Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Farm Equipment and how patents once worked... (Score 5, Insightful) 260

I look out the window of my building from my cubicle and see a little sliver of Grant Park on Chicago's lake front to the south. On the other side of Grant Park lies Soldier's Field and McCormick Place.

McCormick Place is named after "Colonel" Robert McCormick, staunch anti FDR Republican and owner of the Chicago Tribune. Colonel McCormick was one of the heirs of the fortune made by Cyrus McCormick selling the McCormick reaper.

The reaper was patented. Obed Hussey had patented a reaper as well. They fought in court over the patents, but both were sold for many years under the separate patents. Obed ended up with the "most" ownership of the design, but they were not exactly alike.

Think about the old saying: "Build a better mouse trap, and the world will beat a path to your door."

As a matter of fact, Massey Ferguson, John Deere, Alice Chalmers and many others made reapers, harvesters, tillers, bailers and many more patented farm equipment. Each performed the same functions, but each did it in a slightly different way. They each were building better mouse traps, not the same one. The US constitution supports patents in section 8:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

The purpose must be to promote, not hinder, the "Progress of Science" and "useful Arts". Temporary, and exclusive, rights "to their respective" creations are granted. Not all creations that perform the same function are protected against, but the ones that do it the way you made it work. If someone else makes a golf ball that is different than your golf ball, they get their patent and you get yours. In this way the 'useful Arts' are promoted. "Build a better golf ball and the golfers will beat a path to your door" has become "and the lawyers will beat a path to the Court."

We have come almost 180 (degrees) in patent law from the simple language of the Constitution. Patents should protect an individual, specific design, and those very close to that specific design. However, they should not hinder novel designs. That would be against what the constitution authorizes. Also they must be time limited, or innovation will be destroyed. Manufacturers often tweak products and file for a new patents, then use the current broad, not specific, reach of patent law to hinder innovative competition.

The current interpretation of patent, and copyright, law clearly is in opposition to the clear language of the constitution. We arrived at where we are through multiple small steps, small interpretations of the law that have us now applying laws that grant broad reaching and almost never ending rights. The current state of the law, as interpreted through the lens of many years of collective case law, hinders innovation, competition and free enterprise.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 5, Insightful) 310

Netflix's push for more original content is, partly, a result of the major studios effort to starve Netflix of content a few years ago.

Netflix decided to use the money it was no longer spending on licensing to the studios to buy or finance Netflix 'original' content. Much of the original content is even made by the TV production departments of the very studios that are complaining about Netflix. If the major studios had financed these productions, they would have made the first pass profits and then licensed re-runs to Netflix.

By breaking this model, the studios left a big chunk of the viewing (and paying) market un-served. Netflix stepped up to the plate and said "We'll take those profits that you are leaving on the table, thank you very much!"

The studios bosses need to read pogo.

Comment Re:lol wat (Score -1, Offtopic) 76

I know a guy who works at a department store to help pay for his college expenses. He happens to be black. He helped an old woman put her items in her car and was very kind and respectful to her. You know what she said to him? She said "you know you're really nice, for a colored boy". This woman was old enough to remember the 1960s, Civil Rights, and all the progress made since then. No young person would say a thing like that unless they were just trying to pick a fight (and even then probably not - there are ways to pick fights that don't stain your reputation by making you known as a bigot).

Ooh! Ooh! Let me try too:

Yeah. A young person would not have complimented him at all. A young person would have treated him like a piece of sh!t. A young person would have looked at him as a barely human species, a member of the servant/lower classes, while they were busy trying to 'curate' a look for their hipster apartment at the department store. You know department stores have retro stuff. Old people shop there. A young person would have been living off money from Mommy and Daddy because they cannot afford the rent in their hipster neighborhood working at the local Whole Foods while their "Design" business takes off, or their scripts finally get used by someone who will pay, and not just used by their friends who run a storefront theater (while living off of their parents until Hollywood comes calling).

A young person would have been annoyed as hell about your friend because they are annoyed by everything and anything. They are annoyed because they know that they are worthless and need to degrade everyone and everything else to not feel so bad about themselves all the time. Young people have never learned what courtesy is and never think to compliment anyone but them selves. Young people can't even manage an Archie Bunker level backhanded compliment like the old person in your story.

How's that for a counter stereotype?

Keep working on your disdain and hatred for others who are not like you. I think you might be able to be a little more prejudice than you currently are. Not much more, you are very close to the maximum already.

Also, no one believes your story.

How's that? Did I do the stereotyping of a whole group of people right like you did?

Comment Re:Worked@IBM in 1980's, left, because sucked. (Score 1) 303

I think that I have an additional example for you.

In the 1990's I worked for MCI at the Garden of the God's facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is currently occupied by Verizon and Xerox. That link has a few images of the place, but they do not do the site justice.

It was a beautiful state of the art building with a beautiful view of the mountains, great parking and a few minutes walk from the incredible Garden of the Gods park. Before MCI was located there it was a Rolm phone facility. Rolm was a division of IBM.

How is this beautiful workplace, in an incredible setting, an example of another data point for you? Obviously it didn't meet IBM's needs of being "windowless, cold, and cavelike" enough for them, so they abandoned it.

Comment Re:wait... what? (Score 2) 73

Wait... Why is it such a news flash that a company is making moves to make their products more valuable to their existing customers, and to expand market share? -- That is, in fact, what they should be expected to do, right??

Yes, but this is Microsoft. For the last decade or so their idea of "make their products more valuable to their existing customers" is getting rid of features, hiding controls and interface selections from users and making the software more difficult to manage on the back end.

Let's not talk about how they expand market share.

If MS is creating a competitive product and expanding market share, good for them! That is big news for them. As you so correctly noted, this is just what is expected from every other company on Earth, but so novel and exciting to see Microsoft trying to do it.

Comment It is a useful comma and should be retained (Score 4, Informative) 331

Efforts to drop the comma originated with newspapers in a time when space on the printed page mattered. word groupings are always clear with it, and may, or may not, be clear without it.

It should be preserved in formal writing.

As the sentence is written in the article, the drivers won the case because the written sentence says exactly what they interpret it to say. The dairy company is on the wrong side of the language.

A comma after the word 'shipment' and before the word 'or' would have made the company the winner.

Comment not alt-facts, just a reasonable statement. (Score 5, Informative) 279

Read the article...

30-50% of the warming is due to natural, not man made, effects.

Or, as scientists have been saying for decades, the majority of the warming (50 - 70%) is due to man made effects.

This includes scientists at shell oil and Exxon-Mobil. I remember debate class in high school, fall of 1979, our team was 'pro' nuclear power. We used research from oil companies about the dangers of global warming as one one the arguments in favor of expanding nuclear power use. We won the debate, despite the fact that the 3 mile island accident happened in spring of '79. That made it a very tough debate to win the pro nuclear side of the argument.

Comment Snow storm? (Score 3, Interesting) 279

Very low rates of commenting today. Could it be the blizzard on the east coast keeping everyone busy?

Good to see it's not all robots posting here.

Back on topic, it's an interesting read. 30-50% may be natural climate trend and the rest man made (50-70%) man made.

It may be good science, but showing 50-70% man made probably won't go down well with the current administration. <sarcasm> Prepare to have the budget cut for this "U.S.-based team of scientists", unless they get their alt-facts corrected.</sarcasm>

Comment Re:no early cable tv was local OTA channels (Score 1) 301

This was especially true out west. If there were a couple of mountains between you and the nearest large city, everyone got the local OTA channels from cable. Usually run by the local electricity supplier. Then big independent stations from places like Atlanta and Chicago started to go nationwide via cable. The 1970's had 'premium' cable channels starting out. This exploded in the early 1980's. This is when cable companies started charging more and more. The premium channels started out commercial free.

Slashdot Top Deals

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin