Software patents are evil

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This is why software patents are stupid. Microsoft just lost a patent infringement lawsuit brought by a company called Eolas over the use of browser plugins. The reason this is stupid is that Microsoft is infringing because their browser automatically launches applications to display multimedia content.

Patents were intended for innovations, not ideas. Having the idea of launching a program automatically isn’t an innovation. If there were a hard problem associated with it, maybe if it was hard to figure out when to launch it, and you spent time solving it then your solution could be pantentable.

I think on my way home today I’ll stop by the patent office and file a patent for “automatically allowing light to pass through a surface so things on the other side can be seen.” Oh, and I’ll also file the other 50 stupid patent ideas I come up with while driving there.

It’s not hard to see why we’re in this mess with patents — the US patent office was commissioned on the number of patents they allow per year. Now that’s a good idea!!

This year’s top under-reported and censored stories

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“Sonoma State University releases its list of the year’s top ten under-reported and censored stories.”

Microsoft doesn’t like competition

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Microsoft thinks that several Asian nations collaborating to create their own operating system is “unfair.” When I first ran into this I honestly thought it might be a gag on the onion, or something similar.

Interesting article about the money flowing between Asia and North America

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It goes into details around how the Asian nations are buying up massive reserves of US currency. This, along with the huge scale of Asian exports flowing into the US, can’t last forever. As the US continues to build debt, and cash keeps flowing east, something has to break. The US dollar can’t hold it’s value perpetually in that scenario.

Breakin’ the law, Breakin’ the law

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Considering how often the US threatens and spearheads war crimes charges against others (Milosevic, Hussein, etc – just to name a few that actually deserve it) it looks like they are in favour of the war crimes process. But there is one glaring exception: they want to ensure they can never be charged with war crimes themselves. They’ll even go one better: cutting funding to any country that doesn’t sign an agreement that US personel are exempt from war crimes charges.

One of the best quotes is:
“These are the people who are able to deliver assistance to the various states around the world, and if delivering aid to those states endangers America’s servicemen and servicewomen, the President’s first priority is with the servicemen and servicewomen,” he said.

So, let me get this straight. In the process of helping other people, the President feels he needs to protect his servicemen and servicewomen by shielding them from war crimes charges. Is this equivalent to admitting that the US regularly commits war crimes while they “deliver assistance” to other countries? Probably is, but it doesn’t seem like anyone cares, or noticed. All I know is that I hope I’m never on the receiving end of that “assistance”.

Help fight forest fires!

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… by getting rid of them? Yes, that’s right. George W. Bush proposes stopping future forest fires by relaxing logging resitrictions so we can “thin” the forests — go straight to the heart of the problem. It makes sense, I guess, in a backwards and perverted sort of way. Why not take this same philosophy and “thin” the cause of many more deaths each year in the US, over ten thousand of them — firearms. Oh, but wait, that would make too much sense. Sorry.

Labelling restrictions

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A large milk producing company named Monsanto is sueing a smaller dairy for printing on their labels that their products are free of artificial growth hormones. They suggest that this misleads consumers into believing that milk treated with those hormones are unsafe. This is completely absurd whether you agree with that claim or not. Why should I, as a consumer, not be able to obtain as much information as possible about a product and make my own decision? Are they proposing that all information related to this also be removed from their website? Where does this end? Can politicians sue each other because information others presented painted them in an unpleasant light?