"Klein did get a professor at Binghamton to help him try [the machine] out twice in Ithaca, with assistance from a Binghamton graduate student, and it was not a success. Corvid experts who have since been interviewed have said that Klein’s machine is unlikely to work as intended."
How is his claim holding up, or is he promising too much? Since it's the last news of the thing for captive crows were from 2012 and there is also [thecrowbox] and a correction of the correction .
There is still no working version for wild crows. I just still don't know what to make of this since I can hardly see bad intentions other than being a bit overly enthusiastic about the whole thing while producing somewhat underwhelming results in practice. If it would have been some sort of hoax or stunt he probably would have said something by now, like it was an art project or some media hack or anything else along those lines.
It's a satire piece that suggests that authors who pretend to write translations of fictional books (such as Tolkien with LotR and Goldman with The Princess Bride) may actually be opening up their stories to plagiarists who claim to be "translating" the same source material. Or at least, that's my reading of it.
In a world where the Red Book of Westmarch actually existed, this other translation would be legal.
> My employment contract said I was to make reasonable effort to assist in the creation of patent applications that resulted from my work.
While this is true, you must also be aware of the damage that software patents are doing to the industry, and by extension, your professional peers. How do you reconcile that morally? Is your current job and standing in your company worth the damage you've done by assisting in the creation of this [seemingly] obvious patent that [seemingly] ignores prior art and could be used to stifle innovation?
 The Textual IRC client, for example, has been inlining images and other URLs since at least as far back as 2011. I'd guess Hipchat has been doing it for longer.
(I hope this is the right tone to take for this kind of comment. Please advise if not.)
Edit: It's pretty rare that you get a software patent author answering questions in an HN thread. I don't currently know anyone who's written patents, that I'm aware of. I'm actually interested in the answers to these questions, and I'm not just taking jabs to bring someone down.
Clearly he/she has a different opinion. I'm asking for clarification. For example, one possible valid response is "I helped write this patent because I believe it isn't actually harmful and serves my personal interests."
However, if the authors were aware of the image inlining features in other products before writing the patent, it does strike me as dishonest to then pretend to the USPTO that they didn't exist. I can't claim to know what the authors were or were not aware of, so I can't make any judgements on that issue.
To clarify: the patent authors are lawyers, and were almost definitely not aware of any of what the patent covers. They would have spoken to the inventors to get a very specific set of answers that they were looking for, specifically not including 'is this super obvious with lots of prior art that would make it invalid?'
Or, for a cynical view: for companies churning out tons of patents, it's optimal to churn out as many patents as possible. The more patents the USPTO has to deal with, the less effective they are at their jobs. The less effective they are, the more mistakes they make; the false positives (i.e. rejected applications) can be clarified to be non-infringing, and the false negatives… well, now that's one more patent in the war chest.
That’s a fair question. Quitting at the first mention of patents would be hard to justify to my wife and family, and in any event would not avoid the situation. IIRC John had left Facebook while this was in process and was still obliged to sign, per the terms of the employment contract he agreed to when he started.
Whether an employee would actually be fired or sued for failure to cooperate is doubtful. But if you wish to avoid any possibility of taint, the only option would be to boycott all patent-holding entities. That would severely limit your employment options in this industry. That's RMS territory.
I don't really have an opinion beyond that. Patents, like lawsuits and depositions, are a non-zero risk if you do programming for a living. But they are rare things day-to-day. Deus volent.
Fair enough. I do think there's a middle ground between "actively seeks to write new patents" and "full RMS." It's not typically realistic to avoid working at places that hold software patents, but in my (limited) experience you can at least avoid adding to the problem. Ideally, you could negotiate for the patent clause to be removed from the employment contract before you even begin the job. I understand that's not always possible.
I used to work at a company that started out without any software patents, and at some point management decided to encourage the engineers to help generate some. I politely informed my manager that I wouldn't be participating, a few others did the same, and as far as I know none of us were penalized. Sometimes it's possible to just say "I'd really rather not" and have that be the end of it.
I realize I'm speaking from a position of privilege, in that I have only myself to support and I live in an area full of employment opportunities. But I do think it's valid to encourage people to put some thought into the outcomes of their actions in this area.
Regarding another comment in this thread about Facebook's patent attitude being purely defensive: that may be the case now, and I do believe it is, but in five years, who knows who'll be running the company?
How does this patent APPLICATION harm anyone? It discloses some technical information (though clearly this is already a well known idea), and Facebook will never be awarded a patent for this. The public benefits from dud patents because they disclose in fairly precise (though esoteric and overly longwinded) language some technical idea while the applicant does not gain anything when it is eventually rejected.
> How do you reconcile that morally? Is your current job and standing in your company worth the damage you've done by assisting in the creation of this [seemingly] obvious patent
'Why did you leave your last job?' 'They wanted to file a patent on some work I did and I refused, even though it was in my employment contract to help.' 'Well, thanks for coming in. We'll let you know.'
> that [seemingly] ignores prior art and could be used to stifle innovation?
Lots of patents ignore prior art. It's easier to plead ignorance that way, and you get a chance at getting a patent that no one realizes is infringing. There's no incentive for a patent applicant (or rather, a team of patent lawyers on retainer) to do any prior art research. Better to dump that on the USPTO and hope they can't figure it out or don't bother.
A lot of silicon valley companies get patents to use defensively (basically how you have to play the game). If I worked at FB and had insider knowledge that the company was generating patents for only defensive purposes it wouldn't bother me that much.
I provide one very specific service: implementing custom tools, features, and integrations for Literally Canvas, my open source HTML5 drawing widget. If you need a drawing feature in your web app, I can help you make that happen.
I'm surprised they didn't try mrjob (Python framework), which both has a more concise interface and handles shipping their dependencies to EMR, which seemed to be their primary complaint. Probably would have been easier than rewriting a bunch of stuff in Go. It's supposed to solve the exact problems they have.
Of course, they might like Go for other reasons and have a better time in general, but it's odd not to read a mention of the obvious and simple solution.
Partially off topic, but page layouts like the one you linked to really come off as unnatural to me. Specifically the way the margin for annotations is used in the centering of the main content is distracting. It's like you are giving equal relevance to sporadic notes as to the main article. I'm surprised to see it in a typography book.