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MS vs AT&T Case Stirs Software Patent Debate

pgpckt Re:don't get your hopes up (218 comments)

I wouldn't go so far as to say the Court can't rule on the question here. It's unusual, but the Supreme Court has been known in the past to base a case on an issue other than the one brought to appeal. In the past, this has been done when the Court wants to base its decision on broader grounds than were appealed. If the Court does rule on the question of patentability of software in this case, it would be consistent with occasions in the past when the Court has 'expanded' the question to make a broader policy statement.

more than 7 years ago

Submissions

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Journals

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Marriage after 3 weeks?

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I had an intellectual argument with a good friend yesterday, and I was pretty sure I was right, even after 3 rounds of debate, so I thought I would write a journal entry about it.

I was arguing that is was simply impossible to know if you found "the one" after dating for three weeks. My premise is that if you only know someone three weeks, you really haven't gotten to know them, and the emotional force of immediate love (Love at first site) hasn't worn off. After 6 months for example, you would be able to know alot more about the character of the person you are dating, though I personally wouldn't do with less than a full year.

I also supposed that those that get married after dating 3 weeks would be a great deal more likely to break up sooner than those who dated for longer (like 6 months). If the odds of success are so much poorer in the first group than the second, and there is no way to know if you are a case of the rule or the exception, it just seems to be a lot smarter to wait longer than 3 weeks, in order to increase the odds your relationship will last.

This all assumes of course that your goal in marriage is for a life long commitment. If you want to know if you can be happy living with someone for 50 years, it would seem a lot more logically sound to date for a period of time to gain a representative sample of what that person is like in different moods and how they deal with conflict and things like that. 3 weeks isn't a big enough sample. 6 months is a better sample. With a year long sample, you have seen a person at all seasons of the year, and know how they deal with life.

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New Friend/Foe Moderation Power

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Does this mean I was right? Here is my prediction of the web of trust system that has come about.

So, now I can individually add pluses and minuses to each of these catagories:

Friend
Fan
Foe
Freak
Friends of Friends
Foes of Friends

So, I am thinging about how to assign this new found power? Any thoughts on this?

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Who want some mod points?

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Yea, I have mod access. I am at school now (which is why my journal hasn't been updated in a while...Clemson University, in case you are interested.

Anyway, reply with the link to a post you think should be modded up, and I will mod it up. Yea. Perhaps we can slightly make the system better. First come, first served. Of course, Fort Knox gets one at least, even if he doen't make it first :)

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Friend/Foe System...How about a web of trust?

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

This was a spur of the moment idea, but it sounded like it could be useful on slashdot, so feel free to share your opinion.

I like the friends/foe system, because it gives me the chance to read some of the fine journal entries some of you put out. But I was wondering...there are half a million slashdot users, how can I find people's journals I like?

Right now, it is hit-or-miss. I see a comment I think is really good, and add that person as my friend. But what if I think they are REALLY insightful? What about THEIR friends? Hey, if I like the style of writing of one guy, and he likes some other guys, maybe I will like them too.

So, how about a web of trust type system? Journals from people who are my friends would gain a point in my fan's account (see, my fans are trusting my friends). Now, for any given user, take all their friends, find all their fans, and give them a point. Users can sort by most points, and thereby would be exposed to users that are like-minded. This process could also be done recursively, perhaps to a certain number of levels. Also, you could use the foe/freak system to automatically downgrade certain users.

If this could be implemented, the result would be cliques. People would start to segment into groups, which could be a good thing. You could probably map these groups, and you could also find out which user in any group was the most popular. So, a new slashdotter would be able to tell the flavor of the group by the writings of its most popular members, and decide if they want to join.

I am proposing an automated faction system using the foe/friend/freak/fan designation to automatically correlate people. Of course, it is all optional. You could stay independent. You could manually choose people you wanted. This is sort of like Tivo for slashdot. Slashdot would merely suggest other users you would find interesting based on the information collected thus far. I think the idea is intriguing.

Well, it probably would never happen because it would be so hard to code and implement, but I thought it was a fun idea. After all, who knows what other users are out there that I might like to read?

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Minor Slashdot Tweek

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

One of the minor things that annoys me is that when you post anonymously, you do not get messaged when someone replies to your message. If I post a reply normally, my preferences are set to message me with replies. But anonymous messages lose this preference.

I wish there was a way to post with a "Slashdot remember me, everyone else forget me" option, so that I can track my anonymous postings. Sometimes, I coward out, but I still want to hear what people have to say. I guess I could go back and check it manually, but most of the time I forget what I posted where.

What do you think? Do you think this idea is good? Can it be implimented?

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What is a Miracle?

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

One does not have to search very hard on cnn.com today to see mentions of the "miracle" in Pennsylvania. In fact, there is a huge banner across the top of the main page of cnn.com that reads "Special Report: Quecreek Miner Miracle" and the word "miracle" is in reversed colors (white on blue instead of blue on white), effectively putting the word "Miracle" in bold font.

I am a Christian. I believe in God. I believe in miracles. That's why it really pisses me off (one of my pet peeves) when someone refers to a non-miracle event as a miracle. It offends my religion. It cheapens true miracles. It cheapens God. It is like saying God's name as a swear. Do it enough and God loses his' reverence to you. Calling everything a miracle makes miracles meaningless. Let's take a look at the 1st definition for miracle from dictionary.com.

miracle Pronunciation Key (mr-kl)
n.

An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God: "Miracles are spontaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves" (Katherine Anne Porter).

Inexplicable by the laws of nature? I think not. Here is an interesting contradiction too. Try this page at cnn.com. Look at the headline in bold text. Man behind the miracle? Man? Miracle? Um...did I miss something here?

"God gave us a miracle", or so says the front page of cnn.com right now. What if only 7 survived? Or 3? Or none? Would it still be a miracle? Would people still thank God? Or would insults be thrown at God? I think the latter. People thank God when times are good, curse him when times are bad. One needs to only read the book of Job from the old testament. Just read the first 22 verses if the bible isn't your thing. That is the way real Christians act. Thankful of God despite hard circumstances.

"How could God allow this?" was a popular cry on Sept. 12th. Today, people are thanking God. People do not understand the nature of God, nor the fact that man has free will. Man, not God, was responsible for Sept. 11th. Man, not God, was responsible for saving these coal miners. Assigning God praise/blame based on the fickle circumstances of the moment is wrong. God has eternal character. God is good. God is just. God is loving. God is judge.

Calling everything a miracle and assigning God attributes of the moment is why so many people are confused about God. People don't believe God could send someone to hell because God is loving. But people conveniently forget God is also righteous and a judge. People blame God for the bad and thank God for the Good, yet people don't really worship God. If they did, public thanks of God like those that are being given today would be given every day.

God, if you believe he exists, is by definition God! Therefore, the appropriate level of respect and reverence and worship should be given at all times. When things are good, praise God. When things are bad, praise God. God is eternal. Do not let the circumstances of the moment blind you to the true essence of God. And save the word "Miracle" for when the real thing comes along.

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Subscribe to Slashdot?

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

The ability to subscribe to slashdot has now been in place for a while. In this post, some end user changed his sig to read "Please subscribe [slashdot.org] to see the more insightful version of this comment".

I decided to reply to this sig at the expense of being modded down as being off-topic. I felt that my post was insightful though, so I thought I would re-post it here for discussion:

I will subscribe when:

A) Users can moderate stories, decide which ones get posted. No more tyranny of the minority (the moderators)

B) Changes to the Slashdot system are documented (the recent change to the karma system for example) and there is a story posted about such chnages so I can voice my objections and be ON TOPIC (unlike this post, which is off-topic, since there is no on-topic place to post it) [sic: No, CmdrTaco's journal does not count. Most people won't read it. I didn't know he had posted a comment there about it. By the time I found out, he closed the discussion thread for comments (which was about 2 days after he opened it for comments). This does NOT count as disclosure.]

C) Stories that are rejected are accomplined with an explaination (seriously, use a drop-down menu. Pick the top 20 reasons, put them in said drop down menu. Pick one. Easy enough. Total coding time: less than one hour.

D) Stories are spell/grammar checked by the editors, and links are checked. When a story is ready to be posted, no less than 3 minutes is spent trying to find out if it is a duplicate.

When all that happens, I will pay. Not a second before.

Please don't mod me as off topic. It is relevant to the sig of the parent, plus there really isn't an ontopic place to post it.

What do you guys think?

UPDATE: In the time it took me to post this journal entry, my post was modded as being off-topic. {sigh}

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OpenBSD vs. FreeBSD vs. Linux

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

For those that have read my posts lately, I have had a question in my sig that reads "Can someone please explain the difference between OpenBSD and FreeBSD?" I use my sig to get questions answered once in a while, and have found it successful.

One nice user was kind enough to give me a length reply. I will repost it here, though I will leave out who sent it since I don't think it is fair to post his/her name without asking. The user in question send me an email asking if I was serious in my question. In responce, I detailed my questions, which are indicated here by being blockquoted. His/her responce follows. I post this reply in the hopes that others who are curious might see it and have some of their questions answered too.

BEGIN MY EMAIL

Yes, I was quite serious actually. I have been in the Linux realm for a little under a year now, and as such have leaned the differences between the major Linux distros. It is mostly just aesthetics, but some have small advantages over others.

Recently, I was reading something that made me recall about this other option that is BSD. I am an end-user, so Linux is my desktop replacement. The purpose of my sig is to try to understand the differences between what I perceived to be the two major flavors of Linux {(sic) I meant the two flavors of BSD}. A true comparion between BSD and Linux would also be a bonus. Too much evangelism in the *nix community, not enough comparison.

What are *BSD's advantages/disadvantages, and how do the various BSD variants compare? When would a BSD computer be better than a Linux computer, and vice-versa.

I am trying to learn, so forgive the basic nature of my questions.

END MY EMAIL

BEGIN QUOTED REPLY

Well, where do I start...? At the ISP I work for, we used to run a mix of redhat and debian boxes. I decided it was time to migrate to FreeBSD almost two years ago, and haven't looked back since.

I occasionally play with a fre Linux distros just to kinda check on how the desktop front is coming along. I see no reason to use Linux for _any_ server anymore. That may seem bias, but I've used both Linux and FreeBSD in the production enviornment and FreeBSD takes the cake. I'm not saying Linux is bad, I just don't prefer it for servers.

FreeBSD will never takeoff on the desktop, although it'd probably be better (ie easier to maintain.) than linux.. It's just that it doesn't have the masses behind it.. There are currently no nvidia drivers that support full hardware acceleration for FreeBSD because nvidia "already spends enough time maintaining Linux drivers." (actual quote from nvidia)

If you're using Linux primarily for the desktop, by all means stay there. If you've got a mailserver with 2000+ mailboxes, Linux just won't cut it.. We have over 4000 accounts on our mailserver.

The FreeBSD developers have done a nice job on making it rock solid.. Yahoo! and Hotmail (search engine and webmail) are both powered by
FreeBSD. apache.org is hosted on a FreeBSD machine. All the Linux zealots (not implying all Linux users are zealots) scream about NetCraft's little graphs showing Linux with more market share than FreeBSD... NetCraft runs on FreeBSD too. The only massive site I know about running on Linux is Google.

FreeBSD has something called the "ports system" that makes debian's apt-get and gentoo's emerge look pitiful. When you install something from ports it basically downloads the source, patches it with FreeBSD specific information (mostly file paths and whatnot), compiles it, and builds it. Anything you install is installed into /usr/local/bin or /usr/local/sbin. All config files go to /usr/local/etc. One of the things I *hated* about linux is that every distrobution puts files in different places.. /var/www on debian, /home/www on redhat, etc. Every FreeBSD box in the world that installed Apache from ports is setup at /usr/local/www.

Now for some FreeBSD vs OpenBSD... :) I occasionally deploy OpenBSD boxes for office firewalls. Only because it's easier to deploy than FreeBSD is.. OpenBSD's new firewall "ipf" is kernel-level and built into the generic kernel. FreeBSD's firewall "ipfw" is also kernel-level but it isnt built into the generic kernel. Sometimes I dont feel like recompiling kernels for ipfw support and when people hand me a 100mhz machine for their firewall, I use OpenBSD. =)

OpenBSD doesn't support SMP (more than 1 cpu) and FreeBSD does. Linux just recently ugraded the way it handles SMP and it is currently better than FreeBSD. FreeBSD is fine with 2 cpus, but more than 2 is kind of a waste. FreeBSD's next version (5.0) will fix this issue. FreeBSD's SMP is worse than Linux's because only one cpu can access certain areas of memory at a time, and when you have 4 cps, 3 are waiting in line.. Kinda pointless..

OpenBSD also has worse driver support than FreeBSD does. FreeBSD will support almost anything.. I've ran into one funky RAID controller that FreeBSD doesn't support and it's because IBM won't share the information with the FreeBSD developers.. They were very quick to give Linux kernel hackers all the necessary information just after they started their "Peace. Love. Linux." campaign. Oh well, it's a pretty bad RAID controller anyways.. =)

Right now, it seems the only thing OpenBSD has going for them is that a lot of people seem to accredit them as the "most secure os" and their (old) slogan was "No remote exploits in over 4 years" which they have since updated to "Only 1 remote exploit in almost 6 years" due to the new OpenSSH exploit. They seem to have skipped year 5. They claim they are the most secure os because they have an "auditing team" that constantly audits all the os's new [and old] code.. They have been obviousely not been doing so well, since the only reason I've updated my FreeBSD servers in the past 2 years is twice for OpenSSH and once for Apache.

Well, that is probably a lot more than you expected so I'll let your eyes rest.. =) I hope this answers some of your BSD questions... I'm astonished someone on /. that is alreasy using Linux would have an open enough mind to ask questions about any of the BSD's. That is very commendable. If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

END QUOTED REPLY

Many thanks to this friendly user for taking his/her time to answer a stranger's question. That certainly represents the best of the free/open software movement, and I am profusely thankful.

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Windows Vs. Linux: The Personal Fight. Round 3, Windows Wins

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I have been using computers since before hard drives. I still remember dual floppy machines with no hard drive and 500k of RAM. Since that time, I have been using Windows. Now as a computer science major in college, I have decided to try to learn Linux. I like the power of the command line, though there are a lot of options for any command and I find the MAN pages hard to read and understand. I also remember a time when I knew every switch for every command line option in DOS, so I am hopeful that as I continue to play with Linux I will learn some of these options.

This entry is about round 3 of my personal fight with Windows vs. Linux. Rounds 1 and 2 are not covered in my journal, but Linux won. Suffice it to say rounds 1 and 2 were getting Linux up and running, and installing OpenOffice and some other packages.

Round 3. Installing 3D Games (Quake 3 Demo)
Winner: Windows, decisively

Report: I want to like Linux, but Red Hat 7.3 running KDE 3.0 does not have the ease of use of Windows.

I decided I wanted to see how my NVIDIA Geforce 2 video card ran under Linux. I decided to install Quake3 demo to test the video card. When I downloaded it and installed in in windows, it installed perfectly and worked right out of the box. I had to do nothing to get it to work, and it functioned perfectly. When the Quake3 screen came up, I changed the resolution in the game's setup, and Quake3 immediately changed resolutions. There was no problem at all with Quake3 demo out of the box working on Windows XP.

Linux was a totally different story. I was able to install it fine, but when I ran the command to launch the game, I was greeted with a blank screen. Not the effect I was looking for. Now, I probably could play with Quake3 demo and get it to work, but that's not the point. It worked out of the box on Windows and I expect the same on Linux. The help file that came with the Demo did not address my problem, and asking for help on a Linux IRC channel resulted in RTFMs and a general not helping attitude. I was more or less mocked for my inability to get the demo to work. This has got to be frustrating for anyone trying Linux out, especially if they are not familiar with computers. The average joe with Windows has programs work out of the box. No worries about permissions. No having to compile the code. All he has to do it double click on the executive and it works. Linux does not provide that kind of support.

I am frustrated. I want the power of Linux, the power of the command line when I need it, but I also want products to work right of out the box just like they do for Windows. Until that happens, I cannot imagine Linux will be an alternative to Windows for the average consumer. I will keep trying Linux, but the stability of Linux cannot compare to the ease of use of Windows. Without ease of use, the average Joe won't care about security or stability, and Linux will not be able to penetrate the market.

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Editor Moderation

pgpckt pgpckt writes  |  more than 12 years ago

From the slashdot faq:

"Do editors moderate?

The Slashdot Editors have unlimited mod points, and we have no problem using them. These moderations represent approximately 8% of all moderation, and according to Meta Moderation, the fairness of these comments is statistically indistinguishable from the moderation of non admin users (92-93% of moderations are ruled 'Fair'). You can argue that this is somehow inherently unfair, but one of the goals of Slashdot is to produce readable content for a variety of readers with a variety of reading habits, and this process improves discussions for the vast majority of Slashdot Readers, so it will stay this way.
Answered by: CmdrTaco

Last Modified: 1/24/02

My response to CmdrTaco:

I believe editor moderation is unfair. If you want to
increase "readable content for a variety of readers with
a variety of reading habits, improves discussions for the
vast majority of Slashdot Readers.", as you say in you
FAQ, the fairer solution is to give out moderator access
more often.

I feel it is grossly unfair and against the community spirit
to allow someone unlimited moderator access. Please
remove it.

Additional comments:

This seems very sad. I don't know what is going on. The moderation system was developed over time to become a system where the users can moderate themselves. With unlimited editor moderation, this intent is gone. I am very saddened by these turn of events.

Here is a post that proves editor moderation is out of control: Never forget this forbidden post! Look at these current Moderation Totals: Offtopic=378, Flamebait=4, Troll=27, Redundant=5, Insightful=98, Interesting=206, Informative=49, Funny=12, Overrated=12, Underrated=63, Total=854. Now do you agree with me?

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