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Comment: What is an "abstract idea" (Score 2) 220

by Steve1952 (#47273837) Attached to: US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

The Supreme Court has held that "abstract ideas" can't be patented, but then has deliberately refrained from defining what an "abstract idea" is!

In the latest Alice decision, they write: "In any event, we need not labor to delimit the precisecontours of the “abstract ideas” category in this case. It is enough to recognize that there is no meaningful distinction between the concept of risk hedging in Bilski and the concept of intermediated settlement at issue here. Both are squarely within the realm of “abstract ideas” as we have used that term."

So you can't have "X", where "X" is undefined.

Comment: Just another type of take down request (Score 1) 199

by Steve1952 (#46989811) Attached to: EU Court of Justice Paves Way For "Right To Be Forgotten" Online
It seems to me as if Google and other search companies can simply treat this right of privacy as simply being another type of take down request. An alternative way of looking at this is that an individual has a sort of "copyright" privilege over certain aspects of their private history.

Comment: Or use a robotic arm... (Score 2) 73

by Steve1952 (#44676359) Attached to: NASA Visualizes Asteroid Grab Mission
Mounting a robotic arm and small reentry capsule on the asteroid transfer vehicle could do the same mission. I like space travel, but the main thing this video showed me is that the politics are making NASA propose dumb ideas. NASA is burdened with the politically mandated "Senate Launch System" and the apparently unkillable Orion capsule, but insufficient funds for anything else. So here we are. Personally I would kill the SLS and Orion, subcontract manned work to SpaceX, and use the funds for advanced space-related R&D.

Comment: Say goodby to Xerox (Score 5, Interesting) 163

At the federal level, our entire legal system is based on the concept that a machine copy of a document is as good as the original. In addition to all the other problems pointed out by other readers -- engineering errors, medical errors, financial errors, this type of error also greatly harms our legal system as well. A problem since the legal system is essentially the operating system for our society. I don't see how Xerox is going to survive the wave of lawsuits that is going to follow. They need to immediately warn everyone to stop using their systems, and then recall all affected units. Going forward, I suspect that the name "Xerox" will now mean: "to mangle or randomly distort".

Comment: Just read his autobiography (Score 1) 83

by Steve1952 (#43864325) Attached to: Writer Jack Vance Dead At 96

I have been reading Jack Vance since I was about 11, many years ago. I knew that he was in his mid 90's and blind, and I never expected him to write anything again. However when I was looking at his works on Amazon a few weeks back, I saw that last year, at the age of 95, he was still in good enough shape to have written (or at least dictated) a biography called "This Is Me, Jack Vance! Or More Properly, This Is I".

So, thinking that this would be a good way to show my appreciation for all the fun his works had given me, I purchased it. Now I am glad that I did. Hope that some other fans also did the same! Not a bad way to go, hearing about your latest Amazon sales figures for work that you published at the age of 95.

Comment: Killing innovation (Score 4, Interesting) 291

by Steve1952 (#42164479) Attached to: Should Inventions Be Automatically Owned By Your Employer?

One of the reason why California has so many startups is that California State law clearly states that work done by an employee for the employee's own time and business interests belongs to the employee. It is very clear that the author of this article has no experience with startups.

If the default "inventions belong to the employer" rule was in effect everywhere, then the net effect would be to lock up employee ideas with little actual benefit to the employer. This is because most big companies are not very innovative, and thus fail to exploit most employee inventions. Most of the modern world as we know it would never have happened.

Dangerous and bad idea. I hope that the article remains forever ignored after this.

Comment: iOS maps should have started as an App (Score 5, Insightful) 561

by Steve1952 (#41480077) Attached to: Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps
In retrospect, Apple should have kept Google maps in iOS for another year, and rolled out iOS maps first as an app. That way they would have had time to debug, and get a more graceful market introduction. I suspect that the problem is that Apple did not do enough iOS maps testing in advance, and was blindsided by all of the post-launch problems. Given that this is a safety issue, this is actually a pretty big fail.

Comment: The US Patent Office may have known about this (Score 1) 367

by Steve1952 (#41179099) Attached to: Polish Researcher: Oracle Knew For Months About Java Zero-Day

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires Java in order for outside users (such as patent agents and attorneys) to access their files on the USPTO servers. They have been warning for months that their systems are not compatible with Java 7, and only work with earlier versions of Java.

This is a big pain, since it forces you to keep your entire system at Java 6.X. Earlier I thought that this delay was mere bureaucratic foot dragging. Now I'm thinking that perhaps they had a "heads up" warning.

Them as has, gets.