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Slashback: Transparency, USB, Europatents 327

Posted by timothy
from the easy-access-to-your-accounts dept.
Slashback with a followup on the perpetual motion DeLorean, a word on RIAA bank-account-jacking, a reminder about the fast-tracked vote on software patents in the EU, the real meaning of "high speed USB" and more. Read on below for the details.

Now even less than a week ... mpawlo writes "As reported by Greplaw, although I am still looking for further confirmation, it seems like the EU vote on software patentability has been moved from the late fall to June 30, 2003. Yes, that is in one (1) week. If you have more information and another source - please comment on this news item."

Mikael writes: "Personally, I find it somewhat disturbing from a democracy perspective that this proposal seems to be fast-tracked in the middle of the summer, when most Europeans want to focus on whether they should have strawberry or vanilla ice cream. In Sweden, we also got our Swedish version of the DMCA this week. I guess the ice cream will have to wait."

DoSthAboutIt points out that "A 'Petition for a Free Europe without Software Patents' has gained more than 150000 signatures. Among the supporters are more than 2000 company owners and chief executives and 25000 developpers and engineers from all sectors of the European information and telecommunication industries, as well as more than 2000 scientists and 180 lawyers. Companies like Siemens, IBM, Alcatel and Nokia lead the list of those whose researchers and developpers want to protect programming freedom and copyright property against what they see as a 'patent landgrab.' The whole article can be found here, including some statistics like signatories by country"

The story of Peng. mantispraying writes "Looks like the college student who settled with the the RIAA for $12,000, his entire life savings, has recouped all of his money thanks to a very generous file sharing community. Also, the search engine he created that got him in trouble is back online, for demonstration purposes only, of course."

Reader T points out that while one of the students who lost his life savings to RIAA has made it back through PayPal donations, "the other, Dan Peng, is still short about $12,000. Brother, can you spare a dime?"

I'd prefer the garrote and the stick, but hey. Mark Ferguson writes: "I attended the FTC spam forum. It seems I was on their call list :-) I parlayed that into getting several others on the panels as well. While there I spoke with bulk emailers and other industry folks. Some people defined Confirmed OPT-IN to mean you sending a confirmation that the email address was subscribed so they were doing double, confirmed OPT-IN.

My heads spins.

What I figured from what I learned was these folks truly refused to accept real definitions the Service Providers have been using for years so I decided to do a site for just this. ... Anyway, reboot, aka Andrew Cockrell myself and another built The Carrot and the Stick to explain email, define the best practices and to get people to abide by them.

Thoughts, comments and/or suggestions?"

Sooner or later, that DeLorean's going to land someone in jail. hackwrench writes "According to channel WSMV news, Alternate Energy Inventor Carl Tilley's compound was raided. Tilley was previously mentioned on Slashdot here."

Tilley had announced the then-upcoming demonstration of his perpetual-motion DeLorean.

My nanodots can fit inside your nanodots! Rocky Rawstern writes "I recently had the distinct pleasure to interview one of my favorite authors, Wil McCarthy. Upon completing three of his latest books - two sci-fi and one work of non-fiction - I realized that others would probably enjoy his ponderings as much as I. The questions for this interview stem from my own interest in programmable matter, and the awe-inspiring possibilities raised by Wil in his book Hacking Matter."

How to succeed (not necessarily) in business. jameshowison writes "A few months ago Ask Slashdot published Kevin Crowston's question on what makes open source software successful ... well the results are in and the paper typed. We ran the responses through a funky content analyser (called Grad Students). The metrics that academics and the industry have used for years simply don't work for OSS.

More and more it seems that we'll need to survey the number of job offers developers get and the size of the community to get at this one ..."

You sound very familiar to me. Interested Observer writes "Thanks to a slashdot article discussing false positives using Soundex I thought if Soundex can be used for something as important as "no-fly" lists then certainly we should be able to get some entertainment value out of it! See if your Soundex last name-counterparts show up in a Google News search."

