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Comment: Re:Does it mean the FAT longnames patent is dead? (Score 2) 103

by nothousebroken (#39510259) Attached to: How Linus Torvalds Helped Bust a Microsoft Patent

No. The ITC is an administrative body that only rules on trade issues. It does not have the authority to invalidate a patent. That is a job for the district court.

Microsoft sued at the ITC because they want to block imports. If the ITC believes the patent to be valid and infringed, then it will block imports of the accused devices. If it believes the patent to be invalid or not infringed, then it will allow importation of the accused devices. In either case, the parties will then go to the district court to get an actual decision on validity/invalidity and infringement/non-infringement.

Microsoft started at the ITC because it works much more quickly than the district courts. A favorable decision at the ITC is almost as good as winning in court.

Comment: too much hassle (Score 1) 78

by nothousebroken (#38678302) Attached to: Who Goes To CES?

At one time I went to CES every year. Other commitments have kept me from going the last two years and I was thinking about going again this year. Then I found out they were doing some new "heightened security" garbage and searching all bags at the door. They never did that before (at least the years I attended). Anyway, I said no thanks. I don't have time for that nonsense.

Funny story: I was at CES the year the iPhone was announced. The morning after the announcement I was in one of the press rooms and overheard two guys from one of the major magazines discussing the announcement. I heard one of them tell his colleague, in all earnestness: "We're at the wrong conference." Personally, I was glad I had chosen CES. I could read about the iPhone, but to be there and see firsthand the reaction of the reporters at the "other conference" was priceless.

Comment: Re:Do you plan to work in the real world? (Score 3, Insightful) 173

by nothousebroken (#38139230) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Ph.D For Work In Applied Statistics / C.S.?

Special cases are just that, special cases. Sure, there are lots of PhDs working outside their degree field. But the reality is that most employers hiring someone fresh out of school are going to too look at what that person did in school, both in terms of the degree field and the dissertation. Companies generally don't pay PhD salaries to new graduates for aptitude. They pay for somebody who is highly educated in the desired discipline and who can hit the ground running. If you don't believe that, just look at a bunch of PhD-level job postings. They don't say: Candidate should have an aptitude for, and ability to learn, statistical analysis". They say something more like: Candidate should have extensive experience in xxx analysis as applied to yyy systems. If someone is many years out of school and can show the requisite experience they might get the job. But even then they could easily lose out to someone with similar experience and PhD in the desired field.

So, yes you can switch fields. Lots of people do. But if you have a PhD in math, you can expect to have an uphill battle convincing people you have PhD-level expertise in biology. You're probably going to have to provide a lot more evidence than the guy with the PhD in biology.

Comment: Re:Do you plan to work in the real world? (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by nothousebroken (#38138256) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Ph.D For Work In Applied Statistics / C.S.?

That might be true at the bachelor level, but at the PhD level people hire you for your specialized expertise based on your degree. For example, no brokerage house is going to hire a biology PhD to do statistical analysis research. They're going to hire someone with a PhD in math/statistics. It might be somewhat different if you are going to work for a pharmaceutical or other biology-related company. But in general, don't expect to get a degree in biology and then get job offers from companies looking for a PhD statistician. In fact, I would suggest that you view the corporate PhD hiring process as being quite similar to the faculty hiring process.

A PhD is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, employers immediately assume you are mature, intelligent, and highly-motivated. On the flip side, they are generally not willing to pay PhD salaries to someone outside their field of expertise. Put yourself in the employer's shoes. Why would an employer pay PhD rates for someone who doesn't have a PhD in the required discipline.

Comment: Re:What do they want? (Score 2) 140

by nothousebroken (#38035482) Attached to: How Litigation Only Spurred On P2P File Sharing

I don't know what country you're from, but in the U.S. file sharing does not fit the legal definition of stealing. Moreover, simple not-for-profit file sharing is not a criminal act. I know, I know, the propaganda commercials say otherwise. They're lying. So, to your comment, file sharing does not make one a criminal. It merely exposes one to civil liability.

By comparison, breach of contract also exposes one to civil liability. As every first year law student knows, the law encourages breach of contract in cases where the breach is economically efficient. It would be interesting to analyze file sharing under the same logic. File sharing is economically efficient for the sharer since the expected economic advantage is likely greater than the expected loss (civil damages weighted by the probability of getting caught).

Again, I am only speaking for U.S. law. It is different in other countries.

Comment: Re:U.S. Is Not Ready for Rehab (Score 1) 2247

by nothousebroken (#37778418) Attached to: Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

Actually, I did not benefit from it. It was created after I graduated. You should have picked a better example. Like DoE. I disagree with RP on this one. Some of the their DoE research efforts are worth the money and eliminating them would be a huge mistake.

The point you appear to be missing is that we must scale down government spending. We're on a wild drunken orgy of spending and our kid are going to be stuck with the hangover. We're spending money we don't have and we must make some painful cuts. Many of the programs that will be cut are good and worthy. We just can't afford them.

Comment: Re:Nice.... (Score 1) 105

by nothousebroken (#37720904) Attached to: Scientists Recover Black Death RNA From Exhumed Victims
Yes, it's pretty interesting. It's not a simple mutation. The relatively harmless soil bacteria picked up a plasmid (sort of like picking up a viral infection) and dropped a gene. If I remember right, it also rearranged the ordering of several genes on the chromosome. Together, these changes made the bacteria harmful. Calling the plasmid a virus is not technically correct, but it's a decent analogy. A plasmid is a piece of DNA (usually a loop) that "infects" a bacteria. It's not replicated through exactly the same process as the chromosome when a bacteria divides. But, there are processes that cause the plasmid to replicate so that after division both of the resulting cells are "infected" with the plasmid. The plasmid codes for various proteins that help make the bacteria harmful.

Comment: It is possible to man-rate a new vehicle (Score 1) 87

by nothousebroken (#37682804) Attached to: Boeing Suggests Possible Manned Version of the X-37B Space Plane
"Boeing knows its stuff on crew rating - its spaceflight pedigree stretches back to the Apollo moonshot capsules." Do they? All the folks that worked on Apollo and the Shuttle are probably long gone. Nobody in the U.S. has designed a new man-rated space vehicle in 30 years. Does anybody even know what it takes to man-rate a vehicle these days. Back in the day there was a can-do attitude about space travel and a willingness to accept certain risks. I'm not sure that's true anymore. I'm not trying to be flip, and I do not mean this as a knock on Boeing. I'm just concerned. It's one thing to talk and to create budgets based on the perceived rules and requirements. But I wonder if anybody is going to be able to complete the process and get the required signatures in this political climate. I know SpaceX is on the path, but they're a long way from completion. I suppose SpaceX has a political advantage here. If things go bad, congress and NASA don't have to take the blame. They can point fingers at SpaceX and claim they were misled.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

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