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  • May 08, 2014 @ 08:55am

    Re: why this patent was sought in the first place

    This could actually turn out to be a good thing.

    Patent troll brings suit.

    Defendant's attorney: that's a ridiculous patent
    Troll's attorney: the USPTO doesn't issue ridiculous patents.
    Defendant's attorney: Exhibit A: 8,676,045B1

  • May 03, 2014 @ 05:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm going to side with the USPS on this one

    I'm astonished that anyone would be confused by such an obviously inappropriate analogy.

    Let's break it down.

    Outbox or similar services are hired by the recipient. They opening only physical mail and only for the purpose of putting put it on a scanner and sending it to the client. The service has no authorization or intent to understand the communication. Does not store the communication. That takes time, and nobody is paying them to do that. If the client doesn't like what's being done with his information he can terminate the contract.

    NSA or other TLA. Hired by the government spies to vacuum up all forms of communication and put it to whatever purpose they see fit. Is specifically charged with understanding the communication, as well as attempting to integrate it with other received communication. Stores the communication in case they want to look at it later. If the intended recipient doesn't like it, they can lump it.

  • Mar 28, 2014 @ 09:04am

    Just promoting diversity

    "... robust inclusion of a diverse set of ideas ..."

    Are you saying you're against inclusing and diversity? What kind of a troglodyte are you?

  • Mar 21, 2014 @ 09:21am

    Juggled the boundaries just so they could do this

    Take a look at this town on google maps. They annexed a road so they could annex they highway that bypasses the town, just so they could write tickets to people who didn't even enter their actual town.

    I am told by my elders that, long ago, the town of Ludowici, Georgia (also on US 301) became such a notorious speed trap that the state concluded that it was harming the tourist trade. The State Highway Patrol started holding up traffic at the city limits, then escorting people through the town. when you're getting escorted by the Highway Patrol you can't even stop for a Coke, and eventually the town backed down.

    And to a larger point, why do city cops even have jurisdiction over a highway? If the city says they're only intersted in public safety, then they should have no problem giving the fines to the state. Right?

  • Mar 02, 2014 @ 09:47am

    Re: Wisdom versus Idiocy

    Yes, it's much better to kowtow to people who threaten violence unless their unreasonable demands are met. It's a proven fact that it never causes them to threaten more violence in the name of more unreasonable demands.

  • Feb 26, 2014 @ 06:20am

    Obvious question, considering it's Illinois

    Just wondering, given the very high correlation between this position and felony conviction, is the Governor of Illinois at the top of the Pre-Crime department's heat list?

  • Feb 20, 2014 @ 06:33am


    That one minute spot featuring cars you saw last night wasn't an ad, either, it was "enhanced underwriting."

  • Nov 26, 2013 @ 07:18am

    Not Food, Not a Drug

    So they want to keep me from finding out about my genome (not food, not a drug, not even a medical device) on the grounds that the information might not be right enough.

    Yet I can still buy Enzyte, which, despite its claim to be a "nutritional supplement" is marketed as a drug with a specific medical effect.

  • Oct 11, 2013 @ 04:11am

    Won't happen again

    I'm sure that when it comes time to deliver the actual health care it will be delivered by actual health care professionals rather than political cronies.

  • Jul 18, 2013 @ 06:50pm

    Re: Re:

    OK, here's how it works. You are in an environment that handles classified information. You are in charge of the ordinary unclassified network. One of your greatest nightmares is the "data spill" where somehow classified information ends up on your unclassified network. Maybe it's as simple as somebody typing up and sending an email that has inappropriate information on it. Or it could be someone copying a document off the classified network and putting it on the wrong computer. Innocently or maliciously, who can tell.

    So if that's your job, when you find something on your network that shouldn't be there, it has to be taken as a serious event. And it's a big hassle. Computers have to be seized, hard disks get wiped, users lose data. It's the only option.

    OK, so now suppose that one of your users is web surfing the Guardian and downloads a document labeled secret, which, indeed, it actually is. Nevermind that it's been improperly released to the public, by all appearances it's a secret document. What are you supposed to do? Tell him that, well, that's OK, you can keep that one, because after all everybody knows that that one is OK? Not an option. How are you supposed to tell without examining every file that the document marked secret is OK? How do you know that the guy isn't the leaker? When another document shows up, what do you do with that one? Do you really want that responsibility? Nobody with any sense does.

    So the sysadmins can either expose themselves to endless hassle on a daily basis or block the web site. Which would you do?

  • Jul 14, 2013 @ 01:58pm


    Yes, Putt-Putt is still around. They have a well deserved reputation for being the lamest of all major miniature golf course chains.

  • Jul 02, 2013 @ 06:40pm

    Human, all right

    Every human's greatest strength is the power of self-justification. Everyone deserves adulation for doing a great job, if you ask them. Just ask every CEO of every company. Even if the company is in the dumper, the boss is doing a great job. Because he gets to evaluate his own performance.

