When one admits defeat, one will succumb to defeat.
About ten years ago, I went to a talk at Stanford where someone showed that the increasing costs of wafer fabs would make this happen around 2013. We're right on schedule.
Storage can still get cheaper. We can look forward to a few more generations of flash devices. Those don't have to go faster.
Picasa acquired by Google - New York Times, 2004. "'They came to the conclusion that it would be easier to buy this business than to build it themselves. It's the type of acquisition you can expect Google to do more of in the future.'' The self-driving car technology was acquired from Stanford, along with Sebastian Thrun. Google did do a lot with language translation in-house; that's probably the most innovative area. Most of Google's big-name products, though, came from elsewhere.
Google is good at scaling, and yes, many of the acquired products had to be rewritten to scale up. Still, Google Earth today looks a lot like the Keyhole Earth Viewer I had in 2003.
I've read the current language of the bill and there is nothing there that harms small inventors. Everything there makes large-scale patent trolling less attractive as a business model.
The worst part is the remnant of the "loser pays" provision. If you try to enforce a patent against a big company, if you lose you have a good chance of being hit with the big guy's legal bills. There's no cap on that. That provision was amended, which made it "slightly less awful", as one congressman put it. After the amendment, the new language now means you get to litigate over the legal fees. Statistically, the patent holder wins about 40% of the time, and even with a good case, it's easy to make a mistake and lose.
The Leahy bill is better. It's more narrowly directed towards bulk-type patent enforcement operations, doesn't have a loser-pays provision, and proposes a small claims court for smaller patent cases.
This isn't an anti-patent troll bill. It's an anti-small inventor bill. It's designed to make it more expensive to enforce patents. That won't affect Google vs Apple vs Microsoft, etc. It just makes it harder for a little company to enforce a patent against a big one. That was the intention. (The Leahy bill in the Senate isn't that bad, but the Goodlatte bill that just passed the House is awful.)
This bill has been pushed through by a hate campaign against inventors. It's a well-funded campaign, and it's suckered in many people. The money is coming from Google and Facebook, who are hiding behind front organizations such as the Application Developers Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF's effort is funded by Google and Facebook, with $2 million laundered through a clever legal trick.
There are very few real "patent trolls". The EFF has tried to identify every one they can, and they only found 15. They started a campaign to attack "trolled patents" in court and at the USPTO, and and they only found one. There are a few other broad patents being enforced aggressively, notably Ultramercial. That's about it.
Using that thin basis, the "patent troll" problem has been hyped as a major threat. There are hate sites aimed at inventors:
- "Trolling Effects" (EFF) "Trolling Effects is a resource for those who have been targeted by patent trolls. Here you can learn more about these bad actors."
- The American Association of Advertising Agencies: "These are not companies in the traditional sense that employ workers or create, market and distribute products or services; rather, they are legal entities whose sole purpose is to threaten with patent claims and then secure expedient - and lucrative - settlements based on these claims."
- Application Developers Alliance: "Even the worst and least-expensive old patents are used like extortionist sledge hammers."
I used to respect the EFF, but once they took Google's money, they, too, turned to the dark side.
Who were the corporate sponsors of this bill?
The big push was from Google. Google, along with Facebook and Twitter (but not Apple) sponsors the Application Developers Alliance, which is a lobbying group against "patent trolls".
To understand why this matters to Google, look at where Google's products came from. Google, despite their reputation for innovation, has obtained most of their technology through acquisitions of smaller companies. Google has acquired 131 smaller companies over the years. Since the original search engine, almost all successful Google products came from the outside. YouTube, AdSense (DoubleClick), Google Earth (Keyhole), Blogger (Genius Labs), Android, Google Docs (Upstartle), Google Analytics (Urchin), Google Talk (Grand Central) etc. all came from acquisitions. In house, Google developed Google Wave and Google Buzz.
As a net buyer of IP, it's in Google's interest to keep the value of patents down. They don't want a small company to be able to say no to Google.
No, Bitcoin isn't "pegged" to any and all currencies, it's free-floating. Rather too free floating and volatile as the case may be.
The problem with Bitcoin isn't the absence of a central issuer, but right now the problem with Bitcoin is its extreme volatility. At the moment it's almost useless as a currency and it's being used as an instrument of speculation. It's far too volatile for any merchant (perhaps except the black market) to take seriously since it's value relative to all other currencies swings so wildly and so quickly and you have to convert BTC into your local currency to be able to use any funds transferred to you for the mundane things in life like buying food, electricity, housing etc. If I want to sell a thing worth about US$1200 in BTC, if I sold it at 9am today for 1BTC and waited a whole 15 minutes to convert this to USD, in the intervening 15 minutes I would have lost around $300 because of a wild swing in its value that happened over a period of just a couple of minutes.
Certainly in the Gulf of Mexico, the various platforms and structures provide a pretty rich environment for marine life. The best fishing spots are all near the various platforms since the underwater parts of their structures provide places for various plants and animals to make their homes (and thus attracting the fish that feed of this). I would imagine the mooring points for this barge will do the same.
Of course it all goes horribly wrong for this environment if there is a spill.
int class = 42;
There are numerous other examples. The interesting behaviour of sizeof() when you have a class and a variable of the same name is one of my favourites.
Then they ought to be interstate OR defense highways. Since interstate = 0 (always, in Hawaii) and defense = 1, interstate AND defense will evaluate to 0. Therefore it's still odd they are called interstates.
All the highway autonomous vehicle projects got as far as freeway driving. BMW, Cadillac, and Mercedes have all demonstrated this level of automatic driving. Then it gets hard.
This is about as far as you can go before entering the "deadly valley", where the vehicle can drive autonomously but isn't smart enough to recognize when it shoudn't. Google is further along; they can drive around on suburban streets.
Most of the technology needed to automate electronics manufacturing has been available for years, if not decades. See "The Macintosh Factory", showing Apple's factory in Fremont over 20 years ago. Robot assembly, mobile robots, very few people doing direct labor. Products were designed for cheap automated assembly. The Macintosh II family was noted for that - everything, including the power supply, was inserted into the case with a simple straight-down move. Everything snapped together. No wiring harnesses. "Design for manufacture" was big back then.
So what went wrong? Outsourcing for cheap labor. "If your orders decrease, you can lay off workers. You can't lay off robots." - Tim Li, Quanta Computer. It's not so much that people are cheaper. It's that they are disposable. So are subcontractors. Everybody in the supply chain is working on low cost margins with no guarantee of future orders, so they can't invest in automation.
This is not a technical problem.
They work perfectly well with the lid closed. My MacBook Pro spends about 50% of its life with its lid closed. The "rats nest" of cables is just one mini-DisplayPort cable, one USB cable and one power cable, since my display works as a USB hub so everything else gets plugged into the display.
It works perfectly with the lid closed (it's a very recent machine with OS X Mavericks on it). Indeed the latest version of OSX improved its "working with the lid closed" ability - when moving from lid open and on the move to lid closed and plugged into the monitor/keyboard, there's none of the awkward five seconds of display resizing that used to happen.