A member of the USB-IF Administration writes to dispel the confusion raised by the seeming conflict between many USB products' labels and their actual data-transfer speeds:

"The source of confusion derives from the fact that USB specification revision numbers and data-transfer rates are often being used in place of the logo on consumer packaging, a purpose for which they were not originally intended. The USB-IF's recommended nomenclature for consumers is 'USB' for slower speed products (1.5 Mb/s and 12Mb/s) and "Hi-Speed USB" for high-speed products (480Mb/s), as signified in the USB logos that were introduced in late 2000. In short, consumers wishing to be certain they are getting the performance they paid for in their USB products can use the logo for clarification.

The USB-IF's naming and packaging recommendations for low- or full-speed USB products, as listed at the website http://www.usb.org/developers/packaging, state that such products can carry only the basic version of the USB logo, which simply states "Certified USB." We state clearly that manufacturers should avoid using terminology such as USB 2.0 Full Speed, Full Speed USB or USB 2.0. These formal recommendations were published to the USB-IF membership and posted on the website in August 2002.

The USB-IF is a nonprofit industry organization. We do not and cannot control how manufacturers label their products. We do work continuously with system and peripheral manufacturers, striving to provide consistency in the use of this nomenclature and the logos. The logo indicates that a product's performance against and conformance with the standard have been tested, and that the product has passed the USB compliance program.

Anyone having questions about the performance of a product should contact the manufacturer for clarification.

For a brief Q & A on this topic, please visit our website at http://www.usb.org/info/usb_nomenclature."
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Slashback: Transparency, USB, Europatents

Comments Filter:
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:03PM (#6307542) Homepage Journal
    Anytime you call something a compound, the government raids it. He should have called it a campus, or research park, or something
  • by Sanity (1431) * on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:03PM (#6307543) Homepage Journal
    I just received an email today from someone involved in this saying that "the meeting of the Secretary generals has postponed the report till September". Apparently it will now happen some time between the 1st and the 4th of September - which gives us more time to educate our MEPs.

    If you are an EU citizen and care about this don't wait for other people to take action - contact your MEP and make sure they are familiar with the issues! You can read my email to my MEP in my /. Journal [slashdot.org] and you are welcome to borrow ideas from it if you like.

    • Minor point, which may only be of interest to the pedants out there but the plural of Secretary General isn't Secretary Generals, it's Secretaries General.

      Why so? Because they are secretaries, not generals.
    • I can verify this, I also got a mail today from a Swedish MEP (Olle Schmidt) that said:

      Concerning JURI Committee reports for next's week plenary, please find below the modifications of the agenda adopted by the Conference of Presidents:


      First, for your information, to confirm that the McCarthy report on patentability of computer-implemented inventions will be in the agenda for the September plenary (doc A5-238/2003) and not now.
  • by agrippa_cash (590103) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:05PM (#6307554) Homepage
    Investigators from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance raided the Tilley complex and wer head to say "In this state we obey the laws of PHYSICS!"
  • tilly's woes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:07PM (#6307571) Homepage
    This will be interesting.... as they will either announce to the world that it was all a scam, or in the court cases that will ensue, the entire process/design will become public and the world will change overnight....

    but the way this crackpot acted..... I'm interested how devilish his scam was....
    • Re:tilly's woes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cryptnotic (154382) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:22PM (#6307648) Homepage
      He's not going to admit it was a scam. He was taking lots of money from private investors, telling them that he had this new magical source of energy. The amounts probably total in the millions of dollars. If he publicly admitted misleading investors, then he would be instantly convicted of fraud and go directly to jail (after a brief trial, of course). He is granted a right to not be forced to incriminate himself (the 5th amendment).

      However, there was a great suspicion that he has been committing fraud (magic isn't real). Therefore, the government goes in to gather evidence against him. They'll come up with enough evidence, try the guy for fruad, and hopefully send him to jail. The people who gave the crackpot money will still be out of luck though.

      • Re:tilly's woes (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cristofer8 (550610)
        Alternately, once he discovers that his scam is about to be busted, he raids his own compound and cries that he couldn't finish his research because it's all been stolen. He then promply moves to the bahamas.
      • I'm sure it ran on the same magical dreams and fairys that the rest of the late '90 dotcoms did. Perhaps the economy failed because he was burning those magical dreams and fairys to fuel his car.

