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Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 195

They are written vague on purpose, because to be specific, would allow others to build upon your patent, and patent their improvements, locking you into a stale old way of building said invention, never able to improve it.

This is precisely the type of abuse, by a handful of unscrupulous assholes (patent holders being, relative to the entirety of the population, a handful of people), which I propose we amend patent laws to prevent.

And, by amend, I truly mean "actually enforce the laws as written", since they already require some degree of specificity.

I am a patent lawyer, and I completely agree. My patents, of course, are clear and informative; but yes, there are many terrible ones out there. Frankly, it's partly unscrupulous assholes, but mostly incompetent and lazy assholes: to write a good patent application, you have to understand the invention... too many patent lawyers skip that step, take whatever the inventor sent them and slap some boilerplate "in some embodiments" language on it, and file it. Heck, you can still charge the same amount as a well-written patent, but can crank it out in an afternoon! What a world!

Fortunately, the courts and the patent office are finally pushing back on this. Most of the "abstract idea" rejections under Bilski and Alice Corp and other related 35 USC 101 cases are really about badly written patents that claim "A method for doing something awesome, comprising: applying rules, by an expert computer system, to do something awesome." What rules? How does it achieve that awesome result? Fark if anyone knows... the person drafting the patent sure as hell didn't. The cases that are being upheld are the ones that go into detail about what calculations are being performed, how the thing works, the low-level specifics of what it does, etc.

That said, patent law and courts and such are glacial. It'll be another decade and change before patents drafted and granted, say, 5 years ago, expire. And patent litigation with terrible patents will keep popping up over that time. But maybe by the 2030s, things'll start looking better. \_()_/

It's debatable whether the term should be shortened; many would argue it should be extended, as was done with copyright. Personally, I believe that patents and copyright were given the terms they were originally given based on how long it took to produce and circulate a work at the time that those respective laws were written; as both now take considerably less time, yes, I agree that the terms should be shortened.

Patent term has only ever been extended twice, and the second one wasn't a real extension (the change from 17-years-from-issue to 20-years-from-filing was based on an average 3 year prosecution queue, so the result is the same). Copyright has big money publishers on one side like Sony, Disney, Columbia, etc. wanting longer term and, what, pirates? The public? No money on the other side. So your bought-and-sold Congresscritter happily votes for term extensions.
But in patents, Apple, say, wants longer terms for their own patents, but shorter terms for Google and Microsoft's. And vice versa. So you get this pressure on both sides, with no real imbalance in money and lobbyists.

Incidentally, there's a safety valve in patent term already - patent owners have to pay maintenance fees that increase over the life of the patent, or it goes abandoned. Most patents in the tech sector are abandoned long before that 20 year term expires, because, after 10 years, say, they're obsolete. It's the pharmaceutical people who try to keep them alive until the very end, because of how long R&D and FDA approval takes. Increasing those maintenance fees would have the same effect of shortening patent term in fast moving industries while keeping it long where it's needed.

Comment Re:Junk Science (Score 1) 186

You apparently don't realize that until quite recently the Chinese have steadfastly refused to indulge in any CO2-limiting treaties, thus ensuring that very few other countries will do so either.

Also, the Chinese probably *want* global warming - provided it can be kept from snowballing into a transition back to a "Hothouse Earth". Like Russia and Canada, much of their country is frozen wasteland that will benefit immensely from the warming.

Comment Re:This will be denied by all the idiots (Score 4, Informative) 186

No, you weren't. There was a *very* small fringe of the scientific community that ever believed in global cooling - that the media chose to latch onto it is irrelevant.

Also only a very small fringe warned of ice caps melting by 2000 - but again, sensationalism sells news, so that's what the media latched onto.

Early on the vast bulk of scientists said "we're not really sure just how fast things will get bad, but we should probably start mitigating the risk while we collect more data". Then, about 50 years ago they had enough data to start making predictions - and those predictions have been proving accurate to within the margins of error ever since. Basically for the last several decades of the science has just been a matter of dialing in the decimal points and discovering knock-on effects.

And most importantly, NOBODY has come up with *any* alternate explanations for the warming we're experiencing that actually matches the data. Data which "coincidentally" is exactly what you'd predict from the well-known thermal retention effects of CO2. And that CO2 can be clearly laid at human's feet because it's accumulating in the atmosphere at a rate *slower* than what we know human fossil fuel consumption is producing.

