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Comments

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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Theaetetus Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (283 comments)

Sure - is it that, or the HFCS, or the sugar generally, or the carbonic acid, or something in the caramel coloring?

1) Caramel coloring is generally not required to be specially labelled (can be listed as "artificial coloring") because its literally caramelized carbohydrates. 2) HFCS and sucrose are basically indistinguishable other than trace additives once your body metabolizes them; the sucrose becomes a mix of fructose and glucose.

And does consuming a high dose of caramelized carbohydrates or a mixture of approximately 50-50 fructose and sucrose cause telomere shortening?

Simply saying "well, X ingredient is really Y" doesn't mean that Y (or X) has no effect.

7 hours ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Theaetetus Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (283 comments)

Sodium benzoate

I think that this one ingredient, (which is also in many juices) would explain most of this. That is why they are starting to phase it out in many pop formulations.

Sure - is it that, or the HFCS, or the sugar generally, or the carbonic acid, or something in the caramel coloring? Study needs to be done with seltzer, diet cola, diet clear soda, regular cola, regular clear soda, etc.

12 hours ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Theaetetus Re:Are you patenting software? (223 comments)

On the other hand, I want to avoid a situation where for-profit companies co-opt the idea and charge people for it.

If the idea requires a level of effort to implement that only those large companies can provide, then it's probably something deserving of getting paid for. That implementation is protected by copyright. If, on the other hand, it's simple enough that other people can implement it without a great deal of work, then eventually a free (gratis) implementation will rise up.

The free (gratis) implementation would not infringe the copyright on the large company's implementation, since it would be separately created and not a copy. This is why copyright is great when the original item is what's desired - Harry Potter, rather than Larry Kotter; World of Warcraft, rather than Troll-Human MMO Saga; the Hulk movie rather than the Strong Green Man movie from Bollywood, etc. It's terrible when the implementation is what's desired, but not the specific copy - for example, Photoshop vs. GIMP vs. Sketch vs. Paint.Net; or SimTower vs. Dream Heights vs. TinyTower vs. Hotel Simulator, etc. Basically, it only works with software when the software is a de facto standard, and particularly if it fights interoperability, which is something geeks should be opposed to generally.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Theaetetus Re:Are you patenting software? (223 comments)

Those patents disclose algorithms. Basically, applied math.

35 USC 101 allows patenting a process, which is an algorithm. And the judicial exception carves out mathematical algorithms, not applied math. In fact, applied algorithms are probably exactly what we want patents to cover, rather than the abstract mathematics themselves.

Which should have never, ever been allowed as claims in a patent since they are antithetical to the compromise between the inventor's and society's benefit the patent system was designed to facilitate.

In what way? The patent discloses the invention, so society benefits over the inventor keeping it a trade secret. In return for the disclosure, the patent owner gets a limited monopoly. That's exactly the compromise.

4 days ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

Theaetetus Re:So I take it (244 comments)

So, if they install a wheelchair ramp for a disabled employee at your company, do you demand they spend the same amount on amenities for everyone else? If they employ an on-site councillor to help employees deal with stress but you never use the service, do you demand they employ someone to mow your lawn instead?

No, GP poster insists that they break his kneecaps and install random flashing lights in his cube so that he can take advantage of the same benefits.

4 days ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Theaetetus Re:More feminist bullshit (715 comments)

You: "Oh I know exactly the event you're talking about...

... as evidenced by the fact that I asked about it, and confused it for something entirely different!"

Me: "So not only do you know exactly what I'm talking about..."

I see that you're having an argument with your own imagination, and losing. Sad.

about a week ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Theaetetus Re:More feminist bullshit (715 comments)

That's two seperate events, and the one you're talking about was where domestic violence victims were trying to speak about being turned away from shelters or threatened with arrest. You just shot yourself in the foot bringing that up.

Me: Do you have a citation for your claim?
You: No! And you just shot yourself in the foot by bringing up another event!

Nice try, but it doesn't work that way. If you can't support your claim when called out, no amount of deflection is going to hide that fact.

about a week ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Theaetetus Re:More feminist bullshit (715 comments)

Yes, actually, considering that men who don't conform to that gender role are attacked using slurs like "neckbeard" and "dudebro".

I don't think "guys who communicate their feelings" are the ones being called neckbeard or dudebro.

