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Comment: Re:Don't buy Seagate drives... (Score 1) 147

by jbo5112 (#46710507) Attached to: Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

Google's report on drive failures said enterprise drives were no more reliable. I actually compared specs for a vendor's desktop and enterprise models of a disk. The only difference on paper was with the touted vibration handling circuitry, that I'm told is an extremely important feature you get with buying enterprise drives. It was optional in the enterprise drives and included in every desktop drive. Most shocking was when I tore apart a very expensive high-capacity Sun RAID array from 2005/2006. Sun built the array with Hitachi Deskstars instead of the enterprise Ultrastars. Aside from a Sun logo, it was the same drive model that a friend gave me out of his Dell desktop.

Comment: Re:Seems pretty different, not a gesture (Score 1) 408

by jbo5112 (#46701265) Attached to: Apple: Dumb As a Patent Trolling Fox On iPhone Prior Art?

They don't hold it up like they used to. Thomas Edison was denied a patent on his light bulb and had to appeal the decision. Short answer to your questions is the Neonode N1m implemented swipe-to-unlock on a touchscreen phone in 2005, making Apple not first. Courts in the UK and Netherlands have already thrown out the patent claim.

My 1990's discman had a slide to unlock button. It was probably a novel and non-obvious feature when it was first introduced in handheld electronics. Taking real world objects and replicating a virtual version in a computer was also novel and non-obvious back in 1973 when Xerox invented the Alto (later commercialized as the Xerox Star). Now, with 34 years of virtualizing real world objects, it's suddenly non-obvious? Both PC's and Unix boxes had a swipe-to-unlock type feature in the late 80's or early 90's with their screen savers. Since the computers have multiple input devices (keyboard, mouse axes, mouse buttons) instead of just touch locations, the lock screens supported additional unlock methods (key presses, mouse clicks), but they could still be unlocked by swiping a pointing device.

Fast forward a few years to the first hand-held computers and answers to your questions. The early hand-held touch technology was generally resistive touchscreens, and difficult to operate compared to the now more common capacitive sensing. Consequently, swipe gestures did not translate well to the platform and consumers knew little of touchscreens outside of clunky interfaces that required a stylus or a hard press. For example I had a Pocket PC application that offered a swipe to scroll feature that I found too difficult to use, despite loving the idea in theory.

Apple has a history of bringing good technologies together in an attractive way, and wowed a lot of people with the iPhone. They beat everyone to market on a mobile multi touch device by buying Fingerworks, one of the leading developers of the technology, and even claimed they were the inventors of multi touch when the iPhone came out. However, there was a lot of research done in the area that most consumers never saw and multi touch devices predate both Fingerworks and the Apple Macintosh. For example, the University of Toronto built a multi touch device in 1982 and Andrew Sears (dean of computer science at RIT) described single and multi touch interactions that included a swipe-to-unlock in his research in the 90's.

I think pretty much all of Apple's claimed touchscreen inventions had already been discussed or implemented in this body of work that few consumers saw. Just making a computing device smaller and more portable is not in itself novel and given the last 70+ years of computing history is definitely obvious. Copying a feature that had been on the market for 2 years in competing devices is beyond obvious.

Comment: Re:Not the only reason..... (Score 1) 409

by jbo5112 (#46532671) Attached to: Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

I'm guessing you somehow haven't heard of healthcare.gov. Why would the government reinvent LibreOffice anyway?

What I would like to see is a way for people to fund bounties on the bugs and feature requests in bug tracking sites, so there will be some incentive to get past annoying but useable. I like open source software, but I get aggravated at decade-old bugs that never gets fixed (e.g. LibreOffice won't snap tab stops to ruler remarks, Firefox doesn't support option labels inside select tags).

Comment: Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (Score 2) 406

by jbo5112 (#46465211) Attached to: Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents
Apple bought one of the leaders in capacitance touch screens, so they were able to ship a mobile device with it first. That was a rather innovative move by Apple, but the type of touch screen dates back to the 1960's. Actually, visionary is a much better term, since everyone else was satisfied enough with inferior products that they didn't take the risk. Buying a company, then selling their products doesn't require any innovation. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was released in 1996 so apparently it was obvious then. I would be surprised if there wasn't older prior art on scanning text to find relevant data bits like phone numbers, email or web sites. This could have been a useful feature for a website, even in the mid 90's.

Comment: Re:The term of art is "obvious." (Score 1) 406

by jbo5112 (#46464715) Attached to: Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents
Others were making capacitive touchscreens before Apple, dating back to the 1960's. 20 years ago I swiped my mouse to "unlock" my computer from a screensaver. I don't see why anyone deserves a patent for replicating a 20+ year old feature on 50 year old screen technology. If someone insists the dragging part is new, I wish to force them to eat a Mac Plus.

Comment: Re: Career advice from Yoda (Score 1) 451

by jbo5112 (#46423991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?
When adjusted for inflation, their stock has lost 1/3 of its value over the last 15 years, while Apple and Google have taken over as #1 and #2 IT companies by market cap. Currently for Microsoft: The desktop is in decline, they're losing market share of real web sites (not including parked domains), they can hardly scratch the mobile market, there is growing competition in the set-top device market, the Sony PS4 is beating the Xbox One in sales by about 2 to 1, a large number of people despise Windows 8, IE & Microsoft Office keep losing ground to alternatives, Mac market share continues to grow, and their online services division lost so much money for so long that they stopped listing it separately on their income statements. This is hardly a death knell to a company with all of Microsoft's money and resources, but things currently don't look good long term. Linux, assuming you count the Android fork, is coming along nicely. With "Dual OS", even Intel, Samsung, and Asus are saying this could be the year it succeeds on the desktop ;-) (well, at least a virtualized Android OS on Windows, which even I wouldn't really count)

Comment: Re:Bah, fake posturing. (Score 1) 401

by jbo5112 (#46270021) Attached to: US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

What about economies of scale and the more appliance like, smaller scale fission reactor developed by Taylor Wilson? Wikipedia repeatedly has nuclear power as one of the cheapest sources available in different locations, if not the cheapest. For instance, in UK, the median price for onshore wind looks to be about 30% higher than nuclear, and offshore wind is 2-3x the price (original reports here.

Based on the first numbers I found on Google, it would cost about £120+ billion to install panels on the 25 million homes in the UK (assuming economies of scale offset the huge change in demand). The HS2 rail project is reported to cost anywhere from £28 billion (with less tunneling) to £80 billion. Did you leave out the price of labor to have the panels installed?

Comment: Re:Given the mass extinctions... (Score 1) 401

by jbo5112 (#46269379) Attached to: US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

Tropical storms are a risk that people take to live in beautiful, warm, coastal areas. If the inhabitants are genuinely concerned, then they should build more resistant buildings. I know a small volunteer organization that built a number of houses in Jamaica that withstood Hurricane Ivan. Those only took a week apiece to build, and the one and only seriously damaged house was in a very bad location.

Fortunately, the 2013 hurricane season was one of the least active ever recorded, but tropical storms have unfortunately been at higher levels. So far (according to Wikipedia) we have gone from having 1 tropical storm in 1914 to 14 storms in 2013, but considering there were also 15 storms in 1916 and 20 storms in 1933, I don't think there is very good data for any sort of long term trend prediction, even though the numbers have been higher for a couple of decades.

The costs to forcibly, radically and rapidly impact society are very high, especially in developing countries that have no money for green infrastructure, which is why I would consider it a weapon of mass destruction. We also have little idea what opportunities (e.g. energy inventions) that will cost us. However, if we can just figure out how to keep from being scorched by the impending heat wave of mass destruction, most would argue that it's worth it...Or are we facing a massive man-made ice age again? I don't keep up with the 30-50 year weather predictions anymore. The 3-5 day ones are wonky enough.

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