Seumas Hyslop’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Apr 12th, 2010 @ 11:22pm

    Re: Re: Filtering would be nice sometimes...

    That Slashdot is not courteous doesn't makes a rating/ranking system bad - it needs to be compared to what would happen if there wasn't the ranking/rating system. And the ranking system on Slashdot takes the commenting system from "not worth reading" to "barely tolerable". That's a plus.

    Other sites like Engadget also employ successful ranking system, and it's pleasing to see that the ranking by the users doesn't always match the side which the Engadget content writers take. It works reasonably well.

  • Apr 3rd, 2010 @ 12:16am

    (untitled comment)

    I think it highlights a important thing about humanity and how much we come to take things for granted - something is new and exciting for a while, and we adopt it - it's new - and then it becomes the new commodity and it's then expected that people have it - and then something that is amazing is now the new base level and no-one is excited anymore.

    And ultimately comes the thing that people are no happier, despite having all these new things. Life just goes faster. We're more productive, we achieve new things that weren't possible before, but we are no happier.

    I'm not suggesting that we need to go back to how it was before we had all the things we do - but we need to have a little perspective on how amazing it all is. And just take a breather and calm down when something doesn't work and accept it for a moment, rather than spend the next three hours on the phone screaming at successive customer service agents on helpline numbers until it is fixed. That's counterproductive.

    And once in a while, turn your cell phone off. Turn the computer off. Go outside and go for a walk. It's good for you!

  • Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:51am

    Re: What exactly is the problem?

    The issue is that "refused classification" is a very broad classification that doesn't just include child pornography and snuff films, it can include politically sensitive material (like discussion of abortion and euthanasia), and it sets the bar far lower than illegality as the basis for having something blocked. What's more, there are no safeguards in what is blocked, and we are not told that it is being blocked. When a film is refused classification in Australia, we are able to freely discuss the film in the knowledge that it has been banned and can have a discussion about whether that's a good thing. With the proposed legislation, we can't do that about banned sites. Linking to sites that are on the banned list is associated with big fines and even prison.

    A system where someone decides what's banned based on a broad definition (including material which is not illegal), and then complete secrecy about its banning? You really can't see how that couldn't be abused?

  • Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    (untitled comment)

    No where on The Onion actually marks that site as satire. Instead, it proudly proclaims that it is "America's Finest News Source".

    Is the judge going to order that the entire Onion site be removed now?

  • Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    (untitled comment)

    What this could ultimately do is backfire, as the cost of research in Utah goes up, people start exporting their research to other states - and Utah loses the employment driven by research.

  • Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    Abuse of patents - if they're that worried, why not go after Palm?

    This is one of those perfect examples of where the patent system is completely wrong - scientific and technological processes being patented.

    Examples of this include Chiron Corporation and the 100 patents that they own on the Hepatitis C Virus, as they were able to be the first to describe a novel method of isolating the virus. They've since been able to abuse this power in preventing other companies from researching into the virus, and at one time even prevented the UK National Health Service from buying a Hepatitis C testing kit from Murex Corporation, despite the fact that Chiron had not released their own testing kit. Essentially, they were preventing anyone getting tested for Hepatitis C. That's just abominable, and it's a corporation that kills people.

    Amazon's 1-click is another great example of patents gone horribly wrong.

    Now this - a look at Apple's patent filings include:

    • The '453 Patent, entitled "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor," was duly and legally issued on June 3, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '453 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit H.

    • The '949 Patent, entitled "Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics," was duly and legally issued on January 20, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '949 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit B.

    It's ridiculous. They're trying to own power management on mobile devices - and they're trying to prevent multitouch on other devices. Multitouch is functionality that's given to the HTC devices by Google/Open Handset Alliance and Android, not developed by HTC. Apple are trying to sue Google without suing Google - or try and scare others from joining the Open Handset Alliance.

    I note that they haven't sued Palm at all. Might have something to do with all those patents Palm has that could cause the iPhone a lot of problems, right?

    I'm finding this interesting, though. Something has Apple spooked about HTC and Android. They're feeling threatened.

  • Oct 15th, 2009 @ 9:35pm

    (untitled comment)

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a government owned, and largely government funded corporation that is arms length from the Australian Federal government. But that's not the real issue of the story.

    The reason that Mark Scott is doing this is as a sort of a pre-emptive strike. Murdoch is finding it increasingly difficult to monetarise news in the age of the internet and citizen journalism, and blogging opinion sites. He wants to go the way of charging for access to news. However, if you have reputable, government funded news organisations that produce quality news from their own networks of reporters (like the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) don't need to turn a profit in this space, then Murdoch is finding it increasingly difficult to hold the position that he does. The government funded free online news sources are what's going to be the downfall of his plan, and so he'll be launching assaults on them in time.

    Mark Scott knows this, and his words amount to a "bring it on".

    Murdoch trying to monetarise news over the internet is bound to fail, and the trouble is, Murdoch knows it as well.