The Newspile: 3/16/07

MIT is now offering their entire curriculum on the web! All over the world, independent learners and knowledge junkies such as myself are surely doing cartwheels. Check it out — you won’t get a degree, but hey, you’ll learn something.


Looks like Microsoft is becoming a patent troll. Even though in ’91, Bill Gates was sure that the patent system posed grave dangers to innovation. At the time, Microsoft only held a total of 4 patents.

Flash forward 16 years, and most of the general public can probably see how right Bill Gates was… The system that was originally designed to give “the little guy” an opportunity to compete with multinational corporations has been perverted into a system that now allows the same patent-hoarding megacorporations routinely thwart innovation to go after their smaller startup competitors (Verizon vs. Vonage, anyone?). In fact, as Tim Lee points out, the Bill Gates position circa 1991 makes more now than ever before since “there are now so many software patents on the books that every non-trivial software product infringes numerous patents.

So what’s with the Microsoft flip-flop on patents? Well, looks like they’re trying out a new philosophy to go with the 6,000 patents that they currently holds.


Green Mylanta ice cream for St. Patrick’s day!!!


From Gizmondo, Renault has an awesome new little car accessory integrated into their new models. It’s a nubby little mat which will safely nestle your Razor, iPod, sunglasses, and other small items between lots of little silicone fingers. I want one in my car!


In a bit of news that I am personally interested in, Slashdot writes about a British study which suggests that obesity in children may be completely unrelated to physical activity levels. As a former overweight kid, I urge all alarmist parents to consider the idea that maybe it’s just a little baby fat.


I have been rendered speechless by a recent Techdirt post, which includes a transcript of the congressman’s very intelligent position on mashups and the whole DJ Drama incident. If only more congressmen had such a firm grasp of the current state of affairs in the world of music production, maybe I wouldn’t have to be so pissed off all the time…


Is Your Child a Computer Hacker?This one has been around for years, I know I’ve read it before at least twice but I still laugh every time I read it. Oh, and in case you’re not a very tech-saavy person, *it’s a joke*…


Looks like a Halo-style military may not be too far away… Wired has a great article on the lastest from DARPA, formerly ARPA, the friendly folks that brought you the information superhighway.

P.S.: Slashdot also likes the story!

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