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Comments

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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Zordak Re:It makes you uneasy? (992 comments)

And so could devotees of the TIME CUBE.

Please let me know when the TIME CUBE conference is being held. I will definitely attend that one.

4 days ago
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Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

Zordak Re:This is *not* what Michal Jordan actually belie (145 comments)

Dangit, I clicked on the comments hoping for some good "+5, Funnies" about "Michael Jordan," and all I got was a stupid on-topic, well-researched, and educational comment on what the real Michael Jordan thinks about the challenges of "big data." And the best we could do on the name is "A man of many talents"? That does it. Slashdot is dead. (Netcraft confirms it.)

about a week ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

Zordak Re:Ho-lee-crap (275 comments)

Copyrights don't apply in this case. Patents might. The Supreme Court has recently been struggling with drawing a line between "abstract ideas" (which are not patent-eligible) and concrete methods (which are patent eligible). In general, you can't patent the math per se, but you can patent (for example) a space craft programmed to perform that particular maneuver. As applied to ship building, if it's sufficiently novel, you may be able to patent a ship having certain hull parameters, but you won't generally get a patent just for "make it BIGGAR!" The patentability will usually lie in your solution to the problems you encountered in the process of making it bigger, which means that if somebody finds a different way to make it bigger, you may not be able to stop them. (This isn't legal advice, of course.)

about two weeks ago
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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

Zordak Re:May I suggest RTFA? (334 comments)

You're an idiot. WWII-vintage firearms eventually wear out, and the SMLE is no exception. Even if you could source replacement springs and firing pins, there's no replacement barrels easily available - and once the rifling is finally shot out of them, their accuracy goes right to hell.

I call BS. I can buy a brand-spanking-new replacement for literally any part of my Garand except the receiver. In fact, when I bought it, the receiver was probably the only part that was still original. I know for sure that the spiffy walnut stock and Criterion barrel were new off-the-shelf. I can also buy clips, bayonets, ammo pouches, and other accessories on the cheap. I don't personally own a Lee-Enfield, but it's a fairly popular hunting rifle. You can get parts for it. This reeks of a contract for the contract's sake.

about two weeks ago
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The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

Zordak Re:Ho-lee-crap (275 comments)

I don't know if Boeing patented that method or not, but if they did patent it for the 1969 moon shot, the patent has long since expired. (Yes, I am a patent attorney.)

about two weeks ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

Zordak Re:Robots First, then Humans? (352 comments)

" send autonomous robots to various locations in space to create infrastructure using local resources with advanced manufacturing technology, such as 3D printing"

So we send robots to terraform and prepare a new habitat for humans. Eventually, after many years, the robots send us a message that says "Everything is ready. We are waiting to meet you all for dinner."

Anyone see a problem with this?

Hey, if it was good enough for Columbus and the European powers in their colonization of America and Australia, "send robots first" is surely good enough for our colonization efforts for the moon and Mars...

There's a big difference between Columbus and space exploration. Columbus was going to a place with air, water, and life. It was already self-sustaining. Space is a much harsher mistress than the West Indies.

about two weeks ago
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Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

Zordak Re:Shilling for Socialism (279 comments)

To summarize, now, because of Obamacare, I am required by law to pay $1,300.00 per month for health insurance and taxes at a minimum and on top of that I have to pay for my own medical expenses. Because of Obamacare, unless I am absolutely certain that I am dying I will not be going anywhere near a health care provider. By both making the patients poorer with higher insurance premiums and by raising the cost of treatment with higher deductibles Obamacare has created a massive financial disincentive to seeing medical care during an epidemic. And then also there is the decreased access to health care because of shrinking provide networks.

You say this as though it's something other than exactly what the lobbyists who wrote the law intended. They get more of your money, and they pay for less care. It's a win-win from their perspective.

about three weeks ago
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Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

Zordak Re:For everything there is a season (228 comments)

This particular problem has a far simpler solution that actually works: Use soap and hand sanitizer, and don't touch dead people.

