886 posts • joined 4 Nov 2010
Re: Looks to me like they just patented...
You can't cut the description half way through. The important bit comes later.
Re: Shameful (and obvious, too)
I don't think you paid sufficient attention to the gibberish. Remember that you have to take each claim _as a whole_ - something has to meet the description of a whole claim for it to be in violation of the patent. The main claim (1) of this patent isn't just about reading, updating and displaying data stored in a database - it's about summarizing the impact of a subset of that data on some specific operation, and rendering that summary in natural language (a 'narrative explanation'). I doubt the applications you worked on did that, because usually when techies are working on a database thingy, they don't need to simplify and summarize the data and display it in a natural language form. That's only useful, really, in the Facebook kind of context.
(Still not convinced it should be patentable, but I think in practice, few if any other products are potentially in violation of this patent; it's just not a thing there are many use cases for.)
Re: Looking ahead
As I read it, a third party product wouldn't actually infringe this, because the main claim includes:
"accessing a profile for a user stored in an electronic database; presenting a first user interface to the user; receiving a plurality of privacy setting selections provided by the user using the first user interface"
i.e. it includes _setting_ the preferences, not just reading them and summarizing them. So a third-party tool which reads your facebook preferences but can't set them couldn't infringe it. I'm not a lawyer, and this isn't legal advice, but AIUI, if your invention doesn't match _any single part_ of a given claim, it can't be held to infringe the patent based on that claim.
If, say, Google+ included this kind of mechanism in its privacy settings that'd potentially be infringing, though.
Re: Prior Art
A venn diagram is not a 'narrative explanation'.
I love a good patent bash as much as the next person, but can we at least do it accurately?
"generating, by a processor, a narrative explanation of which other users can access which categories of information based on the privacy settings selections, wherein generating the narrative explanation comprises, for one or more of the privacy settings selections, selecting a narrative explanation template based on the privacy settings selection, wherein the narrative explanation template comprises text that identifies a group of other users who can access a category of information about the user profile based on the privacy settings selection"
Warning: reading patents can cause your brain to melt and leak out of your ears. Which is admittedly a good reason for not doing it, but it _can_ make you look silly sometimes.
The main claim seems reasonably specific, to me; it hinges heavily on the idea of a 'narrative explanation' of privacy settings. Essentially it's the following:
* You set all five gajillion privacy options facebook offers to something
* It then figures out the combined impact of the settings on some specific operation
* It presents the impact in natural-language, narrative form, e.g. 'Your relatives and friends who live in London can see pictures you upload from your phone', or something along those lines
It's still arguable whether it should be patentable, but it's a pretty specific patent, as it now stands, and not likely to be terribly applicable to anything other than, well, social networks with massively over-complex privacy settings.
Re: No. Four
well, you have to take a layered approach. Obviously it makes general sense never to post anything anywhere on the internet you wouldn't mind having on the front page of the Times tomorrow. But then you may as well _also_ use whatever privacy controls are provided, just in case they happen to work occasionally...
"I suspect Dyson's patents are for the cyclone tech & the ball etc, tech patents, not "OMG, look at that bitch, she's got the same hairstyle as me" patents."
Actually, Dyson has 157 registered community designs (the correct term for the EU implementation of 'design patents'). See http://esearch.oami.europa.eu/copla/applicant/data/1/11/111897, close the 'trade marks' drop-down, open the 'Designs' one. Try selling a vacuum cleaner that looks exactly like a Dyson and I suspect you'd get a lawsuit dropped on you from a great height.
But to be fair, the Dyson designs appear to be fairly detailed drawings of their precise on-the-market parts. They don't seem to have tried to patent The Cylinder or anything as absurd as the more ambitious claims Apple has made wrt its community designs (one interesting bit of trivia is that one of the main design patents they've asserted against Samsung did not in fact relate to the iPad at all, but to an unrelated tablet prototype they built in 2004).
Re: most Linux distros include libdvdcss
It's not in an official repository for any of the above. Major distros definitely don't include it because of the legal issues; the same legal issues would make it just as bad to have it in an official repository which was disabled by default.
