In other news...my head cold has ceased to be a head cold, instead it's dropped into my chest as a cough. With any luck it'll be gone by the weekend.
Over 16,000 patents were granted in December 2002. Over 184,000 for the year (according to the site). There are over 2M active patents (assuming an even expiration period of 17 years), with almost half granted in the past five years.
What's my point?
As a small-time techie trying to make a buck, I have two options -- mine the patent database for ideas (and license appropriately) or ignore it entirely.
I'm far better off blindly ignoring what's been done and trudging onward, ignoring the patents that exist, instead of using the system the way I thought it was intended: allow inventors to share their inventions and in return get a monopoly on the value of that invention for a period of time.
There are so many trashy patents being filed (and granted) that the whole system has been corrupted. The very people who claim to be out to protect the value of intellectual property are destroying it. The system all but encourages you to ignore others' intellectual property (in the patent form) rather than make use of it. I'm sure there's many valid, fine patents in the mess, but they're useless to anyone without a high powered and well funded legal research staff.
And just to discourage me further, I came across several IBM patents which were filed in 1997-1998 having to do with web technologies. I now know why I got hosed so badly by IBM...I thought I was supposed to help other employees by answering questions. Instead I should have replied Interesting problem, tough noogies, hung up, and then written up the solution as a patent disclosure.
Will it work? Who knows. Like any experiment, it could die from inactivity. It could also be swamped by a flood of low-quality submissions. It may be that the membrane that a weblog forms around its readers is better for matching describers and developers than an open feed would be. And Paul Hammond has suggested that "Any attempt to invoke the LazyWeb directly will cause the whole thing to stop working."
It's worth trying, though, because the potential win is so large. If the benefits open source development offers for fixing bugs can be applied to creating features as well, it could confer a huge advantage on the development of Mob Software.
Hope Nemiroff thought she was living the healthiest lifestyle possible. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and having a tiny tumor removed from her breast, she had changed her ways. [...] She switched to a mostly organic, vegetable-based diet. She drank a dozen cups of green tea every day.
Determined to learn everything she could about her disease, Nemiroff, now 58, also became president of the Mid-Hudson Breast Health Action Project, an advocacy group in New York. Impressed by her efforts, her oncologist hired her to help with a study of the relationship between DDT and breast cancer. Although she was not a subject of the study, Nemiroff says, "I got curious. I wanted to see what [the blood] of somebody like me would look like who was living a healthy lifestyle."
Her blood, it turned out, contained traces of DDT. And when she later investigated what part of her diet might be contaminated with the pesticide, the answer jolted her. A laboratory analysis found DDT in her green tea.
Connecting the dots formed by New York gallery exhibitions is a perpetual art world pastime. The process involves matching little details or broad stylistic trends, recognizing recurring themes and common materials, or sometimes just finding the shared thread in one's own seemingly unrelated reactions. And everybody comes up with a different diagram.[…]
Oliver Kamm/Apartment 5-BE
A sign of the Chelsea underground is the gallery that Oliver Kamm, who formerly worked at Marianne Boesky and Paul Morris, has opened in his one-bedroom apartment on West 23rd Street. For his second show, he is presenting the New York debut of Colin McClain, a young artist from Tennessee who derives his motifs from Gray's Anatomy.
There's a huge satellite truck parked at Hicks and Clark, making matters worse (and the horns louder): Henry St is closed at Clark so traffic is diverting into the one-way nightmare that is the promenade side blocks of the Heights.
Canberra, Australia went up in flames over the weekend. The Sydney Morning Herald has collected its coverage here. My impression of the city was that it's a collection of suburbs, there's no city "center" per se, though I suspect the parliament buildings serve as a de facto center.
Please tell me we're not this stupid: Captive helped trick US while bin Laden escaped. The summary: think of the football game where the Quarterback hands the ball to a running back but makes it look like he (the Q-back) still has the ball. Now, replace football with "satellite phone" and quarterback with "mass murderer bin Laden".
Chess Champion Faces Off With New Computer. Personally, I hope Kasparov loses yet again. Of course, I may just be bitter about his comments after the '97 rematch (which had those of us on the web team stuck in a mildewy locker room off the stage in the Equitable building for the duration of the match).
SBC is demonstrating yet again how lame our patent system has become by going after a museum for using frames (invented by Netscape!) according to this c|net article: SBC stakes claim on Web frames patent.
Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!
Fast forward several years and billions of spam messages later. Earthlink decides to shut down the mail forwarding, but offers to add the address as another email address on the Earthlink account. I decide to let the address die since it receives 100s of spam emails per day (most of which were thankfully caught by the spaminator.earthlink.net service). So, the big day comes, the address dies, and my spam count goes to zero. Not just under ten, zero. Nada. I went days without getting spam. This bliss was shortlived as I've since started receiving 1-2 spam emails again, but nothing like the volume before.
Earthlink, though, didn't kill off the email address. They set up a separate address on my account and promptly billed me an additional, prorated, monthly charge since I was over my allotment for my account. Even though I killed it the day after they set it up, they're sticking to billing a portion of their $21.95 monthly charge (I normally pay $9.95 since I don't use their dialup at all). It's at most ten bucks but I'm thinking of killing off my Earthlink accounts entirely, my only regret would be losing the spam filter they've installed.