Tell that to the nurse in Dallas who used full biohazard protective gear and still got Ebola.

about three weeks ago
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PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

Zordak Re:dolphin? (367 comments)

Thanks for explaining the joke. I don't think I would have gotten it otherwise. Can I please nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize?

The GP post was fairly bad, but I doubt it actually killed anyone, much less enough people to be eligible for a Nobel Peace Prize.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

Zordak Re:Dial up can still access gmail (334 comments)

but everything beyond their local email servers is firewalled

How are your parents enjoying their stay in North Korea? Have they made it to Baekdu Mountain yet?

about a month and a half ago
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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Steps Down

Zordak Re:Let the hate fly! (142 comments)

and there is no Santa Clause

[SIGH OF RELIEF] For a minute there, I thought you were going to say there is no Santa Claus. But I can live without his grammar Nazi cousin Santa Clause.

about a month and a half ago
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Universal Big Bang Lithium Deficit Confirmed

Zordak Re:Three times less? (171 comments)

WTF does that even mean?

It means whoever wrote this doesn't know what "times" means.

about 1 month ago
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In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart

Zordak Re:DUAL CORE, BEEOTCHES! (183 comments)

Apparently you missed the Doctor Who episode "New Earth."

about 2 months ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Zordak Re:Obvious Reason (579 comments)

Asking a slashdotter for his insights about women is like asking a Mormon about his favorite microbrews.

I'm Mormon, and I'll have you know that I have very strong opinions about which local microbrew has the best root beer, you insensitive clod!

about 2 months ago
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Zordak Re:In other words... (338 comments)

Please, go read even the Wikipedia article on the Tenth Amendment. You are embarrassing yourself. (And perhaps you could explain why my bar card would not be persuasive evidence in your fantasy land where somebody accuses me in court of failing law school.)

about 2 months ago
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Zordak Re:In other words... (338 comments)

The Supremacy Clause does not trump Article 1, Section 8 where the powers of the federal government are specifically enumerated, or the Bill of Rights, which was passed to capture the votes of anti-federalists who feared that the new government would get too powerful if there were not explicit checks placed on its power. Seriously, just read even the Wikipedia article on the Tenth Amendment. This is not some novel, controversial issue to people who have a clue what they're talking about.

about 2 months ago
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Zordak Re:In other words... (338 comments)

You have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, the Constitution was supposed to be stronger than the Articles of Confederation. That is not synonymous with unlimited and all-powerful.

about 2 months ago
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Zordak Re:In other words... (338 comments)

You'd fail law school. 10th amendment is an throw away amendment that holds no legal meaning or legal standard. It's used today to galvanize the states rights / confederate base but there is no sound legal jurisprudence that has ever been accepted by the Supreme Court.

I have a JD and a Texas bar card that say otherwise.

about 2 months ago
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

Zordak Re:In other words... (338 comments)

You're thinking of the Articles of Confederacy, which preceded the Constitution. Study your history.

No, you're thinking of some government that you just made up. Go read the Constitution, especially the 10th Amendment. The states wanted to make it very clear that they were giving the federal government only specific, enumerated powers. Then FDR told the court where it could stick its Constitution (as the GP said) and told them that if they didn't back down, he would stack the court with yes-men who would give him his way. The court backed down, and the result was 75 years of the federal government encroaching into everyday life until you couldn't buy a shower head without Uncle Sam's permission, and people like you who don't even realize anymore that it was supposed to be a government of specific, enumerated powers.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Pro bono Lawyer Fights C&D With Humor

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about a year ago

Zordak (123132) writes "When Jake Freivald received a questionable Cease and Desist letter from a big-firm attorney, demanding that he immediately relinquish rights to his website http://westorage.info, his pro-bono lawyer decided to treat the letter like the joke that it was. In a three-page missive, the lawyer points out the legal, constitutional, and ethical problems with the letter that led him to conclude that the letter was a joke. He concludes, in a postscript, with an unsubstantiated demand for $28,000 in overpaid property taxes, and offers to lease the city the domain name "westorange.gov" in exchange."
Link to Original Source
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New Bill Would Require Patent Trolls to Pay Defendants' Attorneys

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Zordak writes "According to Law 360, H.R. 845, the "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes" (SHIELD) Act of 2013 would require non-practicing entities that lose in patent litigation to pay the full legal costs of accused infringers. The new bill would define a "non-practicing entity" as a plaintiff that is neither the original inventor or assignee of a patent, and that has not made its own "substantial investment in exploiting the patent." The bill is designed to particularly have a chilling effect on "shotgun" litigation tactics by NPEs, in which they sue numerous defendants on a patent with only a vague case for infringement. Notably, once a party is deemed to be an NPE early in the litigation, they will be required to post a bond to cover the defendants' litigation costs before going forward."
Link to Original Source
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Micron Lands Broad "Slide to Unlock" Patent

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "Micron has recently landed U.S. Patent 8,352,745, which claims priority back to a February 2000 application---well before Apple's 2004 slide-to-unlock application. While claim construction is a highly technical art, the claims here are (for once) almost as broad as they sound, and may cover the bulk of touch screen smart phones on the market today. Dennis Crouch's Patently-O has a discussion."
Link to Original Source
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Apparently People Won't Pay $100/yr for Office

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about 2 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "CNN Money is running an article about Microsoft's long-anticipated switch to a subscription business model for Office. For only $100 per year, your family will be able to run Office365 on any five machines you want (as long as they're desktops or Windows 8 tablets, that is). More interesting than the article itself is the comments. The article closes by asking "Will you [pay up]?" The consensus in the comments is a resounding "NO," with frequent mentions of the suitability of OpenOffice for home productivity."
Link to Original Source
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The Veritas Mind Reading Machine

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "Memories and thoughts are private—or at least they used to be. A new company, Veritas Scientific, is developing a technology that promises to peek into a person’s brain to reveal some of their secrets. “The last realm of privacy is your mind,” says Veritas CEO Eric Elbot. “This will invade that.”"
Link to Original Source
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Patent Attorneys Sued for Copyright Infringement

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Zordak writes "Patent blogger Dennis Crouch writes on Patently-O of a catch 22 for attorneys. Patent attorneys (I am one, but not yours, obviously) are required to submit all prior art that they know of to the patent office. Failing to do so is an ethical violation, and can result in a patent being invalidated. But now the Hoboken Publishing Company and the American Institute of Physics are suing a major patent firm for copyright infringement, because they submit articles to the patent office without paying a separate royalty."
Link to Original Source
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Public Domain Saved "It's a Wonderful Life"

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "With Christmas just around the corner, it's good to remember how lapsing into the public domain probably saved "It's a Wonderful Life" from relative obscurity. In 2002, NPR ran a feature explaining how the movie flopped at the box office, despite critical praise and Oscar nominations. By the 1970s, the movie was practically unknown---until budget-pinched TV stations realized that the owner had failed to renew the copyright, so they could show the film for free. By the 1990s, the movie had become a Holiday staple. Though still popular, the movie is no longer ubiquitous because Aaron Spelling realized that he owned the copyright on the underlying story and some of the background music."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon 1-Click Patent Survives Almost Unscathed

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "Amazon's infamous "1-click" patent has been in reexamination at the USPTO for almost four years. Patently-O now reports that "the USPTO confirmed the patentability of original claims 6-10 and amended claims 1-5 and 11-26. The approved-of amendment adds the seeming trivial limitation that the one-click system operates as part of a 'shopping cart model.' Thus, to infringe the new version of the patent, an eCommerce retailer must use a shopping cart model (presumably non-1-click) alongside of the 1-click version. Because most retail eCommerce sites still use the shopping cart model, the added limitation appears to have no practical impact on the patent scope.""
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Al Qaeda Goes Green

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "In a sign that "green" has truly gone mainstream, we read on CNN that Osama bin Laden and his friends in Al Qaeda are now concerned about global warming. "This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions – whether intentionally or unintentionally — and about the action we must take," bin Laden says in the tape, according to Al-Jazeera's Web site. "George Bush junior, preceded by congress, dismissed the [Kyoto Protocol] agreement to placate giant corporations. And they are themselves standing behind speculation, monopoly and soaring living costs." I, for one, expect bin Laden to step up himself and show us how he is going to ensure that future terrorist attacks are carried out in an environmentally-responsible way."
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Federal Appeals Court Tosses Spam Patent