        Now that this resource has been depleted, I'd like to point to a vast and as-yet untapped supply of crushed dreams, disillusionment and worthless stock options. While that's not as clean a fuel source, there's enough of it there to fuel the USA well into the next century.

  • "Magic Box" (Score:5, Funny)

    by jagilbertvt (447707) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:12PM (#6307592)
    Can he not show us the inside of the box because then the cat will be dead?
  • If its real... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by k03 blister (684383)
    If it is real, will he have legal grounds to take against the govt dept's of TN to recoup lost technologies. If so, is there a legal limit? For example, if it was real, and he wasn't generous about his technology, he would easily be one of the richest men on Earth.

    Can he sue them for a few trillion dollars?

    Its probably not real, but the implications of it being an actual working device are astronomical.
  • by kevx45 (654613) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:16PM (#6307609) Homepage Journal
    patenting, but what exactly is their to vote about by-laws of what can and can't be patented, etc?

    That's my question.

    Kevin "KevX45" Myrick

    • by hayden (9724) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @10:23PM (#6308171)
      A patent is a legal entitlement just like copyright, property ownership etc. Basically it is (or was originally) a government sanctioned monopoly on your invention. By patenting your idea the government gives you exclusive rights to work said invention. In exchange you or somebody else at your discretion has to work the invention or the patent lapses (in theory anyway, this doesn't happen very much) and you agree to release the invention into the public domain after a period of time so anybody can make it. This protects you from somebody seeing your invention and copying it and gives the public the advantage of your invention.

      Governments drew a line in the sand at what can and can't be patented. Discoveries can't (ie you can't patent Newtons laws) and algorithms can't either (which is why up until recently it was required to discribe software as an invention comprising of a computer with said computer having of display unit, random access memory, etc etc and then start talking about your software as part of this computer invention).

      The reason to not allow software patents follows in the same theme. Is it or is it not in the best interest of the public to allow patenting of software? Most software people would probably say no but unfortunately what's in the public interest and what makes money generally don't coincide.

    • "A system or collection of software functions and/or programs which instruct a computer's processing unit(s) to perform a specified task or set of tasks defined by either a human operator or another computer system or software."

      There that should cover just about anything you can do with a computer (aside from using it as a paper weight or a foot rest...)
  • by The_Pey (532136) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:16PM (#6307615)

    This is seriously a lot of topics to even focus on in one go. My head is spinning just trying to decide on which topic to respond to... When faced with large numbers of topics to read and respond to, people as a large group will invariably choose the same ones and ignore others.

    So, I am now taking bets on which topic will be the unpopular one!

    My bet is the "My nanodots can fit inside your nanodots" story. **YAWN**

    Of course, by submitting this, I have now created a discussion thread on that topic, thereby invalidating my bet. DOH!

  • by mikeophile (647318) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:16PM (#6307616)
    C'mon Tilley. If you're not a fraud, you need to make your invention Open Source.

    The only chance you have is to let the genie out of the bottle and licence your device as GNU/Energy.

    You will become world famous overnight and will still make a fortune in grants, speaking engagements, and probably the Nobel Prize.

    Of course, if your just making stuff up and ripping people off, then I hope they send you to Federal "pound me in the ass" prison.

  • by SuperDuG (134989) <be.eclec@tk> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:17PM (#6307621) Homepage Journal
    Dear "FileSharingCommunity",

    In light of the fact the RIAA is suing everyone left and right and is now going after more individual users there is a potential that I might get sued. As I don't distribute copyrighted material, I don't know HOW this would be possible, but I'm not about to think the RIAA will do something as simple as "Follow the law". I'm sure there's something I've done wrong that can cause them to force me into a settlement.

    Anyways I expect this to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $130,230.34. That amount was literally randomly typed and it seemed like a real big amount. If I don't get sued, rest assured I will go forth and break the law because there really is no recourse for my actions. Even if I do "break the law" I can still count on the internet community to bail me out.

