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Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 4, Informative) 258

Seriously though, how can a golf ball have 11 patents on it?

Read Costco's reply to the court, in which each patent is listed along with Acushnet's claims and Costco's rebuttal. You can look the patents up online at the USPTO web site. Let's look at a few, shall we?

Patent# 6,994,638 - Golf balls comprising highly-neutralized acid polymers.
A golf ball comprising a core comprised of a polymer containing an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt, a cation source, or a suitable base thereof, the core having a first Shore D hardness, a compression of no greater than about 90, and a diameter of between about 1.00 inches and about 1.64 inches; and a cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, or cationic ionomers.

What is claimed is:

1. A golf ball comprising: a core comprising a center and an outer core layer, the center comprising a thermoset polybutadiene rubber composition having a first hardness; and the outer core layer comprising a polymer comprised of an acid group fully-neutralized by an organic acid or a salt of the organic acid, and a cation source or a suitable base of the cation source; and having a second hardness; and an inner cover layer and an outer cover layer comprising ionomeric copolymers and terpolymers, ionomer precursors, thermoplastics, thermoplastic elastomers, polybutadiene rubber, balata, grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, non-grafted metallocene-catalyzed polymers, single-site polymers, high-crystalline acid polymers and their ionomers, polyurethnnes, polyureas, polyurethane-ureas; polyurea-urethanes; or cationic ionomers; wherein the first hardness is from about 50 Shore A to about 55 Shore D and first hardness is less than the second Shore D hardness by at least about 10 points.

Here's Costco's rebuttal:

11. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,994,638 (“the ’638patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 1 of the 638 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS golf ball do not constitute infringement of claim 1 of the 638 patent, however, because, among other things, the Shore D hardness of the center core of the KS ball is not “at least about 10 points” less than the Shore D hardness of the outer core.
12. The 638 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Patent No. 6,468,169 and other prior art publications and activities

Clearly, a lot of chemistry work went into this patent to make the balls have a certain elasticity. Costco says that their balls do not have the same properties, therefore they did not infringe upon this claim.

Here's another:

Patent# 8,123,632 - Multi-layer golf ball
Golf balls consisting of a dual core and a dual cover are disclosed. The dual core consists of an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition.

Here's the claim in question:

"17. A golf ball consisting essentially of: an inner core layer formed from a rubber composition and having a diameter of from 1.100 inches to 1.400 inches, a center hardness ( of 50 Shore C or greater, and an outer surface hardness of 65 Shore C or greater; an outer core layer formed from a highly neutralized polymer composition and having an outer surface hardness (H.sub.outer core) of 75 Shore C or greater; an inner cover layer formed from a thermoplastic composition and having a material hardness (H.sub.inner cover) of from 80 Shore C to 95 Shore C; and an outer cover layer formed from a composition selected from the group consisting of polyurethanes, polyureas, and copolymers and blends thereof. "

While a multi-layer golf ball is nothing new, this patent builds on an older patent for a multi-layer ball. Acushnet claims this is a new innovation that Costco violated. Costco claims otherwise:

15. Costco is not infringing any valid claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,123,632 (“the ’632 patent”). Acushnet has accused Costco of infringing claim 17 of the ’632 patent. Costco’s sales of the KS ball do not constitute infringement of claim 17, however, because, at the least, the surface hardness of the outer core of the KS ball is not 75 Shore C or greater.
16. The 632 patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103 and/or 112. The claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102 and/or 103, for example, in light of U.S. Publication No. 2007/0281802 and other prior art publications and activities.

So Costco again says that because their balls don't have the same properties, they aren't violating this patent. This is all pretty standard legal wrangling.

Comment Re:Where's the news? (Score 1) 258

Just another reason to SHORTEN the length of patents for none drug inventions. There is NO reason on earth that a patent on a golf ball needs to be 20 years

Why not? Is the research into the aerodynamic characteristics of a golf ball more or less worthy than the research into the hydrodynamic characteristics of a blood vessel stent? For that matter, someone who keeps active as a golfer is likely to be healthier longer than someone who is sedentary and requires drugs and other medical interventions to live. Certainly you'd agree that the sporting goods companies have done more good for public health than Martin Shkreli ever did as CEO of a drug company.

Research is research, and the law says that inventors can profit from their inventions. I'm sorry you don't like that.

Comment Re:Second rule of business (Score 1) 114

Your business has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to sell... it has absolutely everything to do with what your customers want to buy.

"But we can shift that paradigm! This time, we'll plan better, we just need to educate our consumers."

Well, at least they taught their consumers a valuable lesson: Sony, famously guilty for shitting on the rights of virtually everyone through their crappy DRM-enabled hardware, still sold way more consoles than Microsoft.

Microsoft just has never excelled at building what customers want.

