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Comment: TLDR Version (Score 2) 154

by wienerschnizzel (#47557493) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

TSR, a small company dealing in the fringe hobby of "war gaming" got hugely popular at the beginning of 1980's thanks to an unexpected publicity from a hoax that got propagated by the national media.

The company owners and executives, Gygax and the Bloom brothers were no skilled businessmen and they projected this sudden jump in the company's revenue into the next years, expecting it to grow tenfold in a year. They went on a hiring and acquisition spree accordingly.

As the miraculous growth didn't come, TSR ran into financial problems, running on a $750k deficit by the mid 80's

The Bloom brothers tried to get a big outside investment to get the company out of the red numbers but Gygax opposed - he didn't want non-gamers to control the company. To this effect he executed an ancient option he got when the company was formed, gained a (very narrow) majority of the company's shares and thus the power to strip the Bloom brothers of their executive positions and void the investment by the outsiders.

In response the Blooms wanted to execute the option of selling all their shares back to the company for a large (but not outlandish) sum of some $500K but TSR could not afford it.

Half a year later the Blooms executed the same option Gygax did before to gain a slight majority in the company and sold all of their shares to Lorraine Williams for a third of the price per share, making her the largest and a majority shareholder.

One day later Gygax was stripped of all his executive positions in the company

He fought the decision in court, but really had no case and eventually sold off his shares in order to finance his new business.

How Gygax lost his copyright to D&D and Grayhawk the article does not say

All in all a really boring story

Comment: Re:Money - the ultimate natural selector (Score 1) 471

Plus, the article does not seem to understand the drugs it's talking about. Caffeine is definitely a workaholic's drug and I can see how it could be upgraded to cocaine. But oxycodone and other opiates? Those will not help you pull another over-nighter. They'll knock you out instead.

Comment: Does not make sense (Score 1) 625

by wienerschnizzel (#47228131) Attached to: EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability
Either you obesity causes you to have some real disabling condition like joint damage or breathing problems in which case you don't need a special 'obesity disability' to be considered disabled, or it doesn't cause you any disabling conditions and again, you don't need to be considered 'disabled.

It's like saying everybody that has been in a car crash should be defined as disabled.

Comment: Re:Patents are Legitimate Personal Assets YOU own (Score 1) 139

by wienerschnizzel (#47228039) Attached to: Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

A better solution would be to eliminate patents entirely.

This is not really the best solution. There are still legitimate businesses using patent laws in legitimate ways to protect themselves - pretty much all industry involved in chemistry, biotechnology and material science. It takes a lot of initial resources to develop a new material or a new drug even though the eventual manufacture of them might be cheap. It would just not make any sense to invest in these things if the minute you get the new drug out of the door a dozen other companies would start selling it for half the price because they didn't have to cover the research and testing costs.

A much more elegant solution would be to pay for the patent protection. It could work like this:
- you choose the $ amount others have to pay you to use your technology (covered in the patent)
- others can just pay you that amount and use it (you cannot decline)
- you have to pay 1% of that amount per year to the authorities or lose your patent

That's the basic idea. You could maybe extend it with things like changing the amount, or limiting the timespan during which the people can use your patent after they pay etc.

It wouldn't harm the honest users - the big pharma could easily pay a couple hundred thousand per patent, the small inventor could easily pay 100 bucks per year and get some money back (because under current laws it's practically impossible for an individual to enforce his patent). And the trolls that have tens of thousands of trash patents on their portfolios would fold.

Unfortunately there would probably be much less litigation going on so the lawyers will lob aggressively against any attempt to introduce such a system.

Comment: TLDR (Score 5, Interesting) 139

by wienerschnizzel (#47222505) Attached to: Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled
Here's the meat part:

"This was entirely done by the pharmaceutical industry and the trial lawyers."


Pharmaceutical and biotech firms are often plaintiffs in patent disputes and haven't been hit hard by troll lawsuits.


Many law firms working in traditional plaintiffs' areas like personal injury or securities class actions have added patent work as other sources have dried up.

Fucking. Lawyers.

Comment: Re:Business class is a misnomer (Score 5, Insightful) 146

by wienerschnizzel (#46756469) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture

You're stil going to get to the same place at the same time as the other passengers.

Not in the same shape though.

It might not impact you much if you are going to one conference, but if you fly to multiple destinations within a week, it will build up. Your back/joint pain, stress level, lack of sleep will show. It might mean that you will save 5k on the boarding passes of your exec but then pay millions for the bad decision she makes.

Comment: Re:I'm not entirely sure how it merited a patent i (Score 1) 408

by wienerschnizzel (#46691741) Attached to: Apple: Dumb As a Patent Trolling Fox On iPhone Prior Art?

And just as you show someone is guilty by showing that they committed each and every element of a crime

You went overboard with this statement.

You don't show each and every element of a crime to get a conviction. There's means, motive and opportunity. Often proving just two of those can get a guilty verdict.

Comment: Re:correlation does not prove causation (Score 1) 137

by wienerschnizzel (#46659023) Attached to: Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight
No. If they measured correlation between exposure to light and *reduction* of BMI, I wouldn't mind, but as it is, interpreting that statement that way is some snake oil salesman level of dishonesty (why not say "Weight can influence the amount of exposure to the sunlight people get"?).

Comment: Re:correlation does not prove causation (Score 1) 137

by wienerschnizzel (#46658861) Attached to: Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

You are wrong in this case. If they just wanted to determine the correlation, they shouldn't have put the following statement in their abstract:

Exposure to moderate levels of light at biologically appropriate times can influence weight, independent of sleep timing and duration.

That's way beyond saying 'there's a correlation'

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone