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Comment: Re:Two things... (Score 1) 62

by wolrahnaes (#49598945) Attached to: Game:ref's Hardware Solution To Cheating In eSports

Consoles aren't fool-proof. But other than the PS3 there's no easy way to inject arbitrary code. So other than taking advantage of bugs (which are the developer's fault), you can't really cheat on something like the XB1 or PS4 like you can the PC.

Cheating the PC, by comparison, is almost always accomplished via arbitrary code. Wallhacks, aimbots, complex macros, tools that unveil more data than the player is meant to see, etc.

Every single last-gen console was hacked wide open. 360 and Wii will happily run arbitrary code just as well as the PS3. Last time I checked the Wii was still a purely software mod, no hardware required. Xbox 360 requires hardware unless you have an old console that hasn't been updated in years, just like the PS3 now that both have patched their major security holes.

Comment: Re:I wish it had been dismissed on the merits (Score 1) 122

Too bad it was just a procedural dismissal due to wrong venue and not due to the merits of the case.

United said such ticketing schemes violate its fare rules. For one thing, the tickets capture seats that will go unused, and an airline would have no way to sell those unused seats

Well, actually, they already *have* sold those seats -- to the person that bought the ticket and decided not to use the rest of it. But it's not true that they have no way to sell those seats -- if the flight is overbooked or full, then they'll fill the unused seat with a bumped or standby passenger.

Do you really want to encourage them to overbook and bump more people?!

Comment: Two things... (Score 3, Insightful) 62

by wolrahnaes (#49596817) Attached to: Game:ref's Hardware Solution To Cheating In eSports


Consoles are almost completely devoid of cheaters because they provide anti-cheat solutions baked-in their hardware.

I'm not sure what consoles this guy has been playing, but cheating is rampant in pretty much every popular console game. Some kinds of cheats may be harder to implement on consoles, but they always find ways to do it.

Second, all his rig does is monitor USB inputs. The same USB inputs I can fake using literally the same Arduino hardware he seems to be using for his prototypes. Any kind of macro-based cheats would be trivial to implement on USB-capable microcontrollers. One's cheat program of choice just has to change from sending fake inputs directly to the OS over to passing the same input commands out to a simple piece of hardware which then sends them right back as USB HID inputs.

Comment: Re:"X, but on a phone" (Score 1) 59

There have been recent (good) rulings that saying "X, but on a computer" is not a valid patent. I hope that lower courts say that this is just "X, but on a mobile computer" so we don't have to have an explicit ruling also blocking "X, but on a phone".

On another note, I wonder if it would be worth having some crowd-funded anti-patent-troll fund. I know the EFF takes the fight when able, but that's usually after smaller companies/individuals have caved and paid the extortion fee. If there was a fund that would take the patent-holder to court and pay out any ruling against the defendant, should the patent be deemed baseless (any patent, not just electronics), that would hopefully halt the trolls far earlier in the process and dissuade others.

Not really... Contrary to popular wisdom (and Subby's attempt to call a 500 person company a small shoe store), patent trolls almost never go after individuals, because individuals don't have any money. Unlike copyright infringement with the $150k per work, there are no statutory damages in patents, and damages aren't even 100% of profits - they're limited to a reasonable royalty. If even a small patent lawsuit costs $200-500k, and you can expect to get 5% royalties, you aren't going to sue someone with less than $4M in annual revenue... And in reality, try closer to $1M to run a small patent lawsuit and royalties closer to 2-3%. So, now you're talking $50M in revenue to be a real target.

So, the real question is can you crowdfund $2-5 million to defend companies with tens of millions in annual revenue? It's like you're asking David to donate to protect Goliath.

Comment: "Small time" shoe seller? (Score 2) 59

From the linked article:

Shoes for Crews, which makes skid-proof soles for workers who toil on slippery surfaces, has sold millions of pairs of shoes to workers at McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, P.F. Chang’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and other restaurant chains. The company says its secret formula makes the stickiest soles on the market, but Shoes for Crews refuses to file for a patent, fearing the process would reveal valuable clues to rivals

Not really a small shoe store as Subby implied, but rather, a manufacturer and wholesaler which, according to LinkedIn, has between 200-500 employees. So, it's more like "patent troll sues multi-million dollar company", but that doesn't really get as much sympathy.

Comment: Re:Vice Versa (Score 1) 56

by Theaetetus (#49590597) Attached to: US Senate Targets Patent Trolls

Thank you for straightening me out on the length of patents.

My objection still stands on the grounds that John Cornyn and Chuck Schumer can only be up to no good. Both are bought and paid for by people who don't care a whit for encouraging innovation or improving the IP laws for the benefit of consumers.

Absolutely. I should've been more clear that I was only objecting to the length part. :)

Comment: Re:Vice Versa (Score 2) 56

by Theaetetus (#49589981) Attached to: US Senate Targets Patent Trolls

Does anyone else care to bet that any bill coming out of the Senate to curb "patent trolls" is going to end up extending patents even longer and basically making the patent system even worse?

Guaranteed they don't get longer. Patent term hasn't been extended since 1861*. Unlike copyright, where you've got big copyright owners with tons of money lobbying on one side vs. poor pirates on the other, and BMG and Sony have no interest in using each others' copyrighted works, in patents, everyone may want longer term for their own stuff, but shorter term for their competitors'. So, like if Microsoft started lobbying for longer patent term, Apple and Google would lobby against them. And vice versa.

*It did go from 17 years from issue to 20 years from filing, to comply with an international treaty, but it took about 3 years from filing to get issued, so there wasn't any real change. It's actually arguably shorter now, because there aren't submarine patents that can last decades.

Comment: Re:Overly-wide interpretations (Score 1) 56

by Theaetetus (#49589955) Attached to: US Senate Targets Patent Trolls

The biggest problem appears to be allowing wide interpretations of patents and ignoring what would be obviousness in the eyes of most practitioners. Here are some suggestions:

1) A jury-like panel of practitioners to judge obviousness.

2) Spell out that merely emulating common physical actions or behaviors should not be patentable, only specific algorithms of such emulation.

3) Reject the mere combining of existing ideas unless the combining is judged non-obvious (#1).

4) Limiting the percentage of revenue a medium or large company can receive from patent royalties.

5) An independent quality review board to make sure approved patents are not overly broad. They'd randomly sample patents.

These are good suggestions... Such that many of them are already implemented:
1) Before applications are allowed, they're judged by the Examiner and the Examiner's Supervisor (and, in the case of lower tier Examiners, also a Primary Examiner). It's a small jury, but still is one.
2) That's currently the rule - if something has been done before, it can't be patented. So, Apple's slide to unlock patent can't just claim "sliding to unlock" or "emulating a bathroom door-style sliding lock". Instead, it claims the algorithm that doesn't have a real-world analog.
3) This was actually the result of KSR v. Teleflex several years ago. The Supreme Court said that if you claim A+B+C and different prior art teaches A, B, and C separately, the combination is obvious by definition, unless there's some explicit reason why it's impossible to combine the art.
5) The USPTO does random quality checks before patents get issued - they randomly select some allowed applications and a panel of senior examiners in the relevant technology review the prosecution and examination history. If it's good, they get allowed. If it's bad, they get rejected and the original examiner gets sent for more training.

The real new suggestion is #4, but I don't think that would be constitutional, since you're making a rule that essentially seizes revenue from a company from a legal source, yet because of that source. That could present some 5th Amendment issues.

Comment: Re:No H1-Bs for contractors (Score 2) 621

by hibiki_r (#49582985) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

It'd help in many ways, but it also makes the H1-Bs situation far more precarious. Modern abuse and quotas means almost all H1-Bs come from those nasty companies, but even before that, many people chose contracting firms to handle their immigration because you are far safer from layoffs and such. I remember when I was an H1-B, a long time ago, going direct, and my then employer had round after round of layoffs. The moment I saw the pattern, I had to look for another job IMMEDIATELY, because getting hit by one of those layoffs meant a tiny window to find another employer or leave the country, and that new employer had to file for a visa. Through a contracting firm, a layoff might mean a job change, and maybe not getting paid for a few weeks, but it's far less onerous. This gets even harder when also applying for a green card. It's not uncommon for companies to ask immigrants that they want to sponsor to sign that they have to pay the immigration fees incurred in the green card process if they leave willingly before the green card is done plus one year. When going with direct employment, it also means you cannot run without taking a major financial penalty. And if you are laid off in process, then you better get a job extremely quickly, or your green card process might have to start all over again, and it can take many years.Getting my green card got a big weight off my shoulders.

So your proposed change to the H1-B program sounds like a wonderful idea as long as it comes together with something to minimize the precarious conditions of H1-B workers that easily qualify for green cards, and work in the US for 5, 10 years while they wait for a visa number. This should help American workers too, as the minute one of those workers gets a green card, their job mobility increases, and with it, their negotiation power. I got a 30% raise with my first job change after a green card. In 5 years after the green card, my salary more than doubled.

Having people as temporary workers for a decade? You've got to be kidding me.

Comment: I'll tell you why I don't use it. (Score 5, Insightful) 359

by Lord Kano (#49557777) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Google Answers.
Google Shopping.
Google Buzz.
Google Wave.
Google Video.

I don't trust Google to keep it around once it's no longer in Google's best interests to do so and since social networking isn't Google's focus or primary source of revenue, I can't trust that.

It's not that I begrudge them the decision to do what's in their own best interests but I have that same decision to make and Google+ doesn't align with them.


Seen on a button at an SF Convention: Veteran of the Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force. 1990-1951.