This is a collection of mini-rants that aren't yet big enough for their own page.
At least one of these is bound to be on-topic in a large percentage of discussions on a general geek interest web forum such as Slashdot. Feel free to copy-and-paste links to sections into comments on SoylentNews, Slashdot, or other forums. If you have any questions or comments, add them to the talk page.
Originally retrieved from the Wayback Machine. The "Contents" section has been replaced with the table of contents generated automatically by the MediaWiki software, and
Since the last archive, Damian has been using this as a drawing board for new articles.
- 1 Mini-essays
- 1.1 Ad blocking
- 1.2 Audio quality
- 1.3 Bargain bin gaming
- 1.4 C++: The plus stands for bloat
- 1.5 Broadband
- 1.6 Copy-protected audio
- 1.7 Copyrights
- 1.8 Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- 1.9 Emulation
- 1.10 E-sports
- 1.11 EULAs vs. statutory rights
- 1.12 Facebook
- 1.13 Garbage collection
- 1.14 GNU software on Microsoft operating systems
- 1.15 HTTP cookies
- 1.16 HTTPS
- 1.17 Mobile phones
- 1.18 P2P music sharing
- 1.19 Patents
- 1.20 PC vs. console gaming: Multiplayer
- 1.21 RIAA monopoly
- 1.22 Region coding
- 1.23 Reverse engineering entertainment
- 1.24 Skype
- 1.25 Songwriting
- 1.26 Spam
- 1.27 Toolkits
- 1.28 Trademarks
- 2 References
- 3 Articles by Damian Yerrick, published here
- 4 Pseudonymous articles, published here
- 5 Articles by Damian Yerrick, published elsewhere
Myth: "The only alternative to web advertising platforms that leave visitors open to malware installation is subscriptions."
Fact: It's a lot more complicated than that. See Ad blocking.
Myth: "Vinyl is inherently superior to CD."
Fact: See CD quality.
Bargain bin gaming
The price of video gaming in current dollars has gone up: from $300 per PlayStation console, $20 per controller, and $50 per game in 1995 to $600 per PLAYSTATION 3 console, $50 per controller, and $60 per game. Video games are even more expensive in Europe due in part to content rating, localization, and tax differences. Some people like to cut costs by buying video games from the bargain bin or buying them used. But some games never hit the bargain bin, and their used prices stay high. For example, Harvest Moon was first published in 1995 at a price around 60 USD. In 2007, it's still 60 USD on half.com. So how can I tell whether a game will hit the bargain bin or become a collector's item?
The other problem is DNAS error -103. Sony has a habit of pulling the plug on the matchmaking servers needed by online multiplayer features of games for PlayStation family platforms after a couple years. So I buy a game, pull it out of the shrinkwrap, put it in my PS2, try to go online, and "This software title is not in service."
C++: The plus stands for bloat
- Moved to C++ vs. C#iostream
Most major broadband providers officially do not allow servers to run on residential connections. They offer business-class service, but some offer this only in a commercially zoned area. Even those that do offer business-class service to private homes have trouble setting up a residential account for home TV and a business account for business Internet at the same address.
In the United States, the providers (the telco for DSL and the cable company for cable modem service) generally have monopolies or duopolies on the last mile in the local market. Wireless is not an option for high-volume users because of the low monthly caps: $60 per month for about 12 GB of transfer per month (Viasat, 2019). In October 2012, there were still plenty of rural addresses in the United States that couldn't get wired broadband at all. People in Great Britain as well are still relying on satellite and cellular for home Internet access despite the single digit GB per month transfer cap of a typical plan, or bringing desktop PCs into Starbucks and Panera to download service packs or large games. Expect not to be able to watch more than one or two movies a month on Netflix or your country's counterpart, and if a quarter-gigabyte operating system service pack lands, don't expect even that. Some rural households in the United States still use dial-up because wireless broadband is so expensive.
By 2015, a multi-gigabyte Windows update has caused people to blow through caps,
and though Windows 10's cap abuse has been reported to Microsoft, Microsoft hasn't officially done anything about it.
Windows 8 and 10 offer a way to mark a particular WLAN SSID as metered, causing it to delay many background downloads.
But there's no interface for doing this on Ethernet nor for interoperating with some ISPs' time-of-day-dependent metering policies, such as those of satellite Internet.
One Slashdot user suggested writing a PowerShell script that checks the time of day against the ISP's metering policy and writes the appropriate state to
For example, running the script between midnight and 5 AM might write unmetered, whereas running it at other times would write metered.
Then schedule a task to run this script at each critical point in the policy, such as midnight and 5 AM local time, with "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" turned on in case the computer was off or asleep,
and "Run whether user is logged on or not" and "Run with highest privileges" so that it can write to
Faced with such sticker shock, would you rather spend tens of thousands of dollars to pack up your belongings, buy a new house, move your family to another location, and try to find a new job, just to get a better Internet connection? Some are willing to do so, or at least to take Internet access into account if you're planning to move anyway. One user of Slashdot claims to have moved for better Internet but acknowledged it's not practical for all, and another points out that many underestimate the difficulty of moving and leaving behind a family support network. In 2017, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a ruling that appears to endorse the option to move for better Internet access. The ruling lifted the price caps on Internet access in a particular county if 50 percent of that county's population can reach a competing provider by moving up to half a mile (0.8 km). In August 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit upheld this ruling, holding that competition on "the medium term (i.e., over several years)" still counts as competition, rejecting arguments in favor of a shorter term.
But other users of Slashdot think "only a raving lunatic" would "live like a nomad" and move just for a better Internet connection, especially if not single and renting, and some just can't stand cities. Moving often could cause your kids to have fewer quality relationships and die younger. Besides, even if you do find a good ISP, it'll probably end up bought anyway. Nor is it an option in all cases to require people to make a choice between rural life and Internet access, as many farmers use the Internet in their agriculture. If you run a farm and have a large file that you need to upload to your crop advisor, it's actually faster in some cases to drive an hour into town, do an upload, and drive home.
Windows XP contains a Secure Audio Path, and Windows Vista and Windows 7 have Protected User Mode Audio. Applications send encrypted data to Windows Media APIs, and codecs that run in kernel space (SAP) or a process in the Protected Environment (PUMA) transform encrypted compressed audio into cleartext PCM and send it to the audio driver. Only drivers signed by Microsoft with copy protection permissions will receive copy-protected data; to be signed, a driver has to conform to Microsoft's DRM requirements, which include disabling all digital outputs within the machine (such as to files) and encrypting any digital outputs (such as adding HDCP to HDMI) while playing a copy-protected audio stream.
But is analog reconversion of audio really that bad? With a good DAC on one end and a good ADC on the other, both external from the electrically noisy PC case, the artifacts of Vorbis, WMA, or AAC perceptual modeling will outweigh the -90 dB noisefloor of 16-bit PCM.
High-definition video, on the other hand, isn't so easy to analog reconvert. But given that people are more than willing to watch low-definition (240p or 360p) video on YouTube and download overcompressed SDTV cams on pirate networks, pirate audiences may not care about pristine video.
are not necessarily a bad thing. Copyleft, which keeps free software free, is built on copyright.
The bad thing is the use of copyright to interfere with free speech, where publishers threaten to sue critics of their works for copyright infringement. (For examples, see Fanwork Ban on All The Tropes.) Sure, some jurisdictions provide a fair use defense, but making any sort of defense requires access to legal funds that the publishers know most individuals don't have.
The bad thing is also an alleged pattern of extension of the copyright term to create what critics of copyright maximalism have called "perpetual copyright on the installment plan". Though publishers might explain this away an unfortunate artifact of the timing of implementation of European-style three-generation copyright in the United States and other countries late to join the Berne Convention, they still haven't proven that a three-generation term maximizes the utility of copyright in the first place.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The wording of the DMCA's circumvention ban (17 USC 1201) is a bad thing.
Several companies produce add-on devices (called "mod chips") that deliver boot code to a PlayStation console. These are used in software development and can be used to run free software (or backups of lawfully acquired copies of software) on a PS1 or PS2. Sony has attacked those companies because the devices also allow pirated games to run.
Not to mention the DVD and eBook problems. See also DMCA in Plain English.
Is not illegal, no matter what Nintendo says. If you are running free software on your emulator, or you have burned free software to a CD or flash cartridge to play on your game console, whose copyright are you violating? Even if you use a cartridge copier to copy cartridges that you have purchased into your computer, you're probably covered under the format-shifting precedent in the RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia case (which grew out of the Betamax precedent set in Sony v. Universal case) as long as you don't redistribute the ROM dumps. Some people will complain about the ruling in Atari v. JS&A that backup copies under 17 USC 117(a)(2) are not needed and therefore not authorized, but ROM dumps used for emulation are not backups; they are an essential step in the use of a program under 17 USC 117(a)(1), and Vault v. Quaid appears more likely to apply.
