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Comment Re:They won't come into my building (Score 1) 73

Your argument makes sense, except that Verizon DSL is still 3 to 7 meg in most places, so the 25 meg minimum tier on FiOS is not equivalent. And yes, this shows how far behind Verizon's infrastructure is in the dense northeast US, where it should be easier to provide good networking.

Comment Latency (Score 1) 216

From the article:

Ericsson predict that 5G's latency will be around one millisecond - unperceivable to a human and about 50 times faster than 4G.

Love to see how that's going to work when your destination is on the other side of the planet. The speed of light is only 300,000 km/s or 300 km/millisecond.

Comment Re:Don't they Already Have This (Score 1) 173

Yes. They introduced a thing several months (maybe a year now) ago which gives you five inboxes instead of one. There's one for Social that catches all the stupid emails social networking things send you. There's one for Promotions that catches commercial email (at least, whatever isn't spam-boxed instead). There's one poorly defined one called Updates which is supposed to be for receipts, statements, bills, and confirmations - email related to stuff you bought or business you are involved in, as opposed to Store X's weekly email which is in promotions. And one for Forums is meant to be email from mailing lists. There is also the Primary inbox for everything else, which is meant to be just the real email from friends and such after everything else goes into the other boxes.

This never worked well. The social filter is pretty good. But I am on one mailing list which ends up in Promotions about 2/3 of the time, despite my repeatedly telling GMail to deliver it to Forums instead, and despite the mailing list having no commercial content whatsoever. The filter for Updates is really whacked; anything can end up in here, and the stuff that should go here can end up in Forums, Promotions, or Primary instead.

The new thing sounds similar, but on steroids. More like using labels (which are GMail's equivalent of folders to file email into, except that emails can have more than one label and so the folders aren't exclusive), but letting Google determine the labels by itself. We'll see how good that works.

Comment Re:Yay! (Score 2) 118

The first story about "on a computer" patents getting invalidated is a good thing. But the second story is perhaps even more important. People are taking notice that patent examiners are not doing their jobs. Too many of them are just working one day a week/month/whatever and just rubberstamping their quota of patents, allowing anything whatsoever through the system, and falsely reporting that they worked full time and even overtime, because there is a corrupt culture that lets them get away with it. Exposing this could lead to mass firings, and some sort of system to ensure real accountability.

It's a problem, though, because there's no simple metric to determine whether patent examiners are doing a good job. Using number of patents reviewed as that metric encourages examiners to do a shoddy job actually examining the patents (i.e. what has actually been happening). If they are expected to pass only a certain fraction of patents, this is slightly better since it forces them to actually come up with reasons to reject some patents, but what fraction should they use? Two examiners doing perfect jobs may have very different fractions of accepted patents simply because one got better patents to review than the other, especially if they have different focus areas. Does the patent office even know the fraction of submitted patents in various areas which are good? A better metric would be whether accepted patents survive in the courts, but this depends on somebody actually challenging the patents and takes years after the fact. It might help now throw out some of the patent examiners who clearly haven't been doing their jobs in the past.

I'm not sure what the right solution is. Blind peer review and multiple review? Assign each patent to 2 or 3 different reviewers and call to carpet the ones who most consistently differ from others? Does that even work if half your patent examiners are shirking?

Comment Re:ESPN (Score 2) 401

About 4 or 5 years ago, all the broadcast TV in the US changed over to a digital format, and the digital format includes HDTV broadcasts. If you have an HDTV and an antenna, and you live in a place where you can receive the signals, you can get the HDTV of all the broadcast networks over the air (OTA) with no cable.

It has been reported that Comcast re-compresses the digital HDTV streams, cramming them into a smaller digital channel in their cable system, in order to fit more channels in. This leads to reduced quality in the picture you view on Comcast compared to the OTA HDTV broadcast. I don't know about other cable systems. Here is one such report, though it seems to be specifically about other non-OTA HD channels (where the FIOS broadcast was used for comparison).

Comment Re:3dnewsen article - auto translated? (Score 5, Informative) 155

Specifically, it appears to be a translation-and-back-again of the LA Times article which is the first link in the article, or an automated synonym-substitution (trying to avoid being detected as copyright violation for reposting stories in full, perhaps, though strangely they link to the original article at the bottom). The other articles on their site (see Latest USA News sidebar on the right) appear to have undergone the same process.

Submission + - FEC will not allow bitcoins from campaign contributors (go.com)

memnock writes: ABC new reports: 'Political organizations can't accept contributions in the form of bitcoins, at least for now, The Federal Election Commission said Thursday.

The commission passed on a request by the Conservative Action Fund, a political action committee, to use the digital currency. That group had asked the FEC recently whether it could accept bitcoins, how it could spend them and how donors must report those contributions. It was not immediately clear whether the same ruling would apply to individual political candidates.'
Slashdot reported earlier this week that other federal agencies have taken positions that may recognize or regulate the currency.

Submission + - The Patent Problem Is Bigger Than Trolls

Bob9113 writes: Ars Technica reports the following: "Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset--a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies--at an auction in 2011. Google bid for the patents, but didn't get them. Instead, they went to a group of competitors--Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony--operating under the name "Rockstar Bidco." The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion. This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for--launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1."

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