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Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 329

Best Buy used to have a warranty where the paid you back exactly what you paid for the device. So if your brand new original XBox that you paid $300 +tax for broke after 23 months they would give you $300 +tax and you could turn around and buy a brand new one for $200 +tax - since the price dropped by $100 after 2 years. Warranty return was no questions asked return for any reason and get handed a Best Buy gift card right there. How is this not a good deal?

Comment Instead of Patent Reform, Litigation Reform (Score 1) 130

Everyone has overly complex ideas on how to reform the patent system. Why not simply leave it alone and reform the system that allows people to sue when someone violates their patent.
In step 1 of the defense, the defendant provides prior art, claims of obviousness... to the Patent Office who then determines if the patent is still valid. The Patent Office (who are the experts, not the courts) judge if the patent is still valid based on all evidence.
After that if it still goes to court then loser pays attorney fees. No fees are paid before step 1 - so both sides get to hear the arguments before going to court. Plaintiff doesn't get punished with paying legal fees for simply not being aware of prior art. Defendant doesn't pay legal fees until they lose their appeal with the Patent Office and still decide to continue to fight. If the Patent is stuck down in step 1, then the Patent is void. It does not just apply to this single case.

Comment What about complex software? (Score 1) 130

Not all software patents cover a couple lines of code. Some represent man-decades of effort. Am I expected to first come up with my idea, then write the software, then apply for a patent and then wait 18 months (time from application to publication) to determine if someone else filed before me and that everything I have done is wasted. Do you really expect me to file the patent when the code is complete - giving someone else who does a half-assed implementation a couple year head start? Or let someone else get the patent when they came up with the same idea the same time as me (5 years ago) but filed 1 day before me. I'm not talking rounded buttons here. Think video compression algorithms, advanced image processing, recognition algorithms...

Comment Re:err (Score 4, Insightful) 235

Or maybe find a non 20-something that can program Java. They do exist and are more likely to stick around. They might even require less training. From TFA, it sounds like the CIO created his own problems by treating the web/java development team differently:

It's been very mixed because I have two different development teams. I have the core developers, the RPG and LANSA developers, and they have five, 10, 15 years with the company. They are very well entrenched, they understand the music business, they understand the technology, and they understand how we relate to the music business. On the Java side, everyone right now has been here less than a year. We have excessive turnover for my Web-based team. It's a younger workforce. They have different needs, different requirements and different desires than our slightly older workforce. I'm seeing them being much more [transient.] It's much more challenging to get the newer generation of folks interested in trying to understand the business vs. looking only at the technology.


Submission + - Sun-Times: Facebook is "fool's gold" for investors (

An anonymous reader writes: Chicago Sun-Times investment columnist David Roeder labels Facebook "Fool's gold for fad lovers," noting that the company brings in very little actual cash from its users. Facebook earns about $4 per user vs. $189 for Amazon and $24 for Google, according to JPMorgan Chase. “Even Yahoo is good for $8 a user,” Roeder writes. “What’s really behind the curtain? Facebook has a hard time extracting money from those who use its social network. Just ask your 'friends' if they’ve ever bought anything from Facebook or clicked on one of its ads,” he says, going on to compare the Goldman Sachs deal with Facebook to a Ponzi scheme.

Submission + - New laser makes pirates wish they wore eye-patches 1

vieux schnock writes: The New Scientist has an article about a new laser developed by a company in Farnborough, UK, aiming at deterring modern high-seas pirates. Devised as a "warning shot" to "distract suspected pirates rather than harm them", the meter-wide bean can scan the pirates' 6-metre skiffs and make it difficult for them to aim their AK-47 or rocket-propelled grenades at the ship.

Comment Simple definition for Network Neutrality (Score 4, Informative) 945

Best explanation I ever heard was that without Network Neutrality, our home internet could become just like our mobile internet. It would take a while to get there, but given the limited number of providers in each city it is possible. We really can move backwards. I don't buy the "alternate vendor" argument. Most cities have only 1 or 2 viable options.
You want chat with your internet. That's $5/month. You want email, voice mail, VOIP, games, NFL games, Blockbuster Streaming... That's extra. You want Netflix streaming. You can't have it. We don't have an agreement with them.
Most people talk about Network Neutrality as if it is giving preferential speed to one site over another. It can be much worse. We saw what happened when torrents (legal or illegal) were deemed to cause most of their network load. They tried blocking them. My provider blocks the standard SMTP port just in case my computer is a SPAM BOT. How soon before they deem that streaming movies are responsible for 50% of their bandwidth (and are a direct competitor with their own Cable TV offerings) and they block streaming video to "improve quality" for those poor customers who have their bandwidth unjustly stolen from those few who watch TV shows on their computer.

Comment Re:decent touch screen keyboard? (Score 1) 112

Why UV

Probably because they can alter the LCD screen from R + G + B to a R + G + B + UV - just a 4th wavelength for the monitor to handle - kind of like Sharp's RGBY TVs. Then the visible + UV light emitted by the backlight through the LCD panel is what changes the surface of the monitor. You don't need to run wires to every pixel in the monitor - wires that would be on top of the touchscreen and on top of the LCD panel.

Hiding the wires to control the shape isn't an unsolvable problem. Touchscreen monitors have the same issue. There will be other methods of changing the shape of a display, but this is the method Microsoft came up with - which is why Microsoft got a patent on an obvious feature. The patent is for the method of achieving this feature, not just making a shape shifting display. Tying the shape of the display to the existing video display technologies simplifies some things and has its advantages and is worth a patent.


Submission + - Hackers sends out fake tsunami warning on Twitter (

An anonymous reader writes: A Twitter account belonging to an official advisor of the Indonesian president has been broke into by a hacker who posted a warning that a tsunami was heading for Jakarta.

Andi Arief is Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's disaster management adviser and a frequent user of Twitter, diligently posting disaster-related updates. But when he lost control of his account, a petrifying message was sent out to Twitter users.


Submission + - Tandberg attempts to patent open source code (

An anonymous reader writes: As if the current situation with software patents wasn't bad enough, it appears a new phenomenon is emerging: companies are watching the commit logs of open source projects for ideas to patent. In this case, Tandberg filed a patent that was step-by-step identical to an algorithm developed by the x264 project — a mere two months after the original commit. The particular algorithm is a useful performance optimization in a wide variety of video encoders, including Theora.

Submission + - German scientists create 'super-photon'

xt writes: A team of physicists, lead by the University of Bonn's Martin Weitz, have managed to create a Bose-Einstein condensate (detailed explanation here) out of photons, previously thought to be impossible. The research was published in the journal Nature and has possible applications on solar energy technology and shortwave lasers, which would be well-suited to the manufacture of computer chips as the process uses lasers to etch logic circuits onto semiconductor materials. Seems like Moore's law is safe again!
The Internet

Submission + - UK Police to get major new powers to seize domains ( 1

Stoobalou writes: British Police forces could soon have the power to seize any domain associated with criminal activity, under new proposals published today by UK domain registrar Nominet.

At present, Nominet has no clear legal obligation to ensure that .uk domains are not used for criminal activities. That situation may soon change, if proposals from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) are accepted.

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