Adam Bell 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Once Again, Attempts To Block Access To The Pirate Bay Only Increase Traffic

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 22 Jul, 2014 @ 03:21pm

    When will they learn?

    "... because they want to protect their copyrights ..."

    I disagree. All they want to do is preserve their complete control over how music is distributed. Copyright is just a means to that end.

  • UN Human Rights Commissioner Says Snowden Shouldn't Face A Trial

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 17 Jul, 2014 @ 05:03pm

    Snowden's crime was embarrassing the USofA. No politician ever forgives that.

  • NSA Working With Denmark, Germany To Access 'Three Terabits Of Data Per Second' From Overseas Cables

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 19 Jun, 2014 @ 03:47pm


    That all this spying failed to anticipate the Boston Bombing or any of the recent shooting rampages in Canada or the USA speaks volumes about the total waste of resources this represents.

  • Number Of Companies Using The Patent System Is 'Surprisingly Small'

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 04 Jun, 2014 @ 04:49pm


    "had solved a particular patent" should read "had solved a particular problem".

  • Number Of Companies Using The Patent System Is 'Surprisingly Small'

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 04 Jun, 2014 @ 04:46pm

    Patent Experience

    Having consulted for a number of inventive companies in both the US and the UK, my own experience suggest that this is right on. Many more companies that I worked with thought they were better off with a trade secret than with a patent. Some were quite clear as they led me into spaces containing machines or processes of their invention that I was going to be held to my non-disclosure agreement after seeing how they had solved a particular patent. Over the course of a long career four of my inventions were patented by the companies for whom I had done the work but they were all large companies that rewarded patenting.

    My father had 32 patents because the company he worked for believed in them (he didn't) but he collaborated with the process because only after a patent was granted was he permitted to write a paper about the research results (he was an organic chemist). To my knowledge none of them ever required litigation.

    The one small company I know of that had a good solid patent had it infringed by a very large and prosperous company to which they were to supply their technology. In a law suit that dragged on for years and cost a fortune, they eventually lost in East Texas. Davids don't stand a chance against Goliaths.

  • Brazil Passed On Boeing For $4.5 Billion Fighter Jet Deal Because Of Concerns Over NSA Surveillance

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 29 Apr, 2014 @ 03:21pm

    Entirely Understandable Switch

    Modern high-tech aircraft are full of electronics, and most of those systems are programmable. I'm willing to bet that the Saab deal includes a proviso that Saab not include any American-made control or communication electronics as well given the suspicion that NSA would subvert them for spying purposes. If RSA can be bought for a lousy $10 million, so can US-based electronics firms.

  • Austin Begins To Show Us What Broadband Competition Was Supposed To Look Like

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 25 Feb, 2014 @ 10:45am

    I'm thinking that 1G up and down is a substantial overkill. I get by quite nicely one 20M down, 2M up and don't pay through the nose for it.

  • Almost Everything About The Bulk Collection Of Phone Data Is Illegal

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 28 Jan, 2014 @ 01:52pm

    Unfortunately, Obama believes that the ends might justify the means and that is apparently good enough for him.

  • After Muzzling Scientists, Canadian Government Now Moves On To Book Burnings

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 07 Jan, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Muzzles & Book Burnings

    Even Ptolemy, back around 300 BC, i.e., 2300 years ago, understood the importance of libraries. This is don't confuse me with the facts writ large.

  • Anti-Net Neutrality Advocates Back To Making Bogus Arguments

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 03 Dec, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    I'm astonished that the best you can do, Mike, in the middle of Silicon Valley is 6 MB/s down. I live in a small city in Eastern Canada and for no change in price my bandwidth was increased from 10 to 20 down and 2 up. The US really is behind in Internet speed availability.

  • Eric Schmidt Claims Google Considered Moving Its Servers Out Of The US To Avoid The NSA

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 25 Nov, 2013 @ 08:25am


    NSA has certainly demonstrated that they can collect Internet information but it's not at all clear to me that they are capable of doing anything with it. The Boston Marathon demonstrated that.

  • Orders To Destroy Guardian Hard Drives Came Directly From PM David Cameron

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 22 Aug, 2013 @ 10:17am

    These fiascos are all predicated on fear of the unknown so pols try to instill fear in everyone so theirs will seem normal. In spite of the complete failure of any of this spying and fear mongering to have yielded a useful result, the pols are mostly afraid that they'll get blamed for the next bombing and they don't know what to do about it. Further, since they don't understand any of the technology they're afraid of that too. Somehow, in their uninformed minds, the Internet is directly responsible for all their problems.

