. But there's a couple of problems.

Firstly, if we stick with the music analogy, how many artists or tracks have you discovered by random, and in doing so expanded your listening choices?

Also, if you follow a well-structured course, you're getting what a subject-matter expert knows from experience you need to learn. Case in point, I would not have studied stats by choice, but now I'm damn glad it was hammered into me.

The poor courses I've seen were not so much hampered by the format, more either by sub-par lecturers and/or poor, outdated materials.

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Bearhouse We want data-fusion, not os/ap fusion (149 comments)

"I can take my Office Lens App, use the camera on the phone, take a picture of anything, and have it automatically OCR recognized and into OneNote in searchable fashion"

OneNote is/was actually a reasonable product - but does anybody use it?
I think that Microsoft's problem is that it has always been a (fragmented) product company, not able to look at things from a user point of view.

What I would like (and pay for) would be seamless integration of all my information, securely, between my devices and optionally backed up to "the cloud" (ugh). So far, (from personal experience), Apple have nice hardware with reasonable integration, Android is catching up (if you give Google access to all your data) and Microsoft is behind.

For the future, I would not give a damn if the 'phone was an Apple, a Nokia or a generic, and same for the OS on the phone and the PC. Here's a scenario; in one hit let me take a picture of someone, somewhere, add it to contacts, and the next time I want navigate to their house/office it one click. Show me all the mails and docs for the person, one click please.

about a month ago
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World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

Bearhouse What to do if you have unlimited money & ambit (85 comments)

And are not yet very good at building aircraft carriers and everything that goes with them (suitable aircraft and command and control).

It's not the "next best thing" or even close - there is a good reason why large 'planes such as this were rapidly abandoned (except by the Soviet Union) after WW2. They take up much more of their usable capacity with fuel and equipment , and are extremely vulnerable on both land and sea, (one submerged log or - more likely these days - a lost shipping container) and your transport and its cargo is scrap.

Of course, I'd still want one :)

about a month ago
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Switching From Microsoft Office To LibreOffice Saves Toulouse 1 Million Euros

Bearhouse Re:Good to hear (296 comments)

It's not so much the features in Visio, (although it is one of the more mature and sophisticated tools of its type), but:

1. Everyone you need to work with probably already knows it/has it installed.
2. There's a huge ecosystem around it, (not just m$), with a bunch of fine stuff such as Mindjet Mindmanager that plug right in.

Shame - I've been using Visio for years and it should be so much better...

about a month ago
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Switching From Microsoft Office To LibreOffice Saves Toulouse 1 Million Euros

Bearhouse Re:sure, works for France (296 comments)

It is, for most salaried employees, i.e. you get a set amount of paid vacation days as part of your salary.
Or put another way, the boss pays you less, but you get your time off "for free".
Since you pay tax and social charges on your salary, (and these are typically indexed to the amount you earn) it's actually a good deal, but most people don't think about it that way.

about a month ago
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Switching From Microsoft Office To LibreOffice Saves Toulouse 1 Million Euros

Bearhouse Re:sure, works for France (296 comments)

Sadly, the long lunch, with good cheap food (and wine) has long disappeared from the French business culture.
Sandwiches at the desk are more the norm.

Luckily, the women are still (mostly) slim and elegant :)

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

Bearhouse "Research" does not replace leadership vision (161 comments)

Plenty of other organisations, (IBM, Xerox...) have equally-sad stories.
Genuine transformational innovation ignored by the senior management...who in the case of IBM, then Microsoft, were focused exclusively on two things:

1. Screwing their customers
2. Screwing their competition

IBM got their comeuppance, and had to reinvent themselves as the "services" company we know and love (ahem) today.
A far cry from the company that had Nobel prize-winning people on their R&D teams.

Now its Microsoft's turn.

about a month and a half ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Bearhouse Re:A Century Ago (195 comments)

You're right.

OK France is much smaller than the USA, but it's still pretty big, and the TGV trains have been a huge success, attracting travellers away from air and road. With zero fatalities since its inception.
And of course, runs on cheap, low-carbon electricty generated by France's nuclear power stations...
So fast, safe and green. What more do you want?

http://www.thetransportpolitic...

about a month and a half ago
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New Technology Uses Cellular Towers For Super-Accurate Weather Measurements

Bearhouse Could this be used for detecting rockets/mortars? (42 comments)

I wonder if they could extend and improve their "iron dome" with this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I...

Would be great if they could knock all the Palestinian missiles out of the air instead of bombing the sh*t out of the lauch sites (which the launchers tend to put in urban areas).

about a month and a half ago
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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Bearhouse Re:Fiat can crash (753 comments)

Fix It Again, Tony

about a month and a half ago
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Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

Bearhouse Re:Rather far north. (151 comments)

Indeed - and having stayed there, I can confirm the weather around Kinloss is usually awful.

