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Comment Re:Obvious prior art (Score 1) 126

I despise patent trolls, but reading your linked article, I see where the patent issues here were really only detrimental until the start of WW1. 1906 to 1917 is not "nearly half a century."

Please, when framing arguments against patents or climate deniers, or anything else that is important to you, do not exaggerate or use such hyperbole. It lessens the impact of your argument, however true, significantly.

By half-a-century, I mean half-a-century. Just because the original issues were resolved by around 1917, it takes a lot longer to recover from this damage - Consider this period as the original wound, and later time as healing to understand what I said - A lot of US based aviation decisions through to the end of WW2 and the early 1950's were very poor. This doesn't mean that the US didn't progress quickly, but it imported most of it's technology and ideas, even during WW2 - Often leaning on concepts and ideas that were present much earlier in german and english aircraft. Both the Germans and English had already developed jet engines during this time and it was only well into WW2 that the US began to develop unique and original ideas - eg, Turbosuperchargers.

If you damage an industry for more than 10 years, the impact doesn't just go away because you remove the problem, it continues long after the event - Knowledge and skills that should have been obtained and gained during that period are lost and it takes a long time to recover a position within the international community equivalent to a country's original potential. The US had to import a lot of technology from other countries - There's a reason most aviation terms are French - Sad when you consider that the US invented the aircraft.

Patents, when used as weapons or obstructions, only damage innovation.


Comment Re:Obvious prior art (Score 5, Informative) 126

It would be, if the wording of the patent was something like "A craft, that travels through the air, by means of lift generated through the passage of relative airflow across a curved wing section known as the aerofoil, and of sustained airflow by means of propulsion caused by the action/reaction of a propulsion unit, which propels the craft forward against drag caused by the craft's passage through the air."

The same wording would also cover missiles, but not helicopters. Patents are like that.

Of course, it wasn't that simple - The Wright Bother's patent wars were kind of like Samsung Vs Apple, and only served to severely damage the US's ability to produce aircraft for nearly half a century.


Comment Can't fix or better not to? (Score 1) 840

In the current world, it often costs more to repair something than to replace it. The only reason people will avoid attempting repairs is because replacement is more economical. There seem to be far more people familiar with repairing stuff now than ever before, especially with so many decent guides on the internet.


Comment Soft tokens... (Score 1) 247

Verisign VIP is one ( commercial ) system that uses soft tokens, and the same token works on your ebay and paypal and other accounts, making it useful to users outside of work - since they start to introduce the same security to their outside-of-work use - Soft tokens are free and work on phones and PCs, hard tokens can be ordered ( they even have credit cards with the hardware token built in, and can print name badges with them ) -

Generally, it's a pretty good system - you can download and try it too -


Comment I See this as Walmart's fault... (Score 3, Insightful) 287

Walmart was not obliged to sell other than by it's own actions... They could have challenged it or otherwise...

It's actions were made on the intent of beating it's competitors and this backfired... Only consumers really need to be protected from their own stupidity and ignorance - Corporations are big enough to make their own miscalculations and live with the consequences.

caveat venditor would be more appropriate -


Comment Re:But but but (Score 2) 55

Depending on your perspective and use, 3D printers can pay for themselves in a single day, and if you use Shapeways as your yardstick, they can pay for themselves with as little as a single roll of plastic ( Sub $1000 printer + 1 Kg of plastic vs $1 per gram standard post-print charge )

I use an UP Mini - I've reliably put about 15 to 20 Kg of plastic through it already, and it's still working... It did start to fail once, so I put some silicon grease on the linear bearings and all was good. One day I'll get the next model, but this one has paid for itself 15 times over in about 2 years, and people buy entire arrays of Up Mini's to run as limited production - they are very reliable and rarely fail to print correctly. It's been about 4Kg since I had my last misprint...


Comment The problem isn't the format of the data... (Score 4, Informative) 23

The problem is that 99%* of data is actually trapped behind paywalls...

Which is more of a problem than the format. If the data was available without the paywall, then the format probably wouldn't matter as much.


*99% is a made-up statistic - just like the original article. I assume it means "lots..."

Comment Another possible reason... (Score 1) 167

Anyone who ever designed circuitry regularly enough with the Z-80 ( I would have designed over 40 boards using the z-80 during my career ) always used to think they did it that way so you could put the ROM chip next to the processor, while only using a few through-board connections. A 16k ROM could easily be connected to the Z-80 on a single-sided PCB with just 6 jumpers that fit neatly beneath the Z-80 chip itself.

Maybe that's not the reason it was built that way, but working with other designers at the time, that's what we all though -


Comment Re:use SMS (Score 1) 113

Ugh, you people are so stupid... neither of you work in the wireless industry.

1) SMS can be intercepted, hacked, etc : false. White it's certainly possible for someone working at the wireless company to send fake SMS messages directly from the MSC, they can't see them, and if they can't see them, neither can a malicious entity. The only way you see a SMS message in transit is if you are participating in a MITM attack against the device, in which you would be emulating the wireless carrier at the time of the message's transmission.

Ever heard of "Malicious Number Porting"? Who needs to intercept SMS when your telco will do it for you?

SMS provides poor security...


Comment Nothing to see here, move along. (Score 4, Funny) 112

This is ridiculous. The Australian government has already sent the software to Russia for peer review, and they determined that it worked perfectly during the Crimean referendum.

I see no reason why the code should be further made public.It could only lead to compromise.


Comment Fraught with danger... (Score 2) 180

Taking such action really is a bad idea. An autonomous killing machine could be as complicated as as a military drone with hellfire missiles or as simple as a car loaded with autonomous weapons designed to engage any anything that move, with a GPS pre-determined route and self-driving capability, sitting like a mobile minefield in an abandoned house long after the occupants have left, waiting to be activated.

I think the appropriate course of action would be to feed international condemnation of such tactics until they are treated with ruthlessness by the international community against any involved in use of such weapons, for any infraction. Just like the use of chemical weapons should have been...

Autonomous weapons are far more frightening that WMDs... And nowhere is safe.

Then again, I wrote a book on the creation of a universal standard for determining if an autonomous weapon could be trusted with the decision to kill, so perhaps I am somewhat hypocritical there.


Comment Just my guess. (Score 1) 533

Based on the number of graphics cards out there, the high repetitive nature of their application and the fact that that's all they do, it's probably something related to them. I thought of supercomputers running very small recursive routines, but they usually have a limited lifetime and older computers aren't fast enough and haven't continued to run in any event.

Graphics though? I'd guess something in a very common graphics card would probably be in the scale to achieve the title of most-run code.

Though if you had allowed assembler, I'd have gone with nop, nop, jump -2.... In all of it's forms. It's not uncommon in older systems that run entirely off of interrupts to use this as an "idle loop" that just waits for the next interrupt so that the interrupt handler can get on with the job of code execution. Many embedded systems use this.


Comment Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

It's not quite that simple. What has happened ( and is happening ) here in Australia is that those who can afford the considerable up-front costs of solar are doing so, and are getting close to not paying for power. In some cases, they are actually making money from exporting back into the grid. This is somewhat due to a stupid government rule that means they get overpaid, but that aside, it's only the wealthy and middle-to-upper class users who can take advantage of it.

Because utilities are trying to maintain profits, it's not as simple as saying "well, they get more power and just resell it" - They are still paying for infrastructure and stuff to the people who have lots of solar, but who don't consume electricity enough to cover the costs of that infrastructure.

So as a result, their biggest customer base becomes low-income earners, who can't afford to pay for solar and who can't afford to carry the infrastructure costs for wealthy people either. The result is that the ability of the power utility to increase charges is suddenly curtailed because the less wealthier customers can no longer afford to support them.

This is known as the "Solar Power Death Spiral" - because the more that the costs go up for the remaining market, the larger the adoption rate of solar and, again, it's the wealthier part of the remaining market that makes the move first.


And yes, it is very real and the utilities are terrified of it... It's not a threat to electricity generation or other things - it's a threat to profits and to the utilities ability to incrementally charge for their costs with a customer base no longer able to pay for it. Sure, greed is a huge factor, perhaps the only real factor, but the utilities will defend their market vigorously. The likely solution is that they will change their charging model, where you end up paying an "infrastructure cost charge" regardless of whether you use power or not, and a usage tariff on top of that. This will redistribute the cost again and make solar uncompetitive. And they will quite likely make "opting out" illegal too... So expect to pay an "infrastructure cost charge" even if you don't have a connection to the grid, so long as it's possible to connect where you are.

That's how they did it in Australia with water, except they also made water tanks illegal in parts of Australia before drought and dwindling infrastructure became such a constant problem.


Whoever dies with the most toys wins.