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Comment Re:This won't be popular... (Score 1) 514

This. This is why slashdot has gone to hell. A rational, reasoned argument that's unpopular gets modded flamebait. If you disagree, give a cogent argument instead of hiding behind fake moderation.

To those who say it's unconstitutional - you don't know wtf the constitution says or how it works. The Constitution doesn't mean whatever your 21st century addled brain reads into the words. There are 200+ years of jurisprudence defining the breadth and extent of Constitutional rights. Border searches (including phone searches) are not unconstitutional. But don't take my professional word for it (IAAL). Ask the ACLU. If it were unC, the ACLU and others would have a field day hauling the CBP into court (not that they haven't tried).

The whiny adolescent anarcho-libertarian groupthink around here is out of control. Time to raze slashdot to the ground and start over. I'm done. Peace out.

Comment This won't be popular... (Score 1, Flamebait) 514

This won't be popular but: grow up. Nobody cares what's on your stupid phone. Border guards are mostly worried about - wait for it - protecting the border. They're not snooping people's Facebook accounts so they can post "ZOMG I eat dicks!" on there.

Nobody cares about the following items on your phone: your super-secret plans for an internet startup; your questionable pics in various states of undress (unless you're a supermodel); your ebook copy of Das Kapital; those drunks texts you sent your ex at 2am; or anything else personally sensitive / embarrassing. It's garbage. Border guards couldn't give a shit. All they want to check is that you're not posting pro-ISIS messages or smuggling drugs. That's it. Anything else is tinfoil hat delusional fantasies.

That's not to say all border guards are saints. Some may give you a hard time just because they can. But if you could show any of them took material from your phone and used it outside their job, they would be insta-fired and probably be incarcerated. No one's going to risk their career and their freedom for a few naughty pics.

If you're engaged in illegal activity, by all means refuse to unlock your phone. If you're paranoid about Teh Fedz sending black helicopters to trail you, then don't unlock your phone (also, seek mental help). Otherwise just do it and get it over with.

I'm not saying "you should unlock your phone because only criminals have something to hide". Not at all. I'm saying it's like a proctology exam. Yeah it sucks, and in an ideal world we shouldn't have to do it. But the best thing for all involved is to just man up and get it over with, then get on with your life. Not everything is worth making a federal case about.

If you're traveling to shady third-world banana republics or anywhere the standard response is "da, komrade" - then it may be worth getting a burner phone. But for western democracies, nobody gives two shits what crap you have on there.

Comment Re:Creative solution to patent trolls (Score 1) 455

It seems to me that if more people sued when patents were not implemented, we might have less patents out there making every developers life worse.

There never has been and never will be a practice requirement in US patent law (i.e. use your patent or lose it). Tons of things are patented because they are technically possible, but never marketed for a variety of reasons: too expensive to manufacture, not enough consumer demand, can't get enough financing, etc. Sometimes these inventions turn out to be useful later when technology / market demand catches up.

You will never convince the vast entrenched interests (companies, universities, solo inventors) to sacrifice these potential future gains just to hamper patent trolls. I suspect the trolls would adapt anyway ("See, we have one guy making widgets to sell on the street corner! We're a manufacturer!").

Comment Re:Primary factor (Score 1) 455

Let's understand the REAL issue here; the PATENT prevented everyone else from implementing a safety.

Nope, not at all. I work in patents. Another company could easily implement this feature exactly as claimed in the patent by negotiating a license with the patent holder (Apple). Or they could devise another system that works much the same way but avoids the precise bounds of the patent. Companies do this all the time, it's called design-around.

I'm dubious whether the patented system is feasible anyway. You would need some extra hardware in the phone and/or car to determine an occupant's position, or some heavy-duty AI / object recognition to tell where every person is sitting in every car in the world using the view from the phone's camera. A patent just means it's possible on a technical level, it may be completely impractical (read: expensive) to do in practice.

Comment Re:Yes please (Score 1) 304

We have members of congress regularly voting on bill that they themselves haven't read and don't understand.

Life is complicated. Legislation addresses thousand of issues, many of which are niche regulations affecting various industries, schools, government agencies, etc. Congress(wo)men can't possibly have expertise on them all.

The fact that ordinary people can't understand them is irrelevant - a regulation on sulfur emissions from coal plants has no meaning to Joe Shmoe. The U.S. is a big complicated country. Having laws only the average citizen understands would put us back in the age of robber barons.

The process (mostly) works because interest groups on all sides have experts who do understand the laws being proposed, and congress(wo)men regularly hear their opinions - including groups representing the public interest like EFF, ACLU, etc. Sometimes their concerns are dismissed, and sometimes congress(wo)men vote on interests besides good public policy (whether as favors to friends, placating donors, getting funding for their district, ideological rejections, etc). But almost nothing is passed without dissenting views at least being heard and considered by the committee.

Given the potential for abuse, it's shocking the system works as well as it does most of time. But it does work fairly well - the system hasn't imploded in 200 years (100 if you count from the beginning of industrial regulation).