In fact feminists went so far as to commit felonies to shut down a suicide prevention conference because hey fuck men.

Well, I'm sure you have a valid citation for that, and not, say, a link to a video of protesters at a speech on "men's issues and the double standards of feminism" (rather than a "suicide prevention conference") cheering when someone random pulls a fire alarm.

about two weeks ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Theaetetus Re:More feminist bullshit (715 comments)

This is not a problem exclusive to women. As a man you can also get your life disrupted by death threats, unordered pizzas/taxis/products and doxxing.

It's probably easier to get singled out for it as a women, but if you are subject to it as a man you'll get much less support to cope with it. This is reflected in the offline world too as a MUCH higher suicide rate for men compared to women. Trying to construct this as some purely misgyonistic issue is just reinforcing the gender bias of men as some disposable soldier caste and is likely to aggrevate misgyonistic tendencies overall in society.

And who do you think is out there telling men to keep their feelings bottled up until they explode? Women? Misogyny hurts men, too.

about two weeks ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

Theaetetus Re:weev is a fucking D-bag....but (715 comments)

It also is not cool the way the government went after him.

Or technically, it was not cool the way the government went after him for the wrong crime. If they had pursued his ass for the stalking and harassment, that'd be just fine.

about two weeks ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

Theaetetus Re:Weber's Honorverse (470 comments)

I'm no physicist myself, but from what I can tell, David Weber's Honor Harrington series of novels does a pretty good job of getting the physics right. Most battles are missile duels, energy weapons are powerful, but short-range, and when they develop a means of giving missiles multi-stage drives, it changes the game significantly, as they no longer have a single burst of maneuvering speed and then come in ballistic; they can accelerate at their target, burn out the first stage, coast in ballistic for many thousands of kilometers, and then activate the second stage for final maneuvering.

It's a good concept on the surface, but Weber destroys the physics with his own lust for large numbers: ships are not fighting at "short-range" of a kilometer or two... they're at "short-range" of a hundred thousand kilometers. "Long" range stretches out to tens of millions of kilometers. Of course, he has to, when he has ships that can accelerate at hundreds of Gs, and missiles that can accelerate at 96 thousand G's.

I love the series, but Weber's constant need to go from "a ship firing 10 missiles at a broadside... no wait, 10 thousand missiles at a broadside! And they zoom off at a kilometer per secon- no, wait, a million kilometers per second!" is more than little silly, and certainly not a "pretty good job" of getting the physics right.

about three weeks ago
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Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

Theaetetus Re:The Global Food Crisis is not a science problem (308 comments)

It's a resource allocation problem. There is enough food on earth right now to sustainably feed everyone, the problem lies with the people on the path from the food to the hungry mouths. Increasing food production increases the wealth of the people in the middle, who now have more resources to allocate, but does not necessarily reduce the number of hungry people.

This also would help the hungry mouths grow their own food, faster, with less space, in damp areas that were previously prone to rot (one of the things discussed in the video is that through faster germination, less of the crop rots before harvest). This doesn't change increase the wealth of the people in the middle, but opens new areas to farming by hungry people.

about three weeks ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Defending software patents (92 comments)

A detailed description of a process in a textbook is also enough for any skilled programmer. For Alice and Bilski you can find the steps to perform the process in any finance book. Pseudocode and flow charts don't teach anything when the process is well known. Chances are finance books have charts in them as well.

Sure, and completely stipulated. The "do something well known and described in finance books" and "on a computer" stuff shouldn't be patentable... Rather, it's new processes (that are nonetheless, done on a computer):

If your talking about a brand new process then your not talking about a software patent. Your patenting a new business method.

What if it was a brand new process or business method, never been done before, on a computer. Like, say, calculating the value of some strange multidimensional factorial required to teleport yourself twenty feet to the left and six hours into the future? Certainly new, but let's assume it can be done with a TI-83. Should that be patentable?

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Defending software patents (92 comments)

Patents don't disclose source code. So they don't teach a programmer how to "put the bits of plastic together".

Pseudocode and detailed* flow charts should be enough for any skilled programmer. You shouldn't need C+ code - and if you do, what happens in 5 years when you say "I don't know C+, I only know Swift" or whatever the next language is? Conversely, what about art from the 60s or 70s - if it had COBOL code would you know how to use that? No, pseudocode and detailed* flow charts should be enough of a disclosure, because from them, you can implement the program in any language.

