Actually how a gizmo does A,B,C is critically important for a patent. As another device can do A,B,C, but in a different way, and it would not violate the patent.
This is irrelevant to my argument, as I am saying that technology has no impact on patentability. It does, of course, affect the patent.
The overall problem with software patents is they define the What (A,B,C) but not the How.
Yeah they do. How? With an algorithm that takes this and gives you that. In short, with a computer. Any software that can do the same is, well, functionally the same. It is entirely consistent that we cannot write around patents, and so the problem is with their very existence. They just do more harm when it comes to software, since the latter is almost always built on top of the older software, and even a "simple" by today's standards program can have thousands of patentable algorithms in it. The kind of harm they do is the same, though, regardless of the technology involved: innovation is taxed or prevented, monopolies distort the free market, and our freedom of expression is abridged.