Nokia and everyone else had phones with Java, so Microsoft shipped WinCE phones - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with their DRM-encumbered iPod, so Microsoft followed it up with the DRM encumbered Zune - that didn't sell.
Apple came out with the iPhone with the walled app garden; so Microsoft shipped Windows Phones with a walled garden - that didn't sell.
Steam and Sony and Nintendo came out with DRM encumbered games; so Microsoft shipped the XBox One - that sold quite a few, but sucked.

Their two biggest problems are that they want to use services as license enforcement gateways, and that their stiffest competition to their Software V3.0 is their own Software V2.0. Nothing new in Office has been worth buying upgrades since about 2007, yet they have managed to convince some people to upgrade to Office 2010, 2013, and now Office365.

And people are getting more and more fed up with the constant greed. LibreOffice has caught up to about Office 2007 in terms of maturity, which is good enough for a lot of people and companies. Linux has caught fire in the corporate world, overthrowing WIndows Servers by the millions. Cloud computing is moving companies to outsource their hardware data centers. Azure is competent in this arena, but cloud computing is already close to a commodity - there's not a lot of value Microsoft can add over the other big players.

It's weird, but at the core it's an existential crisis for one of the world's largest companies. They are desperately trying to figure out something to sell that will still be in demand 10 years from now.

Comment Re:Rotten Tomatoes is getting self-important (Score 1) 395

I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everything good about the place that they don't understand.

This. I use this same strategy when evaluating any product. Read a few good reviews, sure, but I need to read a few of the top negative reviews to figure out if the product actually has weaknesses that matter to me, or if it's just been purchased by a few users with unrealistic expectations.

The good thing about negative reviews is they usually aren't placed there by the business or by a sock puppet/SEO, so the dishonest reviews are at least more transparent. If some jerk with a grudge posts a 1 star review, they'll often include a whole sob story about how this company was unfair to them because they didn't immediately replace the broken thing the user dropped on a concrete floor.

Comment Re:But which kind of stroke? Too thin or too thick (Score 1) 41

To throw another wrench into the decision matrix, an ischemic stroke is caused by a clot that has been jammed into a narrow blood vessel. If the patient is not particularly healthy he may have fragile arterial walls, in which case the clot can damage the artery. Ironically, this may lead to the clot doing its intended task, becoming the thing preventing the damaged artery from hemorrhaging. In these rare and undiagnosable cases, responsibly using tPA (or spider venom) to dissolve the clot can actually lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

Comment Re:Contempt of the court... (Score 1) 520

As I said — it is not testimony. The jury will not hear it. The 5th Amendment protects him from being compelled to be a witness against himself

The courts have generally held the 5th Amendment protections to be wider than that. For example, are you denying that people have the right to remain silent when being questioned by police? Why is there a distinction between being questioned by the police and by the court here?

As for encryption passwords, the Supreme Court hasn't ruled on such a case yet, but they have given hints on how they would rule. Maybe this will actually be the case that goes all the way?

I don't know about case law, but there is no "right to remain silent" in the Constitution. You don't have to be a witness against yourself.

Rights do not *only* come from the Constitution. Case law is indeed important, and there's a lot of case law around one's right to remain silent.

Comment Re:Modern HW crypto (Score 1) 520

I'm aware of ATA drive locking and their on-drive encryption, but that's not really what I was referring to.

I was thinking more of organized crime and enemy governments and other well funded and well-planned enterprises -- it would not surprise me if they had custom drive firmware made that was designed to foil the drive being imaged for forensics. I don't know if this is actually being done yet (though I suspect it is), but if it was, law enforcement (well, the better-equipped offices, and especially things like the NSA) would adapt.

And yes, you're right, such countermeasures would be a good deal harder to deal with on SSDs than spinning hard drives. Perhaps even approaching impossible without a lot of assistance from the drive manufacturer themselves.

And no, I wouldn't expect any of this to be done by a guy who's simply got illegal porn on his computer. Really, just keeping it on an encrypted drive probably puts him ahead of most.

Comment Re:In an ideal world (for the cops) yes (Score 1) 520

Even a lab "up to the quality of a guy running a hard disk recovery business out of his garage" is going to work on images of the disks rather than the disks themselves -- anything less will get all their cases thrown out of court by the defense ("how can you guarantee that you didn't alter the data yourselves?") *and* will get caught by "oh, you entered the wrong password? erase everything!" code. Maybe in 1992, but in 2017 ... that's law enforcement computer forensics 101, day 1. They absolutely will not be hooking up his computer and drives and working on that (unless they need to do so to figure something out, and even then -- it'll have copies of his drives rather than the originals.)

If a police department can't even reach that level ... then they're probably either avoiding such cases entirely, or deferring them to some other, larger and better-equipped organization.

Beyond that ... it becomes an issue of how badly they want the data. The local police department probably can't do too much, but the NSA/CIA/etc. can do a *lot* if they are properly motivated.

(That said, this sounds like a case where they won't be going to any extraordinary technological lengths to get at the data. They certainly do seem to have some friends in the courts, however.)

