[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2008-12-30

The patent that time forgot

Filed under: Gaming,Intellectual Property,Software — bblackmoor @ 14:20

Remember Worlds.com? The 3D pioneer is still around and they’re ready to sue. In fact on Christmas Eve, the company sued NCSoft, for violating patent ‘690, a system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space.

NCSoft’s games, such as Dungeon Runners, Guild Wars and Lineage, are all said to violate the patent. And NCSoft is just the start. World.com’s IP lawyers feel that they have a “very robust patent,” reports Virtual Worlds News.

(from Worlds.com patent litigation could ripple through virtual worlds, ZDnet)

Even if patents on software were not inherently absurd (and they are), this is a patent on something which had been widely implemented and had even appeared in movies decades before Worlds.com applied for their patent in 2000. Even EverQuest was using virtual avatars for a year prior to Worlds.com’s patent application. Surely the USPTO had heard of EverQuest? How clueless could they possibly be? What technologically illiterate boob signed off on this?

Monday, 2008-12-29

Microsoft proposes a huge step backward

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 17:42

In what may be the most backward suggestion I have heard from Microsoft, they are suggesting making computers more like cell phones — and not in a good way.

You may have noticed that competition and increasing sophistication on the part of consumers is steadily pushing cell phone companies away from the “lock in” model and toward a model where the service and the telephone are entirely separate. This is universally hailed by a good thing by everyone that matters. You might be old enough to remember the bad old days before the AT&T breakup, when the phone company owned your phone, and told you what you could do with it. This is more or less the position cell phone companies are in today, although the pressure to compete is slowly killing off this absurd business model.

Well, Microsoft thinks we should go back to those bad old days when some company could tell you what you could do with your property and when. Remember back in the 1990s, when AOL would give you a $200 rebate on a computer, if you signed up for a year or two of AOL? Microsoft’s idea is just like that, except you wouldn’t be able to use the computer for anything other than AOL — not without paying extra.

Remember back in the 1990s, when Circuit City hatched the Divx scheme, which was an attempt to make it so that every time you watched a DVD, that you would have to pay for it? After all, why pay for something once, when you can pay for it over and over again? Microsoft’s idea is just like that, except rather than losing access to Battlefield Earth if you decide not to pay the rental fee, Microsoft would have you lose your tax records, your business correspondence, and the photos of your grandchildren.

I have a hard time believing that even the dolts at Microsoft are stupid enough to think that this would be a good idea. I think it is more likely that this is a preemptive application to prevent a competitor from patenting the idea, a tactic that only makes sense because of how utterly borked our patent system is.

Tuesday, 2008-12-23

Killer Kittens From Beyond The Grave

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:57

Killer Kittens From Beyond The GraveI stumbled across Killer Kittens From Beyond The Grave earlier today while looking for movie reviews of bad horror movies. Killer Kittens has that, and more. Some of it is funny, some of it is silly, and some is just… weird. Check it out.

Federal spending soars 25% before bailout

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 22:55

The government’s spending commitments exploded by 25 percent in 2008, putting taxpayers more than $1 trillion in the hole even before the astronomical costs of the economic bailout were taken into account, according to an annual report released Monday by the White House.

A joint report by the White House budget office and Treasury Department said that much of the increase in obligations came from an unexpected jump in veterans benefits liabilities, while revenues remained mostly flat because of the recession that began a year ago.

Jim Nussle, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, called the report “sobering.”


The costs of the $700 billion economic rescue package were not included in the report because it covered only the budget year that ended Sept. 30. The bailout was passed and signed into law in early October.


The $1 trillion “net operating cost” in the report – up from $275.5 billion in fiscal 2007 – is different from the federal budget deficit because it uses proper accounting standards to include future spending obligations. The federal budget measures only “dollars in and dollars out” in a given year, Mr. Riedl said.

The deficit in fiscal 2008, which ended Sept. 30, was $454.8 billion, up from $162.8 billion in fiscal 2007. The deficit itself is expected to be about $1 trillion in fiscal 2009.

(from Washington Times, Federal spending soars 25% before bailout)

The emphasis is mine.

Monday, 2008-12-22

Where’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 17:26

According to Yahoo News, banks are refusing to disclose how they have spent the money you and I handed them in the big Welfare For Banks program our idiotic federal legislature passed a couple of months ago.

Homework time, folks!

1) Find out if your Senators and Representatives votes for this ridiculous trillion dollar handout.
2) If they did, make sure that they know that that you will be voting them out of office at the first opportunity.
3) If they didn’t, make sure they know that if they had voted for it, you would be voting them out of office at the first opportunity.

Friday, 2008-12-19

RIAA changes tactics

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Music — bblackmoor @ 16:45

In a stunning about-face, the Recording Industry Association of America is set to abandon its long-held policy of mass lawsuits against file-traders, opting for deals with ISPs that could eventually result in users’ Internet access being terminated.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the RIAA has reached preliminary agreements with major ISPs. Under the deals, the RIAA would email an ISP when it detects a user illegally serving up music. The ISP would forward the note and ask the user to stop. After a few follow-ups, the user would notice his broadband service is appreciably less broad, and ultimately would simply be cut off.

Helping to transition the industry to this point has been New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose office kept the RIAA and ISPs talking. “We wanted to end the litigation,” said Steven Cohen, Cuomo’s chief of staff. “It’s not helpful.”

But the RIAA will not be dropping the many, many cases still outstanding. Recording Industry v The People, Ray Beckerman asks:

Meanwhile, what about the unfortunates who are presently entangled already in these unjust lawsuits? Why won’t the RIAA drop those cases too? If it was bad business to start them, why isn’t it bad business to keep on throwing good money after bad? I hope consumers will remember this 5 1/2-year reign of terror, and will shun RIAA products, and I hope the legal profession will place a black mark next to the names of those “lawyers” who participated in this foul calumny.

For its part, the RIAA says the litigation strategy was a success. Chairman Mitch Bainwol, said, “Over the course of five years, the marketplace has changed,” meaning people are much more shy about engaging in P2P filesharing.

(from RIAA to drop mass lawsuits against filesharers, ZDNet

Is this an improvement? Perhaps, but only if it means that RIAA has decided that suing their customers is now and forever a vile, business-impairing practice. Frankly, I do not give them that much credit. And remember, sharing is not piracy.

Monday, 2008-12-15

Philip Morris layoffs

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 21:06

Philip Morris USA announced Friday that it was laying off a metric buttload of employees. It is clear why this was necessary when one looks at the numbers.

Philip Morris USA employs (employed) around 7,500 people. In the third quarter of 2008, Philip Morris USA’s revenues from cigarettes and other tobacco products increased 2.8% to $5.08 billion from the same quarter last year. Operating companies income increased 5.7% from last year to $1.37 billion. [1]

1.37 billion per quarter * 4 quarters / 7,500 employees = roughly $730,000 profit per employee per year. (This assumes that the income is the same for the other three quarters, which it isn’t. But it’s close enough.)

Less than a million dollars profit per employee? GASP! Clearly, some fat needed to be cut!

Massive DVD sale on Amazon

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 16:23

Aqua Teen Hunger ForceAmazon.com is having a huge sale on DVDs. Here are some that I plan to pick up:

Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Season One (regular $30, on sale for $13)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Season Two (regular $30, on sale for $13)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Season Three (regular $30, on sale for $13)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Season Four (regular $30, on sale for $13)
Ren & Stimpy – The Complete First and Second Seasons (regular $40, on sale for $23)
Ren & Stimpy – The Lost Episodes (regular $27, on sale for $16)

RIAA preys on teen in need of transplant

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Music — bblackmoor @ 11:53

Fight the Digital Rights MafiaMore misdeeds of the Digital Rights Mafia…

The Recording Industry Association of America has done a number of distressing, disgusting, and disgraceful things in its never-ending quest to fill its coffers with ill-gotten gains from every American with an internet connection. The news out of Pittsburgh, however, carries what we have to class as the most depraved stunt we’ve seen them pull so far.

According to the Pittsburgh ABC-affiliate, the latest amusement for the vampiric-nitwits in the RIAA’s legal department has been to sue nineteen-year-old Ciara Sauro for allegedly sharing an industry-crushing ten songs online. […] The evil file-sharer they’ve decided to go after is no iPod-toting high school student with a P2P fetish — she’s a disabled pancreatitis patient who has to be hospitalized weekly while she waits for an islet cell transplant. Now, thanks to the RIAA’s steamroll-for-justice campaign, she’s on the hook for $8,000 — in addition to the mounting medical bills she and her mother already can’t afford to pay.


Although we really didn’t think it possible, we’re left with an even lower opinion of the RIAA than we had before — and a few choice phrases we’re too polite to print. The acrid taste left by their actions is tempered, though, by the knowledge that Ciara Sauro now has an experienced advocate of her own. We wish her a speedy resolution to the matter at hand, a healthy transplant, and a rapid recovery.

(from Linux Journal, RIAA preys on teen in need of transplant)

Saturday, 2008-12-13

Car Manufacturer Bailout

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 14:30

A bit of promotion for the car manufacturer bailout:

Big 3 bailout

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