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Slashback: IEEE, Liquid, Swings 241

Slashback this evening brings you updates on silly patents, closer-to-mainstream watercooling for your desktop, the IEEE's publication rules, and more. Read on below for the details.

IEEE v. DMCA. Reacting to the IEEE's changing publication rules, Boone^ writes: "The IEEE has backed away from their stance that all papers submitted must comply with the DMCA. Their reason? 'The IEEE, publisher of nearly one-third of all computer science journals, said it is removing the requirement because it turned out to be more contentious than expected.' Personally I'd have preferred their reason to be based on the law instead of popular backlash, but maybe that's a step in the right direction to eventually bring about new legislation."

Many readers also pointed out this New Scientist story on the reversal.

Free as in Blender? tinus writes: "Ton Roosendaal, creator of Blender, submitted an update to Elysiun.com about finding solutions for continueing activities of the Blender projects. He describes the way Blender has been split up into smaller projects to make it both profitable as public domain software. Also, he gives us a preview of his setup for his new community plan, which even mentions 'Blender sources will be opened for members.'

Seems like there is a very promising future for Blender after all. Read the full story here."

Water meets your processor. Foss writes "You may remember this story about the dodgy-yet-extremely-cheap DIY water cooling block. Well, thanks to all your emails, Rob's getting better. It's still extremely cheap (under £10), but it's now pretty stable too, running a P3 933@1.1GHz for a few hours at a very stable 28 degrees. No dental floss this time round either!"

But don't worry, all the other patents issued were A-OK. Worried about getting slapped with a lawsuit for swinging different? f00zbll writes: "Cnet is running an follow up article on the patent posted earlier in the week. Apparently, the kid doesn't plan on suing anyone over swinging side ways."

We're here to save you money, Ma'am. Now, where do you keep it? guttentag writes "The NYTimes (reg req'd) is reporting on a MS and Mexico plan to develop digital community centers as part of a broader 'eMexico' initiative meant to bring the entire nation online by 2006. Microsoft will license its Windows, Office and Encarta software on the same terms that colleges and universities use. Some background: Microsoft's licensing deal with the University System of Maryland resulted in a mandatory $14 Microsoft tax imposed on all 130,000 students. Apparently, if you want to attend one of MD's taxpayer-funded university, you must pay MS. Is eMexico Microsoft's plan to tax Mexican citizens?" Hope they keep their licenses up -- Virginia Beach's taxpayers got to foot a city-size bill. The tab in Texas wasn't low either. What would it look like for all of Mexico?

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Slashback: IEEE, Liquid, Swings

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  • by Tigris666 ( 197729 ) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @08:17PM (#3369794) Homepage
    All these stories have been posted before!

    The article does state slashback which does trigger my mind to believe that, yes genius it has been posted before, and we don't need you to tell us this.

    The article also mentions the word update which, if you read this link [dictionary.com] you will see that it is implied that this is not new information!

    Are you guys actually paying for this stuff?

    Don't even go down the whole paying/subscriptions on /. that's a whole other story that has been commented on by all of us already...
  • by startled ( 144833 ) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @08:27PM (#3369848)
    "If the patent office is so underfunded, then why don't they charge more to apply for a patent?"

    Damn, you were so close to the reason, but needed to skim a bit further. Quoth the article: "application fees go into the general government budget, rather than being used specifically to fund patent examinations".

    They could charge a million bucks an application, and still not get any more money.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @08:39PM (#3369896) Journal
    ...and in the next paragraph:

    The administration has also proposed a one-time surcharge of 19 percent for patent applications, which would generate an additional $45 million for the agency and $162 million for the rest of the government.

  • by voice of unreason ( 231784 ) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @09:03PM (#3370026)
    I go to the University of Maryland, and I have to say the $14 dollar tax is more than reasonable, particularly if you're in CS. They've donated tons of stuff, including .NET as soon as it came out. They give heavy student discounts on their software. They hold dull presentations where they give away their software for free. For the non CS people, with the $14 dollars they've installed Office on practically all of the Windoze boxen on campus. Now, I'm as reluctant to part with my money as the next guy, but the fact of the matter is that like them or not, Microsoft is giving Maryland a LOT of software for just a $14 tax. I was against it when it was proposed, but I have to say it's worked out well.
  • Re:Alternatives (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fantome ( 7951 ) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @09:07PM (#3370061)
    The $14 per license from the UMD deal? What a bargain! You get Windows, Office, etc for $14 per license per year! What a great frickin deal!

