Software Patent Court Decision

This ruling could put an end to a lot of software and process patents.

Techdirt: Court Greatly Limits Software And Business Method Patents

The summary is that the court has said that there’s a two-pronged test to determine whether a software of business method process patent is valid: (1) it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing. In other words, pure software or business method patents that are neither tied to a specific machine nor change something into a different state are not patentable. That means a significant number of software and business method patents are about to disappear, freeing up many industries to be much more innovative — at a time when that’s desperately needed.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Google Chat to SMS interface could be useful.

Next thing you know, they will offer something in labs that will automatically shorten whatever you type to
less than 160 characters.

One nice feature that may evolve pretty quickly is the ability to set your GMail filters to forward your filtered messages as an SMS to a contact.  Currently, you must forward your mail to an email-style address managed by the cell provider.

SMS in Gmail Chat

Gmail is about to introduce a new feature that will let you send SMS messages to your contacts from the US, announces InformationWeek. Google explains how it works:

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 2:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google’s White Spaces spectrum move worries performers

But not like you’d guess (read on). 

Come to think of it … my cordless phone might suffer from interference, too.  If I only had a free internet connection to use Skype instead, though, I guess it would be OK 🙂

Tech Fight: Dolly Parton, Joel Osteen vs. Google, Dell and Motorola | Gadget Lab from

The unused portions of the television broadcast spectrum known as white spaces has become the new battleground pitting celebrity performers against big name technology companies.

Country singer Dolly Parton is the latest among celebrities to urge the Federal Communications Commission to put off a vote scheduled for Nov. 4 on the issue. Parton has mega pastor Joel Osteen on her side.

They, other broadcasters and live stage performers, fear that opening up white spaces to new devices will interfere with their ability to use wireless microphones.

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Books breakthough

You have to love win-win-win deals like this one.

Official Google Blog: New chapter for Google Book Search

With this agreement, in-copyright, out-of-print books will now be available for readers in the U.S. to search, preview and buy online — something that was simply unavailable to date. Most of these books are difficult, if not impossible, to find. They are not sold through bookstores or held on most library shelves, yet they make up the vast majority of books in existence. Today, Google only shows snippets of text from the books where we don’t have copyright holder permission. This agreement enables people to preview up to 20% of the book.

What makes this settlement so powerful is that in addition to being able to find and preview books more easily, users will also be able to read them. And when people read them, authors and publishers of in-copyright works will be compensated. If a reader in the U.S. finds an in-copyright book through Google Book Search, he or she will be able to pay to see the entire book online.

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Microsoft moves to flank Enterprise IT departments

Here’s the Microsoft cloud operating system: Azure.  You can’t help but wondering if this isn’t just a way to punish recalcitrant IT departments that balked at Vista by taking the decision out of their hands in the future.

Ray Ozzie Announces Windows Azure – “Windows in the Cloud” – ReadWriteWeb

In his keynote speech at PDC, Ray Ozzie gave some background to Azure. He started by noting that we’re in the early days of the services revolution and then sung some lines from the now familiar Microsoft refrain of software + services. He mentioned the recent online stories that cloud computing may be over-rated (Larry Ellison and others). In response, he said that there is a trend of “the externalization of IT”, and that rich forms of customer interaction are evolving – community interaction, wikis, blogs, etc. “The web has become a key demand generation mechanism”. Further, Ozzie said that “a company’s web presence has become critical to a company’s overall business”.

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hawking to “retire”

Big, big shoes to fill.

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking Retires From Post : Discovery News

Hawking, 66, is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th century physicist Isaac Newton. The university said Friday that he would step down at the end of the academic year in September, but would continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Extension to sync your Thunderbird contacts with Gmail

gcontactsync is an extension that synchronizes contacts from a Google (Gmail) account with an Address Book in Thunderbird 2 or 3 written for a Google Summer of Code project in 2008.

The code is at version 0.1.1.  It is a little buggy and runs rough, but with a little TLC it does a good job of syncing up GMail and Thunderbird.  IT is far better than the Zindus plugin, which missing syncing up a lot of fields in the contacts. 

For Mac users, its pretty easy to get a copy of your Mac address book into Thunderbird by exporting it to vcard format, then converting to LDIF for import to Thunderbird.  Thunderbird 3 will display your Mac address book directly into Thunderbird (I’m told)

There is a handy tutorial flash for installing and using the extension, as well as the extension’s xpi link, here. – gcontactsync: tutorial

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Andy Quits Sun

Wow, switch gear for a tenth the price of Cisco?  So – almost competitively priced, then?  🙂

Sun Loses Co-Founder to Start-Up –

Andreas von Bechtolsheim, a brilliant billionaire who has created some of the best-selling computer systems in the industry, is resigning as chief architect of Sun Microsystems to focus on a start-up that is challenging another industry giant, Cisco Systems.

Mr. Bechtolsheim’s new company, Arista Networks, has built an ultra-fast network switch that costs one-tenth the price of similar products from Cisco.

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mac Mini: for whom the bell tolls?

Retailers have been told the cupboard is bare … expect no more.

Is The Mac Mini Dead?: Apple Stops Mac Mini Shipments to Retailers, Says to Expect No More

Unlike the rest of the Mac hardware, it lacks 802.11n support, uses the older 667 MHz front side bus and 945GM chipset, which is two generations behind everything else.

If the termination of the Mac mini is finally confirmed, it will be sad to see it go. Hopefully, this may mean that a new update is in the works or that it will get replaced by something else,


Mac Mini Still Alive? New Model Coming? – Mac Rumors, an internet hosting company that has a vested interest in Apple’s Mac mini computers, has published a “State of the Mac mini” report in which they claim that they have heard that a new Mac mini is on the way. Specifically, they believe (with some certainty) that it will gain the following specs:

– A new Mini DisplayPort
– Increase in max RAM to 4GB
– SATA Optical drive (instead of ATA/IDE)

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

ITIL qualifications = 40% salary bump

Better service commands a premium.

ITIL boosts salary 40%: report – IT Services

The report also found that for a candidate without an ITIL qualification at least 10 to 15 years experience was required by the employer for the same pay bracket.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment