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 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.