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Comment Re:It's from Microsoft and this is Slashdot... (Score 1) 1027

I humbly disagree. In a static screenshot of the phone, you're right. In practice, it felt to me positively cinematic. It's like I'd moved from the era when we thought a movie should look like a play with everything contained in its neat little box to a world where new formats are understood to warrant new design paradigms (paradigms like panning over something bigger than your device limited field of view!). I actually like where this OS is pushing the mobile platform and I'm eager to see if Mac and Android (both looking dated and due for major redesigns IMHO) will push it next!

Comment Re:Free rider problem solved? (Score 1) 326

I sympathize with your confusion, but copyrights (works), patents (inventions), and trademarks (logos and names) are conceptually and legally separate. A patent might expire in something like 20 years, but a copyright might be relevant after 100! Some patents (like this one!) appear to totally stifle innovation. It can help a bit to keep in mind when you hear about a crazy patent, that the strategy at the patent office is to let people "stake their claim" pretty freely. This helps separate decisions about who filed first (the domain of patent clerks) from all but the most trivial decisions about the worthiness of what was filed (the domain of a judge). Think of filing a patent as reserving the right to make a challenge in court by publicly announcing your work in a formal legal registry. No patent? Not much chance for legal action later. Patent? Good chance to take legal action later, but no indication of whether the patent will be upheld. So the real issue is whether indefensible patents (like a wedge-shaped notebook!) will be recognized by competitors as meaningless or whether it will scare them off. So far, it seems to me, the good patents on truly innovative inventions are being upheld and the crackpot patents aren't really scaring anyone. There are good counter-examples available and I'm always interested in hearing them to understand more.

Comment Re:the irony is (Score 1) 325

Without taking stand here, it's probably fair to note that 85% of the federal fuel tax is dedicated to road construction and maintenance most of the rest is earmarked for mass transit, so some other changes (reducing road work/reducing cost of contracts/raising the tax, de-earmarking the fund) would be necessary to use the fuel tax to support overseas actions.

Comment Re:Not making money = wasting money (Score 1) 141

Without getting into the debate about how a paid worker spends their day, I will say that contractor status has tax (and patent) implications for an employer, so employees are defined by more than their intended permanence. There are at least 20 common law factors plus a plethora of case law. Remember the case of Microsoft calling employees contractors? The case had impact on everything from supervision of tasks to company picnics! Whether this impacts what anyone thinks of Google day is questionable, except that independent contractors should devise their own methods for meeting needs defined by the client. I suppose that need could be as open-ended or specific as both parties like.

Comment Re:Did your congressman do his duty? (Score 1) 422

Generally, a sovereign government cannot be sued. However, lawsuits can be brought (and have been brought) by average citizens to challenge the constitutionality of the act. In my opinion, people's frustrations in a constitutional democracy most commonly boil down to "why don't a majority of voters agree with my notion of what's best for America" and "why don't federal court judges accept my cursory evaluation of how the law should be interpreted" and I'm no exception on these counts.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 130

I'd recommend all "why isn't this in 3d" posters take a look at boristhespider's response to "Observations indicate that the map must be wrong". The data "is what it is", and it does not claim to be distance data. Building a 3d model from it would make that claim, and informed people in the field apparently wouldn't be so ready to do that for good reasons.

Comment Re:Doesn't add up (Score 1) 159

My reading of the story is that his debt was incurred prior to the Secret Service salary of 75k, and it's easy to imagine Gonzalez short on ready cash and concerned about his credibility (or safety) in the criminal community. It doesn't sound like the Secret Service was concerned enough to pay this relatively meager debt. The Lithuanian "carder" allegedly tortured in Turkey (Yastremskiy) is not the same man as the Secret Service employee (Gonzalez) convicted of credit card theft, and Turkish prison wards may be less sympathetic to requests for legal counsel than their American counterparts. This thread demonstrates how, to some, the blame for an individual misdeed is easily diverted as conspiratorial, and how doing so requires a willingness to blur important details of a case. Gonzalez' new line of argument (that he took people's money because the government made him do so) was likely dismissed by his original lawyer because it was unlikely, unprovable, or had little chance of success given what we are quite certain he did - debit innocent people's bank accounts for his personal use.

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