* Posts by Pieter Hintjens

10 posts • joined 14 Aug 2006

Intellectual Property Office approves software patent for UK

Pieter Hintjens

So C apps are patentable but Java ones not?

After all, Java turns a machine into a sticky mess.

Seriously, this is ludicrous. "Turns the computer into a faster and better computer"??? Whatever Lord Newburger is smoking, I want some.

And why are all the subterfuge and magic potions even needed? Either software patents are economically profitable, in which case just grant patents on every three-line BASIC program, or else they are not, in which case abolish the things.

"Ah but m'lod, the slavery in question is of a 'technical' character, and is not slavery as such. Indeed, it creates a faster slave!"

Society is equal parts bandit, bureaucrat, beggar, and professional. Here we see the bureaucrats teaming up with the bandits to rob the professionals. Enough already!

UK patent rules put firms at disadvantage

Pieter Hintjens
Thumb Up

@Richard Neill

This discussion dates back to the 19th century when Europe reformed and/or abandoned its patent system wholesale. Switzerland and the Netherlands had no patent system for a quite while. The pro-patent advocates won the day when Europe slid into a depression and protectionism. Patents were seen as similar tools to tariffs, i.e. the theory that protecting firms from competition should make them stronger.

Today of course the theory behind patents has been long lost, we just have to live with the system and try to reduce its worst effects. But that is hard when the system is extremely aggressive at growing and occupying new areas, like software.

See http://www.digitalmajority.org/forum/t-27067/how-the-french-turned-exclusive-privilege-into-property for a history of the 19th century arguments. Most of the points made then still apply today.

Patents work for large incumbents, patent trolls, and patent lawyers & experts. They damage everyone else. Software patents do significantly more damage to significantly more people due to the network effects both in development and use of software.

Beresford and ilk are gaming the system, trying to both play it, and fix the rules to suit their self-interest.

Court date for challenge to 'new' patent rules

Pieter Hintjens

It's all about software patents

Beresford wrote that book "How to patent software under the European Patent Convention" which is akin to incitement to crime, since patenting software under that law is illegal.

Beresford has been angry with the UK High Court for ruling that his nice schemes to circumvent the spirit and letter of the law by... well, by convincing everyone that such things as spirit and letter don't really matter when there is profit to be made... that his nice schemes were not legit.

So he has rounded up this gang of clients to stand and make a 'fight' of it.

At stake is of course a lot more than the claimed case. This is about overturning UK high court case law to allow the flood gates to be opened once more.

It's quite probable that Beresford is not charging his clients a penny, rather he is quite possibly being sponsored by other businesses *cough* microbe *cough* soft *cough* who have a vested interest in seeing software patents brought back from near zombification in the UK.

And if Beresford fails, no matter, the patent industry is building up a new attack on the letter and spirit of the law, not to mention economic sense, by plotting to circumvent the UK High Court with a new, shiny, tightly controlled European patent court run and owned by the patent industry.

You really have to love these guys.

Microsoft: New Live Search 'as good as Google'

Pieter Hintjens

Live search is censored?

Look for 'OOXML' in Google, and in Live search. Amazingly, very few of the highly critical websites that show up on Google appear on Microsoft's search.

Microsoft chucks search engine at Google: misses, throws like a girl...

Google gloats over ISO's OOXML rejection

Pieter Hintjens

Misleading article headline

ISO has not rejected OOXML. It's just taken an interim position and will decide finally at a ballot resolution meeting in February. MS knows this full well and is lobbying national boards to send their weakest and stupidest "engineer" to Geneva where they will be wined and dined and probably whored by MS yesmen and gals galore.

We're talking about a megabusload of money riding on this eventual decision. It ain't over, the fat ladies are not yet singing, and Google is stupid to claim this as any kind of victory, if that's what they're claiming.

The Fasttrack is completely on track.

Europe's R&D 'stagnant', says report

Pieter Hintjens

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

Whenever the Commission cries out for "innovation" or "spending on R&D" it usually follows with a plea for stronger patent protection, having wholly swallowed the dogma that people only innovate because they can earn lovely royalties off their "intellectual property".

Not being entrepreneurs, the Commission does not understand what a market is, nor what it means to compete for customers by making products.

Official R&D figures ignore the SME sector, but that accounts for 80% of the economy according to some figures.

However, given the mess that patent thickets have made of many areas where Europe was meant to be dominant - e.g. telecoms - it'd not be surprising that R&D is slowing down. What's the point of making shiny products when you're likely to be sued? It's easier to retire from product development altogether, pump up your patent portfolios, and let the Asians do the hard and suable work of turning "IP" into actual sellable products.

