Archive for March 2010

You Gotta Be Kidding Me   Leave a comment

Next up in the “Say what?” category:

EV SSL certificates provided by Network Solutions are reported as not working on some smartphones, because they’re not one of the Root CAs on said phones.

Yeah, uh, Network Solutions?  You seriously need to fire somebody.

Posted March 23, 2010 by padraic2112 in security, tech

Small Numbers   2 comments

From Andy, via Facebook, I give you a one-billionth scale USS Enterprise:

Courtesy of The 47th International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication Bizarre/Beautiful Micrograph Contest, via Nerdesque.

Posted March 14, 2010 by padraic2112 in noise

Yet Another Sign That Our IP Laws Are Messed UP   Leave a comment

BBC News reports that Microsoft has lost an appeal in its court case against i4i.

The patents cover the use of XML, a mark-up language that preserves data formats across different programs.

The judgement also required Microsoft to remove the i4i technology from its Office software suite and stop selling the infringing programs.

The injunction on sales began in January 2010 and applied to any Microsoft Office software, specifically Word 2003 and 2007, containing the infringing patents.

Since it lost the first round of the legal battle, Microsoft has been stripping the disputed technology from its Office products.

Soon after losing the initial case, Microsoft filed an appeal asking the court to re-think its decision. In December 2009, a panel of judges upheld the initial ruling.

Now, I’m not one to jump to Microsoft’s defense, but let’s be clear here… if I’m reading i4i’s patent correctly, they’re not patenting *a* method for using XML.  From this post:

Now, the patent owned by I4i does not claim to cover the idea of custom text transformation. It very clearly claims the right to an invention that is defined concisely as used to split marked up text into raw text plus a tag map.

They’ve patented creating XSLTXML is an open standard!  They’ve basically been awarded a patent for using an open standard the way the open standard defines it ought to be used.  Here’s how XSLT works, in diagram shorthand:

The XSLT processor ordinarily takes two input documents – an XML source document, and an XSLT stylesheet – and produces an output document. The XSLT stylesheet contains a collection of template rules: instructions and other directives that guide the processor in the production of the output document. — Wikipedia

So, if I have marked up text (the XML document) and a plain text document (the Result Document), creating an XSLT stylesheet violates their patent.

The only difference between the diagram above and the one in Figure 4 of their patent is that they drew a can and labeled it “Primary Storage”.  Again, according to Wikipedia… “a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable.”

More blog posts on the topic here, here, and here.  Several legal blog posts defending the merits of i4i’s case, but it seems to me that the legal analysis presumes that the original patent isn’t on a method that is, yanno, part of the concept of the specification itself.

Sure, likely Microsoft knew about i4i’s patent.  I’m not so sure I’d fault a company for trying to drive what appears to this reader to be a blatant patent troll out of business.

Posted March 12, 2010 by padraic2112 in law, tech, Uncategorized

Nifty Widget – Readability   Leave a comment

Lane Kenworthy over at Consider the Evidence posted about this neato little web widget: Readability.

Choose the font style and size and the margins you prefer. Then drag a Readability link onto your Bookmarks toolbar. Then, whenever you’re at a blog post you’d like to print (to pdf or hard copy), just click once on your new Readability toolbar button and the post is quickly formatted to print. Text and graphs in; ads and other junk out.

Thank you, sir!

Posted March 11, 2010 by padraic2112 in research, web sites

Self-Referential Idiocy!   2 comments

In the spirit of the last post, we have this gem courtesy of Lowering The Bar:

In 2007, an Islington officer ticketed an Islington vehicle, but the department that got the ticket appealed.  Because the department is not a different entity, in legal terms the council was appealing a ticket it got from the council, and under the rules above, the council was hearing its own appeal.  After the council rejected its appeal, it then appealed again to the Parking Adjudicator.  But having appealed, it then presented no evidence, and the Adjudicator voided the ticket.  Feeling its appeal had been an outrageous waste of time, the council asked for costs, thus accusing itself of having acted frivolously, vexatiously and/or wholly unreasonably toward itself.  The Adjudicator declined to award costs, pointing out that “[t]he legal status of the two parties in this appeal amounted to one and the same.”

Posted March 6, 2010 by padraic2112 in humor, law

Recursion!   1 comment

Paulie posted this to Facebook today: someone has submitted a patent application for patent trolling.

Methods for a first party to acquire and assert a patent property against a second party are disclosed. The methods include obtaining an equity interest in the patent property. The methods further include writing a claim within the scope of the patent property. The claim is written to cover a product of the second party where the product includes a secret aspect. The methods further include filing the claim with a patent office. The methods sometimes include offering a license of the patent property to the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include asserting infringement of the claim by the second party after the patent property issues as a patent with the claim. The methods sometimes include negotiating a cross-license with the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim, where under the cross-license the first party obtains a license to an intellectual property right from the second party. The methods sometime include attempting to obtain a monetary settlement from the second party based on the assertion of infringement of the claim.

Posted March 4, 2010 by padraic2112 in humor

Artistic License   1 comment

Some of you may recall the three wolves shirt.

I offer you two new sets of Amazonian awesome for your perusal:

The Collected Reviews of Dr. M. Von Vogelhausen

Amazon Products tagged with “WTF”

Some of the above NSFW.

A couple of samples

Posted March 3, 2010 by padraic2112 in humor