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Comment Re:The State is the true source of these problems (Score 1) 150

I don't think you can claim good faith by ignoring an existing, published, patent claim.

That only makes the crime of Patents even worse.

It means that every imbecile that is applying for a Patent is suppressing the free flow of ideas, without even having been awarded a Patent and its protection.

Theoretically, this means that you might not have rolled out some software because someone has applied for a Patent, the applicant fails to be granted the monopoly protection of the State, and then all the years that the software has been less than what it could have been are lost forever, including all the cumulative iterations and user feedback etc etc. that you would have gained had you put the idea in the builds. This is not the way things should be. People should not have to be constantly looking over their shoulders or worrying that one day, years down the line they will be sued by some behemoth.

Complete insanity. No doubt about it.

Comment The State is the true source of these problems (Score 0) 150

Not only is this Patent patently insane, but that it is retroactive is completely unacceptable.

Anyone building software in 1999, who assumed that there was no patent on this particular piece of 'Intellectual Property' was acting in good faith, now the State says that they are liable to pay, or be put out of business, fined or put into gaol. Give me a break.

Absolutely disgusting, and of course, the whole Patent debacle is an excrescence of the predatory and mafia like state; the sooner we are rid of it the better.

In a single moment, when the State is removed, the Software Patent regime will cease to exist, and all the benefits we can expect (as detailed in 'Against Intelectual Monopoly') will begin to emerge, starting with the new software that will start to flow freely, unencumbered by the monopolies granted by criminal and inherently violent governments. Medicine will be cheaper, engines more efficient; everything will improve and the pace of innovation will increase by orders of magnitude.

Death to the State and its evil Patents!


Google Patents Browser Highlight All Button 150

An anonymous reader writes "Google has picked up another patent on a technology that you might think basic to the web: the highlight all button for searches in browsers. The patent will backdate to 1999 and presents an interesting problem for such software as the Firefox browser and FeedDemon RSS reader. And, in an interesting twist, Microsoft uses a similar mechanism in Windows Explorer. But Microsoft itself said that browser technology can't be separated from the operating system. Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Google for all those copies of Windows?"

Comment The definitive word on this complete failure (Score 1) 332

From a UK blogger Chris Applegate:

"This could have been a nice idea; crowdsourcing opinions from ordinary citizens and the wider public away from the professional lobbyists or niche activists and giving them a more coherent and representative voice. It could be used to take a hard look at some of the laws that people have found restrictive over the years, whether they be anti-terror laws, anti-smoking or anti-foxhunting (for the sake of this analysis, I’m deliberately being neutral on what I think of these respective matters). Instead, it’s so vague and generalised that it’s become “a massive dickhead magnet” (© Justin) within hours of opening.

The submission form (login required) doesn’t ask for specifics on which laws or regulations should be looked at, but rather “ideas”, which renders it near-pointless. The questions for the form fields are so vague – “What is your idea?” and “Why is your idea important?” that you could literally put anything there. The moderation policy implies they operate post-moderation – i.e. no moderation – with little or no prescreening at all.

The result is that any old shit can get in, and it does. Even if those ideas are proposing adding more new laws, rather than taking them away – such as Restrict Immigration which turns into a rambling stream of barely-consciousness:

          Schools cannot cope with the amount of children who speak different languages and it is holding back our children’s education. The same with gypsies. If this is a life style they choose, fine. Contribute to the tax pot or do not expect use of public services. Why should taxpayers provide taxis for their children to attend schools etc. Ridiculous.

The ideas look like something that’s fallen off the back of Have Your Say. In fact actually if you look at the relevant HYS page you’ll see exactly that – people spelling out just how they want the government to enforce their own petty prejudices rather than reform what we have. Let’s look at the comments beneath:

        Prison meant to be for punishment, but the so called Human Rightists

Ok enough. Next

        My proposal would be for a new law

Oh, fuck off.

So, what can we learn from this? First off, design your site better. If you want people to propose changes to laws, then make the users think about those laws when submitting. There should be a mandatory field asking them to specify which acts or regulations they would want to change – e.g. “Terrorism Act 2000. Anyone who just writes “laws about immigrunts“, or doesn’t put a proper name for the law, or the year, filter it out.

(This has a beneficial side-effect – with a bit of fuzzy parsing, we could include a link to the relevant law on OPSI in the proposal so we can look up the more relevant section, and it also makes finding related proposals on the same law easy, a sort of auto-tagging).

