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Comment Re:actually, no (Score 1) 150

The 237 supplement mandates that any software passing the usual "new" and "useful" requirements MUST be patentable.

10A Computer programs

        (1) A computer program is not an invention and not a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act.

        (2) Subsection (1) prevents anything from being an invention or a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such.

        (3) A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program.

The ONLY thing excluded from patentability is something like a program to fill out your tax form, where the SOLE contribution is that it's software doing it. It rules out "X on a computer" if X is something old, and NOTHING is added to it other than "on a computer".

All the standard software patents, the GIF patent, the RSA encryption, patent, the MP3 and other audio/video codec patents, all contain novel mathematical contributions. The GIF patent contribution is that compresses image data. The RSA patent contribution is a new public-key encryption.

This is a complete and utter loss for programmers. They ruled out a laughable narrow category of blatantly bogus patent claims, and otherwise mandated any software that does anything "novel" and "useful" must be patentable.

It's appalling that such a large segment of the geek community have been completely swindled by it.

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Comment Re:Just goes to show... (Score 1) 622

The closest you came to mentioning any specific codes of behavior should not be lightly discarded was your mention of the Bible. I did the best I could attempting to address your completely non-specific assertion that there was something valuable in archaic religious codes of behavior that was being (improperly) discarded lightly by modern society. I tried to imagine what you had in mind, and I'll admit some of the possibilities I considered led me to a negative expectation. However I was also firmly conscious that it would be invalid to draw any conclusions based on my imagination of what you might mean. So I specifically asked you to identify one or more examples. Like I said I suspect they won't be very good, but I'm listening and I want to fairly consider what you were trying to say.

What did you have in mind?

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Comment Re:Just goes to show... (Score 1) 622

These were not arbitrary codes of behavior, these were proven ways of keeping society working over time. That doesn't mean everything is right or that one could improve upon most of it, but there's good solid advice there that should not be lightly discarded.

Seriously?
There is ZERO problem with anything being "lightly discarded". We're talking about crap that is literally taken as "word of god" by a majority of the population. It took fucking SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND dead Americans to get rid of slavery. It countless court battles every year, and countless criminal arrests every year, eternally fighting back Biblical versions of Sharia law. We have a large minority of the population who vote for whatever politician proclaims their adherence to the Bible the loudest, and an overwhelming majority of the population who refuse to vote for any politician who doesn't make at least some statement proclaiming the Bible is the Word Of God. We have people being murdered in Exorcisms.... and before you dismiss that as merely a few rouge extremists let me point out that one of the leading contenders for the next presidential race published a description of his own participation in a partcularly abhorrent violent crime, one which not-uncommonly ends up in a murder. And think deeply on the fact that many voters take that as reason FOR electing him to the presidency, and many are be accepting/neutral about it. If you strip the Biblical/religious angle out of that story, everyone involved should obviously be in fucking PRISON for what was done to that poor woman.

Most people aren't religious fanatics, but for a large majority of the population anything related to the Bible is given at least a passive level of default acceptance... even when it's a State Governor and possible presidential candidate recounting their participation in an abhorrent violent crime, it is passively accepted as a non-story. Even when it's someone actually campaigning for presidential candidate nomination on video participating in a ritual for protection against witchcraft in the name of Jesus, it's a non-story. No reporter cites Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live and asks whether there should be capitol punishment if a witch is caught.

No, there's NOT ONE case of "good solid advice" from the Bible being "lightly discarded". What we have in anything Biblical being deeply entrenched, with literally violent force from fanatics and passive acceptance by "moderates". What we have is an almost impossible series of struggles over endless centuries trying to dislodge the most toxic bits one-by-one.

If you want to argue your case you're going to have to do better than some empty handwave that there exists some sort of "good advice" being "lightly discarded". You're going to have to have to identify one or more examples of supposed "good advice". I rather suspect that any example you try to give will fall into at least one of three categories. Either (1) it was never particularly good advice (2) maybe it was "good advice" for a primitive barbaric society but it's not very good advice today, and/or (3) maybe it is "good advice" but it's a Golden-History fantasy to believe the advice was actually applied more in the past than it is today.

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Comment NYT and Twitter attacked (Score 4, Insightful) 169

and nothing of value was lost...

Seriously, there's something I've never understood about electronic "warfare": unless you attack real targets and do something useful, such as penetrating your enemy's command network to steal plans or cryptographic keys or something, what's the point?

Comment Re:The NSA is violating the Constitution (Score 5, Insightful) 107

The Snowden story is the tip of the iceberg. Whatever happens to him, whether he escapes the wrath of the US authorities or he gets caught and "rendered", will serve as a reminder to the world of what the US is turning (or has turned) into. His pizza, and whatever else he does, is very useful to know about in that respect: it keeps him in the limelight, and continues to discredit the administration.

Incidentally, none of the US powers that be is "asleep at the wheel": they're all very actively working against their constituents and against the population to keep themselves and their rich friends rich and in power.

Comment I think the wider story here is (Score 5, Insightful) 362

How using Facebook at all can bring harm to you in real life.

Case in point: a colleague's teenage daughter applied for a summer job at the local supermarket, got selected and went to a job interview. The interviewer asked her to "describe herself". She did, and the interviewer then said "that's not what your Facebook says. Thank you, we'll call you." She's only 16 and she wasn't doing anything particularly public or outrageous on Facebook. It hit her hard and my colleague says she's been kind of depressed by the rejection she's faced.

As for me, I've learned the hard way 13 years ago (before Facebook but after Google) that the internet never forgets, and whatever you say will come back to haunt you eventually. As a result, I've learned to shut my trap online whenever possible.

Comment Re:Surface (Score 1) 633

Failure of Windows 8
Failure of Xbox One
Failure of Vista
Failure of the Kin
Failure of the Zune
Failure of Windows Phone 7
Failure of Windows Phone 8

Ummmm, what the fuck is a Kin?

[Checks Wikipedia Kin]
Kin was a mobile phone from Microsoft, manufactured by Sharp Corporation...
Microsoft invested two years and about US$1 billion developing the Kin platform.

How the fuck do you spend a billion dollars, and and fail so hard that a geek's geek had to google the name?

P.S.
You can add Bing to the list of failures, considering that "google" is now an English language dictionary verb synonym for "search", and "Bing" is just an annoying sound that hasn't earned dollar #1 of profit.

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