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Yahoo's Own Lash Out At Company Over "Weaponized" Patents

jpwilliams Re:Uh... (89 comments)

Yes. Many patents aren't weaponized, and are defensive. The media, and many here, are focussing on the case where desperate companies like Yahoo are using them as weapons. I would wager the vast majority of patents are not used in this way.

Many arguments here focus on the philosophical "you can't own an idea." This may be true, but the practical reason for patents (justifiable philosophically or not) is to incentivize the development of new technologies. I've experienced the benefit of this thinking first hand, growing up with two engineer parents who, between them, owned/created somewhere around 30 patents.

Fact of the matter is they wouldn't have worked on these technologies if another company could legally come in, replicate their product exactly, and take a significant slice of potential market share. You can call that greedy, but the money that the patent protection afforded my parents (and many other inventors and the companies they work for) feeds families.

On a corporate level, I witnessed the work my parents did for Motorola and National Instruments in the early 90s get ripped off by other companies. When this occurred, the violating companies had a few choices: stop using that tech in that way, license it, or be bought out by the patent owning company. That was what was offered before litigation occurred. You can call this destructive, but ask yourself this ... would you, as an engineer or owner of a company, invest in the development of a product if you knew it was going to be ripped off right away and you wouldn't make nearly as much money as you could? If such robbery were legal, the incentive to invest in development would be diminished greatly.

Is Yahoo's use of these patents frivolous? Absolutely. But let's not universalize here and categorize all patents as bad. I support innovation and the free spread of ideas, but there is a price to pay when you no longer incentivize the commercialization of those ideas, and destroy the tools that allow creators to hope for profit protected by law.

more than 2 years ago
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Venture Capital in Detroit, Among Other Places (Video)

jpwilliams Re:Be careful (36 comments)

Exactly. The trouble also is that you, as the entrepreneur/inventor/owner of what's being sold, can experience some cognitive dissonance when confronted with "too goo to be true" offers. In other words, since you love your creation, a scam artist knows they can appeal to you with what seems like offers that are too good to be true, since you are trying to justify doing business with them. That's why it is so important to get an outside perspective, hopefully from an expert.

more than 2 years ago
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Venture Capital in Detroit, Among Other Places (Video)

jpwilliams Re:Be careful (36 comments)

You're right, there are a lot of scammers out there, and that gives the real guys a bad name.

I used to work for a legit firm. Here's a few tips (totally anecdotal) in case you're interested.

1. See how fast they move
If they're trying to close the deal after one or two calls, beware. Proper firms will vet the idea, invention through several channels, as well as having lots of internal discussion before closing a deal. Even if the firm is just a few people, lots of consideration goes into each opportunity. Unlike scammers, who are wham bam thank you entrepreneurial maam.

2. What other companies are in their portfolio
Just like the parent mentioned, investigate their portfolio. Don't look for a lot of companies. Rather, look for companies that seem to have a legitimate product or service they are marketing to a known (not necessarily established) marketplace. Note: some of these companies won't have websites or huge public faces yet, that's not bad necessarily, it could just mean they are young.

3. Get a second, expert opinion
Search your network and find someone you know who's dealt with an investment banker or VC before. Tell them in vague details what you've experienced, and see if they identify any red flags.

Angels and VCs are a great way to bring an idea into reality. Don't be afraid, be careful.

more than 2 years ago
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Online Privacy Worth Less Than Marshmallow Fluff Six Pack

jpwilliams Improve Services, or Something More (223 comments)

With this data, they could make a major run at comScore, Nielsen, and other companies that provide demographic data for a fee. I wonder if there privacy policy addresses that. If they choose to compete, they could wipe out competitors on pure numbers alone, I imagine.

more than 2 years ago
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4G Phones Are Really Fast — At Draining Batteries

jpwilliams Re:Very frustrating (281 comments)

That's assuming there's a wifi network you can connect to. Pointless to have it on if you won't be connecting to a network.

more than 2 years ago
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4G Phones Are Really Fast — At Draining Batteries

jpwilliams Very frustrating (281 comments)

I'm in SF, and I upgraded from an iPhone 3G to a HTC Thunderbolt with 4G. The Thunderbolt, even brand new, has to be charged twice a day at least, and I keep things like Bluetooth and wifi off most of the time. If I don't plug in my phone at night, it will be dead by morning.

Coming from someone who carefully manages when I plug my electronics in so as to extend their usable battery life, it sucks to have to feel like my phone always needs to be plugged in.

Is the 4g tech itself power hungry? Mine seems to have battery trouble even when I'm stationery and the 4g signal is strong.

more than 2 years ago
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Saylor Foundation Awards Prizes To Free College Textbooks

jpwilliams Re:First Round of "winners" arranged? (75 comments)

Right. Just seems a little odd that the distribution was made possible by prize money that was awarded for being a textbook with that license available for distribution. Chicken and egg problem.

more than 2 years ago
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History Repeats Itself: KDP Select Is Amazon.com's 'Payback For Playback'

jpwilliams Re:Dead Tree Exclusivity (70 comments)

Not really. There are several publication rights that can be had on a written work. You often see one publisher release the hardcover, another the paperback, another the audiobook, etc.

Now, to be sure, one publisher usually gets a share of those other formats, but that's on a case by case basis. There's no reason why a written work couldn't have more than one publisher over time.

more than 2 years ago
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Saylor Foundation Awards Prizes To Free College Textbooks

jpwilliams Re:First Round of "winners" arranged? (75 comments)

Indeed, I am reading through the Real Analysis one to see.

A math buddy of mine has wanted to write a textbook for years as a big Middle Finger to the establishment. I like the model here. The Real Analysis book, at least, is free for teachers and self-teaching students. Available for a small fee for the classroom. See publisher http://trillia.com/.

Props to you, Trillia!

more than 2 years ago
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MIT Crowdsources and Gamifies Brain Analysis

jpwilliams Re:Nice! (38 comments)

I see what you're saying, but I don't know if I agree. The other systems of the body (lymbic, digestive, etc.) are fairly well understood, yet we don't possess the processing power to deliberately (keyword) run them. I believe scientific analysis of many many brains may one do yield just a good understanding of the brain.

This could even more true if you believe in the Singularity, which I personally don't, but it certainly warrants mention.

more than 2 years ago
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MIT Crowdsources and Gamifies Brain Analysis

jpwilliams Re:Nice! (38 comments)

Good point. But I don't think we know enough to say, even if the results of this do match past data, that applying this method to something more unfamiliar will yield similar quality. I guess it may bring up some interesting questions that could then be put to scientific scrutiny.

more than 2 years ago
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MIT Crowdsources and Gamifies Brain Analysis

jpwilliams Nice! (38 comments)

As a former cognitive science student, I'm always amazed at how quickly the complexity of the brain limits our ability to understand it. While it's not the same as the Genome project, it's awesome when projects like this show up that prompt us to get a better understanding of the brain.

My question: can uneducated users really use the game to make valid discoveries? What prevents errors?

Also, it's a bummer that this is based on the eye, which has already had a ton of deep-dive research done.

more than 2 years ago
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Saylor Foundation Awards Prizes To Free College Textbooks

jpwilliams First Round of "winners" arranged? (75 comments)

While looking at the copyright page for the real analysis book that "won" I found this ...

"Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license made
possible by funding from The Saylor Foundation’s Open Textbook Challenge..."

I'm not saying there's foul play afoot, but it seems odd.

Cool none the less. I wonder if the books are any good.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Could Lose $1.6 Billion In iPad Lawsuit

jpwilliams Re:Good (286 comments)

If I recall, several other suggestions were ...

iSlate
iTablet
iPhone SuperSize
iMcoolerthanyou
iLikeshinythings

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Could Lose $1.6 Billion In iPad Lawsuit

jpwilliams Re:Good (286 comments)

Of course they knew the name was taken, but since iPad was such a logical name for the device, they probably decided the likely lawsuit and resulting fines are acceptable as the cost of doing business. And it should be. The iPad (Apple's version) has already made a ton of money, and the franchise will make a ton more.

Personally, I think it's silly Proview can collect such a large amount of money simply for using the name first. Then again, Apple tried to reserve "appstore" ... karma anyone?

