Friday, March 27, 2009

I wish I am a lawyer

Just saw this, Intel is suing Nvidia and AMD for licensing issues

My thought is, the chipset agreement is pretty much useless, because such agreements will not hold in a court of law. As the case Lexmark Int’l v. Static Control Components and a trail of other case shows, not only the higher courts favor little guys, such licensing is totally unnecessary because according to my recent research on copyright law, what Nvidia does (making chipset) totally falls under section 1102f fair use rules.

Of course Intel has multi-million dollar lawyers, and I am just a dirt cheap engineer/part time freeware developer/part time bot writer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There is your congress at work

Bachmann bill would ban global currency.

They can ban global currency all they want, but nothing will prevent the other countries from NOT using dollar as the default reserve currency. Who is or will became the global economy leader is not determined by US law, it is determined by productivity. Who ever got the products most other country wants, their currency will be more sought after. It is a bit over simplify, but the long term trend will be determined by that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is open source software good for econmy?

I am not sure about it. It is certainly good for consumer.

Open source is good for consumer, because they don't come with so much hassle.
I have about 5 or 6 copies of windows XP (either come with a computer or bought separately) and only 3 computers at my home. Every time I reformat my computer, it is always a pain to get to Microsoft and do an activation (because I can't remember which XP is installed on with computer). My linux never had such problems.

But is open source good for the economy? I am not so sure. Every since I used Open Office, I never bought another copy of Microsoft Office again. I actually uninstalled MS Office from my computer. Consider Microsoft's Office give so many people jobs.

I guess for the long run, open source is good for the economy, since it makes people's life easier and a few dedicated people can free a lot of other people in a corporation to do other things, but in the short term it is not.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TV vs Computer

There is a great essay by Paul Graham about TV vs Computer

The same applies everywhere, from US/non-US automakers, to outsourcing of blue/white collar jobs. The world is changing, and we either change with it, or be buried by it.

Starcraft II release date

After study copyright law, I have learned to be fair use, don't quote the most juice part of the story. Just kidding, I can write it in my own words but I am too lazy.

See this link:

Friday, March 20, 2009

More cases

I am in danger of turning this blog into a case study, but I can't help myself. Blizzard vs Bnetd. After reading the ruling, it is clear that why the judge ruled against bnetd:
Unlike in Lexmark Int'l, Inc., mode codes
were not accessible by simply purchasing a Blizzard game or logging onto

Appellants's circumvention in this case constitutes infringement. As detailed
earlier, Blizzard's secret handshake between Blizzard games and effectively
controlled access to mode within its games. The purpose of the
project was to provide matchmaking services for users of Blizzard games who wanted
to play in a multi-player environment without using The
emulator enabled users of Blizzard games to access mode features without
a valid or unique CD key to enter The emulator did not
determine whether the CD key was valid or currently in use by another player. As a
result, unauthorized copies of the Blizzard games were freely played on

This is rather exciting, because the previous case of Lexmark Int'l v. Static Control Components now also make sense. I was so confused about that one it is almost like sky is falling, but now it does make sense. The case of law is almost like programming, it can seem strange but when dig down it does make sense. Only if law suits can be slower like programming (you can think and think in programming, but for lawsuits, you must act fast), I would rather practice law.

All of us might have violated copyright law at some point

After wrote my previous blog, I did some thinking and found that all of us, who uses computers (especially wrote computer programs) might have violated copy right law at some moment.

According to US copy right law:
“Copies” are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term “copies” includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed.

In this case, my wife might wrote a copy righted joke (short one, 1 or 2 sentences) on our computer, left notepad open and left. I switch account, turn on WOW and warden scans, copy the entire joke from RAM location A to location B and do his work. There is a copyright violation! My wife's exclusive right to make copy (under section 106) has just been violated.

And for that, even anti virus program are liable.

And for us programmers, sometimes we allocate memory in excess of what we need, and that excess un-initialized part of RAM might contain copyrighted material. And in C/C++, when you pass in an array by copy, that is a copy. And when a debugger is attached, you can see/communicate with that data.

Of course, in that case no one will sue you because it is hard to argue how they are harmed. But it is against the law in its current language anyway. (In the case of MAI vs Peak, Peak's IT person can't even boot MAI customer's machine.)

Glider case, zoloFighter and Warden law breaker

OK, here is what I got so far. Virtuallyblind has an excellent article analyzing this. Too bad I didn't notice that before.

I checked out the 3 cases: MAI vs Peak Ticket Master vs RMT Wall data vs police department

The worst one is MAI vs Peak (Edit: from the ruling, MAI sales licenses only), in which the judge basically says if you bought software, you are not the owner, and you can't debug that software if the vendor didn't want you to.
I was surprised by that, it is totally against the copyright law in my understanding (i.e. as long as you pay for the software and don't use multiple copies you are OK).
The ruling basically says that even if you bought the software, if the creator of that software don't want you to load it into your computer's RAM, you break the law if you do so.

The TicketMaster ruling makes more sense, because RMT didn't buy anything, they just use the website against rules.

Wall data vs police dept is more straight forward, police department made too many copies.

In all 3 cases, commercial interest seems to be the key issue. In MAI vs Peak, the judge most likely think that the former MAI employees holds trade secret and defected to Peak via commercial interest, so he made the ruling to protect MAI's interest.
The side effect of that is, software owners are no longer owners, they are leasers now. Any move the software maker don't like, and they can bar you from doing anything in the name of copy right.
It seems that with that ruling, section 117 is no longer in effect.

The only possible solution seems to be the fair use defense, which the police department used. However the judge in that case saw no such thing based on all 4 criteria of fair use.

One thing I want to add is, after reading the rulings, I think all those judges should be revered. I am not kidding. They display exemplar knowledge, quoting prior cases/research/publications at well, almost like a library.
I have no idea how they can do that, and I am rather worried that the entire legal system could collapse under its own weight when there are just too many prior cases for ordinary humans to handle.

From the rulings, the judges are clearly rule within the confinement of law, and they follow logic instead of common presumption. However within the confinement of law, they clearly can use their own judgments on grey area issues (i.e. what is fair use in Glider and Wall Data case).

It also come as a shock to me, that WOW's warden could be breaking the law by examining copy righted material on users' computer. Since copy to RAM is also a copy "When such a copy is made in excess of a license, the copier is liable for copyright infringement. Ticketmaster LLC v. RMG Techs., Inc., 507 F. Supp. 2d 1096, 1107".

So basically since judges are not allowed to break precedence, the only available defense is section 107, fair use:

This is a break down for zolo:
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
non-commercial, and some educational.

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
entertainment. WOW also uses warden to scan users' system, which could mean it is a potential law breaker (i.e. copy copyrighted material to RAM).
the bot also act as a DMCA protection device.

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
not sure

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
since there is a default time limit, zolo users will be forced to stay near the computer and start the bot again and again.
This allows interaction with other users, and ensure blizzard's name and profitability.
I for one will give up WOW for its long hours, if not for the bot. And I remember there are other persons on my board states the same.

OMG StarCraft II demo!

Got the news from tomshardware.

Let's hope some of us get lucky!

Glider lawsuit

I found out that glider has stopped yesterday. Here is what I posted on zolo forum yesterday:
I just found out glider lost the suit (partially anyway, pending appeal).

I was shocked as why violating EULA became a violation of law issue. I was confident glider will win because they didn't do anything unlawful.

Spend an hour today reading copy right law and I thought they could use section 109 and 117 as defense. But after reading some of the court text, it appears that glider's lawyer already used such defenses. If a judge change the law, all following law suits must follow precedent.

I will have to take time to read through the entire context, but before that all donations will be suspended, no new keys will be issued. From the judge, seems to me that the commercial nature of glider is the main down fall (I can't figure out why section 117 is throw out, so that got be the reason). From the text, the judge seems to indicate that there is chance of appeal.

From the beginning, this bot is not meant to make money. If that is the case I will do more than $1 per charge because of the paypal overhead. My donations to charities for a single year is many times higher than all the donations combined. My initial goal is to share this tool with like minded people in similar situations, for it is man with wife/gf argos or students need focus on their homework. The donation, no matter how small, will enable blizzard's argument that I profited from this and such is guilty. So donation is taken out.

Those already donated, the key will keep working till expire.

I will find time to read the entire section of the verdict and the law.

So what I did yesterday is disable donation. I am sure that will 100% make zoloFighter covered under section 107, fair use law. Of course because I can't call a judge to confirm that, I have to do more digging myself.

Since then I have found several links and other people's discussions, I will post another blog today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This is why bailout is such a bad idea

Check this link

US Government has give billions of dollars to AIG, and now the AIG execs, who has failed their jobs and run the company to the ground, are having a good time giving themselves millions.

This will most likely not happen if some private investors bought AIG, because that will be their money and they will be extra careful about the money. The government just dumped billions into AIG without much considerations. Because it is not their money, it is tax payer's money. The government should kick out the executives naked (because they failed) and do a clean take over with pennies on the dollar.

I only hope they learn something from it and don't be so dumb when bailing out GM.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This is why current patent laws are bad

This is from Tom's hardware: Intel to AMD: Your x86 License expires in 60 days

Maybe instead of 20 year patent, we should shorten it to 5 years for software/hardware patents.

In love with Lambda expressions

I wanted to do this for a while now, never find the time. So it is a short one.

I wanted javascript for zoloFighter for one simple reason. At the time I love java, and this Paul Graham's essay prompted me to look into python/ruby/javascript.

It is excellent that most of zoloFighter users uses javascript to customize their bots, turning boring grinds into fun programming exercises, which is beneficial to them in the long run (and as paranoid as I am, which constantly worry about employer's ability to pay employee, or US run out of engineers, it is a good thing to do). One huge thing I like about javascript is attach of functions to anything, or anonymous functions (which java also have but c# 1.0 lacks).

How things has changed since c# introduced Lambda expressions. Now you can do anonymous functions and much more! I love the cleanness of those, they just looks beautiful and make our job much easier.

My tax return is killing me

I have been very busy recently, preparing a demo for our company has put me and another engineer almost 10 hours a day. But nothing compare to the burden of tax preparation. Every year is a struggle. Because it is a once a year event, I keep forgetting what did I do last year, where to send everything.

I used to make mistakes every year, even when I was working as a student assistant in my university, with my tiny pay check, I send more to IRS than I should. Never realized that till later. That is fine, at least I am not as confused as I am now.

The US tax code is became so complicated, even Tim Geithner, current US Secretary of the Treasury, made mistakes. That is one of the reasons I support the Fair Tax so much, it will hugely simplify our tax returns, and put US products much more competitive to others.

The only good part of all this tax trouble? I have a reason to stay in front of the computer now. One one monitor I am doing tax, the other runs WOW :-) Can't wait till StarCraft II come out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

new great wow 3.1 features

I was reading wowinsider today and noticed the little title a couple of lines down, Wow Casually

Since I am a ultra casual player, that caught my eye and I was not disappointed!! Yep. Here is a summary:
1. 30 minutes hearth (combine with the recall scroll means you can hearth 3 times an hour).
2. ground mount can swim. Huge time saver. Now I will no longer afraid of swim.
3. queue BG anywhere and return to the same place when BG ends!! Finally. It is a pain to go to a capital city to play BG. Now only if they could do that for instances :-)

Anyway, I have guest coming from out of state this week, so I will only update stuff that I wanted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Biggest Ponzi Scheme Ever

No it is not about Madoff.

You might not heard of Greg Knox before, I heard about him today over Neal Boortz.
After a short google on him, here is Gregory Knox's Letter to Troy Clarke, President of GM .

After I read this, several things come to my mind. How can the CEO of the failed auto companies get so much compensation for such bad job? How did they manage to pay union works way above average salaries?

And then it all come to me, it is a huge Ponzi scheme in the scale way bigger than Madoff, and yet it is legal.

The failed auto companies probably live on the stack sales (or depend on stack prices) to pay the differences. Because it is all investor money (unlike their own money), it is OK to do such bad job as long as all are paid well. The biggest investors are most likely institutions, they got their money from individual investors, most likely our 401ks etc.

So everyone can happily and safely wasting the money, as long as the over all economy is good and people keep buying.

After I thought of this I almost lost total confidence of the stock market. But the market will rebound, after all the fakes are purged out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Can't argue with some people

Recently I had an discussion on the forge, seems that me and Matt can't agree on if the supreme court is too powerful and need to be abolished.

After a while I realized none of us is going to win each other over, and while I was thinking how to end this, the word of "hate", "redneck", "backward" start flying and that was it.

Now he deleted my last post. So here is again.

I don't hate the foundation of America (not sure how he get that). I am simply stating that the court in its current state is way overpowered since Marshall first give it the power to interpret the constitution. The supreme court has became the new aristocrat class of modern times, once there you can server life long without ever worrying about been fired.

And to his statements about slavery. The court didn't do anything on slavery. It took a war, many life and the incredible productivity of the free capitalist system to abolish.