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Patents Microsoft

Microsoft Seeking Hot-Or-Not Patent 135

Posted by kdawson
from the getting-colder dept.
theodp writes "In its just-disclosed patent application for the Online Personal Appearance Advisor, Microsoft describes the 'invention' of its three Microsoft Research employees in these words: 'The contributor uploads self images for viewing and rating (or voting) by viewers who choose provide an opinion on different fashion and/or cosmetic looks of the contributor.' So what do you think — is Microsoft's invention really Hot or Not?"
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Microsoft Seeking Hot-Or-Not Patent

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  • by acehole (174372) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:27AM (#28324977) Homepage

    I hate sunlight, fresh air and physical activity. I'm pasty white and commonly sport cheeto stains on my shirt.

    Am I hot or not?

  • by jperl (1453911) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:41AM (#28325019)
    Well Hot or Not is mainly about breasts and not about fashion. This is what might differ.
    • by syousef (465911) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:44AM (#28325029) Journal

      Well Hot or Not is mainly about breasts and not about fashion. This is what might differ.

      Hot or not is mainly about sexual attraction and self esteem. What do you think fashion is about? Did you think that plunging neck line was fashionable because it didn't accentuate breasts?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're confusing Hot or Not with Rate My Rack [ratemyrack.com].
    • by kwiqsilver (585008) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:20AM (#28325143)

      Well Hot or Not is mainly about breasts and not about fashion. This is what might differ.

      They're both about rating the visual aesthetics of a person. If a Hot-or-Not chick has a mullet and 'stache, she's going to get dinged no matter how top heavy she is.
      This is close enough that the site that was created a decade ago, without any input from Microsoft, should count as prior art.
      Hell, Miss America or every fashion magazine ever printed could be claimed as prior art. They look at images of people and rate the appearance. Just because MS uses computers to connect the people involved doesn't make it special.

      There's also the "non-obvious" requirement for a patent. This is blatantly obvious.

      That would be almost as lame as Apple patenting LCD technology and saying it's "new" because everybody else was using it on TVs and computer displays, but they're using it on phones and portable music players.

      Now if MS created an algorithm for the computer to do the rating, that would be the level of innovation the patent system was intended for.

      • The part that I thought might possibly be innovative (yeah, like I read more than the summary) would be if it did some complex image manipulations. Maybe it isn't just about rating the person's photo, but being able to alter their clothing, hair style, or makeup and then rating each change. If something like that is done well, I could see how it might qualify for a patent.
    • I don't think that would change it enough to allow for a patent. Though I'm betting they will get their patent anyway, and we'll see this in court in a few years. In the interim, Microsoft will make a small fortune selling us some product strikingly similar to Hot or Not.
      • by pines225 (1413303) *
        "...betting they will get their patent anyway, and we'll see this in court in a few years." I'm betting you're wrong, simply based on the fact that we see articles like this daily on Slashdot, accompanied by "the end is nigh" commentary. Then the applications generally sink without a trace, or get granted with significant claim limitations, and either way, are never seen in court or heard of again.
  • ...and rated not so hot by developers, developers, developers the world over!

  • by Jager Dave (1238106) <jagerdude69 AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:42AM (#28325027)
    Does Microsoft realizes that nobody in their right mind is going to immediately switch to Win7 (if at all?)

    They're trying to secure as many patents that could potentially bring them some sort of income NOW, lest they go bankrupt in the future.

    The vagueness of this patent could easily cover someone's picture on Facebook if they said "Tell me how I look!", "What do you think of this makeup?", or "Do you think the pocket-protector goes with these pants?" Back off Microsoft - you're not IBM - leave the pointless patents to them...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RLiegh (247921)

      Does Microsoft realizes that nobody in their right mind is going to immediately switch to Win7 (if at all?)

      What are you basing that off of? I've heard nothing but good things about Win7 (except in Linux circles, and even there I've seen positive reviews) and I haven't heard anyone say that they're going to skip it.

      Most people I've read have said the opposite, that they're skipping Vista in favor of waiting for Windows 7.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Jager Dave (1238106)
        Mostly just knowing how people felt about Vista. Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice....ummm...dang, lemme get Bush on the phone to remember how this ended...

