Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

rijrunner Re:Make Magazine (282 comments)

The thing is, Byte, Datamation, and a few others quit being really must read for techs long before the Internet really hit.

In the IT field back in the late 80's through about 2000, the scariest thing to see would be an executive with a glossy magazine..

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

rijrunner Re:I make alcohol (731 comments)

It has been my experience that these are usually the same people..

Been doing tech for 30 years and it is amazing the skills sets the people I work with have... Naturally curious people pick up an odd assortment of skills.

5 days ago

Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

rijrunner One problem with that (286 comments)

Except some companies, like HP, flat out will not hire unless you have a degree.

It is standard HR practice to use whether you have completed college as a criteria for hiring.

5 days ago

Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

rijrunner Re:BACK IN people BACK IN (352 comments)

Hmm. I could easily see commercial parking lots putting in these readers at their entrances if they could make money reporting the cars..

about a month and a half ago

ABC Kills Next-Day Streaming For Non-Subscribers

rijrunner Re:Less ads please (169 comments)

I usually stack the shows, then binge-watch. Much easier to track serials this way.

about 4 months ago

Elon Musk Talks About the Importance of Physics, Criticizes the MBA

rijrunner Re:Phases of Evolution (343 comments)

Since it is the fuel source that burns in the car (Tesla or gasoline), is granite your fuel?

about 5 months ago

Project Seeks To Build Inexpensive 9-inch Monitor For Raspberry Pi

rijrunner Re:Gee, they're going to build an ARM-based comput (176 comments)

peek and poke..

Computers have gone downhill since they no longer have those programming calls. Sometimes, I just want to see what is in a specific memory location and other times, I just want to put something there. F**k pointers.

about 5 months ago

Silicon Valley's Loony Cheerleading Culture Is Out of Control

rijrunner Re:Dictator (175 comments)

well, the problem is that he has taken about 20 different groups and whatever and has combined them and then went wherever he imagined was his own reality...

    His overlap between Burning Man and startups is not really that supportable. Actually, this reads like just a long diatribe of "Things Milo Hates" more than anything coherent.

    seriously, go through that article and write down all the things he complains about and then draw a Venn Diagram of the items and how they overlap.

about 8 months ago

Yahoo! Sports Redesign Sparks Controversy, Disdain From Users

rijrunner Re:One word (172 comments)

I personally have trouble focusing on lettering when the background color/shade varies.

about 8 months ago

Don't Fly During Ramadan

rijrunner Re:Don't fly. (1233 comments)

500 miles one-way from Denver still puts you 500-1000 miles from major destinations. A 200 mile round trip is a day trip for the guys in my office to go between the Denver and Cheyenne offices.

You just happen to live and have a job that does not require significant travel.. Don't mistake that for being representative of much beyond that, or as to the feasibility of your solution.

about 8 months ago

US Gov't To Issue Secure Online IDs

rijrunner Government Efficiency (205 comments)

And the really wonderful thing is that they have already used your facebook password and profile as well as your google info to prefill in all your forms..

about 8 months ago

Comcast Allegedly Confirms That Prenda Planted Porn Torrents

rijrunner Re: no (175 comments)

The only thing you about torrent you need to consider is that there is no inherent billing mechanism. Anything made available is available without restriction.

There is no connection between items in torrent and their legality. They can be any file. Used a lot for stolen materials, but also legal distributions. Here in the US, you can not be prosecuted for theft unless a theft occurs. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. If the rights holder distributed solely in this channel, then they made it available exclusive of any billing optionss.

The key point you are missing is that Prenda has been suing people for downloading these files. Files which Prenda uploaded with no restrictions or billing mechanisms.

In *none* of Prenda's filings or disclosures did they ever mention that themselves loaded those files. Their legal filings claimed a massive loss of money as a result of these files being downloaded via torrent rather than purchased. Even the kindest interpretation, this is fraud. Even when asked directly if they had anything to do with the upload, they denied it. Prenda's actions went from unethical to criminal.

about 8 months ago

Court Upholds Ruling On Dish Network's 'Hopper'

rijrunner Re:Hey... (248 comments)

The ability to do this has been around a long, long time.

If you bought a TV guide back in the 1990's, there was a number in parenthesis next to the show title. So you would see something like "9:00 channel 13 Beverly Hills 90210 (938458764): description of the episode"

The number is a number embedded in the signal of the episode that notifies automated systems what the content is being shown then. You could program your equipment to record that number. It would cut out all commercials. You never had to set the time either. It would record whenever it saw that number. It is part of the video spec.

about 9 months ago

Invalidation of Eolas's Web Patent Claims Upheld

rijrunner Re:$565+ million (72 comments)

Actually, the University of California is *owed* money. It does not owe money. The University of California is the original patentee.

about 9 months ago

Invalidation of Eolas's Web Patent Claims Upheld

rijrunner Not quite a troll (72 comments)

A lot of people are jumping in here claiming patent troll, but I remember enough about where the state of the Internet was in 1993 to feel that he was sincere in these patents. They did release a browser. they did offer licensing.

At the time he started development, there were under 100 total websites on the entire planet. A lot of people were pushing applications development to direct connect to services. For example, If you played internet chess, you opened XBoard, then pointed at a chess server. A lot of others were pushing other application specific services. There were competing paradigms in how things were going to develop. The whole idea of a web browser handling everything was not even close to being universally accepted.

So, he gets a patent. Launches a browser, but after Netscape launched their browser. No real traction with VC's as they were dumping their money into providing the services. The browser tanks, so he offers the tech for licensing. Microsoft among others says no. Then, Microsoft submits a set of patent applications that cover the exact same stuff under different names, then incorporates that tech into IE.

I dunno. Sure. Looks like a troll. He is suing to get money from his invention. But, then again, where Microsoft is concerned, he had a very solid case that they stole his ideas. He met with them, then they declined to license the technology, then they submitted patents covering the same material.

Now, given what we know now, embedded apps within HTML looks obvious, but there were other competing ideas and this one just won out. From our perspective in 2013, this was a clear winner, but when he patented it? Not so sure. And, under current laws of first-to-file, this patent would have held up.

I think the main problem I have with people claiming trolls is this: Whether a product is successful or not - in this case a browser, the IP behind it is still valid. If I invent a widget, but get swamped by companies with bigger bankrolls, that does not mean people can just take those ideas after my business goes under. IP is still property. The *only* reason this was overturned by prior art is because Microsoft decided it was cheaper to void their own patents rather than pay the lawsuit they lost.

Was there prior art? Yes... by a couple months. Did he know about it? There is enough doubt in that to overturn the patent. Was he strictly a troll? Nope. The date here is so early in development of the WWW that there were competing paradigms and multiple approaches being argued and discussed. He legitimately thought this was a valid patent.

about 9 months ago

Patent Trolls Getting the Attention of the Feds

rijrunner Re:How about investigating East Texas (92 comments)

Back in the early days of automobile and aircraft manufacturing, there were similar problems to this. In aircraft manufacturing, the Wright-Curtiss lawsuits held back aircraft development by a couple decades.

There automotive industry came up with a fairly decent solution fairly quickly, which is interesting as the Ford Company was well on its way to becoming a monopoly when it agreed to the terms set out. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) was formed as a licensing and technology sharing organization. Any member of that organization could license the technology of any other member of that organization.


"Q. What is the SAE patent policy with regard to standards in development? What must be disclosed, by whom and by when during the standards development process?

A. SAE's IP Policy provides the following guidance:

2.3 Patents
It has been traditionally the position of SAE to avoid the use of patented technology in Technical Reports where the principal objective is conformance to the Technical Report as defined by the SAE Technical Standards Board. However, with the advent of more complex technologies, it is not always possible to provide Technical Reports that meet today's needs without incorporating technologies that are patented. It has become difficult, if not impossible, to develop standards that do not take advantage of or otherwise incorporate the use of products, systems or process that implementation would necessarily infringe a claim of such a patent. Accordingly, SAE Technical Reports may include the known use of patent(s), including patent applications, if there is in the opinion of the committee developing the Technical Report technical justification and provided that SAE receive assurance from the patent holder that it will license applicants under reasonable terms and conditions for the purpose of implementing the standard. This assurance shall be provided without coercion and prior to the approval of the standard or reaffirmation when a patent becomes known after the initial approval of the standard. This assurance shall be a letter that is in the form of either:

2.3.1 A general disclaimer to the effect that the patentee will not enforce any of its present or future patent(s) whose claims would be necessarily infringed by implementation of the proposed SAE Technical Report against any person or entity implementing the mandatory provisions of the Technical Report to effect compliance or;

2.3.2 A statement that a license will be made available to all applicants without compensation or under reasonable rates, with reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of any unfair discrimination."


The problem now is that people are a) allowed patents of pretty basic concepts that are quite obvious and b) using patents to stifle competition rather than license technologies.

If I were looking at reforming patents, I would look at the "obvious" clause and how to address license agreements. I don't have anything against patents as long as someone is bending hardware and selling products based on it.

about 9 months ago

Microsoft Reveals Its 3D Printing Strategy For Windows 8.1

rijrunner Re:I don't even, what are they, what? (103 comments)

Well, one of the big things is integration of the whole environment. End-to-end operations designed for end users is a bit sketchy these days.

You have to understand that Microsoft does have a rather significant edge with 8.1. My guess, if I were designing this, I would put hooks in this so that it talks to the app store. From there, they could easily extend this to sell designs. You go out to the app store, buy a design for 99 cents, then it will print it out.

about 9 months ago

Perspectives On the Latest IBM Layoffs

rijrunner Re:I'm glad I got out of there (135 comments)

When Gerstner stepped down and Palmisano took over, however, the company began a long, gradual slide. It became cost-obsessed and quarterly earnings-focused. Some belt-tightening was appropriate during the dotcom bust, but that actually didn't hit IBM very hard. The problem was that Palmisano's leadership team had no idea how to create new business, the IBM services group that Gerstner started and used to revitalize the company was reaching a kind of natural saturation point, so Palmisano started slashing costs to prop up profit growth as revenue growth got harder to find. Even worse, the cost pressure began to change the culture of the company, creating more internal competition which began to turn ugly.

By the time I left in 2011, IBM had become a fairly unpleasant place to work. Global Services was the worst, for example utilization targets were routinely set so high that it was impossible to take vacation time without working overtime in order to make up for it, and cost controls had squeezed out all career development funding unless you could hide it in customer contracts. Software Group was struggling and had shifted more to focus on sales rather than development. IBM has always been primarily a sales company, backed by engineering, but shifting the balance too far towards sales is a way to boost short-term profits at the expense of long-term success. I personally got caught in that shift; my job was transformed underneath me from an architecture and development role to a technical sales support role. I even hear from my friends in R&D that they were also getting squeezed hard, with increasing pressure to abandon work on any ideas that couldn't be productized within a few months.

When I heard that Ginni Rometty was taking over for Palmisano last year I just shook my head. Rometty was a driving force in squeezing services employees with ever-increasing utilization targets and ever-tightening cost structures. IMO, IBM needs another visionary like Gerstner, not another jumped-up middle manager like Palmisano, but that's what they got in Rometty. She's a smart, talented, aggressive jumped-up middle manager, but still not what IBM needs, IMO.

I'm glad I left. I really should have done it a few years before I did.

At least it was Ginni and not Bob Moffat. They were grooming him for CEO. They had to scramble to find someone after Moffat went to prison. (He's sad because that cost him $65 million in benefits).

Agreed about Global Services. Their LEAN thing a few years ago was horrible. I recall how it went for e-Business. They had a couple "pilot Programs" where they went through and switched us from dedicated syadmin teams to a call center operation. So, when the customer called in, they had to open a ticket for that, then it would get assigned to a sysadmin out of the pool. No one would be that familiar with the account. As soon as they got the pilot program procedures done and that customer used to the process, they then transferred everything to a call center in South America and laid off the people working in the sysadmin pool in the states.

After seeing how well that worked, they then decided to roll that out to all of e-Business. They had months of meetings of upper management. 18 hour days in Raleigh. Flew people in from all over for these meetings. Finally, they decide to implement this. So, May 1st, they gather everyone in a room at 8AM and show them a link to where the call center procedures were. They then showed a list of what people's new teams would be. It became *very* apparent that the sum total of planning for this was to have someone email the call center procedures and then assign some specific people to a couple of the teams. In fact, Moffat argued that they did not want analysis paralysis from trying to plan too completely. (I did not see evidence of 20 minutes worth of planning. They *literally* just had some emailed docs from a call center, then told us to work it out). So, what were the 18 hour day meetings for the past 6 months?

Shoot.. they only informed the (SDM, DPE, or FAM depending on what they were calling them that day) customer reps at 8AM of the restructure and told them we were going live at noon with the new procedures and that the customer reps needed to inform the customers. By my count, they told customers whose outstanding contracts aggregated to about $12 Billion per year about a complete restructure of their complete support model with only a couple hours warning.

The layoff notices hit the next day...

Some accounts got slaughtered. They laid off every person with any institutional knowledge of how their applications worked, or their SAN, or their servers.

And those of us who had been peripherally involved in the pilot program already knew the final step of the process.

I was lucky in that I got the severance package. But, I was gonna quit anyway.

about 10 months ago



A Victory for Open Source

rijrunner rijrunner writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rijrunner (263757) writes "A legal ruling yesterday backed an open source project over a commercial company that had used the open source software in a commercial product. The commercial company filed a patent using covering the open source products prior art, then tried to bill the open source developers for infringement.

From: PC Mag's article

DecoderPro files are available for free download via open source Web site SourceForge, which is maintained by Jacobsen. Anyone can download DecoderPro files, but if they use those files for another project, they must include a notice that says it was originally developed by JMRI and note any changes made to the files. Matthew Katzer and Kamind Associates offer a competing product known as the Decoder Commander. During its development, a former employee allegedly downloaded the DecoderPro files and used portions of it in the Decoder Commander software. Katzer and Kamind, however, did not comply with the DecoderPro licensing rules. Their product did not include the authors' names, the JMRI copyright notices, references to the copying file, a notice identifying SourceForge or JMRI as the original source of the definition files, or a description of how the files or computer code had been changed from the original. Jacobsen sued to get an injunction against the distribution of Decoder Commander because, he said, the company's lack of attribution constituted copyright infringement.

Here's JRMI's story
This whole situation raises some serious questions. On the patent side, how many patents are based off prior art and at what point do patents become issuable if they are based on prior art, but not to the full extent of the patent? Most patents do include prior art. Also, is every clause in a software license enforceable? Its almost like someone needs to do a sanity check on submitted patents and provide examples of prior art to the USTPO, especially from open source projects."


rijrunner has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account