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Comment Errr... (Score 2) 532

So, I am not an engineer nor in a field related to cell phones, air flight etc...the simple fact is that the US Govt. has banned the use of certain electronic devices during certain (or all) phases of an airline flight. If we want that to change, then we should lobby our representitives, and the experts in the field can testify and explain as to why there is no threat to air safety. Until then, the arrogant, self-centered Arianna Huffington's of the world need to shut up and do what they are told. I can tell you that if I see someone flaunting the rules, endangering my safety on a flight, I am going to help the stewardess hold them down while someone shoves their phone somewhere less than enjoyable. So, facts be what they may about electronics use and air flight, to me this article is more about the sad state for the consideration of others and the arrogance of people that is affecting our society.

Comment Uhmm.... (Score 1) 263

Then someone needs to tell the spammers this because over the past month I've been hit harder on my personal url accounts than ever before. From 2-4 message a night to 25 is a significant jump. Then they keep coming throughout the day. And that is using a black list and spam assassin. I would like to personally offer my current kidney stone as a gift to the spammers...

Comment No! Argh (Score 1) 602

This is so much the suck. I really liked this show and it is what pushed me into watching the reboot BSG series (I didn't have cable when it came on the first time). Why did I like it? Well for one, it was different. It wasn't about high action all the time, but offered a more philosophical kind of series. I also loved that it was connecting all the pieces and back story that set the world of BSG. Seeing the how cyclons came into being and why, plus the growth and change of the Adama family was really fascinating.The mixture of past and future tech gave it a nice switch up as well. Now how are going to find out what happened and why? SyFy, or whatever cute thing they are calling themselves these days, really just ended any interest I had in watching the channel. Most of the rest of their titles and showing are b-list at best. The BSG/Caprica line what the only good thing they had. Such a shame.

Comment Don't comment (Score 1) 101

I think the most humorous thing here is the number of people who comment on the operations of the USPTO, yet have no clue as to how the office is run, how the examiner's do their jobs, the metrics and constraints they are under, and the other issues that affect the quality and speed at which a patent is granted. It is not all Kappos, or the examiners, or the managers...but in part a system set up over many years that is a lot more intricate than one realizes, where actions are governed by laws created by congress, poor management of the past has left IT systems everyone uses on the skids, and attorney's contribute to the problem by doing what attorney's are trained to do: make things as vague and broad as they can for their client and then waste time and money arguing over a single word (and creating their own forms instead of using USPTO forms and thus creating issues, etc).

Is the system broken? No. What needs to happen are direct and succinct changes: fees need to go up, a priority on IT systems maintained until the examiners have tools they can really use efficiently and effectively, applicant's should be expected to use the specific forms created by the office and follow an application procedure with no deviation, the MPEP re-written in clean and clear language so people can find the answers they need, and no more pandering to the lobbying of corporate IP attorneys. This would be a great start. Until then the examiners will continue to do the best job they can under the circumstances placed on them.

Comment Fat Cyclist Blog (Score 2, Informative) 527

I too am sorry to hear of your situation and wish you, your wife, and family the best in these trying times. Not sure if anyone else has mentioned The author, otherwise known as Fatty, faced a very similar situation as yourself and shared a lot on his blog. His humanity, wit, sense of humour, and honesty was breath taking and an awesome read. Still is a year after his wife's passing. He might be a good resource for you in many different ways. Give him a read, and drop him a line. Sure he'd be happy to offer thoughts and ideas.

Comment How about Applicant's do things correctly? (Score 1) 427

The funny thing is that if this were about the IRS, no one would think twice. Why? Because they do not accept things done incorrectly. Now this is a generalization... but from the inside I can tell you we get non-stop garbage from applicants/attorneys. No matter how clear the office makes things, no matter how many times an applicant sends in things done incorrectly and are corrected by the examiner, they still continue to do it. This wastes time, energy, and resources. Why do we have to do an attorney's job for them? (and actually that brings up another point... they pass off a lot of their work to assistants, clerks, and admin staff who screw it but between them and us) If it were up to me, I would automatically reject any application that does not meet proper application filing criteria the first time. On the flip side, I would make those criteria as clear as day and published online not more than one level deep off the main page. Now, I will also say this: before anyone here can bash the PTO, you need to have worked here, because only then can you understand how things really are. A majority of us here work very hard, care about doing a good job, and want to help make the system work. The fact is that it is hard to do this job *truly* well, and keep up morale when we fight many of the things we do on a daily basis. The list is huge, and I won't go into it here... but trust me, for 99% of it, it is not the examiners who muck up the works.

Comment Sun VB and USB Devices + Flash = no deal (Score 1) 1231

For me, everything is running fine, and the upgrade went almost without a hitch, except: In my guest XP system under Sun Virtual Box I no longer can use any of the USB devices. The Ubuntu host seems to have grabbed them and won't share with VB-XP anymore. Setting up USB filters hasn't helped either. Especially sucky since I need a USB label printer using windows-only software to work for my business. I also don't seem to have full compatibility with Flash on some websites through Firefox anymore. The first one is the kicker though. That is enough of an issue to just drive me on over to a Psystar Mac...

Comment Patent if you want the rewards (Score 1) 266

From an examiner: no matter what people may have said before me, or the differing philosophical ideas out there on the subject... if you publish your idea, its gone. Everyone then essentially owns it. That is the key thing to remember. If you go down the road and later think you want a patent after all (over a year), your own publishing of your idea will be used as prior art against you and you are done. If you don't care about ever receiving any financial benefit from your idea, then by all means publish it. Otherwise, save your money, do your research, and apply as soon as you are able. Do the application well the first time, use an attorney who follows your directions but who knows the process, and go from there. Good luck.

Comment Re:Sell your patent (Score 3, Informative) 360

I would agree 100%. As a patent examiner my advice is get an application in, and an application done well the first time through. Once you file, you have a date on record, and that can be a valuable thing. That, and beware who you share your idea with before you get that date. The USPTO has plenty of resources for inventors. Google the web page and read it thoroughly... and hire a reputable IP attorney from an IP focused firm when you are ready... going the pro se route is a recipe for a mess if you've never been through this process before. My disclaimer: DO NOT contact me for patent advice of any kind other than what is presented here in this response. I can not comment further. I will ignore all comments and requests.

Comment Worse idea than rampant CO2 (Score 4, Insightful) 380

As soon as someone thinks that can control or SHOULD control the weather we are doomed. Despite the losses seen in violent storms and other weather events, those events keep our world in balance and in check. There are more factors involved than we can comprehend or yet understand. Changes in humidity, movement of seeds/soils... so many things. The problem is, not to sound too greenie, is that we treat the earth like we own it, not like we are part of it. The more we influence it (actively or passively) the more likely it is to get messed up and for things to get worse for us. We need the Earth... it doesn't need us. I think Gates, the meglomaniac/idiot savant, should stick to giving his billions to those less fortunate and leave mother nature alone.

Submission + - Head phones with Mic for Hear Impaired Uncle

Skull_Leader writes: "As I am not getting any good ideas from my google-fu I thought I'd pose a question to the Slashdot community. Here's the scoop: my 85 year old uncle is very hard of hearing. As a front line combat medic in WWII his hearing took a beating so that now he has a hard time following any conversation not directed directly at him. A hearing aid adds some help, but not enough. Communicating on the phone is almost impossible which is a real issue in cases of emergency. The unique thing (or maybe not so) is that he can hear lower tones better than high ones. Men's voices give him far less trouble than women's. I guess the question I pose to the community is whether anyone has any ideas for a headphone that would have a tone control for incoming sounds so he could bring the tone down and make voices easier to hear. Something he can plug directly into a phone's mic jack would be great. Ideally it would be something that he could also use in regular room conversations as well... with focused sound pick-ups for instance? I'd really like to help him become part of the world again by giving him the gift of conversation back. What say you?"

Comment From a Patent Examiner's Perspective (Score 2, Informative) 195

From someone on the inside I can tell you that this is not a simple issue. As noted, applications and inventions get more complicated, the search for pertinent prior art gets wider and the amount of time we have to do the work gets shorter. In theory they can hire many new examiners... but we are faced with a huge space crunch here as well. Brand new campus and there is limited room/offices for all these new examiners to work. They would like everyone to hotel... which means work from home. But the problem is you have to be a certain grade and have a certain amount of experience before you can do so. A good thing because this is not a job you learn in weeks or months... its one that takes years to learn to do well. Heck, some of us enjoy having our office and prefer this office environment. But the management side of the office is just worried about production... get cases out. The examiners can do more more more... that is until the stress of meeting our unrealistic production quotas burns us out and we quit. That is if you make it that far. I know brand new examiners, less than a year in, that have already looked elsewhere. And these are bright, hardworking people...

Add in the fact that the software we use is a Frankenstein mess of stuff cobbled together from other places and squeezed to work the way we need. We kill more time waiting for and trying to get our tools to work than we often do examining. So what are they doing about it? Hiring top programmers, even pulling examiners who know our system and are great software developers as well to do the work? Maybe hiring a top company who already has their know how in it like Google? No, they keep using the same block headed people as always to produce half baked software that is beta tested live on us trying to do our job. Oops, software doesn't work? Can't produce? Well, you better figure out how to make production. Mind you if the managers don't do their job they don't get reprimanded and often get a bonus on top of things at the end of the year anyway. Examiner who can't keep up get reprimanded and fired.

So the reality is that there is a lot of lip service by the top administrators here about doing the best job, being the best IP org in the world, etc... but the bottom line is that examiners are pushed to their limits trying to do a good job but see little reward or true respect for it in house. Quality of examination goes out the window over production, and at a certain level that is what starts to happen the higher the grade you are since your production ramps up as well.

If you don't believe me... go ask an examiner at the PTO. Ask several and see how far their answers differ. Not much I feel.

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