Computers & Linux News

Why Are There So Many Weird Tech Patents?

SlashDot - 1 hour 5 min ago
Companies are constantly patenting strange things they have no intention of developing. From a report: Amazon is putting humans in cages to protect them from machines! Facebook is selling your face to advertisers so it can CGI you into ads! Sony has a system where you can skip ads if you stand up and yell the brand's name! None of these things are technically true -- they're headlines driven by patents filed by these companies. In each case, the company has not developed these technologies. And it's likely that they never will. And yet, head-scratching and sometimes hilarious patents continue to populate the patent office and generate headlines. So why are there so many strange, somewhat terrifying patents that companies will likely never act on? There are lots of reasons to patent something. The most obvious one is that you've come up with a brilliant invention, and you want to protect your idea so that nobody can steal it from you. But that's just the tip of the patent strategy iceberg. It turns out there is a whole host of strategies that lead to "zany" or "weird" patent filings, and understanding them offers a window not just into the labyrinthine world of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and its potential failings, but also into how companies think about the future. And while it might be fun to gawk at, say, Motorola patenting a lie-detecting throat tattoo, it's also important to see through the eye-catching headlines and to the bigger issue here: Patents can be weapons and signals. They can spur innovation, as well as crush it.

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BMW M8 Gran Coupe set for Los Angeles debut - Roadshow

CNET News - 1 hour 23 min ago
The M8 will spawn two extra doors this November.

Survey details top reasons consumers avoid electric cars - Roadshow

CNET News - 1 hour 43 min ago
The factors aren't surprising. Not even a little bit.

Electric carmaker Nio to lay off 1,200 employees - Roadshow

CNET News - 1 hour 49 min ago
The cuts follow news the company's co-founder is retiring.

Slashdot Asks: What's Your Favorite Underappreciated Movie?

SlashDot - 1 hour 51 min ago
What's one movie that is lesser-known or underappreciated that you really enjoyed -- or found insightful? Last time we asked this question, it was 2003!

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Jon Favreau 'cautiously hopeful' Spider-Man will stay in Marvel Universe - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 5 min ago
Speaking at Disney's D23 Expo event, the director said he hoped Marvel and Sony would work out their spider-beef.

I ate Oscar Mayer's hot dog ice cream sandwich and lived - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 10 min ago
Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Uber's $1-Per-Ride 'Safe Rides Fee' Had Nothing To Do With Safety

SlashDot - 2 hours 28 min ago
Uber imposed a $1-per-ride surcharge it called a "Safe Rides Fee" in 2014, but it was a just a play for profit. From a report: The money collected by the company from the fee -- estimated at around $500 million -- was never earmarked specifically for safety and was "devised primarily to add $1 of pure margin to each trip," according to New York Times . At the time, Uber was facing rising costs from insurance and background checks, so the company came up with the idea of imposing a safety fee to help boost its margins. Meanwhile, its actual safety program consisted of little more than a short video course for drivers. It wasn't until years later that Uber began adding safety features to its app, such as an emergency button to call 911. Safe ride fees varied from market to market, but they generally amounted to a buck and some change. In San Francisco, riders were charged $1.35 per trip. Philadelphians paid $1.25, while riders in Los Angeles paid $1.65.

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NASA considering all-female crew for Artemis moon mission - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 44 min ago
NASA may end up putting the first two women on the moon in 2024.

Here are the electric and self-driving Toyotas for the 2020 Olympics - Roadshow

CNET News - 2 hours 52 min ago
The Japanese automaker said 90% of its Olympic vehicle fleet in Tokyo will be electrified.

Apple shares drop after Trump says US 'doesn't need China' - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 57 min ago
The president said US companies should start looking for an alternative.

A Facebook employee called Cambridge Analytica 'sketchy' four years ago - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 7 min ago
The social network was concerned about the consultancy's practices back in September 2015.

Top US Publishers Sue Amazon's Audible For Copyright Infringement

SlashDot - 3 hours 8 min ago
Amazon's Audible was sued by some of the top U.S. publishers for copyright infringement on Friday, aiming to block a planned rollout of a feature called 'Audible Captions' that shows the text on screen as a book is narrated. From a report: The lawsuit was filed by seven members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), including HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan Publishers. "Essentially Audible wants to provide the text as well as the sound of books without the authorization of copyright holders, despite only having the right to sell audiobooks," AAP said in a statement.

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Lynk & Co's 03 Cyan concept sets two 'Ring records at once - Roadshow

CNET News - 3 hours 26 min ago
The 528-horsepower sedan is now the fastest four-door car and the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nordschleife.

Honda's new airbags act like a baseball glove for your face - Roadshow

CNET News - 3 hours 34 min ago
Not just one inflatable element, but three work to protect the occupant.

FAA warns you not to put a flamethrower on that drone - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 40 min ago
Guns, bombs, fireworks and other dangerous items also aren't allowed.

Tesla secures a battery partner for Gigafactory Shanghai, report says - Roadshow

CNET News - 4 hours 6 sec ago
The big T will be teaming up with South Korea's LG Chem to supply the factory with 2170 cells for Model 3 and eventually Model Y production.

Trump Orders US Businesses To Find Alternative To China

SlashDot - 4 hours 56 sec ago
President Trump said Friday U.S. companies were "hereby ordered" to start looking for alternatives to doing business in China after Beijing said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of additional U.S. products. From a report: "Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years," Mr. Trump wrote in a series of tweets [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. "They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won't let that happen! We don't need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them." Mr. Trump's comments came in response to China's plan, laid out Friday, to impose tariffs of 5% and 10% on almost all the remaining U.S. imports on which it has yet to impose punitive taxes, including vehicles and car parts, in retaliation against U.S. moves to slap punitive tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. The president demanded that U.S. companies "immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA." The sharp escalation in the prolonged trade conflict between the two countries comes weeks after Mr. Trump said he would impose the fresh tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing had vowed to retaliate. China's new levies on U.S. goods are set to go into effect on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, timed with the next two rounds of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Chinese tariffs on U.S. automotive goods are set to begin Dec. 15.

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Americans Are Waiting Three Years To Replace Their Phones, Study Finds

SlashDot - 4 hours 28 min ago
A new study released by Strategy Analytics reflects the current state of the smartphone industry. Apparently, consumers in the US -- Baby Boomers, in particular -- are increasingly delaying their smartphone purchase for three or more years. From a report: In addition, the average iPhone now remains active for 18 months, while the average Samsung phone remains active for 16.5. The era of yearly phone upgrades is over. Smartphone shipments have been dropping around the world over the past year, and some analysts even believe the industry is bound to suffer its worst decline ever in the coming months. Strategy Analytics conducted an online survey with 2,500 smartphone owners aged 18 to 64 years old in the US. Company SVP David Kerr explained that there are several reasons behind consumers' decision not upgrade as quickly as they did in the past. To start with, buyers perceive newer phones' offerings as marginal upgrades not worth getting a new device for.

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