A friend pointed me at the SHIELD (PDF) act today. This bill would make unsuccessful patent trolls pay defendants’ legal bills. It’s not as good as my radical plan to fix patents, but it’s a step in the right direction. If you care, let your congressperson know. Here’s the note I just sent to mine:
Dear Rep. Pelosi,
I'm writing to let you know that I support the SHIELD act Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). As an entrepreneur and professional software developer I have personally experienced the job destroying effects of ill founded patent litigation. Any step to reduce this drag on our industry is a welcome step.
- Bringing a SHIELD to a conker fight
- You won't believe this one crazy trick that would fix the broken patent system
- How to fix software patents
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No, thank you HSA Bank for not giving me a choice and then cheekily pinching $2 on every debit swipe.
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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
A personal anti-adventure, gripping and poignant and pedestrian.
The Children of the Sky (Zones of Thought, #3) by Vernor Vinge
Solid, unexpected third installment. Don't read if you haven't read the first two.
'robot revolution would end quickly, because the robots would all break down or get stuck against walls' - http://t.co/X4AFepMI
Aspam, Aomori, Japan - looks like Blade Runner. http://t.co/UePboKyJ
[text: “what the fuck, it worked the first time”,... http://t.co/chCeMv8M
4 of 5 stars to The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes http://t.co/lV8ZrNHL
I side 90% with Jill Stein... http://t.co/zCNzugqD
Naples, Florida, USA snapshot from Catfood WebCams on Android. http://t.co/HACOmEhr
Testing a webcam share from Android... http://t.co/Ha94fZoW
Thanks for the Cash Mr. Bubble Man: http://t.co/ZonD58yD
With More Original Programming On The Way, Netflix TV Viewing Is On The Rise http://t.co/Q8oCNZUv -- missing the point, lack of content
Hubble discovers new Pluto moon http://t.co/kRB95fLu -- Promote Pluto back to a planet immediately!
Amanda Palmer's awesome stop-motion music video [NSFW]: http://t.co/XfGBC9NY
ITHCWY: Hummingbird http://t.co/CHtA5fV3
ITHCWY: Twitter's API has got too painful for me: I've developed a bunch of stupid, niche and vaguely promising… http://t.co/J6Y0EZ62
IT class warfare — It’s not just IBM http://t.co/bK0Nr2lG
Naming Pets http://t.co/syC0kgWa
BBC News - Brian Cox: bank bailout costlier than UK science 'since Jesus' http://t.co/1RSN5g5Z -- amaaaaazzzziiiinnnnngg
"A conversation with my 12 year old self" (video) http://t.co/zYOEKDnN -- freaky
ITHCWY: Shrubbery: A missed opportunity to demand that violators shall provide... another shrubbery! (At the Old… http://t.co/lBSQaDmI
Probably the Higgs: http://t.co/yspWoQlv
ITHCWY: House of Lords - time for Legislative Service?: I've mulled the idea of having an upper chamber randomly… http://t.co/6C5cQjz2
You Might Be A Smanker If… http://t.co/L91rDvqV
Cisco locks customers out of their own routers, only lets them back in if they agree to being spied upon and monetized http://t.co/2QIdw42P
Bouncy, bouncy druids, not available outside the UK: http://t.co/mw7XcKth
Patent troll http://t.co/AY3FIg8W
Operated by the knights who say NI! http://t.co/TkMndo7c
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I've developed a bunch of stupid, niche and vaguely promising apps on top of the Twitter API. During that time I've slogged through various painful and rapid shifts like changing IDs, authentication schemes and diktats handed down on which parts of the ecosystem Twitter would like to control. I've had to roll my own OAuth and even re-word a blog post to Twitter Support's satisfaction to get a blocked application unblocked again. It's been a pretty frustrating experience but worth rolling with the punches until the past week.
Twitter suspended Cleat, a tool for posting from the command line. So I emailed to ask why, too much effort for them to explain the rationale at the time they're putting the suspension in place I guess. I got an auto-response asking for information they must have already had and I replied to this. A few days later I still hadn't heard back so I emailed again and the ticket had been automatically closed.
So far just the standard fuck-off-and-die support that you'd expect from a growing company that no longer wants to talk to it's users. But the auto-reply directed me to https://support.twitter.com/forms/ to file a new ticket. None of the options there relate to developers or a suspended application. I tried filing a ticket under 'deactivated account' which seemed the closest.
That form has a hard-coded 'With love,' valediction. Whoever thought that was cute should go through the process of trying to get help a few times.
This attempt auto-responded to say that my account was not suspended, and would I like to fuck-off-and-die or got back to the forms center?
So I tried another form that actually seemed to submit but haven't heard anything back.
- bye, bye, Miss Deprecated API
- Fight Facebook with Email
- Pulling the plug on Facebook and Twitter, Tweet Archive
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- Both sides of the Golden Gate, a Time Lapse
- Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's Beach
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I've mulled the idea of having an upper chamber randomly selected from the public like jury service for some time, often over a pint with a friend who prefers to remain nameless. This friend wrote an outstanding letter to Mark Harper which is included below by his kind permission.
Mark Harper didn't manage more than a stock response, and neither did Matthew Offord and so it doesn't seem that the British Government is taking up the concept any time soon. We talked about the e-petition system but it turns out that it's limited to 1,000 characters and submissions are vetted for duplicates. There is an existing e-petition with this idea written by Simon Ferrigno which I've voted for, and if you support the legislative service idea please do the same.
Dear Mr Harper
We understand that you are working with the Deputy Prime Minister on the matter of an elected second chamber. We’re sure that many proposals and reports have crossed your desk on this topic. We’d like to share something we came up with when the issue was initially raised a few years ago. Having kept abreast of developments via media reports, we were both surprised not to hear anything similar mooted.
Our suggestion is that the second chamber be made up of ordinary members of the public drawn from across the country, randomly selected from the electoral roll, typically for up to 2 weeks of service. The system would be administered in a similar way to jury duty, albeit on a national basis. These people would be brought together, put up in decent accommodation, well fed, and otherwise made to feel as if their presence and contribution is both valued and important. They will be tutored, in an unbiased fashion, on the background of the Bill under their consideration. The syllabus could be defined by the civil servants who draw up the legislation under consideration. At this point, a multiple choice test on what they have been taught will be administered, but the results will not be revealed.
After the test, they will have the specifics of the Bill explained to them by two barristers (selected by parties for and against). The barristers will have the ability to bring in subject matter experts (perhaps drawing on the talent pool currently in place in the HOL). At the end of the evidentiary stage, the “constitutional jury” will have the opportunity to debate the issues and pose any further questions they may have to the barristers or witnesses.
Once completed, the constitutional jury will vote on the matter(s) at hand. The only votes that will actually count are those cast by people who passed the multiple choice test (as long as a quorum is reached). The results will only be reported as percentages. No one will ever be told if their vote counted, and all members of the constitutional jury are recorded as having served in deciding the matter.
Among the numerous advantages, as we see them, are:
- Politicians are often heard bemoaning the lack of public engagement with politics. This is an ideal way of re-engaging ordinary members of the public with the business of politics and what happens in Parliament.
- The primacy of the House of Commons will be ensured due to the transience of the members of the second chamber.
- There are no expensive elections to be paid for, nor will anyone’s voting record need to be skewed to ensure their re-election.
- As this chamber will be entirely made up of randomly selected members of the public, there can be no claims of cronyism.
- Voting along party political lines may be reduced; hence the decisions made are those that a random cross section of society deem to be right, rather than the whips.
- As the names of the constitutional jury are not disclosed until after the final voting, lobbying by vested interests will be reduced.
- The second chamber does not necessarily need to be based in London. In fact, there is no reason why it cannot become a travelling roadshow, convening on a rotating basis in major towns and cities around the UK. This may go some way towards quietening some of the accusations that Parliament is London-centric and lessening talk about the Westminster Village.
- Should Parliamentary time be short and the workload high, multiple constitutional juries can be assembled (perhaps in different locations), to work in parallel considering different Bills.
We realise that some members of the House of Lords serve on multiple select committees. We’ll admit to not having a plan for how these will be staffed in the future. One could assume that for now, they can be appointed by Parliament continuing to draw on the talent pool from the current HOL and augmenting any vacancies with new appointments proposed by a committee of civil servants.
We realise that all parties are currently wedded to the idea of an elected second chamber. Is there any way that this could work as a viable alternative?
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A love triangle set in the turmoil of post-graduation. Well written but left me a little cold, I just didn't care for the characters or the sudden resolution.
An important update from the International Earth Rotation Service http://t.co/n5VcLNH3 <- warning,="">
Seeing Beyond the Human Eye: Video of beautiful scientific and artistic photography http://t.co/aZsFEfh1
ITHCWY: Mission:Explore Food - Get It Now: I posted a few months ago about my brother's crowd funded book, Mission… http://t.co/1A2FEkHN
Pyura Chilensis, the living rock http://t.co/54moGgML
Robot Hand beats you at Rock-Paper-Scissors every time. http://t.co/W4K1zAeq (Robot hand crushes rock, robot hand crushes scissors...)
Moon Landing http://t.co/oHFSCowO
Patent 'trolls cost $29bn a year' http://t.co/VQRiKFtb
Facebook Just Changed Your Email Without Asking http://t.co/z9QRi3qP
http://t.co/mZWx5FIr Turing Suicide in doubt?
ITHCWY: SETIcon 2: I'm at SETIcon 2 this weekend. It's a mix of science, sci-fi, religion and general speculation… http://t.co/jifR8Ang
Far-Fetched Scams Separate the Gullible from Everyone Else http://t.co/M8SyoAvH
Scout: get notified every time Congress proposes legislation with keywords you care about http://t.co/OlU04P45
Falsehoods programmers believe about time - riff on the malleability of computer time http://t.co/sznLoFlH
ITHCWY: Near-plurality of idiocy: "In the 30 years since Gallup started asking people whether they believe humans… http://t.co/9f5FoX9Z
BBC News - Alan Turing: why the tech world's hero should be a household name http://t.co/5eqmNyXY
ITHCWY: Petrol & Marks & Spencer: I recently got back from a trip back to the UK. Every time I go back these days… http://t.co/cV0N8tY7
+1 Error Code 451: an HTTP error for censorship http://t.co/OoA942o8
Bridge birthday thing... http://t.co/bBEc7TiC
Defensive Patent License: judo for patent-trolls http://t.co/h6Eq82kr
3 of 5 stars to The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides http://t.co/aJwE7cIz
Transit of Venus AND Sutro Tower Serendipitously Photographed from Bernal Hill http://t.co/bZAogCf8
Office has laid on EURO 2012 coverage. http://t.co/8dDStstW
Ridiculously nice walk with Rudy. http://t.co/u6E9H1Gg
ITHCWY: Playmobil http://t.co/bIuMirqh
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I'm at SETIcon 2 this weekend. It's a mix of science, sci-fi, religion and general speculation.
What really strikes me is that a couple of years ago at the first conference a handful of exoplanets had been found but the Kepler scientists were grinning away, not allowed to say much.
This time round it's hard to find a star without a planetary system. The (silly) Drake equation is falling term by term.
Next SETIcon it has to be some evidence of life...