Secondly, pre-moderate. If a proposed change is totally incompatible with our international obligations, say if some idiot wants to get rid of all human rights legislation or leave the EU or scrap the NHS, the moderation team should have the sanity and bravery to filter it out. Anything badly spelt, in all caps, copy & pasted from The Chap or proposing repealing murder, bin it. This is not an issue of denying freedom of speech – the green ink brigade are free to write wherever they like – but of keeping the site a proper and sensible civic space. If you want to get the most out of an online community, you have to keep it in good order.

Thirdly, delete duplicates and employ an algorithm to suggest duplicates to a user before they post – look at the number of duplicates for repealing the Digital Economy Act (though you’d think geeks especially would check for dupes before posting). Having five posts all call for the same thing dilutes the popularity of all of them, and leads to incoherent arguments for their repeal, weakening it further.

The shame is that here and there on the site there are constructively-argued ideas to help fix parts of our legislation that are inefficient or restrictive – for example CRB checks, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act or financial risk for small entrepreneurs (not that I agree with any of these, just that these were examples that look properly thought-out and considered at the very least).

As it stands, the site will end up as a total mess – in fact it’s well on the way there already. When it comes to closing the site down, I bet the politicians will take one look at all the “ban human rights act it give free school meals for wearing a burka” posts, shrug their shoulders and say that “the citizens have spoken, but it’s utter rubbish – they had their chance and they blew it”. No, the government who have blown it – they had their chance to make a valuable public resource, but we’ve instead got another poorly-designed, poorly-maintained failure."

100% true

If you want to see a wiki demonstrating how it should have been done, at a minimum, one of the comments on that blog points to:


Where you are required to link to the law and provide a description of why it should be removed. There is no space for saying what law should be added.... This idea is a very serious matter and frankly, they should not have attempted that site without thinking about it properly. Typical government incompetence and fail.


The Secrets of the Chaocipher Finally Revealed 121

nickpelling2 writes "In 1918, John F. Byrne invented a truly amazing cipher system, called 'The Chaocipher,' that fit inside a small cigar box, could be operated by a ten-year-old, yet produced practically unbreakable ciphertext (arguably even stronger than the Nazi Enigma machine). But now, thanks to the efforts of Chaocipher fan Moshe Rubin and the generous gift of Byrne's cryptographic effects by his daughter-in-law Pat Byrne to the National Cryptologic Museum, the secrets of the Chaocipher are finally starting to be revealed — it's a great story. To accompany Moshe Rubin's excellent textual description of the Chaocipher, I've posted a 30-second animation of the Chaocipher in action to YouTube, just in case anyone wants to see the most devious cipher of the 20th century in action (sort of)."

Spectral Imaging Reveals Jefferson Nixed 'Subjects' for 'Citizens' 360

Jamie points out this excellent piece, well timed for America's Independence Day, that says spectrographic evidence has established that the one word Thomas Jefferson fully blotted out from an early draft of the Declaration of Independence was not "resident," or "patriot," but rather "subject." This, he replaced with "citizen."

UK Gov't Launches 'Your Freedom' Website To Seek Laws Worth Repealing 332

Firefalcon writes "The UK Government launched Thursday the 'Your Freedom' website, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, to 'identify laws that should be repealed.' In a recent tweet, Police State UK pointed out an article in the New Statesman which appeals for people to call on the Government to repeal the ill thought-out Digital Economy Act that was rushed through Parliament without sufficient scrutiny. While part of the Act is regarding the digital TV switchover, other sections allow for users to be restricted or disconnected from the Internet at the behest of copyright owners, which goes against the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' that has been in place since the Magna Carta."

Comment Re:If not China, why US? (Score 2, Interesting) 445

In the end it's all the same.

What exactly is 'all the same' between Chiba and the USA?

Like many people who sense that something is very wrong, you fail to articulate what it is.

What's wrong with the US and China is that they are both run by criminal organizations called 'states'.

Murray Rothbard explains what the state is and why it it's illigitimate wherever it runs; his book 'For a new Liberty' is a good place to start.

The state is the source of the majority of the social problems faced by humans. That is the unthinkable and unsayable truth, made so by very efficient education in state schools.

The Courts

Submission + - Don't tase me, bro! (alligator.org)

An anonymous reader writes: umm, I don't have anything clever to write, but maybe the editors will cook me up something if they like the story. it's funny they bystanders were "stunned." It was Meyer that got stunned. the real meat of this story is not (surprise) the sensational "omg, police brutality," but that this kid is gonna get charged.

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