Thursday, October 4, 2012

The next step towards our very first Terminator Skynet Hunter Killer Flying copter

I don't why it creeps me out. But it creeps me out when I see people ignoring the lessons that movies are trying to teach us. Especially movies that are trilogies.
Take this sefl-flying copter thing. The autonomous copters with for rotors. You know, the ones FedEx is thinking of using to send our packages. We already saw them being able to fly around objects on their own. They can talk to each other to fly in a formation. I thought that was creepy. I thought that the guys who do this would go, "Yeah, good job done. Let's go out tonight."
But no. Someone else thought, 'why not take it to the next level'.
Why? Why do you want to take it to the next level? Have you seen what the final level looks like? Hint: It's an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. He did three of them and then asked Batman to do the last one.  And the guy who was in those greek god movies. Not Charlton Heston.
In this clip you'll see these copters throw a ball and catch it. Is that really necessary? Are you really that desperate to catch a foul ball?

Then they made it so that it can learn from it's mistakes. Why did you do that? Why? Now it's going to start learning where to throw that ball. Sure, it's a ball today. Soon, it'll lob a grenade. Then it's going to learn that it doesn't need us. Then we're going to be batteries.
Or is that another movie?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No end to Apple's bossiness

I'm sure that when people got their IOS6 update, the last thing they expected was to get lost. But get lost they did. It seems that the new Maps application in IOS 6, which unlike it's predecessors which we powered by Google, isn't up to sractch.
I'm not saying the people behind the Apple map program were incompetent. They knew that their solution would not be as good as Google Maps. They knew there would be some distance between the two products. Apparently, nobody at Apple took the time to figure out how much that distance was. Given this is a mapping application, where knowing the distance is something people expect the application to be good at, that is appalling. Apparently their product map is also self-powered.
But what amazes me is the bossiness of it. Here you are standing in Paris and you try finding Notre Dame on the map by searching for it. The IOS6 Map application points you to South Bend, Indiana. How that could be more relevant or more famous than the Notre Dame in Paris is beyond me. The next you'll be telling me, I'll be standing in London looking for the way to Liverpool, only to be told to go to the airport for a flight to Liverpool, New York. How could that even be possible?
Look I understand what it is. It's all about the unique Apple experience. But why must you amazingly tell people that greater Notre Dame from Paris is magically in Indiana?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whacking off to silence

Did you hear? Microsoft just patented a method of silencing the phone. That's what companies do now, method patents. They stop making stuff and just patent stuff instead. Nothing to do with method acting. Except over-doing it makes other people think you're crazy.
So what did Microsoft patent? A way of silencing the phone by whacking it. Yes, you heard me right, by whacking it. Giving it the smack. The five finger salute. Well, I sincerely hope they mean by hitting it. I don't encourage violence towards inanimate technological devices but the alternative is ... well.. As long your whacking it .. you know what I mean.
Back to the patent. So this patent is not really a method patent. It's a patent about the mechanics of silencing the phone when it detects a sudden degree of physical force. Or the technical term, smacking. Apple ...er.. Microsoft patents the mechanism because it can't patent methods. We've been smacking things for ages. If it were ever brought to court, I imagine the judge will just simply interrupt the lawyer, tell them to approach and then smack them silent for wasting the court's time. 
But since you can patent process, the workaround is to re-describe that method as a process. The process has to have an aim. The aim of the process is to turn off the phone. So the process describes the phone being turned of by actions that suspiciously look like smacking.
Great now all those alarm clocks will have to re-design a new way to silence the alarm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Apple refuses to tell customer the name of their new product