Comment Re:kind of ruins the point....... (Score 1) 308

What is the university? Does it exist apart from the people giving it being? The "university" is nothing but shorthand for a group of people. If the vast majority of those people care about teaching, saying that the university cares about teaching is a useful and meaningful shorthand. It's like saying the teachers care about teaching - teachers are just another grouping of people. Pedantic troll is overly pedantic.

Comment Re:To hire specific people (Score 1) 465

Hello, I am the CEO of a giant company. Regarding your comment, can you explain the term "good faith" ? I have never heard this term before. Thanks.

Yes you have, just in different terms. It means don't leave a paper trail. Off the record. Send the secretary out of the board meeting to get coffee before discussing.

Comment Re:actual "platform" (Score 1) 668

Here is the actual Tea Party platform

Any group can come up with a bland set of principles that no one could possibly disagree with. "You don't like helping orphans and widows? You monster!"

As always, the devil is in the details. What are "excessive" taxes? How exactly does one "abide by the constitution"? This is where the Tea Party's interpretations diverge into fantasy land. But you'll never get that from a generic list of "principles".

Comment Re:Not sure. But I am opting out of the new slashd (Score 1) 193

I've seen and was horrified. Once the "old" slashdot goes away, so will this nearly two-decade user.
by Anonymous Coward on Fri Oct 18, '13 04:18 PM (#45169199)

Finally! That anonymous coward guy has been filling the forums with spam for years. I thought we'd never get rid of him.

Comment Incomplete Story (Score 5, Informative) 153

The Ars Technica piece is very slanted, pulling quotes our of context. Here's the full text of the speech itself:

For instance, compare these quotes, which give a very different perspective:

"But it is equally important that patent protection be properly tailored in scope, so that programmers can write code and engineers can design devices without fear of unfounded accusations of infringement. And we know that inconsistency in software patent issuance causes uncertainty in the marketplace and can cause threats of litigation that in turn can stifle innovation and deter new market entrants."

"Software experts have long observed that programming is incremental in nature, with modest improvements not worthy of patent protection. KSR gave us the ability to recognize this valid observation and incorporate it in our examination process."

"Should we just accept the problems, given the importance of the innovation and the illogic of discriminating against great technology that happens to be implemented in software? Of course not. The right point of inquiry is quality. By getting that right, we grant patents only for great algorithmic ideas worthy of protection, and not for everything else. This administration and its innovation agency understand that low-quality patents do no good for anyone. Low quality patents lead to disputes, uncertainty, and lost opportunity. Quality is central to our mission. All of this especially for software."

"One such initiative has already begun crowdsourcing searches for software prior art. It's called Ask Patents and is an online network hosted by Stack Exchange, where software experts engage in robust discussions of possible prior art for given applications, then submit the best prior art along with helpful commentary."

"You know, the history of software patents is not a perfect one, although things are improving. Some of the most troublesome patents have expired; others can be challenged with new post-grant proceedings; and newer patents are quantifiably clearer, and aligned with current legal standards."

"For those who feel more needs to be done, we encourage you to keep reaching out to us at the USPTO, as well as to other actors who also have an important role to play. The USPTO administers the laws, while Congress and the courts write the laws and interpret them, respectively. Working together, we can find the right balance for software patents. We can find a balance that ensures market certainty, encourages investment and research and product development, and guarantees that patents issued going forward are appropriately tailored."

Comment Calm down (Score 4, Informative) 198

All IP is not created equal. Here they are simply talking about trademarking by regions. Why? Because of vanilla. Madagascar vanilla was recognized as the best in the world. But Madagascar farmers got like 10 cents per pod, while the pods sell in NY for 50 dollars a pod (made up numbers, but you get the point). So the farmers create a geographical indicator (GI) for Madagascar vanilla, certify their product, and now make 25 dollars per pod.

Coffee is just following this model, so you can market Zimbabwe coffee and Ghana coffee and wherever else and the farmers get to keep a greater share of the profits. Honestly I don't see how this is anything but good - poor farmers keep more of the market value of their product.

When you hear the word IP, don't foam at the mouth picturing Simon Legree twirling his mustache. Stop, think, and listen. IP is just a tool, it can be used for good or ill.

Comment Re:"Fewer suites per patent", but 5x the patents (Score 1) 152

And of course I don't need to address the "if it wasn't a good idea, we wouldn't be succeeding", around here, do I? So damned fallacious.

Yes, that argument is fallacious. However what he should have said is "If software patents are such a terrible drain, why do we still have the most valuable, innovative software industry in the world?". Proof by example can't show you have the best system, but it can show you have a functioning system. And that's a much harder question to answer.

Comment Re:With all due respect... (Score 1) 152

Patent-intensive industries have the lowest number of self-employed workers, at 2.2% (vs 16% for copyright-intensive industries). This indicates to me that patent-intensive industries do not support capital-poor startups very well.

Does not compute. Patent intensive industries are technologically complex fields like biotech, semiconductors, etc. Such sophisticated endeavors require teams of people working together. Progress is too difficult for one person to go it alone. Even a healthy startup ecosystem will have many more employees than entrepreneurs at a given moment - how many startups survive past the first year? Past five?

Compare to copyright industries where you have many freelance authors, graphic designers, musicians, etc. Its no wonder the percentage is much higher.

tl;dr - Nothing to see here, move along.

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