Some game software companies try to thwart emulation and development of independent software by copyrighting a magic cookie used to authenticate products to other products. For instance, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance software needs to contain an exact copy of the Nintendo logo, or the system's BIOS will not start the program. Even worse, Sega Dreamcast games must have 14 kilobytes of copyrighted boot sector code that matches byte-for-byte a copy in ROM, or the system will not boot the game. It's a good thing the Sega v. Accolade decision has recognized copying such "magic cookies" as fair use. Chamberlain v. Skylink and Lexmark v. Static Control have upheld the principle even in the age of the DMCA. Heck, under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act of 1975, the console maker can't even void the warranty if you use independently produced hardware or software with your console.
But please don't use NESticle for NES software. Try Nestopia, FCE Ultra, or Nintendulator instead.
In June 2012, a successful lawsuit by a video game publisher helped me to realize why e-sports have less of a secure future than traditional sports. The core difference is that nobody owns tennis, but somebody owns Tetris. The finding of copyrightable expression in the piece set and matrix dimensions of Tetris is as if someone owned the dimensions of a tennis court, racket, and ball.
Playing a video game in an organized tournament is a public performance, and the owner of copyright in a video game has the exclusive right to perform the game publicly. Some publishers have felt tempted to assert their copyrights when they realize that walkthrough videos have become a substitute for buying the game, causing games like That Dragon, Cancer to fail to turn a profit. Nintendo, for instance, can shut down Super Smash Bros. tournaments, and Capcom routinely requires performance licenses for Street Fighter tournaments. This complete lack of cooperation between Nintendo and esports organizations continued into 2020 with Nintendo shutting down a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament over the use of a netcode modification needed to compensate for lag in online play during a pandemic. Activision Blizzard has had a TV rights spat with KeSPA. Sega once ordered all videos of its Shining RPGs removed from YouTube and continued to issue copyright strikes for gameplay videos in 2013. Wild Games Studios used a takedown to silence TotalBiscuit's negative review of its Day One: Garry’s Incident. Campo Santo has filed notices of claimed infringement against PewDiePie for an outburst on his channel and encouraged other video game publishers to do the same. When YouTube Gaming debuted in 2015, users discovered they had little recourse against false positives from YouTube's automated Content ID system, dubbed the "Copyrobeast" by some critics. By late 2018, suspicion that copyright owners are blocking tournaments and Let's Plays had grown to where one of a fighting game's three copyright owners had to explicitly deny having blocked a particular tournament. By contrast, in 2020, Capcom admitted having targeted Hololive streamers with copyright strikes. Sometimes a publisher will run a league for its game, but such publishers can and do close these leagues with no advance notice, as Blizzard did in 2018.
In addition, a video game publisher can end online multiplayer matchmaking service for a product and threaten third parties who provide a substitute service. Electronic Arts did this for older Battlefield games that used the defunct service GameSpy. As games drop single-screen and LAN play in favor of requiring multiplayer games over the local network to run over the online matchmaking system (such as StarCraft II), this gives a game's publisher even more tools to use to end a league.
Traditional sports, on the other hand, are rarely if ever subject to exclusive rights. The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, by contrast, had no legal power to prevent the American League, Federal League, or independent baseball leagues from operating. Nor could the NBA or NFL stop other leagues other than through competition or acquisition. And there's no Tennis Company to stop Larry Ellison from start his own tennis tour. The only case I can think of is a 20-year patent on Arena Football's rebound nets, which other indoor football leagues just didn't use.
EULAs vs. statutory rights
Some compare buying a copy of a computer program to buying a piece of paper with a copyrighted work printed on it. Such a transaction does not give you a license to do whatever you want, but under United States law, it does grant you fair use rights and first sale rights in your copy of the work, and for computer software, such rights include the right to copy the software into RAM and to make backups. However, if a contract presented before the sale specifies that instead of buying a copy, you are perpetually renting one, then you are not "the owner of a copy," and none of this applies. But since 2008 or so, it became more common to deliver software over the Internet than in a box, and the vast majority of computer users are not "owners of a copy". By 2010, half of PC game sales were downloads, and by 2013, the figure reached 92 percent.
I'm not on the Facebook.
For one thing, I graduated from college in 2003 and thereby lost my e-mail account in the
.edu top-level domain before Facebook launched in 2004.
Even after Facebook opened to non-
.edu users in late 2006, Facebook has been known to require a cellular subscription with a globally unique SMS number and/or photographs of a user's state ID in order to reinstate privileges of a user whose account has been locked for suspicious automated behavior or a suspicious name.
There are anecdotal reports that users who have never joined a university network by adding a
.edu address are more likely to get hit.
In addition, Facebook tracks users' behavior across the Internet, even on sites not owned by Facebook.
But just as importantly, I lack the time to participate in Facebook. A study by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health confirms that spreading oneself too thinly across social networks leads to depression.
Tracing garbage collection helps plug memory leaks. But it's no panacea for all resource management problems in computer programming because not all resources owned by a process are memory. Neither Java nor Python guarantees that an object's finalizer will ever be called, which causes the resource managed by the object to be leaked, though CPython's reference counting comes close so long as a reference cycle doesn't hold non-memory resources. One can avoid resourced leaks with the dispose pattern, but for resources whose lifetime exceeds that of the method that acquired the object, any object holding a reference to a resource that needs to be disposed will itself need to be disposed. The observer pattern, for example, can lead to a lapsed listener problem, where a notification source continues to hold references to observers that are no longer otherwise reachable. Avoiding this requires explicit disposal of observer registrations, which makes an object need to be disposed. This "viral" aspect of the dispose pattern brings in comparable conceptual overhead to C++-style deterministic memory management techniques such as Resource Acquisition Is Initialization (RAII). And once your garbage-collected application's heap exceeds one-fourth of the available space, prepare for 200 ms pauses as the collector keeps sweeping the heap.
GNU software on Microsoft operating systems
Yes, you can run GNU software and other software from the "Linux ecosystem" on Windows without needing even virtualization. The Cygwin and MinGW/MSYS environments provide a minimal GNU environment, including Bash and the GCC toolchain, though apps that depend on them might be hard for a first-timer to install. Even KDE applications are being ported.
But even on systems without GNU software, both the classic command prompt (
cmd.exe) and the newer, .NET-powered Windows PowerShell have tab completion.
Open up a command prompt, type
cd , and start hitting the tab key.
(If it doesn't work: Open regedit, search for "CompletionChar", and change its value from "0" to "9".)
Its behavior when there are multiple completion choices differs somewhat
The Free Software Foundation has called using free software on Windows "the first step towards freedom." The second is switching to a free operating system such as GNU/Linux once you've found free applications for your whole work flow. This becomes especially important as of Windows 10, which offers a subset of GNU but requires all device drivers to have been signed with an EV code signing certificate, which is cost prohibitive for individual hardware hackers.
- A session token in the URL allows others to hijack a user's session if the user shares a URL, such as a product description page.
- Basic authentication requires previous agreement on a username and password. This means each user must create an account before adding anything to the cart. Users confronted with this while buying physical goods tend to bounce and shop elsewhere.
The trend of migrating all web functionality to HTTPS accelerated in the 2010s, following revelations of nation-state surveillance programs as well as technical trends that made use of HTTPS easier. In the middle of the decade, the end of Windows XP support removed the requirement for a dedicated IP address, and the rise of low-cost certificates from domain-validated CAs such as SSLs.com and Let's Encrypt offering certificates for public sites at low or no cost. This made it practical to host a web development portfolio on HTTPS.
The other is that public resources delivered through HTTPS cannot be cached by an intermediate proxy.
Sometimes a last-mile ISP, especially one serving a remote or less-developed area, puts HTTP clients behind a caching proxy to make the most efficient use of a slow upstream connection.
For HTTPS, the ISP would need to act as a man in the middle (MITM) for all outgoing HTTPS connections and in turn require subscribers to install the MITM's certificate as a trusted root.
Enterprise firewalls at sufficiently large businesses tend to do this.
This reduces the number of entities that can view the communication from everyone on the path to three: the client, the server, and a single proxy cluster at the ISP.
But traditionally, subscribers to a home ISP have desired to keep certain things private even from the ISP, such as financial transactions, making three entities one too many.
Previously, a site could offer resources that are not specific to a user session through cleartext HTTP with
Cache-Control: public, and switch to HTTPS only once a user session is established.
But with the "encrypt all the things" mentality that took hold in the early to mid 2010s, the proxy has no way to know in advance which connections contain information acceptable for the ISP's other subscribers to see, as the
Cache-Control: public header isn't set until after the connection is already established.
Furthermore, as arth1 and later US-CERT pointed out, this technique hides details about the site's certificate from the subscriber, as the browser instead sees the certificate generated by the proxy.
This includes the certificate's assurance level, particularly whether it uses Extended Validation.
What's worse: someone seeing what Wikipedia articles you're reading, or not being able to read them at all because your ISP hit its daily cap downloading separate copies of the article for other users?
The problem with making applications for mobile phones and then distributing them to the public used to involve BREW's larger entry barriers, which were even more closed than Apple's iOS developer program, and the difficulty of buying a device without a 24-month cellular voice and data service commitment. But starting in the fourth quarter of 2011, it had become easier because of the U.S. cellular industry's shift toward buying smartphones up front, led by T-Mobile and the prepaid MVNOs.
As of 2014, the big problems are CPU and GPU differences among Android devices and input deficiencies of touch-screen devices in general.
P2P music sharing
Pointless in most cases. Virtually all music controlled by the major record labels is all-rights-reserved, and sharing it with the world is copyright infringement. Sharing cover versions is copyright infringement, as the songwriter and music publisher aren't getting the royalties that they are due. Even sharing recordings of independent artists' own compositions is also likely to be copyright infringement as well: see Songwriting.
are not always a bad thing. The Lempel-Ziv-Welch patent (U.S. Patent 4,558,302 and foreign counterparts) used in GIF did not cover lossless image compression; it covered a specific bytestream compression method. Other non-patented bytestream compression schemes exist; the Deflate algorithm (used in such apps as gzip and zip) was selected for PNG, and 7-Zip uses the LZMA algorithm.
The bad thing is overly broad patents. U.S. Patents #5,715,314 (electronic shopping carts) and #5,960,411 (single-action purchasing over WWW) cover both known ways to handle online shopping. Other patents such as #5,253,341 (compressed images) and #4,873,662 (hyperlinks; read more) seem to cover the basic concept of a World Wide Web.
The bad thing is patent examiners not doing their job. Patent #6,061,680 on using a hash of a compact disc's table of contents as a database key (i.e. how CDDB works) had prior art; CDDB existed two years before the patent was filed. (In the United States, an inventor who does not file a patent application within twelve months of publicly disclosing an invention loses eligibility for a patent.) All Amazon's patent #5,960,411 added to prior art was "using HTTP"; is that really such a non-obvious invention?
The bad thing is patents on something that any undergraduate could have come up with, such as requiring one second of inactivity before and after an escape sequence to distinguish it from data (look up Hayes Smartmodem). The worse thing is a Congress that siphons needed funding from the Patent Office. Left to its own devices, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is fully self-sufficient from trademark and patent filing fees, but Congress uses the USPTO as a revenue source, making the USPTO unable to pay patent examiners to do their job.
The only thing in a patent that has legal force is the claims. You have to make, use, or sell a device that uses all elements of a given claim to infringe it, but infringing even one claim is patent infringement. To view claims, enter the patent serial number (e.g. LZW patent is 4558302) at the US Patent Office Full Text Database.
PC vs. console gaming: Multiplayer
So you've got a home theater PC or a MAME cabinet. Now what are you supposed to play?
Or you've developed a multiplayer video game for one PC. Now who's supposed to play it?
When was the last time you heard Creative Commons music on the radio?
In the United States, the FCC's monopoly on broadcasting prevents independent music from getting played on the radio. For a long time, Clear Channel (now iHeart) owned a large stake in XM satellite radio (now Sirius XM); it and a few other big players own most of the FM radio stations in most markets. It's hard for a new independent radio station to get a broadcasting license in the FM band (88.1 to 107.9 MHz), and without a sizable number of independent stations, radio listeners hear what iHeart wants them to hear, and the RIAA member labels pay a puppet promoter to pay iHeart to play RIAA music and only RIAA music. These bribes often come not in the form of cold hard cash but in free promotional copies of music and free tickets to live performances. True, Internet radio that plays only freely licensed music isn't subject to the broadcast cartel, but playing this in the car requires cellular data service that still costs hundreds of dollars per year as of 2016.
So recording artists unaffiliated with a major label have to find other ways to market indie music. And no, touring isn't always it, as not all genres are concert-friendly. There are so many popular albums whose songs cannot be recreated live that one comedy writer claims they need a warning label.
