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Comment Why getting paid anonymously is better (Score 1) 144

All bank notes have a unique identifying number, so receiving banknotes without them being linked to you means you can be more sure that you're free to do whatever you like with that money (join a gay dating site, pay for health tests, donate to activist groups, etc.) without someone having a record linking you to your purchases.

It also cuts out the banks, who can be controlled by corrupt governments (i.e. all of them, to varying degrees) who can get your accounts frozen, even when doing so is illegal. Just ask Julian Assange. Sometimes private businesses (e.g. PayPal) can do this too.

Comment Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 1) 113

> you are frustrated by the negative tone, the airing of "dirty laundry," etc.

On the contrary. I'm disappointed that the blogger ignored the dirtier laundry and instead focussed on the attention grabbing stuff like monkey selfies.

He indeed proposes solutions, but he doesn't mention that similar things have been in discussion for years and there are known problems with these proposals.

That's what I call disingenuous. The author seems informed about Wikipedia, so he should know that his missing the target and spreading out of date ideas.

Comment Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 1) 113

(Thanks for the friendly reply, quite disarming, sorry I was a bit abrasive.)

The monkey-selfie story is a red flag for me because it's a honeypot for zero-effort journalists. The headlines come already half-written. It does have to get solved, but there are loads of other issues that are at least as important but are getting no attention from journalists because they'd take more work.

The proposed (and rejected) use of patented video formats is a much bigger story but it has no buzzwords and what picture are they going to show under the headline? Or, I'd be delighted to see an article ridiculing the quality of the articles about football/soccer players, which are written event-by-event by fans of that player and rarely given a top-down coherency review or any critical review at all. But that would also take time to research.

The blog entry's coverage of transparency/anonymity is also poor. Only one side is presented, and it's presented like it were an issue that WF has not yet tried to address. The truth is that it's been discussed to death and the blog entry's suggestions are mostly impossible. Some people need to be anonymous, and WF couldn't check everyone's identity even if there was consensus for it.

It's clear the author of that blog entry knows Wikipedia, so it's hard to imagine that he's unaware of the state of he anonymity debate, or that there are strong arguments for anonymity. So that's another red flag for disingenuous writing.

The suggestions regarding biographies of living persons too. The debate is much more advanced than what is presented in the blog entry, and it seems strange that the blog author doesn't know this.

(I haven't read reviews of Wikimania2014. I didn't even know it took place. The Wikimania conferences are a non-event for 99% of Wikipedia editors. That might explain lack of coverage in non-UK press.)

Comment Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 2) 113

I'm interested in those problems. I'm just not interested in being informed by a ranter who's selective coverage indicates that he has an agenda other than simply providing an overview of the issues in question. That sort of person might disingenuously provide out of date info, or leave out key facts.

He makes out like Wikipedia is screwing the world, and that contradicts my observations that Wikipedia is massively making the world a better place to live in. If someone tells me the sky is usually green, that person better impress me quickly before I stop listening.

> you've failed to admit that you're a hardcore Wikipedian yourself

Oh no! You've uncovered my secret which I mention on my homepage, which I often mention on slashdot, and which was surely obvious from the context. I've added it to my Slashdot bio too now. (I have 14,000+ edits spanning ten+ years)

Comment Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (Score 2) 113

> the author also talks about very positive aspects of the event

Don't be distracted. He threw in a few kind words about the "sense of enjoyment" and he finishes by saying he didn't hate the conference. Surely that's not enough to make you think the author is objective?

On everything of substance the blog entry was moan, moan, moan.

I'm very interested in discussing Wikipedia's problems.* But I've no time for disingenuous rants like this one.

(* such as declining numbers of active editors, and the increasing rate at which edits are reverted by small groups of editors who think they "own" the consensus of the article, and the declining use of Talk pages, and the lack of control over bots.)

Comment Read the article, it's nonsense (Score 4, Informative) 113

The linked article is just tabloid journalism.

I wrote a comment about how the media experts were focussing on the wrong problems and how they clearly -surprisingly- knew very little about Wikipedia and its problems - BUT then I read the source article and found it's just an attack piece, cherry picking the least interesting parts of the conference and painting every controversy as being the fault of an iron-fist dictat from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What I learned: wikipediocracy is a nonsense website.

