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Comment: Apple just made a big legal mistake. (Score 4, Interesting) 301

by Animats (#48184285) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Sending the content of every search request to Apple? Notifying Apple if the user sets up a non-Apple email account? That's a blatant violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act unless Apple properly discloses that up front and gets the user's consent.

Apple didn't do that.

The EULA for MacOS isn't on line on Apple's own site. This matters. It violates the FTC's "clear and conspicuous" rule on disclosures. It's just like bundling spyware, which the FTC and state attorneys general have routinely hammered vendors for trying.

This puts Apple in the uncomfortable position Sony was in when they put a root kit on an audio CD.

Comment: IP is licensed separately. (Score 4, Informative) 224

by Animats (#48154779) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Yes, you should explicitly refuse to implement your patented IP for the company without a separate licensing fee. This is completely separate from employment.

In particular, you don't want to use your IP in their product without a licensing deal in place. That creates a conflict of interest situation, one likely to result in litigation later. What if, later, you sold your patent rights to another party and they sued your employer? Your employer could then sue you for putting them in that situation.

Bring in a lawyer. Welcome to the big time.

Comment: There is no battery (Score 2) 395

Prof Chen and his team will be applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype.

In other words, they haven't built a battery yet.

Why are so many "nanotechnology" articles like this? People find some new surface chemistry phenomenon in the lab, and immediately announce it as if it were a product ready to ship. Then it turns out that the phenomenon only works under limited conditions, or is really expensive to make, or doesn't even perform in the intended application. The nanotechnology crowd should STFU until they can demo.

Comment: Where's the actual paper on arxiv? (Score 1) 973

The article says the actual paper is being posted, but doesn't link to it. Anyone have a link?

The last time I looked at this, it appeared that the thing requires input power to function, and the input power is provided in a "proprietary waveform", even though it's just used for resistance heating. Other "free energy" schemes have turned out to be fake because measuring the wattage of a funny waveform is tricky, especially when current and voltage are out of phase. So I'm a bit suspicious.

Comment: Read Tesla's patents (Score 5, Informative) 140

by Animats (#48124691) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Books On the Life and Work of Nikola Tesla?

If you want a non-bullshit view of Tesla, read his patents. His real achievement was that he figured out most of the kinds of modern AC motors. It's not at all obvious how you get an AC motor started and turning in the right direction. Clever tricks with bits of copper in the magnetic circuit are used to bias starting direction, and synchronous motors start up as induction motors. Tesla worked all that out. It's very elegant. AC machine design is hard, and, unlike DC machine design, requires calculus. That was a big jolt for engineering at the time. Nothing before had required that much math to make it work.

You can also read his thinking about the Wardenclyffe tower in his patents. He had RF propagation all wrong. He thought the ionosphere was a conductive layer. His plan was to punch through to the ionosphere by ionizing a path all the way up (!), and transmit power and signals conductively, using the ionosphere and the ground as a pair of conductors.

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