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Patents

Submission + - Disputed patent leads to fatal shooting in Chicago

theshowmecanuck writes: After reading about the shooting in a patent office in Chicago yesterday, I thought about the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword". It is usually taken to mean our ideas hold much more power than a piece of steel. But what if someone steals our ideas. The feeling of being violated and left powerless to do anything about it can in turn make someone feel like they have been backed into a corner so to speak. We know that anything in the animal kingdom backed into a corner is very dangerous. So when Joe Jackson felt he was cheated out of his alleged idea for a toilet in a truck, he killed the man he felt was responsible for the transgression. Is this what happens when the "haves" take too much from the "have-nots" in America? Or is it what happens when the only recourse to settling IP disputes is by hiring the high priced lawyers who are often minding the IP cookie jar, and: a) you don't have enough money to pay to see it to the end, b) the lawyer might be unscrupulous and steal your idea and you can't afford to fight him for it (I am definitely not saying that is the case here), or c) all of the above (etc.)? If so, how do the Joes of the world have any chance? I know a guy who sells a novel piece of electronics for guitar amps, and just encases the circuit in an opaque epoxy cube to hide it... it was cheaper and safer than hiring a patent lawyer... but not all ideas can be protected that way.

ICANN Under Pressure Over Non-Latin Characters 471

RidcullyTheBrown writes "A story from the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that ICANN is under pressure to introduce non-Latin characters into DNS names sooner rather than later. The effort is being spearheaded by nations in the Middle East and Asia. Currently there are only 37 characters usable in DNS entries, out of an estimated 50,000 that would be usable if ICANN changed naming restrictions. Given that some bind implementations still barf on an underscore, is this really premature?" From the article: "Plans to fast-track the introduction of non-English characters in website domain names could 'break the whole internet', warns ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey ... Twomey refuses to rush the process, and is currently conducting 'laboratory testing' to ensure that nothing can go wrong. 'The internet is like a fifteen story building, and with international domain names what we're trying to do is change the bricks in the basement,' he said. 'If we change the bricks there's all these layers of code above the DNS ... we have to make sure that if we change the system, the rest is all going to work.'" Given that some societies have used non-Latin characters for thousands of years, is this a bit late in coming?

Patches For Pine Going Away 177

md8mart writes to let us know about the imminent shutdown of the site that distributes Pine patches. From the RSS feed of Patches for Pine we read the following bad news for all Pine users: "The Department of Mathematics of the University of Washington will close the account that hosts my Patches for Pine site. I would like to thank the Department of Mathematics for having hosted this site for so many years. I do not have current plans to move this site, but this site will disappear on December 15, 2006. Thank you to everyone who supported me by positive feedback and encouragement to do this work through the years. I will update this information as it becomes available."

Report Blasts "Peak Oil" Theory 640

Rei writes "Today, the Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateau. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."

EU Gives Microsoft 8 Days Until Fines 537

kaysan writes "European Commissioner Neelie Kroes has presented Microsoft with an ultimatum: Before Thursday next week, Microsoft must hand over all secret information on Windows protocols to its competition. Should the company choose to ignore this demand, it will be severely fined. Microsoft's history with EU fines so far amounts to approximately Euro777.5 million. Both linked websites are Dutch, but then again, so is EU commissioner Neelie Kroes."

Wikipedia Explodes In China 151

eldavojohn writes "The Chinese have recently been allowed to enjoy the Chinese version of Wikipedia now that the ban has been lifted. And the result is an explosion in use after being banned for a year. From the article, 'Activity on nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation's Chinese Wikipedia site has skyrocketed since its release, which Internet users in China first started reporting on Nov. 10. Since then, the number of new users registering to contribute to the site has exceeded 1,200 a day, up from an average of 300 to 400 prior to the unblocking. The number of new articles posted daily has increased 75% from the week before, with the total now surpassing 100,000, according to the foundation.' No one's sure how long this will be available to the People's Republic of China but hopefully the government will recognize that at least a significant part of the populace enjoys a Wikipedia community."

Intel Releases 4004 Microprocessor Schematics 174

mcpublic writes, "Intel is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Intel 4004, their very first microprocessor, by releasing the chip's schematics, maskworks, and users manual. This historic revelation was championed by Tim McNerney, who designed the Intel Museum's newest interactive exhibit. Opening on November 15th, the exhibit will feature a fully functional, 130x scale replica of the 4004 microprocessor running the very first software written for the 4004. To create a giant Busicom 141-PF calculator for the museum, 'digital archaeologists' first had to reverse-engineer the 4004 schematics and the Busicom software. Their re-drawn and verified schematics plus an animated 4004 simulator written in Java are available at the team's unofficial 4004 web site. Digital copies of the original Intel engineering documents are available by request from the Intel Corporate Archives. Intel first announced their 2,300-transistor 'micro-programmable computer on a chip' in Electronic News on November 15, 1971, proclaiming 'a new era of integrated electronics.' Who would have guessed how right they would prove to be?"

Global Warming Debunker Debunked 676

Earlier this month we ran an article linking Christopher Monckton's attempt to discredit global warming. The submitter asked plaintively, "Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong?" George Monbiot has now done so. From the article: "This is a dazzling debunking of climate change science. It is also wildly wrong... In keeping with most of the articles about climate change in [the Sunday Telegraph], it is a mixture of cherry-picking, downright misrepresentation, and pseudo-scientific gibberish. But it has the virtue of being incomprehensible to anyone who is not an atmospheric physicist... As for James Hansen, he did not tell the US Congress that temperatures would rise by 0.3C by the end of the past century. He presented three possible scenarios to the US Senate — high, medium, and low. Both the high and low scenarios, he explained, were unlikely to materialise. The middle one was 'the most plausible.' As it happens, the middle scenario was almost exactly right. He did not claim, under any scenario, that sea levels would rise by several feet by 2000." And on the political front, the only major ally for Pres. Bush's stand on global warming, Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, is now willing to look at carbon trading.

Chinese GPS System To Be Offered Free 131

MattSparkes writes, "The Chinese GPS system, Beidou, is apparently to be opened up for free access within China, worrying European investors on the €2.5 billion competing project, Galileo. Initially, China had declared that access to their system would be restricted to the military, and Europe had planned to recoup some of the cost of their system by selling licenses to China. Michael Shaw, from the US government's National Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Coordination Office in Washington DC, said, 'Frankly, China's behavior towards Europe is not so different to how Europe behaved with us when GPS was the only game in town a decade ago.'"

Rumsfeld Stepping Down 899

macinrack writes to tell us that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, architect of the unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon. Officials said Robert Gates, former head of the CIA, would replace Rumsfeld.

Google and the CIA? 234

snottgoblin writes "DailyTech has an article suggesting that Google might be involved in a partnership with the CIA. The article also quotes a former CIA officer that Google's refusal to comply with the DOJ over privacy issues was 'a little hypocritical [...] because they were heavily in bed with the Central Intelligence Agency.'" Because I'm sure no one would go on the air and try to drum up a scandal aimed at the biggest target they can find.

YouTube Removes Comedy Central Clips Due to DMCA 203

Jeff writes "In March, an earlier Slashdot post asked if iTunes sales of the Daily Show would make it harder to share clips online. Well, apparently with the $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition by Google, the answer is now yes. Today, YouTube removed all of its Comedy Central content. Google knew this was coming but you have to wonder if YouTube will be worth that $1.65 billion on Monday. The take down request comes a year after a Wired interview where Daily Show Executive Ben Karlin encouraged viewers to download: 'If people want to take the show in various forms, I'd say go.' Maybe the New York Times Company would have been a better acquisition for Google after all."

Lead PHP Developer Quits 809

Jasper Bryant-Greene writes "Jani Taskinen, one of the lead developers of the Zend Engine (the engine that powers PHP), as well as a lead developer for the thread safety system and other core components of the PHP project, has quit in a relatively cryptic message to the php-internals mailing list. Jani has been involved with PHP for about 6 years and his loss will undoubtedly be a big blow for the PHP project."

OpenOffice.org Newspaper Ad Mockup Released 413

Benjamin Horst writes "The volunteer effort raising $10,000 to place at least two backpage ads in New York City's free daily paper Metro is now entering its second full week. We've collected over 10% of our goal already and continue to find new pledge donors at a healthy pace. Our project's purpose is to help 'cross the chasm' and bring awareness of OpenOffice.org 2.0 to the large number of computer users who stand to benefit from its broad feature set and range of useful capabilities. This is not the first time an open source project has sought a high-profile newspaper ad buy. In fact, our effort was directly inspired by the Firefox New York Times ad. Firefox's famous effort announcing its arrival on the world stage helped push it from about 10 million downloads to its current tally of over 185 million!"

New Caldera Promised 291

An anonymous reader writes "SCO has announced their plans to release a new version of Caldera Linux by the end of the year. From the announcement: 'To provide extensive reliability and performance features, the Linux Kernel 2.5 codebase has been merged with recently developed additions to SCO's world leading UNIX core operating system. Already contained code owned by SCO is still included benefiting the stability and overall experience opposed to recent Linux kernel releases.' The question is, is anyone listening?"

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