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Comments

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Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

Penguinisto Re:"to not look inside the box" (102 comments)

An awesome way to smuggle a wifi sniffer - or something naughtier - into the googleplex!

...more like an awesome way for Google to grab a profitable patent in exchange for the prize money.

Seriously - if you can pop those kind of specifications, you can make a hell of a lot more than a million bucks from the patent alone.

1 hour ago
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Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

Penguinisto Re:Duh (64 comments)

A cheapie SunFire v200/210 will run like a tank, but you'll be crippled by the server's top speed, and they do put out the heat if you push up the load average (and HVAC costs should always be factored in, yo.)

You'll also need to buy a lot of those pizza boxes to make up for the processing power that you can find in a box half its age, let alone the newer iron.

Sometimes you have to run the old stuff (I work in an environment where we have testbed boxes, and SunFires are a part of that, along with ancient RS/6000 gear, PA-RISC HPUX gear, etc. I can tell you right now that the old stuff cranks out a lot more heat (and in many cases eats a lot more rackspace) than the equivalent horsepower found in just a handful of new HP DL-360's.

2 hours ago
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Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

Penguinisto Re:Duh (64 comments)

Electrical energy is also free, apparently.

So is HVAC - go figure.

2 hours ago
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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Penguinisto Re:Is that what it is come down to? (168 comments)

links FTW, bitches!

(...then again, it would seem rather trivial to make/create an extension that blocks or modified the canvas tag contents, no?)

7 hours ago
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Exodus Intelligence Details Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Tails OS

Penguinisto Re:Curious (113 comments)

What could allow remote code execution in Tails but not affect Firefox or any of the other software us non-terrorists use. A bug in tor itself?

Given that they likely had to add a few custom bits to insure anonymity, and likely modified or ripped out a few other bits, odds are good that the customizations are where the issue lies.

(...then again, perhaps the bug(s) can be found in the std. packages, but the researchers wanted to scare a smaller organization into becoming a customer first?)

7 hours ago
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Exodus Intelligence Details Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Tails OS

Penguinisto Wait, wait... (113 comments)

The company plans to tell the Tails team about the issues "in due time"

I'm 100% certain "in due time" would come a lot sooner if the Tails OS maintainers coughed up the right fee, which means that this is most definitely NOT responsible disclosure.

I get that security researchers have to eat too, but damn - this sort of reeks of extortion. Maybe I'm wrong, but I know if I had a code project and some company said they knew I had holes but refused to tell me upon asking, extortion would be the first effing thought that would come to mind.

7 hours ago
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No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Penguinisto Re:laying off...but needs more H-1B's (249 comments)

This is simple business 101, and there's no reason to take it personally. Of course Microsoft is going to do what's best for Microsoft. They do not owe you a job, or a 6-figure paycheck.

...and we don't owe Microsoft our patronage - it works both ways, which is what GP was calling out.

yesterday
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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

Penguinisto Re:ISP = can't filter? (241 comments)

I doubt it - it will be treated a lot like a corporate network does now viz. remote/VPN/BYOD connectivity; you sign a consent form, and if you use their bandwidth, you agree to their terms.

yesterday
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

Penguinisto Re:...The hell? (283 comments)

Unless, of course, you have one of the lower end phones (which is exactly the kind he is referring to) and it doesn't have enough internal storage for you to replace all the built-in apps (which can't be removed without root).

True.

On the other hand, things have come along enough to give you quite a substantial amount of room even at the low-end. I paid $149 For a Huawei 881c (Net10/Tracfone), and I've got 2GB of internal storage to play with for apps (something like 512MB out of the box, but you can tweak it w/o root to take the whole 2GB and shove your media onto a micro-SD chip).

At this point, the lowest of the low-end phones are only for, well, suckers. You can save up a few pennies and get something cheap, and do it without having to sacrifice too much out of the gate. For example, on my phone, this is what I don't have: the magnetic compass is missing, I can't tether it (w/o rooting the thing), it's 3g instead of 4g, and performance is only like 95% of the top-end flagship phones (e.g. barely noticeable). However, that's about it, and it doesn't really impact what I do on it.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Penguinisto Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (271 comments)

LOL, you're so cute. When the employer RIFs the employees, does it give them a "2-week minimal notice," or does it show them the door (with possibly a small cheque to keep them quiet)? Remember, without an employment contract, you don't owe them anything—which is why smart companies have employment contracts.

I give them the two weeks' notice for one important reason, having nothing to do with the employer: Networking. The metro area I live in doesn't have a massive tech market, so out here you end up seeing a lot of former co-workers and managers in other jobs (and more importantly, you stumble across them in other job interviews).

Now if I lived in SanFran or Seattle (or even LA or NYC), I wouldn't give a flying damn and just pull the D-Ring if they deserved it. But, I don't, so I have to look after my future as much as I look after my present.

4 days ago
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The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

Penguinisto Re:I didn't read TFA (63 comments)

That's the point. When they know certain conditions, they can predict, with some level of accuracy, what evolutions will take place.

I'm just curious as to how they overcame the more unpredictable factors such as random mutations (e.g. a cosmic ray bumps some life form's DNA a little, causing a benefit, etc.), or did they just count that as statistical noise, or...?

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Penguinisto Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (271 comments)

I can grok the ideal you have, but honestly, I think that it would be a huge morale-killer.

Think of it this way: You get hired on, and you do great work. But then, you have to always be mindful of company politics, and be sure to kiss the right asses (and stab the right backs), else the next periodic review may well see you on the street in spite of your contributions. I've worked for companies that did that, and everybody was constantly either worried about keeping their job, or were busily trying to sabotage their buddies in order to secure their own careers.

It would be akin to working on a renewable contract, truth be told, and if that's the case, then you may as well work for them free-agent and pocket the difference. Another analogy would be that it's like stack-ranking, but more aggressive in parts - each department would have to constantly justify everyone in it, and they'd have to fall to something like stack-ranking in order to keep tabs on who stays and who goes when word comes down to jettison someone.

Now I've seen the opposite as well - Fiserv (the web banking software company) has a nasty habit of doing layoffs every two years -- often with no rhyme or reason other than to make the numbers look good. At the appointed time, they demand that each department chop x% off their department headcount no matter how over/understaffed the department may be; it's become so routine that many employees term it the "bi-annual layoff lottery". Again, total morale-killer and team-killer.

With an eye towards all that, I propose something kind of radical here: I propose that companies look to hiring with an eye towards adaptability. That way, should a product or project either go sour, or should times change, odds are good that unless the company is hit/hurt overall, you can start moving folks to new projects and/or new product lines, giving existing employees priority for those slots. It wouldn't hurt to have solid mentoring and training cultures (and budgets) in place to help your good employees stretch out a little in their careers, so that they can more easily adapt right along with the company. But that's kind of a pipe dream, I know...

Personally, I've decided to become just as professional, mercenary and ruthless as the employer who I work for. If they're awesome and caring about their people, I'll be awesome and caring about them, and go above and beyond for them.

If they're a bunch of back-stabbing and self-serving asshats out to chase the Almighty Dollar with no regard for their employees' morale and careers, then I have zero problems with doing only what is required, moving to a better job elsewhere with only a 2-week minimal notice, and not really give a damn if my departure leaves them in the lurch for anything critical. I've happily done so before, then watched months later (via the grapevine) as they spent a massive amount of money not only paying for my replacement, but in cleaning up the damage from failed projects due to multi-month disruptions from having to find someone and then getting that someone up to speed.

Until that large awesome company exists that you would give an arm and a leg for? Well, you have to look out for yourself, and in the tech industry, there isn't exactly a lack of jobs for those with the skills and the drive to take them, you know?

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Penguinisto Re:How many employees does Slashdot need? (271 comments)

Nice flamebait, but let's make it an educational moment:

Every product/project-centric company builds up cruft over time, and not just Microsoft. Intel does periodic flushes as they dump R&D groups (I used to work for DHG at Intel). OTOH, let's face it - Microsoft's habit of counter-productivity between teams (coupled with their previous habit of stack-ranking employees) is frickin' *legendary*. MSFT seriously does need to clean house, and badly. They aren't the hungry company they were back in the '80s and '90s, and they've become about as nimble as a supertanker with a busted rudder. I mean, c'mon - who the hell else would sink untold billions of R&D money into a product (XBox/360/One) that still has yet to realize overall ROI, 15 years later?

The new CEO has a big job ahead of him. He's seen what happens to most tech companies as they reach middle age, and he knows that there's no crazy-ass visionary (e.g. Steve Jobs) coming to jump in and revitalize them.

4 days ago
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DARPA Successfully Demonstrates Self-Guiding Bullets

Penguinisto Re:No fair (188 comments)

this guy, and he's holding the very gun that DARPA ripped-off...

about two weeks ago
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Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Penguinisto Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (178 comments)

It should be publish or die. How do you know they're doing anything if they don't publish?

Dude, seriously? Look up Hendrik Schön; he published... a LOT.

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Penguinisto Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (353 comments)

I might be more conscious about that cost and decide to not eat any than if that cost were figured in and distributed among all users buffet-style.

You assume that these companies would operate on objective and reasonable standards - that's so cute...

No, really, it is. Remember when everyone said that butter was bad for you and you had to eat margarine instead? Now it's the other way 'round (or looking to go that way). So - how would you feel about having to pay for all those times you bought real butter all those years?

Oh, even better - let's talk diets! Not like recommendations for those don't ever change from, say, the old four food groups to pyramid to tetrahedron, to... - oh, wait.

No thanks - I prefer to not put my eating habits and health in the hands of some corporate asshats.

Mind you, I'm 6' tall and weigh 170 lbs, and I play outdoors for fun. I also eat good food in moderation, but occasionally I love a big steak or a big ol' bowl of ice cream. This brings up another thing - no two people are alike. Some can wolf down a metric ton of crap food (I used to) with no ill effects, but you want them to be lumped in with a bunch of folks who gain 15 lbs just from the mere scent of caramel candy? Screw that.

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Penguinisto Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (353 comments)

Funny indeed - it's drop-easy to fake out a supermarket club card.

Driver's license details and SSN on the other hand? Well, not so easy to fake (unless you're an illegal alien, I guess).

(I know, I know - in most states you don't have to update your DL info when you move, but in Oregon you're required to update your DL address within 30 days of moving, or you face a rather huge fine in addition to any other citations, should the cop discover that you haven't done so.)

about two weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Penguinisto Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (353 comments)

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse.

Bullshit. Auto and Health insurance are now mandatory by force of law. That is where abuse comes in. A free market (without the coercion-by-government) would have insurance companies charging lower premiums for two reasons; first, because competition would kick in to keep prices low, and second, they would do so knowing that w/o the force of law, individuals wouldn't have to buy their products in the first place.

So no - auto and health insurance are no longer "free" markets in the true sense - governments (federal for the latter, state for the former) have made damn certain of that.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Some US Hospitals Now Data-Mine Patients' Purchases, Lifestyle

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  about a month ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "A new article up on Bloomberg shows that in at least two hospital chains, your doctor can know more about you than you may want them to: "Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data."

Question is, how soon before your health insurance broker demands/contracts and gets that kind of information, and what privacy can you expect in the future?"
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Want to Prove How Dinosaurs Walked? Pin a Tail on a Chicken

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  about 5 months ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "Researchers have recently gotten a cool idea: If you want to prove how a dinosaur walked, why not test the theory on today's birds? They decided to test things out by putting prosthetic tails on chicks to provide the same balance issues that a T-Rex (and similar bipedal dinosaurs) faced. The prosthetic tails were periodically replaced with larger versions as the chicks grew. The results were astonishing: After 12 weeks, the chickens' legs were measured, and were discovered to have decreased range-of-motion in the knees while their femurs grew longer... just like the T-Rex. You can also see a nifty video of how they did this."
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Ellison's Team Oracle Racing Yacht Capsizes in SF Bay

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  about 2 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "The America's Cup hopeful and Ellison's favorite $8 million racing yacht Team Oracle capsized today underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. (video). They were testing out a new $2 million sailing wing when the boat suddenly "pitch-poled", capsizing immediately. 14 people were aboard, though no one was hurt. The 13,000 lb boat was pulled four miles offshore by currents before it could be recovered. According to the crew, the boat can be salvaged, but the new multimillion-dollar sailing wing was a "total loss" as it broke up in the bay."
Link to Original Source
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Pending Copyright Treaty a Secret?

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "According to CNET, a request for information by Knowledge Ecology International about a pending copyright treaty was denied. Even stranger, the Freedom of Information Act request was denied for "national security" reasons (PDF). While it is not unusual for the White House of any administration to block FOIA requests for national security reasons, One would think that a treaty that affects civil interests alone wouldn't qualify for such secrecy. Not exactly sure what involvement the former RIAA mouthpiece Donald Verelli (a recent Obama pick for the DOJ) may have in this..."
Link to Original Source
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AT&T Is Next To Impose Bandwidth Caps

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "It seems that after Comcast has successfully imposed a 250GB/mo. bandwidth cap on its users, AT&T wants to give it a try, starting in Reno, Nevada. However, they intend to have lower caps, based on your rate plan. For lower-end users (768Kb DSL),this means you only get 20GB/mo. max, while the highest-paying users (10Mb DSL) get 150GB/mo. at the most (compared to Comcast's across-the-board 250GB/mo. cap). Initially, AT&T will only impose this on new customers, or existing customers who break the 150GB/mo. limit, but expect to impose this to all customers. The relatively good news? Instead of being cut off, users who reach 80% of their caps will be contacted, then pay $1/GB for every GB used over the limit once it is reached."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Caught Disrespecting Photogs' IP rights.

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "Microsoft and Nikon had launched a recent competition called Iconic Britain", but had actively encouraged participants to scrape images off of the Web, and to submit the ones they thought best represented the UK. Problem is, this encouragement fell a bit short in the 'respecting others' copyrights' department... there has been a discussion thread on Flickr expressing various proofs and shades of outrage by users at having their photos ripped off. CNET News reports that they had contacted Microsoft and was told that Microsoft is currently "obtaining the rights", but does not have them yet (but still displays the images). Competition partner Nikon has pulled themselves out of the promotion entirely."
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Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platimum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand it's Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to "Shared Source") interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community."
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US Senate pledges $1bn to stop P2P Child Porn

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Penguinisto writes "A US Senate panel approved a bill, setting up $1bn USD to help federal, state, and local police forces create special software that will track P2P networks in an attempt to catch child pornographers. Given the foibles and follies of MediaDefender, coupled with the possibility of criminal charges (instead of civil lawsuits) hinging on a similar application's results, this may prove to be sticky indeed with any innocent party who winds up getting accidentally fingered... Nothing yet on how they intend to address the conceptual and technical flaws that Media Defender have been shown to exhibit. Other provisions of the bill include closing existing potential loopholes in how child porn is generated and disseminated (e.g. altering an innocent image to make it look sexual in nature, etc). While I doubt that anyone would defend someone who actually engages in child exploitation and abuse, the technical underpinnings could have wider future implications as to how governments track and prosecute computer crimes."
Link to Original Source
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Saudi Arabia Detains Blogger

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry has confirmed that it is detaining Fouah al-Farhan for violation of 'security laws'. Farhan apparently knew it was coming, and warned about it almost two weeks in advance on his blog. Even in Pro-Western Saudi Arabia, laws are known to be rather draconian... while the poor guy most likely won't get his tongue cut out (so far they said that they merely wanted him to sign and post an apology), this bodes not well for attempts at opening up societies in the Middle East."
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SCO Admits It May Go Under Soon

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Penguinisto writes "It appears that now even SCO is seeing that they're doomed. CNET reveals that in a public statement by SCO yesterday, it was announced that: "If a significant cash payment is required, or significant assets are put under a constructive trust, the carrying amount of our long-lived assets may not be recovered." So as a parallel to RMS Titanic, has the bow finally dropped below the waves, as shareholders and SCO employees scramble for the last few remaining lifeboat slots?"
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Law & Order Actor, Child Porn, and Geek Squad

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "After the last incident involving Geeks Squad and pornography, one would think they would tend to avoid prowling through users' hard drives. Then again, sometimes it can have, well positive consequences. Yet in supreme irony (in more ways than one), actor Albert Insinnia (of the television show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) took his PC in to Geek Squad, where a worker there found child porn on his hard drive and turned him in to the cops."
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Citrix to buy XenSource for $500m

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "Apparently Citrix doesn't want to be left out in the cold when it came to Virtualization.So, it decided to snap up Xen Source in whole, with a combination of cash and stock. Question is, what impact exactly will this have on Linux as a whole? (Xen runs on/under Windows too, but Linux is arguably its biggest playground to date). Also, is this a defensive move on Citrix' part, given Microsoft's development of potential VMWare and Xen competitor Viridian?"
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AMD officially cuts prices, Intel likely to follow

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  about 7 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "Well, here it comes, as we hear AMD cry "Havok!" and let slip the pricetags of war". From the article: "the price cuts mean that all of the company's dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors will be priced at less than $200, with the top-end Athlon 64 X2 6000+ now selling for $178. The two low-end models in AMD's dual-core line, the Athlon X2 3600+ and 3800+, have been dropped, making the Athlon X2 4000+ the new entry-level dual-core model at $73." Coupled with impending Intel price slashing, do we sit around and wait for the prices to get real good, or upgrade the older beasties among our collections this summer?"
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Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "A business has so far felt the very real pain of sotware patent enforcement — but this time, it is a large company who extinguished the little guy. Reyes Infografica had recently sent a Cease and Desist notice to a small Poser hobbyist programmer named Phil Cooke for his "Clothing Creator" program, claiming that it violates one of their patents (Phil's own site/support forum contains the copy of Reyes' C&D, Phil's announcement, and relevant discussions.) Clothing Creator has been out for a couple of years now. Basically, it builds quick custom clothing for humanoid 3d figures within the 3d compositing/rendering program called Poser. Recently, E-Frontier, the current owner of Poser, had partnered with Reyes to sell a competing product in E-Frontier's online store, called "Virtual Fashion". To E-Frontier's credit, they recently announced that they would stop selling the Reyes product until the dispute is settled, though at time of writing the product is still available for sale. So is this the "innovation" that software patents were supposed to foster?"
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Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Penguinisto (415985) writes "A few days ago, Phil Cooke, a small-time hobbyist 3D/CG programmer, was sent a Cease and Desist notice from Reyes Infografica over a small 3D/CG clothes-generating program he had sold for years (it generated clothing mesh for a figures in a CG hobbyist program known as Poser). The program has since been pulled from the maker's site, as he cannot afford to retain counsel with which to fight back. Apparently, Phil's program had collided against a software patent that Reyes filed in 2001 (the patent was filed in the US and Spain). The C&D notice, and some of the discussion surrounding it can be found a PhilC's site discussion forums. While we usually see stories about small-time patent trolls raking in huge bucks from large companies, is this an indication of a disturbing trend by larger companies using software patents to intimidate and eliminate their smaller competition? And if so, then how on Earth is this supposed to foster innovation and creativity?"

Journals

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Gawd, that felt good... or, trolling for Mac-Heads on /.

Penguinisto Penguinisto writes  |  more than 10 years ago ----Update, 12/06/04: I've recently sold my G4 Cube ($700 on eBay - go me!) and my brand new dual G5 will be arriving today via UPS...)---

Original journal entry below:

After a long stint of enjoying the grand experience here, and with more than just a little mischief, I decided to have a bit of fun with the masses.

I'd been toying around with the subject matter, and while reading comments in a rather decent article on securityfocus.com, it hit me: most folks claim that Linux users are some sort of ugly zealot-packed mob that rabidly attacks anything that dares impugn the Holy Penguin(tm, pat. pending, etc...)

Now, from experience, I know full well that Linux users are naught but docile saints compared to one particular segment of humanity: Mac users. Being bored, and having the appropriate mood, a wee article appeared that presented the perfect opportunity.

Knowing the shelf-life of a /. story, I had to act fast, but I think I pulled off a fairly decent entry that would separate the intelligent from the raving, drooling, eternally-pissed-off Mac zealots.

As of this writing, there are approximately three responses that successfully avoided the bait - two that actually approached it with some intelligence, one with a good dose of wit, and the rest? Well, the rest proved my point... a seething pack of anger-ridden zealots in the truest sense of the word. I bet most are still shaking at their desks from the adrenalin overload, clutching their iPods and grinding their teeth in white-hot rage.Click the link above and enjoy the show... :)

Perhaps I should include some caveats: One, I am a Macintosh user, and am the proud owner of a G4 Cube which I have successfully modified quite extensively. (I also own a P4-based PC, but I only use it for games and CG art proggies I can't find a Mac version for.) I guess I should also include the fact that I own neither a Dell DJ or an iPod... I instead prefer to play my music via the mp3 player on my Compaq 3536 PocketPC loaded with Linux Familiar and a big fat CF card... (this way I can play music and games on it, grab email, etc... )

Ah well, I guess I should be getting back to the site and read up about how my fellow Mac afficianados think I'm gay, an idiot, a clueless dumbass, etc etc. It's damned funny in a way, and I can always point to it in the future whenever the clueless folk at SecFocus decide to screech about "linux zealotry" or somesuch.

Until next time, Mousketeers...

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