Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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 Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (Score 1) 124

I believe W3C's Agora could be used as a prior art. Agora was a browser/server combination that allowed users to surf the web via email. It was developed for people with email access but without direct access to the web. The client side browser would send a URL request by email, and the server returned the content of that URL. The same servers could be accessed directly by email, without using the Agora client. There was also W3Gate, which was similar to the Agora server.

Comment Re:Why do you need kickstarter? (Score 1) 103

You assume this is a zero-sum game, but it's not. The pool of potential funders is not fixed. When a well-known creator starts a Kickstarter project, it attracts a new wave of fans who come to help the specific project they are interested at, and then some of them stick around and help funding other projects. It's a win-win.

Besides, its up to the funders to get their priorities right. Personally, I wouldn't fund a Rolling Stones album because I believe they don't need my help. I would rather spend my money helping some small indie band, and help some project that couldn't happen without my help, and I'm sure many others will do the same. So I'm not worried Rolling Stones or George Lucas would dry the funding for those smaller indie projects.

Comment Re:Why do you need kickstarter? (Score 4, Insightful) 103

Your logic is completely faulty here.

First, being famous doesn't preclude you from using Kickstarter. Even someone could get funding from a big studio, it means the'll have to cede some of the control over the movie to the studios, who would change it to get more commercial appeal. Kickstarter allows the creator to maintain creative freedom.

Second, it doesn't suck funding from indy projects. Actually, it works just the other way around. More big names bring more public awareness to kickstarter, and as a result, those small indy projects get a chance to get more money, NOT less.

And third, this is not a Neil Gaiman movie. This is a Michael Reaves movie. Neil Gaiman agreed to play in this movie to help a friend.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 179

I agree. Apple does create products, so they can't be patent trolls.

Using the right terminology is of utmost importance. We need to make sure we use the right term for Apple, a big successful company which uses patents aggressively to hurt the compatition and stiffle innovation. The correct term for Apple is a patent bully.

Comment Re:They're really playing for keeps, aren't they? (Score 1) 561

Here, fixed it for you:

Because the patent arsenal shouldn't even worth the paper it's written on? Things aren't looking so good for them in terms of patents globallly.

For now, these patents seem to worth one billion dollars for Apple. Even if this verdict is going to get completely overturned by appeal (as it should), and Apple won't see a penny out of it, the damage is already done, and Apple will still gain from it a lot by generating FUD over Android.

Comment Not there yet (Score 1) 405

Bing doesn't give me the results I expect yet.

I tried the ultimate test to compare both search engines: ego-surfing. When I google for my last name, my homepages are displayed first. When I use bing, my mom's linkedin page is on the top of the list. And she doesn't even know what linkedin is, and how come she have a an account there! Epic fail!

All in all, I'd say that googling myself works much better than binging myself.

Comment Why patents are bad (Score 5, Insightful) 101

Thinking about this case made me realize why patents are a bad idea. And the problem with patents have to do with the scarcity of invention ... or lack of thereof.

Patents give inventors monopoly over their invention, even if other people come up with the same idea independently.
One of the main assumptions justifying this is that invention is scarce. Coming up with an invention requires either a rare original idea which is hard to come by, some special insight that only few brilliant people would have, or a tremendous amount of effort that only few would be willing to spend on developing such an invention.

If inventions are indeed rare, then the benefit of encouraging innovation by giving such monopolistic power to the inventor, and making it safe for the inventor to publish the invention and license it to others is greater than the damage caused by such monopoly. If invention is easy to come by, on the other hand, such monopolistic power stifles innovation rather than foster it.
If you look at most patents, even the better ones, where there is no issue of prior art, most of them are solutions that are easy to come by. They may not be immediately obvious, but if you take any reasonably experienced engineer and give him a few months to work on this problem, they would come up with a solution, and probably a similar solution. With thousands of qualified engineers in each area and hundreds of companies that benefit from such inventions, it no longer makes sense to protect them with patents.

Patentable inventions are supposed to be "non-obvious", but this doesn't solve the problem. Even if the USPTO made a better job of filtering out obvious inventions (more than the lousy job they're doing right now), we'll still have all these patents where the solution is not immediately obvious but are the kind of invention that any qualified engineer could come by. And because this is true for most inventions, and because there is no clear criteria for distinguishing between the true "high quality" and the lower quality patents, I think we are better off by eliminating patents in most areas altogether.

Comment Re:What (Score 0) 722

I can certainly call Apple evil, for a good reason.

Apple are evil because the promote an evil ideology, because their products are the antithesis of freedom. Maybe you believe that such an intangible concept as freedom is meaningless, as long as they do not physically hurt anyone. Maybe you believe consumers still have choice because they do not have to buy apple's products. But nonetheless, if Apple's way will win, we would no longer have this choice. And we don't have to wait for Apple to win to call it evil. Because their way is evil, regardless of the end result.

In order to explain it, lets consider the following analogy:
Suppose a new U.S president is elected, and this new U.S president decides to suspend the senate, cancel all elections and to become the sole leader. This new president doesn't really hurt anyone. He's truly a benevolent dictator. He tries to do his best to make the country successful, the economy booms, taxes are low, he helps the poor and the rich, and even the secret police is nice and doesn't torture anyone ... they only issue warning letters to people who object the president.

All he took away is our freedom. Nothing else. And it's not that we don't have a choice either. If someone doesn't like his policies, they can always move to Canada ...

Would you call such a president evil?

Comment Re:Redundant (Score 1) 334

I'm a native Hebrew speaker. Haaretz is parsed "Ha-aretz", where "ha" means "the" and "aretz" means land.

Anyway this doesn't really matter. You shouldn't add the article "the" in front of a newspaper name, anyway, unless the article is part of the name itself, because names are proper nouns. Just like you don't usually refer to a guy named Robert as "the Robert".

The confusing part is that many newspapers' names begin with "The": for example, it's The New York Times, and not the New York Times. On the other hand, you do not refer to USA Today as "the USA Today".

Comment Re:AT&T? (Score 2, Interesting) 222

The Nokia N900 isn't sold with service by T-Mobile or any other US carrier.

Like most of Nokia's smartphones, the N900 can only be bought unlocked in the US, without any service package. It does work as a GSM phone with both carriers. However, it does have better 3g support with T-Mobile. It supports T-Mobile's UMTS but not AT&T's, thought you can still use the slower EDGE there.

AS for coverage, T-Mobile's coverage is pretty good around the big metro areas. There is a problem only in smaller places.

Slashdot Top Deals

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.