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Weekend Links 2011/07/30 – Amazing New OLPC and Patent Insanity

Posted in Site News at 9:25 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Richard Stallman warns people to avoid the temptations of the cloud.

    There is a systematic marketing campaign to drive users to entrusting their computing and their data to companies they have absolutely no reason to trust. Its buzzword is “cloud computing,” a term used for so many different computing structures that its only real meaning is: “Do it without thinking about what you’re doing.”

  • Vonage to pioneer unlimited global calling plan

    … limitless calls to fixed-line phones in more than 60 countries and to cell phones in 10 countries by their mobile phones and by dialling a special-access number. Vonage is also developing apps for smartphones including Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-based devices that will simplify the process and allow people to dial from their contact list without entering the access number.

    This is somewhat tame next to Skype’s pre-Microsoft efforts, but it is nice to see. Peer to peer services and Open Spectrum would provide the same thing at next to no cost.

  • About the #OSCON #Microsoft keynote: It’s a trap!

    See also The same old Microsoft at OSCON

  • O’Reilly OSCON Java 2011, Steven G. Harris, “Open Source, Java, and Oracle — Cracking the Code”

    PJ adds, “Oracle doesn’t have an Open Source strategy per se, unlike Sun. They view things from the perspective of lines of business. They are working to improve in communicating with the Open Source community. But the simple truth is, you can’t sue over patents and improve your relationship with the FOSS community at the same time.”

  • OLPC outlines future device specs

    solar charging, satellite Internet and external keyboard capabilities … [camera, microphone, usb2] a hybrid e-ink/LCD display capable of rendering full-motion video. The ARM-powered device is slated to run Android, Linux or Chrome, as OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte told IDG News the organization had lost interest in Windows 8. [will sell for less than $100]

    PCs are going the way of pocket calculators as they become increasingly cheap, feature complete communication devices.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Anti-Trust

    • Report: Nortel portfolio buyers facing DOJ scrutiny

      the Justice Department is interviewing the winning companies to see if they plan on filing suits against other handset makers using Google’s Android operating system software. The department could end up placing rules and conditions on the sale based on what it hears.

      It’s good to see the DOJ wakeing up to the anti-trust implications of software patents.

  • Privacy

    • Google+’s “Identity” Controversy: No Easy Answers

      Google says that — at this time — they do not consider Google+ to be an appropriate discussion platform for persons in situations where not being anonymous might put them at risk of harm. If you sense that we don’t yet have full “closure” on some of these specific concerns you’d be right — but this is a reflection of the fundamental complexity and sometimes contrary nature of these matters, not an indication of bad faith.

    • There is no such thing as anonymous online tracking

      identification of a user affects not only future tracking, but also retroactively affects the data that’s already been collected. Identification needs to happen only once, ever, per user….
      Here are five concrete ways in which your identity can be attached to data that was initially collected without identifying information.

    • New diabolical cookies “crammed” on users

      The article and links are not browser or OS specific.

    • Microsoft’s Web map exposes phone, PC locations

      Microsoft has collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world and makes them available on the Web without taking the privacy precautions that competitors have, CNET has learned. The vast database available through Live.com publishes the precise geographical location, which can point to a street address and sometimes even a corner of a building, of Android phones, Apple devices, and other Wi-Fi enabled gadgets.

      As usual, Microsoft is the worst offender.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ITC to look into Samsung’s patent claims against Apple and could lock Apple out of the US market
    • HTC is trying to build around Apple patents.
    • Microsoft Back In Bed With SUSE Linux

      In controversial deal extended to the tune of $100 million, Microsoft resells SUSE Linux services and pledges not to sue on patents. … it agreed to extend by four years a controversial deal under which it resells SUSE Linux services to business customers and pledges not to sue those customers, or SUSE, for patent infringement. … [GPLv3] may prohibit payment-for-indemnification deals such as Microsoft’s arrangement with SUSE. … “Software patents fundamentally threaten every programmer’s ability to do their work, and a licensing deal like this gives the patent holder more power to control who can and can’t use a specific technique.”

    • IV Responds to NPR Expose

      ideas have value and inventors who invest time, money and emotional resources into protecting those ideas with patents have a right to recognize a return on their investments

      … and for a small fee the world’s largest patent troll promises to leave you alone.

    • Google Acquires Over 1,000 IBM Patents in July. General Counsel Kent Walker said this of the failed Nortel bids:

      We buy companies all the time — for both people and interesting technologies. This would have been north of $4 billion for none of those things. We were bidding on the right to stop people from innovating.

      The linked article uses the missleading term IP and other propaganda phrases that should be avoided.

    • That Didn’t Take Long: Spotify Sued For Patent Infringement Just Weeks After Entering US Market

      Now, you might claim that perhaps PacketVideo has a legitimate patent claim here. After all, the company has been around for well over a decade and was an early pioneer in streaming efforts. But… the details suggest not so much. … PacketVideo had nothing to do with this patent. The company just bought it a few years back.

