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Comment Re:Mildly Off Topic.. (Score 1) 179

Patents should not be consumer centric. The idea of a patent is that you get to benefit from your novel idea by having exclusive rights for a period of time. The patent system is intended to benefit those with good ideas and the companies that invest in bringing those to life.

Sitting on patents should invalidate them. Profit for the creator should be the purpose of a patents. If you hold a patent, you should be actively working towards producing the product that you patented. Software patents are a perfect example of how this should be used. The patent is presumably created after the code, so if you don't license the code to perform the function for a published fee, your patent should be invalid. If your patent covers checking if an integer is in a specified range and you charge $1000 per item produced, nobody will ever pay that and therefore you're not actually trying to sell it. On the other hand, if RSA sells software that performs authentication and the cost of that product or library is reasonable, people will purchase and use it because it's a lot more work and risk to try to do it yourself without the experience and expertise they provide.

Imagine a good idea for a product that can be molded out of plastic. Once you design and produce a trial run of your product, someone in China can copy your resulting product and sell it for far less than you can. The benefit of a patent is that the local plastic molding shop can't just rip off your idea and undercut you on price. Without that protection, why would someone invest a significant amount of time and money in creating something new? We don't have a society that pays for cost of living for people who are altruistic and donate all of their good ideas to the public domain.

Patenting rounded corners is taking stupid to a new level. Can I patent sharp corners? My patent allows everyday objects with my patented sharp corners to be used as improvised weapons to cause injury to oneself or others. Then you either have to pay apple or me, and I'm willing to charge you a mere penny per corner, as long as you agree that payment of the fee does not relieve you of any legal liability for injuries caused by your weapon(or you may call it product).

Comment Re:Are they really well paid? (Score 1) 342

A person's value increases as their capabilities become more valuable to an employer. Comparing totally unrelated jobs is not at all reasonable. Someone could be trained on emptying trash cans in a day. Nobody's going to be a good software engineer without many years of experience.

A software engineer would never be able to make what a CEO makes without learning to smile while lying and stabbing people in the back. Most software engineers I know/am would prefer to not be a total douche bag, and aren't suffering too badly for that.

Comment Re:Get the kid something "bigger" than programming (Score 2) 246

Learning a programming language is just as useful as learning a foreign language. It teaches kids how to communicate with computers. Programming by itself may be a questionable field to get into as a life long career path, but as a skillset it can benefit many professions. Are there any sciences, engineering or math career paths that would not benefit from the ability to let computers do the repetetive work?

Comment Re:Probably Not Worth It (Score 2) 293

I did consulting for several years as a single member LLC. The paperwork/cost of getting setup was negligible and made contracting through various companies easy. There's a lot of contract gigs available, and you can get a larger percentage of the rate if you do them as 1099 instead of W2 contracts. That becomes important if any of the part time gigs end up becoming your primary source of income.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Single-Member-Limited-Liability-Companies

Comment Re:We don't have an HR department (Score 2) 362

Hiring all new people as contractors is the right approach for the extended/on the job interview. The overhead cost of contracting companies is worth it when you want to get rid of someone that can't do the job or doesn't play well with others. It's a great way to help the company evaluate the person and vice versa. Every company says they treat their employees well, but being a contractor will show you whether or not you'd still want to work there if you weren't paid by the hour.

Comment Re:Ask for a refund (Score 2) 443

I'm basing the "already lost" comment on experience with two of my mom's cases. She prevailed in both cases, one in small claims and one via arbitration, but the time and effort that went into both was far in excess of a couple of hours. It's a part time job for a few weeks for people who don't have the experience with the process and need to learn on the fly.

I wholeheartedly agree that the affected users are entitled to a refund. However, I'm always amazed that people will suggest calling lawyers, taking them to court, or class action lawsuits before fully exploring the "I don't accept your new terms, I'd like a refund" option. From other responses, it sounds like they're probably giving refunds to those who request it, saving everyone time and money.

Comment Re:Ask for a refund (Score 1) 443

The deal implies that you're SOL if they go out of business. In that case, backing up your data has always been your problem. I pay $20/year for 20GB of storage from Amazon. You can make up all sorts of reasons they're bad people, but why not get the $499 back, move on and go somewhere else. That's almost 25 years of service for more space from Amazon, so that seems like the path with the least wasted time.

Comment Re:Ask for a refund (Score 4, Insightful) 443

If you have to deal with a lawyer or go to court, you've already lost. Going down that path suggests your time is totally worthless, as is your money.

I don't see why more people don't think of something as simple as responding with a polite request for a refund. Is it really worth their time to deal with bad PR and the deluge of hate emails/calls to their support people from a bunch of annoyed /.ers? Hint: it's really easy to waste many thousands of dollars on dealing with annoyed customers. There's got to be a limited number of people who have the lifetime product, so there's a finite amount that refunds would cost the company to get out of the deal with the least hassle.

Comment Re:Do you have the money to take them to court? (Score 2) 443

It would be a small claims case, so not much to file a case.

However, the reference to something coming in February 2006 implies they've been in business for over 6 years. That suggests that if they're smart, they just refund the $499 to anyone who asks, or offer them double in future service credits. How long would $1000 worth of service credits last?

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 886

I was a contractor for 10 years for organizations that had the short term mentality. I was glad to be hourly when their schedules were unrealistic. I'm an FTE now with a different company that treats people well, pays well, and encourages development. I no longer bother responding to headhunters with "how much?" since I don't care.

Treat people like they're expendable cogs and don't be surprised that they see you the same way. Treat people decently and most people will reciprocate.

Comment Re:Junk food is the problem (Score 2) 655

I'm in a similar boat - not morbidly obese, but I could safely lose 100 pounds. I've found that just using smaller plates help. The difference between an 8" and 12" plate doesn't sound like much, but it gives you more opportunities to evaluate your intake. When you're done with one serving, you can take a minute to decide if you really need to go back for more or if you've been eating larger servings because it was already on your plate. No need to starve yourself or make drastic changes to the foods you eat, just give yourself more opportunities to ask if you're still hungry.

Comment Re:typical female rational (Score 5, Interesting) 382

I find it completely credible that stalking could go on for a long time and that law enforcement wouldn't help at all. Many years ago my girlfriend had a stalker. He was leaving weird messages on her car at home and at work and showed signs of escalating like messages on her bedroom window, which was in the back of the house. We went to the police with the notes, a summary of when and where things had been done as well as the text of the law against stalking and they refused to take a report. Her employer didn't like someone coming on to their property to harass an employee, so they had one of their attorneys do all of the paperwork and force the police to take a report. The guy was identified and convicted of stalking. Stalking is ignored by law enforcement until after the victim is raped or killed, then it can be used as evidence of pre-meditation.

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