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Comment: Printing useful things too (Score 1) 62

by tebee (#47560853) Attached to: 3-D Printing Comes To Amazon

I have to disagree, there are certain areas where 3D printed items are usefully filling gaps in the market.

One group is model railway people who now have many previously unobtainable items made this way. Interesting the first hackers were model railroaders too ! See

I'm one of the small scale manufacturers who makes his living by selling 3-d printed model trains, both direct to public through Shapeways ( ) and reselling things I get printed through eBay and other outlets.

Because there is so little up-front costs involved it's possible to cater for market segments where it would not have been economically viable before and make items profitably that may sell in tens rather than thousands - this is the beauty of 3-d printing.

It's just finding those niches - spare parts for household items is probably another one, it just needs someone to start designing them and then workout some sort of online database so the rest of the world knows how to find them.


Comment: Some one has to do it (Score 5, Informative) 56

by tebee (#44688757) Attached to: OmniPage Maker Nuance Loses Patent Trial Over OCR Tech

Patent Trial Ends in Total Loss for MoFo Client

By Julia Love Contact All Articles
The Recorder

August 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — After a two-week trial, Nuance Communications Inc. came up empty Monday when a jury found that a Russian competitor had not infringed any of its patents or trade dress.

Nuance had accused ABBYY Software House of infringing three of its patents and mirroring its packaging. Both companies market software that uses optical character recognition technology, or OCR, to convert scanned images of text so they can be searched and edited digitally.

Represented by a team of lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Nuance argued that ABBYY's FineReader was little more than a copy of its signature product OmniPage. The Burlington, Mass.-based company also sued Lexmark International Inc. for its use of ABBYY's products and sought more than $100 million in total damages from the two companies.

Nuance did not prevail on any claims in Nuance Communications v. ABBYY Software House, 08-0912. MoFo partner Michael Jacobs, who is co-lead counsel for Nuance with fellow MoFo partner James Bennett, declined to comment.

From his opening statement to his closing, ABBYY's lead lawyer, Gerald Ivey of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, urged the jury to honor the American spirit of competition.

"That's what [this verdict] does," he said in an interview Monday. "It allows ABBYY to continue to compete fairly and on equal footing with all the other companies that are interested in the OCR technology that ABBYY is a real leader in developing."

The trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White revolved around Nuance's U.S. Patent No. 6,038,342, which covers a "trainable template" that is updated during the process of converting scanned images into searchable text. The technology was roundly applauded when OmniPage debuted in 1988, Bennett said during his closing argument.

"It's not often in a patent case where you have the kind of widespread, third-party corroboration of the breakthrough, revolutionary... nature of an invention," Bennett told the jury. "And that's what we have here."

Bennett took ABBYY to task not only for infringing Nuance's patents but also for eroding the prices his client could charge for its products with deep discounting.

"OmniPage and Nuance, from the time that ABBYY entered this market, have been targeted," he said.

But Ivey insisted that the technology underlying ABBYY's products bears little resemblance to its competitor's. In contrast with Nuance's trainable template, ABBYY's program relies on a system of weighted guesses to determine word variance in context, he explained in an interview Monday.

"That is a very different philosophical and technological approach," he said.

Nuance also cried foul over ABBYY's packaging, which for a time made use of similar colors and images. During his closing argument, Ivey questioned the distinctiveness of Nuance's package design. He noted that there had been no documented cases of consumers mistaking the two companies' products. . And he took issue with the suggestion that his client was trying to masquerade as another company.

"ABBYY has proudly displayed its name on its packages since it entered the U.S.," he said in an interview.

During his closing argument, Ivey recounted ABBYY's beginnings as a startup, a story reminiscent of many Silicon Valley companies, though it unfolded in Moscow. The company's founder and CEO both testified in English, though it is their second language.

"Jurors had an opportunity to hear from them directly," he said. "I think that mattered."