Now, back to "self-destructing crypto" ... if half the encryption key is on some remote server in Russia that self-destructs if not accessed at least every 30 days, then maybe. (That said ... people would lose their data often under such an arrangement.) If such services popped up and were being actively used, I imagine that the NSA and friends would be working on countermeasures (like compromising that box and looking for other vulnerabilities in the arrangement or simply installing keyloggers where needed), but that would probably foil the local police department's attempts to get the keys.

Of course, simply refusing to tell them the password should also foil them, legally and technically. This ruling is bad, bad, bad ... but I guess fighting child porn is more important than the right to not self-incriminate to this court?

Comment Re:Rubber-hose cryptanalysis (Score 3, Interesting) 520

.Perhaps some type of expiry after 30-60 days of non-use for sensitive encrypted drives might protect against this, since there's no way the person could decrypt the drive after that threshold.

You aren't imagining the defendant's computer in a nice neat room with his drives plugged in and a cop sitting at it trying to guess the password, are you?

No, the drives will have been imaged through a hardware device that blocks all attempts to write, and their work will be on their own computers running their forsensic software against the images of his drives, with his original drives safely in the evidence lockup.

And if criminals start using drives with custom firmware to foil this (they've already read the first GB sequentially? return gibberish and erase everything!), the cops will then be removing the control boards and subsituting their own before they do the imaging.

"Self destructing crypto" will just be something else for them to work around. It might foil the local police department, but if the FBI/NSA/CIA/etc. really wants your data, that's not going to foil them any more than straight strong crypto will.

Comment Re:Contempt of the court... (Score 5, Insightful) 520

This is not a Constitutional question — the guy is not asked to testify against himself. What he is to say is not under oath and will not be used against him.

It is indeed a Constitutional question. He's accused of a crime, and he's being asked, er forced to aid the prosecution. What happened to his right to remain silent, his right against self-incrimination?

And yes, I do believe it is the goal of the prosecution to use any passwords he provides to find stuff that *will* be used against him. They are *demanding* that he aid their prosecution of him by divulging secrets ... how is that not testifying against himself? Next, are they going to waterboard him for the passwords?

What is demanded of him is a key to the premises, for which a perfectly valid search-warrant has already been issued.

If they were demanding a physical key, he could refuse to tell them where that is too. That said, without that ... they'll just knock down the door.

Also ... has a search warrant been issued to search his brain?

This stinks to high heaven. I thought that it was already established by case law that you did not have to say anything to aid the prosecution in any way, that your right to remain silent was absolute in a criminal case?

Comment Re:What do you expect? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

Just think about how many movies have come out in the last 20 years, and even RECENT TV shows/Movies whose plots break down immediately if a true Panopticon/Big Brother society exists.

CallerID would have wrecked 25% of Columbo episodes if it had existed back then. "Won't somebody please think of the screenwriters" is an unusual take on technology changes!

I recently rewatched the original Day of the Jackal from 1973. The entire movie was the suspense of the police chasing him via a paper trail of hotel registrations and phone calls, and I couldn't help but think that the whole movie would have been over in about three minutes if SQL existed.

Comment Because That's Where the Money Is (Score 1) 4

Follow the money. Who is spending?

Younger people are more easily influenced by advertising and more likely to buy things based on emotional wants. Also, young people spend more and buy more. Parents tend to buy a lot for their children, which still means the ultimate consumer is youth. After dealing with kids, people tend to slow down their buying. They have the big items, although they'll replace a car occasionally. By the time most people reach 35, they're buying less and buying what they need, not glitzy things that have a high profit margin. Also, by then, brand loyalty is established and people tend to keep buying the brands they have been for years.

It's selling to youth that makes the big bucks.

Comment Re:Drone collisions... (Score 1) 52

Yeah, that's pretty much how I interpreted it as well.

(The bipe pilot turned on his smoke to "increase his visibility to the R/C airplane operators". Uh-huh -- *he was showing off*, and got too close.)

That said, the FAA's decision was pretty clear -- the collision was the fault of the pilot of the model aircraft. I guess that's the only possible answer given their rules -- showing off is permitted, but hovering where a manned aircraft decides to be is not, permission or not.

Comment Re:Yet another Tech CEO confusing AI with Johnny-5 (Score 1) 111

For a class of person that feels that they are more in tune with technology than the rest of humanity, they seem woefully ignorant of "Artificial Intelligence".

Personally, I suspect that anybody who thinks they can accurately predict what AI is going to look like 20 to 50 years from now (and especially on the longer end) probably isn't as "in tune with technology" as they think they are.

All in all, as I see it ... that quote suggests to me that Reed Hastings is on the better part of the Dunning-Kruger curve here -- he knows how quickly this stuff is changing and how quickly it could change in the future and so isn't going to make any specific predictions for what might happen 20-50 years from now, and instead makes a joke about it.

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