People get upset when companies sue each other, but it's par for the course for tech companies. Reading the news would make you think all these lawsuits are a new trend, but it's been going on for a long time (at least since the 80s on). What get's frustrating is when laws limit the ability for companies to create new products.

more than 2 years ago
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DARPA Investing In Electric Brain Stimulation To Train Snipers Quickly

jpwilliams Re:Snipers? WTF? (124 comments)

This stimulation wouldn't directly effect muscle memory, but it's part of a whole system. I think more research is needed. It be interesting to see a situation where the brain has acquired the necessary pathways to be better, but the muscle tissue and peripheral nervous system hasn't caught up. BTW, TFA does mention sniping specifically. From TFA:

Weisend, who is working on a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency programme to accelerate learning, has been using this form of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to cut the time it takes to train snipers

more than 2 years ago
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DARPA Investing In Electric Brain Stimulation To Train Snipers Quickly

jpwilliams Re:Did I miss the memo? (124 comments)

Just venturing a guess, but sniping, as opposed to other combat skills, seems a rather controlled, calculable (word?) action. Compare it to moving through a city in formation, disarming a bomb, etc. Don't get me wrong, snipers are highly skilled and gifted, but the complexity of the tax, I think, is better suited to a technology that augments the brains natural learning rhythms. In other words, it's not because they need more snipers, but because they need to test the tech. PS. Manchurian Candidate, anyone?

more than 2 years ago
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Tapeheads and the Quiet Return of VHS

jpwilliams Re:Stupid (446 comments)

Technically better doesn't mean superior to everyone. Some, as the article says, are into the nostalgia. Nothing wrong with that.

more than 2 years ago
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Google 'Solve For X' Website Goes Live

jpwilliams Re:Good luck with that... (80 comments)

Penile enlargement is only "spam" for some ...

Don't neglect the little guy...

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Perfectly Secure Quantum Internet Running At Los Alamos For Two Years

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  about a year ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "A network leveraging quantum mechanics has been under testing for two years at Los Alamos National Labs.

Because observing a message inevitably changes it, messages based on quantum mechanics are theoretically perfectly secure.

The Los Alamos network works off of a hub and spoke model, where all messages go into a central hub and then out to another end point in the network.

Apparently, some companies are already providing quantum networking, with banks and other security firms interested."

Link to Original Source
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Apple's flexing in Google's Face After Patent Win

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "As part of a continuing patent litigation strategy, Apple CEO Tim Cook is in talks with Google's Larry Page over potential patent infringements, reports state.

Up to this point, Apple has focused it's litigation on hardware manufacturers, considering it to better strategy. Is Apple switching course and going for the jugular?"

Link to Original Source
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Pico Projector That Adapts to Surface, Can Use Random Objects as Input Devices

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "This tiny projector can use random surfaces to project an image. Using a webcam, it adapts to the surface, not just by adjusting keystone, but also following that surface and displaying different amounts of information (in certain cases). The guy in the video also uses a coffee mug as an app changer."
Link to Original Source
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Laser guided bullet can hit targets a mile away

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "Gizmag reports that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have tested a 10-inch bullet that can be fired from a smooth-bore rifle to hit a laser-marked target one mile away. Interestingly, "... the accuracy improves the further away the target is. 'Because the bullet's motions settle the longer it is in flight, accuracy improves at longer ranges.'""
Link to Original Source
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4 Megaupload Associates, including founder, Denied

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "Out of the seven people charged in the Megaupload case, four are being held pending extradition proceedings. Three others remain at large.

An interesting quote from a law professor highlights one reason the case is unusual. Referencing the indictment's citation of e-mails between members of the accused ... “The government hopes to use their private words against them,” Mr. Kerr said. “This should scare the owners and operators of similar sites.”"

Link to Original Source
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HP Leaving Tablet, Computing Business

jpwilliams jpwilliams writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jpwilliams (2430348) writes "HP reverses it's initial decision and decides to exit the tablet and PC business, ditching the Pre and webOS. Apparently Leo Apotheker who recently joined HP from rival SAP, wants to refocus on the company's profitable software. This goes in line with another move this article mentions ... the acquisition of UK software firm Autonomy"
Link to Original Source

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