    The internet is such a great thing and thank you in advance!!

    SuperDuG

  • by Jin Wicked (317953) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:18PM (#6307626) Homepage Journal
    What, are you supposed to just grab the door and climb in as it whizzes by, or what? Does it circle the 7-11 for you on autopilot while you're inside getting your Hostess cupcakes and lottery tickets?

    The mind boggles.

    • by Osty (16825)

      What, are you supposed to just grab the door and climb in as it whizzes by, or what? Does it circle the 7-11 for you on autopilot while you're inside getting your Hostess cupcakes and lottery tickets?

      Assuming that this guy isn't a crackpot, what makes you think that the perpetual motion would have anything to do with the movement of the vehicle? I'd guess his perpetual motion engine would be used as any other engine, except this one you wouldn't turn off. In other words, when you need to stop, you'd

      • Assuming that this guy isn't a crackpot

        Okay, here's the first thing newly hired patent reviewers of all patent offices in the world are told :

        If it says "perpetual motion" or "endless source of energy" anywhere in the patent application, grab the red stamp labelled "crackpot idea", stamp the patent application, send the application down the "rejected" chute and move to the next one. If you know nothing else, know how to do that.

        Perpetual motion is proven impossible. That's why the feds raided this guy
        • "Perpetual motion is proven impossible."

          Submarines, airplanes and rockets were all thought to be impossible at one time too. Guess someone proved them wrong huh? Never claim something is impossible for it is the surest way to mark yourself as a fool.
          • >>"Perpetual motion is proven impossible."
            >Submarines, airplanes and rockets were all thought to be impossible at one time too.

            There is a big difference between "thought to be impossible" and "proven imposible". And the specific cases you mentioned, the "imposisbility" referred to practical engineering rather than theory. Just as I could say that it is impossible to make a battery that runs a car for a week -- it is impossible now, but that implies nothing about future technology.

        • by Compuser (14899) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @09:31PM (#6307930)
          As a physicist, let me assure you that perpetual
          motion has not been and never will be _PROVEN_
          impossible. That's not how science works. You
          cannot prove a negative. The most you can say is
          that we have yet to devise an experiment which
          would violate energy conservation law. Scientists
          never prove anything, they only disprove things,
          and concrete things at that (it is easy to show
          that this or that device conserves energy but it
          is impossible to generalize that without some
          sort of qualifiers).
          • As a physicist, let me assure you that perpetual
            motion has not been and never will be _PROVEN_
            impossible. That's not how science works.


            True, but hey - Albert Einstien is quoted as saying that if he believes the least likely physical "law" to be overturned is the second law of thermodynamics.

            Also, if a perpetual motion machine was possible (producing more energy than was put in to actually create real work rather than just perfecting a zero friction device), then the whole universe would blow up in a puff
        • by nathanh (1214) on Friday June 27, 2003 @03:32AM (#6309150) Homepage
          Perpetual motion is proven impossible.

          Wrong. A perpetual motion machine is impossible only if the laws of thermodynamics are correct. Unfortunately the laws of thermodynamics are based on human observation and humans make mistakes.

          Of course, there's plenty of supporting evidence for the current laws. So it's not very likely that they're wrong and subsequently it's not very likely that perpetual motion machines exist, but a good scientist never says never.

          A more correct statement would have been "a perpetual motion machine would destroy the laws of thermodynamics, cast doubt on thousands of experiments, and undermine physics as we know it, though that doesn't mean it's impossible".

          PS: I took tertiary level thermodynamics courses.

        • Hmmm...so what if a door were suspended and a dog placed on one side of it. Wouldn't the door start to rotate so that the dog was always on the wrong side of it??

          Brings to mind another perpetual motion idea: As buttered toast always lands butter side down, and a cat always lands on it's feet..if you strap a piece of buttered toast to a cat's back and drop it, the cat will continue to rotate in mid-air in perpetuity. :)
  • Arg... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:19PM (#6307631) Homepage
    "150,000 signatures" ... "2000 company owners"

    But how much did you PAY the politicians to vote the way you want them to. Yea... I thought so...

    Geeks just don't get it.
    • 2000 company owners

      But how much did you PAY the politicians to vote the way you want them to.

      How big are those 2000 companies? You'd be surprised how much pull a company that pays a lot of money in taxes has.
    • But how much did you PAY the politicians to vote the way you want them to. Yea... I thought so...
      It's Europe, not the US. Politicians there don't tend to have constituencies composed of enormous companies.

  • by poptones (653660) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:22PM (#6307641) Journal
    On that EU petition. IBM is one of the most patent-laden companies in the US, yet some of their officers are signing onto a petition to prevent such a rush in the EU. What does this tell you about the US patent process? Patents and lawsuits are the price of doing business in the US. Meanwhile countries with more SANE "IP laws" are going to command more and more of the market share in an increasingly competetive world market.

    • Maybe IBM (a US company) does not want European competitors to be able to patent new software ideas. When those European companies try to compete in the US, they will have to play by the US rules.. and face IBM's buttload of patents.
      • That makes no sense. If IBM holds a software patent in the US and a european company uses that technology then, without the ability to enforce that patent in euroupe, they have no legal recourse to challenge them. IOW their "patent" becomes useless.

        You argument on their motive has no logical merit.

    • IBM have lots of patents because they've got good engineers who come up with a lot of ideas.

      However, IBM management have looked at the situation and basically come up with the following:

      If I've got good engineers who understand my technology really well, they could probably understand other technology really well also. Therefore, I gain if technology isn't patented; sure, people can try to steal my technology, but I can try to steal theirs, and I'm better at it.

      However, if I can't steal their technology

  • by SuperDuG (134989) <be.eclec@tk> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:23PM (#6307655) Homepage Journal
    I've got a better idea. Is there any way that maybe we could just send a letter to every "bulk emailer" and ask them to please stop. I don't think anyone has ever just asked them to stop and maybe we should. Perhaps we can offer them dinner and show to go with it, as they're just misunderstood.

    You want a "Plan for Spam" or a "End to all ends"??? Here ya go. You take all these lowlife scum bandwidth hogging email clogging horrible pieces of rat shit they are. Take them into the streets and beat them until they are a soupy mess on the floor that can only be cleaned up with a hose.

    AND TELEVISE IT, that way anyone else thinking about joining the industry can see the example of "what will happen to you" and find another way to make their dirty money. I say we throw telemarketers ans sex criminals in the same boat, all of them. Put um all together and just beat them with a small stick.

    That's my plan for spam. If we can bomb the hell out of a country for no reason then goddammit america can beat spammers to a pulp as well.

    So yeah, that's my plan.

  • by Faust7 (314817)
    the perpetual motion DeLorean

    Sounds like you could end up inadvertently careening way, way, farther back or forward in time than you ever wanted to go...
  • USB Mess (Score:2, Informative)

    by redune45 (194113)
    It looks like we've gotten all worried over pretty well nothing.
    I admit I was upset to hear the news about the Pseudo USB 2.0, but looking at the logos that manufacturers are supposed to use, it looks like everything should make perfect sense.
    Glad to see its been all straightened out.
    • The USB article never should have been printed. The article was based on a source of dubious accuracy, not seconded by any respectable source and was refuted by many in the comments. Yet /.ers still thought it was true.
  • The Tilley story (Score:5, Informative)

    by vinsci (537958) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:33PM (#6307694) Journal
    Look here [greaterthings.com] for everything you ever wanted to know about Carl B. Tilley and his "invention", including video footage and the inside whistleblower story.

    For the rest of the site, uh, well, no comments. ;-)

  • Soundex? Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peacefinder (469349) <alan DOT dewitt AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:36PM (#6307712) Journal
    After trying the Soundex tool, I am just bewildered how anyone could think this algorithim is appropriate for a no-fly list. Example:

    Name: Hughes
    Soundex code: H220
    Matches: haessig hages haggis haghighi hagos hajek hakes hasak hasas haschke hasegawa hasek hassick hassig haukaas hawkes haycock haycook heacock heacox hecox heikes heschke hescock heziak hickock hickok hickox higashi highshaw higuchi hikes hiscock hiscox hojczyk hojeij hokes hoosock hosack hosaka hoschek hoseck hosek hosick hossack hougas hoysock huges hugghis hughes hughs hugus husak husayko hykes housekeeper

    Hawkes? Housekeeper? Hickox?

    No wonder there's so many complaints!
    • Terrorists can't beat a system like that. No matter what fake name they chose, they are on the list. That no one else can fly is just a small inconvenience. The terrorists will never win this one.
    • Now I thought Soundex was supposed to be a way to find similar sounding words with different spellings. This seems to come up with the set of all words that start with the same letter and have more or less the same consonant-vowel ordering.

      I agree - this is a ridiculous idea. I can only imagine someone at the FAA or "Homeland Security" office having the brainstorm of "Hey - here's a way to find a bunch of similar names" and the clueless management (who desperately need to be seen to do *something*, no ma
  • by loomis (141922) * on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:40PM (#6307728)
    (Accidently posted this AC the first time sorry)

    If many of us just sent $1.00 to Peng's fund we could make a big difference and help fight the RIAA instead of just complaining about them.

    I just sent a dollar. I realize it isn't much but I am unemployed.

    Donate a dollar right here [arbornet.org].

    Thanks,
    Loomis
  • Check out this site for yet more info on the Tilley Foundation:

    http://www.greaterthings.com/News/Tilley/fraud/ra i d/index.html

    There is some sort of forum there, and people are going crazy about how Tilley's rights were violated when the government seized his stuff. Personally, I don't see that as seizure of property as much as it is seizure of evidence- the guy supposedly had cash lying around everywhere in common objects like coffee cans. Besides, how is the government supposed to test his devic

    • BTW, what is up with the formatting on Slashdot? The comment form REFUSED to accept the URL correctly, it kept putting a space in the word 'raid'. That sucks a lot, and there is no reason for it work like that. How can anyone post a URL?

      http://www.greaterthings.com/News/Tilley/fraud/rai d/index.html

      • Re:More Tilley Info (Score:2, Informative)

        by sebi (152185)
        BTW, what is up with the formatting on Slashdot? The comment form REFUSED to accept the URL correctly, it kept putting a space in the word 'raid'. That sucks a lot, and there is no reason for it work like that. How can anyone post a URL?

        Slashcode automatically inserts a space after a certain number of characters. This is to keep long URLs (and trolls) from messing up the layout. You get used to it and remove the space after copying the address. If you want to make things convenient for others you coul
  • OK I think I figured out his trade secret enough radioactive material cramed inside a simple coil generator works nearly forever well longer then your life expantancy sitting that near to a hot pile :) And when will people learn call it a compound and every F?? out there is looking at you. Now granted not letting investors look inside the black box is one thing but from the sounds of it his partners didnt get to see either.
  • by Gabrill (556503) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:47PM (#6307758)
    only returns 4 surnames.[p] cabinilla cabanillas chiappinelli cauffman [p] supercalafragilisticexpyalladocious returns 116
  • by Bocaj (84920) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:47PM (#6307761) Homepage
    At least to a US economy. It won't shock me if it turns out to be a hoax, but it probably scares some people that it might not be. This could be the basis for a push to the "raid the compound" stage instead of less aggressive measures. If the invention is not snake oil, the crude oil industry would like to know before it's released. I'm not screaming conspiracy, but it's realistic that people in oil would nudge investors and the govt. in this direction. "Hey, don't you want to know what he's doing with all that money?"

    Just suppose for a moment that he stumbled on easy cold fusion, and then actually started to produce a product. Then release the details the day before the product ships. There is no time for FUD, and the economy could go into a tail spin. People doubting the value of cars, oil, etc. I'm all for free energy, but don't start a fire under a snow covered tree.
  • by jms (11418) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:51PM (#6307772)
    Well that was interesting. I just did the soundex test, and the soundex code S450 sure looked familiar. That's because it's the first four characters of my Illinois drivers license number. Aha! I had been wondering about that part of the code for years.

    I now know that the coding (for males) is:

    aaaa-bbbc-cddd

    aaaa = soundex of last name
    bbb = ?
    cc = year of birth
    ddd = (month of birth - 1) * 31 + day of birth

    I seem to recall that ddd is altered for females.

    Anyone have a decoding for bbb? I'm guessing that it's just a serial number to ensure unique IDs.
  • "Companies like Siemens, IBM, Alcatel and Nokia lead the list of those whose researchers and developpers want to protect programming freedom and copyright property against what they see as a 'patent landgrab.'"

    I'm not impressed by this list of harware companies companies that don;t support software patents. Of course they don't want software patents. Then they'll need to pay for the software to run on their hardware. They'd rather have no sw patents so they can copy the ideas of software designers and scre
  • Software Patents (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Citizens might take vacation, but then Democracy does too. Most of the ugly things the Government
    wants to pass goes through "debate" during the summer, when all the blockbusters are coming on screen and entertainments are making their year profits.
    The only way to know that your representatives are doing a good job is to control their work at all time. It's a matter of citizenship, even if it does mean droping your hollidays for that matter.
  • Mr. Tilley... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El (94934) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @09:23PM (#6307893)
    Exactly which part of the Laws of Thermodynamics did you not understand... that energy could be neither created nor destroyed, or that all systems tend towards maximum entropy?
    • Most proponents of ZPE and other such energy generators don't agree with the all systems tend towards maximum entropy part.
    • Re:Mr. Tilley... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RodgerDodger (575834) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @10:22PM (#6308168)
      The "Laws of Thermodynamics" are a description of what is observed to happen to gases under experimental conditions. There's no real evidence that they scale out, you know, and a fair bit to hint that they don't. And even if they do apply, we know that they talk about what happens in the long term. They don't apply short-term.

      Hmmm... energy can't be created. What did the Big Bang do, then?

      Hmmm... systems tend towards maximum entropy, but over the medium term (like several billion years), it appears that there's a bias towards increasing complexity, actually.

      I mean, the universe, not long after the Big Bang, was a pretty high-entropy environment. Then things like stars and galaxies started coming out of the mix. And then you can get self-replicating systems that tend towards complexity as well.

      Heck, in any case, even if you can't get perpetual motion, there's nothing say you can't get "several million years" motion, is there? I'd settle for that.

      Besides, you have to realise it's kooks who come up with whacky ideas and find ways to achieve them. The first step to achieving the impossible is to think that "hey, maybe it is possible after all".

      (All that said, I think Tilley was a scam artist)
      • Re:Mr. Tilley... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tundog (445786)
        I myself am a skeptic when it comes to absolutes, but if science calls it a LAW, then I'll go alongh with it. The scientific criteria for a law is pretty extreme.

        You see, we scientisits, unlike member of the USB consortium, don't base our conclusions on market surveys...

        Here's a quick review scientific method in order of refutability:

        Hypothesis
        Theory
        Law

        I find you argument that 3 LAWS of theromodynamics are invalid becuase of the big bang laughable.

        You do realize that what you saying boils down to "Th
        • Re:Mr. Tilley... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by iggymanz (596061) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:24PM (#6308409)
          actually, most scientific "laws" are approximations - for example, no real world material obeys Ohm's Law exactly, Boyle's law applies to no real world gas, etc. The difference between hypothesis, theory, and law is vague. As for the laws of thermodynamics, we don't even know if our universe is a closed or open system.....the laws are USEFUL, but are not TRUE in the absolute sense.
      • mean, the universe, not long after the Big Bang, was a pretty high-entropy environment.


        I disagree; it was low entropy. Entropy has been increasing ever since. Low entropy means the energy is concentrated in one place; high entropy means it is randomly distributed.


        And then you can get self-replicating systems that tend towards complexity as well.


        That's my definition of "living": any system which disobeys the second law of thermodynamics.

  • ...pass the law and get some patents before americans patent everything that is patentable (and beyond)
  • Delorian (Score:5, Funny)

    by mini me (132455) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @10:14PM (#6308135)
    The DeLorian may be a perpetual machine, but it's maximum speed is 87mph. Anything over that and the car mysteriously disappears.
  • huh?

