Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trolling patent trolls

After IBM's patent of the 40-minute meeting (get it here), I think it's time to troll the patent trolls, by letting them look themselves in the mirror, as they try to make money by destroying value. Nothing against patents per se, but patent abusers should have a chance to see themselves in the mirror find out whether they like what they see. The abuse of patents is the second worst thing in the tech world (second only to this unspeakable disgrace:"twitter, triumph of humanity").

I think the best approach, at least for a powerless author like yours truly, is to edit their wikipedia page, calmly and objectively pointing out how these patents are just plain dumb. Neutral point of view and reliable sources are very welcome.

I did this first when Microsoft applied last year (2008) for the breakthrough of a page-up and page-down button, which would let you scroll documents; hear me out; one page at a time. That was decades old technology, and it's a blatant abuse of a failed patent system. The wording has been changed all over, but it still lies right there at Microsoft's entry:
David Meyer writing on pointed out that, "Microsoft has a long history of applying for, and being granted patents for, inventions that many argue--and can sometimes demonstrate--were based on earlier work carried out by others, or based on a common, self-evident idea."[109] This was in response to its 2008 patent application for the ability to progress in page-up or page-down increments with a single keystroke -- a method that has been pervasive for decades. [110]
This is from IBM's entry on Wikipedia:
IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. based technology company and has eight research laboratories worldwide
It's only logical and fair to point out how they do it: by abusing the system and stamping out junk. So now is the time to update IBM's page, which I did. But of course it was reverted: "Slashdot is not a reliable source". Dammit CowboyNeal! So here is a gathering of "reliable" sources for IBM's patent abuses.

Here is the "
paper or plastic" patent (please please check this link, it's worth it), the "but I only had soup" patent, the offshoring patent, the "who is going to pee next" patent, the "Terry is a boy, Jeena is a girl" patent (from a garbage, "unreliable source", unfortunately).

Dear IBM, may I humbly ask: What is the point of having a record number of patents if they are just plain stupid? Are you really keeping these admittedly schizophrenic policies?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Project Jacuzzi

For those concerned that we won't be able to compute rapidly all that we need to, here are some good news. Project Jacuzzi:

The project delivers Java™-bindings for CUDA. CUDA is a framework by NVIDIA which enables a programmer to use the graphics processing unit (GPU) of a computer for scientific computations or image processing. The current project state is alpha but it might however be useful for you. Browse the javadoc documentation to find out. Everybody is invited to contribute.

That should bring up the immense power of GPGPU (also on wikipedia), and stream processing, even from (slow) java.

We shouldn't worry about such problems now. Maybe in an year or so.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Open-sourcing Capyblanca, Part (ii)

I've received this email recently (identities hidden either to protect the innocent and/or my imaginary friends):

Dear Mr Linhares,

I'm a *nationality* *discipline* teacher, very interested by AI (as a hobbie), I've just read your article "Decision making and strategic thinking through analogies". I kwnow quite well Hofstadter's book "Fluid Concepts and creative analogies" but until your work I was not sure if these ideas could be applied outside "toys" problems.

If this can help, and if you are interested I would be glad in translating your code from Delphi to Java or from Delphi to C++ (if you prefer). Is it possible to download your code ?

I'm sorry for my bad english, hoping not to waste your time.

Best regards,

H. W.

This was my reply, which I'd like to extend further in here (also sent to the prime mover):

Dear H.W.,

Thanks for your message. Just to let you know that I received it and I'll soon contact you with a longer reply. In the meantime, feel free to download the code, and translate it to any language that you might find appropriate. The code is hosted in google and is under a GPL license. Do as you wish, and share with the community!

Cheers, --Alex

Well, I guess my "longer reply" comes basically to this: You can do whatever you want with the code, provided (i) you respect the GPL restrictions (sorry, buddy, you have to redistribute your improvements if you use the original), and I would ask also that (ii) people do NOT write papers for journal/conference publication using any of the examples embedded in the code. YES, you can write & publish a paper on the subject. YES, you can write and publish a paper on your improvements on capyblanca. YES, you can write and publish a paper criticizing capyblanca (you prick). But before we go all Obama yes-you-can, I'd like to ask readers and developers involved in the code NOT to publish any papers using the aforementioned positions. Other (billions?) chess positions are all yours to test, criticize, and improve the code. Good luck!

With that in mind, the code is free. It's all yours. Improve it, publish, and profit from it--but give back to the community. That is the spirit of the GPL.

Kernel Maps

Here's Linux's kernel Map:

Here's windows's kernel map:

Peer review

Imagine if the arts were just like science, pervaded with peer review and groupthink. Here's what you'd get:

Eduard Manet wrote to his colleague Claude Monet, of Renoir: "He has no talent at all, that boy. Tell him to give up painting."

"Rembrandt was regarded as not comparable with an extraordinarily gifted artist, Mr. Ripingill."

William Blake spoke of Titian and the Venetians as "such idiots are not artists."

Degas regarded Toulouse-Lautrec" as merely a painter of a period of no consequence." One wonders how art would have fared in a peer review system.

Or would it be different in music? We can read what was said of Beethoven's compositions by musicians of his time:

"An orgy of vulgar noises" was the verdict of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony by Mr. Spore, a German violinist and composer.

On Tchaikovsky's appreciation of Brahms, "I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard. It annoys me that this jumping, inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genius."

Let's just say I'm glad for the arts.