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Patents

Bill Gates Seeking Patent To Make Shakespeare Less Boring 338

theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold are seeking a patent on making textbooks less boring by using a cellphone or other device to scan text on a page, parse its meaning, and automatically create suitable accompanying video or pictures to keep students engaged. From the patent application for Autogenerating Video From Text: 'A student is assigned a reading assignment. To make the assignment more interesting, the student may use his or her mobile phone to take a picture of a page of the textbook. The systems and methods described herein may then generate a synthesized image sequence of the action occurring in the text. Thus, rather than simply reading names and dates, the student may see soldiers running across a battlefield.' Furthermore, the patent explains, the experience may be tailored to a user's preferences: 'For example, in a video clip about a Shakespearean play, the preference data may be used to insert family members into the video clip instead of the typical characters.'"

Comment RT should not be! (Score 3, Insightful) 266

Chant it with me. RT! Should not be!

It serves no purpose at all except to fragment the market. If you go with Apple or Android, both of your portable devices are on the same basic level. I run mostly the same programs on my phone and tablet. Some run better on one than the other but very few apps that I use are not compatible with both devices.

The Surface Pro gives users the option of putting their desktop and tablet on the same footing. This is awesome! It's an area that's been woefully underserved. There have been a handful of "full windows" tablets but they were heavy and thick and expensive. The Pro finally gives people a sleek tablet that runs their desktop apps.

But WTF is RT supposed to do? It doesn't run the same apps as the desktop. It doesn't run the same apps as the phone. Unless developers completely re-write their apps to the Metro standard, there's no commonality.

Comment Re:A Clear and Present Danger (Score 1) 634

You really think the problem is "government"? Bureaucrats at the NSA, a faceless executive, legislative and judiciary branch? No, you have a much, MUCH bigger problem on your hands: a lot of people like this set up, and vote for the legislators and executives who promote this approach.

What you're proposing is cute, but utterly pointless. All that it will do is make you into the local loon whom parents talked about in hushed tones to their kids. "Don't go near him, he's weird."

No, you need to fight a much bigger battle: education. Educate your friends on the purpose of government, on why the 1st Amendment, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, exist, why there's a balance of power, what it is supposed to look like, and, most importantly, why the ideas behind the Constitution and its amendments are so important.

Because otherwise, you'll just trade an overanxious government for an actual tyranny.

Comment Haven't ready any comments but... (Score 1) 380

240 miles away is perfectly reasonable for someone suspected to be on the run. [Insert The Fugitive quotes here.] 240 miles at an average speed of 50mph is under 5 hours. Hell, in 10 hours, they can be in New Mexico at a very leisurely pace.

As for the content of the alert, it would be nice if there was more info but what more do you need than "Amber Alert" and the vehicle description? The cops don't want you to take them down. They want you to report the location of the vehicle if you see it. That doesn't require the life history of the people involved or a thorough report of the event.

Comment It sucks from the other side, too. (Score 1) 195

When I quit my last job, I was there for 5 weeks after saying, "I'm gonna go ahead and leave." I said I could stay as long as they needed to have a smooth transition but that was clearly a mistake. 2 weeks in, absolutely nothing had been done to transfer my tasks so I set a firm date for 3 weeks later. Had all my tasks documented but no direction on who would take over. Another week goes by. "Who is taking over these tasks?" And another. "Who is taking over these tasks? I would really feel more comfortable walking them through their first week." [cricket_chirps] A couple days before I left, I emailed my documentation to the remaining department employees with one last reminder that, even if everything else is ignored, backups and archiving are very important and require daily attention. I assume they figured things out without catastrophic failures because they're still around.

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