It's usually available through an arm's-length third party repository - these exist basically specifically for the purpose of distributing packages with legal problems. They aren't run by or controlled by the distribution project itself, and are usually based - in so far as they can be said to be based anywhere physical - somewhere with laxer IP provisions. They rarely have US mirrors as US hosts don't want the liability.
The basic thrust of the story seems to be that this is something new and crazy and possibly specifically Japanese. It certainly isn't. You could get into a lot of trouble distributing dvdcss on a cover disc in the U.S. or Europe also, under the DMCA and EUCD implementation laws. Such laws clearly ban the redistribution of 'copyright protection circumvention' tools. This is hardly news, either - the consistent attempt to enlarge bans on 'circumvention' is one of the biggest beefs people have with DMCA, EUCD and SOPA.
I'll have some of what he's on
What a bizarrely rambling article. I couldn't get the image of Alistair sitting on a park bench yelling the entire thing at a bewildered pigeon out of my mind...
"Alas, and this may be a consequence of its European roots, costs have not (yet) been cut to reflect the lower revenues."
Translation into plain English: 'not being American, Nokia has not yet fired everyone below middle management level as part of its 'growth strategy'.'
"Blackout has another problem common to our contemporary home-grown drama: the plot is implausible on so many levels. The baddie in the show is an evil corporation that bumps off its enemies."
Is there meant to be a link between those two sentences? Cos I'm not seeing one...
Re: British TV drama is NOT crap
On that note, The Wire and Sopranos both finished years ago, and I don't think Breaking Bad has much longer to run. So Andrew's examples don't fare much better.
"If you want to compare all British TV drama output against all US TV Drama output, you'll find there's an absolute wagonload of complete shite that the Yank stations churn out year in, year out, because they have tons of channels that need to be filled with Exclusive To Us content."
Not...really, actually. The U.S. doesn't have many more major channels/networks that produce original drama than the U.K. does - the major networks, a couple of second-stringers, and a couple of special interest channels like the 'sci-fi' channels. That's really it. The U.K. has much the same with the terrestrial channels, Sky's marquee channels, and a few similar special-interest channels.
The other seventy jillion channels in your typical U.S. cable package, just like on Sky, are sports, lifestyle and repeats. No original drama on HGTV...
Re: Hawking for Sky are we?
"American TV networks don't understand the concept of quitting while you're ahead."
I'm sure they do. They also recognize that applying gambling concepts to making money off advertising (er, television) doesn't make much sense.
They're businesses. Their job is to broadcast shows which have a high ratio of viewers to cost. Ideally, young, spend-y viewers. That's how they make money.
It's always cheaper to keep making an existing show than to start making a new one. You can bet your bottom dollar that at every major network HQ they have a big line graph which illustrates the precise amount of viewers an existing show in a given timeslot has to fall below before it makes sense, economically speaking, to cancel it and take the gamble of running a new, unproven show in the same timeslot - and that number is quite low. As long as CSI: Dakota is still being watched by X million people, the network is making money and is happy. They don't give a toss if it lost all artistic value six years ago.
Basically - if you want a show to get off network TV in the States, _make people quit watching it_. That's all the network cares about.
Yeah, the Chinese are missing out on the glory of a modern democratic society where you can cast your vote for David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Gordon Brown and wind up with option d). I bet they're lining up in the damn street for that one.
"What was that about glass ceilings...?"
Fewer than 20 of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. Glass ceilings: sadly, alive and well.
Re: wrong approach
Er, have to cite a very vague memory there, I'm afraid. Could've been somewhere that was technically a village not a town, I don't really remember. I just remember being on vacation once and visiting a town/village/place where you had to park on the edge of town and walk around.
Re: Obesity dumb bomb
"Wealthier nations also live longer and healthier lives, no contradiction there?"
Well no, not really. For a start, you work out life expectancies by looking at when people die. Seems obvious, yes? But think of the corollary. Effectively, all life expectancy data is, oh, several decades 'out of date'. When you talk about the life expectancy of Britons you're really talking about the life expectancy of Britons _who are dying today_. Which, since it's around 80, means 'people who were born in the 1930s and grew up in the 1940s'. There are notional life expectancy statistics which purport to tell you what your chances of living to Age X are, but these are what we can call 'notional' or less politely, 'guesses'.
