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* Posts by Charles 9

3457 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US Patent Office seeks public input on software patents' future

Charles 9
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Re: USPTO is underfunded?

"Bollocks. Just up the amount they charge to examine a patent so that it actually reflects the fucking cost of PROPERLY EXAMINING the patent."

But that runs the risk of raising the price out of reach of garage inventors (who unlike the trolls are honest inventors most of the time). Part of the mission of the USPTO is to offer their services to all inventors and trades to encourage their proliferation, so they can't raise the rate too high or it'll go against their mission. And the USPTO is important because without some sort of protection, people will be less inclined to invent for fear of copycats.

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Charles 9
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Re: Set higher standards for trivial patents

1. Congress doesn't give them a big enough budget to do the research.

2. Again, Congress doesn't give them a big enough budget to do the research. It takes money and manpower to do the research, and if you raise fees, you discourage people from applying.

3. Basic American judicial law states that in order to file a suit for something, you must be AFFECTED by the law or policy in question. In other words, it must have harmed you in some way or the judge is required to throw out the suit as frivolous.

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Windows RT jailbreak smash: Run ANY app on Surface slabs

Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: "...unlikely to be something most non-techie users could pull off..."

FAIL FAIL. You're caught in a Catch-22. To paraphrase Spike Milligan, you're trying to unlock the program with the key you will find inside.

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Yes, hundreds upon hundreds of websites CAN all be wrong

Charles 9
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Re: Consider the 6/8 march

A 6/8 signature can operate as a for the purposes of marching while also allowing triplet beats for the music (since 2 and 3 both divide cleanly into 6). IIRC the jig "MacNamara's Band" is based on marching music, but you can hear the triplet pattern of the notes within each third or "step" beat of the song.

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Charles 9
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Happy

Re: 6/8 time...why not 3/4 time?

"Apparently it's down to the fundamental note length not being 1/4 note, but half as much again, ie, 3/8ths (a dotted quarter-note in sheet notation). Three/Four time is typical of waltzes and has a ONE two three and ONE two ... beat structure, but I'm not sure how to describe how 6/8 time sounds, or even whether it necessarily has a fixed place to place the emphases."

I'd been wondering about it for years, and now I have some insight. Dotted quarters with plenty of other eighths in the sheet--maybe in triples (producing a da-da-da rhythm) and/or following a quarter (for a daaaa-da rhythm). Now I can visualize it and can recall plenty of music that had these types of rhythm. Thanks.

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Charles 9
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6/8 time...why not 3/4 time?

I suppose there is a reason some compositions emphasize the eighth note rather than the quarter note. I'm just curious why some state their time signature as 6/8 rather than the reduced form 3/4 (which sheet-wise has the same effect--three quarter notes last the same amount of time as six eighth notes all other things being equal).

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The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux

Charles 9
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Well, since Windows 95 seems to be the GUI with which most people are comfortable, why fix what essentially isn't broken (the style isn't the problem, really--it's the behind-the-scenes stuff)?

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Charles 9
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Re: @Mark Shuttleworth: Comments Of An Ubuntu User

Red Hat targets the Enterprise sector, where support IS a money spinner. Ubuntu is targeting the Consumer sector, where that's not as viable.

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Charles 9
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Re: This proves what I have been saying for years..

The trouble is that there is more than one kind of end user, and Linux has the misfortune to be courting TWO kinds who happen to have competing needs.

Linux's strength is in the power user: the user who knows how to get around a machine so is happy with having tools that let them get into the necessary bits and bobs. And if something happens to break, they also know where to go from there to get things fixed. At worst, they know how to install OS's on their own. To put it in a nutshell, the power user's slogan is, "Gimme the keys!"

And then you've got where everyone is trying to reach: the everyday user. The user who may not be too familiar with computers, who see them more as souped-up TVs than a powerful device. Their attitude is "spare me the details, get me to my stuff". The prevailing philosophy for the everyday user is, "Keep it Simple, Stupid!"

And that can easily fly in the face of the power user. What lights up a power user confuses an everyday user, and in converse, what satisfies an everyday user feels like a strait jacket to the power user. So when you have an environment where you have to court BOTH types of users...AT ONCE, there's going to be some fireworks.

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Charles 9
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I'm probably gonna jump that way, too. Need to get my Windows affairs in order first so I don't lose anything.

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Craptastic analysis turns 2.8 zettabytes of Big Data into 2.8 ZB of FAIL

Charles 9
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Joke

Re: actually thankful for ineptitude in this case

Maybe it was way before my time, but I never understood why the letters QX. Interesting thing about the fiction of that era, though. It would make for an interesting fictitious profile: a pilot with a penchant for precise use of maneuvering thrusters in inert space and a knack for making accurate physics calculations using a slide rule.

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Charles 9
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We don't wanna miss the big one.

I wonder if part of the reason is that we have some instinctual fear of missing something important. Like a piece of obscure information that in hindsight turns out to be key in determining some important aspect of human behaviour. We don't want to be the one, to use fishing parlance, "to have the one that got away." It's like the old saying: 20/20 hindsight. We're trying to get enough foresight to not fall into that trap. But of course how do you know what's the important bits without experience? We're not clairvoyant.

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China 'enhances' Great Firewall, teaches it to choke off VPNs

Charles 9
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Re: Tunnelling over 443 wont work...

Like I said, I'm surprised it hasn't reached that point already. Even stego has limitations against a determined adversary with enough DPI tools to recognize potential carrier streams. They could alter those streams while still presenting acceptable non-secret data: random loss of bits of data, resizing, quality reduction, etc. With these techniques, you could reduce the potential stego flow to impractical levels.

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Charles 9
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Re: Steganography

If I were China and I had a good enough nest of computers, I'd intercept graphic and video transmissions and mangle them just a bit: resize them some, alter their brightnesses and so on, IOW find a way to mangle stegonography in various ways while still presenting pictures and videos of acceptable quality. If they're not robust, this mangling will ruin the stego, making it useless. If they're robust, they're more likely to be detected through some signal analysis.

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Charles 9
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Re: try this

Surprised they haven't forbidden all encryption already and used DPI to make sure other formats/protocols aren't being used for stegonography.

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Crushing $1.17bn Marvell patent judgment could set record

Charles 9
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Re: 1 moment. Marvell is *fabless* semiconductor company.

"It was -- Marvell argued that Seagate's patents trumped CMU's."

Thing was, at the time CMU files, Seagate's stuff was only Patent PENDING. Since the patent itself had not been granted, it could be argued that CMU could not have been knowledgeable of the Seagate patents since they were not officially in the USPTO files at the time.

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Charles 9
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Carnegie-Mellon University is hardly a vaporware firm. Universities and other institutes of higher learning are usually at the forefront of technology research and development. It's only fair that they patent their innovations. The idea is to license them to companies under agreeable terms. They're not patent trolls because CMU actually DEVELOPED the pertinent technologies.

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Senator pushes data cap and ISP monitoring legislation

Charles 9
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Re: Wait a minute

Capitalism can't truly be free because there are inherent barriers of entry. In this case, data networks require expensive investments in infrastructure, especially if using wireless communications. Plus the big boys in the market can engage in cartel behaviour to keep smaller players from competing against them.

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Frack me! UK shale gas bonanza 'bigger than North Sea oil'

Charles 9
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Re: Solid foundations

At least you're able to get to bedrock. I know a major construction project that found they couldn't do that...because they were building on top of sand not hundreds but THOUSANDS of feet deep. They had to go as deep as they could into the sand and hope for the best.

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Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: Here's a mad, crazy idea.

Really? You're saying that, within our lifetime, we'll use up all the useable supplies of uranium and thorium and still fail to come up with a way to sustainably fuse hydrogen (BTW, "renewables" are actually non-renewable, too, since the Sun is a fusion reactor).

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Dotcom titan funds 'Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents'

Charles 9
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Re: No...

There is actually a law that states that math is not patentable? What if someone comes up with a whole new way of doing math? It would be novel, non-obvious, entirely non-physical, and as a method falls under patent law rather than copyright (which covers implementations).

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Charles 9
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Re: " The world has a solution, it's called first to file."

Licensing would subject the licensee to the terms of the patent. IOW, if they can't deliver in the same timeframe, it's considered a failure on BOTH of them. As for "ahead of their time" patents, they can't be filed until their time; practicality becomes part of the requirement.

As for market demand, how does break-even sound?

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Charles 9
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The problem is that patent terms don't necessarily scale themselves to the pace of an industry's innovations.

Now, a design patent for an industrial process involving machines normally bought once every decade or so is sensible protected for about two of those cycles. Similarly, patents for medicines help to give reward to the inherent risks involved in seeking out new drugs (they take a long time to research, test, and clear before they can even enter the market--by that time, only a few years remain on it).

MOST computer hardware patents are for genuine innovations like new chip techniques and so on and should sensibly be rewarded. But even here, the generation cycle in hardware is somewhat shorter than in other industries. A 20- to 25-year patent term for computer hardware is a bit long and could make more sense scaling it down to the neighborhood of 10 years.

Now, software patents... the big issue is that software has an incredibly fast generation cycle. New versions come out every year if not sooner. A 25-year monopoly is a huge brick wall in that constant churn. Thus I agree with the EFF's stance that software patents need much shorter terms, though I would think five years is a bit long given the state of the market. Make it three years and it will look more reasonable.

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Windows Firefox stiffs Adobe Flash, plays H.264 YouTube vids

Charles 9
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Re: H.264 = Proprietary lockin (forever) on the web, VP8 is about freedom from lockin

Google was too late to the party. Too many mobiles on the market only have hardware H.264 support and aren't going anywhere. And that's where a growing amount of Internet traffic is coming from. And while newer devices can do WebM in software, the older phones will be SOL. IOW, Google would be ticking off a lot of people by going WebM only. They're bending the rules because they have no choice: they've discovered the format wars were decided before they ever entered the game.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hurry up Google - switch off H.264 on YouTube.

"From the dirtier side of the business, the MPEG-LA has 18 companies that claim to have patents covering VP8, also available as insurance. That's probably just sabre rattling but you shouldn't bet your company on it."

But they haven't pushed Google itself on it. Maybe that's because there are potentially a number of On2 patents that MPEG-LA is breaching, and Google has both provided legal coverage for potential patent violations involving WebM and told MPEG-LA it has ammunition, too. IOW, MPEG-LA may be smart enough not to push Google into starting a patent war.

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Charles 9
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Re: Hurry up Google - switch off H.264 on YouTube.

The trick is getting the HARDWARE makers on board. Without them, consumer use of the stuff will lag because many mobile devices rely on DSPs to decode video, and these usually have to be built for a family of codecs.

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PGP, TrueCrypt-encrypted files CRACKED by £300 tool

Charles 9
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Re: only windows?

IIRC the system RAM is a device in Linux (/dev/mem). With the right access, I think it's possible to duplicate it to a file to obtain a RAM image. Bob's your uncle from there. There's also /dev/kmem which images the kernel RAM, but I'm pretty sure TrueCrypt uses FUSE, meaning it's in userspace, so it would reside in system RAM.

MacOS took /dev/mem out for security reasons. There seem to be ways around it if you really need it, though.

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Charles 9
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Re: pull the power cord

What happens is that, when hibernation is enabled, a file called HIBERFIL.SYS is allocated in the boot root directory. It's as big as your RAM allocation and is created to ensure the necessary space for hibernation is ready at hand. Once you hibernate once, the file will contain the RAM contents at the point of that hibernation. I would think HIBERFIL.SYS at any given point will thus contain the RAM contents of the last hibernation.

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Judge: There'll be no US Samsung ban, BUT no new trial with Apple either

Charles 9
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Re: it should have pursued those issues during the voir dire part of jury selection

But in a criminal trial they have to reach a UNANIMOUS decision: meaning EVERYONE has to agree. In such a situation, ONE tainted juror is enough, which is why the law says jury tampering is grounds for a mistrial.

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Charles 9
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Re: it should have pursued those issues during the voir dire part of jury selection

Since juries operate under oath, isn't that Perjury? And a juror convicted of perjury taints the jury, meaning the trail is not by definition fair.

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Report: US telcos cashing in on data caps and poor competition

Charles 9
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Re: Unlimited data = slower connections

Thing is, people are used to flat rates. The moment a competitor comes in with a flat rate, customers are gonna bolt. Thus why the big boys seem to be engaged in cartel behaviour. They squeeze out the little guys who can offer flat rates, make a captive market, and then fight it out amongst those remaining.

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Quadriplegic woman demos advanced mind-control of robot arm

Charles 9
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Re: Asimo

Now you're thinking. A motor wheelchair that can be controlled with thought would be very uplifting to people like her who can't even move an arm.

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Charles 9
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Happy

Well I'll be. It's actually getting there.

Direct brain control of robotic/cyborg limbs. Science fiction is actually creeping closer to science fact. I would say this level of control shows that most of the MMI part is getting pretty nailed, and that's the hard part. Now it's mostly a matter of compacting the technology to make it more portable: a well-trodden and not-insurmountable problem. It's mostly a matter of time at this point.

And even on the consumer front, reading brain activity to perform control functions (either real or virtual) is making progress as well. For some, this might be scary, but for other it could be a thrilling new possibility in the realm of manual operations.

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Wind, solar could provide 99.9% of ALL POWER by 2030

Charles 9
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Re: I see a political isue.

Thing is, some power companies have been caught in predatory pricing schemes to raise profits. So now people would call out for those increased prices as charges of predatory pricing. Not saying it's right or not, but the perception is already there, so people will jump on it.

Someone mentioned plants like smelters (especially aluminum smelters which demand lots of electricity). These places demand lots of concentrated power. Which is why they're typically built close to power plants. You have to wonder if a distributed grid would be able to aggregate enough total power to let those plants run. Otherwise, plants may have to start factoring in the cost of an in-house plant to provide the power. That's why the thought of Generation IV microreactors pique my curiosity. A small reactor might be worthwhile to an energy-demanding business.

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Falling slinky displays slow-motion causality

Charles 9
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Re: Both

If you position the unstretched slinky such that its center of gravity is the same height above the ground as the stretched one, then yes the bottom should move about the same time as the unstretched bottom passed, and both would proceed to hit the ground pretty close to simultaneously.

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Charles 9
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Re: Speaking of springs ...

ANSWER: The energy would be released during the spring's dissolution. Since it wouldn't happen all at once, parts of the spring would find ways to break free even as it dissolves. So once you dropped that spring and clamp in the acid, I'd slam a lockable lid on it and find some cover.

A variant to what Omni describes would be to smash a hard candy with a sledgehammer. In this case, you're compressing the candy very hard and very fast, well past its ability to absorb it, so it breaks apart and finds a way to release the energy (out the gap between the hammer and the surface). Same idea: the energy gets released at some point.

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Charles 9
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Re: Centre of gravity

Sounds right to me. Even with the top of the slinky compressing first, the center of gravity would start off moving upward relative to the slinky but sill downward relative to the ground.

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Charles 9
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Re: So...

Exactly what I was thinking. In essence, the rocket stack compresses ever so slightly during the initial push. A fully-kitted Saturn V stood some 363 feet tall. For simplicity, let's assume a propagation speed equal to the speed of sound through aluminum (the rocket stacks were mostly aluminum while the fuel was primarily liquid and therefore would have a slower speed of sound): about 21000 feet per second. Meaning, the rocket would compress for about 17 thousandths of a second before the top of the rocket stated moving as well.

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Charles 9
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Re: Mars...and back.

Just kinks? I've seen plenty of slinkies flat out ruined because they'd developed full-on Bell knots.Totally bends the metal, nearly impossible to repair.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is this 'signal propoagation' stuff...

I wonder if anyone's tried this with a very high-speed timer (enough for say microsecond resolution) and a sufficiently-long rod (at 1 microsecond light can travel about .186 mile, or 982 feet).

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Analyst offers cut-price fondleslab recipe

Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

ADDENDUM: Checking on Newegg, I see those $80 ICS tablets mentioned earlier. Most of them seem to come from AGPTEK, and it's interesting there are so many listings for them. They typically only put out ONE listing for a given model. So I'll grant that ICS tablets are out there for under $100 online and some of them are even decently specced (I note ones in the $90 range being dual-core). But this has LITERALLY been the first time I've seen tablets of that spec at that price.

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Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

They may be last year to you, but they're very much THIS year here. Anything with ICS on it from what I've seen doesn't retail for less than $170, and I've looked all over town at K-Marts, Best Buys, Radio Shacks, etc (Walmart doesn't deal with that type--they're strictly iPads and Kindles). I'm just speaking from firsthand experience looking for a decent bargain tablet. Even on Black Friday, I checked out the tablet deals stores were having. Without exception, if they were cheap, they were 2.x.

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Charles 9
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Re: There are already sub-$100 tablets

Most of the sub-$100 tablets I've seen don't compare to what you describe. Most of them are Froyo or Gingerbread tablets and severely limited. Now, I simply may not have seen a lot of them yet, but I would call your find rather an exception at this point.

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Charles 9
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Re: sub $100 tablets

I wouldn't say they're terrible, but compared to a good 1GHz+/Dual-core high-res tablet the differences are pretty stark. Most of the ones I've seen run on Android 2.x, meaning they're limited to about 828x480 resolution. At 7 inches, that drop in resolution shows. They also have cheap single-core CPUs and clunky graphics which means even with the less-demanding Android 2.x it visibly stutters and chugs. Then there's the fact many of these aren't officially supported by Google, meaning they don't include the Google Play market and instead rely on alternative markets like Amazon or whatever's handy.

PS. I have a friend who got one of these secondhand (but dirt cheap) while I've seen demo models of the like. They all feel the same. My advice is to avoid the cheap stuff. Save up a bit and get a Android 3.x+ tablet with more respectable specs. Once you get out of cheapo territory, the tablet becomes a lot better value for the money.

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Apple confirms Amazon ebooks bendover, EU watchdog drops bone

Charles 9
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Re: Critics of the deal....

Probably because the market, especially in regards to e-commerce, moves very swiftly. In five years time, Amazon may develop a de facto stranglehold on the market, Barnes & Noble may be able to leverage its B&M business to carve a niche, among other things. IOW, it could change to the extent that Apple and the publishers won't be able to dictate strict terms. Running the agreement for five years also allows new terms to be negotiated later on.

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Dexter malware targets point of sale systems worldwide

Charles 9
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Yes, but then the POS has to decrypt the information and then RE-Encrypt it the backend's key so that the backend can then in turn decode and then re-encode it with the payment processor's key. Plus there's the fact the first step can be skipped if the POS itself has a stripe reader.

In any event, threat exposure depends on how the POS is connected. I know some retail POS systems don't connect to the Internet but rather go through corporate intranets that don't touch the greater Internet. This limits their threat exposure since it would take an insider or someone at the update system to get the malware in.

No, you can't transmit malware through a stripe reader--not enough data, plus it doesn't get treated as code. Same for contactless payments in their present incarnation. Chip transactions I'm no too sure about; may depend on the capacity of the card itself.

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Apple loses iPhone patent lawsuit

Charles 9
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Re: Let me get this right

At least this isn't a patent troll, as the companies behind its founding honestly hold the patents. More like a patent shill: a frontman for the companies involved.

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Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Charles 9
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Re: 8080, bloody Hell!

Yeah, but standard mode (and the monitor) used the *8*502 (misread a bit, but it's a superset of the 6502). CP/M never really was that practical on a 128, even if you used fast mode in 80 columns. Plus by the time it came out the transition to DOS was already in progress. In any event, it wasn't really dual processor as only one or the other was on at a time.

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Revealed: The Brit-built GRAVITY-powered light that costs $5

Charles 9
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Re: Well gosh

But you still need gravity to actually make the thing work. You can use muscle power to put a weight up on a hook on a tree, but once it's there, it's not doing anything. Get it?

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Charles 9
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Re: perpetual motion machines do not exist

Generally the Actual Mechanical Advantage you get from the Block and Tackle is some amount less than its ideal Advantage (which should be a factor equal to the number of pulley pairs in the set). Friction generally accounts for most of the loss.

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