        Other than the brave, and IT professionals (on their own machines}, I feel people will WAIT to switch to Win7, until they see how it performs, and how many bugs/security holes are revealed in the first month or two... SO many people jumped on Vista before they realized it was a steaming pile of....code... Granted, -I- do not have that many p

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RLiegh (247921)

          I disagree, I think MS anticipated that and is using the Windows 7 release candidates to generate positive word of mouth -and if the forum posts I've read are any indication, it's probably going to work out pretty well for them. Most of the people I've seen say anything good about it have been non-IT types.

          If they screw up the pricing (which seems likely) then they'll end up losing ground (probably to MacOS). I think if people end up skipping Windows 7 it will be because of price, not because of the OS itse

        • I feel people will WAIT to switch to Win7, until they see how it performs, and how many bugs/security holes are revealed in the first month or two...

          I think MOST people will have no idea what windows 7 is, and will just go with whatever comes pre-installed on their computer.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @05:37AM (#28325467) Journal

          I've been telling my customers to wait until Win7 SP1, preferably SP2. Most have had me build them new XP machines with easy expandability so they can sit out Win7 if it turns out to be another Vista turkey. I personally used some of my profits to build a new AMD that will go up to quad Phenom II and 32Gb of RAM so I can hang onto XP X64 and ride out Win7 if it turns out to be a turkey.

          So while I have been hearing lots of good things about Win7, I also remember all the good things I heard about pre release Vista. And never underestimate the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset either. The new Vista driver model broke a whole lot of apps, and I kinda doubt that Win7 will make that situation any better. After switching to XP X64 I personally have no desire to switch to Win7. I have tons of RAM, all my apps work, everything just runs smooth, so why switch?

          I'll wait until SP2 when the bugs have been worked out like I did with Win2k to WinXP SP2. Let some other sucker be the beta tester. Me and my customers (most of whom aren't even using 2Gb of RAM in XP, so I doubt the 32bit RAM limit will be a problem) will wait until SP2. And talking with some of my friends running corporate networks many have adopted the same attitude. XP is easy to lock down with GPO, all the apps they need work, and XP will be supported until 2014. Most have site licenses so they can run what they want, so why deal with all the headaches of switching? By the time Win7 SP2 rolls out we will see most of the bugs squished, most of the problems with needing to install apps as an admin will hopefully be gone, and the users are quite happy with their XP machines. So I think in this case a wait and see approach is probably the most prudent one to take.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            I've been telling my customers to wait until Win7 SP1, preferably SP2. Most have had me build them new XP machines with easy expandability so they can sit out Win7 if it turns out to be another Vista turkey.

            You mean, if it generally works well and efficiently? Or do you mean if it results in few complaints from those that know nothing of computers?

            For all the whining and bitching about Vista, a contest between Vista and XP tends to be a non-starter when Vista creams XP in pretty much every way, including performance. Vista may not be as fast running at peak speed, but it doesn't bog down the way that XP and previous did when hard disk intensive tasks came up.

            • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
              Let's try Vista and my couple year old peripherals, see how that works.

              Oh wait, I have to buy a new computer, and new peripherals? And to get to where I was already?

              See that is where some people just go completely wrong. The end user wants to do their work, without a lot of hassle, and without having to buy new everything every time Microsoft thinks they need to roll out a new OS

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LoverOfJoy (820058)
            The problem with telling people to wait is that there's a certain number that have already waited quite a bit. Even aside from new operating systems and service packs you'll always get a better computer for your $x00.00 if you buy a few months from now than if you buy now. Computer components keep improving and prices keep going down. But sooner or later the buyer has to bite the bullet and decide to act on a given sale.

            I think there's a certain significant number of people who feel they are ready for an
            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Uhhhh.... I take it you missed the part where I said most of my customers have had me build then "NEW" XP machines, because they hate Vista? The "oldest" computers I have sold in the past three years are nearly 3GHz AMD Athlon, which is no slouch and has no problem running XP with 2Gb+ of RAM. Most of those built in the past two years are dual core that support at a minimum 4Gb, most support 8Gb+ of RAM.

              Oh, and for the poster that pointed out you can support 4Gb in XP32 by "editing the boot"? You don't actu

          • by toby (759) *

            just tell your customers to unhitch their wagon from Microsoft, which is heading ever-faster toward a cliff.

            It's not as if there are no better alternatives.

          • by psmears (629712)

            (most of whom aren't even using 2Gb of RAM in XP, so I doubt the 32bit RAM limit will be a problem)

            And even if it did become an issue, you can use up to 4Gb of RAM in XP, provided that no one application needs more than 2Gb (or 3Gb if you mess around with the boot settings... [microsoft.com])

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FireFury03 (653718)

        Does Microsoft realizes that nobody in their right mind is going to immediately switch to Win7 (if at all?)

        What are you basing that off of? I've heard nothing but good things about Win7 (except in Linux circles, and even there I've seen positive reviews) and I haven't heard anyone say that they're going to skip it.

        Microsoft is suffering from the fact that for most people, XP is "good enough" (incidentally, this is probably one of the factors stopping many people from considering a switch to Linux too). I'm sure that MS will sell Windows 7 to OEMs to be shipped on new PCs - there probably won't be as much resistance as Vista saw, but unlike many of the previous Windows releases, most XP users generally seem to be pretty happy with the status quo to I'm not really expecting to see huge numbers of people flock to the s

        • by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:40AM (#28325929) Homepage

          I'm sure that MS will sell Windows 7 to OEMs to be shipped on new PCs - there probably won't be as much resistance as Vista saw

          (Which I'm taking to mean that you think most people will be mostly happy to keep Windows 7 on new systems).

          but unlike many of the previous Windows releases, most XP users generally seem to be pretty happy with the status quo to I'm not really expecting to see huge numbers of people flock to the shops to buy upgrades for their existing systems.

          That may be a red herring then; as far as I'm aware, the majority of new OS installations nowadays occur on new computers rather then existing systems. In other words, most people get the new OS when it's installed on a new computer (doing all their "upgrades" in one go by buying a new computer).

          So if it's offered on the new computer and they're happy (enough) with that, then Windows 7 will eventually be a success.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            That may be a red herring then; as far as I'm aware, the majority of new OS installations nowadays occur on new computers rather then existing systems. In other words, most people get the new OS when it's installed on a new computer (doing all their "upgrades" in one go by buying a new computer).

            You mean, doing all their "system repairs" in one go by buying a new computer. I got an Athlon 64 X2 4000 system with a 22" LCD for $120 (!) because some lady didn't want to deal with getting it fixed. She bought a new PC. XP's days are numbered. The best part for Microsoft is that they don't even have to pay anyone, all they have to do is fail to fix security issues in XP and the botnet owners will drive people right into their arms.

            • by Khyber (864651)

              "the botnet owners will drive people right into their arms."

              Yea, right. See, once M$ stops working on it, other people with technical skills are going to create fixes/cracks/patches and all kinds of stuff to improve it. I'll bet DX13 or whatever will be included one day or another, it's only a matter of time. C'mon, you've already seen those 300 meg XP installs "Windows Black" with half of the insecure crap already hacked out, haven't you?

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                C'mon, you've already seen those 300 meg XP installs "Windows Black" with half of the insecure crap already hacked out, haven't you?

                The patchers for Windows operating systems mostly install Microsoft patches; there are a few user-created patches for Windows 98, but I know of none for Windows XP. The third-party windows 98 patches make it horribly unstable. I actually have win98 on a 200MHz system here to run my embroidery machine. Windows XP is lame when you actually let the people who wrote it handle updates, I can't imagine what it's going to be like with user-provided patch sets, except even shittier.

                So, I hope you were kidding, but

          • by Culture20 (968837)

            as far as I'm aware, the majority of new OS installations nowadays occur on new computers rather then existing systems

            The majority of home users and small businesses use whatever came pre-installed. Now, home users and small businesses are a _lot_ of "people" but compare geeks' 5-6 computer hoarding versus the regular folks. And consider large businesses' computer glut. Large businesses and geeks almost always start with a fresh OS, getting rid of the vendor-ware. A lot of computers are being traded second-hand these days. Possibly more than are being purchased new. Many of these computers are wiped clean before or a

    • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:53AM (#28325067) Journal

      Y'know they're filing shotgun patents all over the place. They remind me of a marketing geek who accidentally got reassigned to engineering once. Previously I had helped him design an air duct that put cool air where we needed it. When a subsequent design eliminated the need for the duct, he said "That's an important piece. We have intellectual property on that."

      Without blinking I told him "The Romans had prior art. It's redundant, and out it goes."

      • And yet, I haven't seen a patent for other innovations - which we've seen recently - like "a method of updating an operating system that allows a backdoor so that a normally secure browser (e.g., Firefox) can now allow sites to silently install software on a user's machine without their knowledge or consent"

        • by gparent (1242548)
          That's a Firefox feature you ignorant idiot.
        • by symbolset (646467)

          Yeah, unfortunately one of the things Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on is poor software security. Although to be fair this issue with Firefox came to light because Microsoft exploited it.

          By the way, that hideous .net helper plugin can't install in Linux versions of Firefox.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nobody's is getting Win7 as soon as it comes out?

      I sure am! ...but the fact that it's free as part of the MSDN academic alliance might have something to do with that.

    • That's right. If MS gets this patent it'll never be implemented as GPL software. Hopefully, IBM will *buy* MS for a pittance and merge it into a small division in Iceland somewhere, someday.
    • It seems more like a queer eye for the geek guy type thing.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      My primary OS is Linux and I migrated most of my office to Linux. However I do run a dual boot on my notebook so I can run my embroidery machine (oh, and Netflix now that I finally gave in and subscribed).

      I just upgraded my HDD so I downloaded Windows 7 and installed it - my goodness, it boots in about half the time XP did and so far (in the brief couple of hours I've run it) it runs much, much faster than Vista. It is comparable to or even perhaps slightly faster than XP - at least subjectively that is how

  • The site is 50% spam and 50% sexual predators.

    Enjoy your home-grown product, Microsoft.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The site is 50% spam and 50% sexual predators.

      Oh come now, Microsoft.com is that bad.
  • I'm having a very hard time seeing how this is not obvious.

    • by jo42 (227475)

      Well, they got a trademark on "Windows", so getting a patent on "voting" or "opining" is a next step...

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Well, they got a trademark on "Windows"

        Citation please, MS does not have a trademark on that, never did, never even tried. They do however have a trademark on "Microsoft Windows." And other names like "Microsoft Windows XP."

  • by redkcir (1431605) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:05AM (#28325103) Homepage
    Like anyone in their right mind would take the advice from MS on fashion issues. They have a hard enough time trying to keep their OS running and that's their main job. If they can't do that I hardly think their fashion advice will be any better.
    • Maybe this is a sign that Microsoft is giving up on operating systems development and moving into the fashion industry.

  • by xianthax (963773) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:10AM (#28325113)

    I always preferred the approach of howmanywouldittake.com (now defunct)...

    always seemed so much more realistic to rate attractiveness by required level of intoxication than some artificial 0-10 scale

  • A world full of Bill clones - the horror, the horror!
  • out of touch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:56AM (#28325209)

    I think a lot of these bogus patent filings from Microsoft simply show that the people at Microsoft have not the slightest idea of what is going on in the real world. Microsoft is designing software for the last century. Even Bing is merely a Google clone.

    • Yeah, but at least they could find a simple, distinctive, descriptive name for their search engine that isn't trademarked. I never would have thought of "bing" as a name for anything except while, um, cooking. You, know, like bada bing, bada boom [urbandictionary.com].
  • Although I enjoy bashing Microsoft as much as the next Slashdotter, haven't we seen enough obvious patents? We get about one per week. Maybe we could hear stories about people trying to change the system? Anything constructive? Judging from what I've heard on slashdot, the patent office is run by retarded rodents that approve patents based on the applications' fiber content.
    • by jack8609 (1217124)
      Keep in mind, this is not about a patent - it is a patent application. The USPTO has done nothing with it except charge MS their filing fees. They may disallow all the claims. Regarding all the obvious patents that we do see, as with most everything else - blame the friggin lawyers... I, and most people that I know who work at larger companies, are not supposed to look at patents (at least at work). As it was explained to me, if a company infringes on a patent it pays damages. If a company knowingly i
      • by radtea (464814)

        Keep in mind, this is not about a patent - it is a patent application.

        And the summary doesn't even tell us what's being claimed, which is the only thing that matters in a patent application.

        The first few claims actually read: "1. A computer-implemented system, comprising:a presentation component for receiving and presenting media of a contributor, the media associated with personal appearance information; and a voting component for receiving a vote generated by a viewer selecting one of the media and prese

  • Microsoft has passed the age of being Hot a long time ago, so this seems to be a feeble attempt to make money out of everyone else that's classed as hot.

  • If I'd spent the last 25 years peddling shit to idiots for billions of $ I'd have too much time on my hands, too.
  • by sogon (1222604) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @05:21AM (#28325429)

    Microsoft Employees get a $2500 bonus for every patent. They don't have to write it either, The patent lawyer does.
    All you do is describe the idea and give any pertinent documentation and someone else converts it to a patent.

    I have a few MS patents under my belt when I worked there.

    • by Tetch (534754)

      My Large American Multinational employer has a similar scheme .... and every 6 months or so the scheme's administrators send out a company-wide rah-rah email talking up the scheme, its benefits for the company, and the m-o-n-e-y an employee will get for dreaming up a patent.

      I just ignore them every time, cos it's i-m-m-o-r-a-l, and amounts to sickening bribery in an attempt to get you to participate in their thought-crime, and it isn't even clever - here's one my employer successfully filed : "A method for

      • here's one my employer successfully filed : "A method for remotely administrating a computer by installing a web-server implementing a web form into which the sysadmin enters the commands to be executed using the web browser on her workstation" ...... oh please.

        I think Webmin completely obliterates that one when it comes to prior art. How on earth did it ever get approved? have they got monkeys in the patent office just blindly punching approve/disapprove buttons?

        • have they got monkeys in the patent office just blindly punching approve/disapprove buttons?

          They couldn't afford the licensing fees as they had already approved a patent on monkeys that punch buttons.

        • There's a disapprove button? Where is it? *oooh* *oooh* Where? *oooh* *oooh* *aaah* *aaah* *aaah* *PUNCH* *PUSH* *BOUNCE*

      • by Tablizer (95088)

        and it isn't even clever - here's one my employer successfully filed : "A method for remotely administrating a computer by installing a web-server implementing a web form into which the sysadmin enters the commands to be executed using the web browser on her workstation"

        Damn! There goes my evil hacking career.
             

  • Only the dimwits at M$ could try and patent this kind of teen-aged bull$hite... Talk about lowest common denominator! What is this, a Limbo Line???
  • I'm sure you could even patent "An apparatus and method for making farts noiseless", there's a wealth of prior (f)art in the US Patent system. Oops -- it's already patented as US47263879273672? I should have thought so.
  • Didn't Yahoo! already do this a few years back?
    • by shentino (1139071)

      Doesn't matter.

      If you pay off the right people, you can do anything. Including get a bullshit patent.

  • I thought there was a hot or not website out in the wild a few years ago. Are they trying to patent that or have they made some significant change to putting your picture up and having people rate you not or not?
  • Maybe someone should let these guys know it's been done already, years ago.
  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slashdot@gmail. c o m> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#28326763) Homepage Journal
    I haven't read the full application, but just a clarification: Microsoft isn't completely out of touch. The background of the application - also known as Applicant Disclosed Prior Art - includes a description of Hot or Not:

    [0003]A variation on this model is also applied to rating websites where users can rate other on physical appearance, pets, personality and other user traits and attributes. In voting sites, typically, it is a general purpose question posed to viewers, and once the viewers have answered the question they tend to leave the website to do something else. In other rating websites, when viewers have rated an image, the viewers are presented with a seemingly endless series of other images to be rated or voted on, the purpose of which is to generate a flow experience so the viewers will stay at the website to continue participating. This process can generate revenue for advertisers by presenting advertisements while the viewers are voting. Moreover, there is a fascination with anonymously critiquing the appearance of another person.

    So, Microsoft is claiming this invention does something more than that. Now, l haven't read it, so I can't comment further, but the discussion should be "what's the supposed improvement", not "zomg Microsoft has never heard of Hot or Not!"

  • 2. The system of claim 1, wherein the media are presented as a pair of images, each image depicting a different instance of related personal appearance information and each image selectable by the viewer to provide the vote.

    But, I really don't think one should be able to patent this either. There is nothing innovative about showing a group of people two pictures of one's self dressed in different styles and asking them which is better.

    • by JimboFBX (1097277)
      The problem to solve is:

      If nobody has done it before, then what motivation do I have to spend money on something risky? If it succeeds a lot of other people are just going to steal my idea and over saturate my market with competition.

      If I patent the idea it protects me from competition, which is important if there really is only room for 1 or 2 sites like mine, and any more would result in all being losers. It encourages me to take the risk that I otherwise wouldn't attempt.

      However, what if my impl
      • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

        See, the thing is that people have been doing this without computers or the internet for a long time. Just adding an internet or computer component to something like this is obvious, even if it hasn't been done before. And, really, this kind of thing is a bad idea simply because of griefers.

        Oh, and a better example of "prior art" may be AskYahoo! where hundreds if not thousands of girls have been doing this very thing.

  • Sounds like it's time for someone to launch amihotornotornot.com to review code.

  • This "Fashion Advisor" sounds to me like they are trying yet again to find a use for Clippy, the reviled and ultimately fired MS Office assistant. "I see that you are putting on white shoes after labor day. Would you like help?".

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