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Comment USPTO is not a law-making body (Score 2) 209

Because the USPTO can only make policy and not make law, they cannot do away with software patents. Congress has said software patents are legal. It would take legislation to get rid of them. I personally would love to see software patents go away. But the goal of the effort mentioned in TFA is to "improve the quality" of software patents. Telling the USPTO that software patents need to go away would be a wasted effort. That energy needs to be directed at lawmakers.

Comment Re:Do they even fill the same role? (Score 2) 250

Until recently there's been arguably no overlap between Bluetooth and NFC, but the Bluetooth 4.0 spec includes the Bluetooth low energy feature, which can be used over shorter ranges and use far less power, even less power than NFC when communicating with active RFID devices. Given that mobile devices are already expected to have Bluetooth, it makes some sense if Apple's goal is to push for a combined "NFC" payment and Bluetooth device solution. The question is whether payment processing equipment manufacturers will go along.

Submission + - France to launch a national patent troll ( 2

zoobab writes: "France is creating a state sponsored patent fund, FranceBrevets, which primary focus will be to sponsor, acquire and license patents in the ICT (read software patents) sector. The patent fund is at the initiative of the minister of Research, Valérie Pécresse, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and digital economy, Eric Besson. The primary target of the fund is to collect licenses on those patents, which is already seen in France as the biggest patent troll of the country. France is also supporting the European Unitary Patent, which is seen by many at the final attempt to validate software patents in Europe."

Submission + - Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), Reviewed In Depth (

An anonymous reader writes: I came across this heavy-duty review of Ubuntu 11.04 today. It covers basically every aspect of the new release from installation to post-install essentials. The new Unity interface is broken down into its individual elements and explained ad nauseam. Overall the article is objectively balanced, the author does a good job of pointing out specific design flaws and shortcomings instead of complaining about how Unity doesn't work for him specifically. The walkthrough of the uTouch gesture language is exciting (wish I had multi-touch), though a full listing of keyboard and mouse shortcuts come in handy, too. Towards the end of the article there are benchmarks between Lucid, Natty with Unity, and Natty with the Classic interface. The performance of the Unity interface isn't bad at all, but that kernel power issue does rear its ugly head. Pretty much everything about the new Ubuntu in one article — an interesting and informative, if not long read.

Submission + - Theater Chain in Texas Boots Out Patrons Who Text

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Ever been annoyed during that nail-biting darkened hallway scene by someone turning on their phone to send a text? Well, don't mess with Texas or you may end up on the screen in a public service announcement. Alamo Drafthouse, a local chain of dine-and-screen movie theaters in Austin, Texas, has long waged a war against impolite moviegoers booting out customers who talk or text during performances. Phoebe Connelly writes that according to Tim League, the Drafthouse's founder, a woman was recently warned twice about texting during a screening, and then, in accordance with company policy, was escorted out without a refund. "I don't think people realize that it is distracting," says League. "It seems like nothing, but if you spend as much time as I do at the movies, you realize the entire theater sees it and it pulls you out of the movie experience. It's every bit as intrusive as talking." The irate customer called up the Alamo Drafthouse and left a profanity-laced (and perhaps slightly inebriated) message decrying the theater's policies but the theater got the last laugh as they took the audio of the woman's voicemail, transcribed it, and turned it into an in-house preview (youtube video) that warns theatergoers against cell phone use during movies. "Part of what we're trying to do is have a comedic message about what to us is a very serious issue," says League declining to give any more details about the woman at the center of the recent PSA. It's not about shaming her, League says, but about making people think about how rude they are being when they use their phones."

Submission + - Reducing Software Patent Life-spans

seattle_coder writes: Many have advocated for the elimination of software patents. The arguments generally are that software patents are handed out to easily, and that they're too difficult and expensive to fight. Some say that patents just plain don't make sense for software, which is such a dynamic technology. Given that the standard patent lifetime is 20 years, and software changes so rapidly, is the life-span the problem for software patents? Would reducing the software patent lifetime to 5 years or even less be the thing to do?

Comment Bank programming job (Score 2, Funny) 1078

My immediate supervisor was a dude who was best friends with the department manager, which is why he had his job. I know this because they had the same working relationship at their previous bank, and bragged about it. Anyways, my supervisor fancied himself a programmer, which he was not. I was saddled with existing Perl code and it was my job to fix it and enhance it during the course of the day. I did my job well. Apparently, my supervisor would get bored late at night, and would wade through my code and reformat it and re-comment it to suit his own style tastes. No functional changes, just comment styles and formatting. And broke the code in the process. Every night. Every morning I came in and there were people waiting for me wanting to know why the software was broken. Nothing I said to my supervisor or the department manager made any difference. I fixed the same stuff over, and over, and over. And all my co-workers knew was that my software was always broken.

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