*Many patent applications do not have detailed flow charts, but rather "flow charts" that just show a single series of steps in a line, as Prof. Lemley noted in one of the interviews linked from another comment. You're right - those are total crap and don't teach anyone anything.

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

Patent examiners can do their thing. Alice gives them a tool now too.

Yes, and no... Patent Examiners are bound under the requirements of due process to present a prima facie case for why an application is not patentable, as the initial burden rests on the Office. How do you provide a prima facie case that an idea is abstract? It's a conclusion, not an argument supported by evidence, as the Courts have admitted when their evidence is "I know it when I see it".

How do you define "actually inventive"?

Here are the questions I ask when contemplating patent filings, post-Alice, for a software method (or computer implemented method):
* Can I reasonably determine the bits and pieces you put together a specific solution to a specific problem based on your claims? should avoid a 101 issue.
* Do the claims give me all of the pieces of the puzzle or does it give me a flowchart?
* And, to entirely avoid an Alice question, are you using generic bits of technology for their ordinary purpose to solve an old problem the old way?

"Good" answers to these questions should avoid a 101 issue.

Quite possibly, though it fails to answer my question about your definition of "actually inventive". It also points to part of the problem with Alice, since your first question is really about 112 written description, your second question is really about 112 enablement and unclaimed essential matter, and your third question (as you note) is really about 103 obviousness. Now, I agree, that if you meet 103 and 112, Justice Thomas would likely not "know an [abstract idea] when he sees it" and find the application invalid under 101, and maybe that's a fine answer from a pragmatic standpoint, but it's a terrible one from a jurisprudence standpoint.

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

Section 101: Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

The supreme court has over the last century defined what the words in that statement mean. The word "abstract" is just shorthand for "not a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter or new and usefull improvement thereof" The supreme court has a very narrow and limited definition of "process" for this statute.

Which is a shame, because Congress has already defined it in Section 100:

The term “process” means process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material.

So, for example, a new use of a known machine - like, say, a new business method performed on a known computer - would fall under that statutory definition.

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

I think this procedural aspect is critically important. Patent litigation is incredibly expensive. Defendants generally expect to spend >4 million dollars to defend against allegations of infringement. Post-Alice, judges have been ruling on the issues very early in litigation and cutting of those costs and timelines. As Theaeteus mentions, the problem with this approach is that it is generally done without full development of evidence. As a policy-matter, it remains unclear which approach is better (we don't know how good judges are at making the 101 determination (knowing it when they see it)).

They've been great in the two major 101 cases, Bilski and Alice. Hardly anyone thought those claims were (or should have been) valid, as the methods were old and well known... But that's also like going back to the old obscenity cases and having your "test case" be Two Girls, One Cup. The old saying "bad facts make bad law" is true primarily because everyone agrees with the outcome based on those bad facts... but then it's used as precedent in cases where the facts aren't nearly so bad.

As an aside, patents have a historic tie to property law, hence things like permanent injunctions and willful infringement damages... but maybe that's not such a good thing, as they're primarily economic instruments. It leads naturally to equity-based judgements rather than concrete tests and rules... people would be outraged if judges were routinely invalidating contracts as a matter of law on a "I know it when I see it" justification.
If we did away with the property tie and abandoned permanent injunctions and what are effectively punitive damages, in exchange for compulsory licensing and reasonable royalties, a lot of the issues people have with trolls would go away, too.

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

of which I've to actually see an example

Let me quickly respond to that point too. One recent victim (at least at the lower courts) was this patent: http://www.google.com/patents/.... The district court found the claims to upselling to an online buyer invalid under the Alice case. http://www.law360.com/articles...

Technically, one could easily argue that the District Court found the claims to be invalid under 35 USC 103 over an electronic device in view of Official Notice that "suggesting an additional good or service... based on certain information obtained about the customer and the initial purchase" is known in the art because "shrewd sales representatives have long made their living off of this basic practice" and it therefore is "purely conventional steps that are well-understood, routine, and previously known to the industry". Certainly, nothing in the decision points to it being abstract - rather, the judge repeatedly states that it is known.

In fact, one could argue that if something is routinely done, it's not abstract at all. It's just not new.