The irony is that large patent holders in cahoots with the patent industry then lobby for more lax patent examination and stricter patent enforcement regimes, and manage to confuse the poor Commission into promoting this vision in the name of "R&D".

Hmm... let me look into my crystal ball... more so-called "R&D" for large firms (hidden subsidies)... a European Bayh-Dole-style act (turn Universities into patent troll incubators)... push for an European patent judiciary (kill those petulant national courts that insist on observing the letter of the law and discarding software patents)... push for specialised patent courts (where patent experts can jack-up their costs)... help "educate SMEs" in the proper use of IPR (nice business you got here, guv, shame if a patent lawsuit were to 'appen)...

Nokia says patent dispute hurts 3G

Pieter Hintjens

Patents good?

It's pretty clear that patents make a mess of the whole idea of "let's make good products, sell them, and make lots of money" vision of capitalism and instead promote the "let's file a bunch of patents, hire a bunch of lawyers and sue the other guys" vision. Is the great 'ism' war of the 21st century going to be "capitalism vs. capitalism"?

Maybe Nokia will wake up one day and realise that without a market and products, and competition driven by being *better*, not having smarter lawyers, it's going to go the same way as the dodo.

As for you guys at Qualcomm, just when exactly did you sell your soul to the devil in the first place?

Iona buys LogicBlaze

Pieter Hintjens

The driver for IONA's buying spree

The reason for IONA's purchases of C24 and LogicBlaze is probably the emergence of a new standard for messaging middleware, namely AMQP, which is being developed by a working group that includes IONA and other firms, including my own little firm. See www.amqp.org.

AMQP is driving the messaging market towards commoditization.

Researchers link human skull size and climate

Pieter Hintjens

Utter bollocks but still plausible

First, all modern humans come from a single tight lineage no more than 100k-150k years old. Any skulls that predate the exodus of homo sapiens sapiens from Africa are irrelevant.

Second, the driver for human brain size is the need for social skills; humans being above all successful because they can construct large and complex societies, through pure brain power. It's a safe assumption that skull size follows brain size, with thickness of the skull correlating to the level of violence in the society, and overall skull size limited by the technical considerations of the human birth canal.

Lastly, the driver for human expansion out of Africa probably *was* climate change, so in a very indirect way climate change could be seen as the cause of larger skulls, but it's really very stupid of the researchers to confuse correlation with causation.

Nokia E70 smart phone

Pieter Hintjens

I've used an E70 for 3 months now

I've had all three of Nokia's gull-winged phones, and still use a 6822 as a backup phone.

Download Opera Mini for surfing most websites, and use the Web browser for gmail, which it handles perfectly. Gmail + the E70 are a neat mobile email solution that I now use for 50-70% of my email (leaving the longer emails for when I get back to my desk).

I've found wifi to work very well, after some initial pain getting the security settings to work. It did take me several hours to get the wifi working on my secured access point but once it worked, it was flawless. And surfing open wifi points is a cinch.

The OS is too slow and complex for my tastes. It takes 5-7 seconds just to open a new memo. That's unacceptable. The keyboard action is too stiff, more work than the 6822. I like to type a lot of memos but it's not practical this phone, despite the generous screen. Why can't I reduce the size of the screen fonts, for instance?

The format of the phone is excellent; it's a bit heavy but provides me so much in that package that I don't mind. Good camera, good video recording, USB connectivity, expandable memory... all nice features. I tried connecting a Bluetooth keyboard (a laser keyboard) but no joy, even after downloading a BT keyboard driver from Nokia.

The software is... second class. Pretty, but flawed in many ways. Switching applications does not work well. Applications run out of memory. I've crashed the phone by exiting a Java application at the wrong moment. The way photos and documents are managed is totally uninuitive. Basic functions like editing a memo take too long. There's no way to display the phone numbers for contacts in the summary, an essential feature. The email manager (which lets one download emails) has no way of deleting emails. And so on. The phone has options like VoIP that are so complex I've not managed to configure them. This is a very bad sign. Why does the phone contain functionality that people cannot use, but cut-back on basic functionality everyone needs? Not a good sign.

I can see many possibilities for such a format, if the software were more intelligent. For example, how about an email system that detects open wifi networks without any prompting and silently downloads and uploads emails as it can, then alerts you when new email arrives.

There are two ways this format can go, IMO. One is to return to a simpler and more sane OS, something like PalmOS. Two is to move to Linux and open source the applications so that the developers of the world can fill in the gaps left by Nokia's QC department. To continue with more buggy and complex software will drive away users. I might buy one more gullwing after this, but if Nokia can't deliver my core requirements, I will probably return to separate devices: AlphaSmart Dana for taking notes, a Palm for my agenda and wireless surfing, and a small, simple, fast phone for voice.


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