Did you know that naming something gives you power over it? It's true. Look it up on Wikipedia. It's actually the true name. A true name is a name that describes the true nature of it. In tech, that is usually the name of the product. Trust me on this.
Perhaps that is another reason why Microsoft names thing the way they do.
Perhaps also that is why Apple did not call the most recent version of the iPad as the iPad3. Apple is known for hand-holding their customers. They keep hiding details from their users. Making choices for them (by not giving them a choice). At this rate, Apple will soon refuse to tell customers the name of their product. It may give the users too much control over it.  They'll just refer to every new product as it.
Frankly, it's brilliant. There are so many up sides to this.
First, training sales staff will be so much easier. No need to hire someone with the ability to memorize more than one name. No need to remember pesky specifications. Why should they? It's all awesome and magical. "You want one. You don't even know what it is but we know you don't care and still want it."
Second, Apple doesn't have to worry about stocking all the stores with the latest products every time they make a new product announcement. It may confuse first-time customers enough to buy the older version. But technically they asked to buy it. It's still it and that is what they are selling.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rugby Union and Australia responds to NFL patenting football

In the (possible) containing saga of NFL defensively patenting football


  • The International Rugby Board  representing the rugby union attempts to file as prior art. But the same judge threw out the case as he could see no relation to the use of the word "football"
  • In retaliation, Australian National Football Council, representing Australian Rules Football, applies for a patent for football in Australia, copying the NFL patent and adding "... for non-wussies."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

As a patent defense move, NFL patenting football?

Incomplete reception
You've all been following this fight between Apple and Samsung, right. Someone sues the other guy. The other guys sues back in Germany. They then sue in Australia. Not happy enough, someone sues the other guys in England. And to just make reporters read a foreign language newspaper, they also sue in Korea.
But do you know what this is really about? It's about design patents. What is that you say? Well, it's about how things looks and how if I come up with a design, I should be able to protect it from other people copying it. Problem is, design patents can be pretty vague. And it's about right to say that Apple is saying it has a design patent on a box with rounded corners.
Did you know that there is something called defensive patents? Yes, there is something like that. It's when you patent something so that nobody else can patent it before you. You then use this against anybody else suing you for patent violation. So if you have a design for a pink polka-dot elephant with a short trunk, you should do that.
But seriously, this is about business. Soon people are going to patent everything they can think of. Not only new stuff, but even old things. Even when you've made something, you can still patent it. If you can patent a box with rounded corners, you can patent anything.
It's not hard to see big businesses like the NFL deciding to do defensive patents. The NFL could patent football as a defensive patent. Why? There is no guarantee Apple won't patent a "game where two teams alternatively try to move the a ball across a 100 yard playing field using opposing strategic formations... on a mobile device". And they'll get it, too. They'll even agree to fair licensing to other companies which already make "football" equipment. So no need for sport equipment manufacturers to change "football jerseys" into "football t-shirts". Just pay the licensing fees.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Business Strategy: Do Business with Samsung, get bought by Apple

You've probably may not have heard that Apple is buying a mobile security firm called AuthenTec for $356 million. Other than creating a few more bearded millionaires, this is probably not would have been a big deal. Apple buys companies all the time, right?
How about a company that just signed a big deal with it's rival Samsung. Now Samsung is wondering whether AuthenTec will do business with them anymore. This is great for AuthenTec. They make the thing that on laptops that you were supposed swipe your finger across to unlock the laptop. They also do that for phones in Japan. So in Japan, you pay by caressing your phone. Maybe Samsung thought that it was a good idea and wanted to make phones that do the same thing. Apple then thought that if anybody is going to swipe their screens, it can only be people who own iPhones. So they essentially bought AuthenTec to keep away the finger swiping technology away from Samsung.
It's also good news for a lot of other companies. So the message is that if you have a cool technology, invest all your efforts in trying to get an exclusive deal with Samsung. The moment you do, expect a call from Cupertino with an offer you can't refuse.
Is this the future of business? It sounds that that 80s joke that ended like "...and in response to Europe acquires Africa while Japan buys South America".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The bullets are in the mail

