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Google Patents "Scroogling" 135

theodp writes "In Microsoft's eyes, the idea of scanning Gmail so advertisers can bid on access to those suffering from breast cancer, bi-polar disorder, depression, and panic anxiety, deserves no kudos. The USPTO, on the other hand, feels it deserves a patent. GeekWire reports that Google has been awarded a patent on "Scroogling", aka its system and method for targeting information based on message content in a reply. Google takes some jabs at Microsoft in the diagrams accompanying the patent, including one implying that MS-Access and Excel files pose security risks, and another that suggests alternatives to Access."

Comment Re:The article you linked quotes exactly what I sa (Score 1) 150

where the actual contribution of an invention lies solely in it being a computer program, it is ineligible for patent protection... it will not be possible to obtain a patent for an invention that involves or makes use of the computer program if the sole inventive feature is that it is a computer program

It seems to be saying that computer programs by themselves, even if completely novel, are ineligible for patent protection

Maybe I've spend too much time learning to read patent law (and copyright law), but I'm baffled how you think it says that. It's clearly saying the only time you can't get a patent is if the *sole* contribution is that it's a program. A "contribution" means "the new thing I'm teaching the world."

Consider the classic software-patent-catastrophy example, the GIF patent. It is a purely mathematical contribution teaching how to convert one series of numbers (representing a picture) into a shorter series of numbers (representing the identical picture). This is "useful" because the picture can now be stored in a computer using less memory, and because the picture can be sent over the internet more quickly. That's the "contribution".

The law mandates that this sort of pure software patent, pure mathematics patent, must be patentable.

The only thing excluded is a patent which contributes NOTHING beyond adding the words "on a computer" to some old non-patentable thing.

And we have many in the software community cheering victory, when in fact this is a complete bait-and-switch defeat.


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.


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?


Comment Re:An outlet (Score 1) 120

Or they take away motivation.
So Are teens who play video games more likely to get a job, more likely to not get a job even when its a detriment, no change.v

Perhaps leave teens mentally exhausted unable to dream up ways of getting in trouble. Won't last - the amoral behaviour so necessary in playing many violent video games is training these people, establishing thought patterns. Curious how they will rationalize things when they get into their 30's and 40's.

i need a red sports car for my mid-life crisis -- so I can run people over with it

Comment Re:Its called blowing off steam (Score 1) 120

Its called blowing off steam and it can be accomplished mush better by going outside and playing with other kids. Thats how i did it all i see are kids playing video games or watch cartoons which in my day was saturday mornings. But blowing off mental stress killing zombies is fun its just not enough in my book.

You, sir, are a veritable fossil, much as myself - get out on that bike, ski, run around in the woods, get into a boat and paddle like mad, swat at 12,507 mosquitoes at summer camp, catch a few 15 lb carp, go sledding, swipe pumpkins, chase girls, etc. Don't wake up at 40 to find half your hair gone along with most of your life in empty pursuit of points and levels.

Comment Re:An outlet (Score 5, Funny) 120

Games are a good outlet for stress and frustration. I'd argue a game is a constructive activity as there are things you can learn from video games.
Of course they make people less violent.


I found many games to increase my stress level to the point I can actually hear red corpuscles whistling through the capillaries in my cranium.

and once I finished getting them unpackaged, installed and running my stress level went even higher

Comment Re: What's next Cass? (Score 1) 530

So that $20 note that I am holding is just a figment of my imagination?

The value of that note is a figment of the collective imaginations of a group of people. If most of that group changes their mind about its value, it can easily become worth no more than the nice paper stock it's printed on. This has happened to currencies at many times throughout history.

Even gold has value only because of social convention. That material actually has few practical uses of significant value.

Comment Re: What's next Cass? (Score 5, Insightful) 530

Maybe Cass can use the same explanation to explain our $16 Trillion debt.

The same explanation does hold in both cases. The main difference is that climate is a real physical phenomenon, whereas money is purely psychological. It's a measure of intention that people try to keep track of using rewriteable magnetic patterns on spinning disks.

I concluded long ago that due to human nature, nothing will be done about climate change until the resulting unfolding disasters force people to make desperate feats of geoengineering to attempt to reverse the damage. The cost of those efforts is probably going to make $16T look like a drop in the bucket.

Comment Re:Idiocracy (Score 2) 628

So, at what point does responsibility for distraction take hold?

Obviously if I do something distracting, like make a loud noise that takes a security guard away from their post, and shit goes down I have responsibility.

I tend to agree that we should be allowed to text people driving or not, and put the responsibility on the drivers, but if someone texted me back and was like, keep it to a minimum, I'm driving in a shaky situation, and I kept a conversation going, clearly I am doing is wrong on some level.

If someone does something stupid, like jumps out into traffic, I should try to avoid them too, even if they are being idiotic.

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