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Paul Merrell

AT&T Mobility LLC, et al v. AU Optronics Corp., et al :: Ninth Circuit :: US Courts of ... - 0 views

    This page includes the opinion of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on an interlocutory appeal from a district court decision to dismiss two California state law causes of action from an ongoing case, leaving only the federal law causes of action. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, vacated the district court's decision, and remanded for consideration of the dismissal issue under the correct legal standard. This was a pro-plaintiff decision that makes it very likely that the case will continue with the state law causes of action reinstated against all or nearly all defendants. This is an unusually important price-fixing case with potentially disruptive effect among mobile device component manufacturers and by such a settlement or judgment's ripple effects, manufacturers of other device components globally. Plaintiffs are several major  voice/data communications services in the U.S. with the defendants being virtually all of the manufacturers of LCD panels used in mobile telephones. One must suspect that if price-fixing is in fact universal in the LCD panel manufacturing industry, price-fixing is likely common among manufacturers of other device components. According to the Ninth Circuit opinion, the plaintiffs' amended complaint includes detailed allegations of specific price-fixing agreements and price sharing actions by principles or agents of each individual defendant company committed within the State of California, which suggests that plaintiffs have very strong evidence that the alleged conspiracy exists. This is a case to watch.    
Paul Merrell

Smartphone innovation: Where we're going next (Smartphones Unlocked) | Dialed In - CNET... - 0 views

  • With his shaggy, sandy blond hair and a 5-o'clock shadow, Mark Rolston, the creative director for Frog Design, has studied technology for the better part of two decades. As he sees it, smartphones are just about out of evolutionary advances. Sure, form factors and materials might alter as manufacturers grasp for differentiating design, but in terms of innovative leaps, Rolston says, "we're at the end of gross innovation for smartphones." That isn't to say smartphones are dead or obsolete. Just the contrary. As Rolston and other future thinkers who study the mobile space conclude, smartphones will become increasingly impactful in interacting with our surrounding world, but more as one smaller piece of a much large, interconnected puzzle abuzz with data transfer and information. We'll certainly see more crazy camera software and NFC features everywhere, but there's much, much more to look forward to besides.
  • You may have never given two thoughts to the sensors that come on you smartphone. They don't mind. They're still there anyway, computing data on your phone's movement and speed, rotation, and lighting conditions. These under-appreciated components -- the gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and so forth -- are starting to get more friends in the neighborhood. Samsung, for instance, slipped pressure, temperature, and humidity sniffers into the Galaxy S4. They may not be the sexiest feature in your phone, but in the future, sensors like accelerometers will be able to collect and report much more detailed information.
  • If you've made it here, you'll start seeing a general theme: in the forward-looking smartphone environment of our future, our devices are anything but isolated. Instead, smartphones will come with more components and communications tools to interact more than ever before with people and other devices. We already see some communication with Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, and NFC communications protocols, plus newcomers like the Miracast standard. In short, the kind of innovation we see in the mobile space may have more to do with getting your smartphone to communicate with other computing devices in the ecosystem than it will have with how many megapixels or ultrapixels your camera lens possesses or what kind of leather was used to finish the chassis.
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  • An extension of the smartphone as medical device is what Ideo's Blakely terms "appcessories," a set of highly specialized peripheral software that fulfills very targeted needs, stuff that most people wouldn't want their everyday phone.
  • . Let's say you're in a bar or at a conference and you want to meet people, he says. Extremely precise sensors track exactly where you are indoors. Point the phone toward a person in the crowd and her pertinent information pops onto the screen: who she is, what she does, and maybe some backgrou
  • Into the coffee shop of tomorrow walks a techie of tomorrow. He or she is decked out in wearable tech from head to toe -- the Bluetooth earring or ear cuff tucked into a lobe; Google glasses beaming up maps and directions; a smartwatch that takes your vitals, deals with mobile payments, and serves as a console for the most important functions. Then there's the smartphone slipped into the pocket for more complicated tasks or to serve as a "big" screen, and the smart shoes that calculate distance, underfoot conditions, and analyze your gait. Your smartphone is still there, still essential for communicating with your environment, but it becomes only one device in a collection of other, even more personal or convenient gadgets, that solve some of the same sorts of problems in different or complimentary ways.
  • The scenario above isn't all that outlandish, especially given the rise of smartwatches, which still have a ways to go before becoming truly well-rounded devices. Crazy tech that interacts with your body has been in development for some time. To illustrate the point, Frog's Rolston brought a pair of Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears to our interview. The fuzzy "ears," which have been on sale for about two years, sit atop a headband. A sensor protrudes from the band onto your forehead and a dangling clip closes the circuit when you attach it to your earlobe. The cat ears swivel and twitch in concert with your brain waves, a bizarre and surprisingly giddy sensation. Necomimi's contraption isn't particularly useful or flattering, but its brain-reading sensors underscore the kind of close, personal interaction that can occur when tech "talks." Paired with a smartphone app, what could this contraption share about our brains when we wake or sleep?
  • The point is this: smartphones aren't going anywhere. But instead of a focusing on the world within the phone's screen, the smartphone will be tuned more than ever before to the world around you.
Paul Merrell

International Digital Publishing Forum (formerly Open eBook Forum) - 0 views

shared by Paul Merrell on 29 May 08 - Cached
  • EPUB Support from list of Publishers An Open Letter from AAP to IDPF
  • What is EPUB, .epub, OPS/OCF & OEB? ".epub" is the file extension of an XML format for reflowable digital books and publications. ".epub" is composed of three open standards, the Open Publication Structure (OPS), Open Packaging Format (OPF) and Open Container Format (OCF), produced by the IDPF. "EPUB" allows publishers to produce and send a single digital publication file through distribution and offers consumers interoperability between software/hardware for unencrypted reflowable digital books and other publications. The Open eBook Publication Structure or "OEB", originally produced in 1999, is the precursor to OPS. For the latest on IDPF standards, sample files and companies who have implemented our specifications, please visit our public forums.  Getting started? Visit our FAQ's.
    Will ePub be the standard that converges the desktop, the server, devices, and the Web? ePub is an implementation of the W3C Compound Document Formats interoperability framework with excellent packaging, container, and markup components. ePub is also strongly integrated with Daisy XML for accessibility, "talking books," and document structure, hinting at a voice-interactive future for publishing. ePub has been developed as a vendor-neutral standard and is being implemented by a large number of major book publishers globally, a factor that should spur major development of both editing and rendering software and devices.
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Gary Edwards

Adamac Attack!: Evolution Revolution - 0 views

  • HTTP as a universal calling convention is pretty interesting. We already have tons of web services in the cloud using HTTP to communicate with one another - why not extend this to include local code talking with other components. The iPhone already supports a form of this IPC using the URL handlers, basically turning your application into a web server. BugLabs exposes interfaces to its various embedded device modules through web services. It has even been suggested in the literature that every object could embed a web server. Why not use this mechanism for calling that object's methods?
    Given the increasing number of platforms supporting Javascript + HTTP + HTML5, it's not inconceivable that "write-once, run anywhere" might come closer to fruition with this combo than Java ever achieved. Here's how this architecture plays out in my mind. Javascript is the core programming language. Using a HTTP transport and JSON data format, components in different processes can perform RPCs to one another. HTML5 features like local storage and the application cache allow for an offline story (the latest build of Safari on iPhone supports this). And of course, HTML + CSS allows for a common UI platform.
Gary Edwards

Meteor: The NeXT Web - 0 views

    "Writing software is too hard and it takes too long. It's time for a new way to write software - especially application software, the user-facing software we use every day to talk to people and keep track of things. This new way should be radically simple. It should make it possible to build a prototype in a day or two, and a real production app in a few weeks. It should make everyday things easy, even when those everyday things involve hundreds of servers, millions of users, and integration with dozens of other systems. It should be built on collaboration, specialization, and division of labor, and it should be accessible to the maximum number of people. Today, there's a chance to create this new way - to build a new platform for cloud applications that will become as ubiquitous as previous platforms such as Unix, HTTP, and the relational database. It is not a small project. There are many big problems to tackle, such as: How do we transition the web from a "dumb terminal" model that is based on serving HTML, to a client/server model that is based on exchanging data? How do we design software to run in a radically distributed environment, where even everyday database apps are spread over multiple data centers and hundreds of intelligent client devices, and must integrate with other software at dozens of other organizations? How do we prepare for a world where most web APIs will be push-based (realtime), rather than polling-driven? In the face of escalating complexity, how can we simplify software engineering so that more people can do it? How will software developers collaborate and share components in this new world? Meteor is our audacious attempt to solve all of these big problems, at least for a certain large class of everyday applications. We think that success will come from hard work, respect for history and "classically beautiful" engineering patterns, and a philosophy of generally open and collaborative development. " .............. "It is not a
    "How do we transition the web from a "dumb terminal" model that is based on serving HTML, to a client/server model that is based on exchanging data?" From a litigation aspect, the best bet I know of is antitrust litigation against the W3C and the WHATWG Working Group for implementing a non-interoperable specification. See e.g., Commission v. Microsoft, No. T-167/08, European Community Court of First Instance (Grand Chamber Judgment of 17 September, 2007), para. 230, 374, 421, (rejecting Microsoft's argument that "interoperability" has a 1-way rather than 2-way meaning; information technology specifications must be disclosed with sufficient specificity to place competitors on an "equal footing" in regard to interoperability; "the 12th recital to Directive 91/250 defines interoperability as 'the ability to exchange information and mutually to use the information which has been exchanged'"). Note that the Microsoft case was prosecuted on the E.U.'s "abuse of market power" law that corresponds to the U.S. Sherman Act § 2 (monopolies). But undoubtedly the E.U. courts would apply the same standard to "agreements among undertakings" in restraint of trade, counterpart to the Sherman Act's § 1 (conspiracies in restraint of trade), the branch that applies to development of voluntary standards by competitors. But better to innovate and obsolete HTML, I think. DG Competition and the DoJ won't prosecute such cases soon. For example, Obama ran for office promising to "reinvigorate antitrust enforcement" but his DoJ has yet to file its first antitrust case against a big company. Nb., virtually the same definition of interoperability announced by the Court of First Instance is provided by ISO/IEC JTC-1 Directives, annex I ("eye"), which is applicable to all international standards in the IT sector: "... interoperability is understood to be the ability of two or more IT systems to exchange information at one or more standardised interfaces
Paul Merrell

German Parliament Says No More Software Patents | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

  • The German Parliament recently took a huge step that would eliminate software patents (PDF) when it issued a joint motion requiring the German government to ensure that computer programs are only covered by copyright. Put differently, in Germany, software cannot be patented. The Parliament's motion follows a similar announcement made by New Zealand's government last month (PDF), in which it determined that computer programs were not inventions or a manner of manufacture and, thus, cannot be patented.
  • The crux of the German Parliament's motion rests on the fact that software is already protected by copyright, and developers are afforded "exploitation rights." These rights, however, become confused when broad, abstract patents also cover general aspects of computer programs. These two intellectual property systems are at odds. The clearest example of this clash is with free software. The motion recognizes this issue and therefore calls upon the government "to preserve the precedence of copyright law so that software developers can also publish their work under open source license terms and conditions with legal security." The free software movement relies upon the fact that software can be released under a copyright license that allows users to share it and build upon others' works. Patents, as Parliament finds, inhibit this fundamental spread.
  • Just like in the New Zealand order, the German Parliament carved out one type of software that could be patented, when: the computer program serves merely as a replaceable equivalent for a mechanical or electro-mechanical component, as is the case, for instance, when software-based washing machine controls can replace an electromechanical program control unit consisting of revolving cylinders which activate the control circuits for the specific steps of the wash cycle This allows for software that is tied to (and controls part of) another invention to be patented. In other words, if a claimed process is purely a computer program, then it is not patentable. (New Zealand's order uses a similar washing machine example.) The motion ends by calling upon the German government to push for this approach to be standard across all of Europe. We hope policymakers in the United States will also consider fundamental reform that deals with the problems caused by low-quality software patents. Ultimately, any real reform must address this issue.
    Note that an unofficial translation of the parliamentary motion is linked from the article. This adds substantially to the pressure internationally to end software patents because Germany has been the strongest defender of software patents in Europe. The same legal grounds would not apply in the U.S. The strongest argument for the non-patentability in the U.S., in my opinion, is that software patents embody embody both prior art and obviousness. A general purpose computer can accomplish nothing unforeseen by the prior art of the computing device. And it is impossible for software to do more than cause different sequences of bit register states to be executed. This is the province of "skilled artisans" using known methods to produce predictable results. There is a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that an "invention" with such traits is non-patentable. I have summarized that argument with citations at . 
Paul Merrell

Google Wins Patent For Data Center In A Box; Trouble For Sun, Rackable, IBM? -- Data Ce... - 0 views

  • Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has obtained a broad patent for a data center in a container, which might put a kink in product plans for companies like Sun Microsystems (NSDQ: JAVA), Rackable Systems, and IBM (NYSE: IBM). The patent, granted Tuesday, covers "modular data centers with modular components that can implemented in numerous ways, including as a process, an apparatus, a system, a device, or a method."
  • The U.S. Patent Trademark Office site reveals patent number 7,278,273 as describing modules in intermodal shipping containers, or those that can be shipped by multiple carriers and systems. It also covers computing systems mounted within temperature-controlled containers, configured so they can ship easily, be factory built and deployed at data center sites.
  • If this sounds familiar, it might just be. Google's patent description resembles Sun Microsystems' data center in a box, called Project Blackbox. During its debut last year, Sun installed a Blackbox -- essentially a cargo container for 18-wheelers -- outside of Grand Central Station in New York City to show how easily one of their data centers could be installed. Google's patent description also has similarities to Rackable Systems' ICE Cube as well as IBM's Scalable Modular Data Center.
Gary Edwards

The real reason Google is making Chrome | Computerworld Blogs - 0 views

    Good analysis by Stephen Vaughan-Nichols. He gets it right. Sort of. Stephen believes that Chrome is desinged to kill MSOffice. Maybe, but i think it's way too late for that. IMHO, Chrome is designed to keep Google and the Open Web in the game. A game that Microsoft is likely to run away with. Microsoft has built an easy to use transiton bridge form MSOffice desktop centric "client/server" computing model to a Web centirc but proprietary RiA-WebStack-Cloud model. In short, there is an on going great transtion of traditional client/server apps to an emerging model we might call client/ WebStack-Cloud-RiA /server computing model. As the world shifts from a Web document model to one driven by Web Applications, there is i believe a complimentary shift towards the advantage Micorsoft holds via the desktop "client/server" monopoly. For Microsoft, this is just a transtion. Painful from a monopolist profitability view point - but unavoidably necessary. The transition is no doubt helped by the OOXML <> XAML "Fixed/flow" Silverlight ready conversion component. MS also has a WebStack-Cloud (Mesh) story that has become an unstoppable juggernaut (Exchange/SharePoint/SQL Server as the WebSTack). WebKit based RiA challengers like Adobe Apollo, Google Chrome, and Apple SproutCore-Cocoa have to figure out how to crack into the great transition. MS has succeeded in protecting their MSOffice monopoly until such time as they had all the transtion pieces in place. They have a decided advantage here. It's also painfully obvious that the while the WebKit guys have incredible innovation on their side, they are still years behind the complete desktop to WebStack-RiA-Cloud to device to legacy servers application story Microsoft is now selling into the marketplace. They also are seriously lacking in developer tools. Still, the future of the Open Web hangs in the balance. Rather than trying to kill MSOffice, i would think a better approach would be that of trying to
    There are five reasons why Google is doing this, and, if you read the comic book closely - yes, I'm serious - and you know technology you can see the reasons for yourself. These, in turn, lead to what I think is Google's real goal for Chrome.
    I'm still keeping the door open on a suspicion that Microsoft may have planned to end the life of MS Office after the new fortress on the server side is ready. The code base is simply too brittle to have a competitive future in the feature wars. I can't get past my belief that if Microsoft saw any future in the traditional client-side office suite, it would have been building a new one a decade ago. Too many serious bugs too deeply buried in spaghetti code to fix; it's far easier to rebuild from the ground up. Word dates to 1984, Excel to 1985, Powerpoint to 1987, All were developed for the Mac, ported years later to Windows. At least Word is still running a deeply flawed 16-bit page layout engine. E.g., page breaks across subdocuments have been broken since Word 1.0. Technology designed to replace yet still largely defined by its predecessor, the IBM Correcting Selectric electro-mechanical typewriter. Mid-80s stand-alone, non-networked computer technology in the World Wide Web era? Where's the future in software architecture developed two decades ago, before the Connected World? I suspect Office's end is near. Microsoft's problem is migrating their locked-in customers to the new fortress on the server side. The bridge is OOXML. In other words, Google doesn't have to kill Office; Microsoft will do that itself. Giving the old cash cow a face lift and fresh coat of lipstick? That's the surest sign that the old cow's owner is keeping a close eye on prices in the commodity hamburger market while squeezing out the last few buckets of milk.
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