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Comment In school (Score 1) 125

We'd screw up scraps of paper and throw them at each other.  Here is their 'rich corporate' version: pay expensive lawyers to write
lots of 'legal magick' words on lots of expensive paper, then pay expensive lawyers to throw said paper on behalf of the corporation.
Essentially it's a mischievous children's activity for those with money to burn.  Both corporations can easily pay their 'big' losses, and neither
has anything useful to do with the winnings except pay more lawyers to throw more 'paper snowballs'.

Comment Re:Ask yourself, what would RMS do? (Score 1) 224

Turing complete is a bad measure when dealing with real computers.   Brainfuck is Turing complete, but incapable of displaying a single typical webpage on a modern computer.

All computer data is computer data.  That is, it is a sequence of 0s and 1s.
All computer data may be arbitrarily interpreted by an interpreter.
An interpreter reads computer data and follows its programmed instructions based on the computer data.
A computer program is computer data for an interpreter.
A binary is a translation of a computer program so that a microprocessor may be used as the interpreter.
A text file may be seen as a program for an interpreter such as notepad which compiles the text file into a memory image that then causes Windows to display a rectangle on screen whose content resembles the text file.

There is no formal barrier between program, source and data.  All computer data is computer data and is subject to arbitrary interpretation.  All data may be seen as a program for a suitable interpreter.  Some interpreters languages permit more complex variations in behaviour than others, and Turing Compleness places a theoretical maximum bound on this complexity.  But it is a very rough bound in many ways, having no connection with measurable aspects of practicality (so a programming language that requires ten million lines of code and ten years per line of code per line-of-code and microsecond for another language are equally Turing Complete if they can, given countably infinite resources, compute the same countable sequences of 1s and 0s.)

Comment A bigger problem (Score 1) 224

A bigger issue is the potential for GPL source for a proprietary interpreter, or GPL source for a chain of GPL interpreters where a proprietary transformation is required at some stages of the build process.  The GPL does not require disclosure of a fully working build process (else a Windows binary compiled from GPL source in Visual Studio would require providing the recipient with a licensed copy of Visual Studio or a working alternative).

Comment Decision logic and its applications... (Score 1) 78

Machines can be broken into two parts: the interface to the outside world and decision logic.
Decision logic can be hardwired or configurable.  A configuration of the configurable
parts of a machine comprises the software.  Software may be viewed as a program or
as data.  This is an artificial distinction: data may be viewed as a program for an interpreter
(notepad.exe interprets a text file and generates an interactive graphical experience that
appears to represent the contents of the text file).  Some data may be interpreted by
a hardwired logic unit.

All this was invented or discovered by WW2 with the exception of the fine details of the interface.

Use of a logic processing machine should not be considered patentable in any way.
In principle, once Turing's paper was written, one could enumerate all software for all machines.
Thus, since all the countable numbers were certainly discovered and logically formalised
in the 19th century, they should be considered already discovered.

As soon as an outside world interface involves decision logic, the decision logic should
be factored out and only that part that does not involve decision logic should be considered
a design and be patentable.

Copyright should not apply to what can be logically derived from a problem specification: it
should apply only to artistic expressions that are beyond derivation by a logical procedure.

Thus, what is truly art should be copyrightable (and there should be a common sense test
of whether someone could have produced something similar).  Designs should be patentable,
but not decision logic.  Decision logic should be considered already invented as of Turing's
paper and thus beyond the scope of copyright or patent.

That is the only logically sensible way to apply copyright and patents to technology.  Trouble is,
laws are made by technologically naive people, presided upon by technologically naive judges and juries,
and essentially those who understand technology properly have no power of those who make laws
regulating it.  This a dichotomy between understanding and power is why the system is as stupid
and broken as it is.

DNA should, accordingly, be considered software for a pre-existing interpreter that is over 20 years
old and thus equally non-patentable.