  • Another Secure Email Service Shuts Down To Avoid Having To Do So Later

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 09 Aug, 2013 @ 07:33am

    To me, the horror show is that not only is your privacy compromised by the NSA drag net, but that for any reason they deem sufficient, the FBI, CIA, IRS and probably several other agencies will get to share in the haul. In other words -- anything you say or send on line might well be perused by literally hundreds of feds of all different stripes.

    If you believe that all of those eyeballs are honorable, honest, folks with a need to know, you're very naive. There'll be all kinds of breeches. Cabals sharing "interesting" sexting images with each other, folks playing the stock market on the strength of insider information gleaned on the net, etc. Open season.

  • DailyDirt: Lies My Computer Told Me…

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 07 Aug, 2013 @ 05:48pm


    Not really a "software" problem. The T-25 was controlled by a relay ladder on a state machine. The instructions for operating it (as I recall) said that the technician should select the appropriate aperture to deliver the prescribed dose and then turn on the electron beam (another button on the controller). The problem arose because the targets were surrounded by lead and moved very slowly. There was no interlock to check that the target was in place before the beam was energized, nor was there an external indication that it was so if the technician was impatient, the patient was zapped.

    The case became a standard safety failure example in the design of programmable logic control ladders.

  • Two New Reports Confirm: Best Way To Reduce Piracy Dramatically Is To Offer Good Legal Alternatives

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 25 Jul, 2013 @ 09:42am

    The interesting wrinkle in this for me is that Spotify is available in Sweden and Norway but not in Canada. I guess they haven't caught on here that the best way to stymie unauthorized downloading is to offer a convenient alternative.

  • Judge: Aereo Case Was Decided Incorrectly, Because I Don't Like Previous Ruling

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 17 Jul, 2013 @ 01:08pm

    Re: Judge Chin

    Very difficult to believe that somehow there isn't a reward for Judge Chin for taking his rather indefensible stand, and I don't mean in heaven.

  • Mike Masnick's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 04 May, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Jet Lag

    Having travelled fairly often to Europe and Asia before I retired, my "trick" for accommodating jet lag as quickly as possible was a walk in the sun. You should go out for a walk and let the sun reset your clock.

  • Indian Parliamentary Committee Tells The Government To Protect Intermediary Liability

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 30 Mar, 2013 @ 10:07am

    Even a threat of liability stops innovation

    Some years ago I was working on a prosthesis for above-knee amputees in a university lab and part of the design required a small diameter ball-screw. We ordered the one we needed but the company, seeing our address, called to ask if the screw would be used in a prosthesis. Admitting that it would, we were told that they were sorry but their lawyers advised against supplying the part because of potential liability if an amputee was hurt. Shortly after that they put a "not for use..." notice in their catalogue. That design was never tested.

  • Bad Move: Google Removes AdBlock Plus From Google Play Store

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 16 Mar, 2013 @ 08:33am

    I don't mind static ads -- I'm quite capable of ignoring them. I started to use an ad blocker on this site because there was a Microsoft ad in the top right corner that drove me nuts.

  • DailyDirt: The Future Of Higher Education Is Online

    Adam Bell ( profile ), 13 Mar, 2013 @ 06:20am

    Face time is a vital component of teaching

    Having taught Mechanical Engineering for about 40 years, always with good student ratings, I believe that face time is an important aspect of the teacher-student classroom relationship. Good teachers gage the students' comprehension of the material being presented or discussed by the look on classroom faces. After you get to know a class, you know which students are good indicators of comprehension. Obviously, you then adjust your examples and explanations to surmount whatever conceptual barriers are slowing or even preventing wide understanding of a tricky bit.

    To give a trivial example of a conceptual leap, young kids, learning the concept of subtraction for the first time, will often answer "5" when presented with "5 - 3 = ?". Misunderstand the symbols, take away the "3" and you're left with "5". Logical to them. What they are missing is that the numbers are not entities themselves, but represent the count of something else. Drawings on the board make that clear.

    In the early 70s I taught two televised distance courses and even though the connection was two-way (I could see the class in a wide-angle view and hear them as well), both they and I found it very unsatisfying. I couldn't focus on any particular student, I couldn't chat with them after class individually, they couldn't reach me off-hours.

    In the 90s I tried running a forum on the web site for two courses I taught. They rarely used it -- they always came to my door to ask their questions. Why? Because they didn't want their peers to know that they were not getting it and they wanted a longer more detailed explanation than a forum would provide. Answering a student's question requires understanding why they don't already know the answer.

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