    It sounded like it was going to be a great deal, and then we found out that, although the students are paying for it, we don't get any of the software. It all goes to computer labs, research groups, and other university employees. I think there was a student option, but the school where I'm at (UMDCP) didn't exercise that option.

    It ends up being a pain because the professors want us to use MS products (it's free for them), while it costs us good amounts of money. This isn't true across the board, but it happens often enough to be annoying.

  • Re:Alternatives (Score:2, Informative)

    by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:47AM (#3371910)
    danheskett says:
    ...when was the last time you saw any open source company put together a broadbased, ambitious, and extremely useful package like the 'eMexico' initiative? Where is RedHat? Where are the competitors? Where is RedHat in this big deal? Why didnt they put together a package? What about the open source ally's? Where are they?
    ...Where is RedHat? SuSE? Mandrake? Where are they? They are off fighting for scraps here or there while missing huge opportunties.

    Problem is, EMexico was originally based on Linux and Free Software, at least the original drafts made at the National University (UNAM), --incidentally this is Miguel de Icaza's alma mater.

    However Microsoft, upon learning this, offerred a very sweet deal to the President Vicente Fox and to the Communications and Transports Secretary Pedro Cerisola. Gates himself gave a tour of Redmond to these two and most likely they also got showered with gifts and other "signs of good will".

    Theres nothing the University could have done about it, much less Redhat or any other Linux company.
  • by AssFace ( 118098 ) <stenz77&gmail,com> on Friday April 19, 2002 @01:59PM (#3374827) Homepage Journal
    I had to do all the patent searches at the actual patent office and through all the paper. that was 1995. I was wondering why they didn't just scan it all in and search it that way since I had just implemented that (on a smaller scale of course) in that law firm's office when I first started that summer. they told me that it was taking some time - but the early stages of IBMs thing were up - I was very impressed by it. they were running on pentiums! WOW!! hee hee.

    I had to do many searches, mostly on weapons and fitness equipment - EVERYTHING that you've ever seen on late night tv - like the abdomizier and shit like that - all of that was patented in the late 1800s and early 1900s and then someone came along and searched through them all and made them in plastic and aluminum instead of iron and voila!

    there were a series of strange patents that I can recall - one was a device that was basically underwear for women that would have a dildo of sorts on the inside that was made of radioactive material... I can only assume this was for medical treatment.
    then there was a dog carrier that would loop over their upper jaw and snout and then the other side went in the dog's ass. things in animals asses are always funny.
    but probably the best one was a "lottery ticket scraper" - it was just a flat peice of plastic and it was done up by a local patent lawyer there in DC - I just loved that it started out "Since the dawn of time man has..." and then I don't recall the rest. but it was amusing.

    the end.
  • by AssFace ( 118098 ) <stenz77&gmail,com> on Friday April 19, 2002 @02:04PM (#3374861) Homepage Journal
    also - the patent office was my first time experiencing being around really weird smart people. there were all of these inventors there that had briefcases full of paper that would sneak around with the briefcase handcuffed to them, and then refuse to talk about what they were working on. I of course HAD to know what they were doing. one guy in particular was very strange and I know his idea had something to do with fake ducks...

    also, in the patent office main search area - at least circa '95 - there are these large columns. there was one guy that would tiptoe along from column, and hide behind them - if he wanted to talk to you - you would hear "psst psst"
    very weird people.

    and they coated the floor to ceiling windows with a film to reduce the amount of harsh light and heat coming in - but that blocked cell phones (which were a huge deal back them - the big kind that only rich important people had) - so the people that had them would sit by the window and then tear off the film on the window... so it produced all of these strange light patterns coming in.

    also, they had security there, but in the entire summer that I was there, I just made up different names the whole time I was there and never showed real ID - just acted like I knew what I was doing and went everyday, dressed well, and they just ignored me. also got into a few patent inspector's offices that way - really needed a xerox of a few patents and they were hoarding them in their office - so I waited until lunchtime and snagged them and then put them back.
    I felt like james bond. only skinnier.

    also - they have a VERY extensive magazine collection there. it was awesome - I would get my work done and then read every single back issue of all the car mags and Cinefex

You must realize that the computer has it in for you. The irrefutable proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.