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Comment Intelligent, elegant, simple idea ... (Score 1) 244

Why did it take more than 100 years for someone to think of it? If this is the first discovery of this idea, then that makes me despair for the intelligence of the human race ...

The actual claim of doubling capacity is way overblown for most deployments. The only time you will get double capacity is when you only have two radios and they are only trying to talk to each other. So, for a home network that might be the case.

However, in the far more common cases of lots of radios competing for medium access with each transmitting towards a very small subset of the nodes in range, you will not get doubling of capacity. What you can get is a significantly better media access control (MAC) layer by improving the channel access control mechanism.

This new mechanism will allow a transmitter to detect if its signal is colliding with another transmitter's signal. Currently, when a radio transmits it can only hear itself and will continue transmitting even if another radio was transmitting at the same time, which usually garbles both signals for all receivers. With this new mechanism, a transmitter will be able to stop very quickly if it hears another radio simultaneously transmitting.

This would allow radios to, for example, use CSMA/CD rather than just plain CSMA.

Comment Re:You don't have to be non-random for fixed winne (Score 4, Informative) 374

The problem is that he reverse engineered their deterministic process for generating winners and losers and then was able to pick out the winning cards based on the partial information they revealed. The order in which they are printed doesn't really matter. Given any random subset of the cards he could pick the winners out of them at a much higher % than he should have been able to if they were actually random.

Sounds to me like they should figure the game out in such a way that a real random number generator will generate winners and losers at the desired rates on average and then just rely on the law of averages / large numbers to give them their desired take.

Forgot to login, sorry for the dup ... :(
Science

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."

Comment Holy cripes! (Score 1) 304

Isn't one requirement of a patent for it to be non-obvious?!!!

That a well informed person in the relevant field probably wouldn't think of the invention in the natural course of events?!!!

No way in heck should this have been granted as this use is beyond obvious -- it is sitting on your face wriggling!!!

Comment Re:Bad consequences (Score 1) 758

Tell me, is it wrong in any way (e.g. - legally, morally, etc.) to go purchase a book, make a bunch of copies of it and sell them? If so, then please explain why?

If a book did have a license attached to it (I wouldn't be surprised if e-books already do), then it would be up to you whether you wanted to buy the book or not.

Why might an author or publisher do this? Think about college text book publishers: if they didn't have to worry about the burgeoning resale market for their books amongst their target population, then they might be able to charge far more reasonable prices for a first sale. (Leave aside the fact that students are effectively captive to the textbooks their professors decide upon)

Comment Re:Think about it ... (Score 1) 758

Way to go! You completely ignored my core point, which is that the price of the product was specifically chosen based on the (legally binding) assumption that it would only benefit the original purchaser. If the owner of the intellectual property intended to have their, for example, game with limited replay value passed on ad infinitum, then they would price it differently. You violated their pricing assumption when you violated the end user license agreement.

Of course, none of this seems like it would matter to you in the least because you apparently think anyone should be able to duplicate someone else's intellectual property ad infinitum and sell it themselves for their own benefit. You don't even think straight up piracy is wrong, so there's no point in trying to argue legality, much less ethics, with you.

To your point about items that are not used up and passed along, here again, I disagree with you. All physical items degenerate with use, even things like books, but especially things like cars. Digital items can be protected (erasure codes, backups, etc.) in such a way that they never degenerate. Now imagine a universe where a car never degenerated even when driven hard. In such a universe, car makers would be forced to charge much, much, much more per car to survive because every car they produced could stay on the road potentially forever meaning they have far less opportunities for direct sales. Today, car manufacturers build into their pricing assumptions the fact that cars depreciate at a fairly predictable rate with a turnover leading to fairly predictable demand. If some magical way was found that completely circumvented this assumption, then car manufacturers would be forced to greatly increase prices and ultimately would probably be forced out of business.

Unfortunately, with many people agreeing with your opinion when it comes to intellectual property you certainly reduce the business opportunities available to people creating such property. Ultimately, less good intellectual property is produced because the rewards aren't as attractive as they might otherwise be.

Comment Think about it ... (Score 1) 758

What is the fundamental difference between selling software that you purchased and selling several copies of it that you make? I think we all agree that the latter case definitely should not be allowed without the owner's consent as you are selling someone else's intellectual property for your own monetary gain.

But what about the former case where you essentially sell one copy and stop using (even retaining) your copy? If you are able to get near full price for your secondary sale, which you often can with software, then you have essentially used the original owner's product for free for some period of time. Worse, this process can continue ad infinitum -- many people can derive whatever value they need from this product (e.g. - think video games with limited replay value) and then pass it along to the next person who wants it and (nearly) recoup whatever their monetary investment was.

Many people derive the benefit they want from the product for a tiny, often zero, fraction of the price the original purveyor intended for a single person to pay to derive that benefit. That and the fact that software doesn't depreciate similarly to most physical items are the essential problems here. If the purveyor had intended to sell you a transferable license that might get passed on to many people, then you can damn sure bet they would charge a significantly higher price for it initially. Similarly, if the purveyor had intended to sell you a license that would let you sell as many copies of the software as you wanted (i.e. - be a distributor), then they would price it very differently (i.e. - one huge license price, or a per license sold revenue sharing agreement).

Secondary sales of licensed software that transfer the product against the wishes of the intellectual property owner essentially steal from them because the original price point they chose was based on the (legally justified) assumption that only one person would derive the expected benefit from the product. The secondary sale breaks the license agreement and violates the original pricing assumption of the original purveyor.

Comment The harassment wasn't the cameras ... (Score 2, Insightful) 876

From the clues in the article clips (it would be great if someone could summarize the full ones) it seems that the family got a hold of the officer's email address and were sending him email. I have no idea how much or what was the topic of those emails, but I'm pretty sure the harassment claim stemmed from these emails and not from the original video taping.

As a private individual you can set up just about whatever kind of surveillance on your property that you like. The road is a public place and you are allowed to video tape in public places as well, so there should be no legal problem with doing what they did.

My main point is that it is obvious we don't have the full story from these news clips and all the people who are railing against this officer and his abuse of power are rushing to judgement. That being said, I'm still willing to bet the officer brought the suit because he was PO'ed about being reported to his superiors. People abuse the legal system this way all the time. The problem is that his suit has turned this minor incident into a big PR story and so the local government might be forced to take some kind of politically correct action against him for his speeding ... hoisted by his own petard possibly ...

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