Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Prior art (Score 3, Interesting) 59

Or, he filed the patent years ago, and then filed a series of updates to it. Each update delays the final "approval date" and allows him to modify the patent. Over time, he can craft a vague sounding patent and/or one that covers existing technology. Then, his "prior art date" is from a year before when he INITIALLY filed the patent. So while the final patent might have been considered innovative if filed as-is on the initial filing date, patent trolls abuse the "update" system to draw their patents out until they are hard to beat via prior art.

Or, even more likely, the patent examiners said "We'll approve this and let the courts sort it out." Meanwhile, the courts are likely to say "Well, the patent examiners wouldn't have approved this if it wasn't a valid patent."

Comment: Re:Strange terms? (Score 2) 222

by Jason Levine (#49592991) Attached to: Grooveshark Shuts Down

Because the copyright infringement fees* they would have been subjected to would have likely bankrupted them and those patents, software, etc would need to be sold off anyway. So the settlement was likely "give us all your stuff and we won't seek further fines that might wind up bankrupting you, personally, for life."

* You can agree or disagree with copyright laws/fee structures (and I often do), but you don't get to violate copyright, get caught, say "Oops, silly me, I'll go legit now", and get off scot-free.

Comment: Re:When are these idiots going to learn? (Score 1) 90

by Jason Levine (#49592431) Attached to: UK High Court Orders Block On Popcorn Time

The best hope that the media companies have for squashing piracy is not the legal route. Yes, by suing some people or having governments ban some tools, they'll move one step forward. Unfortunately, for them, those who write the programs used for piracy will move five steps forward during this time. Instead, their best hope are services like Netflix. Imagine if the media companies got over their fear of putting stuff online and opened the doors to everything being on Netflix (and a few competing services just to keep one from being too powerful). Even if Netflix had to raise their prices, it would be worth it. Add in the fact that this would be legal (no worrying if you'll get a "we're suing you for piracy" letter) and safe (no worrying if that rip actually contains a virus) and demand for piracy would drop.

Yes, there will always be piracy. Media companies could release DRM-free copies of their movies for a dime each and some pirates would say they'll only buy them if they cost a nickle. Some people rationalize their piracy and will never stop no matter what alternatives are presented to them. Still, those people aren't really potential customers and can be ignored.

Of course, the "Everything On Netflix" scenario isn't likely to happen. Instead, the media companies will double-down on their fear of the Internet, demand massive DRM before even their oldest titles can touch the online world, price their online offerings high to drive people to DVD/Blu-Ray, restrict access based on when the discs are released/where you live, and generally shoot themselves in the foot by driving people to piracy.

Comment: Re: So far so good. (Score 1) 209

by Jason Levine (#49589695) Attached to: Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss On the Peter Principle

When my grandmother was alive, nearly every conversation with her included "So how are things going with your job? Have you been promoted yet?" The problem was that, at my company, the only promotion would mean becoming a manager and not coding anymore. I know that I'd make an awful manager, so I didn't even try to get promoted.

Comment: Re:Voter IDs gave them confidence in the results? (Score 1) 58

by Jason Levine (#49588853) Attached to: Tech Credited With Reducing Nigerian Election Death Toll

Except that every study seems to show that actual voter fraud is minimal. Voter ID laws are (taken at face value) an attempt to reduce a small number of people from voting illegitimately while keeping a larger number of people from voting legitimately. It's trying to swat a fly by swinging around a sledgehammer. Sure, you might kill that pesky fly, but your walls and furniture won't look really nice afterwards.

Comment: Re:With REALLY Huge Fans... (Score 1) 279

by Jason Levine (#49587309) Attached to: New Study Suggests Flying Is Greener Than Driving

Let's assume that you had some sort of battery that could store the same amount of energy as a full airplane fuel tank and was light enough to not cause issues. Couldn't you standardize the batteries across aircraft, make the battery removable, and charge them in the airport between flights. So airplane lands, everyone disembarks, the flight crew (among other things) removes the depleted battery, puts in a fully charged battery, and then puts the depleted battery in the airport's charging system until it is fully charged and ready for use again. This would make time to get the airplane from low charge to full charge very low (as low as the "pop out old one, put in new one" takes).

Such a system wouldn't work for cars because you don't want your average person ripping out his car's battery, but for planes you have a crew of trained mechanics checking the plane between each flight. Surely, they could handle this task.

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 4, Interesting) 697

by Jason Levine (#49578339) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

It's not so much the amount of disinformation spewed that separates Republicans and Democrats as it is what subjects the disinformation gets spewed on. When it comes to science, many Republicans seem to have made it their goal to spew as much disinformation on as much science as possible. I feel sorry for the pro-science Republicans who are left. It must be disheartening to see so much anti-science coming from your party.

(Disclaimer: Historically, I've sided with Democrats but have been more and more dissatisfied with them. I'm in the "nowhere land" between both parties where neither party seems to satisfy me and will likely be voting third party more and more.)

Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 697

by Jason Levine (#49578313) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

Whenever I hear of religious people claiming that the Universe is only 6000 or so years old and that it was all created in 7 days, I say that they are making God smaller, not larger by claiming this.

No matter what your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), imagine that there was some supreme being who had a plan, initiated the Big Bang, and set everything into motion so that, billions of years later, humans would evolve into being. Isn't that a much more impressive god than one who just says "Abra-ca-humans!" and poofs them into existence. Sure the latter god can apparently create life out of thin air, but the former can plan insanely complicated interactions over a billion year time frame just to arrive at a certain scenario. To me, the former is much more impressive than the literal-Genesis latter.

Comment: Re:No surprise (Score 1) 109

By this point, anybody who believes capitalist democracy isn't broken is just clinging on to false hope.

Or is an executive/lobbyist for the music industry (or another big business). Capitalist democracy works VERY well for them. They throw around their capital and the democracy does what they want it to do.

Comment: Re:Don't be mean to Lennart (Score 1) 177

by Jason Levine (#49576045) Attached to: When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly

The other problem with labeling people SJWs - when it comes down to interpreting intent - is that you could label the very people who are calling people SJWs AS SJWs.

Do they repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet? I've seen some big rants against SJWs that qualifies as "engaging in arguments" about this subject.

"often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way"? Subjective, like you said, but could easily be applied to the anti-SJW poster as well as to the labeled-as-SJW poster.

"for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation"? Again, like you said, subjective and requires guessing as to the individual's motivation but could be applied to anti-SJW posters as well.

And so on. If a definition is so vague that it can be used to define both sides of a debate, then it's useless (at least as far as being used by one side to label the other).

Comment: Re:Car analogy (Score 4, Insightful) 105

by Jason Levine (#49573831) Attached to: Why Crypto Backdoors Wouldn't Work

But warrants are [whining voice]SOOOO HAAARD. You have to show probable cause and all that stuff. It's too much work.[/whining voice]

Plus, [overly paranoid voice]in the time it takes to get a warrant, a criminal could enact another 9-11 or could destroy the evidence that they were planning that.[/overly paranoid voice].

Those are the reasons why law enforcement needs access to stuff without a warrant. The whiny, paranoid reasons why.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!