This month’s silly patent, like many stupid patents earlier than it, without a doubt claims the idea of using a pc for basic calculations. U.S. Patent No. 6,817,863 (the ’863 patent) is titled “Computer software, technique, and device for tracking nutrition content of consumables and for facilitating menu making plans.” It claims the procedure of the usage of a laptop to music nutrition facts like calorie or diet intake. It is hard to think of a greater basic and trivial use for a pc.


The ’863 patent is owned by way of a patent troll known as Dynamic Nutrition Solutions LLC. Dynamic Nutrition filed a lawsuit this month in the Eastern District of Texas accusing Australian organization Fatsecret of infringing the ’863 patent. Dynamic Nutrition had filed 4 different proceedings. Consistent with a sample of nuisance litigation, each of these in advance suits settled in no time.

Even leaving aside the problem of obviousness, the claims of the ’863 patent are invalid under the Supreme Court’s Alice v. CLS Bank choice (which struck down patents that merely declare using traditional computers to put in force an abstract concept). Indeed, the primary organization to be sued via Dynamic Nutrition, Under Armour, filed a motion to brush aside the case underneath Alice. Under Armour pointed out that the ’863 patent itself repeatedly emphasizes that its methods can be implemented using any conventional computer or programming language. Given the strength of this argument, it is unsurprising that the litigation settled before Dynamic Nutrition even filed a reaction.

Success at Work: Techniques: Computer Literacy


It’s difficult to consider that there are human beings in trendy staff who do not know the way to use a pc. In latest society, being pc illiterate is equal to being functionally illiterate. Obviously no person studying this text is laptop illiterate, however, maybe you understand someone who thinks they are able to avoid computers and nevertheless be successful at paintings.


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Let me let you know a tale approximately a terrific buddy of mine back after I labored at Motorola. The organization moved the manufacturing of car alternators offshore, ensuing in his transfer to my branch. Although he had approximately twenty years with the organization, this turned into to be his last forestall earlier than being booted out the door.

He turned into assigned to me as an Electronics Technician, and the primary project that I gave him become to lay out a small published circuit (laptop) board. It turned into a tiny circuit for a tester, so pc drafting became now not required. He may want to simply cartoon it out on paper. After several days, he came again to me explaining that he didn’t have the technical ability to lay out a computer board.

An Electronics Technician that could not lay out a simple laptop board? Don’t all Electronics Technicians make little hobby circuits at domestic? At least all of the technicians I knew did.

I explained that he had to draw outlines of the components and then use the schematic to attract lines among the components connections. Then, maybe rearrange the additives if that might result in fewer crossing paths. I additionally explained some thing tons extra profound, how to address the complexity of generation.

Many people, while they come into touch with the era, don’t forget themselves too stupid to cope with it. Technology is handiest for geniuses and geeks. Sometimes era is simply too complicated, but it’s no longer due to the fact people are silly, it is because the technology is poorly designed.


For instance, take software program, like a portraits application, spreadsheet or database. Is the meant consumer of the software a laptop programmer, or an average person? These programs are intended for use by a median person. If an application is simply too complicated for the common character, the software is at fault – now not the user.

Why are maximum computer systems and software program packages too complicated for the common person? Because they are designed with the aid of programmers who’re below strain to get the product out the door. Does the application have easy, smooth-to-use assist documents? Software developers recollect assisting documents even much less vital than application usability.

– The backside line is, people aren’t silly – computers and software programs ARE too complex.

In brand new global, where employees are required to apply computers and technology, how can they address the complexity? Back to the story approximately my pal at Motorola.

After receiving my commands, he efficiently completed the laptop board format. I then delivered him to Computer Automated Engineering (CAE). I confirmed him how to tug digital additives from a library, use the mouse to draw circuit paths, make the computer simulate the function of the circuit, and then make the computer format a computer board for the circuit.

He turned into able to effortlessly master complicated era due to the fact he now understood that he wasn’t silly. Computers ARE complicated. When he wanted to assist, he studied the assist files or asked someone for help. Eventually, his CAE capabilities became acknowledged and I misplaced him to another supervisor. “His ultimate forestall before being booted out the door?” I don’t think so. There’s no manner Motorola goes to let this valuable employee escape.

Even though it’s the programmer’s fault that computer systems and software are too complicated, that doesn’t relieve you of all duty. You should take the time. Like my buddy at Motorola, you must study the assist documents or ask someone for an assist while you want it. Not most effective must you look at the assist files, however, you should additionally be inclined to “attempt matters”.

Many people worry that if they click on on the incorrect issue, the pc will blow up and they may be blamed for it. A well-designed software utility prevents the person from creating a deadly mistake, both via making it impossible or by way of offering a warning message. A nicely designed utility shall we the user “returned out of” or reverse any motion. One of the nice methods to research is to “strive matters”. If the pc blow us due to the fact you made a mistake, you’re the use of the improperly designed software.

When you’re studying the way to carry out a feature with a pc, in case you count on you can need to carry out that same feature once more, take notes. No one will suppose you’re stupid if you take notes. But if you preserve asking over and over once more the way to perform the equal characteristic, they may suppose you’re too silly to take notes.

When I labored at Motorola, I used a way referred to as “strokes” to make symbols seem and pass across the computer display like magic. Some people are known as me the “Electronic God”. How did I get so excellent? I tried matters. I failed. I studied. I tried again. I understood that technology IS complicated. So what?


In contemporary society, being pc illiterate is equal to being functionally illiterate. Make the effort to have a look at the help documents and to “attempt matters”. Don’t get discouraged or blame yourself in case you don’t be successful on the primary strive. The computer won’t blow up if you make a mistake. You cannot be successful at paintings if you fail to embody computers and technology.