So if it's really true that lack of activity a) is a factor in life-threatening diseases and b) is massively more prevalent than it was in the past, you won't find this reflected in current life expectancy statistics, and you can't counter the proposal by using life expectancy statistics.
Second, you can't just say 'oh, life expectancy is rising so any kind of suggestion that any trend might be unhealthy is wrong!', because it fails to account for all sorts of _other_ factors. Your life expectancy is based on a huge range of stuff. It's perfectly possible that, say, there could be three or four trends that are broadly negative, but eight or nine that are broadly positive, and so the overall trend of life expectancy continues to rise. That doesn't mean the negative trends aren't negative, and it doesn't mean that you can't give yourself an _even better chance_ at a long healthy life by avoiding the negative trends as well as taking advantage of the positive ones (vastly improved healthcare, lower smoking rates etc).
You seem to spend the rest of your post flailing at a straw man; the article didn't say anything at all about costs to the NHS. I don't know about you, but I try to avoid doing unhealthy things (and do healthy things) for entirely selfish reasons. I don't give a stuff how much it costs the NHS...
Re: wrong approach
Have you been to Cambridge? You'd probably take the OP's point if you have. Because basically the entire town is listed the streets can't be widened and haven't been since they were laid down for horses and carts back in 1372 or whatever. The whole old part of the city is basically gridlocked from about 9 to 5 every day. I regularly used to be able to walk around town quicker than anyone could drive. It's an absolute poster boy for a place where it really _would_ make a lot of sense from all angles to heavily discourage driving. It'd be nice to make it like one of those towns in France where no private cars at all are allowed in the city limits.
Re: Hashing is not encryption
Nice troll, sir. *golf clap*
"How about the people that thought fuel cells were a primary source of energy, and many still do"
I don't think anybody would complain about the general idea that lots of people are gullible idiots when it comes to energy. Or Science in general. We were more ticked off at the gratuitous suggestion, unencumbered with evidence of any kind, that such stupidity was specific to 'the green energy lot'.
"Proof that the green energy lot really are as stupid as they look."
Yes, an unattributed assertion certainly is proof!
Back in the real world, would Mr. Chirgwin care to provide some evidential support for this reflex greeny-bashing? (Especially since one reasonable criticism you _can_ level at the mainstream environmental lobby is its unfortunate tendency towards knee-jerk opposition to anything with 'nuclear' in the name?)
"There are some actual new functions as well as UI flummery"
Someone else been reading Rex Stout lately?
"I know the vein is sarcastic but sometimes the M$ option is cheaper. Schools pay roughly £30 per year per full time member of staff for windows 7, office 2010 and core CALS (inc exchange). For a typicaly 150 staff school of 1000 pupils and 500PCs thats a bargain. So just over 5k gets you a handful of 2008R2 servers, exchange, TMG, external connector and an SQL server. For another 1k you get SCCM and AV and all the trimmings if you so wished. All of this can be administered by a smaller number of staff and I dont need a linux guru (or their wages) to worry about."
Of course, you know why Microsoft sells to schools at substantially below cost - to try and lock in the user base at an early age. Give me a child from the age of 5, etc...
"If by the public sector you mean our poor overworked squaddies and police officers from all over the country"
That's exactly what he does mean. They are certainly public sector workers. Neocons inexplicably fail to point this up whenever they're bashing the public sector, though.
Re: Bonkers? oh yes.
others have already replied what I would, so just note the key words in my post: 'digital transport'. a 'transport' - as referred to in the article - is a digital source with no DAC, basically. it's designed simply to feed the digital signal into another DAC (part of a receiver/amp, or a standalone DAC, or whatever).
Re: LPs are going to sound REAL quiet on that set up.
Well, no, two other people have pointed that out already. And no-one said anything about BVD or DVD so far as I can see.
Re: hold on
"but can any audiophile persuade me that any human ears are capable of detecting any difference between this, and a competently specified system, costing a tenth of the price (or less)?"
No, but they can persuade *themselves*, and that's the thing. I heartily advise you don't peer too far into the rabbit hole or you might fall over the edge. Get some decent midrange kit that'll last you a while, hook it up, and leave the audiophiles to themselves. They're happy. Their families may not be, but hey, there's not much you can do short of founding Audioholics Anonymous...
