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Comment: Re:Yes, but other than that, how did you like it? (Score 2) 453

by defile39 (#39804993) Attached to: Microsoft's Hotmail Challenge Backfires
Not just about the browser and gaining browser share. First off, Microsoft's attack on browser manufacturers helped reinforce its operating system monopoly. The browser is a form of middleware that Microsoft feared would enable firms to create cross-platform applications written to browsers instead of operating systems. Just think, but for Microsoft's exclusionary conduct, what's happening now might have happened 10 years ago. But browsers aside, Microsoft also attacked Java. It developed its own proprietary version of java and told application developers to write to that Java because it would be compatible with Sun's Java. But it wasn't. It was MS-proprietary and programs written to it likely wouldn't run properly on other operating systems. Microsoft's conduct wasn't about getting a foothold in browsers. It was about eliminating threats to its applications barrier to entry and to its OS dominance.

Comment: Re:Sales TAX? VAT???? (Score 1) 913

by defile39 (#27611249) Attached to: To the extent there are taxes, I mostly favor ...

Though your points are valid, you may be ignoring a larger issue. Taxes on profits still affects margins and commerce. They just do so indirectly. Why don't we, instead, tax WEALTH. This was difficult prior to the advent of computers and sophisticated tracking, but is becoming more and more easy with advances in technology and regulation. Taxing wealth would do (at least) two things:

1) It would provide an incentive for people to make their money work to generate income - income wouldn't be taxable, but wealth (money sitting around) would. Debt would DIRECTLY offset your taxable wealth, so functional money would be highly valued.

2) It would work to normalize social stratification. People at the bottom have zero net wealth (or negative net wealth). People at the top have extraordinary net wealth.

Of course, reason number two is why this plan would never happen. It would, however, be far more efficient than taxing anything directly related to commerce.

Comment: Re:Inefficiency (Score 1) 467

by defile39 (#27456953) Attached to: Believing In Medical Treatments That Don't Work

This stat is quoted frequently, but is almost always quoted out of context. Americans pay more for health care than any other "first-world" nation. Americans' life expectancy is not significantly better than many other "first-world" nations (I believe America is around #30 or so for life expectancy globally). HOWEVER, America's overall health and life expectancy for those over the age of 65 is by far the best in the world. Americans pay more for health care . . . but these payments actually produce results.

The real question is still efficiency. SHOULD Americans pay so much for this benefit? Americans don't live to 65 more than most other countries. That means that all of the payments are benefiting (likely) those with incomes above a certain level. THIS is where the argument should be focused.

Comment: Re:Medicine is a psudoscience? (Score 1) 467

by defile39 (#27456919) Attached to: Believing In Medical Treatments That Don't Work

What we have with medicine as a science is the problem that occurs when you assume that results from clinical trials can be applied uniformly to all patients. They cannot. Different people will respond differently to any given treatment. Sometimes the differences matter - sometimes they don't.

The problem is exacerbated when you're trying to verify sporadic anecdotal evidence. Take the knee surgery example cited above. For some people, the surgical procedure is incredibly effective at alleviating pain and improving function. For many, it does little good. We don't have a good way of determining who is who yet. We may never have a good way of determining who is who. Should we stop the procedure all together? Should we deny its benefits to those on whom it would work?

So . . . medicine is not pseudoscience. Medicine is a practice that attempts to use information obtained through the scientific method. The scientific method produces results with limited applicability. It, however, is the best we've got.

Data Storage

A History of Storage, From Punch Cards To Blu-ray 160

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-that-right-joey dept.
notthatwillsmith writes "Maximum PC just posted a comprehensive visual retrospective about data storage, starting with the once state of the art punch card and moving through the popular formats of yesteryear, including everything from magtape to Blu-ray discs. It's amazing how much data you could pack on a few hundred feet of half-inch magnetic tape!"

Comment: Re:A good first step, but . . . (Score 1) 154

by defile39 (#27072249) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform
My suggestions also considered market scope. If you want to be the dominant market player in an all encompassing market (not some niche or sub-market), AND the market is worth being in, you need to have resources. There's no question about that. Netscape lost out because it was out-muscled. Well . . . also because it made some bad program decisions (I remember bloat being a huge issue - I stopped using it because it ran so slowly). A patent portfolio wouldn't have prevented others from innovating in browser development. Microsoft would've likely innovated around Mozilla's patents.

Comment: Re:NO, Faster-issued, shorter lifetime patents. (Score 1) 154

by defile39 (#27067707) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform
Though I agree with you - big pharma engages in minor drug tweaking to extend monopoly profits beyond the original patent term - please give me an example of an instance where this was the motive AND the resulting new drug was more risky or more dangerous than the old, off-patent drug. I don't think such a case exists. Sometimes these incremental tweaks bring about improvements, sometimes they offer no improvement at all, but never have I seen a tweak produce a WORSE product.

Comment: Re:A good first step, but . . . (Score 2, Informative) 154

by defile39 (#27067627) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform

There are many ways outside of patents. Be the first to market. Be the best implementer. Be the most frequent innovator. Be most in touch with consumers. Generate the strongest brand. Solidify dominance, through branding, in a certain market segment.

Some of these actions require more resources than others, but there is almost always a way to do them well on the cheap . . . depending on how broad or how narrow your marketing plan is. The broader your targeted market, the more you're going to have to spend. Talk to a business/marketing consultant. Frankly, a good marketing plan is MUCH more valuable than a patent.

Comment: Re:A good first step, but . . . (Score 3, Insightful) 154

by defile39 (#27067569) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform

Let me explain the debate a bit -

The bill proposes to link reasonable royalties to what the court deems is the value of the technological innovation of the patent. This removes any market valuation of the patent, i.e. what a patent holder can extract from a potential infringer through a negotiated settlement. Instead, the court will assign the value of the patent by sitting back and thinking about how valuable the technology is in this instance. What it fails to take into consideration is that, in most cases, patents can be used to PREVENT someone from making, using, selling, etc. the invention.

This inherently devalues the patent. If you can only extract the value of the added quantum of technology added by the patent, you sometimes won't be able to get damages at all. For instance, if an infringer used your patented technology, but they could've alternatively used some public domain non-infringing technology, you won't get much in the way of a damages award. There is a problem with this arrangement - it changes the fundamental nature of a patent.

Comment: Re:A good first step, but . . . (Score 1) 154

by defile39 (#27067493) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform
Practical reasons. The US is (I believe) the only country with a first to invent system. Why stay that way? Also, it is a lot easier to adjudicate a first to file system. There is less to prove when inventorship disputes arise. This simply gives people a kick in the pants to get to the patent office. Lawyers and inventors will adapt. The first to invent will most likely become the first to file by default (in most instances).

Comment: Re:NO, Faster-issued, shorter lifetime patents. (Score 2, Interesting) 154

by defile39 (#27067447) Attached to: Lawmakers Take Another Shot At Patent Reform
Hence the need for longer patent terms in REGULATED industries. With regulation, you put up huge barriers to innovation. Patents are good for surmounting these barriers. The weaker the patent for these technologies, the less "activation energy" donated by the patent system. Face it - you want safe and effective drugs, proven by substantial clinical evidence? It's going to cost you. Without the ability to extract monopoly prices, we can't afford to innovate in regulated sectors. Unless you want to come up with an alternative compensation system. Good luck with that, though.

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