Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I hate the US Patent system

I hate the US patent (and to a slightly lesser extent, copyright) system. It is stupid, inefficient and unjust. It doesn't make any sense in the modern context of software and algorithms, results in millions of dollars of expenses just for the lawyers (not including infringement judgments), and none of this money goes to anything productive whatsoever. As with the recent lawsuits against app developers, the infamous SCO linux lawsuit, etc, these patent trolls that have never done anything productive can sue major companies that do real things for billions of dollars. Or alternatively, sue tiny app developers that can't afford to protect themselves (this is like a twisted version of the RIAA/MPAA copyright infringement suits, where the P2P infringers could not afford to protect themselves either and would accept settlements to limit their liability).

Furthermore, I hate the system because the people promoting the system are the large, pre-existing giants who use patent portfolios to protect their fortunes, so they have no incentive to change it. The small and new players don't have the resources to fight the system and fight for change, and common ordinary (i.e. non-technical) people don't understand how it works so they don't understand how broken it is and how much damage it inflicts, so they don't try to change it either. That is a byproduct of how complex and arcane patent law can be (not to mention, the things being patented are themselves also typically complex and arcane).

End rant.

P.S. No offense to the US PTO or trial judges. This is a complaint about the rules, not the people who enforce them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Phantastes - Chapter 18

I don't have much to say about this chapter. It concludes the weary battle with depression as he brings an end by diving into the waters, only to be lifted out. This is yet another episode in the book of a sudden, seemingly unpredictable change in scenery as he goes from being underground to being in this desolate sea, and then as he is rescued by a boat the scenery changes again to the flow of water like the flow of time, reviewing his past life. And thus the water proves to not be the waters of death ("passing through the river" is a recurring metaphor for death in classical literature) but the waters of time, flowing on and on.

Random note

I was walking on a trail near my new (temporary) residence... (this is why I've been gone for a couple weeks: I moved to a different state and most of my belongings are in shipping right now. I will move into a permanent place in about 2-3 weeks and then I will possibly begin posting regularly.)..... and I was thinking about how dog owners clean up after their dogs. They walk them, feed them, literally pick up and throw away their feces... who is the real owner here? It sounds like the dog pretty much has their "owner" serving them. And I kinda laughed about it to myself.

But then I realized that in many respects, the same is true of God. I call him master and lord, and yet if you really look at the situation he does quite a lot more to serve me than I ever do for him. Lord and teacher, we call him, yet to this day (I need not speak of the crucifixion) he serves us every day through grace and mercy in our lives, through the food that we eat and the air that we breath, as well as the grace to live lives worthy of honor. Who is the real master here? Who is lord?

I'm not really going anywhere with this, it's just a thought. I will be back to Phantastes shortly.