Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Prohibition on Software Patents

The Software Patents Situation

This article calls for the abolishing patents, but I don't think I fully agree so I'm going to stack them up with those in support of the prohibition of alcohol. As I'm sure we can all agree, Prohibition sucked.

The US patent system is by no means perfect, but I don't think I agree that companies shouldn't be allowed to protect their products. Just because it's being abused so badly in technology doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. When it boils down to it, the real problem with patents seems to be patent trolls. Granted, there's also a problem of patents being granted for silly things, but I think patent trolls are really what has created an patent arms race.

What's wrong with having patents for products you actually create though? Rather than squatting on an idea, I think you have the right to protect a genuinely good idea that you develop a product based on. I don't think you should be allowed to own ideas that never materialized or that you have no vested interest in other than to sue people because that's contrary to the basis of patents.

Blackberry Torch

A survey came out last week showing that less than half of all Blackberry users want to stick with RIM, but I think smartphones are a market where it's hard to predict what brand of phone you're getting next unless you're a month or two (or less) out from the decision.

Their newest phone is coming out in a couple of days and it's a doozy. It's a slider with a full physical keyboard, though a little thinner than typical Blackberry fare. Engadget has a full review. The OS is a pretty big shift here as it borrows elements from the iPhone, including a mobile browser worthy of the year it's being used in. It seems like the UI is a true evolution of the standard Blackberry OS, but there's nothing it has under the hood that 1ups any other current phone - it just joins the table they're already sitting at. One of the commenters said it best: it would be a great phone if it came out in 2008.

Wave is Dead

Google finally killed Wave, the little product that never could. Google went to great lengths to generate buzz for Wave before it came out, so what went wrong? Marketing to nerds is a tricky thing, and if you can't make a compelling case for it then they move on to the next shiny new thing. It's not enough to be a novelty, your product has to serve a definable purpose or set of purposes. I think wave was a great idea that didn't have enough practicality behind it. The curse of a great engineer can be not having the right direction. Still, I think it's cool that Google took the risk anyway. No risk, no reward - that's the story of any great CEO.

Other Stuff

A page derailed my night, so I have to wrap up early here.

Amazon launched the Kindle store in the UK.

Barnes and Noble is trying out new and used textbook purchases as well as rentals.

Android now has the largest smartphone market share in the US.

Make sure you keep your Windows machine protected - here's some great free antivirus choices.

This is a list of some Google services that don't get much attention despite being pretty nifty.

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