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Zordak (123132) writes "Dennis Crouch's Patently-O is running a news item about U.S. patent 6,631,400, which has claims drawn to a method of making sure enough people get your spam. A federal district court had overturned the patent as anticipated, obvious, and not drawn to patentable subject matter. The Federal Circuit, the appeals court which hears patent matters, upheld the finding of obviousness, thus invalidating the patent."
Link to Original Source
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Bad Acts Render Rambus Patents Unenforceable

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Zordak writes "In a recent decision, Judge Sue Robinson of the United States District Court for the District of Deleware found Rambus patents unenforceable against Micron. Judge Robinson recounts Rambus's shady history of seeking to create a "patent minefield," and hiring an attorney to implement an aggressive litigation strategy. She then takes Rambus to task for implementing a new document retention (meaning "destruction") policy and holding a company-wide "shred day" on Sept. 3, 1998, well after they anticipated litigation of the patents. This was evidence that Rambus had destroyed relevant documents in bad faith. Finally, she found that, as lesser sanctions would be "impractical, bordering on meaningless," the appropriate sanction was to find Rambus's patents unenforceable against Micron.

Although this order relates only to Rambus's case against Micron, it is possible that the same bad acts will taint other Rambus litigation."
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Replacing Metal Detectors with Brain Scans

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Zordak writes "CNN is running a story about several Israeli firms that want to replace metal detectors at the airport with biometric readings. For example, with funding from TSA and DHS "WeCU ([creepily] pronounced "We See You") Technologies, employs a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors and imagers, and flashing of subliminal images, such as a photo of Osama bin Laden. Developers say the combination of these technologies can detect a person's reaction to certain stimuli by reading body temperature, heart rate and respiration — signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack." Sensors may be embedded in the carpet, seats, and check-in screens. The stated goal is to read a passenger's "intention" in a manner that is "more fair, more effective and less expensive" than traditional profiling. But not to worry! WeCU's CEO says, "We don't want you to feel that you are being interrogated." And you may get through security in 20 to 30 seconds."
Link to Original Source
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Federal Circuit Limits Business Method Patents

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about 6 years ago

Zordak writes "The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has just issued its much-anticipated opinion in In Re Bilski. This was a re-visit of the State Street issue of what constitutes patentable subject matter (including whether software and business methods are patentable). In summary, the court has affirmed and strengthened the "machine-or-transformation" test, upholding the patent office's rejection of claims on a method to hedging risk in the field of commodities trading. Although the court refused to categorically exclude software patents, it is likely that the reasoning of this decision will be used to reject many software patents (note that some of the dissenting judges would have completely overturned State Street and tossed out all software and business method patents). Although not as sweeping as some had hoped for, it is certain that this decision, along with the Supreme Court's KSR decision last year, will lay a difficult mine field for those who want to patent software and business methods."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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LSAT

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 11 years ago Well, I did it. I just took the LSAT. I get to see what my score is 4 January, and if it's high enough, hopefully I'll get into a law school. To the world of Patent Law: Here I Come!

Incindentally, my conclusion on the LSAT: it would be trivially easy if it weren't for the friggin' time limit! Of course, I guess that's the point. Lawyers are supposed to think quickly, or something like that.

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Barbara Streisand is a moron

Zordak Zordak writes  |  about 12 years ago Besides being uglier than your average sewer rat, Barbara Streisand has proven herself a moron. Like some people on Slashdot, she fell for the fake Julius Caesar quote (here is the first reference to it I found with a google search). Now, I was almost ready to give Streisand some credit for thinking the quote came from the Shakeseare play Julius Caesar rather than from Caesar himself. Attributing it to Caesar is stupid for several reasons. First, what latin phrase translates into "whip the people into a patriotic fervor," precisely? "Whip into" is an english idiom that I doubt Caesar used. A good translator would have chosen a better phrase. Second, why would Caesar be warning people against leaders who did what he did? That would be like Hitler warning against murderous dictators. It just doesn't make any sense. Third, I am not aware of any case where Roman Citizens, voluntarily and of their own initiative, gave up their rights en masse in order to allow Caesar to fight a war, so the quote is historically questionable. Others who are more conversant in the affairs of ancient Rome have offered additional reasons why it is unreasonable to believe that this quote is from Caesar, such as the fact that Romans did not use war drums. The foregoing are just the ones that immediately occurred to me.

So, like I said, my first thought was, "At least she didn't attribute it to Caesar." Rather, she was suckered into believing that it was penned by Shakespeare. However, after about two seconds of reflection, I decided attributing it to Shakespeare makes her even more of a moron. Why? My first reason stands. "Whips into" is not consistent with Shakespeare's writing style. The second reason stands too. Why would Shakespeare have Caesar cautioning against rulers like himself? Most importantly, Barbara Streisand is a supposedly professional actress. You would think she would have studied some Shakespeare in her time. After all, Shakespeare, to the field of drama, is like the physicists' Newton, Einstein and Hawking all combined. He was the master playwright. So, since we're assuming Streisand has studied some Shakespeare, even if the phrase "whip into" didn't trigger a question mark, how is it that she didn't notice that this stupid quote is not anything like iambic pentameter, Shakespeare's favorite meter? Granted, "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war" is almost iambic pentameter (replacing "leader" with "man" should do it), and since Shakespeare was not religious about it, that line could maybe pass. But the rest does not even resemble metered verse. It doesn't sound like Shakespeare at all. It sounds like the ramblings of a pacifist weenie. The quote, that a "friend" found somewhere on the internet (a questionable resource that should always be double checked), should have immediately set off alarms in her head. She should have gotten out her copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (every actor should have one) and looked for the quote, or downloaded one of the e-texts from Project Gutenberg and done a quick text search of the play for a key phrase. Then she would have found that the quote has nothing to do with either Shakespeare or Caesar. It was fraudulently penned, and apparently quite recently, since nobody seems to be able to find an occurrence of it prior to 11 Sept. 2001 (please correct me if you find a prior reference). This would have saved her a good deal of embarassment. Since she wasn't bright enough to see big, red, flashing alarms when the quote was attributed to Shakespeare, I am forced to openly mock her, as I do all pacifist weenies who jump all over this quote the first time they see it. Like others, she ended up whining about how, okay, maybe it wasn't written by Shakespeare or Caesar, but it's still important and relevant, blah blah, sob, sob. The truth is, it's not important or relevant. People with an agenda trying to prove their points by citing other people with the same agenda is a very weak form of argument. Pacifist weenies referring to quotes by other pacifist weenies only works for pacifist weenies (which is why the pacifist weenies at the Democratic fund raiser applauded her so excitedly), just like Microsoft FUD about Linux (and Linux FUD about Microsoft, while we're on the subject) only serves to whip the apologists and devotees into an OS-Pride fervor. It is not at all persuasive. If the Democrats want to convince people there is something wrong with Pres. Bush's Iraq policy, they need to use some logic and reason, not clueless entertainers.

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Illegal Prime Number

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 12 years ago This got rejected, so I'll just have to put it in my journal, because I think it's actually pretty cool, and could expose some of the technical flaws of the DMCA. Tasty Bits from the Technology Front has a story (about a year old now), about a prime number that may be illegal under the DMCA. The number, when converted to hex, becomes a binary gzipped file that contains important parts of the DeCSSS source code, which we all know is illegal under the DMCA. Follow the link. It's fun for all ages.

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Law School

Zordak Zordak writes  |  more than 12 years ago I think I've decided to go to law school once I finish my undergrad degree in EE. Perhaps the world could use a few lawyers who actually understand technology. Besides that, patent lawyers get paid obscene amounts of money because there aren't a lot of lawyers with a formal technical education.

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