    I'm sure if you ask any federal judge, they'll tell you that they're doing a great job, too. Since there are no consequences for doing a bad job they get to blithely go on in a misty world of self-justification. Oh, sure, some columnist might complain about one of their rulings, but they are biased, political, stupid, or something. Maybe a higher court will overturn one of their rulings, but that's because those higher judges are biased, political, stupid, or something.

    Here we have a federal judge that not only bears none of the consequences for her actions, her stuff doesn't get criticized by biased columnists or even get reviewed by a higher court. There's no feedback whatsoever. Except the adulation of the prosecutors who smile every time she says "yes". Is it any surprise she thinks that everything she does is wonderful?

  • Jun 02, 2013 @ 03:54am

    Three stages of copyright

    Or, in summary
    1. A time when there was no motive (to restrict copying by third parties.)
    2. A time when there was a motive and a means.
    3. A time when there was a motive but no means.

    It's not whether or not it's right to prevent copying anymore, it's whether it's possible. And it isn't.

    The only way it might work is is there was a widely and deeply held understanding and respect for copyright. Unfortunately for the absolutists, the more people understand the current copyright regime, the less they respect it.

    The only hope of saving it would be to drastically reduce the terms. One can explain why there should be limits on copying a currently working band's recent work; it's impossible to explain why a cartoon whose creators have been dead for a half a century should be.

    It's probably way to late to fix it, thought. Like alcohol prohibition, once respect for the law is lost you can't get it back, no matter how draconian the enforcement.

    And getting back to the original topic, is there any art curator anywhere who thinks that an amateur photograph of an original work is a substitute for being there? I can see quality photographs of "Two Sisters on the Terrace" but that does not diminish one iota my desire to go to the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Apr 26, 2013 @ 08:36pm

    Should advertising itself should die?

    In a day when communication was one way, advertising made some sort of sense. There was pretty much no way to find out about things I might want except to sit like a barnacle and wait for things to drift by that I might want to consume. If I wanted to hear about cars, GM, Ford, and Chrysler had to speak up, or I pretty much wouldn't hear about their cars. Unfortunately, somewhere they learned that BS sold more cars than facts, probably because BS fits better than facts into a 30 second TV spot.

    Those days are gone. I now have a way to find out about things that I want, and it's interactive. Trouble is, (as jupiterkansas noted above) the people doling out the information on the other end still think of themselves as advertisers in the traditional sense, so rather than use the power of the new medium to tell me what I need to know to decide if I want to buy their product, they still use it like it's a 30 second TV spot to be filled with BS. Just longer.

    Whether it's "native" or not, I don't give a crap about some side show. I don't care about who is a horse. Who cares how many web hits they got? What matters is how many people bought the product. The makers of Old Spice actually make money off of me because I buy the stuff. Because I like the way it smells. Imagine that: I lay down my cash because it does well what it's supposed to do, and retails for an acceptable price.

    There is still some value in traditional advertising, I suppose. Sometimes I need someone to tell me about something that I didn't know that I wanted. The thing is I only need to hear about it once, then I can investigate further. (Provided the company has a web site that has meaningful content.) Once is enough, though. Maybe once a month, in case I forgot about the first time. Running the same TV ad every eight minutes for Angie's List or Luminosity really make me wonder if the people in charge down there know what the interwebs are all about.

  • Apr 26, 2013 @ 08:01pm

    "(We have always been at war with terror.)"

    Wait, I thought we had always been at war with Eastasia.

  • Apr 26, 2013 @ 08:00pm

    And most Americans have long since stopped caring about "yellow alerts" or "orange alerts."

    Don't forget "amber alerts". Like I can do anything about that, either.

  • Jan 09, 2013 @ 05:05pm

    Easier than anyone imagined

    The Ministry of Truth spent a lot of time rounding up old newspapers and replacing them corrected ones. Orwell could not have imagined how easy it would actually be to update the facts in the new world of the internet.

  • Sep 26, 2012 @ 12:07pm

    How is this patentable?

    Everyone in my building has a lanyard with one breakaway point. Are you telling me that three points is patentable? Then how about five?

    Then again, everyone had two click ordering, but only Amazon was brillant enough to make the non-obvious leap to a better high-tech tomorrow.

  • Jun 29, 2012 @ 06:31pm

    The media get worked up about "first" and "exclusive." I don't care about either, I care more about "timely" and "accurate."

  • Jun 19, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    How this can spark conversation

    "Hi, mom. What's up?"
    "Oh, nothing, I don't have anything to talk about, I just wanted to use some bandwidth."
    "Um, well, OK."

    "Wait, mom, did you know that Viagra is the number one treatment for erectile dysfunction?"
    (Sparkling conversation follows, leading to closer bonds of maternal affection.)

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