Sounds like a "make work" effort at this very remote location. At least if something blows up on the pad or shortly after launch there's not much around to damage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Study shows most controversial pages on Wikipedia, by country.

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  about a year ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "Researchers have identified the most-edited pages in Wikipedia — the subject of so-called 'Wikiwars'.
It's interesting to see how these differ by country; in the USA, GWB tops the list.
For the Czech republic, it's homosexuality.
Regarding Germany, 9/11 conspiracy theories are in third place, after Croatia and Scientology.
Just as weird and interesting as Wikipedia itself."

Link to Original Source
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What do you buy a 90 year old, tech-savy Dad who has everything?

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "My Dad amazes me with (a) his longevity & energy, and (b) his continued ability to mess around with electronics stuff. Since he already has things ranging from valve amps made from war-surplus, via an original IBM PC kit to an Android tablet, I was going to buy him a Raspberry Pi for Christmas. Turns out he's already got one. I saw nothing that really got me excited in the attached link, so your ideas would be appreciated, thanks."
Link to Original Source
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Instagram has updated its privacy policy giving it the right to sell users' phot

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "From the BBC: Unless users delete their Instagram accounts by a deadline of 16 January, they cannot opt out. The changes also mean Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as other affiliates and advertisers.
The move riled social media users, with some likening it to a "suicide note". The new policies follow Facebook's record $1bn (£616m; 758 euro) acquisition of Instagram in April. Facebook's vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson earlier this month had said: "Eventually we'll figure out a way to monetise Instagram."

I'm not sure the many young users of Instagram will be too happy when their pictures start showing up in ads."

Link to Original Source
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Credit card has display, acts as security token

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  about 2 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "From the BBC:

A credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard has been launched in Singapore by Mastercard.

The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a "one-time password" — doing away with the need for a separate device sometimes needed to log in to online banking.

"We brainstormed on ways to make it convenient and yet secure for customers," said V Subba from Standard Chartered Bank, which is collaborating with Mastercard.

"The question was: instead of sending customers another bulky token, could we replace something which already exists in the customer's wallet?"

Sounds convenient but perhaps less secure than having a separate device...I also wonder how robust it will be?"

Link to Original Source
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Good summary on IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP str

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "Won't be a surprise for regular readers, but there's a good summary from Gartner here of how IT VPs should be wary of, amongst other things, SAP's rather opaque pricing and Oracle's poor interoperability. Also, how IBM is more interested in taking over your company's IT strategy than it is in delivering solutions.

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/280268,the-truth-about-ibm-microsoft-oracle-and-sap.aspx"

Link to Original Source
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First accidental collision between two satellites

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The Guardian reports: '..a 12-year-old satellite belonging to the US company Iridium and a defunct Russian Cosmos satellite that was put into orbit in 1993...which weighed 560kg and 950kg respectively, apparently smashed into each other at a speed of 420 miles per minute (25,000mph).' 'Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Les Kodlick of the US strategic command, said: "We believe it's the first time that two satellites have collided in orbit." The command's joint space operations centre was tracking 500 to 600 new bits of debris, some as small as 10cm (3.9 inches) across, in addition to the 18,000 or so other man-made objects it has catalogued, he said.' Read more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/12/nasa-alert-as-satellites-collide"
Link to Original Source
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ISP confirmed throttling bandwidth in Canada

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "Amongst others, Ars Technica reports the results of a survey of the country's ISPs by Canada's Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The results "make clear just how widespread deep packet inspection (DPI) has become at Canadian ISPs". Read me here: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20090121-how-canadian-isps-throttle-the-internet.html With a user-generated summary of the responses here, (leads to a 50-page PDF) http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/archives/370"
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Update on mystery Peruvian meteroite

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The BBC has an update on the story that provoked a lot of comment here a while back. It's rather more thorough than the usual BBC article, so interesting. "Now experts say the event challenges conventional theories about meteorites. The object which came down in the Puno region of Peru was a relatively fragile stony meteorite. During the fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere, these are thought to fragment into smaller pieces which then scatter over a wide area. Yet pieces of the estimated 1m-wide meteorite are thought to have stayed together during entry, hitting the ground as one. There was a lot of discussion here about reporting toxic side-effects of the strike. FTA: "Reports about arsenic, bubbling [of water in the crater] and sickness were probably overblown. People were frightened, but some were also afraid they were under attack from a nearby country." A bull's horn was, however, confirmed as ripped off... For more, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7292863.stm"
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Chemical 'brain' invented for nanobot control

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The BBC reports that "A tiny chemical "brain" which could one day act as a remote control for swarms of nano-machines has been invented." See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7288426.stm. "The machine is made from 17 molecules of the chemical duroquinone. Each one is known as a "logic device". They each resemble a ring with four protruding spokes that can be independently rotated to represent four different states. The molecular device — just two billionths of a metre across — was able to control eight of the microscopic machines simultaneously. Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say it could also be used to boost the processing power of future computers.""
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EU rules that Microsoft breaks antitrust rules

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The BBC reports that "The European Commission has fined US computer giant Microsoft for defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour. Microsoft must now pay 899 million euros ($1.4bn; £680.9m) after it failed to comply with a 2004 ruling that it took part in monopolistic practices. The ruling said that Microsoft was guilty of not providing vital information to rival software makers. EU regulators said the firm was the first to break an EU antitrust ruling." See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7266629.stm What — if anything — do you think this will further ruling will change? What 'vital information' would you want?"
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Internet-censorship avoidance nominated for prize

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "Picidae, http://picidae.net/, is the latest in the cat-and-mouse game of censors and hole finders / makers. The inventors have tested it for three weeks in China, and so far claim to have gotten round the 'great firewall'. If you invoke a pici-server a form field appears to fill in a web address. The pici-server then creates an image of that website and sends this back. Works as advertised, (until it gets /.ed, I guess). You can added your own pici-server to help out. It's been nominated for a Transmediale prize: http://www.transmediale.de/site/award/nominated-works/ From the nomination: Christoph Wachter / Mathias Jud (de/ch): picidae (Community Network, Installation, 2007) "picidae" creates a server community which breaks national firewalls by redelivering complete, readable and hyperlinked images of blocked web sites. How long before it gets blocked, and how?"
Link to Original Source
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As predicted, update bad for unlocked iPhones

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "As widely predicted, it's now being reported by the BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7017660.stm, and the NYT, http://tinyurl.com/25sgxe, that upgrading your unlocked iPhone is not good news. Anybody surprised?

Following on from earlier posts here about the legality of unlocking your iPhone, what's your opinion on the legality of Apple bricking it for you with an upgrade? Do you think this is a bad way for Apple to build customer loyalty with an increasingly tech-savy user base, who like to add applications to their personal devices? Or do you think it's good, bearing in mind that mobile phones are being hyped as the next payment method, and so need to be secure?"

Link to Original Source
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Getting the most out of Lotus Notes

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "One of my clients, a major international, wants to get control over its email. IT support is outsourced, and poor. At the moment, they've launched a small project to deal with 'excessive' volumes of mails — some people receive over 300 per day! Although many of the users are engineers, they typically are not well-trained in Notes, and do not tend to use its advanced features. The in-house team they've put together has come up with suggestions like, "let's force people to click on confirmation dialogs when they hit 'reply to all', or have big attachments". I'm not sure this is the way to go. Anybody here have any ideas to help, please? Also, what tools would readers suggest to structure and 'mine' the vast quantity of mails that are generated each year? At the moment, this information goes totally unused..."
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Future of Netradio may depend on DRM adoption

Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "ars technica reports that the planned tripling of royalties for US-based net radios may be postponed, but at a price. From the article, "SoundExchange has offered to cap the $500 per channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year for webcasters who agree to provide more detailed reporting of the music that they play and work to stop users from engaging in 'streamripping' — turning Internet radio performances into a digital music library,". Could this mean a return to 'pirate radio', with sites moving offshore?"
Link to Original Source
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Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The folks over at Wired publish the results of surveying some popular US-based ISPs. The results are patchy. Some ISPs only responded to a few questions, and others not at all. Of those that did respond, some keep record of IPs allocated, and URLs visited, for up to six months. Seems a tempting target for both black hats and law enforcers. Who'll get your browsing history first? Read more at http://www.wired.com/politics/onlinerights/news/20 07/05/isp_privacy"
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Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The original report, regarding the loss of the ashes of the late Star Trek actor James Doohan, (Scotty), got a lot of press here. Well, the BBC is reporting that they've been found, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6671887.s tm From the article, 'before his death — at the age of 85 — two years ago, he had asked for his remains to be sent into space....Wende Doohan, James Doohan's widow, told the Associated Press news agency her late husband "probably wished he could have stayed".' How long before we have the option of being 'buried in space'? Would you advocate / go for it?"
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Bearhouse Bearhouse writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Bearhouse (1034238) writes "The BBC reports, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6574175.stm, that Google has seen quarterly profits soar by 69%, boosted by strong advertising revenue. From the article, "[Google] net income climbed to $1bn (£499m) in the first three months of 2007, up from $592m on a year earlier. Google's results contrast sharply with Yahoo, whose sales fell 11% in the first three months of this year. Yahoo's net profit fell to $142m (£71m) for the three months to March 31, compared with $160m a year earlier." Looks like the ultimate 'geeks' are also winning out on the commercial front. Are the 'don't be evil boys' going to challenge the 'evil empire' with, among other things, Google apps? Having crushed the other search apps, and bought out DoubleClick, what's next?"

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