Wednesday, March 31, 2010

14. warner brothers' spy game

here's a question for you: how much would it take for you to snitch on your free-content-lovin peers? what's your price?

there's always been rumors of plants from the movie industry spying on peer to peer networks - we know it happens all the time, but they're as about as shady at confirming it as pirates are about sneaking some of that delicious content. but here's finally some official proof regarding this particular tactic - in the form of a paid damn internship. warner brothers entertainment UK has teamed up with the university of manchester to offer a paid position as an "anti-piracy intern." but it gets better.

it pays £17,500. that's $26,000 US for a one year student internship. the job description:
- monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities
- scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for internet link scanning system (training provided)
- performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results

and the list goes on. seems like a solid way of getting qualified programmers to help stem the flow of pirated media over p2p networks and irc, doesn't it? then why do i have a tiny voice in the back of my head saying that over 50% of applicants to this job are applying for the chance to spend a year learning how to break WB anti-piracy techniques and DRM? after a year entrenched in warner brothers entertainment, this intern is going to be an expert on the stuff. will they use their powers for good?

anyway, WB is putting a lot of effort into cutting the rate of their media being copied and distributed. which i kind of understand. but as i mentioned in earlier posts, this kind of explicit method of trying to derail piracy efforts is, as it has been, the wrong way of going about it. how about hiring an intern to help come up with a way to make people want to buy your media rather then downloading it?

WB has been making some shady decisions these days. take their recent dvd deal with blockbuster. blockbuster's dvd rentals and online numbers have been absolutely railed by redbox, and outright dominated by netflix. blockbuster posted a loss upwards of $500 million last year while netflix was posting gross profits of over $400 million. even though blockbuster is no longer much more than a sinking ship, WB tied their anchor to it, giving blockbuster a four week head start on dvd releases over netflix, redbox, and anyone else. four weeks. that means if you want, say, the blind side on dvd right now, you'd have no option but to get it from blockbuster, because you're netflix account won't have it for another 28 days.

... or you can pirate it.

see how i wrapped that one up real nice?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

13. china and google III: china is zod

yeah i skipped part ii - do something about it. i'll nutshell it below.

back in january, when i first started this project, my first actual post talked a little bit about the controversy between google and the chinese government (and i apologized for it being long - that was rather silly). to give you the cliff notes, china was playing big brother on some gmail accounts, and google considered putting an end censoring their search results, regardless of what that would mean for their chinese enterprise. next came the decision (part ii) - google stopped the censoring, by trying to run a flea flicker by redirecting mainland chinese users to their uncensored hong kong servers. but the great firewall of china would not be thwarted - a simple rework severed google internet connections to hong kong on searches on the democracy movement and other "anti chinese" sentiment. so much for free mainland browsing. now for part iii - inevitable fallout.

google's search functions now won't be included on android mobile devices serviced through china unicom - basically the at&t/cingular of china, as long as the decision to not censor searches is active. the chinese central government is still keeping its message to them the same - "you must obey." i can't help but picture general zod in my head - not kid zod from the new superman/smallville noise - i mean terence stamp general zod from superman ii in 1980, whose two options, on every situation, were more or less obey or die.

all he asks is that you kneel. "come to me, son of the internet, and kneel before zod."

china mobile could be next, since other smaller businesses have already parted ways with them, including chinese web portal while the small fries really don't mean too much, china mobile dumping google would leave a pretty powerful sting, since their partnership is what has allowed google to compete with china's other search powerhouse (and chinese government pet) baidu. the government has made it stunningly clear that those that keep relations with google would not be viewed favorably. next, i'm sure, will be the advertisers. with the heavily gimped google presence in the region, advertisers are all likely to jump ship and head to baidu, where they'll have a solid number of traffic and ad view. clients of zenith optimedia have already started.

this brand of fear mongering in a business sector that's supposed to about the expansion and sharing of thoughts and ideas is complete ideological opposite of google's "don't be evil" mantra, and sticking to their guns may cost google around $600 million in lost revenue (by to a jpmorgan chase forecast). but other companies may adopting similar policies in the region - as an example, is jumping on the google boat out of china. is one of the world's biggest domain name registrars, with a lot of their growth, like most companies and industries, being in the chinese and asian markets. they have announced that they will now stop dealing with chinese domain names (i.e. web addresses with a .cn extension). the chinese law now applicable to them is far harsher than just censorship - it's tantamount to spying on its own citizens. in addition to a name and basic contact information, they now require much more personal data, including physically signed documents, personal and business identification numbers, and a color photograph from the shoulders up. this includes retroactive data collection of its existing customers, and shutting down any site with disagreeable content. godaddy's response: "we decided we didn't want to be agents of china." solid.

