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Comment: Other side of the story. (Score 3, Insightful) 118

by pavon (#47892839) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

When Arstechnica ran that WP story about corruption in the USPTO, several current and past patent examiners posted comments that are worth reading. Two key ones in particular are this and this.

Short story is that USPTO has stupid counterproductive performance metrics, so everyone games the system to look good by the metrics (we've all seen that before). Some managers recognize this and don't want to be assholes about time charging rules because of it, as long as employees are doing good work. Others get upset that the rules are being broken and assume it is blatant time card fraud, and blew the whistle to the news outlets.

Comment: Re:Double-edged sword (Score 3, Insightful) 118

by rgmoore (#47892587) Attached to: Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks To the Supreme Court

It doesn't decrease the incentive to produce software nearly as much as the threat of being sued for violating patents that never should have been granted. There's plenty of software out there that attracts customers by being good and doesn't need the threat of patents to succeed.

Comment: Re:One Sure Way (Score 1) 275

by rgmoore (#47876525) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

The contract terms will only work against actual customers, though. They won't do a thing to stop an enemy or prankster who hasn't actually bought the product or service, and consequently hasn't entered into the contract. All it will do is prevent people who are actually well informed from commenting.

Comment: Re:difference between driver and passenger? (Score 1) 363

by pavon (#47871113) Attached to: Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

They are evaluating different technologiess, some of which are implemented on and affect a single phone, others implemented with hardware in the car and affect all phones in the car. But even if it disables all phones in the entire car, I am completely fine with this. Yes it is inconvient, but it's not like it is being required as standard equipment on all cars all the time. It is only being applied to cars of people who broke the law and put others around them at risk. You want to keep using your phone when you are riding with a friend/spouse; then give them shit about texting while they are driving.

Comment: Re:Context (Score 1) 228

by rgmoore (#47852017) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

How they've managed to make so many people believe that's the way coffee is supposed to taste is something I'll never know.

The best explanation I've heard is that darker roasts stand up better when you add stuff to the coffee. If you drink your coffee black, you probably want a mild roast or it will be too bitter to drink. If you dilute it with a bunch of milk, flavored syrup, and maybe drink it cold, you won't be able to taste the coffee unless it's roasted almost black.

Comment: Re: Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (Score 2) 161

by David Jao (#47841941) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money
To clarify, the goal is to be rich enough that I won't need to borrow money. I'm not implying that I insist on some sort of draconian no-debt stance. If I fail in my goal then sure, I'll borrow what's sensible. But I'm not starting out with debt as a goal. I can't see how car loans make sense under any circumstances. The basic purpose of a car is to get me from point A to point B safely and reliably. Such a car, used, costs well under $5000 in almost all localities. This is not a useful or interesting enough amount of money to be worth taking on debt.

Comment: Re:A camcorder is a camcorder, even up your bum (Score 1) 206

by rgmoore (#47841621) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

That simply isn't true. The 4th Amendment says that:

no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

IOW, they can ask for a warrant when they have a strong reason to believe that something contains evidence; they don't have to be absolutely certain. That's what "probable cause" means: enough evidence to convince a skeptical individual that something is probably true. It's a fairly strong standard- the person asking for a warrant needs to present some kind of evidence rather than just a hunch- but it doesn't demand certainty. That's why people who ask for warrants are not routinely punished when the warrants don't pan out; they only get in trouble if it can be shown that they materially misrepresented facts they used to support their warrant request.

Comment: Not the old-fashioned way (Score 3, Insightful) 161

by David Jao (#47841605) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money
The approach mentioned here may get you into college, and it may cost money, but it is not old-fashioned. The old-fashioned way to get into colleges with money goes something like this: "My dad is a trustee at Princeton, so I knew I would get in." If you have 2 million dollars to spend, endowing a faculty chair at a university is a much better bet than paying for high-priced consulting services.

Comment: Re:Parent of University Frosh Twins: "Thank You" (Score 2) 161

by David Jao (#47841579) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money
Need based tuition scholarships do not come close to explaining the extraordinary rise in tuitions. The real reason is decreased state funding (for public universities) and government-guaranteed student loans (affecting all universities).

Without student loans, colleges would only be able to charge what the market can bear. No entity can violate this ironclad law of economics. If families can't pay the amount of tuition that you charge, you're not getting that amount of tuition, period. Loan availability increases the amount that families can afford to pay. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this idea, and in fact if the free market were allowed to determine loan availability, the system as a whole would quickly converge onto the optimal amount of loan availability. Under this hypothetical free-market scenario, banks wishing to make student loans would have to vet their students properly and make sure with reasonable confidence that they will be repaid. If the free market were at work, there would be a natural market-based limit on the amount of loan money available, simply because not every student is going to represent a good investment.

Unfortunately, what we have right now in the student loan market is not even close to a free market. The dominant lender is the government, and even in the case of privately held student loans, the laws and regulations governing student loans are highly and artificially favorable to the lenders. To give just a few examples, unlike any other form of loan, student loans (including private loans) can almost never be discharged in bankruptcy; cannot expire from statute of limitations; allow the lender to garnish wages, tax refunds, social security, and disability payments without a court order; and repayment is guaranteed by the government, even if the borrower defaults (but the lender can still pursue the borrower for repayment even after the government makes them whole). The result of such amazingly biased and favorable laws is exactly what you would expect: lenders throw money at students far out of proportion to the actual amount of money that it would make economic sense for them to lend under ordinary circumstances. Having this much money supply available in the system is then the primary factor that enables and allows ridiculous increases in tuition.

I don't have school age children yet, but I will soon. I have no intention of taking out loans or making them take out loans, no matter how hard it is to achieve this goal. I would love to compete on a level playing field with other similarly responsible parents, but unfortunately I'm not going to have that chance. Instead I'm going to have to compete with irresponsible borrowers who have borrowed way more money than anything that remotely makes sense for them to borrow.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by rgmoore (#47838643) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

You're thinking about the 4th Amendment right to avoid unreasonable searches and seizures, but cyborg implants potentially invoke the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. If the implant is actually a part of the person, some lawyer will argue that forcing the person to divulge the information on it is forcing them to testify against themself. When does the information in the cyborg implant stop being like information on a device like a phone and start being like information in your brain?

+ - NVIDIA sues Qualcomm and Samsung seeking to ban import of Samsung phones 2

Submitted by Calibax
Calibax (151875) writes "NVIDIA has filed complaints against Samsung and Qualcomm at the ITC and in Delaware, alleging that the companies are both infringing NVIDIA GPU patents covering technology including programmable shading, unified shaders and multithreaded parallel processing. NVIDIA is seeking damages and a ban on US import of a raft of devices with Snapdragon and Exynos processors until there is an agreement on licensing."

Comment: Re: Wireless security (Score 1) 84

by David Jao (#47798233) Attached to: Wi-Fi Router Attack Only Requires a Single PIN Guess
If you're using client certificates for authentication, and an attacker obtains the server cert, then the attacker can successfully fool you into thinking that you have connected to the real server, but the attacker cannot successfully fool the real server into thinking that you have connected to it. This kind of "half-MITM" attack is not usually thought of as a full MITM. The authentication protocol uses a challenge/response protocol which incorporates ephemeral keys and hence is not portable even between two entities both holding the same server cert. That is, if A and B both have the server cert, and A challenges C, and B obtains C's response to A's challenge, B cannot then impersonate C to A, since B does not know either C or A's ephemeral DH keys. Even if the attacker just blindly proxies between the real server and the real client, it won't work; in this case the communication would just be a real connection that the attacker can't decrypt or alter in any way thanks to forward secrecy.

Comment: Re: Wireless security (Score 1) 84

by David Jao (#47794097) Attached to: Wi-Fi Router Attack Only Requires a Single PIN Guess
Having all their traffic to and from one server is not as devastating an attack as having their password. For one thing, users tend to re-use passwords across multiple sites. I'm sure you can think of plenty of other reasons why client certs are at least *slightly* safer than username/passwords.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.