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Comment: Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 1) 282

by scottme (#47577055) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Not for a long time - but I was a teen once, and I know how important others' opinions are to a person at that age. Learning which opinions to value and which to discount is an essential life skill, and acquiring it usually leaves a few scars. Believe me, the desire to insulate the poor darlings from the rough and tumble that develops character isn't going to help them in the long run.

Comment: Re:Still Bad Patents (Score 3, Interesting) 162

by scottme (#45229587) Attached to: Finally, a Bill To End Patent Trolling

That sentiment seems like a combination of communism (inventors' work is not his own, but belongs to the public) and wage slavery (one should not derive more than X dollars wage for Y hours of work instead of the true and unknown market value of the work).

The image people have of the lone inventor, toiling for years against the odds to perfect his concept, is just utterly wrong these days. Most patents are filed on behalf of corporations, and represent the work of teams of salaried employees, who in general will not see much if any direct personal benefit from the invention, beyond the odd bonus, or maybe, if they prove able to repeat the trick, a promotion. Where's your wage slavery now?

It's not communism to assert that a large part of the knowledge and skills that enable a person to come up with a new idea are the end product of centuries of shared human endeavour, and that therefore all ideas ultimately must become public property. What kind of a world would we have if everyone kept all their ideas to themselves, and every human interaction had to be a commercial transaction? Not one I'd want to live in.

You talk of the "true and unknown market value" of a patent -- I'll give you "unknown", for sure, because the state-granted monopoly of a patent exists to guarantee an artifical scarcity of the idea and results in the patent owner being able to extract a much higher "value" from the invention than a free market would provide.

You seem to be arguing on the side of the patent trolls who are the original topic of this discussion. You can't believe it's right that some a**hole, who was probably not even remotely involved in creating the idea, but happens to have acquired the rights to a dubious patent, should be able to live off of license fees and hold to ransom companies which need to make use of the idea to make real products and employ people, robbing them of the ability to make an honest living?

Also, who is going to compensate the inventors whose inventions are not commercially successful -- 90% patents don't make money.

The simple answer is that nobody owes anyone a living, so nobody's going to compensate people who come up with useless inventions. I hope you didn't think I was suggesting that "society" should fund the assorted crackpots and chancers who attempt to game the patent system.

Comment: Re:Still Bad Patents (Score 2) 162

by scottme (#45226473) Attached to: Finally, a Bill To End Patent Trolling

That's like cooking a meal once, and expecting to eat it every day for as long as you live.

Is there anything wrong with that?

Nice work if you can get it, but yes, I think there certainly is something wrong with it. I do absolutely support the idea that inventors, authors, and other "knowledge workers" should be recompensed for the time and effort they put into their inventions. But I don't think it's right that people and corporations should be able, over many many years, to extract an ongoing rental that derives from a wholly artificial scarcity (i.e. from a patent on an idea or process). In my ideal world, there would be some formula to assess what is a reasonable return on a given innovation, and once the inventor has reaped that reward, the invention would pass into the public domain.

Surely the fact that we have endless debates about the rights and wrongs of patents, copyrights, and so on, is an indicator that there is some inherent problem with the way societies currently implement these concepts.

Comment: Re:Still Bad Patents (Score 2) 162

by scottme (#45224219) Attached to: Finally, a Bill To End Patent Trolling

But you (the consumer) reap the benefits of the idea over and over for infinity years, yet want to pay only once. That's like paying once at a restaurant, and eating there for the rest of year without paying.

But the inventor, who had the idea once, should get paid each time anything that uses the idea is manufactured, sold, or consumed? That's like cooking a meal once, and expecting to eat it every day for as long as you live.

Comment: Can't blame Entwhistle for bailing out (Score 1) 214

by scottme (#41952203) Attached to: Director General of BBC Resigns Over "Poor Journalism"

Who needs the kind of shit he's had to take since he stumbled into the job less than two months ago? You'd have to be a pretty hard-assed kind of guy to brazen out the flak that the (print) media have been dishing out against the BBC in general and him in particular. Not that they'd have any kind of agenda in the aftermath of the Leveson inquiry...

The BBC is still the best and least biased source of news in UK, and probably in the English-speaking world. Every other source has manifold compromises because of its ownership, sponsorship, or government influence. OK, a couple of programme editors screwed up; at least they had the freedom to do so.

Comment: Re:Yes please. (Score 1) 173

by scottme (#34518630) Attached to: EC Calls For End To Mobile Roaming Charges

You are so right. The first mobile provider to offer roaming charges that are as as low as even *double* what I pay at home, will get my business immediately. As it is, the roaming charges (I am mainly interested in data) are so prohibitively high that I disable data as soon as I get near the border. The provider loses out, I lose out, and it's only the suckers who sustain this deeply flawed business model.

Open Source

Open Source OCR That Makes Searchable PDFs 133

Posted by timothy
from the word-of-advice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In my job all of our multifunction copiers scan to PDF but many of our users want and expect those PDFs to be text searchable. I looked around for software that would create text searchable pdfs but most are very expensive and I couldn't find any that were open source (free). I did find some open source packages like CuneiForm and Exactimage that could in theory do the job, but they were hard to install and difficult to set up and use over a network. Then I stumbled upon WatchOCR. This is a Live CD distro that can easily create a server on your network that provides an OCR service using watched folders. Now all my scanners scan to a watched folder, WatchOCR picks up those files and OCRs them, and then spits them out into another folder. It uses CuneiForm and ExactImage but it is all configured and ready to deploy. It can even be remotely managed via the Web interface. Hope this proves helpful to someone else who has this same situation."

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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