Comment: Is everybody scared of the NSA ? (Score 3, Insightful) 297

by tebee (#44405629) Attached to: Google Engineer Wins NSA Award, Then Says NSA Should Be Abolished

Interestingly, out of the first 13 posts on this topic, only 2 have been by named individuals, the rest by anonymous cowards.

Is everyone so scared of getting on the NSA's "of interest" list, no one want's to be identified? Maybe our new tyrannical overlords have won already.

Comment: Don't ever plan on getting old then. (Score 2) 206

by tebee (#42139529) Attached to: Inside an Amazon Warehouse

I use very much the same system in my room. Worked fine when I was young, had a brilliant memory and knew where everything was. Now I'm at the "get off my lawn" age, I forget where I put things within two minites of putting them down, Spend half my life looking for things.

Would get myself organised, but at my age the payback time is probably not worth the time spent doing it.

Comment: Re:3D Printers (Score 4, Interesting) 49

by tebee (#40873741) Attached to: MIT Students Reveal PopFab, a 3D Printer That Fits Inside a Briefcase

Excuse the blatant advertising, but I for one am actually making a living from making and selling 3-d printed things.

What you may ask? Would you belive model train parts?

and selling them on the dreaded Ebay too

Comment: Do what you enjoy (Score 1) 162

by tebee (#40276983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Training To Rekindle a Long Tech Career?

I would caution against trying in-home support unless you live in a well off neighbourhood or can afford to live on a low wage. Problem is there is some young buck, usually the son of a friend of a friend, who gets off on messing with computers and will do it for pocket money. It's hard to make a living wage against competition like that.

If this sounds bitter, yes I've tried it. I'm a bit similar to you started my IT career doing assembler programing on IBM 360's , became a systems programer, then started doing network support, then pc support, then ended up doing PHP programing. I hate managing and at an early stage became a freelance contractor to get decent money but avoid all the management politics.

I had to give all up when I had to take 3 years out to look after my terminally ill mother. Tried to get back in after but I was too far behind and frankly not in all that good a state myself by then.

Tried the home PC support but it's very hard to find a price level that you can afford to live on and people can afford you, though I very much enjoyed the work and meet real live people again after 2 many years in 2nd line support. Did a few other non-computer ventures for a while ( Ran a bar, worked as a photographer) but was never really as happy as when I was messing with bits . Neither did I make as much money , and that with the loss of most of my capital through two divorces forced a rethink.

In the end I stumbled in into a job I really enjoy. I'm a model railroader by hobby and started using 3-d cad to make models by 3-d printing. A year and a bit later I have a business that almost supports me and my family.

If you have been in the biz for 39 years, like me you're not getting any younger - go find something you enjoy and do it.


Comment: That's just capitalism working. (Score 1) 69

by tebee (#39978187) Attached to: US Grabs More Domain Names, $1.4M From Online Counterfeit Operations

Much as I feel sympathy for your cute girls, if they are not making money from this it's probably because they are/were paying too much for the licence fee. They made a bad business decision somewhere down the line and flunked out. I have no personal knowledge of the market for Loony Tunes car floormats but would suspect it's not huge anyway.

If their themed mats are markedly more expensive than an ordinary mats then people just will not buy them. To blame pirated mats for this is just trying to find reasons to avoid taking the blame themselves.

To a large extent this is how the capitalist system works though, we need survival of the fittest businesses to ensure the market works. The companies that sell the licences will always try to get higher fees for them, it's only the fact that a number of the licensees fail that stops these fees going up any more and us the public having to pay even more for our goods.

Comment: immoral but probably not illegal (Score 1) 245

by tebee (#38826811) Attached to: Zynga Accused of Cloning Hit Indie iPhone Game <em>Tiny Tower</em>

OK it does look like they cloned the game but you can't copyright the ideas behind a game only the artwork and the like. Though there are people who would like to extend copyright in this way and are to a certain extant succeeding.

See the thread a few hours ago on Similar, but not copied, image found to breach copyright.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil