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Comment What are you talking about? (Score 5, Informative) 167

I get the distinct impression you are speaking for a complete lay perspective rather than from ANY experience with trademark law.

FYI, it's generally accepted there are five different categories of trademark, each more defensible than the next. The least most defensible mark is a "descriptive" mark. Like "facial tissue." Had the Kleenex brand chosen "Facial Tissue[tm]" for their mark, they may well have lost control of the mark because generic terms cannot function as trademarks.

We all call them Kleenex, but they are facial tissues. If someone had tried to trademark 'facial tissue' we would be in the same ballpark here.

The most defensible mark is a fanciful one, that is a word which does not otherwise exist (Kodak, Xerox, Pepsi, etc). Afaik, Kleenex actually is the best possible name one could choose to associate with tissues, since it is entirely fanciful (and Kleenex company has done a good job associating their name with tissues). As an aside, it is possible for a diluted mark to lose its protected status (such as with Bayer's "Aspirin" analgesic).

These marketing people might as well start trying to trademark things like 'desk' 'pen' or 'screen'.

Netbook would probably fall under the "Suggestive" trademark category (the third most defensible category, behind Arbitrary and Fanciful). Net and Book both exist as words, but were previously not widely applied to this sort of device.

So, in conclusion, "Netbook" is nothing like "pen" or "desk," as far as trademarks go. Neither of these examples would even be registerable, unless they were referring to something they weren't (you could make a ketchup product called "DESK" or a cell phone called "PEN").

Comment 2.5D, not 3D (Score 5, Insightful) 94

The post title/summary is misleading -- this is actually 2.5D and not 3D at all. (It works on the premise that the background is static, and obtains a matte of the background, and using subtraction to dynamically key/mask the participant from the image, and then add the user as a second foreground layer; on the viewer side, headtracking is used to gently shift the user layer to reveal background hidden behind it)

For what it's worth, I really don't care for this effect at all. I am not denigrating its inventors in the slightest; this is a novel (read: low cost) approach, and I am sure some people would enjoy having this in their iChat/AIM/skype. To me, it's the equivalent of Apple's Photobooth filters (fisheye, inverted colors, etc) -- a cheap parlor trick that seems nifty for about 5 seconds, and then becomes precipitously distracting. True 3D has its own issues with distraction and visual anomalies (leading to headaches, etc). Even the best 3D cinematographers around have to be very careful to avoid these issues (for instance, Vince Pace, who shoots 3D for James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator, etc) has plenty of headache-inducing scenes in his demoreel, and this is a guy with state-of-the-art facilities who has as much knowledge as anyone about how to do stereoscopic cinematography). Frankly, I think video conferencing is best left 2D, and any efforts toward improving it should be spent increasing framerate/resolution (and reducing lag + dropped frames).

Comment Sony not as benevolent as you'd believe. (Score 4, Informative) 659

With X-Box, you need to hack the HD in order to run any other software. With the PS3, you simply go into the system menu and select (install other OS).

Sony's just as evil as the next company. From what I understand, they declared the PS3 to be a "computer system" as a means of avoiding tariffs in Europe, and to do this they needed to offer access to the OS. Plain and simple. They tried this with the PS2, but it didn't offer access to the OS, and thus failed the test (as I am led to believe).

United States

Submission + - Gonzales denies Americans have habeas rights

TrumpetPower! writes: "This past Thursday, in response to questioning by Senator Arlen Specter (R, PA), US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary committee that ``The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. '' The exchange between Mr. Gonzales and Senator Specter has received virtually no attention from the press; Google News currently has all of a dozen or so stories. Habeas corpus is the right, in America guaranteed by Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which ensures that people are not unjustly imprisoned and tried."
Privacy

Submission + - MacScan debuts Blacklisted Cookie Feature

Leopard writes: Spyware for the Mac? As more people are 'switching' and more attention is being directed towards the security more holes are being discovered and more spyware applications are being developed. The anti-spyware program MacScan 2.3 adds a notable feature that allows the user to scan and remove tracking cookies without deleting all their saved cookies. The definitions are updated just like the spyware definitions. MacScan's spyware library consists of keystroke loggers, trojan horses, and dialers.
Media

Submission + - Italian judge says P2P OK if it's not for money

Paolo DF writes: Two italian students have been recently condemned (at a three months and ten days confinement) for creating a p2p network sharing movies and music with other students, because they violated two articles of the Italian Copyright Law. Now, the "Corte di Cassazione" wikipedia entry (court of last resort, born to "ensure the observation and the correct interpretation of law") cleared their charges, since that law is about copying for profit, while they weren't making money out of the p2p network.
Here is the story, from the major Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera"
Google

