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Comment Removing choice would be beyond silly (Score 1) 3

I believe a majority of Firefox users chose Firefox because of its sheer flexibility. Theres an addon/extension for any customisation you care to have and you can set up your browser just the way you like it. I would even argue that its customisability is its defining feature.

Imposing features and locking down options would make their browser the same as any other browser out there and a sure way to start losing their users to Chrome, Opera, Safari and the multitude of other lesser known browsers out there.

Comment Focus should be on the granting of patents (Score 3, Insightful) 87

If you read her policy speech, her focus is on the need to rein in "Patent Assertion Entities" ("PAE"), defined as "a firm with a business model focused primarily on purchasing and asserting patents". And she talks about solutions such as making it easier/cheaper to defend against frivolous lawsuits etc.

She does not appear to address, or even acknowledge the key underlying problem with the patent system, namely that right now it is too easy to file for and obtain frivolous, undeserving, non-novel or obvious patents. All the powers the patent trolls have stem from the patents they are granted. Cut down on the number of patents issued and you cut down on the abuse that follows.

This will not only cut out the PAEs, but also lessen the ability of legitimate companies to kill off their competition by abusing their patents, such as when Samsung/Apple/HTC/Huawei/Motorola try to block the importation/sale of each other's products on the basis of patents.

Comment Re: Patents cause progress stoppage (Score 5, Informative) 87

No, parent post has a point.

Let me illustrate this with actual examples where patent trolls sued small businesses for using a modern office scanner to scan documents to e-mail.

The Project Paperless via AdzPro letter-writing campaign is a kind of lowest-common-denominator patent demand. Patent-licensing companies are going after the users of everyday technology rather than their traditional targets, the tech companies that actually make technology. Smaller and smaller companies are being targeted. ...Project Paperless and its progeny don’t have any interest in going after the Canons and the Xeroxes of the world. After all, they have patent lawyers on payroll already and are in a far better position to push back. Project Paperless' spawn—AdzPro, AllLed, GosNel, and the others listed above—exemplify the new strategy. They send out vast quantities of letters, mainly to businesses that never could have imagined they’d be involved in any kind of patent dispute. They send them from anonymous and ever-changing shell companies. And at the end of the day, they either file only a few lawsuits—as Project Paperless did—or none at all, which has been the AdzPro strategy thus far.

“Going after the end users may ultimately be more lucrative for them,” said one patent litigator at a technology company that's closely monitoring the AdzPro situation. “If they extract a small amount from each possible end user, the total amount might well end up being a much larger sum than they could ever get from the manufacturers. The ultimate pot of gold could end up being much bigger."

Or other cases where frivolous suits were filed against small businesses for the use of technologies like WIFI .

In typical patent troll style, these shell companies (with names like AdzPro, FanPar, and HunLos) are asking businesses and users for a few thousand dollars—far less than what litigation would cost—as a licensing fee for using this basic technology. Unwilling or unable to lawyer up, most choose the more convenient route of settling ...
Over the past few years, we saw Lodsys threaten and sue a number of app developers for using technologies provided that companies like Apple and Google require their app developers to use. More recently, a patent troll called Innovatio has been suing restaurants, hotels, and companies for using WiFi. Yes, that’s right. WiFi.

My point is twofold: 1) Patents are being abused by patent trolls, who do not create, nor provide any incentive to creators and 2) Patent abuse is spreading to cause great distress to the general public. I'm sure that some of these businesses, when threatened, would opt to forgo the use of technologies such as scanners, WIFI etc. Scaring people off with frivolous lawsuits from using technology that could improve their performance, efficiency, efficacy or make their lives better is blocking progress.

Submission + - Malaysia's LTD hacked with large Internet companies affected.

Znarl writes: All not roses living off $16USD per year, with Malaysia's MYNIC seemly hacked, affecting many large internet companies. "We believe now that the MYNiC registry itself has been compromised, and as such, all the domain on the .MY suffix are now in risk of malicious attacks."

Submission + - Transparency and the PRISM programme

Camael writes: When President Obama took office, he issued a "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies" where he stated that :-

Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing... My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.

After the PRISM program was revealed, in an interview with Charlie Rose on 17 June 2013, when asked whether the program was transparent, President Obama stated that :-

It is transparent, that’s why we set up the FISA court...My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program you have a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program and you’ve got Congress overseeing the program. opines that

We don’t doubt that there are good reasons for secrecy at the court, but if you’re going to operate a mostly secret court, you also don’t get to crow about how "transparent" it is. The president can’t have his cake and eat it, too.

Do you think having the FISA Court oversee the PRISM requests make the process transparent?

Comment Baseless assumption (Score 1) 433

Now, the price of the content will go down due to competition and may be some type of extended financial crisis where the 99% gets more squeezed. There is no need to pay $5 or more for any content - book/TV show/Movie tickets and so on.

Here is the problem with your assumption. You assume that with an absence of or reduction in piracy rates, the content owners will be compelled to reduce the price of their content. Why would they do that?

In terms of competition, the content owners are already competing among themselves today. This has not resulted in any visible reduction in prices. Even assuming piracy is entirely wiped out, it will have no net effect on the degree of competition the contents owners face. The same rivals they face today will still be there tomorrow.

