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Comment: Re:Passwords must not contain spaces, too (Score 1) 318

by steveg (#49374657) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

I'm not exactly sure what the rules are. My initial attempts at a password contained "^" -- I figured it was safe, because it was in the list they suggested. I kept simplifying the password and it kept rejecting me. Each time I had to re-enter half the security choices -- it kept my answers, but not the questions.

I finally gave up and chose a completely new password, and this one didn't include "^". Took it the first time.

Comment: Re:The Problem with Robots (Score 2) 101

by steveg (#49374367) Attached to: Robots4Us: DARPA's Response To Mounting Robophobia

The most menial.

That turns out not really to be the case. If you had said the most repetitive jobs, I'd be more likely to buy it.

A housekeeper or a janitor is a fairly menial job, but it is a very difficult one to automate. It involves recognising randomly present items (clutter) and dealing with them (putting them away, straightening them or whatever.)

Assembly lines are different -- those are very repetitive. It's not nearly so hard to automate, since the variety of actions and the judgment of when and how they should be carried out doesn't change much.

Comment: Re:Notifications in calendar (Score 1) 193

by steveg (#49345887) Attached to: GNOME 3.16 Released

Does that mean you no longer get a pop-up?

Because if that's the case, putting it in the calendar might be better. Not good, but better than a pop-up. What I'd really like to do is disable notifications entirely, or at least selectively be able to disable various functions' abilities to display notifications. Like printing.

You run a script to print out a hundred or so separate files and the side of your desktop fills up with announcements of files that have been printed. Why?

Comment: Re:How many minutes until this is mandatory? (Score 1) 283

by steveg (#49332355) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

My Ford has a speed limit database set up as part of the Nav data for the GPS. However, it is apparently set with a maximum permissible speed limit of 74 mph. That means that it is artificially low for most of the Interstate highways in the west. Most western states have a limit of 75 on the open road -- some have stretches of 80.

Comment: Re:Always nice to collect money for no work (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by steveg (#49221881) Attached to: Microsoft Asks US Court To Ban Kyocera's Android Phones

The nature of the way patents are written is that they *are* hidden from public view -- while in plain sight.

And are they necessary? Economists Michele Boldrin and David Levine make a *very* compelling case that they are not. The purpose of patents and copyright is to provide incentive to cause creators to create ("Promote progress" in the words of the Constitution), but the evidence that they show makes a really strong case that intellectual property actually retards progress.

And Gates made that point himself in an internal Microsoft memo many years ago. "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

Comment: Re: I am Faraday (Score 1) 99

by steveg (#49189813) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

You're right, and I left that out. If we deregulate and get the "ebil gummint" out of this, authors and inventors would be on their own, as I said, but the corrollary would be that it might be harder to build on previous inventions.

The implicit deal that inventors have with the public is that they disclose the details of their invention in return for a period of guaranteed monopoly. Without that built-in monopoly, they would do everything they could to obscure how their invention works, to be able to stave off imitators as long as possible.

Which, if you look at many patent applications, is not so far from the case now, *with* patents.

Authors and other "expressive" creators would have no such option. There's nothing to keep secret in expressive works.

Comment: Re:I am Faraday (Score 1) 99

by steveg (#49183021) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

The purpose of both copyright and patents are to give creators an incentive to create. After the term of the granted monopoly runs out, other people are allowed to take that creation and build on it. This is called "the public domain."

This process maximizes the total amount of creativity.

If we make "ownership" of creative works perpetual, then we choke off creation, because there's nothing left to build on. That's obviously not in society's interest. So if it's not in society's interest, why give any monopoly rights at all? Just deregulate it in the first place, go back to "nature, red in tooth and claw" just like it was before 1710. Authors would be on their own.

Comment: Re:As long as it is not an official power rangers (Score 1) 255

by steveg (#49173667) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

I'm not a big fan of the notion that derivative works should be subject to copyright restriction. The Wind Done Gone was allowed even over the objections of Margaret Mitchell's estate. However, as it stands right now, characters *are* copyrighted.

The Star Wars Kid was posted involuntarily, and is short enough to be fair use in any case, but in the early days Lucasfilm went after fan films. Later on they allowed them. Disney might have a different take. Don't know about the owners of the Star Trek franchise.

It's all about whether the copyright owner allows others to play in their universe -- as an earlier poster pointed out, J. K. Rowling says yes, Anne Rice says no.

Live free or die.