Submission + - Google Checkout sees poor customer satisfaction

Aryabhata writes: "As per an Arstechnica report on a survey by investment firm J.P. Morgan Securities, Google Checkout has had a relatively quick and modest market penetration of six percent since its launch in June of 2006, but lags behind in customer satisfaction vs PayPal. On the customer satisfaction front, only 18.8 percent reported having a "good" or "very good" experience with Google Checkout, while 81.2 percent indicated a fair to poor experience customer experience compared to PayPal's 44.2 percent reporting good experiences. Some users have reported anecdotally that Google Checkout mistakenly canceled sales without warning or that the checkout process took too long."
Censorship

Submission + - Utah's Newest Attempt to Block Pornography

gc8005 writes: There's something brewing in Utah. A new, non-profit organization called CP80 that wants to segregate Internet content based on IP ports. To a lay person, it sounds plausible, as CP80 describes port segregation like cable TV channels. But unlike the cable system, it's easily bypassed. Even more disturbing are the founders and backers of CP80, which include Ralph Yarro, who was recently fired from his CEO position at Canopy Group (see SCO fiasco), and several venture capital firms. Even Darl McBride has donated to the cause. Why are VCs backing a non-profit anti-pornography organization? What's the real story behind CP80?
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Cake Printer Doesn't Speak Italian, Pens Errors.

Radon360 writes: From the engadget blurb:

While we doubt we've seen every single computing error that could possibly occur, there's definitely been a fair amount to surface, and while this story may not take the proverbial cake, it's good for a hearty chuckle if nothing else. Apparently, a certain Aunt Elsa was supposed to receive a custom baked (and messaged) cake from Wegmans Grocery to celebrate her birthday, and as the part-English, part-Italian message was emailed into Wegmans presumably automated printing machine, a bit of miscommunication ensued. Sure, it makes sense that the machine might not have been ready (or programmed) to handle languages outside of English, but surely someone actually looked at this thing before sending it out, right? Nevertheless, Aunt Elsa was graced with a cake that just barely got the whole "birthday" message across, and we presume even the supportEmptyParas tasted mighty sweet going down.

and Aunt Elsa ends up with commented out code on her cake instead.
Encryption

Submission + - First AACS BluRay Content Decrypted

kad77 writes: The anonymous coder 'muslix64', who earlier implemented the first public AACS decryption algorithm for use on HD-DVD movies (ed: need slashdot ref) (ed: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=119871), has decrypted files from the AACS protected BluRay disc "Lord of War". His methodology was described in another doom9 forum thread (ed: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=120869), as a "known-plaintext attack". BluRay's "BD+" enhanced DRM layer was not involved in this decryption, and has not been addressed to date. Ultimately, software content players were the weak point that lead to key discovery.

Feed Anytown, Online (nytimes.com)

In suburban towns across the greater New York area, citizen bloggers and entrepreneurs are creating town-specific, and even neighborhood-specific, Web sites.
Privacy

New Plan In UK For "Big Brother" Database 178

POPE Mad Mitch writes "The BBC is reporting that Tony Blair is going to unveil plans on Monday to build a single database to pull together and share every piece of personal data from all government departments. The claimed justification is to improve public services. The opposition party and the Information Commission have both condemned the plan as another step towards a 'Big Brother' society. Sharing information in this way is currently prohibited by the 'over-zealous' data protection legislation. An attempt to build a similar database was a key part of the, now severely delayed, ID card scheme."
Businesses

Submission + - Walmart Prevents Shopping With Firefox

mattfite writes: "I haven't yet seen this on /., but while looking for an artist's recording, I went to Walmart to try out the $0.88/song download. The link informs me that "We notice you're not using Internet Explorer. To continue, please visit this page using Internet Explorer 6.0 or later." Others have noticed this, too."
Announcements

Submission + - Internet's Largest Internet Forum to Shut Down

Neo_Mushroom writes: "From the article: "2channel, the largest Internet forum in the world and an ISP in Japan, has been shuttered by a Japanese court ruling in a civil slander case. The corporation managing 2channel was declared bankrupt and its assets will be seized. The ISP will close on January 15th, and the future of the famous "mega-BBS" is uncertain."

For those who've never heard of 2channel, the BBS is massively popular, recieving over 2.7 million posts every day."

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