You should also know that movie ticket prices have never been reduced since 1948. This also holds true even for the period before the internet was born or piracy became widespread.

Comment Ignored in the mailing lists (Score 4, Interesting) 433

It appears that others in the W3C mailing lists have in fact objected to the implementation of DRM in HTML5.

They were instead shunted off to 'more appropriate forums' to discuss their objections.

There are literally hundreds of emails there to plow through. Although there are many strong objections raised by different parties, the one who really seems to be pushing DRM is Netflix.

Even the EFF have formally objected to the DRM scheme.

It also appears that the CEO of W3C is the one who made the decision.

Are concerns taken seriously on the other mailing list, or is it a spot
to send people to voice their concerns with other likeminded people?

This discussion has gone all the way up to the CEO of the W3C, and
that's where he has requested that the discussion take place. Given
that this is ultimately a CEO decision, if you want to effect a change,
following his advice makes the most sense.

The current W3C CEO is Dr. Jeffrey Jaffe.

So in a nutshell, if you're wondering who to blame for EME in HTML5, thats the story.

Comment Capitalists who are clueless (Score 1) 433

Movie execs are capitalists. They'll make whatever people will open up their wallets for.

Which would be good, except that they have no idea what people will pay to watch.

So being mindful of the bottom line, they chose to keep pumping out movies they perceive as carrying lesser risk of failure, i.e. remakesof old previously successful movies (eg Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), sequel after sequel of tired franchises (Scary Movie 2 anyone?), and any movie with excessive violence, explosions, gore, profanity or sex, preferably all of the above.

Which is not to say such movies cannot be fun, mindless entertainment on occasion but watching this steady unending stream of clone movies is the equivalent of living on a diet of popcorn and soda exclusively.

Comment Re:Idiots (Score 2) 433

Reject DRM in total and you will see a gradual decrease in the number of new movies which require millions of dollars to produce.

And nothing of value was lost. I doubt I will weep if Batman 23 or Fast and Furious -Grandaddy's Race is cancelled. It might actually be a good thing if the big conglomerates step out of the movie making business so that real filmmakers who have a passion for the craft have a chance to screen their movies at theatres instead of the Hollywood drivel currently crowding them out.


Submission + - US Suspends Trade Preferences With Bangladesh (

sourcing journal writes: The US is moving to suspend trade privileges with Bangladesh, following concerns about labor rights and worker safety violations. The concerns have persisted since the emergence of the apparel sector in the country, but the recent Rana Plaza disaster, the garment industry’s deadliest ever, has moved many to take action.

Comment Yes, but why? (Score 2) 90

Interestingly, the hiragana letters for the word "kibo" on their website means hope/aspiration.

I do wonder what's the purpose of the trip though, since the robots can jolly well try to communicate with another human on Earth. Its not to test the effects of weighlessness since their video shows that they already tested for zero-G.

Promotional event, maybe?

Submission + - Scientists work to produce 'Star Trek' deflector device (

cold fjord writes: This might be useful. From CNN: "Recent evidence from NASA's Curiosity rover mission to the Red Planet has revealed that astronauts on the round-trip would be exposed to high levels of radiation from cosmic rays and high-energy particles from the sun ... this would clearly be bad for your health — and it is proving difficult to find a solution. ... shielding to completely block the radiation danger would have to be "meters thick" and too heavy to be used aboard a spacecraft. In contrast,... science fiction fans have once again got used to the ease with which Captain Kirk gives the order for "shields up" and the crew of the Enterprise being protected instantly from the hostility of space. Perhaps though, a real Star Trek shield may no longer be science fiction — scientists at the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) certainly think so. They have been testing a lightweight system to protect astronauts and spacecraft components from harmful radiation and working with colleagues in America to design a concept spaceship called Discovery that could take astronauts to the Moon or Mars. "Star Trek has great ideas — they just don't have to build it," said Ruth Bamford, lead researcher for the deflector shield project at RAL. ... The RAL plan is to create an environment around the spacecraft that mimics the Earth's magnetic field and recreates the protection we enjoy on the ground — they call it a mini magnetosphere." Related: 'Deflector Shields' protect the Lunar Surface

Submission + - Patent Trolls Attack Public Transportation 1

cpitman writes: Alleged PAE ArrivalStar is going after financially vulnerable public transportation with claims that they are infringing patents on using GPS tracking to tell riders when the next train or bus is arriving. ArrivalStar claims to have actually developed and licensed the technology, but the American Public Transportation Association says that "They don’t develop anything. They don’t produce anything. Their reason for being appears to be simply to file claims against people who go out and create things."

Is this part of a wider awakening of the public to patent abuses?

Submission + - Pardon Snowden Whitehouse Petition could set record

InPursuitOfTruth writes: The Whitehouse petitition requesting that Edward Snowden be pardoned not only surpassed the 100,000 signatures last weekend required to solicit a response from the Whitehouse that is pursuing him as he travels the globe with criminal charges for leaking of NSA documents revealing the widespread scope of domestic surveillance in the US, but if it keeps going, it could set the record for the Whitehouse petition with the most number of signatures, currently 366,000. Todays' /. poll shows those who think Snowden is a hero (spoiler coming) beating those who think he's a villain by 8 to 1.

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