it's very encouraging to see that other tech and internet companies are following their lead and sending a message that doing what's right is what's important. google and godaddy both received bipartisan praise from congress for their decisions, namely from senator byron dorgan (d - north dakota) and congressman chris smith (r - new jersey) who at the same time slammed microsoft for censoring their chinese version of bing. rep. smith is also responsible for proposing the global online freedom act in 2009 (GOFA) - the purpose of which is to prevent american firms from being forced to "kneel before zod" and cooperate with goverments that censor media and the internet. it's still evolving, but it's a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

12. cars man, chicks love the cars

at least that's what they say. everyone has had fantasies rolling down the street in some sort of crazy ride. so what's yours? audi r8? nissan gt-r? porsche 911? all three are amazing pieces of design and examples of hi-tech engineering, and i'm sure all of you would love to have one in your driveway, if it wasn't for that nagging problem:

r8: 19mpg highway
gt-r: 21mpg highway
911: 23mpg highway

and near me, while it's way down from what it was at its peak last year, i'm still looking at around $3.00 per gallon, and that's for 87 octane, or 89 if the folks pricing gasoline are feeling generous. the premium fuels that the aforementioned cars use, of course, is markedly higher in price for a 92 or 93 octane rating.  now granted, if you're shelling out the $114k (base) for an r8, the extra $3k per year for gas (@ about 15k miles a year) probably isn't breaking the bank, but while the U.S. consumes over 20 billion barrels of oil per day, it might be a good idea to try to dial that back a bit.  that doesn't mean you have to trade style and power to be eco-friendly.  trust me, i understand your dilemma.  while the thought of earth friendly cars is nice, i absolutely hate the designs of a lot of hybrid / zero emission / high mpg vehicles too - that "smart" little hatchback styling just doesn't appeal to me.  fortunately, advances in hybrid and electric technology are bringing us a pretty strong wave of sporty vehicles that pack a whole lot of m's per g, but without any of the harmful side effects of high gas consumption or emissions.  some early models and concepts run on pure electric power, switchable gas-electric, and even some on good ol' hydrogen.  take a look at the tesla roadster:

tesla roadster
single speed fixed gear, 288 horsepower, 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds (3.7 on the sport model).  whew.  and the fun part - not a drop of gasoline.  the tesla pulls this kind of performance through a 375 volt motor with variable frequency drive, and provides 236 miles of electric cruising on a short charge plugged into your garage.  and if you're in the market for one of the cars mentioned at the top of this article, the roadster comes in at a modest $101,500, and $121,000 for the sport model versus something in the r8 arena.

now i know what you're thinking - $100k+ for this vehicle is ridiculous (they've only delivered about 1000 orders anyway), when you can buy a hybrid from one of the big brands for less than half of that.  well, tesla now has their "S" roadsters, at a more modest $50k (and still goes 0-60 in 5.6, which ain't bad).

tesla's roadsters are part of a larger, very welcome trend in the automotive field.  other brands are starting to wake up with alternative fuel vehicle concepts that not only consume less, but have the power and styling to make people who are on the fence want to drive them.  BMW, for instance, is going full speed ahead with it's electric car program, currently working on the active e - a compact electric hybrid version of their speedy little 1-series, not to mention audi's e-tron, a kind of smaller electric version of their current TT.  as far as non-electric fuels, mazda has recently shown a lot of promise with its rx-8 hydrogen RE  in europe, actually delivering their limited production run of 30 cars in norway.

mazda rx-8 hydrogen RE
i really hope this isn't just a passing phase, because if this keeps moving in the current direction you're going to see a lot more people seriously considering hybrids, electrics, and alternative fuel vehicles.  even the "major" brands, who manufactured cars like the prius and hybrid versions of existing small to mid-sized sedans are following suit, with toyota touting their FT-HS hybrid concept, which is a pretty mean looking beast that burns 0-60 in 4 seconds.  honda seems to be going the same route as mazda, with its FC hydrogen.  i'm looking forward to what the next couple years will bring.

i mean hell, even the zambonis in the 2010 vancouver olympics were electric.  they didn't always work... but they were electric.

