Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:And I'm so tired of this (Score 1) 188

by Theaetetus (#48661393) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

The "rounded corners" were not a utility patent -- it was a design patent, and only one element of it.

Yes, it was included in a design patent, but it shouldn't have been -- at least not in a way that allowed Apple to beat up Samsung over rounded corners. Rounded corners on a device you slip in your pocket are purely functional.

But the specific radius of curvature is not functional, since you can have many different design choices there while still having non-sharp corners.

Comment: Re:Uhhuh (Score 1) 188

by Theaetetus (#48661377) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

Ten applications were initially rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “obviousness”

It seems pretty suspiciuos that the USPO only now has started to do their jobs - just when UBER's patent-applications crossed their desks.

Something like 95% of patent applications are initially rejected. People who claim the USPTO doesn't do their jobs conveniently ignore that fact.

Comment: Re:Ethics? (Score 1) 555

by Theaetetus (#48634015) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

I notice that all your links are to poorly made YouTube videos. Taking the first one, the links you claim back you up are actually just links to more YouTube videos, a document on Google Docs that is unverifiable, a seemingly unrelated WaPo editorial about a spat between journalists and bloggers, and a Gamasutra article that they clearly state was written by community member and not their own staff and which seems to be mostly irrelevant.

Aside: what the hell is up with that? Linking to a 15 minute YouTube video that, by definition, takes 15 minutes to sit through, rather than a five page article that can be skimmed in two? And the videos don't even use the medium to show graphics or charts - they're generally just some talking head in front of their computer's webcam. Are the pundits of this new generation illiterate, and can't simply write down what they want to say? Or are they assuming that their audience is illiterate?

Comment: Re:Ethics? (Score 1) 555

by Theaetetus (#48633983) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

When the news came out? THIRTEEN gaming sites issued THE EXACT SAME STORY about how they didn't need gamers and that gamers were "dead".

Actually, one issued the story and then others responded to it, many of them jumping on the same bandwagon. It's like seeing something in the NYTimes, then subsequently the WaPo saying, "The NYTimes reported X. We believe X'."
I mean, hell, if you're going to call that a conspiracy, then you just issued a similar story, so mark it up to 14.

Comment: Re:Sounds good. (Score 1) 555

by Theaetetus (#48633513) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

According to Wikipedia*, #notyourshield was largely a sockpuppet sham.

Being personally acquainted with at least one of the #NotYourShield folks, they definitely aren't all sockpuppets.

Those are not inconsistent statements. You believe that the number of sockpuppets was less than 100%. GP says that according to wiki, it's greater than 50%. If it turns out anywhere within that range, it's still bad.

Comment: Re:cowardice (Score 1) 555

by Theaetetus (#48633453) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

Brianna Wu was caught subsequently did admit to using at least one sockpuppet (twitter handle was BROLOLZ). Other ones, the evidence doesn't definitively prove anything, but are highly suspicious. Hopefully the FBI is taking it seriously.

Gosh, you're right, these sure are harassing tweets:

Drake Harper @BROLOLZ Oct 20
Deeply concerned about how Dragon's Crown perpetuates rape culture, bro.

Drake Harper @BROLOLZ Oct 20
Contemplating my white male privilege while playing Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

I'm sure the FBI will be cracking down on Wu any day now.

Comment: Re:summary of SCOTUS case law: "pppphhhhhhtttttt, (Score 1) 250

by Theaetetus (#48604931) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

It can also note that disseminating parties may be liable for any damages to Sony that could arise. They need to prove damages though, and there's a lot of news sources involved. Will they do a reverse class-action suit or something? :P

No, but they could sue them collectively under a joint and several liability argument, saying "we were damaged by $X... feel free to figure out which of you pays which percentage of that amongst yourselves," based on a theory that by linking to each other in the articles, they were acting in concert. That wouldn't require proving which individual new source is responsible for which damage.