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

Those patents - of which I've to actually see an example - would already be invalid under 103:

I so hate this argument. Sure, they could be. The road to a 103 invalidity is an expensive and often arduous task that is often left to a jury. What's more, its met with a high burden and a presumption of validity.

... at trial, yes. Not at the USPTO or before the PTAB.

The Federal Circuit and patent lawyers have done a marvelous job making invalidity under 102/103 all but impossible except in the most extraordinary cases.

And in KSR, SCOTUS pushed that way back. Now it's actually quite easy, unless the claims recite an element that you just can't find a reference for, anywhere.

The point is: they shouldn't have been patent eligible in the first place. You can't take something done previously, stick it on a platform that's used for it's conventional purpose and suddenly you're in patent-eligibility land.

That'd be an easy 103 rejection: you can prove it's been "done previously," right? You can prove that the platform existed previously, right? Where's the problem?

Now the burden, under 101, is for the inventor to show that which they did was actually inventive.

Good patents shouldn't have this issue. 101 should be a very, very low hurdle.

How do you define "actually inventive"? Currently, we have the 102/103 tests of novelty and nonobviousness, but if you're saying we shouldn't use those tests and should just determine, under 101, whether something is "actually inventive", what's the test? As Judge Wu said, "I know it when I see it"?

about a month ago
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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Theaetetus Re:Patent Attorney chiming in (92 comments)

Among other things, the worst offenders were patents that issued between 1996 and 2006 where there is a huge number of "do such and such old thing on a [computer | web | network| mobile device]" as if the "such and such old thing" was suddenly now a patentable thing by virtue of a new platform. Alice will largely undo those patents.

Those patents - of which I've to actually see an example - would already be invalid under 103: [known method]+[known computer/network/device]=obvious combination of two prior art elements that, between them, teach or suggest each and every element in the claim.

Sure, they're also invalid under Alice's interpretation of 101... but that's because Thomas' eligibility test is really just an obviousness test, hence his repeated references to "conventional techniques". Effectively, what Alice changed was to give courts an easy way to handwave something away as obvious as a matter of law, without requiring any actual prior art evidence, simply by calling it "abstract".

about a month ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court unanimous: replanting patented seeds is patent infringement

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Theaetetus (590071) writes "Farmer Vernon Bowman used Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybean seeds for his first planting of the season, but had a bright idea for his second planting: he bought commodity seeds from a grain elevator knowing that most of his neighbor farmers also used Roundup Ready seeds. Bowman planted those seeds and used Roundup herbicide to kill off all of the non-resistant seeds, leaving him with only Roundup Ready seeds, which he then replanted. When Monsanto found out, they sued for patent infringement.

Bowman argued that the doctrine of patent exhaustion applies: similar to the copyright "first sale" doctrine, once a patented article is first sold, the patent owner loses further rights with respect to that item. According to Bowman, since the beans were sold to the grain elevator, he can purchase and replant them freely, right?

Not so, says a unanimous Supreme Court: "Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals. Monsanto, although the patent holder, would have no business interfering in those uses of Roundup Ready beans. But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission (either express or implied).""

Link to Original Source
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Illustrated Guide to Apple-HTC Patents

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Theaetetus writes "Gizmodo has a illustrated guide to the patents Apple is asserting in the pending Apple v. HTC infringement suit. Readers should bear in mind that what is shown, however, is the title, abstract, and representative figure from each patent; the claims, which define the invention, are not shown, so immediate claims of obviousness based on the titles should be taken with a grain of salt."
Link to Original Source
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5th Amendment and PGP: are passwords testimony?

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a ruling in favor of privacy advocates, a federal Magistrate has quashed a subpoena that would have forced a defendant in a child pornography case to reveal his PGP password. "If [the defendant] does know the password, he would be faced with the forbidden trilemma: incriminate himself, lie under oath, or find himself in contempt of court," the judge said. Under prior case law, courts have distinguished between requiring a defendant to produce a key to a safe, which is constitutional, and requiring a defendant to reveal a safe combination, which is "testimonial" evidence covered by the 5th Amendment. More here and here."
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DNA co-discoverer claims blacks less intelligent

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about 7 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a move that will surely raise angry debate, James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, has claimed that "black people are less intelligent than white people and the idea that 'equal powers of reason' were shared across racial groups was a delusion." Criticism has been widespread, with some anti-racism groups calling for Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. Watson has previously found controversy with pronouncements that sex drive is linked to skin color, that "stupidity" could one day be cured through selective breeding, and that exposure to sunlight could make women slutty."
Link to Original Source
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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is "no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." He then added that it had less space than a Nomad and was lame."