Using the region coding features of game consoles and DVD players to keep Japanese films and games out of American hands, especially when not a lot of text is involved and the community accepts bad translations as humorous, is a result of outright greed.
Region coded video game consoles: Famicom/NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, PlayStation, PS2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS
Region coded video game consoles known not to distinguish Japan from America after you pry off the tabs in the cartridge slot: Super Famicom/Super NES and Nintendo 64
Video game consoles known to be free of region lockout for games: Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PSP, PlayStation 3 and later
Reverse engineering entertainment
Here's how to get around perpetual copyrights and trademarks: Abstract the copyrighted expression away from the uncopyrightable idea by finding antecedents from before 1923 (or which are otherwise Free). For example, derive Precious Moments from the Eloi people in chapter 4 of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, and derive Enid Blyton's Noddy from Pinocchio renditions.
Another way to avoid copyright and trademark infringement is by taking a stereotype (uncopyrightable under Capcom v. Data East) and "making it yours" by changing all the names and appearances so that any copied expression disappears into scènes à faire, or elements common in prior works. For example, the setting of Nintendo's Animal Crossing video games involves a lone human living in a forest populated by furries. These elements have appeared in works dating back to A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh (copyright expires now in USA, 7 years left in EU), and to Lego's Fabuland sets from the 1980s.
Video calling can replace a corded phone, not a cordless one. One has to sit in front of a computer instead of hanging a phone off a belt, donning a headset, and continuing to do chores around the house. Another problem is that a lot of people don't want to be seen without their makeup and presentable clothes on. And that's why my grandmother doesn't Skype.
Write a song. Put a recording on the Internet. Get sued.
The Handel v. Silver precedent recognizes a four-note match between two musical works as "substantial similarity" that constitutes prima facie evidence of copying. By that measure, in the Western musical scale, there exist only 50,000 melodies four notes in length.
There are several guides on the Internet to avoiding plagiarism, but most of them are directed at avoiding plagiarism in prose. Music differs from prose in that while "most people are unable to remember enough consecutive words from another source to make unintentional quotation a real problem," as one such guide puts it, unintentional quotation of musical phrases has posed a problem in cases such as Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music.
The fear of accidentally copying an existing melody and facing a lawsuit from a major music publisher seems to put a chilling effect on creation of original works, as illustrated in the short story "Melancholy Elephants". So sharing recordings of independent artists' own compositions may infringe copyright, as those songs that aren't direct covers may be inadvertent, subconscious, yet still infringing copies of all-rights-reserved major label musical works. Others have begun to realize the same, such as Arik. It took a while for the mainstream media to grasp this, but by January 2020, plagiarism lawsuits during the 2010s had brought this chilling effect to the attention of writers for Rolling Stone magazine.
It gets to the point where people are recommending against attempting to compose new music in favor of building movie and video game soundtracks out of arrangements of public-domain classical music. Rich Stim of Nolo calls this "Consider Cowriting With a Dead Songwriter." The effect of this is the exact opposite of what copyright was intended for, namely "to promote the progress of science and useful arts" (U.S. Constitution, article I, section 8).
In fourth quarter 2020, Spotify engineers invented a tool to recognize melody fragments on a lead sheet that are similar to those of existing songs. Watch the big music publishers use this to fill district courts suing one another. Pop music will eat itself.
In the place where you live, unsolicited commercial e-mail ("spam") may or may not be legal. In the United States, the CAN-SPAM act set guidelines for legitimate direct marketing, but it failed to have much of an impact as spammers moved their operations offshore to botnets of compromised home computers in such countries as Brazil and the Republic of Korea.
There's more than one way to make a free GUI app that runs on more than one major desktop computer operating system. Cross-platform toolkits for GUI applications include GTK+, Qt, wxWidgets, and GNUstep. Cross-platform toolkits for games include SDL and Allegro, both of which can interface with OpenGL graphics.
Occasionally, trademarks have been used to authenticate products to other products. For example, Mattel Intellivision, Nintendo Game Boy, and Sega Genesis and Dreamcast consoles have a "Trademark Security System" (TMSS). The BIOS either won't start the program or will lock the video chip unless the program includes an instruction string that produces "PRODUCED BY OR UNDER LICENSE FROM" the console manufacturer, with copyright and trademark signs all over the screen. However, circumventing this is not an infringement of trademark. Use of a trademark as an ersatz patent is barred in the United States by the functionality doctrine, as interpreted by the Second Circuit in Sega v. Accolade (1992).
The functionality doctrine holds that a trademark cannot be used to extend the effective term of an expired patent. The related but more obscure aesthetic functionality doctrine is that a trademark cannot be used to extend the effective term of an expired copyright.
- Kellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co., 305 U.S. 111 (1938): U.S. trademark as ersatz patent
- Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003): U.S. trademark as ersatz copyright
- Fleischer Studios Inc. v. AVELA Inc., No. CV-06-6229 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 2012) 654 F.3d 958 (9th Cir. 2011): U.S. trademark on an uncopyrighted work's character name
- Simba Toys GmbH & Co. K.G v. European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Seven Towns Ltd. (Case C-30/15 P, November 10, 2016): EU trademark as ersatz patent on puzzle cube
- Slashdot comment by sandytaru from May 2014
- Rob Pegoraro. "Rural options for speedy Internet still tough". USA Today, 2012-10-07. Accessed 2013-06-10.
- Stewart Mitchell. "Report: more users turn to satellite for broadband". Alphr, 2012-06-21. Accessed 2012-06-23, 2015-12-16.
- Paul Ockenden. "Why 3G broadband can be better and cheaper than ADSL". Alphr, 2012-05-11. Accessed 2012-06-23, 2015-12-16.
- Meanwhile, At Starbucks; WoW on an iMac in Panera; iMac in a coffee shop; Slashdot comment from July 2011; Slashdot comment from June 2012
- KingMotley's comments
- Fazer87. "Answer to Schedule a task with admin privileges without a user prompt in windows 7". Super User, 2014-06-18. Acessed 2017-06-08.
- Jon Brodkin. "Want fiber Internet? That’ll be $383,500, ISP tells farm owner". Ars Technica, 2015-08-11. Accessed 2015-10-13.
- Jon Brodkin. "Man builds house, then finds out cable Internet will cost $117,000". Ars Technica, 2015-09-30. Accessed 2015-10-13.
- Jessica Longbottom and Ben Knight. "Victorian couple quoted up to $1.2m to connect to NBN Co's fibre service". ABC News, 2018-06-06. Accessed 2018-06-14.
- Jon Brodkin. "FCC can define markets with only one ISP as “competitive,” court rules". Ars Technica, 2018-08-29. Accessed 2018-09-03.
- "All Access Pass". IRL Podcast, ep. 6. Accessed 2018-05-25.
- Jeffrey Matulef. "That Dragon, Cancer 'has not yet seen a single dollar from sales'". Eurogamer.net, 2016-03-25. Accessed 2018-01-28.
- Kyle Orland. "Why Nintendo can legally shut down any Smash Bros. tournament it wants". Ars Technica, 2013-07-11. Accessed 2015-05-18.
- Jenna Pitcher. "Nintendo wanted to shut down Super Smash Bros. Melee Evo event, not just stream". Polygon, 2013-07-11. Accessed 2019-04-19.
- "How Nintendo Has Hurt the Smash Community". Accessed 2020-11-23.
- Ian Walker. "Nintendo Shuts Down Smash Tournament Over Some Absurd Bullshit. Kotaku, 2020-11-19. Accessed 2020-11-19.
- Tony Ponce. "Sega forcing removal of Shining Force videos on YouTube". Destructoid, 2012-11-30. Accessed 2015-08-27.
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- Tim Hawkman, Lydia Bugg. "Movies Love Forcing Christian Bale Into Boxes That Don't Fit". Cracked, 2017-09-11. Accessed 2017-09-12.
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Articles by Damian Yerrick, published here
- DMCA in Plain English
- Dumb Patents
- Nintendo DS vs. PlayStation Portable (historical)
- The problem with PC multiplayer video gaming
Pseudonymous articles, published here
- CAPTCHA Hall of Shame
- Animal Crossing Population Growing: Guides to the Nintendo GameCube game. Currently covers the golden statue, the golden shovel, and the golden axe.
Articles by Damian Yerrick, published elsewhere
- The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and Perpetual Copyright
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Politics of Copy Protection Technology
- The Dangers of Disabling the Right-click in Web Browsers
- AOL Is Not the Internet
- Review of Nintendo's Dr. Mario 64
- Common Video Game Design Flaws
- A Chilling Effect on Music
- Spreading Myself Too Thinly
- Satire: Cher Patent Term Harmonization Act
- Barely Legal: Copyright Civil Disobedience
- More stuff by Damian Yerrick