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The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

Skrapion Re:Independence of the courts ? (234 comments)

But that doesn't address my point, which was: who "establishes" that something is "a problem"? If you left it up to industry, CDs would never have been manufactured.

The patent clerk would read the published articles and make a judgement call. This isn't unprecedented; a patent clerks job is to make judgement calls.

What I'm suggesting is that this kind of judgement call is easier to make than the judgement calls we currently expect patent clerks to make..

In addition, this would leave a paper trail of the "proof" that the invention is non-obvious, allowing bad patents to be reviewed after they slip through the cracks.

You would have to have some kind of "official" method of establishing what was a "real" problem, which runs into the issue I mentioned above: some people would say it was a problem, some would vehemently deny it (and maybe even back their denial with lobby money). Result: innovative ideas never see the light of day.

Never see the light of day? Hardly. There's already precedent for making patent applications public after 18 months. The result would be more things in the public domain. It might bias the system toward having too many things in the public domain, but I think that stymies inventors less than the current system where too many things become patented.

about a year ago
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The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

Skrapion Re:Independence of the courts ? (234 comments)

Sure, the current rules are fine as long as they're enforced properly. But maybe it's no longer possible to properly enforce them.

In order to enforce them, we need domain experts working at the patent office. Unfortunately, domain experts tend to work -- rather unsurprisingly -- in their domain, not at the patent office. In fact, I'd argue that it's rather difficult to become a domain expert if you're working at the patent office instead of in your domain.

You also focused on the prior-art portion, which seems to be the easier problem. Prior art can always invalidate a patent after the fact. We certainly need to make it cheaper to invalidate patents, but it is possible under the current system.

The bigger problem is the non-obvious requirement, because it's hard to disprove that something was non-obvious when you're saying it in retrospect.

Take US6200138. This patent was designed for the game Crazy Taxi, and describes how the game puts a "danger zone" around your car, and uses it to determine when pedestrians should jump out of the way.

I honestly can't think of an example where that was done before Crazy Taxi, but if you asked any AI programmer how to write a system where pedestrians jump out of the way of your car, most of them would have come up with this solution. What I'm proposing is that Sega would have had to come up with a published article that describes how difficult it is to make virtual pedestrians jump out of the way of virtual cars, or describes drawbacks to the existing solutions and how the patent solves them.

about a year ago
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The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

Skrapion Re:Independence of the courts ? (234 comments)

If you did that, you would probably eliminate most innovative patents. What "established problem" did the digital CD solve?

Most obviously, they (temporarily) solved the problem of having to swap floppies.

And yes, the fact that vinyl wore out was an established problem. Ask any archivist.

It should be fairly trivial to find published articles where authors describe these drawbacks to the then-existing alternatives.

It may not be perfect, but a patent clerk would definitely have an easier time telling if a published article is credible than if an idea outside of their domain is obvious.

about a year ago
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The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

Skrapion Re:Independence of the courts ? (234 comments)

I think that patent system could be vastly improved if we only accepted patents on established problems, and forced patent applicants to provide citations showing that the problem is established.

There seems to be a lot of software patents where the only reason there's no prior art is because nobody has bothered to try yet. If we only accepted solutions to established problems, then it guarantees that anybody who thinks a solution is obvious has had time to prove that it's obvious, instead of relying on patent clerks to decide what's obvious.

about a year ago
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Changes In Earth's Orbit Were Key To Antarctic Warming That Ended Last Ice Age

Skrapion Re:Are they confused? (180 comments)

The very minor orbital perturbations balance out in practical terms

Depending, of course, on your definition of "practical terms". One of our hemispheres has significantly more water than the other, which I suspect would be particularly important to anybody studying how climate changes over thousands or millions or years.

However, if "practical terms" means "with regard to global warming", then yeah, planetary wobble it's pretty far from being the prime suspect here.

about a year ago
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China Has a Massive Windows XP Problem

Skrapion Re:xp still works (520 comments)

Eh, the Windows Vista/7 Start menu came with good changes and bad changes.

The search feature is definitely a boon, but I don't feel it's panacea. If you just want to browse the software on somebody's computer, or if you forgot the name of the program you want to run, the search feature is no help.

The really bad decision they made was to remove popout menus from the Start menu and replace them with a scrollbar. This definitely made the Start menu less usable, and I feel Microsoft's only reason for doing it was for aesthetics.

The real shame is that there was never an option to have both the search feature and the popout menus. It was always one or the other.

But the search feature is nice, because the Start menu has never been well organized, and the new Start screen is no improvement. But does it have to be this way? Linux distros have well-organized start menus. I feel like Microsoft could have made an effort to create a framework that would have fostered a well-organized menu, and we could have had the best of both worlds.

