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Comment Not just airplanes, but survey equipment is pricey (Score 3, Interesting) 186

For surveyors, GPS basestations + roamers used for surveying are in the $10,000+ dollar range, and you don't replace them every few years.There's always going to be significant amounts of "old" (and old in terms of the 2-year churn for mobile phones) GPS equipment being used by the folks who need extremely high levels of accuracy.

Comment Re:Prior Art (Score 1) 225

I think you may be confusing anticipation with prior art. Prior art can be anything that teaches an element of a claim. The combination of prior art makes an invention obvious. A single piece of prior art renders it anticipated. Iaapl (I am a patent lawyer).

You are, of course, correct.

Open mouth, insert foot. I should be more careful about my own terminology before I go on trying to correct other people for theirs.

How embarrassing.

Hopefully people see this and mod my previous comment down.

Comment Prior Art (Score 5, Interesting) 225

First off, IANAL. I am a law student with IP and patent law classes under my belt, but I'm still just a law student. Take the following with a grain of salt.

In a lot of the patent articles on Slashdot, where someone will ask "Isn't X prior art?" Often, even though it seems intuitively that it should be, it's not.

Actual prior art, which would be sufficient to legally defeat a patent, must read on all of a patent's claims. Assume the patent in question has claims (basically, technical description of features) A, B, and C. You research patents, and you find older patents:

Patent 1 has claims A and B.
Patent 2 has claims B and C.
Patent 3 has claims A and C.

None of those will defeat the patent in question on prior art grounds, because none of them include all of the claims A, B, and C.

What you may have at that point is an obviousness objection. You could argue that because there are patents 1-3 exist, that combining them to create A, B, and C was so obvious to someone skilled in the art that the patent should be invalidated for failing to be non-obvious. But that's different than prior art.

Having a patent invalidated for prior art is actually pretty uncommon. Obviousness issues are more common, but often, it's cheaper to just settle.

The Media

90% of Gaming Addiction Patients Not Addicted 333

phorm writes "BBC is carrying an article which states that 90% of visitors to Europe's 'video game addiction clinic' are not, in fact, addicted. The problem is a social one rather than a psychological issue. In other words, the patients have turned to heavy gaming because they felt they didn't fit in elsewhere, or that they fit in better 'in the game' than elsewhere in 'the real world.' This has been discussed before, with arguments ranging from gaming being a good way to socialize, the clinical definition of gaming addiction, and claims than males are wired for video-game addiction."
Role Playing (Games)

Three Downloadable Expansions Announced For Final Fantasy XI 51

Square Enix has announced plans to release three expansion chapters to Final Fantasy XI. Their blog post provided some details about the new content: "The first installment, A Crystalline Prophecy — Ode of Life Bestowing, is slated for release for all languages and platforms in Spring of next year. Subsequent installments will then follow, being released in intervals of every few months. These expansions packages will only be available through online purchase via PlayOnline. The projected cost for each installment is around $10.00. ... Up until now, expansion packs have generally been developed from a perspective of 'lateral expansion,' focusing namely on the introduction of new areas. These three new expansions, however, will deepen the storylines running through pre-existing areas by ushering in all-new plots and intrigues. While not necessarily containing as much content as traditional expansions, these episodic scenarios are designed to take anywhere from one to two months to complete."

Comment Re:College Debt? (Score 1) 616

Well, a typical textbook from West or Aspen, which most classes use, runs about $150.

Then you have other materials; treatises, study aids, course packs, outlines, supplements, etc. Prices vary wildly depending on what you buy. Some of these, like the hornbooks, are just as expensive as your textbook. And since the majority (or at least about half) of the courses offered after your first year's required courses are only two credits, it's entirely conceivable that you could be shopping for books for six classes.

I'd say $5,000 is definitely towards the upper limit of what would be necessary. I've never come all that close to $5,000 in required books, but picking up, say, five textbooks, a couple treatises, some Q&A books, and a nutshell or two (or something equivalent)... that'll put you well over $1000/term. A good number of my classes have had more than $600 worth of books, if you picked up all the recommended materials.

Of course, I should've pointed out that I was considering software for laptop exams (which you need to purchase every year) and other supplies (e.g. the highlighters I go through by the case) in that figure, too.

Overall, $5,000 is a high estimate, and I personally spend less, but it's not unrealistic.

Comment Re:College Debt? (Score 4, Informative) 616

It gets far, far worse. Think about rent and cost of living.

I attend a law school that costs ~$1,000/credit hour. That works out to $36,000 year, full-time, in tuition alone. Furthermore, students enrolled full-time are not allowed to work more than 18 hours/week. And although you may think a JD candidate could make a fair amount of money, they don't. You're looking at the same $8-10/hour pay you could get as an undergraduate, except now you're clerking or doing paralegal work.

As you'd expect, law school is far more academically intensive than your average undergraduate program. The rule of thumb is that you'll spend a minimum of three hours studying for every one hour of class time. On a standard full-time track, that's 12 credits per term; 12 hours per week in every class, another 36 hours studying. So, 48 hours/week devoted to academics. Let's assume that you get a job at $10/hour, and work the full 18 hours/week. That's $180/week, or $720/month.

The short of it is that any job you get as a full-time law student isn't even going to put a dent in tuition costs.

But now, add, say, $700/month for rent. Then you have bills. And food. And transportation. Let's say the student's frugal, and he gets by on about $1200/month (obviously this varies based on where you're living, but I'm trying to pick a number that would be typical of a suburban law school). And upwards of $5000 worth of books every year.

So... add it all up.

Tuition: $36k/year
Books: $5k/year
Rent, food, bills, etc.: $14.4k/year

Working income: $8604


Now, consider the time constraints.

1 week is 168 hours.
You're spending 48 hours/week in class or studying.
You sleep 8 hours/night (or 56 hours/week).
You're working 18 hours/week.
That's 122/168 hours per week spoken for. That leaves 46 hours/week on average for leisure, additional studying, eating, and transportation time. That's almost 7 hours per day. In my personal experience, it's about 2-3 hours/day for relaxing and/or working out. It's not an impossible task, but it's stressful, and not fun. But going tens of thousands of dollars into debt for the "privilege" of being too damned busy all the time isn't much fun. Clinic and volunteer work - both of which the school pushes pretty hard - all come out of this time, too.

Thankfully, I'm at the school I'm at (as opposed to a more prestigious one) because they offered me an enormous scholarship. But I have friends that are borrowing their whole way through. One of them half-heartedly jokes that the only way to get through it is to pretend that loans aren't real money, because the debt is otherwise just stifling.


Submission + - Is Windows Vista in trouble?

Ken Erfourth writes: I'm a small computer shop owner, and I have noticed how little interest my customers have in Windows Vista. Now, the is running a story about what they consider two powerful indications that Vista is failing in the marketplace.

One, Dell has reintroduced PCs running Windows XP on its website due to customer demand. Two, Microsoft is conducting a worldwide firesale on a bundle of Microsoft Office 2007/WindowsXP Starter Edition. According to, at least, these are signs of serious problems selling Vista.

Are we seeing the stumbling of the Microsoft Juggernaught with the slow adoption of Windows Vista?
The Courts

Submission + - The Best and Worst Intenet Laws

Anonymous Coward writes: "When a U.S. legislator describes the Internet as a "series of tubes" you just know that you're going to end up with some wacky laws on the books. Law professor Eric Goldman takes a look at the best and worst Internet laws in the U.S. Eric offers an analysis of the biggies such as the DMCA, but also shines a light on lesser known laws like the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002."

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