      The US is a real basket case thanks to it’s insane laws and court system.

    • Why won’t Intellectual Ventures answer questions about its relationship with Lodsys?

      The original inventor who was awarded the patents now owned by Lodsys is bemused by the attention paid to them. He has also had to suffer a fair deal of unwarranted abuse, since he’s nothing to do with IV or Lodsys.

      The author laughably asks, “do software patents really spur innovation, or hold it back?”

    • An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse: Intellectual Property Analysis of Chris Crawford, Intellectual Vent

      An analysis using the M·CAM DOORS’ software platform was performed on almost one thousand Intellectual Venture’s most commercial (defined by time of issuance and strength of prospective prosecution options) patents. … more than 40% of these patents have potential impairment issues, suggesting weakness in the protection they offer to companies. This “mafia” seems to be using rubber bullets as their ammunition. Not only is the protection that they offer potentially weak, but the patents that IV’s affiliated shell companies have used to threaten others are also frequently found to be weakened by uncited prior art and precedent innovation. In order to illustrate the fragility of these patent war chests, an in-depth analysis was done on the Crawford patents in Oasis’ portfolio. Our analysis of the Oasis patents, specifically the ’354 patent, shows numerous uncited prior art and precedent innovation that are nearly identical to Crawford’s, making us wonder if Crawford used the United States patent system to his advantage, nabbing common knowledge ideas and passing them off as his own, until Intellectual Ventures made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

      We may not ever know the details of the arrangements between extortionists but it’s obvious that software patents should not exist.

    • Appellate Court Says Breast-Cancer Genes Can Be Patented

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which have been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, can be patented.
      The ruling is a victory for Myriad Genetics, which owns the BRCA patents, and it overturns a district court ruling invalidating the patents.

    • Trademarks

      • SUSE and Microsoft renew Novell deal

        SUSE is also able to offer subscription support to Microsoft’s customers for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and community distributions such as CentOS.

    • Copyrights

      • UK Police and banks enlisted in private disputes.

        It works like this: IFPI submits allegedly infringing websites to the City of London police department’s Economic Crime Directorate. Once the division has “verified the evidence,” it passes the information on to MasterCard, Visa, and now PayPal.

        Copyright violation is not a crime, it is a private offense that should be dealt with through civil courts. Without a judge, this gives big publishers a license to shut down legitimate competitors. The article is filled with propaganda terms to justify the practice.

      • Big publishers would like to extradite UK citizens to the US for punishment under unjust US laws against sharing.

        In May, American law enforcement officials opened up yet another front in this war by seeking the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer. The 23-year-old British college student is currently working on his BS in interactive media and animation. Until last year, he ran a “link site” that helped users find free movies and TV shows, many of them infringing. American officials want to try him on charges of criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy. … O’Dwyer has no obvious connection to the United States. … Erik Barnett, an assistant deputy director for ICE, has told the Guardian that the United States regards any website with a US-controlled domain like .net to be within its jurisdiction.

        People should immediately move their registrations away from US controlled domains.

      • The judge in Jamie Thomas-Rasset’s third trial reduced her judgment for file sharing, calling the jury award “appalling” and unconstitutional.

        Davis has found that the $1.5 million award was unconstitutional; he slashed it to $54,000—$2,250 per song. And even then, the amount was “a higher award than the Court might have chosen to impose in its sole discretion.”

        The music industry promised a fourth trail by escalating it up the federal chain.

      • Copyright maximalists blanketed reporters with propaganda smearing a search engine to bolster a court decision that forced the UK’s largest ISP to censor the search engine

        Since that is what they are paid to do, its PR company keeps sending me FAST’s press releases, which I studiously ignore since they are uniformly ridiculous. … there’s no aggregation whatsoever, just links: Newzbin 2 is a search engine, like Google.

        The Bloomberg article is little more than a big publisher press release and is filled with big publisher nonsense.

      • Ousted EMI boss: pirates are our best customers, suing is bad for business

        Douglas C Merrill, who left his job as Google’s CIO to be EMI’s Chief Operating Officer of New Music and President of Digital Business has given a speech in which he claims that EMI’s own research confirmed that P2P music downloaders were the label’s best customers.

      • Alcatel-Lucent Gets $70 Million in Microsoft Patent Case

        This is for the infamous mp3 patents that kept mp3 playing software out of US based gnu/linux distributions, such as Red Hat, for more than a decade. Microsoft successfully whittled the original $1.5 billion dollar award down to $70 million. It is amazing how Microsoft can threaten and extort gnu/linux users around the world with unnamed patents while saying things like, “we continue to maintain that current law requires a genuine apportionment of damages when the infringement is directed to a small feature of a feature-rich product, and we are reviewing the verdict in that light and considering next steps.”

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