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Comment: A few thoughts (Score 1) 249

by Biswalt (#34342444) Attached to: Coder Accuses IBM of Patenting His Work
Let it pass buddy, let it pass. If you wanted to Patent your work, I hate to say it, but as the voice of total logic if you wanted your work patented you should have done it whenever you were finished writing your code. On your own HeapCheck disclaimer page you say "I am releasing my humble efforts to the public so that some programmer's life gets a little easier." You can't then file for a patent on that work, because you put it out and stated that you were releasing it to the public. Essentially you waived all exclusive rights to your work when you released it for free to the public. You can't suddenly decide that because IBM used it that you want to cash in. You said you released it to the public. Now I know you have it under the GPL but if you state elsewhere on the same site that you're releasing your efforts to the public I'm pretty sure the courts are going to see that in very lenient terms for IBM. They have every right to think they are free to use it if you state that you are releasing it to the public. Your best bet, I would think would be to contact a patent attorney and run your case by them. Realistically given your statement that it's been released to the public the only grounds that I can see you challenging their patent on is that they aren't following the terms of the GPL. But the even with the restrictions placed by the GPL if the work IBM did is substantially new they'll still be able to patent their work. For example you say they are accomplishing the same goal, but if their means of execution are substantially different than yours then your patent doesn't apply. Additionally a patent lasts only 18 years, and you haven't brought any other previous claims, even when you found Microsoft to be doing the same thing IBM is now. That will hurt your case big time. Ultimately though my advice isn't based on the law. I'm not a lawyer and I think when it comes to patent law NO ONE really knows what's going on because so much of it is just winging it. But I think most patent lawyers would probably tell you that legally it would be hard to pursue your case because you said you were releasing it to the public, you never issued a patent claim about anyone else using your work, it's not even clear (since we don't have the code) if IBM used your code or if they just liked what your code did and figured out a different way to accomplish the same goal. But ultimately all those things are irrelevant, because I'm pretty sure if you run this by most patent attorneys they'll probably tell you that suing IBM is virtually impossible. IBM made $2.6B the first quarter of 2010. IBM can and does afford the best, and I'm sure one of the most ridiculously abundant legal teams, of any company in the world. Talk to a patent attorney see what they tell you, but don't be surprised if it gets into the simple logistics of suing a company that has a regular cash flow of nearly $20B dollars per quarter.

Comment: My point: (Score 1) 251

by Biswalt (#29279879) Attached to: Tour Companies Battle Over Trademarked Duck Noises
I don't think you can hold a sound mark on this, because unlike the MGM lion or the NBC chimes, it's not the same sound being played each time. And as I recall the sound has to be so distinctive as to not possibly be mistaken for anything else, which definitionally a sound that is played differently every time is.

Comment: What is virtual money? (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by Biswalt (#29241591) Attached to: Virtual Bank Woes
I'd like to posit that the money in Eve Online is just as real as a dollar bill. I mean, you can buy ISK on Ebay, so there's an exchange rate of about 12 cents per million ISK. It's measurable, it's real, because ISK can be purchased for real money. What makes ISK less real than the Hungarian Forint, or the Chilean Peso, or even the US dollar? Currency very simply is people placing value in something that is not really intrinsically valuable. IE. paper dollars, little metal coins, huge stone wheels, bits of code relating to ISK, etc. So b/c it's valuable to these people we have a situation where the currency is very real. At least as real as any other form of currency has been.

Comment: Did the author get the concept of Wikipedia? (Score 1) 572

by Biswalt (#28755163) Attached to: Why the Photos On Wikipedia Are So Bad
The author seems solely obsessed with entertainment figures, Placido Domingo, Hank Aaron, Michael Jackson, Dr. Phil, David Beckham, Oliver Stone, George Gervin. But what about pictures of nebulae, flags, geometrical shapes, natural phenomena, etc. I routinely use wikimedia commons for finding out how different things that I've never seen look! The point of wikipedia is not to have every single Michael Jackson picture ever. It's an encyclopedia not TMZ. Who cares if it's only got one bad image of George Gervin? At least it's got a picture so you can see what Gervin looked like. But if this article had been written by someone who understands the purpose of wikipedia we might have found out that while wikimedia commons has the one pic of Gervin, it's got 28 distinct pictures about solar flares, or check out national insignia and see how much visual info you get. Plus this author argues that it's bad the photos aren't improved! Is he arguing for photographic manipulation or something?

Comment: Here's the rub: (Score 1) 168

by Biswalt (#28689681) Attached to: EU Publishers Want a Law To Control Online News
The problem is (from the perspective of the media companies) that there are too many free readers. And in the past because it was so easy to control the distribution of information (printing presses being expensive to operate) the media companies could monopolize the news distribution frame work. But now they can't, and that means more and more people are refusing to pay for the news. I for one don't ever buy news. I feel like it's wasteful to purchase news because I don't feel someone should have the right to monopolize the description of current events. Secondly, most of the news is provided for news media organizations for free. The AP for example doesn't pay anything to be able to quote political speeches, and they shouldn't have to. I mean, pick up a paper and read it cover to cover (other than the sports section, and the business section) how much news is investigative journalism that significantly costs the media companies anything, versus how much of that same newspaper is just a retelling of some event without any real extra costs to the news papers. Then look at how many outlets for info your typical media company like say the Hearst newspaper group has, and lastly look at how much money the heads of the newspapers are getting. It's not like the people who own the media companies aren't getting paid because ad revenue is down. My argument would be that newspapers are losing money not because websites are linking to their articles, but because while they are experiencing diminished ad revenues the owners of these media companies are making record personal windfalls!

Comment: Re:Social Security Numbers As Identifiers (Score 1) 268

by Biswalt (#28608283) Attached to: Social Security Numbers Can Be Guessed
I disagree because they are basically interchangeable with other known data about a person like when and where they were born, so the trend is going to be toward more and more known SSN's, once you know one area-group-serial number the odds of guessing the other numbers in that same area-group combo (or zipcode) rise slightly, meaning that inevitably all social security numbers will be known. So trying to make them secretive just won't work. The problem is that the private sector wants to use them as a way of authenticating who people are; say we have Maribel Barnes of 123 Main St. Boise Id. 83702 or we could call her 518-83-0001. The problem is the private sector wants to use the number as a check to see that you're really you when making a change. But as I've pointed out as you know more and more SSNs the chance of knowing other SSNs by default rises such that eventually as long as birth records remain intact and some known SSN database was kept you'd be able to eventually know everybody's SSN. So asking Maribel to authenticate who she is with her SSN is kind of pointless because someone who has bothered to learn her place of birth and birth date already knows the first 5 digits of the SSN.

Comment: Not surprised (Score 1) 268

by Biswalt (#28606039) Attached to: Social Security Numbers Can Be Guessed
I've always wondered why people have to use the last four numbers as an identifier so often, but it makes sense from the perspective of it being the most unique part of the number. I can't say I'm surprised by this given that I'd already figured out the 005 start means you were born in Maine for example. So because I knew that everyone in my family had a double zero start, and none of my friends or their family did, I correctly surmised that the first three digits related to where you were born. A little research later and I realized all other numbers are a function in some way shape or form of time. This was all before I'd seen an explanation about how the numbers are assigned. So I'd already known for the last decade it wasn't a random number at all, and I'd also assumed it makes the most logical sense for the last four numbers to be assigned in some sort of serial fashion. I would think that with computing becoming as powerful as it is that we'd be looking at a situation where the whole number is guessable if you know the time of birth. If someone got access to say a hospital log of when new babies were born, and it was the only hospital in the zipcode as long as you could verify the SSN of any one of the babies in the log you'd then have the SSN of all babies in the log. I knew this some nine or ten years ago when I was in college.

Comment: Re:Nice thought, bad planning (Score 1) 856

by Biswalt (#28556599) Attached to: Bike Projector Makes Lane For Rider
I don't think it's that simple mcvos. I commute everyday via a highway, and bikes are supposed to not use the highway, but every few weeks I'll have to decelerate from 65 mph down to 35 mph just so I can pass the bikes safely. And the thing that bothers me is I live in a very friendly to bikers city. There are bikelanes all over the place, down town, in the housing developments, city parks, etc. Now these bikers if they are just trying to get exercise (which is what it looks like to me) could go to any other bike lane in the city but they chose to engage in a dangerous activity and make the argument that they should be allowed to use any road they wish. The problem with this of course is the accident potential. If my tire blows out at 30 mph, Iv'e got a very good chance that I can hit my brakes and not skid into a biker, but if I'm going 65 mph blowing out a tire could have me skidding in some crazy direction and I might not be able to avoid a biker. 2) It's not true to say bikers never kill anyone. There are cases of people being run over by bikers and suffering complications that kill them. Believe me I know, b/c a friend of my sister lost a wrongful death lawsuit b/c she didn't exercise care when riding a bike and hit an old lady who suffered a dislocated hip. And this old lady eventually died as a direct result of breaking her hip. Swear to god this really happened, not just trying to make a point. People just don't get killed by bicycles often. Then there's the issue of bicyclists stopping at intersections, running reds when no cars are present. Leaving the designated bike lane, not wearing helmets etc. Not having proper reflective gear. I'd be much happier to accomodate the bicyclists in this city if they followed all the rules they were supposed to.

Comment: Re:This was not censorship. (Score 1) 414

by Biswalt (#28523421) Attached to: Wikipedia Censored To Protect Captive Reporter
Totally different. The times, and other media outlets in America had made very heavy displays of previous kidnapping victims in Iraq. Therefore the Rohde case should have fallen under the blanket of newsworthy. You're right. I for example don't have an inherent right to know you birthdate. But if you kill a lot of peopel to celebrate your birthday it then becomes a news worthy event. Likewise the whereabouts of Mr. Rohde are normally not relevant, but if he's a kidnap victim being held for ransom, it suddenly becomes very newsworthy. And while the Times had every right not to publish the story, they were wrong to lean on Mr. Wales to get him to remove referrences to the kidnappings from Wikipedia, because they had by their own previous actions published numerous similar stories. I mean, look at the Times coverage of Daniel Pearl's case. Apparently the Times only thinks you are valuable if you report for them.