First of all, my condolences to the family and victims of the Batman movie shooting in Colorado. I deeply sympathize with what they are going through.
But I have to say something about the killer. No, not alleged. We are definitely passed that. We passed that the moment the police had to send in the bomb squad to remove the booby traps in his apartment. What I can't get out of my head is that he got loads of ammunition over the Internet and had them mailed to him.
What a crazy world we live in when we can get bullets delivered to us. It used to be a thing that you could threaten someone by sending them a bullet in an envelope. This guy asked for them in the dozens.
And in the mail, for pete's sake. You can't even send liquids in the mail for fear they might leak. You can't even dab a bit of talcum powder to make that romantic birthday card smell sweeter without Homeland Security kicking down the door. And this guy got bullets send to him. Which is more dangerous or suspect? The so-called solutions looking for a problem?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sing to your picture frame

Why go out and embarrass yourself in karaoke bars when you can do that in the comfort of your home. A company called Yeylol is selling digital picture frames that can double up as a karaoke player. I'm not sure which is more embarrassing, you singing karaoke at a bar or having people catching a glimpse of you singing to a picture frame. Makes a great basis for the insanity plea at your murder trial.
Lawyer: "And what did you see your neighbor Mr. Rogers do every night through his bedroom window?"
Witness: "He was singing to the picture frame."
Lawyer: "Who in their right mind sings to their picture frame every night?"

It's really a PC that has all sorts of functions. One of them is apparently that you can hook it up to closed circuit cameras. I have question: Why? Do you want to narrate their break-in? Provide a play-by-play. "They have gotten past the iron gate and are attempting pick the front door lock with what looks like a standard pick. Will the BruteBolt 5000's tumber's be able to withstand the onslaught? Or will it prove to be a 500 dollar investment up in smoke?"
Or provide a sound track to the robber's adventure with your human beat box?
So you can serenade your intruders away? Wait. That maybe not too bad. They might be frightened enough by the wailing to give up and go. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wearing Google Glasses in Paris can cause physical harm

I hate to say it but I told you so. Didn't I tell you some time ago that wearing Google glasses is going to bring physical harm. I said that people were going get physical with you if you wear Google glasses. Now someone has. And it's not even Google glasses. It's a digital eye glasses made by arguably the father of wearable computing. It's practically the same thing, made and worn by the father of wearable computing for goodness sake. Could there be a better test case?
The story is that he was accosted in a Parisian McDonalds... wait a minute... accosted by the French? Isn't that some sort of euphemism? With seedy undertones..
Well, there he was, eating with his family, wearing his digital eye glasses when some employees came up to him and his family. Words were exchanged, in French presumably. And they were booted out of the restaurant, apparently, rudely. So let me get this straight: The French selling American fast food kicked out a Canadian who had brought his family to Paris so that their kids can practice their French in France. Were the French that offended? Did they miss Minitel that much?
This can only mean one thing. This clearly proves that eating American fast food with all it's salt and questionable meats will only make the rude even rude-er.

For a more serious discussion on Google glasses and privacy click here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where all those stories about dragons came from.

The discovery site has a really nice picture of a lizard that bears a striking resemblance to the dragon.

I think this is the real dragon. Can you imagine the guy woke up to find this lizard on his face and screamed like a girl at the top of his lungs? Guess what he told his friends who came to his help? I bet you can.
There you go, the source of all those dragon stories.

I first found this on Amanda Blain's Google+ post.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

FedEx wants use flying drones. What could go wrong?

Have your heard that FedEx want to use flying drones in the US? Apparently they want to use it to send packages. What next? UPS to use drones to do door to door delivery ? What are they going to do? Drop packages from the sky to each house? Should we have to be worried being bonked by dropping packages soon?
You know, they are going to have driver-less cars soon. But it'll probably start with trucks. So you can imagine a driver-less UPS truck pull up, opens it's hatch and out comes this hovering flying drone with your package. No harm there. There hasn't been any warning whatsoever about robots taking over the world. It's a novel idea. Nobody has thought about it. So it's probably safe.
You know what will happen? The drones will just hover over the to neighbor's house and ask them to sign for your package.  I'm sure they will be willing to do anything to get a flying drone with 4 spinning rotor blades off their doorstep.
Update: Apparently, Amazon is thinking the same.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How Microsoft creates it product names

There has to be a poster on the wall of the product development division of Microsoft that is from the 80s. It tells them how to come out with names for their products. It'll probably sound like like this:

  1. Step One: Find a generic name that is related to the product.
  2. Step Two: Capitalize the first letter
  3. Step Three: Copyright the Name.
It's genius really. They don't have to think of names like iPod or Gmail. 
Think about it. Windows. Surface. Office. Word. Access. Media. Excel. Phone. Exchange. Put the work "Microsoft" in front of them and you have a real product name. Of course, there are limits. The wouldn't do it with someone's name, like Bob, would they?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Should Hardware companies pay MS not to make hardware?

