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Comment Re:Patent trolls (Score 1) 267

They're NOT patent trolls at all. $200 million isn't much, and CSIRO can make good use of it.

But there is a problem when major industry standards like 802.11 a,g and n can somehow end up patented, after years of work and negotiation by many different companies and individuals, who now have to pay to use their own collective, public work. Whether the problem in this case is carelessness by the companies, or corruption of the U.S. patent system, or both, I don't know.

In any case we do have a problem, and it could bite much worse in the future.


Wi-Fi Patent Victory Earns CSIRO $200 Million 267

bennyboy64 writes "iTnews reports the patent battle between Australia's CSIRO and 14 of the world's largest technology companies has gained the research organization $200 million from out of court settlements. CSIRO executive director of commercial, Nigel Poole, said the CSIRO were wanting to license their technology further, stating that he 'urged' companies using it to come forward and seek a license. 'We believe that there are many more companies that are using CSIRO's technology and it's our desire to license the technology further,' Poole said.'We would urge companies that are currently selling devices that have 802.11 a,g or n to contact CSIRO and to seek a license because we believe they are using our technology.'"

Comment Hazardous-duty pay for computer security work? (Score 1) 189

Clearly Terry Childs does not belong in jail. Maybe what happened is that San Francisco's mismanagement finally realized that having only one person with access to so critical a network was intolerable. But then, instead of discussing a way forward, it began with a secret investigation, as if Childs was a criminal, and the situation escalated from there, with both sides handling it badly. There are enough cases like this, of sysadmins and security experts charged with hacking for doing their jobs after a dispute with management, that professional education should include a section on how to stay out of trouble. Either that, or add hazardous-duty pay if jail is an unavoidable risk of this work.

Comment Clothing could be designed to block the signal (Score 1) 515

If it is real, then long underwear with fine wire mesh built in could block most of the signal. A cap or other reasonable head gear could also be designed. Maybe fabric could be woven with some of the fibers conducting.

The problem does seem easy to test. And if anyone can reliably feel when a wi-fi signal is on, in a shielded laboratory, then it would be easy to research the problem, starting by changing the frequency. Perhaps a biological mechanism could be discovered.

But there's some systemic issue that makes it hard for people with industry-related illness complaints to be treated with respect. I saw this when our office moved into a new space with strong a strong formaldehyde odor. Two people complained of illness; the boss couldn't take it seriously, and a lawsuit resulted. I don't know the outcome, but such cases often get thrown out, because the judge assumes the complaint is a crock.

Comment Re:Yes but it is a valid concern (Score 1) 213

One personal experience on the other side: I was looking for OpenDNS, and thanks to a Google ad found a competitor I'm glad to know about -- since it advertises strength worldwide, maybe useful in future travels. In the end I stayed with the free Open DNS service. It's been great for improving WiFi reception -- especially at college coffeehouses, where DNS usually seems to be the critical bottleneck. So I'm not jumping the line on anyone else, but probably improving their WiFi connection as well.

Submission Google hit by "Earth Day" spam

John S. James writes: "A Google search for
"Earth Day" Corvallis
has 7 of the first 10 results pointing to sales pages that have little to do with Earth Day, as of 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on April 18 (Earth Day). A few hours ago it was worse; 9 of the first 10 results of the above search were not real. Somebody registered a bunch of .us pages, filled them with ads, and got them a high page rank on Google. Corvallis (Oregon) may have been picked because it's known as a "green" city.

It's unlikely that the perp made any money. People looking for Earth Day events are unlikely to respond to aimless sales pitches."

Comment Why local theater required assigned seats? (Score 1) 336

Maybe that's why years ago a new Philadelphia movie complex started selling assigned seats for the movies. It was awful; a staffer actually made me move back to a noisy crowd of patrons, when the theater was more than 80% empty. I haven't been back, so don't know if they are still doing it.

Comment IE removal will not affect MS monopoly (Score 1) 474

How many users will bother to uninstall IE? Microsoft will safely keep its corporate monopoly by having IE show up automatically on new systems. Corporate IT policies will do the rest. It's just easier to keep what's already there -- and safer to standardize and not let anyone install anything else on their own. MS need only sweeten its deals with Dell, etc. -- or end up with an IE-less system that's even less reliable than Windows is already.