Journals

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Submitted: Sci-Fi channel pulls Arnold movies

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 11 years ago From a story in the BBC, the Sci-Fi channel has cancelled an All-Arnold Schwarzenegger day that was planned prior to the announcement of his candidacy. Spokeswoman Kat Stein said "we're pulling our Arnold marathon in deference to the electoral process," citing rules that say that all candidates must be given equal airtime.

Instead of the All-Arnold day, viewers will see a day of California disaster films.

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Apple iPod AIFF playback issue (which Apple won't admit to)

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 11 years ago Just in case this story isn't accepted by the editors...

I've recently been involved in a round of returns/repairs with Apple for a 20 GB iPod centering around an issue that is common to all models, including the new ones... but an issue that Apple has conveniently avoided mentioning, and instead taken misleading approaches when dealing with it.

This is a problem that not many people will encounter, but can be very annoying to those who do. When playing an uncompressed audio track (WAV or AIFF) from an iPod, it will stop every 2 minutes and 17 seconds for a few seconds, then continue playback... For another 2:17.
WAV and AIFF playback is supposedly supported: Audio formats supported: - Mac: AAC (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF, Audible (Mac only) - Windows: MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV [from Apple's iPod spec sheet] so what's the deal here?

The explanation: 2:17 of stereo 44.1kHz, 16-bit audio (what's encoded on a regular CD) is nearly exactly 24 MB... It seems that this is the size of the RAM cache in the iPod (it's actually 32 MB, but the other 8 are used for the system and temporary data, such as volume and EQ settings).
Apparently, what happens in the iPod is that it reads 24 MB at a time off the hard drive into the RAM cache, and then shuts down the hard drive (to prevent skips and save battery). Understandable and reasonable. However, here's the clincher - it only spins up the hard drive and refills the RAM cache AFTER it's emptied.
Rather than doing a refill at say 23 MB or so, giving you a seamless playback, they wait until the buffer is completely used, and then they dump it and do a full refill.

Most people won't notice this issue, since at 160 kbps MP3, you've got 25 minutes before the RAM buffer needs refilling, and a two second skip every 25 minutes is not noticed by most people (particularly since most people will skip to a new song at some point in there, thus resetting the buffer).

However, we've got a couple of misleading things here: Apple never actually lists what the RAM cache is. Instead, they list 'up to 25 minutes of skip protection', without mentioning what the rate used for that is - it could be much more, if you're using mono 32kbps.
Second misleading point is calling it 'skip protection' at all. The other place that term is encountered is in portable CD players - which read-while-writing to the RAM buffer, and have ever since the beginning (back when the RAM buffer was only 5 seconds or so).
Third misleading point is the statement that the iPod supports AIFF and WAV playback... when they should specify that that's only if your files are under 2 minutes in length.

The iPod is still a good piece of hardware, but this cuts down its usefulness as a high-quality playback device, and should be noted by anyone interested in purchasing one for professional playback. Incidentally, none of this is mentioned yet anywhere on Apple's knowledge base.

-----------

UPDATE: Reportedly, this is fixed in Gen 3 iPods. I'm going to buy one and see.

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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 12 years ago I guess I should introduce myself, really quick, just in case anyone ever reads this.

I'm a 24 year-old audio engineer currently working in the broadcast industry, with 11 years of professional experience within the audio industry (including studio recording and sound reinforcement). I'm the assistant chief engineer of a decent-sized radio group that serves as the NPR outlet for two major market cities. My work is mainly repair/maintenance of electronics, audio gear, and transmitters.
It's the most low-stress job I've ever had.

Aside from the fact that they're a rich non-profit and they pay well, they also appreciate me and my skills as a talented problem solver who can rush in and put out fires before they grow too large. Every day, I get to point to something (or several somethings) and say "I fixed that. It is better for my having been here." While the money is nice, that sense of accomplishment and respect (both self- and from other people) is highly valuable.

If you have any questions regarding audio, electrical engineering, RF, radio/television/film, production, or music, feel free to ask. If you have any opinions regarding politics, religion, or philosophy, feel free to debate.

Thanks,
-T

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