Comment: Re:IF? (Score 2) 250

by Theaetetus (#48604343) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Has there been any indication that newspapers and such are going to publish full scripts or anything like that? They might report on leaked scripts and torrents containing said scripts, but that's not what a newspaper is going to be interested in.

I think it was one of the Gawker media sites that posted a full (and amusingly terrible) powerpoint presentation from the leaked stuff, full of marketing and distribution plans.

Comment: Re:summary of SCOTUS case law: "pppphhhhhhtttttt, (Score 5, Interesting) 250

by Theaetetus (#48604325) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Mod parent up! (crap, I had points left yesterday.... :)

Parent makes the important point: There's existing SCOTUS case law for this, and Sony's legal-ish threats and demand for press et al to refrain from looking at embarrassing things wouldn't stand up in a stiff breeze, much less in a lower court.

Frankly I'm kind of surprised to see a relatively experienced lawyer such as Boies make a demand like this, even if he is a distinguished douchebag. Usually lawyers like him are concerned about appearances, and making laughable demands that evoke a Streisand effect is bad for business.

Unfortunately, parent is incorrect regarding the SCOTUS case law. Not the AC's fault, though - Eugene Volokh's quoted in the article and makes the same mistake. The case law refers specifically to publishing (actually re-playing) an illegally intercepted phone conversation on a matter of great public interest (specifically public teachers union negotiations with the school board). It explicitly says that its holding doesn't apply to trade secrets, private matters, or gossip... and what's the issue here? Trade secrets, private matters, and gossip.

Boies may be a douchebag, but he's a douchebag who actively practices law and apparently reads the cases in full, unlike the good Professor Volokh, who has never actually practiced.

Comment: IF? (Score 5, Insightful) 250

by Theaetetus (#48603815) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

If Sony keeps doing it, their documents will be forever alive in the form of magnet links, formerly torrent file sharing technology.

Regardless, those documents will be floating around torrent sites, even if they do nothing. The horse has left the barn.

But this isn't about trying to actually keep the information under wraps - this is about trying to get some financial recompense. Like, someone let the horse out, and your neighbor suddenly has a sale on fresh horse meat... You're not getting your horse back, but maybe you should get a portion of their unlawfully gained profits.

In particular, the material includes both material under copyright, as well as trade secrets. Copyright law doesn't include a safe harbor for "but I'm a newspaper" or a generic "first amendment!" defense - while papers could publish short excerpts of the leaked info under fair use (17 USC 107), for news or commentary purposes, they could not, say, publish the entire script to the new Bond movie, relying on a defense of "well, we didn't steal it, and the first amendment says we can publish anything we want because we're the media."

Going further, many states' trade secret laws actually include explicit provisions about publishing trade secrets that were obtained unlawfully, even if you weren't the person who originally stole them. And while terrible law professor Eugene Volokh thinks that the Bartnicki case has a first amendment exemption, he's clearly never actually read it - SCOTUS specifically said that it doesn't apply to trade secrets, but for matters of public interest. Now, that may apply to things like Sony's CEO's salary, but it likely doesn't apply to things like advertising campaign plans or product release strategies.

So, if the media publishes the unlawfully obtained trade secrets or publishes the material under copyright in a way that exceeds the bounds of fair use, then they may be financially liable for Sony's damages. That doesn't put the horse back in the barn, since it's gone, man, but it does at least help pay for the new horse (and maybe a better lock).

Comment: Re:View angles (Score 1) 567

by Theaetetus (#48574219) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Some monitors are make to be viewed landscape, and when rotated have horrible view angles. I found some at work where the view angle was so bad, only one eye would get a good picture, while the other eye showed a faded & discolored image. Rubber-necking around would find a small sweet spot for viewing.

TLDR; doesn't work well on some monitors.

Do three sentences really merit a TLDR?

Comment: Re:No (Score 2) 545

by Theaetetus (#48536601) Attached to: Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

For programmers in CA, normally they are non-exempt, although I'm sure many skirt around it. My understanding is if you want a favorable equity package, you'll accept exempt status. If you want an hourly wage and a life, you declare non-exempt.

Both the Department of Labor and the courts disagree with your assessment.

The actual job duties themselves, not the job title, not the method of payment (hourly vs salary), and not the contract, determine if an individual worker is exempt from overtime rules.

This has been challenged time and time again in the courts. The concept of a "working foreman" is often mentioned since management is exempt from overtime. If the individual can show that at least half the time is spent on non-management tasks they are not exempt. If you spend 49% of your time or less doing management tasks you are not exempt. Even if your job title is "Managing Director", even if your contract calls you an exempt worker.

Although you are correct about the fact that the job duties matter, rather than the simple title, and you are correct about the fact that companies will give you a title, declare that you're salaried and therefore exempt, and try all sorts of other tricks to avoid paying overtime, you're wrong about one crucial thing - there's also an exemption for programmers:

Computer workers may be exempt under any of the "white collar exemptions," as bona fide executive or administrative employees. (See, FLSA Coverage.) For example, a "network administrator" may be performing administratively exempt job duties. There are, in addition, some special rules which apply to employees who work with computers and permit them to be classified as exempt even if they don't meet the usual requirements for exempt executives or administrators. However, there are special provisions which exempt some computer employees who might not otherwise qualify as "professionally" exempt. These include systems analysts, programmers (who "write code"), or software engineers. More specifically, the special computer employee exemption applies to workers who apply systems analysis techniques and procedures to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications, or who design, develop, test or modify computer systems or programs based on user or design specifications.

And that's what the article and thread are discussing - programmers. Here is the fact sheet from the DOL. If you:

  • are compensated either on a salary or fee basis at a rate not less than $455 per week or, if compensated on an hourly basis, at a rate not less than $27.63 an hour; and
  • are employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field,

then you probably are exempt from overtime.

Comment: Re:Clickbait headline (Score 1) 436

by Theaetetus (#48497065) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Rap Lyric Threats Are Free Speech

if threats are judged from the perspective of a reasonable recipient, rather than the intent of the sender, then the "oh, everyone makes death threats online, they'd never follow through" defense fizzles away.

Uh, you mean the opposite? If you can demonstrate that there really is an internet subculture where "everyone makes death threats", then surely you have demonstrated that at least in that subculture no reasonable recipient would interpret them literally? Assuming the "threat" is made within the context of that subculture, that is. Reasonableness has to be context dependent, after all.

If the recipient is another person in that subculture, sure. So, no, screaming "I'll kill you, n00b" during a CoD deathmatch wouldn't be considered a real threat, but sending death threats over Twitter to a journalist or developer would be.

Comment: Re:And this is how perverted our system has gotten (Score 1) 436

by Theaetetus (#48493845) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Rap Lyric Threats Are Free Speech

It's perfectly relevant. You have no more right to restrict what a person says any more than you have to dictate fashion (though the censors are trying to do that also). Their dogma is no better than Sharia law. All you are doing is validating *The devil made me do it* defense. That's not a good idea, but it does keep the slaves from rebelling, so maybe it is good idea, huh? Who wants a bunch of unruly untouchables around?

Yes, that's exactly it: preventing someone from making threats is no better than Sharia law.

Anyway, since we're in Crazytown and you're clearly the Mayor, there's no need to keep discussing this.

Comment: Re:And this is how perverted our system has gotten (Score 1) 436

by Theaetetus (#48492859) Attached to: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Rap Lyric Threats Are Free Speech

If that's the way it has to be, Then I insist that short skirts and exposed cleavage incite rape, and we can just accept that free will does not exist, that we are compelled to act by one's words or appearance. Some pigs will just have to be a little less equal.

Would you like to try again, but with a comment that makes sense and is in some way relevant to the thread, rather than just ranting about biatches accusing you of harassment?

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (, in alt.flame