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Comment Re:The most important thing (Score 1) 700

However, it's obvious these parents care about their child's education

In reality this is the primary thing that really matters to be successful at homeschooling.

But having parents who care about their child's education also matters when it comes to the child's success in the public education system. Parent involvement, whether voluntary or as a result of school-based programs, produces results.

Uninvolved parents and homeschooling is likely to be a disaster. Uninvolved parents with public/private schooling probably won't be a disaster, but could easily be better.

The hard question is whether homeschooling makes all that much of a difference when the parents are involved, which is a prerequisite for successful homeschooling and which provides a known advantage with traditional schooling. Maybe, maybe not.

Comment Re:Needs fairly strong justification (Score 1) 700

Sorry your experience was bad. Most are not like that.

Who really knows what most homeschooling experiences are like. There are studies and anecdotes out there saying that homeschooling is great, but don't count on them to be reliable. Think of how difficult it has to be to try to do a decent study of homeschooling versus public education. You have to control for the quality of the schools children would otherwise have attended, for the home environment, for the personal drive of the children themselves, and more. If you were able to do all that, it might show that homeschooling makes a big difference (either positive or negative), or doesn't make that much difference overall on average.

Even if you homeschooling was shown to be a decisive, positive factor on average, it would still be important to figure out whether it makes sense in a particular case (as the story submitter seems to be trying to do). That would require taking into consideration a lot of factors not identified in the original post. What kind of sacrifices will this entail for the parents? Are they looking at someone walking away from a lucrative career? Are the parents willing and able to commit to the work of creating socializing opportunities? Are they prepared to purchase materials for a full curriculum and developing the skills needed to teach them? Are they turning away from a good school system with significant opportunities for stimulating mental growth?

These are hard questions, and a place like /. cannot answer them for these parents. Truth is, it may be hard for them to really answer these questions honestly.

However, it's obvious these parents care about their child's education, and are not completely sold on the ability of their school system to provide their son with what he needs. Before deciding, they should at least consider their full range of options.

Public schooling, private or charter schooling, and homeschooling may all be options for these parents to consider. But, they should also consider options such as public schooling plus after-school and weekend enrichment activities, plus a commitment to being involved in their child's education. Simple things like reading with their child regularly, making sure homework is done quickly, playing games, going to the library often, and limiting screen time are likely to have a big impact with little expense. Outside activities such as sports, music, or drama can help the child develop new interests and skills without being burdensome in terms of cost and time. Getting involved through the school's PTA or PTSA, or in local school advisory committees, can also be a way for these parents to have some input toward making sure the school system is able to meet their son's needs.

Maybe at least trying homeschooling is the right choice here (perhaps because of school conditions or because marital peace hinges on it). But, if the goal is simply to provide the best education for their son by whatever means makes the most sense for their situation, then there are many options that should be considered too.

Comment Re: Own up to it right away (Score 1) 720

Well, you can't really know that unless you apply, can you? If it's true that all the insurers out there are saying "no convicted felons in your IT workforce, ever," then whether you are honest about your background or not you probably won't get the job. Other than the time spent preparing a personal statement (an exercise you claim is pointless), you don't really lose anything by being honest. Unless, of course, you think it is better to "trick" someone into employing you, which probably isn't a strong basis for a successful career.

Comment Own up to it right away (Score 0) 720

Prepare a one to two page statement explaining what you did and what you learned from your misstep. Be sure that you express sincere contrition and make it clear that you are on the straight and narrow. Make it clear that you are available to talk about the felony in more detail and provide additional documentation regarding the proceedings upon request. If you can get some friends to put up a bond for you saying they will pay an employer some amount if you are convicted of a felony within five years of starting employment, then add their agreements to your personal statement. Provide your personal statement with your cover letter, resume, application form, or whatever. Let them know this is the biggest obstacle you face, but you have what it takes to succeed and you are just looking for a second chance. If all you do is mark "convicted felon" on an application form, then potential employers are going to think the worst. If you lie, or if they have to do a background check to find out your record is marred, then they will feel they can't trust you. Deal with the problem up front and use it to show that you can write and deal with major problems with integrity and zeal. Society is willing to forgive, even if it finds it hard to forget. Be an open book and you can be a success.

Comment Re:Not on my watch (Score 1) 224

Hell, if I found out you owned the holding company with the patent, I'd probably not hire you for the same reason.

Precisely one of my concerns and similar to the sentiment others have issued merely for having an industry patent, much less a holding company. I'm not trying to be dishonest, and frankly I wouldn't have minded if more people recommended granting a limited non-exclusive license to an employer; really I was hoping that a few inventions would look good on a resume. I'm rather taken aback by the number of people that actually perceive it as a negative. Thanks for the feedback; I don't want a holding company be a negative any more than some IP. More to consider, thank you.

Take all the comments (including this one) with a grain of salt. You're not getting a representative sample of potential employers and managers (who are likely to care more about what you can bring to the bottom line than about ideological purity in their hiring practices). Sure, there are some employers and managers who will base hiring decisions on knee-jerk reactions against patents, but probably not that many. Many, in fact, are going to be interested in your experience with the patent system since they may not have had direct experience with it. If it looks like you're going to make it more trouble than it is worth to hire you, then that may put off a number of employers. But, if you keep it simple and fair, you'll look like you have something beyond coding savvy.

You probably do want to talk with a decent patent attorney to get an idea what you really have in terms of legal protection and how you might negotiate a reasonable deal. Your claimed invention may be so narrow that it would be almost impossible to infringe on your patent claims without deliberate effort, especially if you prosecuted the patent applications yourself without much experience or in depth advice. Or you may have gotten something so broad that the patent claims are unlikely to withstand scrutiny if challenged. And did you have any co-inventors, named or unnamed? That can complicate things since co-inventors, by default, can independently license patent rights (in a corporate setting, the inventors typically assign the rights to the company so that only one entity has the licensing rights).

On the other hand, you may have something of value to a potential employer, especially if an exclusive license or assignment was on the table. You wouldn't be able to use the technology on your own if your employment ended, so it would be reasonable to expect something of value in exchange. Maybe the compensation could come in the form of a nice sign-on bonus, or perhaps a termination payout if they don't keep you for X number of years as an employee (wouldn't that be nice to have if a round of layoffs hit your department?)

At the very least, your employer will probably want to have at least a non-exclusive license right to use your patented invention. If the patents were assigned to a former employer who didn't want to license any patent rights, your new employer could at least have you work on engineering around the claims of the patents. But, they probably are going to be very annoyed if you insist on having them pay you to engineer around patent claims when you also have the authority to license those very same claims to them at any rate you desire, especially if you are the one who made the technology sound so useful in the first place. And what if co-workers learn from you and independently produce technologies that infringe on your patents? What a mess that would be. A simple non-exclusive license, paid upfront, would make a lot of potential problems go away.

What is it all worth? I don't know. Don't expect much if all you are offering is a non-exclusive license to a poorly drafted patent with narrow, invalid claims. But, if you can offer exclusive rights (including the right to sue) to a well-drafted patent with broad, valid claims, then try to get a decent bargain. After all, if potential employers don't want to deal with your patents as an employee, then you have the option of starting your own company (perhaps with some venture capital backing) and letting them deal with your patents as a competitor.

Or you could just donate your patents to the Open Invention Network, and list them on your résumé as evidence that you can document technology, and even help secure patents, but you aren't going to try using your own patents as bargaining chips. Hey, they're your patents, do what you want with them.

Comment Re:Finally. (Score 1) 182

Can slashdot form a PAC? I'm sure there are 15k people here that care enough about copyright to do something like that, and I'd certainly spend $10 a year to maybe get something accomplished..... rather than just endlessly troll.

Slashdot might be able to sponsor a PAC, or at least allow a PAC to use the Slashdot name. Or you could just start a PAC without any affiliation. The Federal Election Commission has good information regarding connected and nonconnected PACs, including registration toolkits. But, PACs are highly-regulated entities, so expect to spend a lot of time dealing with paperwork in order to stay legally compliant.

If you are serious about starting a PAC, you should try to find a lawyer who is willing to work pro bono to get things started. You can contact professors who teach copyright law. Some of them might be willing to help you or at least refer you to someone willing. At a certain point you'll probably need to use a portion of the PAC's income to hire some professional accounting or legal help. But, when you are just starting, you might find volunteer support is available if you take the time to seek it out.

Despite the other poster's comments, helping to fund political campaigns is not necessarily akin to "bribery." Campaign money cannot be used candidates for their own personal use. Yes, each candidate uses that money to try to get elected. But spending that money improperly (e.g., taking the family on a vacation or paying the mortgage) can land a candidate in serious legal waters.

Political campaigns are expensive. Each Representative and Senator has a constituency in the hundreds of thousands or millions. Candidates face tremendous costs trying to reach out to such a large population. And candidates cannot do it alone. In supporting campaigns, some people volunteer their time (which is worth money) while others provide money (which can be used, among other things, to compensate others for their time). Campaign financing makes it possible for those who are not extravagantly wealthy to accumulate the funds needed to run a meaningful campaign. And PACs make it easier for a large number of people, each providing small donations, to speak with one voice on a issues that they care about.