We've all heard about the Microsoft Surface tablet and how it's going to be the iPad for Windows. User are eagerly waiting for it. Tech journalists can't wait to get their hands on it and test it. About the only people who aren't jazzed are the other Windows tablet makers. What can they do? Say something against it? and risk their Windows license cost go through the roof? (no, Microsoft won't do that).
What's going to happen if the Surface tablet becomes too popular? Does anybody think Microsoft will say, "Ok, well make something that will sell like hotcakes and then stop selling it after everybody has bought one." Well, HP doesn't count. That WebOS tablet thing was a fluke. Nobody could sell a tablet for $199, right?
I think the only way to stop all this is to turn the tables on Microsoft. Remember at one time, Microsoft paid hardware vendors to come out with hardware the worked only with Windows. They called it a "development fund" to help them cover the cost of developing hardware for Windows. The hardware makers should do that in reverse. Get together and offer Microsoft a "software integration fund" to help cover the cost of Microsoft working closely with them to get the right experience on the tablet. The purpose of MS Surface is the tablet is because none of the hardware makers so far has been able to "make the right tablet" or "provide the best experience". If that's the case, the hardware makers have a case to offer a "consulting fee" to Microsoft to advise them on what is the best experience for Windows tablets. Of course, the condition for the consulting fee / software integration fund is the delay of the Windows Surface tablet. It'll come out after the hardware makers come out with theirs or.. maybe not at all, if Microsoft chooses to. Who knows?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Microsoft abandoning Nokia after driving it into the ground?

Apparently, Microsoft wasn't finished. Refer to previous post.
Now there is word that Microsoft is coming out with their own phones. Imagine that! The reason is that they wanted to come out with their own phone. Something that they can dictate what hardware would go in. Something that they have control over fully. Something that they couldn't have with Nokia.
Apparently, it wasn't enough that Nokia employed a former Microsoft executive as it's CEO. It wasn't enough that Nokia dropped it's in-house OS that had a larger market share outside the US than Windows Phone to make Windows Phone exclusively. That it wasn't enough that Nokia ignored the international market that it was more popular in to focus on selling Windows Phone in the US. Nokia was such a difficult partner still to work with.
What is the thanks that Nokia gets? It is laying off enough people to make a dent in the national unemployment index. MS-Layoff.
Tablet hardware vendors should consider themselves lucky.
---
Now to counter the negative reports on Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has committed to a Windows Phone 7 update. Sincerely, I think there were more reports on the Windows Phone 8 announcement than Windows Phone users.
Anyway, Microsoft has launched MS-Promise for Window Phone 7.8. They announced that they will put in as much Windows Phone 8 features in Windows Phone 7 in an updated called version 7.8. Or at least it'll look like it enough to fool any of your friends who care. Talk about a low hanging fruit. I bet that they will do this as soon as they finish launching Windows 8, Windows 8RT and Windows Phone 8 in September. Windows Phone 7 user have nothing to worry about. Just ask Windows Mobile users.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is there anybody MS isn't screwing

We've all heard about the big Microsoft Surface tablet announcement. Apparently, their hardware partners only heard it just before us. Nothing like hearing your supplier announce that they're competing with you next week to give you that feeling of... being screwed. Just after all those Windows tablet announcements at recent trade shows. Way to support your partners, Microsoft!
Some people justified this by saying that only Microsoft can compete with Apple. Why? Because each windows license would be 83 bucks or something. Microsoft believed none of their partners could compete with Apple's price given the cost of the hardware. This is good hardware. They can't use the stuff Android uses. So they feel that only they, Microsoft, can come out with a high quality tablet made from high quality components at a cost that can rival Apple sold at roughly the same price.
Hmm. I think I know another way you can do this. Bring down the price of the windows license! Give it away free for a year or something. You knew if that really wanted to, they could.