    At least the double opt in website was consistent with the write up: made no sense whatsoever. If I were a telemarketer, that would do very little to sway me either way.

    My head spins too.
  • by yet another coward (510) <yacoward.yahoo@com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @10:59PM (#6308311)
    Witnesses saw investigators "haul off Tilley's electric DeLorean, his electric boat and an electric ATV."

    Of course they had to haul off his vehicles. No intelligent person could expect them to be driven under their own power. ;-)
  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:54PM (#6308520) Journal

    If you're a tech crackpot claiming something impossible like PM, then getting raided by the Feds is the ideal exit strategy.

    If done properly, you can create a cult of dreamers and conspiracy theorists who will claim the Feds stole and suppressed your technology.

    Be sure to study the laws carefully before choosing this course. Choose something likely to net you less than a year in prison. Get a good lawyer. Chances are this is your first offense, so you should get off easy. However, be mindful of the judge who might try to "make an example out of you". Be cool while your case is pending. You don't want to get "Mitnicked".

    Then when you get out you do the circuit of late night talk radio, alternative newspapers, self-published newsletters, websites, books, and even college campus talks. Unless you're really famous you won't be rolling in dough from this; but you can survive and within certain circles there will be lots of people happy to give you free meals.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday June 27, 2003 @02:44AM (#6309049) Homepage
    Check out this hype from the Tilley Foundation [neptunejam.com]. Best Make Money Fast animation in a while.

    This guy only made $500K off his scheme, over more than a decade. This was a low-rent scam. Makes me wonder if he believed his own hype. There are easier ways to make $50K/year.

  • by kobotronic (240246) on Friday June 27, 2003 @05:31AM (#6309415)
    I bet that getting his machines hauled away by the feds was probably not in the plan. They'll have some certified engineer take a glance at the black boxes and he'll the discover garden variety lead batteries hidden behind the "Flux Capacitor" panel where all the flashing LEDs are mounted. Scam over. He'll probably try again in a few years. Probably not with a DeLorean next time.

    Most of these schemes end with the Device mysteriously exploding on the big demo day just about the time the battery woulda run out. (The 'bad wheel bearing' thing on the race track demo seems to coincide with this pattern nicely. I recall one such demo where an onlooker got hurt or killed by the mandatory demo day explosion.

    Anyway, it's interesting that he had more than one vehicle. If he was intending to demo them all at the same time, that would have seemed to preclude a plausible demo day explosion unless the whole fucking garage was supposed to blow...

    It stands to reason that a genuine free energy invention would be a monumental world-changing discovery. Why tinker on a silly little gadget car in the garage, funded only by petty donations by smalltime individual investors? Think big! Nikola Tesla partnered with Westinghouse and demo'ed his monumental, world-changing Alternating Current system by harnessing the hydro power of the Niagara Falls, powering thousands of homes.

    Only a fool throws a dollar after a black box.

    Tesla had a system that actually worked, with both theories, engineering drawings and elaborate patent papers to back them up. At no point were Westinghouse and other corporate investors required to just believe his word when he claimed that his system worked. He let anyone visit his lab and play with his machines, none of which were black boxes.

    Patents, obnoxious such as they are, provide adequate protection against asset hijacking, the 'big secret' can be out in the open and well known, and you can still be the one who makes all the money from it.
  • Notes on Tilley (Score:3, Informative)

    by SolemnDragon (593956) <solemndragon@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday June 27, 2003 @09:59AM (#6310659) Homepage Journal
    Here [phact.org] is a good page of random tilley stuff, including his ad hominem attacks on his critics. here are photos [keelynet.com] of a Tilley Vehicle from various angles.

    the photos of the various parts and signage for his 'building power system' are here. [keelynet.com] I think it's the book 'Voodoo Science' that includes a chapter on it, also? (i think. Have to go home and check.) But this guy's a treat. I'm not surprised to find out about the heist. I AM alarmed that this guy has any credibility at all, but i guess there's always someone willing to believe...

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