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Comment Re:Google's forgoten its obligation to shareholder (Score 1) 134

No company is legally obligated to maximize (or even increase) shareholder value. They are required to attempt to make money (due to IRS requirements). Otherwise, Google may run its business as it sees fit, pursuant to its corporate charter. Furthermore, Google voting stock is controlled by just 3 people, so the Google founders don't really have to listen to stockholders at all.

Comment Re:The Hypocrisy (Score 3, Insightful) 72

While you might agree or disagree with the laws themselves, the government is not displaying hypocrisy in this instance. The CEO for StealthGenie was not arrested for providing software, but advertising software for an illegal purpose. Since it is legal for parents to spy on their minor children, had StealthGenie advertised their product only for that use, it would have been legal. While duct tape is perfectly legal, it is illegal for me to advertise duct tape as "The best tape for securing your kidnapping victims". This is the same situation as StealthGenie.

A great example of this in the real world is water bongs. In my community, it is legal to make a bong and legal to sell them. So, every shop that does so advertises them for tabacco use. Now, the shop knows that 99%+ of their customers will use the bong for marijuana, but as long as they don't advertise that, they are fine.

Comment Re:Overrated? (Score 4, Interesting) 194

In both cases the sex act was consensual. In one case he told the woman he would wear a condom and didn't. In the second case, a day earlier than the first, he had sex with a condom and then woke up in the middle of the night and had sex again, this time without a condom. The women, who knew each other, wanted him to get tested for stds. Both charges are misdemeanors in Sweden, punishable by a fine, and not even a crime in the UK.

Assange has offered to receive questioning in a neutral location and Sweden has refused. He has offered to return to Sweden for questioning if they promise, with the force of law, that he will not be extradited to the U.S. Again, Sweden refused. Between Sweden and the UK, they have spent more than $10 million on this case.

What Assange did is not acceptable behavior, but the actions of Sweden and UK make little sense solely given the crimes for which he is accused.

Comment Re:No algorithm should mean no patent (Score 1) 338

Oh, I don't know about that. With a good flow chart, I think a decent programmer can come up with an implementation of the algorithm.

The inventive step here is the how, not the what. If Microsoft was granted a patent on one of the implementations, I would be fine with that. Instead, Microsoft was granted a patent on a very general, obvious, process flow, with all the inventive steps represented as black boxes that they can fill with anything they choose.

Well, yeah, but there's also the specification discussing those steps. Additionally, if I give you, a carpenter, an instruction to fasten two boards together, that's very general and provides no real details... But you can probably come up with a dozen different ways to do so, including nails, screws, glue, dovetail joints, etc. If my overall furniture design for a combination couch/toilet is novel and nonobvious, why shouldn't I be able to claim any trivial variation of the design? Or conversely, why should you get to claim you don't infringe because you used Phillips screws rather than flathead screws?

Are you suggesting that the idea of fastening together two boards is patentable subject matter? If someone invents a novel and non-obvious way of fastening boards together, I think they deserve a patent, but only on their implementation.

In this case, there are non-trivial variations. The hard work, the inventive steps, are left as black boxes in this patent. The difficulty in implementing this idea is not in the process flow, but in the "analysis" and "models." In your couch/toilet idea, should you also get to own all non-trivial variations? In this patent, Microsoft does.

And if their idea is novel and nonobvious, then they should get a claim to cover nearly every implementation. Mind you, this doesn't mean the idea is novel or nonobvious, and a lot of time, those claims get significantly narrowed before the patent is ever issued. But, if, for example, you come up with a working method for faster than light communication, why shouldn't you get a claim that covers such a method, whether it's done in hardware or software, runs Windows or Linux, written in C or COBOL, etc.?

Nobody should be able to patent the concept of "faster than light communication." The implementation can be patented, in any form, but that has nothing to do with this patent. Microsoft has not patented any implementation, it has patented a very reasonable process flow for acheiving a wide variety of implementations. This patent would apply whether it extracts keywords from the page or whether it uses complex machine learning algorithms to analyze the text. They are trying to patent the idea of turning print media into images in as broad a stroke as possible.

I am sure this patent will be scaled back, but only after someone has paid millions of dollars to fight it. This patent does nothing to "promote the progress of Science", it is a roadblock.

Comment Re:No algorithm should mean no patent (Score 1) 338

I think the complaint here is that there is nothing in those flow charts that reveal how they plan to accomplish this. They have provided many very broad and generic requirements, but they don't reveal any nuts and bolts. The devil's in the details with a system this complex. The result is that no one skilled in programming could take this patent and learn anything about how to make this "invention." Conversely, many people could run afoul of this patent by making a myriad of different implementations that follow a basic framework.

For example, from figure 4, "Generate a model information associated with the text", in figure 5 "Analyze the text for a contextual cue", or from figure 6 "Analyze the second image for auxilary information." All of these are very general and provide no real details to indicate the actual "how" to make this work. For each of these steps there are numerous ways to accomplish "analysis" or "generating a model," but Microsoft doesn't tell us what these vague terms mean in the context of this patent.

Given these figures, Microsoft is claiming an incredibly broad patent that covers nearly every implementation of this idea, so long as it follows a very broad framework (that is likely to be used by anyone trying to acheive this idea).

Comment Re:The premise is still borked (Score 1) 545

The French Revolution was not started by the masses. It was started by the wealthiest members of society in a bid to get more power from the monarchy. Although it went awry, there were high noblemen in premier positions of power in each phase of the revolution, even on the Committee of Public Safety. Despite the rhetoric, the French Revolution had little to do with equality. It was a struggle between wealthy factions for power and resources.

I cannot think of even one successful rebellion started by the masses, or by members of the "Third Estate." There is little danger in the rich saying "fuck the poor," so long as they say it with one voice. Revolutions are only possible when the rich and powerful fight among themselves.

Comment Re:We still don't know much of the situation (Score 3, Informative) 205

Snowden has been planning this for years. Do you think he hadn't though about that possibility? The Guardian reporter was quite clear that Snowden doesn't want the information falling into the wrong hands. To that end, according to the reporter, the information he is carrying is heavily encrypted and he doesn't have the keys. He spread copies of the encrypted data and copies of the keys to trusted associates around the world. If something happens to him, then they can share their keys and reveal the information. While the Russians could break it in time, by then the information will have considerably less value.

Comment Re: or could it be ... (Score 2) 341

Pot is legal to grow for personal consumption (or to give freely to others) in the state of Colorado (although it is still against Federal laws). As a consequence, it is more out in the open than in other states, so I doubt this would draw attention from drones. How about a "I support Snowden" poster instead?

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