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Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors?

MobyDobie Re:Of course it protects the small investor (267 comments)

I would be amazed if winding something up to charge a battery were patentable. The article is, i believe, misleading. He invented a specific device, not the idea of using wind-up to power electrical devices. Winding things to make electricity is a pretty standard technique, as is using a rechargeable battery. People have been doing both for many years. I would be amazed if this combination had not been done before many times, and would not be obvious (and therefore unpatentable) even if it had not. The reason he probably got a narrow patent (wind-up + radio) is that is all he could get or was entitled to. He is. Not entitled to wind-up to charge a battery (which in turn might be connected to anything including a radio), nor wind-up to do anything else that involves electricity. What he seems to be doing is now claiming his narrow patent should allow him to control a much broader range of devices, including unpatentable ones. He is the troll here, much like software patent trolls who invent some specific imaging technique, and then claim it allows them to control all images on the Internet or whatever.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive SOHO Crime Deterrence and Monitoring?

MobyDobie Dog (272 comments)

What about getting a dog? It's both a deterrent and an alarm.

about 2 years ago
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Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did

MobyDobie Re:Inaccuracies & another Concorde (403 comments)

Yes Captain Hindsight, if they had known that at the time, it obviously wouldn't have been developed. You need to remember it was developed at a time before mass aviation, and before package holidays, and before cheap flights on wide body jets. It was always expected that the customers would be mostly well off (but not perhaps as super-rich as they turned out to be), and it developed because they expected to sell hundreds of Concordes, and earn a profit for the tax payer. They didn't sell hundreds, because (a) it was much more expensive to develop than they expected, (b) they sold a lot fewer aircraft than expected, and (c) they didn't have money to produce & sell the follow-on aircraft which could have been more commercially successful.

more than 2 years ago
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Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did

MobyDobie Re:Inaccuracies & another Concorde (403 comments)

I said it was fuel inefficient - not the opposite - can you not read? And yes Concorde was never improved. But two improved versions were designed, but never built, for lack of money

more than 2 years ago
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Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did

MobyDobie Inaccuracies & another Concorde (403 comments)

The article has all sorts of inaccuracies and key omissions. Concorde was always fuel inefficient and it was recognized as such in the 70s. It was thought it could still be successful despite this, until wide body jets took away much of its market. Because of its limited success, and limited money at the time, a slightly improved concorde (with greater range making a lot more transoceanic routes viable and about another 30 seats), or a vastly improved concorde (with about 250 seats), were never built. These might have been more commercially successful than the concorde that was built. Even so, Concorde was profitable as a niche market for British Airways. It was until it was grounded following the Air France crash. You may recall that BA spent a lot of money improving concorde and getting it back into the air (e.g. kevlar lining in the tanks), but then quickly wound the program down. They expected it to be profitable again, and fly for another 20 or 30 years. The problem was 9/11 killed concorde. The reason was it was such a niche that BA's concorde profits depending on a lot of regular fliers who repeatedly flew on it between London & New York - and many of these frequent Concorde fliers worked in the WTC. The treaty between the UK & France meant that unless both agreed Concorde had to be kept flying, so when BA lost interest the French neither had the prestige reasons or the monetary reasons (I don't know if their Concorde operations were profitable) to continue either, and it was mutually agreed to shutdown. Also omitted are some additional locations where Concorde can be visited. There is a Concorde (one of the two British test aircraft) that you can go aboard at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford near Cambridge. By coincidence I was there today, and yes I went aboard this Concorde.

more than 2 years ago
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Heartland Institute Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Comments On Leaked Documents

MobyDobie Re:what does waiting have to do with anything? (517 comments)

There mere fact that a document annoys somebody, doesn't prove it genuine either. To continue the example - Jews are pretty annoyed about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion too. But that still doesn't make the protocols into a genuine document either.

about 2 years ago
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Heartland Institute Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Comments On Leaked Documents

MobyDobie Re:what does waiting have to do with anything? (517 comments)

Sorry, that is really shitty, argument. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion probably included some accurate quotes from The Talmud. (mixed in with the faked stuff) The presence of any such quotes, wouldn't prove them genuine,

about 2 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:SOL (545 comments)

But "we" did become a contributor, according to his story the code ended up being GPL/MIT. In any case, whether it's "we should" or "we did", it's still "we" - which in both cases imply the employer ("we") had an ownership interest in the code. As for "day and night", it's you my friend who are stretching too far. "Working day and night" is a very common English idiom that means without stopping - 100% effort - either literally or hyperbolically - see e.g. http://dictionary.reference.com/idioms/night+and+day -this is even a recommended phrase in resume writing courses, because it shows commitment to working hard, and putting 100% effort into it. If he was putting 100% into his employment, when did he write the framework independently? In any case, I've asked him to clarify some of these less clear details on his blog, so we'll see what he says - that is if he doesn't moderate out my comment.

more than 3 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:Work produced at home is mine (545 comments)

If a product uses a third party GPL library, and is distributed out of compliance with the GPL, it infringes copyright. However only copyright holders in the library have legal standing to enforce the library's copyrights.

more than 3 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:SOL (545 comments)

"we became a contributor".... So if "we" is not the company, who is it?...... His claim in that paragraph is that the company contributed to open source, which is an admission of the company's ownership interest. Yes he says he worked day and night for the company - which doesn't leave much time for out of hours projects. But in any case, he says "During the last 2 years of that time, I created....." - so "during that time" is a reference to the latter part of his period of employment, when he was supposedly working day and night for the company. You have to ignore "during that time" or twist it pretty hard, to not see him saying he was doing the work during the course of employment, especially when he's already said he was working pretty much all of his time for the company

more than 3 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:Lawyer (545 comments)

If you read the link, it says the opposite. Right in the first paragraph of the article. He worked day and night for the company for 5 years, and for the last 2 years of those days and nights developed the project. Then he decided that "we" (i.e. the company) should contribute it to open source.

more than 3 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:SOL (545 comments)

He says "we" contributed to open source in the article. If "we" is not him and the company, who is it? It's a pretty clear admission of the company's ownership interest. He also says he worked day and night on the project for 2 years (out of 5 years with the company) - if working on the project day and night for 2 years on the project, what OTHER time was he working for the company? All he says is in the comments, is he wasn't employed under form W2.... but he seems to have implicitly admitted the company has an ownership interest, and the software was made during the course of his employment as part of his job function. MobyDobie

more than 3 years ago
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What Do I Do About My Ex-Employer Stealing My Free Code?

MobyDobie Re:They own the copyright (545 comments)

I read the article

But he is contradicting himself.

In the comments, he says he the project by himself at home.... and even then says he did it with the company's support - indicating some level of company involvement.

In the article, the guy refers to releasing back code, make a contribution, - was done by "we" - i.e. him and the company. THAT IS AN ADMISSION of the their ownership interest.

It's pretty clear the company would believe they had some involvement, and probably ownership of the code. And he believes it too -- And even when later the guy tries to remove the company's involvement from development, he does equivocally and in contradiction of his own earlier statements,

more than 3 years ago

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