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Comment Re:Do the kids still chase the newest video card? (Score 4, Insightful) 75

It's true that the OP's comment did not give much explanation, but it at least had a constructive tone to it. Your response, however, was sarcastic and insulting. You have some good insight. Your comment history shows a lot of intelligence, but so much of your energy seems to go into belittling others. If you take a more constructive approach, you'll reach a lot more people. Occasionally a sarcastic remark can be an effective way to make a point, but it usually just turns people away and makes your effort go to waste.

Comment Re:Do the kids still chase the newest video card? (Score 1) 75

I didn't really understand this to be anything other than complaining about the consoles being underpowered...

Yes, you didn't really understand. The OP did not acknowledge that having console architecture closer to PC architecture solves the problem. He acknowledged that it is an improvement, not a solution. As an example, Xbox has always had hardware architecture pretty similar to a PC, but that does not mean games ported from Xbox to PC take good advantage of high-end PC hardware. It still takes more work for the dev team to create higher quality assets (textures, models, etc) and make use of advanced HW features. A company focused on the console release probably won't bother.

It could be argued that there is too much emphasis on graphics anyway, but it's understandable if somone who spends 4-5x the cost of a console wants games to take advantage of that superior hardware.

Comment Re:In place upgrades still unsupported? (Score 2) 134

I've done in-place upgrades on Ubuntu at least a couple of times. I never saw a single problem from it. I was surprised it worked so flawlessly since it seems like something that could be hard to get right.

I've not been happy with a lot of Ubuntu's recent decisions, but in my experience this is one thing they got right.

Comment Re:Cartoon Face Generation (Score 1) 117

Even 20 years ago I would probably use the term "smart" rather than "clever". Using the location of features to represent a face is pretty intuitive, and although there are other concepts covered in Microsoft's patent, none of it looks especially innovative. Of course, the issue here goes beyond Microsoft and is more about the patent office.

I understand that the patent office has limited resources and a lot of requests, but they need to do a better job with the resources they have. I suggest something like the following, which forces the patent submitter to better describe why they deserve the patent ...

The submitter is required to provide an ordered list of the innovative aspects of the patent. They must describe each such "assertion" in less than 500 characters. An assertion can reference details in the patent body, but the core argument must be brief and clear. The patent office (with input from the public) starts at the top of the list to review the asserted innovations. Once two assertions are struck down, every assertion after the second rejection is implicitly rejected. This gives the submitter motivation to put the most innovative assertions at the top of the list, and it limits the amount of mundane filler a patent reviewer must sift through. All rejected assertions become like prior art for use in evaluating future patent applications.

Comment Re:Hold your horses (Score 1) 117

The point is to get the scale of the task more manageable. There are already ways for the public to make arguments against patents (though I'm sure there's room for improvement), but when the burden is on the reviewers (whether in the patent office or outside) to counter every piece of fluff in the application, it becomes a huge task. I suggest something like this...

The submitter is required to highlight what they consider to be innovative aspects of the patent with the most novel listed first. They get only a few lines (maybe 500 characters) to describe each of these "assertions". An assertion can reference details in the patent body, but the core argument must be brief and clear.

A reviewer can then start at the top of the list to review the asserted innovations. Once the patent office (considering input from the public) strikes down two assertions in the list, every assertion after the second rejection is implicitly rejected. All rejected assertions become like prior art for use in evaluating future patent applications.

Comment Re:Hold your horses (Score 1) 117

From looking at the patent, the problem is it appears to be a pretty status-quo technique with only arbitrary differences from what anyone else might do. If anything there is really innovative, I'd like someone to point out what it is. To be fair, this article says less about Microsoft and more about the patent office's low bar for granting patents.

I understand that the patent office has limited resources and a lot of requests, but we cannot continue to depend on the court system to sort out what is novel and what isn't. For one, the courts are really bad at it with inconsistent results at best. Also, waiting for courts to resolve the matter does not prevent companies with lots of lawyers from using bogus patents to threaten and extort. Even if a patent is meaningless, smaller players cannot afford the legal battle.

The burden should really be on the patent submitter to point out exactly what is so innovative as do deserve a government enforced monopoly over the approach. If the patent is 90% mundane details, it should not be the job of the patent office to pick out what is worthwhile. If the submitter cannot make a concise and convincing argument, then they don't deserve a patent.

Comment Re:about (Score 1) 116

And so with software. Software is properly governed by copyright, not patents. Where the software represents novel business practices or formulae, those business practices and formulae may be patentable. But according to ages-old court precedent, software itself never should have been.

I was under the impression that patent law does follow this rule and that "software" patents are really just business method patents in the context of software. The problem is that the idea of a "business method" is too broad and too easy to dress up as novel even when it isn't (especially when it applies to software).

Comment Re:Very un-PC (Score 1) 719

A correction. I should have quoted the 501(c)(4) rules ...
"The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f)."

Some of the organizations in question may really qualify for tax-exempt status under current law, but any such organization with clear political ties should expect to be scrutinized, and the IRS has the authority to do so. If an organization doesn't want that, then they can just pay their taxes like the rest of us.

Comment Re:Very un-PC (Score 1) 719

The IRS is entirely within their right to highly scrutinize requests for tax-exempt status. They just need to do so without political (or racial, gender, etc) bias. The tax rules against political groups getting 501(c)(3) status are already in place ...
"it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates"

The IRS just needs to to their job and enforce it-- FOR EVERYONE.

Comment Re:Very un-PC (Score 5, Insightful) 719

The IRS was right to apologize, but they apologized for the wrong thing. They should have put EVERY political group seeking tax-exempt status through this kind of scrutiny. The fact that these groups (both left and right) get to avoid taxes while manipulating elections is embarassing. Of course, the real problem is that they have so much power and so little transparency to start with, but if the only victory we can get right now is to make them pay taxes, let's start with that.

Comment Re:Sounds good. (Score 1) 614

Here's a start.
Yes, it's xkcd, but it's no joke. It's a serious graph based on mathematical analysis of voting similarities. Notice the severe erosion of moderate republicans in recent years. The democrats show some of it too but not nearly as much. This is a real problem for the republican party. Just look at the last two presidential elections. Republicans with moderate histories were forced to redefine themselves to appeal to a republican base that is supposedly allergic to any hint of compromise. This is a disservice to all citizens-- moderates, democrats, and certainly republicans. I really want to have more than one viable candidate I can vote for, but it's difficult for me to support a candidate who acts like a puppet to some party agenda.

Comment Re:Paying off a subsidy that's already paid off (Score 3, Insightful) 133

I got a fully paid phone (won as a door prize) unlocked by AT&T back around 2005, but I had to go through multiple levels of customer support to do it-- took a lot longer than a minute. It is somewhat surprising that they unlocked a phone for you while still under contract, but technically they don't need the phone to be locked if the contract's early termination fee covers the phone subsidy.

Manufacturers generally have no interest in locking the phone (definitely not to a carrier and often not even the bootloader). It does not benefit them. It's the carriers that want locking and will usually make that a requirement before subsidizing or promoting the phone.

Comment Re:It's stupid though (Score 4, Funny) 286

Don't you see? WD has invented the idea of having an SSD and an HDD show up as separate devices! It's ingenious! Next they're going to move beyond computers and re-invent the classic Swiss army knife. Instead of having all the tools inconveniently stuck together, they'll have a bunch of separate tools in a box!

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