New Zealand just abolished software patents. Here's why we should, too. What's wrong with the patent system? Most people cite problems with patent trolls or low patent quality. But a recent study by the Government Accountability Office makes it clear that the real problem is more specific: Patents on software don't work. Of course, the GAO doesn't quite come out and say that...The number of software patents has soared in the past two decades. In 1991, software-related patents (using a broad definition adopted by the GAO) accounted for fewer than a quarter of all patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2011, for the first time ever, software patents accounted for the majority of all patents issued. The Washington Post

How a near-death experience in the jungle inspired a blockbuster zombie game Dean Hall was close to death in the jungles of Brunei. It was December 2010 and the officer cadet in the New Zealand army was alone on a survival-training mission. Given only two days' worth of food for 20 days, he supplemented his diet with raw fish and ferns. He slept on a bed of sticks, and by the end of the mission he'd lost 44 pounds from his already lean frame. There were other trainees out there, and he started to plot raids on their food supplies. He thought of himself as an honorable person, but he was too hungry for honor. Wired

Standing together for greater transparency To followers of technology issues, there are many days when Microsoft and Google stand apart.  But today our two companies stand together.  We both remain concerned with the Government’s continued unwillingness to permit us to publish sufficient data relating to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders. Each of our companies filed suit in June to address this issue.  We believe we have a clear right under the U.S. Constitution to share more information with the public.  Microsoft

Tor usage more than doubles in August The Tor (The Onion Router) network has witnessed over 100 per cent rise in the number of users connecting to it for the month of August and has reached record levels for the first time since the project has been collecting usage statistics. The privacy-enhancing network is known for providing anonymous browsing experience through the use of a series of encrypted relays and had as many as 500k users throughout this year so far. Parity News

Home 3D printers take us on a maddening journey into another dimension This started off as a review of the Printrbot Simple, a low-cost 3D printer by the people at Printrbot in California. Printrbot originally came about through a Kickstarter campaign by a guy named Brook Drumm. The intent was to build an affordable 3D printer that normal households could purchase and use -- as opposed to the $2,000+ that most other home 3D printers go for. Ars Technica

The rush to Bitcoin ASICs: Ravi Iyengar launches CoinTerra Bitcoin is a topic at AnandTech we have carefully steered away from due to the ever changing state of the market and the opinions of that market.  For those that follow either Jarred or I on twitter, you may have seen our various tweets regarding the state of affairs and our modest Bitcoin mining adventures, and recent news regarding Mt. Gox developments with the US Government obviously do not help the situation, causing various rises and falls on the virtual currency. AnandTech

New breakthrough could bring quantum encryption to smartphones In light of recent events, you have to wonder where your data is really going every time you pull the phone of of your pocket and type your deepest, darkest secrets into it. Even with encrypted connections, a third party could access all the data if they managed to surreptitiously snatch the encryption key. Then there's the concern that encryption as we know it isn't as secure as we once thought. ExtremeTech

The insane and exciting future of the bionic body Bertolt Meyer pulls off his left forearm and gives it to me. It’s smooth and black, and the hand has a clear silicone cover, like an iPhone case. Beneath the rubbery skin are skeletal robotic fingers of the sort you might see in a sci-fi movie -- the "cool factor," Meyer calls it. I hold the arm in my hand. "It's pretty light," I say. "Yes, only a couple of pounds," he responds. I try not to stare at the stump where his arm should be. Smithsonian

The hunt for one of gaming's most mythical creatures Way out in southeastern Flint County, Back o Beyond is the most isolated area in San Andreas. Its trees loom conspiratorially, their branches knitted together, creating a sense of gloom. As night falls, a fog rises, muffling the air. For some, it’s a place of tranquility, far away from the noise and fury of the cities nearby. But for others, this forsaken forest is home to an unknown terror... The New Yorker

am not a 'cancer' on the game industry I have worked as a professional game developer for over 10 years. For the past year and change I have been working on my indie studio Quarter Spiral where I am making Enhanced Wars with two co-founders. But that's not why you hate me. Why you hate me is that I work as a free-to-play design consultant. I advocate for free-to-play games at conferences and online and I help companies design free-to-play games. Kotaku

Skype: has Microsoft's $8.5bn spending paid off yet -- and can it? In May 2011, when Microsoft announced its planned purchase of Skype for $8.5bn (£5,5bn), I called it "a gamble unlikely to pay off". Just over two years later, has the gamble in fact paid off – or does it show signs of doing so? In my analysis at the time, I argued that... The Guardian

Infographic: the evolution of gaming consoles Game consoles have come a long way in a very short period of time. The gamers of today would get a hearty laugh if they were to experience the gaming consoles that first sparked the passion for digital gaming that many of us hold so dearly. It all started back in 1967. ThinkComputers

Patent image via KamiGami/ShutterStock