But obviously we don't live in a world where that happened, so we just type our commands into a search box. It works, but at this point we may as well be running our programs from a terminal.

about a year ago
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In UK, Google Glass To Be Banned While Driving

Skrapion Re:Missing the point. (214 comments)

The biggest problem I see with using Google Glass as a driving aid is that, if you drive a left-hand-drive car, Google Glass would obscure your view of the rearview mirror.

about a year ago
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Are We At the Limit of Screen Resolution Improvements?

Skrapion Re:Digital Movie Projection... and "Average People (414 comments)

When people say "average", they usually mean "arithmetic mean", but medians and modes are also considered averages. The OP may have chosen an ambiguous word, but they weren't wrong.

about a year ago
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ASUS PQ321Q Monitor Brings Multi-Stream Tiled Displays Forward

Skrapion Re:200% scaling? (94 comments)

So, basically, somewhere between XP/2003 and windows 8, Microsoft removed the 200% scaling option?

Same for multi-monitor task bars. Dropped in WinXP, brought back in Windows 8.

In other news, the chocolate ration has been increased to 20 grams.

about a year ago
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ASUS PQ321Q Monitor Brings Multi-Stream Tiled Displays Forward

Skrapion Re:Unusable aspect ratio (94 comments)

Erm... you realize that nobody in this thread implied that people have problems with 4:3 monitors, right?

Actually, make that almost nobody. By posting this defensive response to your invisible friend, you implied that somebody - your invisible friend - has problems with 4:3.

about a year ago
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ASUS PQ321Q Monitor Brings Multi-Stream Tiled Displays Forward

Skrapion Re:Unusable aspect ratio (94 comments)

Actually, if you like square monitors, this one is even better than a 4:3 display.

Since there's no display standard that can do 4k at 60Hz, this monitor works around that limitation by conceptually presenting itself as two 8:9 monitors side-by-side.

So not only do you get two monitors in one, but 8:9 is closer to square than 4:3.

about a year ago
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Disney's Titling Problem With Its Star Wars Movies

Skrapion Re:Retroactively? (279 comments)

Time to have the protocol droid's mind wiped.

about a year ago
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iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits"

Skrapion Re:why replace once you have the screwdriver? (260 comments)

Flathead drive doesn't have much going to it, but if your goal is to pick a screw that you can unscrew when you have limited access to tools, this is one of the few places where flatheads shine, especially if you have no screwdrivers.

Taking that to its logical conclusion, thumb screws would be even better. Who wouldn't want two thumbscrews sticking out the bottom of their phone?

about a year and a half ago
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No Black Hole Or Magnetic Monopole: Tunguska Really Was a Meteor

Skrapion Re:Hm, wasn't aware there was any controversy (128 comments)

Roy Underhill: You're making a square, I've got to ask, how did you make that first square?
Chris Schwarz: I shot it on a shooting board.
Roy Underhill: How did you get the shooting board square?
Chris Schwarz: I used somebody else's shooting board.

about a year and a half ago
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Mozilla Plans Major Design Overhaul With Firefox 25 Release In October

Skrapion Re:Finally looks exactly like Chrome (250 comments)

I'm not sure which browser you're praising, since both have been able to do this for quite some time.

about a year and a half ago
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N. Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent "Unfair Competition"

Skrapion Re:The best part of the article is at the bottom (555 comments)

Huh, I had no idea franchise laws like this existed.

I'm no supporter of laissez-faire capitalism, but it really seems like dealers should be able to get this protection via contractual stipulations rather than laws.

about a year and a half ago
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Windows Blue Is Officially Windows 8.1, Free For Existing Users

Skrapion Re:Windows Blew (491 comments)

I'm pretty sure the GP was talking about Alot, the town in India. It should have read:

you will still have to deal with it, Alot.

Yeah. Deal with it.

about a year and a half ago
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Windows Blue Is Officially Windows 8.1, Free For Existing Users

Skrapion Re:Wohoo! Windows blew (491 comments)

all the functionality of all the versions of Windows, with no lacking features whatever

Look, I like Linux, and it has a lot of benefits that Windows doesn't have, but when you say that Linux has everything that Windows has, you make it clear that you're either:

  • * Lying to us,
  • * Lying to yourself, or
  • * Gravely short sighted

Do you really want people to think those things about you? And do you think you're helping the Linux with an image like that?

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Wayland/Weston now has a remote desktop backend

Skrapion Skrapion writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Skrapion (955066) writes "One month ago, an independent developer submitted patches to the Wayland's Weston compositor which adds support for FreeRDP, an open-source remote desktop protocol. Now, after six revisions, the remote desktop code has been merged into the trunk.

While remote desktop has been prototyped in Weston once before by Wayland developer Kristian Høgsberg, this is the first time Wayland/Weston has officially supported the feature. For a summary of why we can expect Wayland's remote desktop to surpass X.Org's network transparency, see Daniel Stone's excellent talk from Linux.conf.au."

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