Re: Bonkers? oh yes.
"Apart from the somewhat silly CD player (use a PC: it will sound the same)"
But but but...but jitter! But transparent error correction! But (insert current ridiculous audiophile excuse for spending thousands of dollars on digital transport here)!
Re: "moved on from the early movie dramas"
"Maybe if we had fewer comic-book adaptations, suitable only for brain-dead American teenagers, and more well-written dramas, suitable for intelligent adults"
Well the irony there is the comic-book adaptations are frequently about the most intelligent and well-written dramas you find among mainstream blockbusters these days. The Avengers is written extremely well (as it should be, since Joss Whedon wrote it).
Why do you think 'mahoosive' is a word?
Of course there was an auction. It just happened without any of that annoying publicity or transparency, on Putin's yacht...
Re: If we banned things we didn't understand...@AdamWill
The problem wasn't really the mortgages, though. It was the fact that the process of bundling them up and selling them on was implemented in such a way that the assessment of the risk attached to them got screwed up.
From the perspective of the _overall economy_, it's not necessarily a problem to sell subprime mortgages to people who are barely on the borderline of being able to pay for them, _as long as the risk is correctly assessed_ by whoever winds up holding the mortgage. As long as whoever's holding the mortgage is aware that there's a high risk it will be defaulted upon, and takes appropriate steps, everything can work out fine, or at least not as terribly as it did. (It's not a strict parallel, but take the payday loan industry, which more or less specializes in loaning money to people who have a relatively high risk of not being able to pay it back; they've managed to make that one work out pretty well for years, because they're quite aware of the risks involved and take appropriate steps to handle them).
It precisely was the unregulated trade in derivatives which led to the risk attached to the mortgages being wrongly assessed, and it's that failure rather more than the high level of default itself which caused the problem, or at least made it far far worse than it would otherwise have been. Without the derivatives, maybe a few organizations would have made some losses that they would have been prepared for, as they would have understood the risks attached to the mortgages and planned accordingly. With the mortgages being bundled up and sold basically as HAPPY FUN MONEY MAKING MACHINES to any financial organization that was interested, things went much much more wrong. If the risk had been accurately assessed, then the organizations who bought up the bundles wouldn't have bought them at all, or would have bought far fewer: the risk assessment is the key mechanism which ultimately ensures that too many risky mortgages aren't offered, or to put it another way, that only as many are offered as the industry can actually afford to risk.
Re: As an outside observer...
Rather a lot like it, yeah. But notice what happened in the politics case: dozens of resignations / not standing for re-elections, and substantial stiffening of the relevant oversight mechanisms. As I wrote, this is what's par for the course for virtually any other organization / industry that gets caught with its pants down. The thing I find amazing is that the financial industry is trying to get away without it.
'Look, we know we told you for years that it was vital you didn't check on what we were doing, and that we knew what we were doing and that everything would be fine, and we know that events have proven that was clearly not true. Now the best way to deal with this is that you give us lots of your money, then carry on leaving us alone and not checking on what we're doing. Don't worry, nothing can possibly go wrong THIS time!'
Re: If we banned things we didn't understand...
That's fine, sure. I don't think anything should be banned just _because_'we' don't understand it. What I think is problematic is the _opposite_ position, which is heard far too often from those in the financial industry: "you can't regulate us because you don't understand us".
I think that's just as untrue. For a long time the argument was 'we understand what we're doing and you don't, so don't try and make sure it's being done properly, don't worry, we'll just look after it, and everyone will keep making money forever'. Now the mantra seems to be 'You don't understand the giant mess we made of everything, we do, so butt out and let us fix it'. That's highly...unconvincing. I mean, even other industries don't act the same way: when they get caught with their pants comprehensively around their ankles, they usually try and take some kind of action to try and convince the rest of the world that they're really looking after things. They recognize that the only way to avoid external regulation is to do a convincing job of admitting their mistakes, doing a suitably bloody public execution job on a few scapegoats, and doing some effective self-regulation.
The financial services industry seems to consider itself above this, though. Who's come out and said 'well, yeah, apparently we can't just trust each other to not screw things up all the time, we're sorry we comprehensively fucked over the world's economy, we'll fire a representative sample of bastards, and here's exactly what we're going to do in a thorough and transparent way to ensure it doesn't happen again'? Bloody no-one, that's who. You all have come out and more or less said 'The best way to make sure this never happens again is to give us lots of money and then go away and let us get back to doing exactly the same thing again'. That's not _exactly_ a recipe for confidence.
So no: the rest of the world doesn't need to understand mathematically precisely how derivatives work in order to recognize that the extremely lightly regulated trade in derivatives turned out to be an epic fail, and the future needs to involve some kind of rather more rigorous oversight of said activity. Sorry, the 'we know what we're doing, you don't, please go away' handwave isn't going to get through any more.
Re: Getting to the truth
"Be very clear that the taxpayer will pay for this, *you* will pay for this and the money doesn't just appear."
Oh, the irony. Yep, that's right - money only 'just appears' for banks, not for anything else...
As an outside observer...
...the thing that always amazes me about the financial industry is what a comedy operation it is.
I mean, the whole thing appears to revolve around a handful of corrupt utter bastards calling each other up and agreeing on things with a wink, nudge, handshake, and gallon of Bollinger. Why in the name of crap did anyone ever think it was a remotely sane idea to run the world's finances on the basis of a number which is produced by asking bodies that have giant conflicts of interest for a number - _no matter what that number is_ - and then trusting the answer blindly? I mean, really? Where does this amateur hour shit come from? I've worked in corner stores with better practices. Dominic, if you'd write an article on the topic I'm sure it'd be fascinating...
"Lewis Page stands 6'3" and weighs a tad over 16 stone..."
And he was in the armed forces. And I've been insulting him cheerfully all day.
Bloody hell, time to deploy that emergency new identity I've been keeping in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet.
Re: Yes, BUT
Yes, the government's definitely the one involved in the campaign to determine what people eat. Definitely not the fast food industry which lobbies to advertise its wares in schools, not at all.
Re: Crossing the line, anyone
Dave: "Why take Mr Page's word for it when you could follow the link to, what I assume is, a peer-reviewed journal?"
Because the problem isn't with the study, which appears to be reasonably well-designed and draw sensible conclusions, but with Lewis' utterly batty derivation from it. He seems to be assuming that the incompetents he believes are generally running everything had no idea, until this BRILLIANT and SHOCKING piece of research, that being underweight was a really bad thing. The problem is, they did. Ask any health professional and they'll tell you. It's not as if the risks of bulimia / anorexia and so on are exactly unknown or under-publicised.
The reasons that, overall, obesity gets more focus / attention are pretty bloody simple and not affected at all by this study. One, there are a lot more obese people than underweight people. Two, obesity is much more 'normal'; people who are obese occasionally have really serious physical/mental problems, but usually they're just the usual 'eat too much, don't exercise enough' suspects. Obesity is much more susceptible to being addressed by general hectoring in the press, tweaking of policies on food tax and labelling and exercise, and mild intervention in the course of GP visits and that sort of thing.
People who are underweight are much much more likely to be suffering from a serious medical condition. You can't really put out a press release saying 'there's an anorexia epidemic! People should eat more and puke less!' and expect to get anywhere. They're utterly different issues subject to utterly different approaches. Lewis and zillions of others love to believe that The Government, health professionals, and really everyone but them is either incompetent, hoodwinked, evil, or otherwise Resistant To The Truth, but sadly for them, the fact is that health professionals do actually know what the hell they're doing most of the time. I know that doesn't make such a sexy story. Sorry, Lewis.
He got cancer. Lots of people get cancer.
If you ask old people how they got old, they tend to give you completely batty answers like 'gin and tonic' or 'mars bars'. That doesn't mean it's _true_. You can't conclude anything at all about causes of health problems from a sample size of, well, one.
"Yet another study has shown that the so-called "obesity" epidemic sweeping the wealthy nations of the world has been massively over-hyped, as new results show that is is far more dangerous to be assessed as "underweight" than it is to be assessed even as "severely obese" - let alone merely "obese" or "overweight"."
Ah, some classic Lewis Logic there. What exactly does the danger or otherwise of being underweight have to do with the danger or otherwise of being overweight? I mean, the two are essentially entirely different; they have different causes and different consequences. Your argument is essentially 'obesity isn't as much of a problem as we thought it was, because being underweight is a really big problem'. Eh? What? How do you get from A to B there, exactly?
As other commenters have pointed out, precisely because of the problem you noted with BMI - that it tends to skew to 'overweight' with a population that's generally taller than the population for which it was devised - you have to be _seriously_ undereating to fall into the underweight category. And it's been well known by doctors for eons that serious undereating is a big problem. There's nothing terribly wrong with any of your facts, but your analysis is completely cuckoo.
(Another possible factor: I suspect the risk of suicide/self-harm among the underweight is generally higher than among the overweight. I suspect if you look at the details, you'll find some of the underweight deaths were suicides.)
Re: no objections
Note for the record: I submitted a post basically applying with Gizzit101 which accumulated over ten thumbs up (either 0 or 1 thumbs down). Woke up this morning and it had been retroactively 'rejected', and Andrew had posted several comments. Wonder what happened there, then.
Re: All very well...
I didn't cite examples in my original post because I thought it was hardly necessary, but okay, let's just take what I usually think of as the funniest thing I've ever heard - Goodness Gracious Me's parody of Brief Encounter at an Indian railway station. The whole scene is hilarious, but particularly the exchange between a beggar and the hero:
Beggar: Alms for the poor! Alms for the poor! I am blind and have no limbs!
Hero: Of course you do, you're walking and carrying a stick.
Beggar: Well I didn't know, I'm blind, aren't I?
Who exactly is that mocking?
I could go on, if you like. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is one of the funniest things ever and very little of the humor in it usually mocks people - who is Mornington Crescent mocking? One Song To The Tune Of Another?
Honestly, most of the things I find funniest aren't mocking anyone at all.
Re: And what about Bing?
Don't worry, Brian Souter is coming up with StageSearch, the search engine for the 'we don't like that sort of thing around here' contingent.
Only trouble is, all your search results turn up an hour late and are inexplicably routed via the Milton Keynes Coachway...
Re: All very well...
"And that is what every joke does*. Except those that target *specific* people, which are arguably worse. Jokes are about mocking people in some manner."
That's really just not true at all. There are vast numbers of jokes that aren't about mocking anyone. You're going way too far.
Re: All very well...
They're marketing themselves by wading into a hugely controversial debate, on the side which is probably the minority in most of the countries concerned?
They'll be wanting to fire the marketing department, then.
Re: All very well...
"let's not get distracted."
Ah, the old fallacy. You can pretty much 'end' any vaguely well-intentioned (or not) thread of any kind by saying 'but there are PEOPLE DYING! let's not get distracted!'
Because, well, there always are.
A bad thing is a bad thing even when other bad things are happening. Unless you spend your _entire waking life_ doing nothing but worry about starving African children or whatever your chosen really bad cause is, pointing at anyone trying to do something about _any_ bad thing and saying 'stop doing that and focus on this other bad thing that I care about instead' is a) mean-spirited and b) downright hypocritical.
"The UK Ministry of Defence's licensing arm, Ploughshare Innovations"
Good God. Really?
Holy syntax, Batman
"The accidental psychological foibles of celebrity and colleague is an entertaining by-product of social media."
This seems to have been the victim of some sloppy copyediting. As it stands it is effectively nonsensical. Took me three tries to (possibly) figure out what it's actually intended to say.
At first I had to guess that it's the 'foibles' that are intended to be the subject of the sentence, but this is hardly clear when two other _singular_ nouns ('celebrity' and 'colleague') come between it and the verb - which you have in the singular form, not the plural form. So it might be that you want 'are an entertaining by-product', not 'is an entertaining by-product'.
There still seems to be a rather big problem, though, unless you're _really_ suggesting that people only starting having psychological foibles after we invented Twitter (and they're all 'accidental' ones, whatever that might possibly mean in the context). I'm assuming instead it's actually meant to read something like 'The accidental discovery of the psychological foibles of celebrity and colleague is an entertaining by-product of social media." But really I'm just guessing. Someone in the editing department owes everyone a round, Reg...
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