Comment How I'm learning German (Score 4, Informative) 75

FWIW, I'm also learning German. It's the fifth language I'm learning as an adult and it's definitely the toughest. I've never found any good software or edu-websites, I just use the old methods. I watch a lot of German telly:

* http://mediathek.daserste.de/s...
* http://www.zdf.de/Sendungen-vo...

Series are the easiest because you can get to know the characters and then they're kinda predictable so you can't get completely lost. The News is easy enough because there's lots of pictures and you'll know the context of most stories, but it doesn't teach you conversational German. Comedy can be the toughest. On Das Erste, there's a crime drama most Friday and Sunday nights called Tatort which is good because there's also a version for blind people ("hÃrfassung" - o-umlaut between h and r, if that doesn't display right), which has everything of the normal version plus one extra voice describing the visuals, so you hear a lot more words.

I also read German translations of books I've already read. And when I'm cooking I leave on WDR5 talk radio in the background, all to help develop a feel for how the language sounds when used correctly:

* http://www.listenlive.eu/germa...

And I do tandems with a native German:

* http://conversationexchange.co...

Oh, and of course I'm working my way through a book with grammar and exercises.

Yeh, German's a tough nut to crack alright. Unlike Spanish, you have to do a lot of grammar before you can really start building sentences (the declensions are what frustrate me most) but I think it's a language where your effort won't show at first, but then there's the breakthrough later.

Comment A big problem, but also the only missing piece (Score 1) 263

With regard to this, one helpful thing in the ruling is that the Court says that old and ubiquitous technologies don't count when judging if an abstract concept has been transformed into a patentable application of said abstract concept.

(Patent lawyers are up in arms about this, complaining that the Court has "mixed up article 101 (subject matter) with articles 102 (prior art) and 103 (obviousness)". To get more patents, they want to reduce the "abstract ideas" exception to a theoretical concept that only happens inside people's brains any patent application can pass.)

So Timothy's right (as usual), but still, at least we have the Justices acknowledging that algorithms shouldn't be patentable, and that "on a computer" doesn't make a non-patentable concept patentable. All we have to do is bridge that last gap and show them that all software is math:


For Alice v. CLS, more analyses listed at the end of this page:


Comment I wrote the headline, and it's correct (Score 3, Insightful) 220

I know the headline is correct because Gene Quinn is hopping mad. Quinn makes a living by obtaining software patents and always says he can draft around any limits imposed by the courts, but here's what he's saying today:

"an intellectually bankrupt opinion ... will render many hundreds of thousands of software patents completely useless ... On first read I donâ(TM)t see how any software patent claims written as method or systems claims can survive challenge."


I didn't want to trust my own reading, but I knew it was a big victory when I read Quinn's reaction.

Submission + - US Supreme Court invalidates patent for being software patent (swpat.org)

ciaran_o_riordan writes: The US Supreme Court has just invalidated a patent for being a software patent! To no fanfare, the Court has spent the past months reviewing a case, Alice v. CLS Bank, which posed the question of "Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions ... are directed to patent-eligible subject matter". Their ruling was just published, and what we can say already is that the court was unanimous in finding this particular software patent invalid, saying: "the method claims, which merely require generic computer implementation, fail to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention", and go on to conclude that because "petitioner’s system and media claims add nothing of substance to the underlying abstract idea, we hold that they too are patent ineligible". The 'End Software Patents' wiki has a page for commenting the key extracts and listing third-party analyses. Analysis will appear there as the day(s) goes on. Careful reading is needed to get an idea of what is clearly invalidated (file formats?), and what areas are left for future rulings. If you can help, well, it's a wiki. Software Freedom Law Center's website will also be worth checking in the near future.

Comment Great. Protects me against my employer (Score 2) 135

Fantastic news.

I mention my Wikipedia activities in the "Other interests" section of my CV but I'm always worried that employers will misinterpret it as an offer to polish their image. With this rule change, if an employer does ask me to "Hey, since you know how this wiki thing works, can you correct some stuff?" I can say that I could but I'd have to declare it as being paid work.

That'll make them less interested, so I'm less likely to get put in that situation to begin with.

(Some other comments rubbished the idea because it won't get 100% compliance but they're missing the point. Improvement is improvement.)

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