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Patent Abuse

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-02-06 14:35:45

Patently Obvious

The patent process was intended to spur innovation, by protecting the rights of inventors. It has since spun out of control, stifling innovation by awarding a ridiculous amount of patents on everything under the sun.

I sort of made my point in the strip - Apple's preposterously broad touchscreen patent covers OBVIOUS things like detecting one or more fingers, swiping to scroll, pinching to size, using finger contact to scroll, virtual keyboards, on and on!

I have no idea what the U.S. Patent Office is doing anymore. I'm thinking that Bungie should have patented the Halo dual-stick control scheme, and collected royalties from every FPS since. Starbucks should've patented bitter and overly priced snootiness to maintain a stranglehold on their business.

It took forty-six years to get to the 10,000th U.S. patent. Now they hand out that many every three weeks. I got that tidbit from this article on the subject. I think it was Namco's patent for playing a mini-game during a load screen that inspired that article, but it seems patent abuse is here to stay, and will only get worse.

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-02-06 14:41:13

Diplomacy - Fall 1908

Play the home version by following these forum threads!

With Germany's victory a mathematical inevitability, we've decided to call this game. Here are some thoughts on each nation's trajectory through the game.

England got hosed hard by (reasonably) assuming that the other players would be acting with their vital self-interests as their foremost concerns. Instead, the Gang of Three (Germany, France, and Russia) formed an unlikely alliance and promptly thrashed England, even though this was strategically to France and Russia's detriment. Eventually, a deal with Germany provided a few rounds of survival, but once Germany's "vital self-interests" outside of England were met, England was done.

France doubled their strength by the second turn, but used those resources to build too many fleets, and scattered them along two coastlines to boot. They meandered with little strategic focus, failing to leverage their power into timely gains. Compounding the lack of a reasonable infantry deterrent along their border, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys promptly folded as soon as a single enemy army entered their domain.

Italy spent much of the game in confusion, parading back and forth while learning the rules. I'll expect more from you in the next game, Mike ;)

Austria put up a solid fight, but spent the entire game as a shuttlecock, smacked around by the massive powers sandwiching it. Were it not for the Go3, Austria's game would have unfolded quite differently as well.

Turkey spent much of the game in prime position to overwhelm the southeast and/or the Mediterranean, but laser-sighted in on Moscow instead. The Turkish player also had to deal with domestic issues (getting married, congratz Chang!) and was distracted to the point of ineffectiveness.

Russia's fate was sealed as soon as they gave up Sevastopol in order to contribute to England's demise.

Germany won, yay me! I did play well - nurturing constantly mutating negotiations, executing meticulous tactics, and planning my strategies half a dozen turns down the line. As one observer commented, I made it look easy. But here's the thing: I took over Germany a few turns into the game, and it was my predecessor that set up the opportunities. He arranged the Gang of Three, thus securing Germany's most vital borders, and massaging his allies into weakening themselves. It's such an astonishing diplomatic triumph, that I doubt it would've even occurred to me. If it did, I most likely would've dismissed it as too ridiculously far fetched. So thanks Paul; you set them up and I knocked them down.

The next Diplomacy game will be kicking up soon. There is still one spot open for it, which I will take if no one claims it. If you want in, sign up here.

[Note: It's almost too dark to see, but there is a German fleet in the Barents Sea.]

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