Comment: So why does his blog have a trackback link? (Score 1) 390

by Biswalt (#28512801) Attached to: Judge Thinks Linking To Copyrighted Material Should Be Illegal
I find this hilarious. So newspapers (which largeley get their news tips from people calling in for free) are claiming it's reporter salaries that make the bulk of the costs of running a newspaper, and not the costs of operating the gigantic printing presses etc. Sure, and I'll be looking at that land deal you have in Florida now. Give me a break. Following that same logic no newspaper should be allowed to quote people who make statements in a telelvised press conference b/c televising it IS publishing it, and therefore they'd be guilty of a copyright violation. But obviously we've made a fair use exception if your goal is to write a news article. Why would the same not apply on the web. The real thing is $$$. I used to run a non-profit news website. I was turned down for press credentials in most cases b/c I didn't have a paper that was sponsored via ad revenue. this for example, at the time (if not still currently) was the rule even for the White House. So I wasn't given press credentials b/c I didn't have advertisers, and to the White House you're not a real legitimate news gathering organization unless you have advertising revenue. So it's obvious that the Newspaper industry is the beneficiary of laws that favor them over amateur bloggers. And that begs the issue, why? As in why are we trying to support the news industry rather than realizing why it's failing. Newspapers are failing because they charge too much for ad space. According to a NY Times report (that out of respect for Dipshit Posner I won't link to) 53% of their ad space is going unsold. In any other industry you'd discount the rate and try to get a higher volume of ad space sold. But for trully ridiculous reasons Newspapers still think they can charge for the same ad space even with subscriptions on the decline. And people are increasingly turning to the internet because the ability to contstantly update and follow stories makes it much better than reading daily newspapers. Nowhere is this discrepancy more obvious than sports coverage. Sure I could have a newspaper subscription and follow my team's success over a bowl of fruit loops everyday at breakfast or I can log onto ESPN and find out whether my team is winning or losing the game while it's still being played. Which choice are most people who want to follow a team going to choose? If we treated other technologies like we're starting to treat newspapers vs. the internet we would: still be using telegraph machines instead of cell phone. use explosive celuloid film instead of digital video use horse drawn buggies instead of cars. use handset printing instead of moveable type or better yet only release news via illuminated manuscripts. Face it. Internet is beating the pants off traditional newspapers b/c they are just better. And internet thrives on linking. All passing a law change like this would mean that websites would only link to materials that were published under non-traditional copyright agreements or released into the public domain. IE. no one would link to traditional newspapers anymore, and it's not like people would then start buying newspaper subscriptions, so I'm quite certain that newspapers would make even less money than they do now.

Comment: The revolution has started` (Score 2, Funny) 403

by Biswalt (#28502981) Attached to: Investigators Suspect Computers Doomed Air France Jet
So the trains in DC collided because even while the human operator tried applying the breaks the computer overrode the engineer and kept the train moving at a good speed. And now the investigators of the air france flight are saying computer failures on that flight caused the plane to stay at a high-inoperable speed, despite the pilot's best effort to slow down? Does it sound to anyone else like the computer revolution from Terminator, the Matrix, nearly every other future sci-fi movie is taking place? We never should have let them start beating us in chess now the computers are getting all uppity.

Comment: R U fucking kidding me? (Score 1) 524

by Biswalt (#28389217) Attached to: Microsoft Launches New "Get the Facts" Campaign

"Knowing the top speed of a car doesn't tell you how fast you can drive in rush hour. To actually see the difference in page loads between all three browsers, you need slow-motion video. This oneâ(TM)s also a tie." - What the fuck does this even mean?!? Whenever a new browser comes out I load up a wikipedia page to see how it handles text, hulu for video, and ESPN to see how it handles rotating ads. The browser that I found that works the fastest with the lowest memory usage is Opera. And that was out of Firefox, IE7, Chrome, and Opera. But my big problem with this statement is that Micrsoft gives itself a check on performance on the argument that chrome and firefox are only a little faster?!? Seriously?!? How do you acknowledge that your competitor has you beat and still give yourself the check?

"Only Internet Explorer 8 has both tab isolation and crash recovery features; Firefox and Chrome have one or the other." But Opera has both, so it's not like IE8 is the only browser with these features.

And how does IE8 even lay a claim to the most security. It's a very well known fact that nearly every bit of malware is written for IE browsers b/c of the share of the marketplace they have. Last time I checked there was almost no malware written to exploit chrome, only a few for firefox, and lesser known browsers like Opera, and Konqueror had none.

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