Friday, March 19, 2010

11. people pirate media because piracy is cool?

i mean i guess they're right.

how long have you been using the phrase "piracy" or the verb "pirate" to denote steali... i mean... the creative acquisition of digital booty and other similar copyrighted ducats?  since ye were naught but a salty young lad or lass just gettin yer digital sea legs i fathom.  i know, i'm sorry, i just got carried away.  the phrase was originally a metaphor for hijacking someone's vessel on the open water and taking all their stuff.  this of course was meant to denote criminal activity, like a proverbial scarlet "P" you'd have to wear around all the time to discourage others.

while various media rightsholders complained about and are doing their best to combat piracy (with good reason, really) they're now complaining about the actual terms "pirate" and "piracy" that they themselves coined.  why?  because these days it sounds too damn cool.  i myself, typing this donning a skull and crossbones on my attire, can't fully disagree.  with recent media supermemes like the whole pirate vs ninja nonsense and movies like the pirates of the caribbean franchise, and unofficial "holidays" like talk like a pirate day, it's bound to happen.  so back to that scarlet P.  some people in media industries, when they hear "pirate," don't think about downloading divx rips or xbox 360 iso's (you know, so i've been told that's what these types of things are called), but they think about adventure and freedom on the high seas.  and of course, johnny depp. after a recent study that over 1 million jobs would be lost in europe by 2015 due to piracy - and i'd love to see the calculations on that one - the head of the international actors' federation said:

"we should change the word piracy. to me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about johnny depp.   we all want to be a bit like johnny depp.  but we're talking about a criminal act. we're talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do."

 and the tv commercials where actors tell me that because i downloaded their movie instead of shelling out 13 bucks, their cameramen and crew can't feed their families.  if they really cared they would take $9 million instead of 10 for the project they're on.

but that's another topic for another day.

pirates have welcomed the label with open arms and really don't care too much about potential negative connotations, so i guess media industries are pushing for the faaaar less uncool "thief."  like people download music because they want to be like jack damn sparrow.  but call pirates whatever you want, as long as you throw a "thank you" in there too.  as much as the industry complains, in an economic crunch theater takes have been up.  since 2005, US box office sales are up 10%, as well as 50% globally.  and that's from dan glickman, addressing the 2010 showest conference as the chairman of the MPAA.  to counteract any potential losses they claim to take through pirated media, they're forced to actually make people want to buy, by making quality products or selling fair prices.  it's a delicate balance that ultimately serves consumers.

like the force.

personally i'd be ok with buccaneer, or digital mercenary.

Monday, March 15, 2010

10. murray hill - heroic political pranksters

before i begin today's post, i realize this has been up for 2 months and i've only managed to squeeze out 10 posts total, including this one.  from here on in, my loyal readers will be guaranteed 2 posts per week.  but on that schedule, i make no promises that some of them won't have much more substance than a knock knock joke.

you may, in fact, sometimes just get a knock knock joke.  i hope you're cool with that.  moving on...

i said in my very first post that i would talk about politics only if forced. it looks like we're there kids, for the following situation forces me to address it -

a corporation wants to run for congress. i'm going to repeat this, because it warrants repetition - murray hill, inc., is trying to run for a seat in congress.  and they might have some, albeit thin, legal ground to work with.  i'll get to the details in just a moment, but first i believe some background is necessary.

there was a recent ruling in an ongoing case (citizens united v. federal election commission) about whether or not campaign finance law applied to a film about hillary clinton, which was produced by the conservative group citizens united. the argument here being, of course, that a highly critical portrayal of a candidate running for office can be considered part of a campaign and the production costs can thereby be considered campaign financing. the ruling came down in late january, citing that under the first amendment, "corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited," as political free speech, overturning the court's prior rulings on austin v michigan chamber of commerce in 1990 and mcconnell v. federal election commission in 2003, which were directly meant to prevent large sums of corporate money from unfairly affecting elections.  even president obama said the ruling "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in washington – while undermining the influence of average americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."  there goes the mccain-feingold act, and here comes open doors to corporations having a lot more political pull come election season.

but that's old news, now for the follow up - as i mentioned before the history lesson, murray hill, inc, a public relations firm in silver spring, maryland, is trying to run for a seat in maryland's 8th congressional district, challenging democrat chris van hollen for the position. why? to prove a point, have some fun, and as i'm quite sure, to get some press (after all, this is what they do).  eric hensal, the company's president/"designated human," has taken the aforementioned ruling's logic and has done, as he calls, the next logical step. "until now, corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence-peddling to achieve their goals in washington," says murray hill to the john wagner of the washington post.  he continues "but thanks to an enlightened supreme court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves."

the logic is that the citizens united ruling gives corporations some of the same rights as private citizens - which   brings to light a myriad of legal questions on the equivalence of a corporate person vs a single human citizen.  if campaign money counts as free speech, do corporations get to vote in elections, like regular citizens?  voting is the epitome of free speech if the act of voicing our opinions are protected by the first amendment.  since this can be inferred from the supreme court ruling, shouldn't it be allowed?  as hensal says, "there's a certain logic that the american public deserves to see played out."

by stating they want to run as republicans, they also got a jab in on the republican party, claiming that "we feel the republican party is more receptive to our basic message that corporations are people, too."

of course to even be eligible to run for congress, one must be 25 years of age or older, and this maryland firm misses the mark, being only 5 years old.  but i'm sure these are issues that will come up later on in the process.

never have i seen an act of political and judicial satire so public that it gets coverage from major news outlets.  in addition to shedding light on an interesting political issue and, well,  let's call it a dubious SCOTUS ruling, murray hill has shown that they are also extremely good at what they do.  they're chalking up a win regardless of how this all plays out.

murray hill's clients include the natural resources defense council and the association of construction professionals.  if you're curious, here are links to murray hill's website, and fantastic youtube campaign video:

official website
campaign video

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

09. for those about to rock

WE SALUTE YOU (sorry, had to be done).

by now i'm sure all of you, regardless of your gamer or geek status, or lack thereof, have spent some time in the world of console game rock.  by this i mean taking part, willingly or not, in the guitar hero or rockband franchises, by activision and harmonix.  and while playing these games gives you and your friends a chance to play pretend living room rockstar, and those blazing 5-button riffs make you a regular eric clapton in front of your tv, OUTSIDE the sphere of the game series you pick up a fender and you're still absolutely useless.

activision and harmonix have have sold millions of units since their first inception years ago, spawning numerous sequels and highly popular band-specific spinoffs such as aerosmith, metallica, and even the damn beatles.  some musicians (major ones) and music critics panned the entire series - claiming that the virtual rock is causing less young people to pick up real instruments to get into music by encouraging them that learning is unnecessary.

nick mason from pink floyd, when asked about the phenomenon at abbey road studios late last year, said "it irritates me having watched my kids do it," and further, "if they spent as much time practising the guitar as learning how to press the buttons they'd be damn good by now."  that sentiment was shared by the rolling stones' bill wyman.  activision and harmonix of course defend their products, saying that they've been flooded with letters from customers saying the game inspired them to take up music.  there are cases for both really.  on one hand, playing the game does provide instant gratification.  on the other hand, when i think about amazing, truly great american guitarists, not many more than jimi hendrix and slash come to mind.

i myself own the now outdated guitar hero 3, and i still have fun with it.  my friends and i have also been guilty of getting on a rockband set and celebrating finishing hard songs in various stages of rock out glory.  *cough* this may have been sometimes fueled by rum.*cough*  none of us are really musicians - we've all played something at some time or another, but our five button jams and free form drum solos made the ramones sound good and that was good enough for us.  personally, i'll still play for score.

and damn it i will not rest until i get 5 stars on devil went down to georgia.

ANYWAY, here's something that might appease critics.  fresh from the ongoing game developers conference in san francisco comes seven45's power gig: rise of the sixstring, a music simulation game that blows rockband and guitar hero out of the WATER.  its interface is completely unique and realistic in comparison to its predecessors.  the reason?  cheap plastic parts, batteries and a toggle are replaced by wood, pickups, strings, a real neck, fretboard... keys... wait a minute... this is a real guitar!  so who's seven45 studios?  they're a part of first act musical instruments, a company that makes both entry-level and high-end guitars and other instruments for aspiring musicians.  you've probably seen some of their stuff in retail stores - usually guitar/amp packages at places like best buy or target.  the power gig guitar is able to be plugged into a regular amplifier in addition to either the xbox360 or playstation 3.  it clearly won't sound QUITE as sharp as a stratocaster or les paul, but it's good enough for a beginner to learn.

back to the game - seven45 will not only be offering a standalone software version, but will have packages bundling guitars, strings, and even a drum set.  the game allows different flavors for different players - either the player must time and strike the appropriate chords to properly play the song, or the guitar gets converted into a rockband-esque version with the addition of a damper on the neck.  as far as the playlist, they're promising tracklists that are comparable in size to guitar hero and rockband, BUT, they will be using ALL MASTER TRACKS, not any ill-sounding covers.

this game is going to be huge in getting more kids into music, especially since it will be priced about the same as bundles currently sold.  many educators that say that an education is not complete without music are absolutely right, and with the number of school music programs at risk, this may be of some help and educational value.

plus, maybe some young kid somewhere will learn all along the watchtower and really show us something 15 or 20 years down the road.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

08. common damn sense: social networks

there are a lot of things social networks, specifically facebook, can be reasonably used for - reconnecting with people you haven't talked to in a while, planning events, sharing pictures, keeping in touch with family, taking meaningless quizzes, and as most of you know, the list goes on.  now just in case in case you're all curious, and somehow find yourself in a situation where the following advice is warranted, i'd like you all to know that uploading confidential military information is not on the damn list.

seems to make sense, right?  i shouldn't have to give anyone this sort of tip!

wrong.  seems that this mode of thinking doesn't get through to everyone.  yesterday it was reported worldwide that an israeli soldier posted information about an upcoming raid operation as his status on facebook.  now understand by "information" i don't just mean something like "gone raidin brb" or anything of that sort.  his status update and other uploaded info included specifics about his unit, location, timing, and objectives:

"on wednesday we clean up qatanah, and on thursday, god willing, we come home"

why?  why would he do that?

luckily for them, other members of the unit - slash - facebook friends saw the potential fallout of his howling error in judgement, and reported the posted information to the appropriate authorities. eventually hearing the reports, those in command made the decision not to go forward with the raid, since the information made public could potentially fall into the wrong hands and endanger the unit.  according to the israeli military,

"uploading classified information to social networks or any website exposes the information to anyone who wishes to view it, including foreign and hostile intelligence services." and additionally, "hostile intelligence agents scan the internet with an eye toward collecting information on the IDF (israel defence forces), which may undermine operational success and imperil IDF forces"

whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  does this thought need to be delivered via official statement?  i'm glad they shared this magical information, i might have never known otherwise.

needless to say, the hapless soldier was punished for his online faux pas. 10 days in prison, removal from combat duty, oh right, and the court martial.  and one can only assume a fair number of buddies immediately de-friending his stupid ass.

unfortunately, this isn't an isolated event.  leaks of sensitive information through the internet, particularly social networking sites, happen in other countries as well, and probably far more than what's actually reported.  a couple months ago the UK ministry of defence, when questioned, admitted to 16 security leaks over a year and a half period via twitter and facebook, and has record  that 10 employees had to be disciplined for it by the top brass.  hell, the head of the british SIS's wife posted family vacation photos revealing names and places!

it's not like the internet's new.  people that are 30 or younger have grown up familiar with computers for a significant portion of their lives, and what can happen on the web shouldn't surprise anyone - especially on social networking sites.  remember when you were a kid and your parents told you not to talk to strangers?  well the internet is a horrible cesspool full of them and the rule generally still applies.  that should be cause for some concern since social networking sites like facebook and twitter are probably a more popular method of communication these days over phone calls.  how many of you know someone who had a picture get out that they wanted private?  or did it happen to you?  maybe we should have awareness programs to illustrate this point?

in fact, that's a great idea! in israel, as in other some other military operations, there are now actually programs being put in place to raise awareness among personnel about the potential security threats posting any information can cause.  at israeli bases, it's posters featuring a "friend request" from mahmoud ahmedinejad, with text across the bottom saying "think everyone's your friend?" to try to drive the point home that true privacy on social networks is an illusion.  instead of the visual approach, the UK ministry of defence issued a 13 page document entitled "online engagement guidelines" establishing the most comprehensive guidelines i've ever seen for an "online presence."

all of this could have been prevented - just by applying some common damn sense.  i sure hope the pentagon's plan for social media and web 2.0 works out a little better.

moral of the story - unless you actually set privacy settings - on anything - you're fairly easily tracked by anyone who cares enough to try.  or even worse, some stranger might have accessed that picture/video of you after your 5th tequila shot on cinco de mayo that you should have set as "friends only"...

and some twisted memory your brain blocked out for your own good (and/or self respect) might just be the next big internet meme to hit youtube.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

07. apple vs google via htc

lawsuits are always a good time (as long as you're not involved, of course). patent lawsuits - even better. tech patent lawsuits - main events announced by bruce buffer in the octagon.

let me preface by saying this - patent law is one of the most, if not the most, ruthless fields in all of the business world. it is the grown up equivalent of "one of the other boys pushed me on the playground and took my toy." quick example - microsoft lost an infringement judgment a couple of months ago against a canadian company called i4i, specialists in XML technology. the lawsuit was over XML usage in the microsoft office 2007 software package, a feature that most users and businesses don't even regularly use yet. seems pretty minor, right?

yeah. it was minor. minor to the tune of $290 million.

so there you are - patent cases can even cost the giants millions. now in the case of microsoft, they have the money ($14.5 billion net in 2009 for those keeping score) and industry position to weather it.

but on to the matter at hand - apple vs htc. when i first heard about this i figured it would be a case about multi-touch technology. but i was only partially correct - the lawsuit is concerning twenty (20) alleged infringements by HTC's android OS powered mobile devices. but why only HTC? there are plenty of other companies that manufacture android based touchscreen phones - but somehow motorola, LG, sony ericcson, and samsung ducked the crosshairs.

one solitary answer floats to the top of the pile of possibilities - apple doesn't care about htc specifically, the quarry they're after is google itself. google gives away their android OS for free, and since the introduction of android based phones, i have a feeling steve jobs has been getting a little nervous with passing time.

“we can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it,” said steve jobs, apple’s CEO. “we think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

do you think you're slick, steve? do you think no one's picked up on what you're doing here? don't play that game.

and here was htc's response. this only came after being asked about the issue by engadget - apparently it hit htc out of nowhere.  apple had thrown their press release to the media before even serving htc with a single scrap of legal complaint:

"we only learned of apple’s actions based on your stories and apple’s press release. we have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. we respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. we have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years."

right, like that's jobs' primary concern. he's already had to answer to infringement suits against the iphone in the last few years. it's impossible to hide the fact that jobs is just sore. others have come up with viable alternative options to the iphone, new ones hit the market everyday, and google's android OS facilitates it.  let's face it, in today's digital world, mobile is a far more fertile development ground than stationary office desktop applications and market share is survival. apple was the commercial pioneer for touchscren style mobile devices, starting with the iphone and ipod touch in 2007. but they're not alone anymore - not even close. the cell phone market is now littered with touchscreen web-enabled offerings from sprint, verizon, t-mobile, and even non-iphone options from AT&T.

but google is too strong to take on head-to-head. so what's apple's strategy? pick the sickly gazelle, htc, and slow roll google's business partners one by one until what's left can be taken out much easier. i mean who cares about the consumer, right? i for one am targeting an htc android-based device for my next smartphone, and if apple succeeds in getting this injunction, i am going to be pissed. unfortunately, i'm seeing this as an opening salvo in a war apple is not going to end anytime soon.

it's kind of like trying to pick off the annoying adds in a video game boss fights. remember the lavos bits at the end of chrono trigger? onyxia's whelps in warcraft? oh that's right, you know what i'm talking about.

google has already released a statement in effect saying that they have their business partners' backs, which creates an interesting environment for retaliation. when you open up safari on your iphone, apple will direct you to google as its default search engine. apple also proudly touts on the iphone website the ability to run youtube - another google product. and under that section for "find my phone" - is that... yes, as a matter of fact it IS google maps! these were also two google technologies prevalent in the big ipad reveal in january. since they'll support their business partners, this could possibly play out in a very violent way (metaphorically violent, of course - i don't actually foresee physical bloodshed).

steve jobs is a genius, i'm not even going to try to argue that point, but he's also a selfish prick. but sometimes that's what you want in a bigtime CEO. when he wins he wins huge, but he will sulk and whine like a child if something doesn't quite go his way. during the ipad launch, an infuriated jobs asked the wall street journal's alan murray to delete one of his tweets that he found, well i guess, enraging. the tweet said:

"this tweet sent from an ipad. does it look cool?"


jobs doesn't like competition, and looking at the 20 patents he's claiming, there's at least a few where his case doesn't really hold any water. come on stevie, if you just drop the AT&T exclusivity you'd have tons more sales, and could maybe go back to spending time on innovating change, not trying to bully your competitor's little friends on the playground.

i also hear that he parks his fancy cars in handicapped spaces.

for those curious to specifics, here's links to 10 of the publicly available contended patents. provided, ironically, through google's "google patents" service

5,455,599: “Object-Oriented Graphic System”
5,848,105: “GMSK Signal Processors For Improved Communications Capacity And Quality”
5,920,726: “System And Method For Managing Power Conditions Within A Digital Camera Device.”
6,424,354: “Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods”
7,362,331: “Time-Based, Non-Constant Translation Of User Interface Objects Between States”
7,469,381: “List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display”
7,479,949: “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics”
7,633,076: “Automated Response To And Sensing Of User Activity In Portable Devices”
7,657,849: “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image”
7,383,453: “Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor”