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On the obviousness of patents

Patents are granted in the UK and other countries because the idea is non-obvious, and the developers deserve sole use of the new technology for a period of time. They last for varying amounts of time depending on the country, but it seems that 20 years is about the average. 20 years of monopoly on an idea seems like a long time, particularly in the fast moving world of computer science.

Reflections on the perambulations in France

Sitting in a traffic jam in Doncaster over the Christmas holidays, I became aware that I had forgotten the French word for traffic jam. Rather than accept the grim slide into forgetful feeble-mindedness, I went to France for a week in January to brush up on my language skills. Here are some of my findings.

440 words on Wiltshire mud

Wiltshire mud

KSpread, disaster zone?

A number of people have been discussing the spreadsheets roundup in LXF76, particularly the 1/10 score I awarded to KSpread. It's a tribute to the increasing maturity of the KDE community that most of the comments were constructive, forward-looking and objective. Others weren't quite so fun to read.

Either way, I think the KOffice guys deserve a few pointers to clarify the review, so I picked out just some of the more interest comments that people have made. Here they are, along with my responses:

Got Disk?

My dad can beat up your dad

I think I've seen it all now. Whatever kind of hobbies people take up, they invariably find ways to prove that they're better than others. Look, the spoiler on my fancy roller skate is 3.2 cm wider than yours! I'm the best! Hey, you're not as good as me, because I drink wine that's six months older than the junk you swig. Oh, and I'm far cooler than you could ever be, because I use -fomit-frame-pointer in my CFLAGS. Hah!

Auto erotica

Dramatic news this week. We’ve decided to add ‘Autopackage’ to the Linux Format A-Z style guide (http://linuxformat.co.uk/writers, grammar watchers!). Software in the magazine is italicised, so up until now we were using “an Autopackage file”, but we’ve decided that the technology has reached the tipping point, so to speak, and deserves to join the Roman ranks of RPM and Deb with its very own 'Autopackage'. Marvellous!

Dramatic news this week. We’ve decided to add ‘Autopackage’ to the Linux Format A-Z style guide (http://linuxformat.co.uk/writers, grammar watchers!). Software in the magazine is italicised, so up until now we were using “an Autopackage file”, but we’ve decided that the technology has reached the tipping point, so to speak, and deserves to join the Roman ranks of RPM and Deb with its very own 'Autopackage'.

Also on Mario 64

Not to rain on Paul's parade or anything, but I've raced into the lead with 125 stars now, 22 of which are castle secrets. All while spending more time with Superstar Saga and Another Code. Now it's just a case of tackling Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride (I've got to credit Paul for collecting 100 coins on the former).

On Mario 64

Mike Saunders and I are playing through Mario 64 on the DS right now. Mike has a bit of an advantage, as he's already played through it on the N64 and thus should already know where all the secret stars are and so on. But please remember that in any given game where it's Hudzilla vs TekWMinister, Hudzilla will usually pull ahead, so I'm pleased to report that I have 105 stars whereas poor old Mike is still struggling to break the 100 mark.



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