They followed the tablet announcement with the Windows 8 mobile details at a developers conference later. Basically, all of you Windows Phone 7 users are screwed. Your phones can't be upgraded when Windows 8 mobile come out in September. So basically, the phone you bought last month will be obsolete in 2 month's time. And what about the people selling the windows phone 7? All the phones is stock just went bad. Now nobody wants to buy a Windows phone 7. Everybody will wait for Windows phone 8. The phone dealers are all screwed.
At the conference they announced that VOIP is built-in and it doesn't have to be Skype. That will be popular with the phone carriers.
So MS just screwed their hardware partners, phone users and phone dealers. The carriers just don't realize how screwed they are selling windows phone. Is there nobody left?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Apparently doing Porn is a bigger deal than Murder

I didn't know what to make of this Yahoo story headline: "Paris police investigate porn star sighting claims." The fact that Paris police are interested in porn stars is startling. That they are concerned about them being sighted is another.
Apparently, this Canadian Porn Star is suspected of murder and is wanted by police. He obviously got out of the country using one of his many aliases.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dead but not down: Tech bringing back the dead to perform again

There is a growing concern about the technology that brought back Tupac to the stage at a concert recently. No, Tupac didn't rise from the dead, although there are many reasons he would do so if he could. This was a computer generated Tupac. Yes, it is the descendant of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park ...but with more bite.
This is disturbing because of two things. First, now that we can have live action holograms, it won't be long before it moves from the stage to the big screen. I mean movies. Hologram actors acting with live ones. It's a director's wet dream. Producers are outright in delirium. Imagine bringing back Cary Grant to act with ... Justin Beiber. Second, since actors can continue to act even after they are dead, we might as well etch the Oscar for best Actress with Meryl Streep's name.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Texting lane a self writing joke?

People who text while walking are so much of a nuisance that cities are considering marking lanes on the sidewalk for people who want to text while walking. This is true. Why? People who text while walking are more distracted, so they tend to walk slower. That way, they can have a place to walk slower while everyone else walks normally. And this is going to get worse as more people have smartphones. Now it's texting but people will just walk and use their phones to play games, read facebook and general not care about other people. 
I can see this not solving the problem totally. You see, while walking and texting in a lane will make it safer for them to do so without bumping into people walking the other way, it still won't stop you from bumping into the person in front of you. Until someone writes an app to track the guy in front of you via GPS and display a warning when he slows down. I will write an app that interrupts the use with the message LOOK UP every 5 seconds. How will this work? The message won't go away until you actually look up. The app knows because of the camera watching you. 
This will all lead to all sorts of shenanigans. People who hate the people who text while walking will just draw a fake texting lane leading to an open manhole. People will just walk and drop in like lemmings. Is that the way these lanes will solve the problem of people texting? By getting rid of them?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why people are really mad about Google's new privacy policy

You've all heard it by now.
People are upset with Google. You can't blame Google. They were trying to do the right thing. Google announced changes in their privacy policy. Then they put it everywhere, telling people to read about it.
That's when people got upset. That's where they got it wrong.
You know why people were upset? Google tried to make them read. You don't make people read, especially important stuff. No wonder people were upset.
When was the last time someone tried to make you read stuff and liked it?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Google Goggles

Have your heard this? Google is coming out with googles that you can wear. The goggles will add things t whatever you see through the goggles. So if you see a restaurant, a pop-up will appear showing it's rating. If you see a train station, it'll may be show what train is coming next. All this is from the Internet.My question is how big those goggles are. We have a picture of how it may look like.


But seriously, it'll end up looking like this.
Nothing is cooler than borg fashion. I don't know what the big deal is. This guy got it right.







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