Comment Re:The devil needed an escape route (Score 1) 257

Strafor? The self declared "shadow intelligence agency" who not only got easily and spectacularly hacked but in reality were nothing but a clipping service with less resources than a small state daily newspaper? You yourself as a semi-anonymous poster have far more credibility than Stratfor because you do not have the poor reputation that they have.
So I not only very strongly disagree with that "Trump saw reality clearly enough to achieve what others thought was impossible" - I think you can do far better than George Friedman of that overhyped small clipping service yourself. Trump has a very long track record of being tripped up by reality which is why he had so much trouble getting funding from US banks.

Comment Re:The devil needed an escape route (Score 1) 257

Therefore it's likely we've got a President who is more receptive to the nuances of the real world

Boy are you in for a shock! Or are you joking?

a calamity -- as she did in Libya

Every second day in Afganistan, Syria and Iraq appears to be a more significant calamity when you remove the now outdated political namecalling.

Comment Re:Gets rid of your best people (Score 1) 287

While the buck is supposed to stop with management many of these stupid types of things originated in HR.
Mining companies mandating a FIFO (fly in fly out) workforce that depart from major cities where the HR people want to work instead of employing locals is another example of this.
At the root of this current thing is probably a HR manager who is annoyed that remote staff are creating extra work for them.

Comment Unfortunately not that simple (Score 1) 287

Unfortunately not always that simple. Your local fire department resembles your statement nearly all of the time.
Some places have very fluctuating workloads with short lead times so what looks like incompetence and overstaffing is sometimes (note sometimes) a matter of holding onto resources for those times when they need them. A way to spot something like that which is competently run is to take note of the amount of training and the secondary tasks that are carried out when the primary tasks do not require all hands. In comparison a place not so well run will just have people spinning their wheels and playing at workplace politics.
I know what you describes happens, I've been a number on a list of staff being charged out to the client while sitting around waiting for ten hours a day (I left that fraudster swiftly - not good for the reputation), but it's not the typical situation.

Comment Re:Stealth Layoff (Score 2) 287

because only those that are good at what they do (and hence have other prospects) will leave

That is not seen as a problem at the top of the tree where only managers are seen as having true value. A good manager can take anyone out of the gutter and turn them into a subject matter expert without the manager knowing anything about the subject - so the oft believed legend goes.
So IMHO when you see such demented practices it's a bit of a symptom of such a situation.

Comment Re:In an ideal world (for the cops) yes (Score 1) 505

then they're probably either avoiding such cases entirely, or deferring them to some other, larger and better-equipped organization

Yes, but there's also cutting corners or outsourcing them to the guy with a disk copying business.

but the NSA/CIA/etc. can do a *lot* if they are properly motivated

Once again "The Hacker Crackdown" applies - if things can be skewed to make something look like a headline grabbing crime that could lead to promotion there is motivation but not in a direction to the benefit of anyone other than the individuals putting together a high profile case. Justice often loses.

Comment Impressive work. (Score 4, Insightful) 65

Aside from the egregious delay in fixing these things; does anyone else get a very, very, bad feeling about the expected quality of the firmware when 'supply a string longer than a normal user would type' is a successful attack?

If you aren't sanitizing your inputs against that one; what are you sanitizing?

Comment Re:It's all hogwash (Score 1) 230

Dismissing something as useless is a public service (and quite helpful) if it is, in fact, useless, as this stupid list assuredly is. There may be one or two useful pearls of wisdom embedded in what is otherwise sea of nonsense. So much so, maybe the wisest thing a person can do is read the list and understand why it is stupid and wrong.

I have tried reading them and they are all trite and poorly thought out.

Comment Re:seems cheap (Score 5, Insightful) 135

considering the scale of this project I am surprised the cost is only US$272 million, has technology to do this advanced that far or are the Norwegians just very efficient. hell a lot of large buildings cost considerable more than this

Maybe they are good at doing this stuff, but maybe they use the by now "normal" process for public works: You lowball the cost to get the project going and then argue with the sunk money that you need to finish it at 3 times the expected price. If the tunnel is worth 272 million, it should still be worth 272 million to finish it after the first 200 million have been spent. After all, the money is gone, but the tunnel will still be the same, and half a tunnel has very limited use cases. Lather and repeat...

Compare the F-35 development or Germany's Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

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