Comment One's computer is an extension of one's self. (Score 1) 154

People should never interfere with another's computer or control it without explicit permission any more than they should have non-consensual sexual intercourse with that person.  Violating someone's mind-space should be a crime, and how one is allowed to influence the mind of another should be tightly regulated.  If you do not give me consent to play on your computer, it should be a crime to do so.  If you give me certain bounds within which to play, it should be criminal to break those bounds.  Only when full consent to break things is given should I be allowed to do the hardcore scary stuff on your computer.  Equally, software companies should not be allowed to have any say on what a person does with their computer except by unforced mutual consent.  Basically, software is like sex, and should only be exchanged when there is genuine mutual consent.

Comment I turned to mathematics and logic... (Score 1) 434

Science, especially those quasi-sciences that aren't physics or chemistry, generally just have massive walls of volumes of vague writings and no conclusive answers to anything.  Until non-physical sciences (i.e. those other than physics and chemistry) are put on a solid mathematical footing as strong as physics, at the very least, I shan't be turning to them for solace.  As a rule, if there are notions of statistics, something is lacking.  Defining a precise metaphysical foundational framework and explaining rigorously from that framework why physics, including relativity and quantum mechanics, must be the way they are, is a necessary step before anyone can talk of science going further than the old spiritual traditions.  Getting the final conclusive answers whittled down so that they fit within a small number of volumes (say eight, of no more than 1200 pages each) and making them approachable to more than a handful of hardcore intellectuals is another important stage.  Unfortunately too many people these days worship The Shiny Thing that The Boffin says Answers Everything.  Personally, I'm not convinced the scientific method and its philosophy actually have much application beyond physics and systems simple enough to preclude life.

Submission + - Legal defintions of 'computer' and 'sound recording' (

John Allsup writes: I have been reading through copyright law (UK, since that is where I live) and have noticed that they talk about 'sound recording's and yet never define them clearly in the context of digital information. Is there are non-absurd legal definition of 'sound recording' that makes sense in the age of the modern digital computer? I began thinking this through whilst writing content for a lightweight wikiwiki site.

Comment Re:DSM can be useful, but not useful enough to kee (Score 1) 185

Unfortunately the 'it's number X in the DSM' shortcut thinking means that if clinician A makes a mistake, clinician B is likely to believe clinician A's opinion without critical analysis and just assume that the original diagnosis is correct.  Roll on a few more meetings with clinicians and the 'the previous n clinicians could'nt be wrong' mentality means that a diagnosis is likely to stick whether correct or not.

Comment Re:About time! (Score 1) 185

It's interesting how a drug appears to be 'best thing since sliced bread' in early clinical trials and becomes 'as bad as the first generation drugs' when the patent expires and company X has a new wonder drug on the market.  If you actually look at abstracts using something like the Trip database, you get the feeling that bad trials are getting hidden (like if you went to Amazon and all reviews were 4* or better).

Comment Old developer don't need to... (Score 1) 365

All the good tricks were worked out in the 70s when people wrote real code in real langauges (C, Forth, Smalltalk, Lisp) for real machines and things actually... get this... actually... (shudders trying to get the blasphemous word out...) WORKED!  Then came the dark times, the second order postincrement operator and its subsequent application to that most beautiful of low level langauges... then they ripped the heart out of Smalltalk and stuffed it to another offshoot of that beautiful low level language... lists became list<int>'s and even the free variables were frogmarched into class { } and forced to do all their best work in { private: } only showing in { public: } what was acceptable to the evil overlords to be shown.  Oh the horror!

Things were good in the old days.  Then there were the brief happy days of the eight-bitters.  The Amstrad 6128 was my idol then.  It booted in just under two seconds, you could program just by typing a number followed by a space and then your code; you could run by typing run, without... get this... without even compiling, and things just worked... or else just crashed the computer, but there was always ctrl shift escape and, if that didn't work you could flick the off switch without corrupting your data, and did I mention it booted in under two seconds!  Oh how far we have fallen in our search for crystal castles with see-through walls and shiny fruit so beautiful you can't even eat it without poisoning yourself (if, that is, you can even get something 27" across down your throat).

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