Comment Re:Finally. (Score 1) 182

What of all the works that were removed from the public domain without any compensation whatsoever to the public, each time copyright terms were extended? Robbery!

A valid criticism. You should write to your representative and Senator. Let them know where you stand. Or better yet, start a Political Action Committee (PAC). By collecting $155,000 / year ($10 / year from only 15.5k people) your PAC could max out its contributions to the primary and general election campaigns of every incumbent (or their leading opponents) on the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet and the Senate Judiciary Committee. You may not get your way (especially if your message boils down to "copyright sucks!"), but you can be sure they'll listen. Taking a few steps of civic engagement would be much more positive (not to mention legal) than, for example, downloading the latest top-40 and claiming its justified because you have to go to the library, instead of Project Gutenberg, to get a Hemingway novel.

The propaganda is so badly done it should be obvious to any reasonably intelligent kids.

I thought it was cute. Then again, I'm a fan of Happy Tree Friends (although they usually suffer a lot more than they did here) and camp tributes to the silly educational movies of yesteryear. And there didn't seem to be anything untruthful in the video. The nuances of copyright were laid out appropriately, as were YouTube's general policies, which largely follow one of the DMCA safe harbor provisions (other than the potential ban for life, which is not a DMCA safe harbor requirement).

If you want another attempt to provide education on the web about copyright law and its implications, check out Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? It is entertaining and educational, but it is targeted at an audience that is a little more aware of copyright issues than the audience of the YouTube clip.

Comment Re:Hang on... (Score 1) 728

Having rich friends does not make you rich, nor does having rich parents (though that can be more of a help), nor does being lucky.

This didn't really deserve a flamebait moderation (even with the "bullshit" and "kicked you in the nuts" remarks...this isn't exactly a forum limited to refined, polite discussion). Wealth isn't about how much your friends or parents have. It is about what you have and what you do with what you have.

You sounds like you have done very well for yourself, perhaps as a result of aggressive double-digit savings combined with decent double-digit returns (not at all implausible with nearly two decades of work under your belt). Of course, if you switch to an overly lavish lifestyle, fail to protect yourself from disaster (e.g., through adequate medical, disability, house insurance, etc.), or get into copyright infringement fights with aggressive copyright holders able to secure liability-happy jurors, you could eat through your savings very quickly. You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders when it comes to finance, so you're probably in good shape.

Your age also makes a big difference, as The Millionaire Next Door can attest. $1M when you're 65, looking to stretch your money through a potentially long retirement, isn't nearly as impressive as $1M when you're 40, able to let your money grow so that you have a nice sum available if you decide you're done with being a wage slave.

And everyone---absolutely everyone---has to be careful with money in order to be truly rich or wealthy. As even The Richest Man in Babylon said:

All men are burdened with more desires than they can gratify. Because of my wealth thinkest thou I may gratify every desire? 'Tis a false idea. There are limits to my time. There are limits to my strength. There are limits to the distance I may travel. There are limits to what I may eat. There are limits to the zest with which I may enjoy.

The truth is, just about anyone who, starting early enough, controls spending effectively and manages money with reasonable skill can become independently wealthy. That is, most people could acquire, or at least could have acquired, enough money to afford needs and reasonable desires based on savings alone. For some, that may mean saving $10M. For others, it may mean only saving $250k.

Of course, the lifestyle one can afford with $10M is much different than the lifestyle one can afford with $250k. But, if you retire with $10M in the bank, yet spend $1M a year, then you are not as rich as the person who retires with $250k in the bank, yet only spends $12.5k a year.

Comment Re:Ill gotten gains (Score 1) 728

But by the first-sale doctrine, they lose those rights anyway as soon as they sell the music to you, and they already lost the right of the music they sold to people who did buy the album.

You are, I assume, referring to the first-sale doctrine as codified under 17 U.S.C. Sec. 109. That is specifically limited to "a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title." So sure, if you purchase a CD (a phonorecord lawfully made under the copyright statute), then you can sell that copy, no problem. However, you are only allowed to sell or dispose of the particular copy. Distributing a new, unathorized copy falls outside of the scope of the first-sale doctrine.

As an aside, what would be the law if I made 1000 (unauthorized) copies of a music CD and posted them to 1000 random people? Obviously, I'd pay for the CDs and postage.

Do you mean obviously that is what you would pay in terms of damages? If so, that's not accurate. If the copyright holder elects statutory damages, then damages would range from $200 (minimum for innocent infringement) to $150,000 (maximum for willfull infringement) per work. The statutory damages provisions are a bit odd because they are based on the work, not the number of copies. So if you distribute only one copy, you are as liable under statutory damages as if you distributed one hundred thousand copies (although the copyright holder could elect to seek actual damages instead of statutory damages).

Comment Re:Ill gotten gains (Score 4, Insightful) 728

If you steal something, yes. If you COPY something, then no.

Very insightful graphic. Of course, when someone borrows your car keys, you would be rather upset if your keys were "pirated" (i.e., copied without your consent). Sure, you still have your keys when the originals are returned to you. But, you've lost your lawful ability to control access to your vehicle.

Copyright infringement through file sharing isn't like having your car "copied." It's more like having your car keys copied. In the case of file sharing copyright infringement, the copyright owner loses lawful exclusive rights, such as the distribution of the work.

Comment Re:Yes, they piss me off (Score 2, Insightful) 126

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

That sounds great, doesn't it?

Sounds better than driving around for an hour trying to find a parking spot. Putting a price tag on a spot encourages use of public transit or private parking. It can also discourage even visiting in the first place, so municipialities and businesses have to consider whether demand is strong enough to support parking meters (or, in many cases, whether more investment in free parking is justified).

$2 an hour for a good shot at a nice parking spot, along with the knowledge that I'm giving a boost to help fund improvements in the roads, schools, and other assets and services, doesn't seem like such a bad deal to me.

Comment Re:email? (Score 3, Interesting) 306

Next up - saving electricity by using smaller fonts on the computer screens.

...of course that wouldn't work given that smaller fonts would mean fewer dark foreground pixels and more bright background pixels. Switching from white backgrounds to gray backgrounds would be more likely to have any impact (assuming that modern monitors use more electricity when displaying bright images).

What no one seems to have brought up is that while Century Gothic uses less ink than Arial, it also takes up more space (unless the size is reduced). Try it out with some Lorem ipsum text. I found that five paragraphs Arial 12-pt with 1.25" margins on letter paper takes up about 11" vertically. Those same five paragraphs in Century Gothic 12-pt take up 12.75" vertically. That 15% increase in space could easily lead to savings in ink being offset by additional paper waste.

Comment Re:It's Just A Table (Score 1) 260

What's their target audience? Millionaire gamers? Good luck with that.

Dungeons & Dragons was first published in 1974. If the typical early adopter was between 14-24, then that means there is a segment of gamers who are between 50-60. Saving $6,000 a year at 7.5% interest, starting at the age of 25, earns you just a tad over one million by the time you hit age 60. Assuming that some segment of gamers fit the stereotype of being well-educated (and thus capable of and foresightful enough to save such sums), then it is highly likely that there are a fair number of millionaires who, at the very least, hold a nostaligic soft spot for role playing games. Furthermore, many people in this group may want to have a product like this, but do not want to invest their time to make it themselves. For instance, someone who has achieved earning potential of $200,000 / year might estimate that an hour saved is worth about $100. Considering the hours designing, buying stuff, building, fixing newbie mistakes, finishing, cleaning, etc., and then throwing in the cost of tools and materials too, buying a professionally-made product may be worth it to a fair number of people.

Comment Re:fine (Score 3, Insightful) 257

Q: What's the difference between a $50 brand-name pill and a $2 "fake"?
A: $48.

If you are lucky. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are not like generics. If you purchase a counterfeit, you don't know who is providing you with the drug. You think you are buying it from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, etc. But the counterfeiters have stolen the identity of the company, so you can't easily go after the suppliers of your drugs if their quality is poor.

Generics, on the other hand, do not hide who they are. You (or the FDA) can go after them if their drugs do not contain the active ingredients promised. You don't get a fancy brand name, but you aren't being lied to about who the supplier is.

Comment Re:How legal briefs work (Score 1) 525

I expected better of you and am disappointed.

You should expect better. Beckerman's approach to criticism is sad and arguably at odds with free speedh ideals. Even those who are willing to stand up against over-the-line criticisms of Beckerman are the subject of his wrath if they believe that Beckerman should be held to standards of decorum too.

Even more disappointing is how many others (the sampling of the /. population that has moderation points during such discussions) act in a manner reminscient of other zealots to suppress discussion that is interesting, insightful, and needed. Perhaps /.'s population of nerds interested in real discussion is being overwhelmed by those who are more narrow-minded and who don't like having their vision of the world challenged.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky